The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi
The Times 

Seasons of Waitsburg


October 1, 2020

I hate to be cliché, but, Wow! Time does fly. And, sticking with clichés, it seems like yesterday that I wrote my first article for The Waitsburg Times. It’s been a very full year, and I can now say I’ve experienced all four seasons here. My first winter was brutal. Everyone was apologetic because we were experiencing the most snow and the coldest winter in 15 years. Lucky me, what an introduction to my new home. Good heaters, gloves, great new friends, and a little scotch, I survived.

That first winter, I deliberated about my car. Maybe I should be more practical. Was it time to trade in the convertible for an SUV? Then came spring, and my thoughts of an SUV were dumped! My first spring was magnificent. I constantly took pictures of the daffodils, tulips, lilacs, roses, and irises, annoyingly sending them to my California friends. I also bombarded them with photos of the green wheat fields and my first garden.

The house remodel was humming along, albeit excruciatingly slowly. I started to see progress and felt confident that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I can be easily fooled, but I prefer to think of it as optimism. I adopted Mugsy, and the two of us survived the construction turmoil with aplomb. He stopped barking at workers, and I didn’t go too nuts.

As summer approached, I was warned to prepare for heat, dryness, and dust from the harvest. No problem, a piece of cake for me. I moved here from the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, where the typical summer day is 100+ degrees. I played tennis in that heat for hours at a time. Also, both Northern and Southern California have suffered through intense fires in the last few years, so breathing in ash and dust, unfortunately, is too familiar. And, I had a brand-new air conditioner, so I knew I would survive.

I couldn’t wait for autumn! I grew up back east; I anticipated the colorful gold, red, and yellow leaves. Although there were some typical autumn colors, I was a little disappointed, the trees were mostly green. Then it hit me; duh, I’m in the Evergreen State! There are no ads urging people to come to Washington to see the fall colors; this isn’t New England. No Maine lobsters, no Maryland crab cakes, and cacophony of fall colors overwhelming my eyeballs.

Yes, there are trees that do turn colors and drop leaves, one of which is just on the other side of our backyard fence. I don’t know what kind of tree it is, but its leaves go through 3 stages: lush green, brown, and down! I watched every leaf drop in my backyard in one fell swoop. One gust of wind, then dump! Followed by the pine tree, also just over my fence, which then dumped about 100 pinecones per square inch of our yard. Needless to say, that afternoon, I bought a rake!

I know in life there are trade-offs. I miss the outrageous display of fall colors, but yesterday on my run, I was reminded of what I gained. I ran past horses, cows, pigs, wheat fields, and roosters, all within the first mile. Maybe it’s not easy to buy Maine lobster and Maryland crab cakes here, but I’m in wine country, and that’s pretty awesome.

I love driving through wheat fields, with NO TRAFFIC! That in itself is more than a fair trade. But, add to it that I live in wine country, with a great chef (and handyman), there is no contest, I am ahead of the game by far!


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