Connecting with Nature

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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Share your summer sightings

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July 7, 2011, Connecting With Nature, NCW Greenways
by Nancy Warner

We would like to invite all North Central Washington residents to join the Network of Naturalists and help create a nature journal for the region via our recently expanded Connecting With Nature website (connectingwithnature.org). With grant support from the “Connecting People With Nature” program of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, IRIS created this website where you can record your observations and post photos of plants, animals, weather and other phenomena that mark the seasonal rhythms of our region. Submit entries on your own or team up with a friend or family member. This is good and affordable family fun!

All nature observations are welcome — from notes on the familiar birds and insects you see in your backyard and garden to the new and sometimes breathtaking observations you make while exploring the wilds of our region. Help track seasonal changes and patterns by noting when and where you see insects around huckleberry flowers and those huckleberries ripening, along with salmon spawning, and chanterelle mushrooms popping up. Note the first strings of geese you see heading south and when the leaves begin to change color in the fall. We’ll highlight your contributions in The Wenatchee World and suggest others to track. Together, these observations will chronicle trends and changes and provide a legacy for future generations to build upon.

To join the Network of Naturalists, begin recording your observations in the regional nature journal at connectingwithnature.org. For more information, call Nancy Warner at 881-1812.

Nancy Warner coordinates the Connecting With Nature program for the Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS), a non-profit group dedicated to fostering sustainable rural communities by connecting people, place and possibility.

Memories of Summer in North Central Washington

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Fishing, fires, and huckleberries

July 2009, Nature of Place, NCW Green Ways

By Nancy Warner

Ask someone what they prize most about living in North Central Washington, and they’ll likely say the four distinct seasons that shape the rhythm of life here.
Gretchen Minard, Nancy Warner photo
For 107-year-old Gretchen Minard, this rhythm has its strongest beat during summer in the upper Wenatchee Valley. Born in Leavenworth in 1901, she remembers the fun she had on the family’s farm along Chumstick Creek. “We could wade in the river or in the stream. And, of course, there was pretty good fishing then, too.” She adds that, “if you wanted any fish you had to get out and do your share of periwinkle hunting.”

Using periwinkles, or caddisfly larvae, that clung to the underside of rocks in Chumstick Creek for bait was something Bud and Ray Norman also did as they came of fishing age in the early 1940s.The brothers remember learning to fish for rainbow trout with the neighbor kids. ?When we first started, it was a willow stick with a line and sometimes a hook made out of a safety pin,? Ray remembers.

Bud and Bill Norman, Norman Family CollectionRecently retired from a lifetime of logging, Bud and Ray grew up along the Chumstick helping their dad with his horse-logging business. “I was swamping for a team of horses in the woods when I was 9 years old,” Bud remembers, “cutting a trail through the vine maple so they could get in there with the horses to pull the wood out.”

“Back then,” Ray recalls, “the timber was cut mostly into short logs because it was so big.” The brothers remember watching their dad work his cross saw on ponderosa, or yellow pines, up to 4 feet around. They say most of what was marked and cut in the 1940s was either pine or fir. “There used to be quite a bit of white pine around,” Bud says. “Tons of it up around the lake and up the Icicle.”Norman brothers, Nancy Warner photo

Huckleberry season was a high point of the summer for Gretchen’s family, who would pack their berry-picking buckets and camping equipment on packhorses and hike the old Indian trail from the Chumstick Valley to Lake Wenatchee. She recalls how they spent a whole week doing most of their berry picking in a big meadow above Lake Wenatchee. “Huckleberries usually came out where they had just recently logged,” she explains. “Some years they got quite a few, some years not so many.”

While everybody who came to visit Gretchen’s family at the cabin they later built at Lake Wenatchee “had to have a trip up Dirty Face” to visit the fire lookout, she doesn’t remember seeing many fires around there until recent years. Bud and Ray say there are definitely more fires now but remember quite a few back then too. “The logger then was the first one they’d come after for fires,” Bud remembers. “They used to shut us down and we had to go fight fires.” Ray adds, “We usually had to hike into the high lake fires.”

Looking back at the changes they’ve seen, all three longtime residents agree the area is drier today. Reflecting on the wildflowers at her family’s cabin, Gretchen says “we had plenty of wildflowers and they were always bright and pretty. But the ground is changing; it’s not as moist as it used to be. When the weather changed the flowers changed, too.”

Nancy Warner is the coordinator for the Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS).

IRIS