Terry's tales from Willowbrook Manor
Willowbrook's Tea Tent Takes Flight ~
So glad you opened this email. The Willowbrook Word comes to you because you either signed up for this newsletter, made a reservation at Willowbrook, are a friend of mine, or are a follower of my mother, author Liz Adair. I'm delighted to announce that I have invited my mom be a part of each issue with a section called Liz Sez, (scroll down if you want to read her first!). Today's giveaway is one of her books and I'm also sharing a link to a free online book of hers. But make sure not to skip over my flying tea tent story!
Oh- and if you want to come for tea and scones this month, this coming Saturday is the day! Click HERE for more info.
Now for my story: Many of you came for our Spring tea events this year that we hosted with COVID-approved outdoor tea service. It was a pleasant seating option and the start of a new tradition to put the tea tent up for Spring teas and not wait until summer.
Well, a freak windstorm came up as I was getting ready to leave for my family reunion. My helpers and I were trying to remove the side wall panels (to allow air to go through and not against the tent) when the wind ripped the tie towns off of the canvas. The tea tent turned into what my mind saw as a giant leaping white spider from one of my childhood nightmares. I yelled to my crew over the howling wind to take cover inside the manor, and I sprinted to the kitchen, seized a butcher knife, and began to hack and slash my beloved tea tent-turned monster. My hope was to keep the spider/kite from lurching, rolling and destroying not only itself, but everything in its path. I was successful. The picture above tells the story.
High Camp took a wallop as well, the wind shredding the canvas rainfly. I was dumbfounded by all of the destruction, and a bit in shock at the situation. I had a plane to catch and a writers retreat coming to Willowbrook the next day to stay for the long Memorial Day weekend. My helpers pitched in with full force. We got the tea tent demolition site cleaned up and an extra rainfly I had on hand put on High Camp just as dark was setting in. The place was ready for guests!
I made my flight. The only sign of the windstorm's destruction was the twisted tea tent frame that I moved to another area on the lawn. To me it looked like a kind of modern art sculpture, and I was proud of it. My helpers are hard workers and know how to get the job done. I'm very grateful for them.
I was a bit concerned about how I was going to host the Puget Sound Kidney Center's team-building retreat without a tea tent, but that leads me to another good story (further down the page). But first. . .
It's A Family Reunion!
Our family has a game called 'best and worst' and we used to play it every night before the kids went to bed. Each kid would share the best thing of the day and the worst. My 'best' of the family reunion was riding from the airport to Kanab with the kids. I don't get to do that anymore, and it felt a bit like stepping back to a time when I was their taxi driver. I LOVED those little kids and have relished watching them grow into wonderful adults. I marvel at how our love-net has spread to welcome their partners and their partners' families.
Tracking Dinosaurs ~
My last newsletter shared the story of my parents rescue when they got stranded while looking for the best place for our family reunion. (Click HERE to read) They picked a super location and everyone had fun with the excursion out to the dinosaur tracks. There are over 1200 tracks in this slick rock. We found about a dozen.
To get footprints preserved for ages, you need a lot of things happening just right. You need something heavy walking across something soft and squishy. You need that surface to harden, and then you need a flood to come along and bury it. Sometimes the prints can be preserved by falling volcanic ash instead of a flood. Additionally, if it’s to be preserved for a very long time, it needs to be in an environment where deposition is occurring and steadily burying it deeper and deeper, like at the foot of a mountain or in a river delta or something like that. Footprints aren’t preserved for long at the top of mountains because they are quickly re-exposed to the elements and weathered away.
We see these now because what was on top eroded away during the last several hundred thousand years. Give the ones in the pictures a century or two, and they’ll be gone. But maybe others will be exposed.
Sing-along Time ~
I grew up with recreational singing, and group sing-alongs are part of my fondest memories. Dad played the string base and mom and brother would strum the guitar. We would sing folk songs, harmonizing together with songs like Down in the valley, Dark as a dungeon, and Oh my darlin' Clementine. It was 'together-time' that felt so good.
At this campout it was heartwarming for me to see the influence of my folks and the tradition of song that they instilled in their grandkids. The picture above is the younger generation playing guitars, singing from songbooks they made and enjoying an evening of camping together (since all the old folks went to bed).
Henna art has become a pastime at family reunions, and even grandma got a lovely floral tattoo on her hand. We chuckled at how her age spots muddled the artwork a bit.
I think my favorite picture from the reunion is this one of my mom and my girls. (Liz is showing off her henna.) It is so fun to feature her in the Willowbrook Word. Keep reading, you are almost to 'Liz Sez'. But first, I have to tell you about. . .
Two weeks after the reunion in Kanab, I hosted Chamomile Camp at Willowbrook with 10 kids made up of nieces, nephews and Jim's grandkids coming from Utah, Nevada and our very own Puyallup. It was a week-long camp experience where the kids worked for me on the farm in exchange for some good food and fun adventures with 'Mama G' (that is what they call me).
I knew my sanity wouldn't hold out managing all of those kids on my own, so I hired my two daughters, Kjaisa and Aliece. Together with Paityn, they made the best camp counselors ten kids could ever want. Every day began with yoga and a mini lesson on 'positiviTEA'.
The kids worked for four hours every day and got a LOT of weeding done. The chamomile field, the blueberry patch and the flower garden all look great now from their hard work.
We set up the replacement tea tent. And here is the yummy story: When I went online to purchase a tea tent to replace the one that was destroyed in the wind storm, there were none available! Well, there was one, but it was three times the price. (Remember I had a corporate retreat I was scheduled to host outdoors) I looked and looked but couldn't find a tea tent the size of the one that was destroyed. So I looked for a used one on Craigslist, Marketplace, and Ebay. Nothing. Then I went to Offer-up and found a year-old listing for not one, but TWO tents in the size I was looking for. The odds of having anyone respond to a year-old listing are pretty slim, but I got an immediate response and discovered the tea tents were still available and only FIVE MILES away! I got two tea tents for less than the price of one, and best of all it was right here in my home town. I marvel at what a gift these tea tents are and the timing of it all.
The Chamomile Campers set up the tea tent and readied everything for Kidney Center's team-building retreat. The kids were great help setting up and serving. They got to go to Baker Lake as the fun adventure that day for all their hard work.
Play Time ~
Every day at Chamomile Camp we had some adventure after work was done. The tide pools at Larabee State Park was a treat. This is the tunnel that the train goes over on the trail to the beach.
'Best and Worst' of Chamomile Camp ~
When we played 'Best and Worst' with the Chamomile Campers' most of them said their 'Best' was bike-camping to Rasar State Park, 11 miles from Willowbrook. I think that was my favorite activity because I had the camp counselors camp with the kids, and I stayed home and enjoyed some quiet time! The 'worst' was unanimously 'Weeding'!
I mentioned that we ran away to Baker Lake after hosting the corporate retreat. We took the canoes, kayaks, hot dogs and gas fire pit for some great water fun. There was cliff jumping and rope swinging and s'more making. Squidge is always hopeful when it is s'more-time. (Notice I'm still wearing my apron).
Watch the movie!
Kjaisa put together a fun video of the week of Chamomile Camp with lots of groovy time-lapse photography. It gives a feel for what Chamomile Campers experienced. Click HERE to watch.
My 'Best' of Chamomile Camp was how well the kids treated each other. There was a mountain of kindness among them the whole week. I believe that is what this world needs more of: Kindness, and lots of time for tea.
It's Time to Plant Chamomile ~
The chamomile starts are ready to go into the ground and I am inviting you to a peaceful experience of planting chamomile starts in the tranquil setting of Willowbrook farm.
Bring your friends and family and spend an hour or two planting chamomile starts in Willowbrook's chamomile field. Then relax under the tea tent and enjoy delicious tea and scones. I call it 'the giving field' and ask for donations to benefit the homeless in our area. This summer we are funding the Lighthouse Mission in Bellingham. Planting begins July 6th. Email me to schedule a time that works for you. (Click HERE to email).
If you live too far away to join us you can still be a part of the giving field by making a donation. (Click HERE to donate.)
A Giving Heart ~
This is a picture of Elette Ferguson. She reached out to me after coming to Willowbrook for tea and learning of SWAN Foundation. She makes adorable tea towels and is donating them to help raise funds for SWAN's outreach efforts. They are $25 each. Here is a bit about her in her own words:
"I worked my career in Kansas City as an accountant and project manager at a bank. About ten years before I retired I revisited my old hobby of sewing with the addition of my first embroidery sewing machine. I learned basic software and machine utilization and enjoyed the creative outlet.
After retirement my husband, Bill, and I retired to Mount Vernon enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery.
I’m excited to make embroidered towels for the charities supported by Willowbrook Manor. I get to share my passion, while helping others."
Click HERE to purchase a custom made tea towel to help our outreach efforts for homeless women and children. Thank you Elette for your generosiTea.
And I've saved the best for last. Here is a note from my sweet mama, Liz Adair.
"Hello, my dear friends from all over the world. I’m so grateful that Terry is giving me a corner of her newsletter so I can send you greetings and news.
It has been two and a half years since I dropped out of sight. Though I haven’t written you, I haven’t forgotten.
I remember that I had promised “I Love Spider Latham” aprons to those who would post a review of Letters from Afghanistan. The aprons are in the top of my closet, in mailing envelopes, and if they haven’t composted in the intervening time, I’ll send one each to Amazon reviewers Slugpuppy 3, Outnumbered, Cinderella 7, Mary P. Hancock, Terry Deighton, and Helena from the UK. Send me your mailing addresses, and I’ll get those aprons in the mail. My email address is email@example.com .
I’m finally winding up my memoir and will soon get back to fiction. I’ve got a new Spider Latham mystery in my head that involves a Turkish television star (did you know I was learning Turkish?), Richard III, a hot air balloon, and a euphonium. And, of course, Laurie, Amy, a murder, and deputy Toby Flint.
I’m anxious to get back in Spider’s world, but first I must finish this wretched memoir. I’m at 64,000 words, and I’m only at age nine. I think I’ll stop at age fourteen.
The working title is No-town Girl, because much of my remembered childhood was spent in construction camps. Next newsletter I’ll post an excerpt.
I’m soooo grateful to those of you who reached out to me during the time when I dropped out of site. The memoir is because my health was so iffy that I felt my mortality. But I’m better now. Thanks again for your warm wishes.
The three winners of Terry's Apothecary that includes three medicinal teas for sleep, upset stomach and cold and flu are: Jake H, Kelly P, and Michael M, who said in his email that if he was drawn to give the set to someone, he was simply writing to check in on my mom. He has read all of her books. Thanks Michael. I'm going to keep the trio of teas in my purse to share when I find the right person.
Today's Giveaway ~
Today's giveaway is my mom's murder mystery 'Death on the Red Rocks' and I have three copies to give away. Click HERE to enter to win and, as always, if you would like to include a little note to let me know how you are doing, I would love that.
You can get Liz's 'Trouble at Red Pueblo' free on amazon Kindle by clicking HERE
Wrapping Up ~
Whew! That was a LOT. I even pared down the report. There is a lot that is going on here at Willowbrook. I've included a list of upcoming events here at the end.
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I appreciate you taking time to read my bit of sharing time. I enjoy having you as part as my Willowbrook Newsletter family. Thank you so much for reading.
Saying goodbye until next time!
Things to do at Willowbrook:
Northern State Hospital Guided Bicycle Tour (Info)
Self-guided Bicycle Tours (Info)
Glamping at High Camp Info (Info)
Saturday Morning Tea and Scones (Info)July 10th & August 14th
Harvest Tea, October 1,2,8 & 9 (Info)
Holiday Tea, December3,4,10,& 11 (Info)