How a Strawberry Plant Jettisons Me Back to 1960’s

How a Strawberry Plant Jettisons Me Back to 1960’s


Renaissance Man and I went shopping last week-end.  He was on a mission to find replacement bulbs and fuses for our backyard lighting.  The raccoons and Renaissance Man are at war again.  Every spring, the little bandits cleverly unscrew the little bulbs in the ground level fixtures and play with them in our backyard oasis.  Sometimes they go too far and break the fuses (equal to breaking the last straw).  That’s when the traps come out and the peanut butter treats go on the chain link buffet. I think animal control staff have our location programmed in their GPS. Who knew there were so many critters living in a large urban city?  The whole city is like a rodent exhibition at the zoo.  While Renaissance Man is shopping for the repair items, I take myself to the garden nursery.  Of course, the temperatures that day are pushing 70 degrees (next day they nose-dive to 30) so I am in the mood to plan out my spring garden.  I get suckered into this notion every year in Tejas.  I get all worked up about the garden for about 2 months and then my enthusiasm tanks as the temperature’s swelter and the rains dry up.  Nothing but geckos, herbs, sunflowers, and cactus can survive July and August in Texas.  Not even humans…especially not those sweet succulents that are all the rage.  But in late February and early March, these little green starts just seem to sing my name.  There are peppers, arugula, kale, and basil by the bushel and….Quinault strawberry plants.  Say, “wait a minute. “ I know that place called Quinault.  It brought me up short in the shopping aisle.  My maternal grandparents owned a lake house during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on the Quinault Indian Reservation and they always grew strawberries…and blackberries….and raspberries.  I ate my weight in sweet berries when I was a little scout of a girl visiting during the summer months.  This must be the very same Quinault associated with this flat of strawberries that I was blinking back at Lowe’s.  Stumbling upon these plants released a whole string of memories….

  • Cool and damp sheets on my cheek in the mornings
  • Fat and juicy slugs between my toes
  • Cold streams perfect for cooling root beer from the little store down the path and trapping tadpoles and letting them go
  • Hikes with my parents and brothers through narrow trails bounded by tall evergreens  and stops for picnics of fresh bread and thick slabs of ham wrapped in wax paper
  • Quick dashes to the lake and out in Grandpa Hovorka’s rusty motor boat as he fished for trout and other Olympic Park protected species…Grandma always shouted as we departed, “watch your limit, Earl”.
  • Startling sightings of the Quinault Indians that owned the land and the lake as they quietly slid by in their canoes with spears aimed for fishing
  • Ordering stuffed tomatoes with my Grandma at the Quinault Lodge – still running strong in 2013
  • Long adventuresome car rides from Kansas to Washington State and back again.  One of those trips is where my brothers nearly killed me.

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My mother, father and three brothers (they look innocent but they are not) at Quinault in 1960.  I came along the next year.

The Quinault Indian Reservation is a land of magnificent forests, swift-flowing rivers, and gleaming lakes. Located on the southwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula, its rain-drenched lands embrace a wealth of natural resources. Conifer forests composed of western red cedar, western hemlock, Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, Pacific silver fir and lodge pole pine dominate upland sites, while extensive stands of hardwoods, such as red alder and Pacific cottonwood, can be found in the river valleys. Roosevelt elk, black bear, black tail deer, bald eagle, cougar, and many other animals make these forests their home.

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The Quinault Lodge Today

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