Sun Mountain Get-Away — ahhh!

This just in from Dick on his and Nancy’s get-away to Sun Mountain and environs — brings back great memories of Nancy’s birthday party there!


Sometime, 10 days ago or so, we realized that we had no obligations after an early morning dental appointment, from Tuesday until the following Sunday evening. We took advantage of that hiatus to go to Sun Mountain for three days. As soon as Sandy (ne Strand, who was in Martha’s scout troop) got through cleaning my teeth and telling me to floss, we got on our way. It was one of those NW October days that one wishes would last forever.

We got to Winthrop in time for a late lunch at Duck Breath. The cottonwoods and maples were in fine color, as were the aspens. Our room was “Valley View” in the lodge though I had asked for Gardner. The receptionist assured me they were very busy. The lobby was deserted. There was time to read on the patio. That is, snooze over our books. Dinner was a little late, and it was dark, so no view.

Wednesday after a breakfast of trout and eggs (included!), and a beautiful sunrise, we drove up to Hart’s Pass, to see the larches. You may recall, when we were all there two years ago, the larches had not yet changed color, to the expected golden yellow. This year they were past, the needles all on the ground. We did find the proper access to Pacific Crest Trail, which we missed two years ago. It was a nice stroll out on the trail for about a mile and a half,with great views across to the mountains of the Cascade crest. Back down, and back up to the lodge, we had time for the hot tub, and a glorious sunset, then dinner before it got too dark to see.

Thursday morning, again a great breakfast, we had an appointment up the West Chewuch Road to the Bluebird Grain Farm. This organization grows it’s produce on the fields adjacent to Patterson Lake, at the foot of Sun Mountain. The factory is about two miles or so above River Run Resort, well remembered from 2008. The grain Nancy was interested in is Farro, a variety of Emmer. Something we had in 2008 was basically farro. Emmer is the ancient ancestor of all wheat. Bluebird’s products are variations on Emmer. We saw a bill of lading for an outlet in NYC while in their sales room. Of course, we came away with some of it. Steve and Mike might enjoy baking some emmer bread. David, too.

Harvesting Emmer wheat on Bluebird Farm

From there we went ghost town hunting. The books I bought last time about the Methow Valley and it’s history, talked about lots of mining towns up in the hills. We went to find Gilbert, up the Twisp River. At 35 miles, we came to a nice campground, where two guys were packing up their deer- Hunting season had opened. This was the road end. No sign of Gilbert, or any clue of a trail on up to the pass. After lunch, I drove back down more slowly, and did spot what appeared to be a road beginning. Sure enough, around the corner was a rusty fence gate with fearsome signs about danger, unexploded dynamite, unmarked mine shafts and that this was private land and an open mining claim There was even one log cabin of suitable age to be able to claim that I found Gilbert.

Thursday evening we went back to Twisp, had burgers in a CAFE, before the theatre. The play was “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie, acted very well by Twisp and Winthrop homebodies.

Friday morning we had a smaller breakfast. I had Methow granola, with a side of bacon- I had to pay for the bacon – and yogurt. We checked out and then enjoyed once more walking the interpretive loop up around the hill above the parking lots. Of course the drive home included a stop at the Buffalo run Inn in Marblemount for blackberry pie.

The week ended with dinner at Amy and Lib’s house. Serbian Spinach! I had forgotten how good that is. And many pictures of Scandinavia, Kayla swimming, and the same Holland that we have recently enjoyed. Now we get to have dinner again to see  the pictures that Nancy took.

Of particular note, on our return, we found the Rod is recovering well from bypass surgery, which he had about ten days ago. At last report, he was preparing to move to the rehab unit at Americare Hospital in Ocean shores, NJ.

Fall solstice news round-up

“Indian Summer” is definitely in full force here in NYC–lots of sunny days in the 70s (ahh!)–which, along with the onset of Fall semester, must mean it’s about officially Fall. So this post is a wrap-up of end-of-the summer goings-on, as reported, mostly, by Dick and David and Nancy (the end of summer birthday kids, in fact!). Dick reported on a mini family gathering at Lopez:

As we were getting ready to leave for Lopez, David called to let us know that they would anchor in Mud Bay Friday, and Saturday. (They ended up staying Sunday night also, because of heavy winds in the open water of Puget Sound.) So they toured the Art Tour on Saturday; Nancy and I did it Sunday. Mike and Julia had separate shows, both  really good. Julia’s show was in the 100+ year old house at Gary Buffum’s farm, while Mike’s was at his studio at “The Wood Lot.” Mike and Julia came over Sunday evening to share abundant crabs, and “Meatloaf For The Marquis” Sunday. Also served, Lopez Winery Siegeriebe, and Malbec. Janice insisted that I learn how, so we put out our crab pot Sunday night, and picked it up, with Alexa’s expert help Monday morning. We caught three–two that were two small and a female–so all went back to the water. But David caught 6–two too small, the rest male, so we had plenty of food for Sunday night’s unplanned dinner.

I had a note from David about this gathering too:

Last week we spent Labor Day weekend holed up in Mud Bay avoiding storms and enjoying Nancy’s and Dick’s hospitality.  On Monday morning, when the storms subsided, we left Lopez Island for a long one day trip to Seattle, we crossed paths with two outbound Oil tankers escorted by two Foss Tugs as we rounded the south east end of Lopez Island.  Seeing escorting Tugs are always a reminder of Nancy’s work to protect Puget Sound from the possibilities of an oil spill. (Happy Birthday again Nancy!)

Dick’s note went on to mention an opening at Chimera Gallery for Mike on September 12 (congrats Mike!). The show runs through October 9 and features the painting showcased here (among others!).Ober
It sounds like Nancy and Dick had a great celebration of her birthday! It included biking on the Burke-Gillman trail, lunch at Ray’s Boathouse, and dinner at Ten Mercer before seeing A Year of Magical Thinking. And oh right, a couple book and book-related presents!

Dick also reported on the bird-banders who are using Nancy and Dick’s yard to do some of their census taking (very exciting!):

Last evening the bird-banders were here at dusk to plan there project. While they were here, they identified a hawk (in the big maple down in back), a mourning dove, and a towhee. While we were standing in the yard they pointed out bats flying hither and yon in the dying sunset. Wow!

Wow indeed — happy fall!