By Ashley Lodato
Many valley residents were sad to see the old homestead at the junction of Gunn Ranch Road and Rendezvous (often known as “the Hamilton place”) collapse last winter under the weight of the snow load. What’s even sadder is that in the weeks just prior to its collapse, the homestead had been stripped of much of its beautiful old weathered wood.
Rendezvous resident Leanne Ferlito says that she spent a good deal of time near that old homestead, particularly when the lupine and arrowleaf balsamroot were in bloom, imagining the lives of the settlers who would have lived there. “Then one day I noticed that the boards on three of the sides of the building had been stripped off,” Leanne says.
Leanne noticed the same thing on another old Rendezvous homestead on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) state land. Leanne speculates — correctly so, I’m guessing — that someone stripped the homesteads of their cool, old weathered wood in order to make a profit, with reclaimed wood being so popular in home décor these days. But “it comes at the expense of history in the valley,” Leanne says. “These places that have been enjoyed by so many are now providing satisfaction for just a few.” (It’s also considered theft of state property.)
Interestingly enough, about 12 years ago WDFW was planning to burn down the Hamilton place and offered the Shafer Museum the wood, to be reused in Shafer restoration projects. The Shafer used some of the wood, but the Shafer board chose to stop taking the wood once WDFW decided not to burn down the old homestead after all.
About 50 Methow At Home (MAH) volunteers enjoyed a thank you dinner last week, courtesy of MAH program coordinator Deirdre Cassidy and chef Phil Woras, who cooked up a delicious Thai curry feast served at the Education Station while the Papillon string quartet provided background music. Although MAH has a dedicated cadre of volunteers, the organization seeks some younger blood, as about half of the volunteers are MAH members in their 70s and 80s. If you are interested in helping Methow Valley elders stay in their homes, please call 996-5844 to learn about volunteering for Methow At Home.
A little dusting of snow in the mountains reminds us all that it’s time to start figuring out gifts for the holidays. If you’re the artsy-craftsy type, you might already be making your gifts. If you’re not, you’ll want to put Dec. 10 on your calendar, because that’s the date of the Winthrop Bazaar, where you can find something for everyone on your list. Items purchased at the bazaar and at other local vendors are the best kind, because they delight the recipient as well as keeping money in our local economy. If you’d like to be a vendor at the bazaar, contact new bazaar coordinators Jessica Rouse and Monica Petelle at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your table.