In September I visited my mother in Washington state. She lives on a 60 acre tree farm. Mom was born on this land. Both she and my father were raised in this small logging community. In their twenties they moved to California to become teachers. They continued to live in California throughout their teaching career. However, every June they returned to the tree farm to spend the summer. At first their summer home was a trailer. Later they downed some of the trees to build a log cabin, complete with an upstairs loft and a library/sitting room.
After retirement, my parents built their dream home up the road a ways. Their log cabin became a bed and breakfast. Folks came from all around the world to enjoy a night or two in this log cottage. Sadly my father passed away several years ago but my mother continues to live on the land, land that has been in her family for four generations. She enjoys quilting, gardening, volunteering in the local museum, church activities, and visiting with the locals. many of whom she has known all her life.
Every summer I look forward to this visit with my mother and the trees. There are wonderful hiking trails that take me deep into the forest. In the afternoon I walk one of them, sometimes meeting a friendly deer. Though most of the trees are Douglas Fir, there are a few cedar trees. This year I harvested some of their greenery to use when I make holiday dream pillows. November is the month when I make a generous mixture of this blend for family, friends, and myself of course. Lavender, rose petals, pine needles, rosemary, orange peel, and cinnamon are among the ingredients in this blend. I love sleeping with these sweet smelling fragrances throughout the holidays.
One day I was walking along a dry creek bed. What a surprise to see large healthy comfrey leaves growing everywhere. I slid down the bank and began collecting them. There is a potting shed not far from the main house where I dry herbs during my visits. I wanted to dry both the cedar and the comfrey leaves. The comfrey would be a gift for my sister who lives nearby. She loves to soak in a tub of warm, comfrey infused water. The healing water alleviates back pain and leaves her skin feeling soft and silky.
Another highlight of my visit, the apple trees growing near the log cabin. At least one of these trees has been in the family for 4 generations. Last summer my mother and I made crab apple jelly and it was delish! This summer we enjoyed eating them and making apple sauce. Today I called my mom to say hi. She had been picking more apples to use in her applesauce raisin cookies. When she first approached the tree, a woodpecker did his best to frighten her. He and the robins had been feasting on these apples for weeks and they did not want to share.
So now I am back in California. I miss hiking the forest and breathing the cool, clean air but California is my home. Fortunately I will be visiting the tree farm again in March.