Thursday, January 31, 2008

Prairie Winter

Corduroy stripes of green on black
Tractor roaring forth and back
Gulls' procession in its track

Hills of over-wintering beets
Sown inside their black earth pleats
Plants for seed in August's heat

Winds can howl up on the hill
Or whisper, Isaac lives here still
Or shout, you're here against my will

Gold fields crusted white today
Hedgerows dressed in ice array
Smith farm ponies get some hay

Solitary walker on his way.

Kathy Stella

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snow on the Prairie

Yesterday I woke up to look out my bedroom window and see huge snowflakes floating to the ground. A beautiful and rare site on Ebey's Prairie. I was reminded of the first winter I spent here, as a young woman. I had been a "city" girl for years before coming here with my husband, Bill Smith. We spent our first 3 years in California in the Coast Guard, then came "home". Bill was born in Coupeville at Polly Harpole's Maternity Home, left here to attend college and be in the Coast Guard (Viet Nam draft time) and this was his one and only choice to spend the rest of his life.

Almost as soon as we got here it started snowing. And it snowed and snowed and snowed! I haven't seen half as much snow as that first winter 40 years ago. It was 3 to 4 feet, with huge drifts along the road up to Bill's parents place on the ridge above Ebey's Prairie. His dad, Knight Smith, got out the old sleds, sleighs, and some of his magnificent horses. We had exciting sled rides behind the horses and beautiful sleigh rides day and night. Knight Smith was a true character and rugged individual and he loved the prairie and his prairie home. I was privileged to get to know him before he died suddenly in 1970. I believe he would be happy to see our prairie preserved much as it was when he died and to know that his granddaughter grew up riding horses and now is a farmer (albeit an organic farmer!). He'd also be thrilled to know his little great-granddaughers, Knight Renee and her sister Wynter Annette, who are riding their first ponies on the prairie this year at ages 4 and 2.

Its hard to believe I've been here 40 years, and still love this enchanted place. I feel truly blessed.

Renee Smith

A Photo of the Smith Farm taken during the snow of 2007 (L. Richards)

Prairie Snow

Snowy day on the Prairie
The children are scary…
Yelling to go
Play in the snow
Quick! Out the door
Number two and number four
Before it starts getting hairy!”

David’s haiku inspired me. Although this is perhaps a bit more “Dr. Seuss.”

Georgie at Willowood Farm
P.S. Nootka rose are one of the native shrub species that once covered much of the Ebey’s Prairie (except the parts the Indians burned to keep their camas fields going) and can still be seen in the existing hedgerows. They have lovely delicate pink flowers in late spring and then these great hips that the birds love (and my children also seem to think are quite tasty, they are certainly a good source of vitamin C…). If you would like to re-establish some of your own, check out the local conservation district plant sale. This particular plant was from a little twig planted about 3 years ago.

Friday, January 25, 2008


walking on the bluff
Olympics covered in snow...
morning at Ebey's
David Day

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Is that a ghost?

Living in a place where history is embraced is pretty cool. Old buildings, prairies carved from ancient glacial activity, the long green Packard driving the streets when the sun is out.
Sunnyside Cemetery (the name makes you almost look forward to going there) in the middle of the reserve, is chock full of history and the early settlers of the reserve. Last May, a dozen residents of Sunnyside came back to life for a living history lesson of the people who lived, died and left their mark on Whidbey Island. One was Isaac Ebey, portrayed by Coupeville Middle School teacher Wilbur Purdue (nice period style
beard). Isaac/Wilbur shared about traveling to Whidbey in the mid 1800’s, the first land claims, life with Native Americans and about the dramatic end of Isaac’s life. As parents and as Coupevillians we love this stuff. We haven’t bought our plots yet, but I think Sunnyside is in our (hopefully far-off) future. Mitch R.

January Sunrise

Ebey's Landing and the bluff are spectacular anytime, but at dawn on a cold morning (25 degrees), as the sun rises and the moon still shines, it is fantastic.

We’d like to keep it a secret, but sharing is nice. Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and the Olympics plus the Cascades and the frozen prairie, you shoulda been here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January Daze on Ebey’s

What a day. I’ll take one day like this on the reserve for a week of hot and dry in August. (Born and raised in the Pac NW, anything over 70 degrees is too freaking hot). I know lots of folks retire to their Florida and California winter homes this time of year. The dread of a windy, wet winter. Whatever (you wimps!). I’ve never understand the allure of a forever sunny climate. Isn’t it boring? If it wasn’t for those wild and wet windy days, and the many heavy grey days in between, a day like the one in this photo would be nothing more than just another day, mark it off the calendar. Instead, it’s a DAY. Blue, blue sky. Even bluer ocean. A circle of mountains etched in snow. Dark fields, steaming grey mist in the warmth of the sun, blades of winter barley greening as you watch. Bald eagles swooping, spinning, diving, weird high-pitched screams as they get it on in the sky, their yearly springtime rites. So sign me up. I’ll take all the nasty days we’ve had, and all the ones yet to come, just for a day like today.
Signing off from Willowood Farm,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kelp Forest

Ebey's Landing beach is the best spot on the entire island to go for a walk. It's constantly changing! There is always something new! This photo was from one early morning walk in late winter, I had never seen kelp look so pretty. On a different walk I met a young boy walking with his dad and he made me aware of the entire kelp forest at Ebey's Beach. I had never noticed nor thought of the massive kelp bed south of the parking lot to be apart of the beach until seeing it out of the water. The young boy made me realize it's a different forest which is always there!
Beth Graves
101 NW Coveland
Coupeville WA 98239

Monday, January 14, 2008

Misty Memory

I love this barn over on Hill Rd. - the faded green paint, the field it's in. I used to give directions to Ebey's Landing Trail by saying "turn left when you see the green barn on your left and the red barn on your right." I took this picture on a foggy morning in January '07. I'm glad I did, the barn burned down 4 months later. The rubble has been cleared away, but after driving by this barn everyday for 9 years - my memory fills in the void when I look over that field.
Mitch Richards

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Inaugural Blog, Happy 30th Ebey's

November 10, 2008 marks the 30th Anniversary of the creation of America's first National Historical Reserve. I've been hired by the Trust Board to initiate a series of programs during the year and plan a celebration event for November 7 & 8, 2008. My hope for this blog is a site that tells the many stories that make up the Reserve. My goal is 300 posts by November! I'll be soliciting posts from residents about life today and their memories of this place --scanning the cultural landscape of the the people and places that make this place worthy of a National Parks Service designation. More to come!
Lynda Richards