Sunday, June 02, 2013

My favorite views & a Family Reunion

One thing about going "home" to North Central Washington is the wide open spaces. Actually I only lived there for the first 20 years of my life and have lived on the west side for twice that long...but it is amazing how the sights and smells are so evocative of my childhood - the scent of the sage that grows along side the roads - quite frankly- even the dirt smells different over there.

And sky - you can see clear to Canada from our plateau- and this time of the year, the wheat is so beautiful and green.  Soon it will be golden and ready to harvest, but right now it just looks lush over there. 

Geologically speaking, the soil on our plateau is rather new to the party.  It is essentially ground basalt and benefited greatly from the ash that fell on the area when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980 - the farmers use a summer fallow system of planting to add organic matter to the fields.

Many of the farmers are now also using "bio solids" - the bi-products  from sewage treatment plants around the northwest.  The dark piles in the fields at the bottom of this hill are even labeled as to what city they come from -  hmmm - Our farmer did say, however, that his yields had increased after spreading this product on the fields - and that the benefit had lasted for several years.  They are carefully monitored by the EPA to make sure no heavy metals or other pollutants get into the ground water

Sage brush in the foreground - the green bushy plants in the mid section were planted in this draw by my dad about 50 years ago.  The plantings were sponsored by the DNR to provide areas for bird and other wild critter habitat. 

A true view of "home"

With all the trees leafed out, you can't see much of the houses, but after the wheat (the green in the foreground) turns golden, it will look like a green oasis in an area of seemingly arid land.

A new view - yellow Canola blossoms - 

Another thing that is different this year is that our farmer has planted Canola in one of the fields around the houses.  This was the very end of the bloom - I guess the week before the fields practically glowed in the dark.

There is more Canola planted in Douglas county than anywhere else in Eastern Washington - There are almost 7000 acres planted in Canola right now. 

My nephew Chris

A view of family - 

The real reason for going over to "The Ranch", as we call it, was for a family reunion of my dad's side of the family.  Unfortunately many of the "younger" generation (my first cousin's children) already had plans and were not able to attend.  But my nephews and their families both attended - it is amazing how fast kids grow when you only see them every couple of years.

And, of course, we went from "oh, are we going to have enough food?" to "what are we going to do with all this food" in a matter of minutes. 

My Grandpa used to say that our family was the first to get to the party and the last to leave.  It becomes a contest of will when you all have the same last name...ha, ha...

One branch of our family tree holds some particularly talented quilters.  My three cousins delighted us with a "quilt show" of their beautiful creations.  I will show you more of them in one of my next posts. 

Our farmer and his family live in the house that I grew up in- -  this view is from the kitchen of the house my dad was born in - where my Grandpa Pete and Grandma Dot lived for some 50 or so years. 

That is the same lilac bush that is behind them in the picture below that was taken in the late 50's / early 60's.
Grandpa Pete and Grandma Dot

I think they would have had a good time at our picnic - my grandpa loved a good party - pretty soon he'd have pulled out one of his harmonicas and the music would begin.

Can you hear it?



Lilylou said...

Lovely to hear about your trip, Tina. My sister and practically her whole extended family (except me and my brother) live in Moses Lake and have done so for many years. Eastern WA is a whole different way of life and of beauty.

heather said...

our state is so beautiful! thanks for sharing :)