Current Location: home in Rocky Point Oregon
Things get a bit strange for me when I am back home in the Inland Northwest. I lived there for more than 30 years. When I moved to Northern Idaho in 1972 the first time I believed it was my spirit soul home and that I would never leave. I was so incredibly happy to have found the place where I belonged. It came as a surprise to me that when the time came to leave, in 2002, I was ready to go.
My Hauser Cottage in 2002 I hauled everyone of those rocks from the mountains
It is no longer “home”. Klamath Falls is now home and I knew it was the moment I arrived 12 years ago. No clue how that happens, but it does. Funny though, I grew up in Southern California and it never felt like home, even when I lived there. As a child I was always dreaming of moving north. As an adult I started the journey of years, ended it as far north as Prince George BC before finally coming to rest here in Oregon. North enough.
The Hauser cottage in 2014 the gardens are gone and so are the rocks
But unlike returning to the San Gabriel Valley in SoCal, when I go back north to the Spokane/Coeur d Alene area I feel the old pull. I am brought up short over and over with memories of who I was then and who I am now. I barely recognize myself any more. There have been too many twists and turns in my life and as I said once before, the sections don’t seem to be all that connected.
The Hauser cottage in 2014 a lock box on the door but no for sale sign
My Hauser cottage gardens in 2002
Two of my four children are in Oregon and none are back in Washington or Idaho. My lifetime soul friend, Maryruth, is in California, and I have other close and wonderful friends all over the US. Yet there is one friend who shared that life with me who still lives the life we lived back then, right there north of Coeur D Alene in Dalton Gardens.
My friend Laura in her backyard in Dalton Gardens
She even has the same donkey she had then, who is now 32 years old. Laura also has chickens, which makes me miss mine, and she has gardens that flourish the way mine used to when I had that great soil and those long days to make things grow.
I was so happy for a day to spend with Laura on her lush and luscious acre of perfect soil, water, and sunshine and a gardener’s love. Driving east from Spokane early in the morning, I took a side route through Newman Lake and Hauser Lake, just to see how things had changed, and to see my old homes.
My Hauser Farmhouse in 1984 in the first year of gardening there
Especially endearing to see was the old farmhouse where I lived with Lance and my kids for many years. Melody spent her teenage years here, on her horse most of the time. My gardens were so magnificent that people would drive by every Sunday to see what was blooming. It was a lovely life at that time. The old weeping willow is now so big that I can no longer see the house from the road. The house itself was the second one built on Hauser Lake, in 1886. It was tiny, and had only wood heat. Lots of memories in that place.
The old Hauser Farmhouse in 2014 Grandsons birth trees on the right and to the right of the willow
I took photos of my two grandsons’ birth trees which are planted at this old homestead, and they are both thriving.
I then drove by the tiny cottage that belonged to my grandmother, where she died, and where I ended up after becoming almost homeless after my divorce. For nearly 7 years I worked hard to make this tiny place a home, and the gardens again flourished, although in a much smaller space. The ceilings were only 6 feet 4 inches high. Easy to paint, but my son in law used to have trouble walking around inside!
Hauser Cottage in 2002 Hauser Cottage in 2014
The last time I drove by this house I was devastated. The gardens were gone, most of the huge firs were gone. The house was abandoned and in shambles. This time it was a bit different. Still no gardens, but the house was being loved and repaired. It was empty, so I walked around and looked inside the windows. There were new cupboards, new floors, everything remodeled nicely.
The old brick patio I laid was still there, and the wooden bench that Bel made, where I sat for many hours with my cat Caesar, who lived to be 16 years old, was still there. Someday someone may garden there again, and the huge 100 year old maple and horse chestnut tree still thrive.
It was a nostalgic drive, and I was very happy to continue east to Laura’s to get some big loving hugs and be treated to my friend’s amazing space. Laura lived that old life with me. We canned and cooked together, trained our horses together, talked about chickens and eggs and men together. Raved about “stuff” together, even shared our journals with each other. We understood each other and still do. I am so glad that Laura finally retired from her life of nursing to be home with her gardens and her granddaughters and daughters, and that she had a whole day free to spend with me.
Laura laughs and calls herself a hoarder, and says her contractor husband is a hoarder as well.
Well, she may be right, but Laura is the best kind of hoarder you can imagine. She hoards “stuff” to make crazy art and it emerges from every nook and cranny in her gardens and her home.
Even in early August, her tomatoes were huge, her squashes ripe, beans, fruit, cucumbers, everything you could possibly imagine was huge and lush. It sure made me miss my old gardens.
As hard as I try I can’t make things grow like this in my forest home in the mountains of Oregon. Laura has flowers everywhere. She also has a ton of ribbons from the county fair for her flowers from the last few years. I think I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.
I wanted to see another old friend as well, Sandy, but her work schedule made it harder to fit an entire day in.
Instead, with Sandy also being a friend of Laura’s, we had a beautiful lunch of fresh picked veggies in Laura’s dining room while we reminisced about old times.
The best kind of day with people I have loved for years from my old life.
Next post: Back to the reunion for fabulous family dinners and floating the Little Spokane River