LATEST UPDATE FROM THE ROC
The 1997 (late) Llenroc Newsletter
Christmas holidays and the end of another year have come and gone, leaving us both bewildered and thankful at the same time. Bewildered, because time has gone so quickly and we’ve never gotten done what we planned to – – sometimes we can’t even remember what it was we planned. We are thankful because of all the surprising blessings bestowed upon this unworthy pair.
Looking for something interesting to occupy her time, Elaine has had a banner year as a new Excel (telephone service) rep. She then branched out from stage manager to take a major acting role in a community theater play to be presented in February. Next stop, Hollywood!
Bob kept busy on agricultural pursuits, but has also found time to catch a few very small salmon and start painting and assembling the Model A. Seriously, The 28′ roadster pickup may even be on the road by summer.
The vegetable garden was a rousing success this year. We had great crops of green beans, snap peas, carrots, beets, potatoes, acorn squash, raspberries, swiss chard, lettuce, sweet corn, bok choy, and onions. No pumpkins, though! The new fencing kept the chickens and Nelly out, but couldn’t keep the moles away. Even so, we produced a lot of veggies, and we still have a bunch of winter leeks, potatoes, chard, and kale yet to harvest. This week, we took several dozen leeks to one of the local B&B’s for their use. Could this be a commercial opportunity raising it’s provocative little head? In the coming season we’re going to put wood borders on the raised beds to make it a little easier to farm. The new greenhouse rates its own bold heading, but won’t get one. We grew fantastical tomatoes and had moderate success with Thai basil, but think we’ll forgo planting indoor cantaloupes and eggplant this next year. Besides concentrating heat, the greenhouse allowed full control of water, and therefore, we had no problems with late blight or blossom-end rot.
We ate the last of our ripe tomatoes during Christmas week. (However, we do have some pressed-green tomatoes to carry us nostalgically through the long winter.) With no supplemental winter heat, the greenhouse isn’t too useful for tender crops, but we are storing all the neighbor’s geraniums in there now, and it seems to be doing a good job. We’ll be back in business in April when we set out our 1998 tomato crop.
Kids can now fish here free (with appropriate adult supervision)! We planted 100 eight-inch Rainbow trout in the pond in late summer and only lost 15 or so to technical problems (like they suffocated). The class of 85 fed and grew well until the water cooled down, and they are now dormant (I hope, rather than gone – see next sentence). We do have a problem with a Great Blue Heron who has been observed making off with at least one 14-inch trout. Nelly now barks if she sees the bird, who leaves immediately if we walk out the back door and wave. Perhaps he (or she) thinks that we want him (or her) to come up for coffee. Back to the fish – – isn’t it good to have stock that hibernates all winter? Sure saves on food and time.
Nelly is slowly maturing and has become a delightful substitute for a teenager, if there is such a thing. She no longer eats many shoes, socks, or chickens (she got two chickens while learning) but she acts like she would definitely eat the horses if given a chance. I don’t think she’ll make a useful stock dog.
During the summer, we dug a 220 foot trench and buried a 4-inch regulating line to the pond. It can bring in about 50 gals. per minute from the irrigation canal and, working in reverse, spills any extra water from rain and runoff back into the irrigation lateral canal that crosses the property. (It coincidentally drains a low spot on Camelot road.) I was told by two neighborhood experts that this method of filling the pond and stabilizing the water elevation wouldn’t work, but so far, it’s doing a dandy job! We then installed a 2 hp pump and using 680 ft. of 3 inch aluminum hand line, we got the place looking like the San Joaquin Valley during irrigation season. Too bad we don’t have good tillable soils in the pasture to let us take advantage of this great system, but at least we can produce forage for the (neighbor’s) cows and horses all summer and fall! The added benefit of our irrigation system and the regulating pond is that the pond is available year-round for trout, waterfowl, reflections (visual or mental, at your choice) and even swimming or ice skating during the appropriate season. Linsay, Bob and Nelly took the inaugural first (and only) swim before the fish were added.
Somehow, clamdigging and crabbing took a back seat to other activities this past year. There were NO squid this year. No one got eaten by a vicious crab (or even tasted by one). No mountain lions stalked the backyard. We did, however, discover a great day hike up to a little tarn lake in the Olympic Mountains. After a 15 mile drive, you must climb about 2500 ft. in elevation over a 3.7 mile trail. The scenery is magnificent. The lake is filled with little brook trout, and anyone can catch them. There are other similar, though somewhat longer hikes available, and we’ll be happy to explore them with you.
1997 saw the painting finally finished on the outside of the house. Watering of all the beds including the vegetable garden has been automated, thereby saving lots of time and allowing us to escape Sequim at will. The stone wall around the formal garden is not yet completed (or started, for that matter) nor is the lattice-work screen around the utility porch. We did however, finish the basement bathroom in time for Christmas guests. Alas, staying in the barn is almost a thing of the past, except for overflow crowds or those who want the primitive, roughing-it experience. Do you remember when we could, and did, sleep 14 in the barn?
A Parting Note
The editor just reread copies of the Llenroc Updates since 1993, and feels really embarassed. The earlier ones were quite funny (no applause, thankyou), and then became increasingly less so, year by year. This one may cause terminal boredom! Now I understand why Seinfeld is going off the air.
We started this letter by mentioning our blessings – – in addition to this home, we’ve got our health, fine friends, a wonderful family, and a good church. Our visitors have filled our home with love and enriched our lives immeasurably. We sincerely wish that you plan to come and spend some time with us. In the meantime, may God be with you today and all of your tomorrows.
With Love, Bob and Elaine (and Nelly)
Editor’s note Due to a lack of material and/or interest, the Poets Corner feature has been temporarily cancelled.