2900 Dakin St.
Bellingham, WA 98225
December, 1979

So much has happened to the Drakes in Bellingham this year that we would need a book to relate it all. Rather than attempt such foolishness we would like to share with you a few of the highlights of the year.

One of the things that we find remarkable is David’s growth and maturity.

He is now 18 years old, has a part-time job in addition to his paper route and is well liked by all who know him. His sense-of-self is positive and healthy. He is sensitive to the world about him, enjoys social relationships with his girlfriend and other peers as well as enjoying talking to and feeding several wild red fox that come up to him for a hand-out when he comes home from delivering the papers in the evening. David says grace for us at each meal and sometimes surprises us with his creativity, such as: “Thank you, God, for lousy weather.”

For Mary Ann this year was one of training for and entering a new profession. She is now in charge of a 70 ft. long greenhouse wherein she is currently propagating thousands of rhododendron and azalea cuttings as well as many other plants. With the state examinations behind her she is now licensed to apply pesticides and use those nasty chemicals we need but use reluctantly. Besides learning all the processes for the propagation and cultivation of plants she is expanding her knowledge and skills in the collecting of lichens and dying wool which she subsequently spins and knits into very creative caps, scarfs and other items. She won “Best at the Show” award in the first craft show she ever entered earlier this year. With proceeds from this hobby she paid her way to California to attend a party celebrating Miyo Enokida’s 30 years of service to the Peninsula Community Hospital and the community in general.

Todd is now a Junior in high school, owner of two cars (neither of which work) and always seeking the ideal job. He has had a number of job experiences ranging from truck driving for the park department to helping at a day care center. His constant quest for adventure and excitement gives us grey hair (or is it just age?).

George took six months off from teaching at the university and spent the time building the greenhouse. Never even having built a bird house before he was quite nervous about all the decisions he had to make (galvanized nails or ungalvanized, 4d or 6d nails, box head or finishing head, etc.) for which he had no prior experience or training. The greenhouse is a solar greenhouse with 55 gal drums, filled with water, acting as the thermal mass to absorb the heat of the day and release it at night. So far it has worked well and we’ve not had to use auxiliary heat yet even though the outside temperature has been well below freezing. In addition to the physical labor involved in the construction of the greenhouse, the lath house, the clearing of the land, etc., George is doing the long range planning of what has to be done next year and the year after, and, (a touch of reality) how to pay for it all.

We did get up to the mountains several times this summer in spite of all the work about the property. One trip of 4 days took us to the Alpine Wilderness area of the North Cascades National Park. A long hike took us to the alpine meadows and the lookout atop Green Mountain. Fabulous! Another first for us was going to our first trade show for nurserymen in Portland, Oregon. We will probably be combining our camping and travels with business and visiting nurseries during the next several years. Thank goodness the old VW bus still holds up.

Our love to you all.