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Just a meandering soul sharing my backyard. Visit my Flickr page too! www.flickr.com/photos/meanderingwa/

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My High Lonesome Place

It really isn't lonesome. Umtanum Road , south out of Ellensburg, is a popular place.

But I love coming up here as the horizon and views are so big.

Usually it is quite windy, but last weekend there was barely a ripple of wind. All over the flowers were coming up and the Bluebirds were courting.

I stopped at the "stage stop" Somewhere I read that these building were a stage coach stop. I love coming here and imagining what it was like to live above the valley, shut off from the world.

On this day, as I pulled up, a truck was pulling away. I got out to take my pictures and I noted that the truck had turned around and was coming back.

The driver pulled up and rolled down his window.

"You taking pictures of the old place?"

"Yes" I said, "this is one of my favorite places"

"I grew up here." the gent said.

Yes indeed. This was his childhood home. He lived with his Grandparents during WWII on this land which was a wheat ranch. No water or electricity, his grandfather worked the land with horses. He pointed out the barn, one of which has fallen down in the last year. He said that he had been sick over the Winter with heart surgery and wanted to see "the old place" before more fell down.

I told him of once seen a blooming rose bush at the house and how I imagined the woman who likely lived here, nursing a bit of pretty.

He told me that back in the day the area had pronghorn and jack rabbits and plenty of rattle snakes. I told him that I had never seen any of these creatures in Washington State.

We chatted for some time and he mentioned some of the other pioneer families of the valley and where they had lived and worked. He told me he remembers working land in the Colockum up above what is now Ginko Petrified State Park. They pulling up petrified wood stumps from the ground. I considered that if they had known the value back then, he would have a pretty retirement today.

His wife said they were active in the community and I mentioned that the historical society would certainly love stories of everyday life in those days. I thought that a history student at the University might certainly take interest.

What a great start to a perfect day. Full of light and flowers and my big place. Across the road from the house is a little pond and today a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds clearly showed that this was THEIR home.

But they allowed my to look for flowers.

Sagebrush Violet

The first Bluebells of the year

Hesperochiron , which looks a lot like a wild strawberry. (bugs)

Spring Beauty

Further along the road I found Mountain and Western Bluebirds. There are 130 nest boxes along the 15 miles of road. I used to monitor them for Yakima Audubon and collected nests for a parasitologist in Tacoma.

Western Bluebirds

Mountain Bluebird

The Balsamroot was just starting to bloom in the places slightly lower in elevation. I could not resist for where you have Balsamroot, you have bugs.

BINGO! Green Sweat Bee in Balsamroot.

I love the dry side.

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