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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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30 April Events in SW Washington to Get You Out of the House!

It’s time to ignore the never-ending rain and get out of the house. From film to flowers, hiking to kayaking, contra to Indian dances, there are no excuses. See you out there!

WSU-V Native American Film Festival

April 4-6Native American Film Festival– Washington State University Vancouver is offering a Native American Film Series at 5:30 p.m. in the Dengerink Administration building, room 110. The series is free and open to the public. Each evening opens with a 30-minute guest lecture at 5:30 p.m. followed by the film screening at 6 p.m. Each film in the series addresses Native -American experiences with boarding schools. The speakers and films are:

April 4, “Older Than America” – Georgina Lightning, the film’s director and actress, will speak before the screening. In this contemporary drama of suspense, a woman’s haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest’s sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about the atrocities that took place at her Native American boarding school.

April 5, “Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School” – Jacqueline Peterson, WSU Vancouver professor emerita of history, will speak before the screening. This documentary uncovers the dark history of U.S. Government policy which took Indian children from their homes, forced them into boarding schools and enacted a policy of educating them in the ways of western society.

April 6, “The Only Good Indian” – Grace L. Dillon associate professor, indigenous nations studies at Portland State University will speak before the screening. In this film, set in Kansas during the early 1900s, a teen-aged Native American boy is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian “training” school to assimilate into white society.

April 5First Thursday – Downtown Longview and Kelso  – Galleries and the Cowlitz County Historical Museum  are open in the evening with receptions at various galleries.

 April 6Full Moon Hikes at Ridgefield  National Wildlife Refuge . Evening hike, starting at 7:30 p.m. on the Oaks to Wetlands trail at the Refuge. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 360-887-3883 for reservations and details.

 April 6 – As always, there are multiple First Fridays around Clark County including Vancouver, Ridgefield and Camas. For details check out the Arts of Clark County calendar.

In Downtown Vancouver – At 7 p.m., don’t miss the unveiling of the latest addition of public art to downtown Vancouver – a sculpture by Dave and Jennifer at Cobalt Designworks installed at Evergreen and Main. No excuses for staying in on the first Friday of the month!

In Downtown Camas – Visit each participating merchant, pick an egg out of the basket and see if you can select the Golden Egg!  Special deals are inside each golden egg at each of the participating merchants!

First Iron Man Strong Ale Festival

April 7First Iron Man Strong Ale Festival –  Noon – 8 p.m. The inaugural event features this year’s release of Walking Man Brewing’s Iron Man Imperial IPA, live music, hot food and a chance to sample a variety of Strong Ales from various breweries. Held in honor of “Iron Man Jim Caldwell.” Skamania County Fairgrounds. Admission.

April 7Vintage Fishing Gear Show – Display and show at 9 a.m. at the spring meeting of the NW regional of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club. Red Lion Hotel in Kelso. Details at 360-274-8045. Admission.

April 7Klickitat Trail Conservancy Birding walk – 7 a.m. Lyle trailhead  – 3-4 miles. This is a special area. From the Conservancy: “The Klickitat Trail follows the first 31 miles of an old railroad corridor linking the towns of Lyle and Goldendale.  It is unique among rail trails. Nowhere else is there a rail trail that starts in a remote, beautiful tributary canyon, winds along a nationally designated Wild & Scenic River, and finishes in one of the nation’s only National Scenic Areas.”

 April 7-9Razor Clam Dig! – Three beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch – will be open for morning razor clam digging all three days. Mocrocks will be open for two days, April 7-8, and Copalis will be open April 7 for one day only. Get the details here. Here is a ZEST post about our first excursion digging those delicious bivalves.

April 7-29Columbia River Kayaking has  a plethora of kayaking trips for beginners and experienced kayakers. Check out their calendar of trips here.  The river is really high right now. Be dry, safe and plan accordingly! Trips begin at their Paddle Center in Skamokawa unless otherwise listed.

April Contra in the Couve Caller Mary Devlin

April 13Contra in the Couve – Vancouver has a contra dance on the second Friday of every month at 7:30 p.m. the Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. New and experience dancers welcome! Popular Portland caller Mary Devlin will be calling the dance. 

April 13-28Magenta Theater – Downtown Vancouver’s always entertaining theater company presents Hitchcock’s 39 Steps. Tickets are available here.

April 14Battle Ground Wine Loop – You can take the Battle Ground Wine Loop Tour bus around the loop for just $5 per person. It will make the loop all day long. Just hop on and off at each of the three participating wineries – Rusty Grape Vineyards, Heisen House Vineyards  and Olequa Cellars. Or take a designated chauffeur and drive the scenic 7-mile loop if you prefer.  Small tasting fees may apply at each location. Battle Ground Wine Loop from noon – 6, followed by live music after at Rusty Grape starting at 7 p.m.

April 14Klickitat Trail Conservancy Wildflower Walk – 10 a.m. 4 miles – Starting at the Lyle trailhead. Easy to moderate.

April 14-15Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – 3 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Winners of the Young Artist Competition will perform  the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Also All Classical’s Edmund Stone will narrate A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn with a performance by the Willamette University Chamber Choir. Buy Vancouver Symphony tickets here.

April 14-21Second Annual Cultural Immersion Week –   Immerse yourself in India! Columbia Theatre offers a wonderful schedule of events, culminating with a April 21 performance of Ragamala Dance (see below). Lots of events happening on Saturday, April 14 including Indian food, music, yoga, henna, fighting kites and “Bollywood Movez” dance lessons.

Holland American Bulb Farm Show Field

 

April 14-15 Woodland Tulip Festival –  The 10th Annual Woodland Tulip Festival will include annual blooming tulip fields, display garden and gift shop and much more. Check out the Holland America Bulb Farms Web site  for all of the events.

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

April 15Cathlapotle Plankhouse, Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, 28908 NW Main Ave., Ridgefield, WA –   The Plankhouse opens the season with a special presentation at 2 p.m. by Dr. Robert Carriker who will present “A Student in the Pacific Northwest: Sacagawea Travels the Columbia River.” Guided tours of the Plankhouse and children’s activities will be available from noon – 4 p.m.

April 19Sakura Festival – 1-4 p.m. To celebrate the breathtaking cherry blossoms that bloom in the spring, Clark College hosts an annual festival for the college and the region. The festival also honors Vancouver’s sister-city relationship with Joyo, Japan, which was established in 1995. This year, the Festival will also dedicate the new Royce Pollard Japanese Friendship Garden.

April 21Hometown Tourism Day – Many Long Beach Peninsula and Pacific County sites and museums are working together to promote Hometown Tourism Day. Check out the list of locations.

April 21Klickitat Trail Conservancy hike through Swale Canyon – 9 a.m. Lyle trailhead – 13 miles – strenuous. Early flowers should be at peak. The Trail is railroad gravel in places, so sturdy boots are needed.

April 21Kalama Word Catcher –  Writers take note – You can spend the entire day exploring your craft with an excellent roster of instructors including Larry Colton and Carolyn J. Rose. This is a benefit for the Kalama Public Library. Pre-register here.

April 21Columbia Theatre presents Ragamala Dance – 7:30 p.m. The classical dance troupe will perform “Sacred Earth” as part of the Second Annual Cultural Immersion Week sponsored by Columbia Theatre. Tickets available here.

April 21Trout Lake Run – The Half-Marathon, 10K & 5K running/walking events start and finish at Trout Lake School, which is the beneficiary of the event.

April 21Earth Day Celebrations – Lots happening around SW Washington. Check your local papers and Web sites!

April 21-22 Woodland Tulip Festival –  The 10th Annual Woodland Tulip Festival will include annual blooming tulip fields, display garden and gift shop and much more. Check out the Holland America Bulb Farms Web site  for all of the events.

April 21 – May 13Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens Lilac Days –  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Hulda Klager’s farm home and beautiful gardens will be open and lilac plants and gifts will be offered for sale in a lovely gift shop. During Lilac Days, the farmhouse will feature a display of vintage hats and accessories. Admission.  This is easily combined with a visit to the tulip festival! Here is a past  ZEST post on the Hulda Klager Lilac Days.

April 27-29Home and Garden Idea Fair –  The fair features hundreds of ideas on how to make your home, yard and garden a more beautiful, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly place. Sponsored by Clark Public Utilities.

April 28Klickitat Trail Conservancy hike from the town of Klickitat to Pitt – 9:30 a.m. Lyle trailhead – easy walk.

If these aren’t enough events to get you out of the house, check your local newspapers for more ideas!

April 1, 2012   No Comments

Gardening While Married: To Weed, or Not to Weed? That is the Question.

To weed or not to weed? How could that be such a charged question? It’s a no-brainer to me. Ditto for my husband. But there’s the rub. We come to different conclusions.

We are simpatico on nearly every issue. Politics. No problem. Religion. Not an issue. Money. We jive. But weeds? Where I see invasive interlopers with flying seeds and unruly roots, Gary sees lush green. And when I clean squatters out from around my perennials, Gary cries “scorched earth!”

Our conversations go something like this:

Katlin: I can’t find my daylilies.

Gary: They’re there. Just wait until they bloom.

Katlin: The roses can’t breathe.

Gary: We shouldn’t grow roses.

Katlin: Vinca is taking over the yard.

Gary: Vinca? What vinca?

So imagine my chagrin when I opened the weekend Wall Street Journal to find a massive feature story “Why We Must Learn to Love Weeds” by Richard Mabey.

Darn that article on weeds!

The article invoked Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” That would be Gary’s point of view.

The WSJ piece also mentions my stand: “They (weeds) are plants that sabotage human plans. They rob crops of nourishment, ruin the exquisite visions of garden designers, break our codes of appropriate behavior, make unpleasant and impenetrable hiding places for urban ne’er-do-wells.”

That’s certainly what I found in a recent campaign against unwanted garden guests. They were blocking my plans (and plants), robbing my perennials of nutrients, messing up my garden design and hiding legions of disgusting snails .

At our first house, we found a simple solution. Gary took the backyard. I gardened in front. I can’t remember who tended the sideyard. It didn’t matter. It was a tiny, easy-care yard.

At our current home, that all changed. We have gone out of our way to create a very high-maintenance yard. And we share landscaping duties throughout the multiple garden beds.

So how do you cope with a split household on the subject of weeds? This may sound rather sneaky but it works for us. I suggest that Gary go do something that he loves like, for instance, sailing. Then I move in with trowel and create botanical dig sites throughout the yard, unearthing my beloved plants. Here are a few before and after photos:

A few of the backyard beds:

Before - Jungle of plants

After - Plants with shape and personality

One of the new perennial beds:

Before - Jumble of plants

After - The daylilies are located!

Before - Hidden daylilies and fern

After - Happy plants!

From the frontyard:

Before - Rhodies with encroaching bergenias, end-of-season forget-me-nots and colonies of snails

After - Rhodies waiting for new bulbs and other companions

It’s not that I’m hiding my eradication efforts. The weeds end up in a very obvious pile in the driveway. Then Gary comes back from sailing a happy skipper and hauls them off while I enjoy a drink on the patio.

The great payoff...

Got any better ideas? I’m listening!

June 5, 2011   10 Comments

April Outings: Tulips to Tea, Wine to Walking…and More!

Spring is kicking in with LOTS of activities and events in Southwest Washington. Here are a few ideas to get you moving:

March 18-April 24 Spring break is FIVE weeks long at the World Kite Museum in Long Beach. Make a kite, get coupons for local businesses at a museum treasure hunt, participate in themed weekends at the Spring Fling.

April 1-3 – Passport Weekend to a World of Wines in 40 Miles -Start the month with a trip to Columbia Gorge wineries with this special event, which takes place on both sides of the river. Details here on where to purchase your $15 passport, which will give you special offers including lodging deals.

April 1 – First Fridays. Both Vancouver and Camas have first Friday events. Enjoy art, meet the artists, have dinner and celebrate with friends. Camas even has “Will you pick the golden egg?” contest happening at various shops. Details are at Vancouver Art Walk and Camas First Friday.

April 2 – 30 – Woodland Tulip Festival No need to travel to The Netherlands to touch tulips. Tour the bulb fields and display gardens of Holland America Bulb Farms. This annual event includes crafts, music, children’s activities and more. Check here for details.

April 4 – Guitarist Greta Pedersen performs a matinee concert at the Columbia Theatre in Longview as part of the Rainy Months Series. Information and tickets are available here.

April 9 – International Discovery Walk Festival This beloved event attracts walkers from all over the world to Vancouver. It is such a delight to see the flags of the countries represented. Biking and swim events are offered, too. Admission charge. Go to the Festival Web site for more information.

April 16-May 8 – Lilac Days Festival We have plant hybridizer Hulda Klager (plus MANY volunteers) to thank for this fragrant festival, which is held on the Klager homestead in Woodland each year. All things lilac are offered at a special store (including lilac starts) and Hulda’s home is open for tours. The Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens are located at 115 S. Pekin Road, near the Holland America bulb fields. Admission. Click here for more details.

April 23 – Easter Tea Tour the historic house at the Pomeroy Living History Farm and enjoy tea with scones, sandwiches and desserts. Admission. Visit the Pomeroy Web site for more information.

April 27 – What do I do now? A financial summit for women will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Building at the Fort Vancouver National Site. Financial writer (www.sixtyandsingle.com) Julia Anderson will moderate a panel of experts. Admission. Details and tickets are available here.

There is so much to do this month. See you out there in Southwest Washington!

March 30, 2011   No Comments

Hulda Klager’s Legacy Blooms On

The year is 1903. Woodland resident Hulda Klager reads about Luther Burbank’s plant propagation work. Tired of peeling small apples for pies, she hybridizes a larger apple. From that work, she moves to lilacs and changes the history of the flowering shrub. After years of creating new varieties, she starts the tradition of annual open houses, sharing her plants with lilac collectors.

Thirty years later disaster strikes. Imagine that your life’s work is washed away. In 1948, a flood destroyed most of Hulda’s collection. At age 83, she started over. Many people who had purchased her many varieties came back with plant starts. She re-planted her collection and continued her spring open houses until her death at age 96 in 1960.

Today, the fragrant collection and the 1889 Klager home are maintained by the Hulda Klager Lilac Society. You can see the results of Hulda’s work, tour the Klager farm house and purchase plants every spring from mid-April through Mother‘s Day during Lilac Days . During the rest of the year, the grounds are open from 10 am to 4 pm, seven days a week. Details here .

Here are a few photos of Hulda Klager’s floral legacy:

City of Gresham

Katherine Havemeyer

Chrystle

Lilac Sunday

Glory

April 21, 2010   2 Comments

Vancouver Farmers Market Opens!

There are close to 5,000 farmers markets in the US, according to the Department of Agriculture. My favorite? The Vancouver Farmers Market, of course!

Opening Day at the Vancouver Farmers Market

The market opened on Saturday and it was packed. The sunny weather helped attract a crowd that was absolutely elbow to elbow during the noon hour. We were pleased to purchase a whole, cooked crab, beets, pears, carrots, Chinese broccoli and, for Gary, a massive ginger snap cookie.

Many food booths were doing a line out the door business, so to speak. Paella, gumbo, stir fries, seafood chowder, strawberry shortcake, there were plenty of choices. My favorite tamale stand wasn’t there but will be in the near future.

Stir fry in process

Third batch of paella for the day

The bread from Julia Bakery is always amazing

As always, the flower vendors were making spectacular bouquets, although I always worry about the daffodil and tulip combos because, if not soaked alone for 24 hours, daffodils secrete a sap that can destroy the tulips. Nonetheless, the arrangements were stunning.

Flower arrangements unlimited

The crafts are always colorful at the market and beautifully made. These felt hats could have been the subject of a still life painting.

Fabulous felted wool hats

And no market is complete without entertainment. A belly dancer provided the noon time performance. I covet her flat stomach!

Belly dancing at the market

One of the best things about the market is knowing that it will happen every weekend now through October. Except for perhaps kayaking, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning.

March 22, 2010   5 Comments

Raising Dahlias, and More, in Clark County

“My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias,” said Kansas journalist and “the sage of Emporia” William Allen White (1868-1944). Why not raise both?

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Dahlias may be the national flower of Mexico, but they thrive here. The American Dahlia Society reports that “the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala are considered the home of origin for today’s dahlia ancestors.”  Clark County has numerous dahlia growers. These photos were taken at Dahlia Daze at the Wynneshire Farms near the Clark County Fairgrounds.

Back to William Allen White, he also said “I have never been bored an hour in my life. I get up every morning wondering what new strange glamourous thing is going to happen and it happens at fairly regular intervals.” We could use more people like him, and more dahlias, in our lives.

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October 21, 2009   1 Comment