Too Much Good

We have nothing but time on our hands. It’s an odd predicament after owning a farm the past 14 years. We aren’t accustomed to this kind of idleness and since we’re still waiting to move into our new house (T minus three weeks and counting), the situation can sometimes be a little vexing, particularly for Former Farmer John. Without a farm to work or a garden to putter around in, unless we make some sort of plans otherwise, he tends to mostly wander the house with a pained expression on his face.

The happy consequence of our current dilemma is that it has forced us to explore. While we would have checked out the local attractions regardless of our housing situation, doing so wouldn’t have held the same urgency if we’d been busying ourselves with the chore of unpacking. As impatient as we are to move to the new house, at least we’ve had more opportunity to experience some of the beauty this area has to offer.

And oh my, it offers a lot.

Lena Lake

After hiking through some truly lovely state parks nearby, we’ve recently branched out a tad farther, both to the Olympic National Forest (one hour away) and the Olympic National Park (an hour-and-a-half). It sometimes seems as if each hike is more astounding than the next, until we look back on a prior adventure and recall how it took our breaths away, as well. It’s a bit overwhelming. In fact, during our latest hike along Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park, after we’d begun our ritual oohing and aahing over the magnificence of it all, John declared he almost couldn’t stand any more beauty. He claimed he needed something to ground him, to bring him back to reality.

“I think I need to go visit a landfill,” he sighed.

Soon after, we rounded a bend leading to a clearing with a foot bridge connecting either side of the trail. It was plenty enough to make John forget what he’d just said. Rather than complain about too much grandeur, he snapped a picture instead.

me on bridge

As difficult as it was to leave that spot, we continued on for a while until we felt it prudent to turn around and trek back to the car. When we once again encountered this bridge, we were alarmed to come upon two empty beer cans — one floating in the water out of arm’s reach, the other wedged against the metal railing. John picked that one up, crushed it and stowed it in our cooler bag.

We were horrified. And adding insult to injury was the brand of beer: Coors Light. No personal affront to any Coors Light fans out there, but c’mon, really? The Pacific Northwest is famous for its craft beers. (Not that two discarded empty bottles of Elysian would have been any better, but still.) Then to make matters worse, a few more paces past the bridge I spotted a smoldering cigarette butt.

The grisly discovery of these items was John’s landfill, of course.

Coors Light can

He quickly realized he hadn’t wanted to see something so ugly after all. And although we never ran across the perpetrators of this heinous crime against nature (apparently they walked only far enough to down their beers at the bridge and casually toss aside the remains before turning back), I despised them more and more as John and I trudged back to the trailhead. I have a tenuous relationship with my overall opinion of mankind as it is. This event just about put me over the edge for good.

Fortunately, the Rhody Festival was right around the corner. Rhododendrons are the Washington state flower, and right now they’re at their peak. We stopped at a nursery specializing in Rhody varieties not long ago and John was kind enough to model with one of my faves.

John and Rhody

It’s no wonder Port Townsend devotes an entire week to honoring the flower. The first event we attended was the Pet Parade,

bulldog

after which we wandered down to Memorial Field for opening day of the Funtastic Carnival.

carnival

Later that evening, the server at our favorite restaurant confessed that she doesn’t bother with this carnival. Too small for her taste. (“It’s not nearly as nice as the one in Puyallup!”) We found it adorable, however. From the smattering of rides to the barkers coaxing people over to a handful of games with chintzy stuffed animal prizes, it was so reminiscent of the small-town carnivals we’d each grown up with. Ditto the four pre-teen boys bopping each other with giant inflatable sledgehammers while stealing furtive glances at a group of middle school girls standing close by, worrying over their hair and outfits.

The culmination of the festivities was Saturday afternoon’s Rhody Parade. John, along with hundreds of others, had set up a couple chairs on the sidewalk earlier that morning to hold our spot. Once seated for the procession, we weren’t disappointed. For almost two hours, we were treated to multiple high school marching bands, as well as the Shiners, classic cars, bicyclists, acrobats, bagpipe players in full Scottish regalia and, of course, the floats, beginning with the one carrying this year’s Rhody Queen and her Court.

Rhody Queen & Princess

Even the Port Townsend steam punks made their way down the parade route.

steam punks

And as if that wasn’t sufficient celebration for one day, immediately following the parade was the free Cake Picnic down by the waterfront.

cake picnic sign

They’d made enough cake to treat 1600 hundred people to a slice. One of the local farms donated 300 eggs for the event, which also included a volunteer DJ who played music for the crowd. Almost everyone was dancing.

Imagine someone coming up with the idea: “What can we do as an after-party once the parade is finished?”

“How about giving everybody free cake?”

Cake. I thought it was brilliant and charming and wonderful. Pretty tasty, too.

As we walked home, we spotted the bagpipe band playing some tunes at a street corner. I have to admit it: I love bagpipes. We crossed over to listen, and stood transfixed.

bagpipers

They ended their free impromptu concert with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, a song when performed with bagpipes nearly always brings a tear to my eye. It was no different that evening.

Maybe most of mankind isn’t so bad after all.

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21 thoughts on “Too Much Good

    • Hi Larry! We miss seeing you too. And Hurricane Ridge is definitely on our list of things to do, and soon.

    • Hi Judy! It is indeed a vacation paradise up here. Not in the winter so much (!) but this time of year it just gets more and more beautiful. It’d be worth the trip!

  1. My friend forwards your blogs to me occasionally. It has been nice to know that you are pleased with your move; I had wondered why anyone would leave Texas.

    • Thanks! Texas is indeed a great place in many ways, but we were ready for a change and so far we’re really loving it here.

  2. Gosh, I want to live there!

    I’m sure glad you’re continuing your blog. You’re such a good writer!

    I am surely missing your veggies! It’s just not the same.

    Karen Mueller

    • Oh it’s a nice place to live, Karen. We’re really enjoying it so far. Thank you for your kind words — I miss seeing you at the farm stand!

    • It’s pretty darned close Cindy! Once winter rolls around we might be singing a different tune but right now we’re having trouble finding much of anything wrong with this part of the world.

  3. So glad you are loving your new habitat. I am enjoying reading your blog and keeping up with your experiences. Aren’t small town activities great? Your description brought to mind the time I spent in Cedarburg, Wisconsin where we also had small festivals and parades. It was such a blast being part of that community (I joined the civic band and marched in a 4th of July parade. So much fun!). Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh I love that you were in the band, Carol. While we were watching the parade, I couldn’t help but think how much fun that would be. Thing is, I have zero musical ability which might be a bit of a problem (especially to my fellow bandmates). There was a group of women representing Habitat for Humanity, though, who marched along keeping the beat by tapping hammers on short wooden boards. I could do that!

  4. I always enjoy hearing from you as It sounds like you are busy enjoying the state of Washington. You have a ways with words and also pictures that are so interesting. Since I worked for the airlines, I did a lot of traveling during that time but only place in Washington I ever visited was the Needle in Seattle which was good to see. But now pretty much staying in Texas. I love it here in spite of the heat and no rain but one of these days hope to have Lake Travis fill up ??????? Have a bunch of friends here also. Hope you are able to unpack and move into your new home soon. Must be an adjustment for both of you when you were so busy on your farm from day to day. But your friends that came to buy your products and they miss you smiling faces.

    Do you have contact with many of them??

    Continue to enjoy your new ventures. Do it all while you are young and able to do it all.

    Mary

  5. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW. I’ve been behind reading your blog and didn’t know that you’d already sold the farm. Amazing story. The photos of your new home brought tears to my eyes (jealous, perhaps? LOL). I’m so glad you found a place to land. I hope y’all don’t get TOO bored, though. Hugs from Texas! bobbi c., rudy and louie the cat who loves lettuce

    • We don’t waste time Bobbi — one more week and we’ll be lugging boxes and furniture to our new home. The lugging I’m not too excited about; being in the house, though, YES. Hope all’s well in Bobbi-and-Rudy world. Heard about the water that fell from the sky out your way. Congrats! Tell Louie that Pablo says hello. Good to hear from you!

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