This is a note to all who might be interested about the activities of the summer at Llenroc, the Caldwell ancestral estate in the beautiful Sequim Dungeness Valley in Washington State Remember, Llenrock spelled backwards is Kcornell(?).
As most of you know, Elaine and I moved up here on June 15, after a very hurried early retirement (I left one step ahead of the personnel inspector). We sold our house in Aloha on the first day it was listed and feel very grateful for that. The move was a hassle, as most moves are, but we thought that because we have a barn here, that we’d be able to hang onto every single possession of our whole lives, and then found that we’d need another barn to accomplish that So we put up another barn, on the condition that it would be for the burro (when we get her), the boat, the unassembled Model A, and the tractor. That barn now houses most of Grandma PP’s (Elaine’s Mom) castoffs, all my old rabbit cages, and various and sundry other similarly valuable objets de’arte.
Elaine and I are comfortably ensconced in the “summer house”, a small but crude apartment in the end of the original barn where we have our bed up in the loft, reachable via a steep and somewhat rickety, pull-down stairs reminiscent of the one that led to the second floor at the Cape Rosier, Maine cottage.
We arrived with a set of house plans and the naive notion that we would start construction within weeks and have the house “dried in”, as they say, by the time the fall rains started. Well, here we sit on a cool and rainy September with the excavation half done and the prospects of a long and muddy winter looming ahead with no roof, windows, doors, gutters, etc. until spring. I’m not really discouraged, but I sure thought we’d be further along. We have accomplished a lot – – We had the water tested, found it contaminated, found out how to take the sample correctly, and got the well approved. We got engineering on the plans, and now can withstand sustained 90 mph winds and gale force earthquakes. We got the building permit, got bids on doors, windows, plumbing, heating systems, foundations, materials lists for the house, and got the old 9N tractor fixed, bought a new 2N Ford tractor (this one is a 1944 model as compared to the older 1940 one) and bought a Kubota tractor with a backhoe and a front end loader. We got the new 2N hydraulics fixed, got the sickle bar mower fixed and running and actually mowed for 2 hours before I broke it again. (Jim Luke helped me fix it today.) Does it seem like we have more tractors than you might actually need for a 5-acre farm?
Elizabeth (Wendel) came to visit for a long weekend in early August We had a great time eating goat cheese and dried tomatoes, drinking red wine and learning how to use a wheelbarrow. I also taught Liz the fine points of rolling up used barbed wire without creating a death trap. We had sort of a hectic spell at the end of August Chris (Caldwell) Roberts and her two boys, Mike and John Henry drove up from Eugene, Oregon, where they have just moved from Terre Haute. Chris’s husband, Pete, is managing the construction of a new Sony CD production facility in Eugene and it looked like a great opportunity to get to meet some long lost relatives. Pete was unfortunately called back to a business meeting in Terre Haute and so didn’t get exposed to all the West Coast clan. While Chris was here, Pete called from Indiana and I had a chance to talk with my namesake, Bobby Caldwell (John’s son). My Mom (Grandma Dorothy) flew in that week with Francie. Francie’s son Brien and his friend Kathy drove up early the next week Jaime was able to fly up later that week also, and Margot, Wally, Austin, and Averi (Miss America) Wing came up for the Labor Day weekend. There was a great overlap, and we did get to know each other better. We also played some great “Ons” games.
I warned everybody that there were no good crab tides during that portion of August but they came anyway. As a result, our crabbing and clamming was limited. Bob took Mike, Brien, and Kathy out on a beautiful afternoon for several hours in the boat pulling crab rings. We had a lot of action, but no hard keepers. Fortunately, we had some frozen. Brien requested a “local” dinner, so we had crabs, Bob’s famous clam chowder, (with clams fresh from our freezer) fresh barbecued Silver Salmon (from Safeway), fried squid (squid from Squim), and local blackberry cheesecake. “It wan’t too bad!” as they say in Maine. We later found that the sequid were quite good, even excellent, when simmered in a marinara sauce for about two minutes and served over linguini. Wait’ll next year!
Unfortunately, during this spell, a lot of local people were being eaten by cougars, and we were unable to keep Brien out in the tent at night. I’ve not heard of any grown men being pulled from their sleeping bags in the middle of the backyard, but then a body can’t be too careful, can they? At any rate, nothing was holding down that part of the living room floor, anyway, so we might as well have had somebody sleeping on it.
A large contingent set out for Victoria one day, and they had the strangest experience. It was the first group we’ve ever had that caught the wrong ferry. I guess we’re all lucky that there was another ferry going to Victoria. They might otherwise have gotten on a log carrier for Japan or a scallop trawler to Sitka.
We had the good fortune to locate a nice home for Grandma Dorothy while she was here. It’s a 28×40 manufactured home in a very convenient park right adjacent to downtown Sequim. It is convenient to all of the central city attractions, and about 5 miles from our place. We are fortunate that it will be available during the whole winter in case either Elaine or I get tired of sleeping in the loft in the cold. In addition, Elaine is going to do our laundry there instead of at the local Laundromat. With luck, Mom will move her things in the Spring, then go back to help Francie graduate the girls and pack up her house. Then all you non-Squimmers are going to have even more reasons to come up.
Bob, Jaime, and Wally took a chance on a very marginal tide, and went crabbing anyway. Except for some rain, it turned out quite good, and we each got some great crabs. Fortunately, not one person got their boot holed by a vicious crab (such as happened last summer to a novice crabber who shall remain unnamed, L.G.).
The tractors got a heavy workout by Wally who was ostensibly “taking Austin for rides”. He even had an “out of gas” emergency while going to see the hay baler working. Austin likes the Blue tractor best (at least it’s a Ford)! Our neighbor Jim Luke invited Austin to fish his pond one evening (Wally has been bringing his fly rod to Sequim for five years waiting for that opportunity). Austin caught a real nice (15″) rainbow and then Wally took the rod away from him. I would never have thought that a person could be so mean.
We missed a bunch of you folks out there, some of you for the second year running. I hope you know that our barns are always open to you and yours. One of these years, we may even have a house so that you don’t have to tempt the mountain lions by sleeping out in the open. My schedule calls for us to pour a floor and foundation on about the 28th, and start erecting basement walls about the 3rd. If the schedule holds, we could start framing on about October 15th. Some people estimate that the framing will take 6 weeks, so we could have the shell of a house up by the 1st of December. We’re excited!
There’s more time to do this sort of thing now, so expect to hear more from us during the upcoming year. We’ll keep you posted!
The very best from Bob and Elaine