Arbor Day and Grays Harbor, a natural combination if ever there was one! If there is one thing that we Harborites know, it is trees. I look out my window and I see trees, and when I ride my bike around Grays Harbor, I still see trees. Last year, new trees were planted all along Sumner and in front of the Farmers Market!
We live on property which was planted with fruit trees in 1918. Only a few of those venerable old trees still survive, most having succumbed to age and battering storms. But the new trees are flourishing. The cycle of life continues. Fruit trees were among the most treasured possessions that settlers brought with them as they made their tortuous way west. We come across old homesteads during our summer hikes, and the old orchard areas are the first place we seek out. The Yellow Transparent Apples are the first to be ready to pick, and the ancient, almost forgotten varieties follow as summer wears on. Some were used for pies, some for applesauce, some for cider. Some were ‘keepers’- they could be stored all winter long. Now the apples in the grocery store come from varieties created because they travel well and can be put into huge cold storage facilities. The old apples have so much more flavor, tremendously more character. Maybe you had the joy of picking fresh apples, plums, or cherries from a tree in your backyard when you were a child. Maybe it’s time to rediscover that pleasure! Arbor Day is the perfect time to scout out new trees to plant, not just for yourself, but for the next generation. Think of some 10 year old discovering that tree 40 years from now! Now that is a true gift to the future!
Juel’s Unique Nursery is provider of so many fantastic plants for the Farmers Market, and I highly recommend that you plan a visit to her place in Satsop- if you aren’t already anxious to get your garden going, a trip to this wonderland will inspire you! http://www.juelsuniquenursery.com/home Julie can advise you about everything that grows, and she has trees galore available; cherry, apple, pear, Asian pear, and plum!
Trees provide so many things that we take for granted. In years past, everyone living in Grays Harbor heated their homes with wood, and many still do. We have never had to cut a tree down to use for firewood because the wind always blows one down for us just as the woodpile begins to shrink. If a Cherry tree or Maple tree comes down, we prefer to find a person skilled in creating something beautiful from that wood- another Alder tree will certainly blow over for firewood! The Hoquiam Farmers Market is most fortunate in having a master craftsman in wood as a part of our market. Don Case creates such lovely and useful things, like boxes, mirrors, and carvings. Things that feel good against the skin when you hold them. Lovely treasures made from real wood by a real person. Organic. Earthbound, and true.
Trees have the right idea about age. Trees are observers of life. A tree that is bent and twisted from a lifetime exposure to the raw elements is a tree that deserves
our respect. Ancient trees seem all-knowing and wise, at peace with their world. When the wind whips through their branches, they sometimes wail and moan- I like to think that the wind has awakened them from a peaceful dream, and they are protesting! Many of the old trees in Hoquiam had succumbed to the elements, and now are being replaced by young whippersnappers. A new generation of trees for a new generation of people.
We have many young human whippersnappers to be incredibly proud of, and I am thrilled to brag about 2 of them. Grays Harbor grows fantastic young people in addition to great trees! Ericka Corban and Melina Kastle are young singers whose talents are beyond my feeble ability to convey- you must hear them to truly understand. This Sunday evening the D & R Theater presents Ericka Corban and Melina Kastle in concert, as a fundraiser for relief to Haiti. Young people with both talent and heart, a precious combination indeed. Cost is only $7.00, but any additional money that you are able to give is so desperately needed in Haiti. It has now been over 3 months since the tiny island was struck by a massive earthquake, and horrendous aftershocks. You have the chance to help the Haitians and to be entertained by world class musicians- how good is that?
More Grays Harbor Talent will be on display this Saturday for the fourth annual Tokeland/ Northcove Art Studio Tour. This is another event I won’t miss! Tokeland is one of the best kept secrets in all of Western Washington- I almost hesitate to even sing its’ praise, for fear that it will be ‘discovered’. Let’s just keep it local, okay? For heaven’s sakes don’t go blabbing to someone in Seattle, or we’ll lose the quaint charm that has remained intact for well over 100 years. The Tokeland Hotel was built in 1885 and has changed so little that stepping through the doors is a direct link to the past. A sense of calm, gentility, and utter tranquility surround the rooms. Aromas of good home cooking waft thru the air. Blackberry cobbler, pot roast, meatloaf- to me this is soul satisfying food. Sometimes the harder the television chefs try, the more they destroy good food. We still snigger at the episode where they raved about capturing the ‘essence’ of food in a foam! The big do-dah was essence of clam chowder in a puff of foam!
The Tokeland area is rich in many natural resources, including the artists who call it home. Judith Altruda makes jewelry fit to adorn the most discerning woman, Wally and Marlene Mann both create art that makes me long for a huge barn in which I could display all the art I love, Marcy Merrill specializes in portrait photography, and Jeff Uitto makes fanciful wood creations that seem to step out of another, more creative, world. For a map of the studios on the tour, stop by the Tokeland Hotel, where many other artists will be displaying their wares. You will have an experience that city dwellers would give a months salary to savor, and this is all available right in your own backyard!
Barbara Bennett Parsons
manager of the Hoquiam Farmers Market, at 1958 Riverside.
Deidra’s Deli is open 7 days a week, and the market is open Wed. Thru Sun. Call 538-9747 to place an order or to just say ‘hello’!