We are visiting Nora's grandparents in the Skagit Valley, a beautiful area of the country where the Skagit River runs through it's last windy pathy until it meets the Puget Sound...That's pronounced "Pew-Jett" for those of you not from this area...
This big fertile farmland was settled by, among others, Dutch settlers who decided to build dikes along the river, and clear the land to make a second dairy and tulip country, not unlike their homeland, and they were a raging success at it.
Monday my friend Sue and I loaded Nora up in the car and we drove over to RoozenGaarde's, a tulip producer of epic proportions in this valley.
The Roozen family first began raising tulips in Holland in the mid-1700's, and one of their many descendents moved to the Skagit Valley in 1947, where they began raising tulips and started the farm which would later merge with Washington Bulb Co.
I remember growing up and picking bulbs for Washington Bulb Co. was a summer job for a lot of middle and high school age kids who wanted to make a few bucks...I never did it myself since I worked for Hulbert Farms and others on Fir Island, but knew of the company. It wasn't until after I left the valley for college in the mid 1980s that the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (of which RoozenGaarde is one of the principal sponsors) really got off the ground.
This weekend Brian and I drove up with Nora, and the line to LEAVE the valley was miles long...we realized we'd driven up during "tulip time" and were amazed at the traffic!
But by Monday, things had settled, down, and when Sue and I took Nora to RoozenGaarde's, my friend DeAnne was there too, and she recognized Nora (who walked up to her, not knowing her!) and she started looking for me as she said "ARE YOU NORA?!?" She was there with her son Kenny (who's a prospective husband for Nora, just based on nothing except DeAnne and I would love to be in-laws), and the two hit it off after Nora gave him a tulip, a dirt clod, and a blade of grass. It almost ended though, when she heard someone coo over somebody's picture of their kids kissing, and Nora tried to kiss Kenny, who was, naturally, horrified.
In all though, a beautiful day in the valley...truly a treasure, and with a little dry weather between rainstorms, we got to enjoy it!