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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Posts from — September 2009

The 10 Minute Conversation: Diana and Lyle Smith

Diana and Lyle Smith moved to Vancouver in 2003 from Naperville, Illinois. The son of missionaries, Lyle grew up in the Congo, from birth to age 14. Diana grew up in a farm community within 50 miles of Chicago. Lyle is retired from Lucent Technology. Diana owns Padgett Business Systems  in downtown Vancouver.

Lyle and Diana have raised funds for AIDS for years and established a foundation, For Global Progress, which has raised thousands of dollars for the development of AIDS vaccines. For 15 years, they have organized Lyles Myles. This year’s Lyles Myles Walk/Run and Urban Adventure Course  will be held on Saturday, October 10 in Vancouver.

Diana and Lyle

ZEST: What brought you to SW Washington?

Diana: My daughter. I wanted to live closer to my children.
Lyle: I came because of golf although I didn’t know it at the time.

ZEST: What do you love about SW Washington?

Diana: I love everything about SW Washington. The climate, the people, all the activities there are to do. I love it that my husband can golf all the time.
Lyle: Golf all year.

ZEST: What is the best-kept secret about SW Washington?

Diana: I think it is the summer weather – warm days and cool nights.  Almost every time I make a remark about the beautiful summer weather someone else will say “Don’t tell anyone!!”
Lyle: You can golf year-round.

ZEST: What is your favorite place to relax or play in SW Washington?

Diana: If had a day off, I would go to the beach. I love, love, love the beach. My backyard is not so bad either. It’s pretty nice to relax in.
Lyle: So what she said and, would you believe, a golf course.

ZEST: If you didn’t live here, where would you live?

Diana: I cannot imagine living any other place in the world. I grew up my whole life within a 50 mile radius of the spot I was born and I thought when I moved out here that there would be some homesickness but not a nanosecond. I miss my friends from Chicago because they are really wonderful and lovely but…
Lyle: Wherever Diana is. We flew back to Chicago after a month of moving here and when we flew back into PDX I asked Diana if it felt like we were coming home and she said “yes.” I met a guy who had lived all over the world. He was from Denmark I think. He said this is the best place in the world to live in this area – you have the gorge, the mountains, the ocean, the climate. It IS the best place in the world to live.

ZEST: What’s coming up that you are excited about?

Diana: Lyles Myles Run/Walk and Urban Adventure Course ! It is a fundraiser for AIDS on Saturday, October 10.

Lyle: We have been doing it for 16 years. This year has an exciting addition – the urban adventure course– like a treasure hunt with physical activities and clues to figure out. We have a lot of teams signed up for that. And the traditional 7.5 K (Lyle is 75 this year) and getting longer every year walk or run, which I win every year. My trophy is already engraved. 

It started when I was 60. I used to run a lot. But I was always slow so I was always in the back of the pack. So when I turned 60 I thought what can I give myself for my birthday and I thought – win a running race! So I invented a race that I could win with a rule that if you cross the finish line before me, you are disqualified. So I have been able to win this race for the last 15 years and I intend to win it this year. When we started the race, we asked for a donation for Global Partners, which works with AIDS in Africa so we collected some donations. It became a tradition to ask for a contribution. A couple of years ago, we raised over $6000. We have been dividing it between Global Partners and Martha’s Pantry, which works with AIDS affected people in Clark County. We have raised $20,000-$30,000 over the years. 

ZEST: What would surprise people to know about you?

Diana: After high school, I worked for the FBI for a short time, analyzing fingerprints.
Lyle: I know how to make a mud hut with a thatched roof, which I learned in Africa.

September 29, 2009   No Comments

A Visit to the Pomeroy Living History Farm: Chickens, Pigs and Pumpkins

Where do eggs come from? How about bacon? If your children answer “Fred Meyer” or “Safeway” or if they haven’t fed a chicken or met a pig face to face, it’s time to take them out to Pomeroy Living History Farm.  


I love farms. With clear memories of summers and weekends on my grandparents Iowa farm, I was looking for some reminders of childhood this summer. They were there in form of gardens and animals, tractors and the smell of hay at the historic Pomeroy Farm. I fed the chickens and goats, talked to the snorting pigs (always my favorite farm animal) and made my very first cornhusk doll. Farm life in the 1920’s is on display. In 2010, it will be owned by members of the Pomeroy family for 100 years. 

“This house is full of memories,” Lil Freese told me as we stood in the diningroom of the original log home of her grandparents, E.C. and Adelaide Pomeroy who purchased the first 160 acres in 1910.  She graciously shares stories about 1920s log house at the farm, which over time expanded to 677 acres. Pomeroy family members started the living history program at the farm in 1988. Last year, 3500 school children visited the farm.

A spinner at work

On the porch, a costumed spinner turned wool into yarn while an “old time” band played. As I tried to churn cream into butter in the diningroom, I enjoyed the lesson but silently gave thanks for modern grocery stores. Upstairs, five bedrooms in the log house displayed the lifestyles of five different decades. Wandering through the farm, I toured the gardens, working blacksmith shop, historic barn and met the chickens, goats and pigs.

One of the residents at Pomeroy

A real oinker

Feeding the goats

October is a great time to visit. That is when Pumpkin Lane is in full swing including a mile long hayride past 70 “pumpkin people” and a stop at the Pumpkin Patch plus animals, children’s carnival games, entertainment and pumpkins available for purchase. Dates in 2009 are October 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25. For the latest information including admission fees and directions visit or call 360.686.3537.

September 28, 2009   1 Comment

The 10 Minute Conversation: Magenta Theater’s Jaynie Roberts

Jaynie Roberts is Founder and Artistic Director of Magenta Theater, a community theater company located at 606 Main Street in downtown Vancouver. She grew up in St. Helens, England, near Liverpool and came to the U.S. to attend Chapman College in Orange, California, where she earned her degree in theater. We spoke off-stage at Magenta Theater.


ZEST: What brought you to SW Washington?

Jaynie: I am British and came to the US to go to university in California. I moved to Texas because I heard it was “the place to go” in the 1970s . I was living in Houston, Texas and hated it and met a man named Bill Roberts, who I ended up marrying. I said we will be leaving Texas and he said, “Ma’am, Texans live and die in Texas” and I thought, “That’s what you think, buddy.” We landed here in 1993 and have never regretted the move, not even once.

ZEST: What do you love about SW Washington?

Jaynie: I love the weather. I don’t mind the rain at all. I love the fact that we have actual seasons. I DO love the summers. I love the opportunities to go to the beach and the mountains if we want to. Having access to a beautiful beach is really important to me. I love the fact that my children have been raised in a pretty place. That is so important to me that we live in beautiful surroundings.

ZEST: What is the best-kept secret about SW Washington?

Jaynie: Magenta Theater! This is the end of our seventh season coming up. We have been around quite awhile and you would be amazed at how many people say “I didn’t know this existed.”

ZEST: What is your favorite place to relax or play in SW Washington?

Jaynie:  On our boat on the Columbia River, not necessarily doing anything except drifting and my husband fishing if he wishes and me reading a book and not having to do anything.

ZEST: If you didn’t live here, where would you live?

Jaynie: I have no absolutely desire to live anywhere else. There is nowhere else in the world that I love as much as here. If I was forced to, I would say Cannon Beach, Oregon, IF I was forced.

ZEST: What’s coming up that you are excited about?
(Poster by Bryant/Johnsen Media Design)

Jaynie: We have Wait Until Dark opening on October 1. This is a slightly different direction than Magenta has taken in the past. It’s a thriller. It’s more adult than anything we have done. We have a couple of things happening very soon. We have a MIT (Magenta Improv Theater) improv show on October 24. Then we have Mystery on Main on October 30 and 31. It’s an interactive piece where the audience members are teamed up and move through the building solving clues. On November 13, we have a reader’s theater presentation of 12 Angry Jurors, the same as 12 Angry Men but it includes women. For Christmas we are doing Every Christmas Story Ever Told and Then Some – scripted improv with three male characters playing every character from every story.

ZEST: What would surprise people to know about you?

Jaynie: I bet some of my friends would be surprised to know that I’m going to be taking a beading class at a little place in Hazel Dell called Main Street Bead Shop. I used to do beading and it was very relaxing so I thought it would be a very good time to take up a relaxing sport again. I’m always out with people doing things and arranging things. So for people to know that I am going to do something as sedate as beading, they might be a little puzzled.

September 24, 2009   No Comments

Eat, Drink, View Art at the Monthly First Friday Artwalk in Downtown Vancouver

Sometimes you just have to put on your dancing shoes and hit the streets.  That happened in September when Main Street closed to traffic and opened to live music and lots of movement during Vancouver’s First Friday Artwalk.

The crowds view art at Northbank

Demonstrations at Firehouse Glass

Vancouver’s Downtown Association President Lee Couthard reported that 800 revelers participated during the evening event. From the 6th Street Gallery, Firehouse Glass and the Magenta Theater costume sale on lower Main Street up to North Bank and Angst, and spots in-between, galleries and restaurants were very busy.

The Sixth Street Gallery Crowd

Music at Aurora Gallery

The next First Friday Artwalk will be held on October 2 starting with a reception from 5 to 7 pm at Columbia Credit Union. Galleries will be open from 5 to 9 pm. Come ready to view and buy art, have dinner, see your neighbors. There is a LOT happening in downtown Vancouver!

September 21, 2009   No Comments

Pancakes and a Little Bit of Norway

The first Sunday of each Monday (September through June), Norwegian spirit is alive and cooking in Vancouver. That’s when the members of the Sons of Norway offer a Pannekaker Brunch at their lodge at 2400 Grant Street. They often serve 250-350 diners.

Pre-Breakfast Music

This is not just about pancakes. There may be a bit of a wait for seats at this popular breakfast but live Nordic music and fresh coffee keep the mood upbeat.

The Crowd at Sons of Norway

And Scandinavian sweaters brighten the room. This is WAY more fun than breakfast at your usual pancake house.

Downstairs in the dining room, waiters are quick to bring plates of pancakes with lingonberry jam, eggs, sausage, juice, and lots more coffee. The pancakes are all-you-can-eat. All for $6. First Sunday of the month, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Go early! Wear a Norwegian sweater.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

10 Reasons to Join a CSA Farm

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This is the the second year that we have bought a half-share of the Red Basket Farm, which is near Battle Ground. Every other weekend we receive a BIG basket of produce from Kate Rae’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Deliveries start in late spring with greens, peas and other early vegetables. With the coming of summer, our bounty diversifies and increases. Our last shipment weighed 42 pounds! There are many reasons to join a CSA. Here are 10 benefits we have enjoyed:

1. Pesticide-free, ultra-fresh vegetables. This almost goes without saying but we know that our CSA produce is grown in a safe, sustainable manner and that it is harvested right before we receive it.

2. Supporting and getting to know a farmer. Not only do we know where and how are vegetables are grown, we know WHO planted and harvested them. Kate has been known to say our names as she plants potatoes.  It’s nice to know that there is a potato with your name on it! And her potatoes are fabulous when roasted with Red Basket Farm beets, carrots and onions.

3. Sharing produce with our friends and neighbors. We can’t eat all the produce we receive. So we share. Cabbages go to our German neighbor across the street. Spicy peppers go to a friend who is from Mexico. Vegetables build strong friendships!

4. Learning new cooking skills. Orach, kale, shisho greens, Swiss chard – we are learning to cook and eat in new and interesting ways. We still haven’t figured out what to do with mustard greens but we will get there someday! (See the Clark College  Easy Vegetable Meals class listed below.)

5. Visiting the farm. It’s great fun to visit the 70-acre Red Basket Farm. It’s a beautiful site filled with beds of our vegetables, flowers, fruit trees and assorted animals. The surrounding countryside makes for a lovely Sunday drive and Rusty Grape Vineyard and tasting room is just down the road. 

6. The BEST eggs in the world. It pains us to buy eggs in the store after eating the fresh green and brown eggs with such beautiful orange yolks. Kate’s feathered girls know what they are doing!

7. Meeting other CSA members. Each year, Kate has a beginning and end of  year party. It’s great fun to meet the other members and spend time at the farm.

8. Surprise! You never know what you are going to get. This is similar but not the same as #4. It’s an adventure to pick up your veggies and not know what you are getting or, in some cases, what you have received, once you see it. It’s all about learning and being flexible.

9. Flowers. Many CSAs offer flower shares and deliver gorgeous bouquets.

10. Buying local. We buy so many things that are manufactured or grown thousands of miles away. Buying local, fresh produce is a gift to us, to the farmer and, hopefully, to the environment.

Note: On Thursday, September 24, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Clark College at the new CTC campus is offering an evening class “EasyVegetable Meals” with Betty Hinkle of News Seasons Market. Class members will create:  Mixed Vegetable Grill with Spicy Peanut Sauce; Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Relish Sandwiches; Stir-Fried Japanese Mushroom Noodles; Roasted Root Vegetables; Gazpacho; Cauliflower Bake and Sweet Potato and Nut Bake. Cost is $85. For more information, go to Easy Vegetable Meals.

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September 14, 2009   No Comments