Saying goodbye to an old plum tree

by Beth Shepherd
( August 21st, 2015 )

The garden is growth and change and that means loss as well as constant new treasures to make up for a few disasters.

~May Sarton


Greengage plum tree


We reached the end of an era in our yard and garden last week. Our Greengage plum tree came down. It had been showing signs of stress for awhile and we made the decision to remove it. I scheduled to have a tree company come out, all the while fretting about how hard it would be to watch them cut it down. When they arrived, they needed a place to park and put their equipment, so I offered to relocate my car around the block. When I got back five minutes later, the tree was gone.


I asked the two guys who removed it, if they could save any remaining plums and they told me there weren’t any. And, as they dug up the roots, they said that many of them were split or dead.

It’s true that without the plum three there, there is more light in our tiny yard and we can see more of our garden. The plum tree had bee situated smack in the middle and blocked our view of the plants  surrounding it.


Even though there were more reasons to remove it than keep it, I loved our unique tree. Greengage plum trees are not very common and I was sad to see it go. But its time had come.


I will miss…

Delicate white flowers in the spring

Greengage plum tree blossoms


The tree’s crooked, time-worn stance and the architecture of its branches in winter

Plum tree in winter


And of course…the plums

Greengage plums


Those amazing Greengage plums

Greengage plums cut


I have wondered if the removal of the poplars was the cause of the plum tree’s demise. Too much root damage from grinding the nearby stumps and roots of the poplars. But no matter the reason, the tree was no longer producing fruit, appeared to be stressed because it was sending up more and more suckers farther afield. Then there were the hornets who came to feast on the abundance of aphids. I was admittedly reluctant to remove this sweet old tree, but hornets were the last straw.


My close friend and gardening companion, Carrie, reminded me (more than once) to look at this change as an opportunity for more garden creativity. She’s right, of course, and I do enjoy imagining, designing and planting anew, but I know I’ll also squirrel away a few memories from the days when our garden had a Greengage plum tree.


The yard without its plum tree

Yard


The rest of our garden…

August in Our garden



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Take the road less traveled, Beth

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REACH for the river

by Beth Shepherd
( August 17th, 2015 )

The mighty Columbia River winds its way from the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada and flows northwest and then south into Washington State, turning west to form much of the border between Washington and Oregon before it empties into the Pacific Ocean.  Telling the stories that celebrate the natural, scientific and cultural history of the Columbia is what The REACH, a natural history museum in Richland, Washington, is all about.

REACH museum in Richland Washington

Whether it’s through engaging exhibits, education programs, special events or guided tours, The REACH seeks to enlighten visitors to the powerful stories that have shaped Eastern Washington’s rich landscape and history. With 14,000 square feet of space and a spectacular view out to the river, this museum is perfectly situated to do exactly that.

RREACH by the Columbia River in Richland Washington

Each and every detail from the fish tank at the entry with Columbia River indigenous fish,


Indigenous fish tank at The REACH

to the art on the walls inside…

Art at The REACH

and outside the museum,

Mural REACH Columbia River

to the exhibits themselves,

Water runs downhill exhibit

Fossil find 2

is directed at giving visitors an intimate portrait of the river. No [volcanic] rock has been left unturned. Whether you’re rotating a wheel to fold tectonic plates, opening a drawer to look at petrified creatures, or using a touch screen to uncover electronic versions of ancient fossils, you will most certainly leave The REACH with a greater understanding of how the Columbia River literally flows into every aspect of life in the Tri-Cities.

Birds of the Columbia River

Exhibits at The REACH

There is something at The REACH to pique your interest no matter if you are 4 or 54. Our little one was completely enamored with the outdoor toddler play area, featuring a train, a bridge, a water flow demo and a couple stationery bikes to hop on and ride.

The REACH Toddler play area

I was amazed by the social history of families who came to work at Hanford during the 1940’s, living in tiny trailers and constructing two atomic bombs that would end World War II, even though fewer than 1% of Hanfords’s workers knew the true nature of the site’s mission. It’s also mind-boggling to know that in 1940 the population of Hanford and all of the Tri-Cities was less than ten thousand, but by mid-1944, about midway through construction, the population of workers and family members was approximately 48,000.

Trailer from Hanford at REACH

Inside of trailer from Hanford

My husband was fascinated by the exhibits on The Manhattan Project, the Cold War and the recently opened Daughters of Hanford exhibit. The depth and breadth of stories The REACH covers is pretty spectacular.

Cold War and Hanford

Much more than a museum, The REACH is an experience! If you’re in the area, a visit to The REACH is a must. You can find the museum at:


1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA 99352/(509) 943-4100


Mon: Closed; Tue – Sat: 9:00AM-5:00PM; Sun: 12:00PM-5:00PM


The river is what binds us all together


Elk statue by the Columbia


My visit to The REACH was hosted by Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau, but all opinions expressed are my own.


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Take the road less traveled, Beth

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There’s heaven in them thar hills: Horse Heaven

by Beth Shepherd
( August 12th, 2015 )

Nestled in southern central Washington State, between Yakima Valley and the Columbia River, is a little slice of heaven—Horse Heaven Hills—a long range of high, rolling hills in Klickitat, Yakima and Benton counties. James Gordon Kinney, an early pioneer, is credited with officially naming the Horse Heaven Hills in 1881. He first came to the region in 1857. Impressed by the knee-high grass that fed the large bands of feral horses that roamed, he remarked “The area offers excellent forage and comparative isolation…This is surely a horse heaven!”

Horse Heaven Hills sign Benton City

Sagebrush and hills

Beautiful golden Benton City hills

Folding hills in Washington

Grapes in Benton City

Horse Heaven AVA

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