The November Letter…..

Friends,                                                                                        November 12, 2018

Autumn is a slow dancer in Birch Bay, Washington.  Leaves are still falling, and the scenery is fabulous.  Our backyard is covered with golden maple leaves the size of your hand sitting on a carpet of green grass.  It’s a Norman Rockwell painting at least.  And there are still lots of leaves left on the maples to come down.  The birch trees gave up their leaves weeks ago, and that means you can see into the forest much deeper than before.  It’s strange how in an evergreen world a large area of the forest is composed of birch trees, tall and slender – thus the name of this bay and neighborhood.  We had rain last week and will again later this week.  In between are glorious days of sunshine that warm us up driving out into the sticks enjoying the beauty of green lawns, verdant pastures, and the fall colors.  The weird sight is the blueberry bushes which turn red-orange in the winter – you can spot these fields from miles away.  Most of the raspberry canes are now tied up in a half bow so they will be ready for harvest next year.  The raspberry harvest this year was the second biggest on record, but farmers are having a hard time finding a market to buy them.  Other producers from foreign farms dumped a big supply of berries just before harvest here and depressed the prices farmers get for their fruit.  Last year they got 73 cents a pound.  This year it’s down to 67 cents/lb.  Prediction is that some farmers will go broke at that price.  Reading all this in the newspaper I hear my mother’s words: “farmers are the biggest gamblers of all.”  We strolled through the Farmer’s Market in Bellingham last Saturday.  Leslie scored some beautiful carrots, lettuce and a new kind of apple that’s pink inside – it is pretty but not very tasty, and we won’t get another.  At present, Leslie is looking up recipes to make mincemeat – we both love it and would enjoy a pie or two.  I’ve never liked cake; a good piece of pie is my favorite.  A hummer showed up outside our window yesterday.  Leslie immediately filled up the hummer feeder for the Anna, a species that hangs out here all through the Winter months.  The female returned that afternoon and loaded up at the bar.  Beautiful Canadian snow geese have returned to the fields in Skagit County, just south of us.  Some will show up in our area, too, before long.  We do have a big flock of Canadian geese who hang out in the vacant golf course across the street.  They fly over our house and circle back to the pond that’s on the course.  Leslie says they are training the young ones to get into formation when they fly out over the bay.  And four days ago, there must have been at least five hundred big honkers floating out in Birch Bay, feeding on something the tide brought in.  Whatever the food source is the ducks love it, too, as there was a massive group of ducks, thousands, in the water feeding two days later.  Leslie’s green thumb has successfully grown a small avocado plant from one of the seeds.  I’ve seen lots of folks try to get them to sprout and just end up with a slimy ball they can’t get to grow and finally throw away. But we have a foot high plant with a dozen leaves on the kitchen window ledge growing from an avocado seed she watched over and then planted in a flower pot.  Amazing to me.  She also bought three banana plants and has them in pots on the walkway.  And she bought a lemon tree that now has a flower and seems to be fine in the nippy weather, although she brings it inside when we have a freeze, which is rare.  I am extremely lucky to have found her and am deeply thankful she is my wife.  I have been fairly lucky all my life, and she is the topper – a lovely lady with great skills and brains who keeps our website, and me, up and running.  I couldn’t do all this without her.  She is the flower in my life and a love.  Hope you have a merry and tasty gobble.

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