It’s been another PNW weekend, with activities and sketchy weather. This time Laura and I went to Bellingham for the Mount Baker Rock and Gem Club’s annual show. The weekend also included another oyster party as well as more Scottish music.
When news from Skagit County makes it all the way back to Greenville, generally it’s bad news. Since our association with Samish Island, there have been several tragedies in the region that reached that level, from crimes, to natural disasters, to accidents. Now, living up here, I drive past and look out at these places on a daily basis. I can’t help but think about those tragedies when I pass by.
For a Wednesday there was a LOT going on. There were trips back into town and to see more daffodils, as well as new musical and food experiences. Here’s a quick rundown of the day…
Of all the crops grown in the Skagit Valley, flower bulbs are the most dramatic. The first tulips were grown and sold on Samish Island in the early 1900s, then operations were moved to the flats between Mount Vernon and La Conner. Now large companies such as RoosenGaarde, Christianson, and the Washington Bulb Company produce and sell flower bulbs of all types. When these flowers come into season the valley is awash in color. This month it’s daffodil season.
Specifically, the month of March marks the La Conner Daffodil Festival. Right now the daffodils are at peak bloom. However, the “festival” doesn’t seem to be much, as such.
In my single, young adult life St. Patrick’s Day was the biggest excuse for a party of the year. I’d dust off the green and tweed and trot out the Irish ancestry (William Taylor, the ship Earl of Donegal, County Antrim, etc., etc., etc.), and purchase large quantities of the chosen poison for the evening, whether Jamison, Guinness, Bailey’s, or some green concoction. It didn’t help that my usual partner in crime back then, Bob Donnan, celebrated his birthday on March 17. I remember a couple of particularly epic parties (barely.) It was also about the only time I’d listen to Celtic music.
Fast forward a few decades and my St. Patrick parties are much less epic, if they occur at all. Since this year’s celebration was on a Saturday, there was the potential for more epicness. While the actual date was celebrated quietly, it was a weekend full of Irish music, including the good, bad, and ugly.
In the last post I took Island Adventures naturalist Tyson Reed to task for his characterization of Mount Baker as an “active” volcano. I was a bit too hasty. My friend Tommy Thompson alerted me to the fact that these definitions are evolving, and there’s still a bit of some confusion about what they really mean.
We are finally getting some spring-like weather here in the PNW. With sunshine and warmer temperatures we’ve been wanting to get out and about a bit more. I had gotten an e-mail with a discount coupon for whale watching out of Anacortes. We had taken a tour with the company several years ago, and decided that we would take advantage of the coupon and head out with Island Adventures once again.
I had a very different post planned. I’ve actually got a draft entitled “I Hate Irish Music.” I was going to vent some of my frustrations with the music sessions I’ve attended up here, specifically the Irish sessions. However, I decided to give the genre one more shot, so I decided to try a different session at Village Pizza in Anacortes. My mood did a 180. This felt like the closest thing to the pubs I enjoyed so much while in Ireland.
There used to be a BBQ place near my office in Duncan, South Carolina that we would frequent for lunch. There were lots of exposed timbers and it had a logging/lumberjack theme. Old photographs hung on the walls of men with saws felling giant trees. On close inspection, I could see that all of these were labeled “Skagit Valley Lumber.” It caught me off guard…but it really shouldn’t have. There has long been a connection between Appalachia and the river valleys of Washington, much of it based on the timber industry.