Sunday, March 6, 2011

Down on the Farm

As a travel writer, I'm often besieged with requests to visit places and people, just about wherever we go. Sometimes I take folks up on their offer, sometimes due to time constraints I simply can't.

Today was our scheduled departure from Issaquah after five great days with my folks. The second leg of our journey took us down to Portland where we will spend the next five days with Yukon's folks and my sister, P., who lives in the neighborhood made famous by Beverly Cleary.

We had received a request from a friend in Anchorage, however, to visit her brother at the family farm near Winlock, about halfway between Seattle and Portland. Called Olequa Farm, it is a little treasure tucked in between Toledo and Winlock, and along the main Seattle/Portland rail line. At over 100 years old, the farm is now about 32 acres and part of the community supported agriculture-culture so popular with consumers. Heirloom seeds, organic farming, and a family atmosphere are what makes places like Olequa tick, and we found a gentle spirit in owner B. and his wife, L.

Nothing fancy but everything genuine, B. walked us around the property, stopping to show off his kids' favorite haunts, like a swimming hole and the barn loft, the 5,000 strawberry plants he intends to plant soon, and a pack of puppies who followed Bear around, clutching at his heels every step of the way.

The day was bright, the river whispered and gurgled as we walked its banks. Yukon, Bear, and I slowly shook off our wintery sluggishness over the next two hours, the historic buildings and squishy soil bringing sunshine back to our souls.

A few fresh blueberry muffins later, we piled back into the van and finished our trip; slower, now, than perhaps we were before. No rush to get there. No rush at all.


Natalie said...

Farmhouses and blueberry muffins? I'm in! :)

Marge said...

Beautiful post. And a beautiful spot! In fact it looks perfect for renewing, re-energizing, and re-charging. And it sounds like that is exactly what you did. Enjoy the rest of your trip before you return to winter again for several weeks!

mary said...

Just noticed the reference to blueberry muffins. You can't imagine how that makes me feel because I didn't tell you about them before the trip. My grandmother, who first lived on the farm with my grandfather, made blueberry muffins almost every single time we went there (which was often).

They became a symbol of welcome and friendship so important to us. It's never discussed but I'm so happy my brother shared it with you. When you come up for air, let's grab a cup of coffee. Or maybe even before because we probably both need the break! :-)