Friends, May 12, 2017
Paradise is regained! The explosion of green everything and so many flowers you couldn’t count are all a colorful splash of joy in our neck of the Great Northwest. Even the dandelions were magnificent…pure yellow sunshine faces almost covered the hillsides and pastures: millions and billions of gold flowers made a rainy day much more fun. Flowers are everywhere. Go to any grocery store, and you walk around fifty trays of flowering plants, tomato starters – all waiting for a home.
And you can be sure Leslie got her share and is now Farmer LuLu. The tomatoes (four varieties) are planted in the big tubs with basil and placed on the side yard where we get the most sun. Nearby she planted runner beans, carrots, and Italian broad beans. Plus chives, thyme, oregano, dill, and parsley. Her idea of a garden is what she calls The English Garden Cottage look: colorful and messy. To that end, she planted daisies, white and blue lobelia, marigolds, impatiens and more that I can name.
Folks here plant flowers right and left, and it’s a joy just driving down the streets in Blaine as so many yards have fabulous tulip displays and gardens/yards. However, a juvenile black bear was also spotted in this little town last week. We live about ten miles away from the spot so we are not worried and the authorities said just leave him alone and he’ll drift back up into the forest.
Driving the back roads now is paradise. Every tree and shrub in the forest now have new leaves, and the dense wall of foliage is in every shade of green there is. Just three weeks ago the raspberry vines were naked sticks. Now they have an eight-inch collar of new green leaves covering every stalk. The Kodak moment on our last drive was spotting a pair of Canadian geese with five fluffy chicks following them – both mom and dad were herding the group and feeding. Leslie’s favorite spot was a small pasture where we could pull off the road and see a flock of sheep and the new lambs munching the new grass. Covered in soft light brown down, you just wanted to get in there and kiss them on the nose. A black lamb was there, too, and it made me realize what the black sheep of the family really means. Duh.
The drive takes you into the heart of the forest and up on ridges where you have a fabulous view of the valleys below – some lucky folks have their house perched on the top and have a view that is breathtaking. We also see driveways leading into the forest, but you can’t see where they go and it makes for a very private setting for the houses there. Once we get off the ridge tops the two-lane farm road cuts across a huge swatch of farmland with acres and acres of raspberry vines and then further down the road is a dairy-farm with weathered red barns and big farm houses surrounded by green, green fields of alfalfa hay that’s almost knee high now.
Along the way, we see little huts or lean-tos by the road in front of some houses – shelter for their kids waiting for the school bus in the rain. And it’s easy to spot the old timers as their houses have two chimneys and moss on the roofs. There’s usually a huge woodpile near the house, too. Lots of pastures hold horses here along with cattle, goats, sheep and llamas who have a dumb look on their faces.We also pass blueberry farms, some with hives of bees sitting on the edge of the field to make sure every plant gets pollinated. In the background we see the snow covered mountains and it amazes me that the diversity of topography in this area is so great. The ridge lines are steep, and the views are stunning, but when you get down to the valleys, the land is flat, and the soil is fertile. The forest is always nearby, and we both love every part of the drive and the land here. Then add that everyone plants flowers and hangs flower baskets from their front porch roofs and we are in heaven.
However, puff goes the dandelions, and now there are millions, billions, trillions of seeds blowing in the wind – next year’s crop of gold is guaranteed.