There is nothing more satisfying than a steady rain just after the seedlings are nestled into the garden beds. I know it’s a little earlier than conventional wisdom to plant the garden. It’s before Memorial Day, the snow is not yet cleared from mount so-and-so, and the moon is less than full. But this warm weather was just too good to pass up. The soil temperature felt just right and the greenhouse has been a bit of a sauna lately. The seedlings seem pretty happy nestled into their garden beds, even with just a quarter moon to smile on them in the evenings.

Sally Gracie had written in her Twisp column last month that she had put her hummingbird feeder out, so I followed suit. I was shocked to see, 10 minutes later, three tiny hummingbirds drinking their fill. It’s such a hip-hop happening spot that those little drunkards are chugging down at least a gallon of sugar water every week.

I remember when we first moved to the valley and hung up the bird feeders all around the yard. Nobody came. Not a single little bird. I went through the usual critical analysis:

Maybe the seed is wrong.

Maybe the feeders are wrong.

The Methow Valley has no birds.

Turns out the birds just hadn’t found us yet. The next year there was a steady flow of winged traffic to the bird feeders. This year it’s pure chaos out there. Delightful winged, chirping chaos.

I’ve always wanted to elope, but Washington state kind of puts a damper on those plans since you have to first get a license, then wait three whole days, and have at least two people witness the exchange of vows.

Joe Bastian and Joanna Smith are wed amidst the sunflowers.

Joe Bastian and Joanna Smith are wed amidst the sunflowers.

Eloping meant having strangers be witnesses and with my luck, at least one of those strangers would be a con artist with a stolen identity. We wouldn’t find out until decades later that we really weren’t married because John Doe was really Frank Abagnale. Kind of like those nightmares where you missed an algebra test in the seventh grade and now you have to repeat junior high, senior high, college and all of your internships.

Well, I certainly wasn’t going to risk any of that happening, so we ditched the elopement idea for a small ceremony on a hill behind our house with trusted friends as witnesses.

We hiked through the forest to a small overlook full of wildflowers and views of the Cascades. Tall trees leaned over the path to form a natural arch like a gothic cathedral. Yellow balsamroot, blue Chelan penstemon, purple lupine and white bittercherry formed my bouquet.

Mary Morgan officiated while Lindsey and Clay Ashford, and Mark and Ruth Hoffman witnessed our exchange of vows, along with little Lyric Ashford, but he’s too young to vote, so I don’t think he counted as a witness.

After the exchange of vows, Clay produced two bottles of chilled champagne from his magic backpack and we toasted each other under a blue sky. Lyric announced, “We are so lucky to live here!” And I couldn’t agree more.