Wilderbee Farm

For a couple of years now, when we drive to North Beach to walk, we’ve noted the progress on a piece of property on the road over from ours. We watched as a farm emerged from raw fields – a big red barn, fences, chickens, sheep, rows of lavender, fruit trees, another building (looking like a little school house), flowers in colorful rows, blueberry bushes – all tidy, all interesting.

This summer when a sign went up, listing visiting hours for Wilderbee Farm, we stopped by for a quick visit, then stayed to meet the lively and engaging, self-described “farm geeks” Casey and Eric.

We also met Bob the huge, friendly Suffolk-Hampshire sheep, who along with a big guardian dog named Brina keeps track of a flock of British Soay sheep – also chickens (plentiful and beautiful) and a farm cat named Noodle.

The farmers invited us to trace a mown path around their property as it meanders the edge of ponds, a thicket of good-sized trees, beehives, a greenhouse, and the building site for the farmhouse to come. The whole farm is certified organic and proud to be part of the Port Townsend farming community.

It was fun to see how lavender is distilled, producing essential oil and lavender water (I bought some to spray when life requires the balm of lavender), hear plans for the future (my favorite – neighborhood movie night with a sheet on the side of the barn), and get to know the farmers (enjoying an unexpected conversation about “Game of Thrones”).

I’m looking forward to returning for more u-pick flowers (calendula, sweet peas, nigella, dahlias, sunflowers, cosmos, among others), Halloween pumpkins, and more lavender (I loved seeing the bunches of lavender hanging in the barn).

Welcome Wilderbee – we are lucky you built this great addition to the neighborhood!

September Light

If you ever think about moving to Washington, September is the time to visit. You could file away memories that would last through every contradictory rainy or windy or dismal day, you might ever encounter after your move. (Fewer than rumor suggests.)

Washington has everything: mountains, sea, tall trees, farmland, and a real city. September here is Tuscan gold, when slanting light burnishes fields, foliage, and each morning’s wide sandy beach.

The calling birds have gone, leaving those who stay for the winter, busy with provisioning and eating. It’s a privilege to cross the parched lawn and hang clothes, sun hot on my face.

Last week, after our window washers worked their magic, I walked around startled by the sparkle. September seemed a lottery prize, a reward for colder, grayer days. Some mornings the breeze has an edge, but day after day since Labor Day we’ve awakened to blue sky.

In the garden on the columnar trees, apples grow to real apple size. Blueberries ripen on the third and final bush. A surprise this year – huckleberries – many. They mature in the way of native plants, each berry cluster offers one ink blue berry at a time – enough to make batches of muffins and for the chipmunk that often visits.

Berries of all colors, ripe tomatoes, and every vegetable imaginable fill the Farmers’ Market and arrive in our CSA. From east of the mountains, fresh corn and bushels of stone fruit complete the harvest bounty.

I’m grateful to live here – and grateful for September!