Summer may have gotten off to a slow start here in the Pacific Northwest — the corn isn’t even close to being as high as an elephant’s eye — but we seem to be making up for lost time.
A week of scorching hot weather seems to have brought out the summer blooms all over Lewis County. It’s a great time to take a drive and enjoy the view.
I took a little tour around Chehalis on Sunday to see if I could get some ideas for my own ragged and rustic garden. There are so many beautiful, well-kept, well-designed yards out there — but it sure does look like an awful lot of work.
I passed by the W.F. West tennis courts and happened to spot a small crew from the Bar-None Inc. Construction and Repair working in the morning sun on their day off. I stopped to talk to Ben Hamilton, project manager for Bar-None, to find out what they were up to.
“I’m a reserve Chehalis firefighter,” Hamilton said. “I told the chief, who is Nicole Beck’s dad, that if he needed anything done to help to give me a call.”
Nicole Beck is the 17-year-old, bright and beautiful W.F. West student who is receiving treatment for cancer, and when her doctor told her she qualified for a wish with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, she almost dismissed the idea.
And then she decided she could do something for the whole community with her wish and the sport she loves so — tennis.
Her wish is to give the deteriorating tennis courts at W.F. West a new look — new fencing, new surface, new nets and lights.
Hamilton and his Bar-None crew are just some of many volunteers in the community that is working hard to see Nicole’s wish come true. And under blue skies and a blazing sun on a Sunday morning, the guys of Bar-None were working to take down the brackets holding up the old, tired fence.
Watching the men work was a sight more beautiful than even the best kept yard. We have a wonderful community of givers here in Lewis County. I hope you know we appreciate all you do.
As for me and my big ideas for new landscaping, I think I’ll just keep things a little on the wild side in my yard for a while longer, for the birds and bugs sake, of course. I’m not the least bit concerned that having a yard to maintain would cut into my fishing time.
Bright Pink Success
Speaking of fishing, I finally caught myself a fish, a bright and beautiful pink salmon. My “silver slump” is over.
We went to the Puyallup River last Tuesday and caught ourselves one fish short of a limit. What a day!
The boys hooked into four or five king salmon, but they never could get them to shore. The only anglers we saw having any luck landing big king were the guys that brought some king-sized nets.
We didn’t even have a single net between us, nor did any of us wear any waders. We waded out into the Puyallup into waist-high waters in little baby steps, fighting the current the whole way, to join the end of a long line of a hundred other salmon seekers. We must have looked like the hillbilly country trio, come to the big city.
The other fishermen were all wearing fancy waders, vests and boots. They came prepared with nets and spare gear tucked away in their many pockets so they didn’t have to make the long, arduous trek back to the bank every time they lost their corkie and yarn to the river gods.
But we seemed to be catching as many and more fish than the fancied up dudes. There’s something to be said for having a little gumption and guts and just getting out there and doing something, trying something new. Even if it’s wrong.
Adventure is just around the corner. Take some time to go outside and enjoy these beautiful summer days we have (finally) been gifted with.
Go outside. Go on a bug safari. Go fishing. Go on a long or even a short drive. Go see some wildflowers on Mount Rainier or spend some time pondering the field of dandelions on your own front lawn. Enjoy the day!
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer who enjoys watching and photographing the wildlife in her own backyard in Cinebar. Visit her wildlife and outdoor encounters photography blog, The (Almost) Daily Bird, at http://blogs.chronline.com/dailybird. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 269-5017 to share unusual wildlife observations, or to discuss upcoming events and topics you would like to see covered in The Chronicle Outdoors section.