Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Yachats Gazette, Issue 75, December 1 2017

Click here for a printable version of Issue 75

Interview with Tara DuBois

TYG: What kind of work do you do for Cape Perpetua?
Tara: I am the Communications Coordinator for the Cape Perpetua Collaborative. The Collaborative includes federal agencies, state agencies, as well as non-profit agencies. They’re all doing research within the marine reserve, and the marine protected areas. My job is to kind of communicate that and let everybody know what’s taking place.

TYG-Graphic Design: So you’re an inter-agency coordinator?
Tara: Yes. [...] I’m housed out of the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center two days a week, and I can also do work anywhere where I have computer access for the office-type stuff. But I get to do a whole variety of stuff. I get to work with the City of Yachats. They are actually funding this position from August through December [of this year]. I get to work with Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife; they’re the ones that oversee the Marine Reserves. They’ve been a huge learning tool for me. U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Surfrider Foundation, Audubon, U.S. Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy—I’m sure I’m missing some.

TYG: So, a bit of a side question, but this has been bugging me for a while: I don’t know what Audubon is.
Tara: Oh, they do bird conservation. Their focus is around avian [concerns].

TYG-GD: Can we clarify what the Perpetua Marine Reserve is?
Tara: Yes! The [Cape Perpetua] Marine Reserve—and I can send you home with some things—actually goes from, at the north end of Yachats, a Marine Protected Area. A Marine Protected Area means no ocean development, and you can take some catch. Now what you can take depends on the marine protected area, so you just have to check the regulations ahead of time. So the protected area is from the north end of Yachats to Devil’s Churn, then the Marine Reserve starts at Devil’s Churn, and goes all the way to 10 Mile Creek. In that area, there’s no ocean development, and no take of any life. You can recreate still: we want people to come in and enjoy it and have fun: you can scuba dive, kayak—you just can’t take any living things. From Ten Mile [south], there’s another protected area—from Ten Mile all the way to just past the Sea Lion Caves. There’s also an important bird area there as well. Because that’s where we get a lot of nesting sea birds that there’s research done on. Then there’s the sanctuary, the Ten Mile Creek Sanctuary, which is managed by Paul Engelmeyer. He works with Audubon. It’s a fantastic area, a lot of conservation work. Basically, the reason they’ve got these marine reserves is to do research so they know how to best manage them. We have a great, diverse group of animals in our coastal waters here. And conservation. So to let them prosper and to grow big and abundant and keep it bio-diverse, then eventually that spills over into the non-marine reserve areas.

TYG-GD: So does the marine reserve include any land, or is it entirely where the water ends?
Tara: No, where the water ends. Now the tide pool area might be in the middle, but here you have where the reserve is in the water, but the state parks own the land part of it a lot, and then the Forest Service comes in on some of it. So it really depends on the pocket area that you’re talking about as far as who’s involved in that. But it’s the water, like an under-water park.

TYG-GD: I thought that this year in particular, there was a great, big dead spot right around here off the coast. How does this figure into the Marine Reserve?
TYG: And what does that mean, “a dead spot”?
Tara: I don’t know so many details about it, and I’m not sure this is fully accurate, but the ocean acidification and the temperatures of the water have an effect on these specific zones, in particular this zone here.

TYG-GD: So was the Marine Reserve itself impacted by that?
Tara: I don’t think it was impacted, because you’re going to see different pockets of that that are going to happen anyway. They’re probably researching that. I don’t know if they even know what the impacts are, long-term, yet.

TYG-GD: How far out does the Marine Reserve go?
Tara: Three nautical miles into the ocean. The reserve for Cape Perpetua is the biggest one in Oregon, fourteen square miles, and then an additional fourteen square miles of protected area on either side. So about 42 square miles total. The smallest marine reserve is Otter Rock; I think that’s under two square miles. There are five total in Oregon now.

TYG: That’s tiny! It’s amazing that you can get rights out three nautical miles, and all this land. Wow.
Tara: Yep! And there are GPS coordinates, so all the fisherman and everybody kind of knows where they can go and where they can’t.

TYG: I guess that’s why you never see the fishing boats close to shore—I always wondered about that. 
Tara: They can be in the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve on the water, even if they’ve got fish on their boat. But they can’t be catching anything. If they have a hook in the water and they bring it up if it’s in the Marine Reserve area and there’s a fish on it, they need to put the fish back.

TYG-GD: So people fishing at the mouth of the river are okay?
Tara: From what I understand, there is some take that is allowable on the edge. And you can cast a line as an angler in the northern section. Certain types are allowed—I think it’s salmon, and some crabbing.

TYG: Salmon! That’s amazing! What amazes me as well is how anyone could possible fish in some of those places. There are some places where it’s just a big, flat, sand area. But there are other places—and this is where I see most people fish—where you’re standing 20 feet above the water on igneous rocks, and there are massive waves crashing in. How are any fish going to survive, let alone bite? But somehow they still get catch!
Tara: I know! One of my most awesome sights that I saw though—I was with a group and we were doing a little hike down to the tide pools at Perpetua, and we saw four river otters playing in the tide pools! It was like you said—right at the edge, and the water’s rushing in, and you’re like “What are they doing!” and it’s just crashing over them. But they kept going in the little pools along the rocks. That was so cool. Those are some of my favorite: those surprise moments. [...]

TYG-GD: So tell us more about your job under the water! None of the Marine Reserve is on land...
Tara: So what I do is educate people about the reserves. I do roving interpretation at the Visitor’s Center, where I’ll hit spots along the coastline here, and I will just talk with folks that are coming by, whether it be at the top, or down by Spouting Horn. I just inform them about it. Also, with ODFW [Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife], we’re doing an intercept survey, we’ve just started that. ODFW are the ones doing the research in the water. In the Cape Perpetua area, they’ll do hook-and-line research, and ROV [remotely-operated vehicle] research. It’s too deep to do scuba diving. There’s another one where they kind of mount a camera.

TYG: Like little bots. [...] They’re usually cubical, roughly. Maybe a little rectangular. 
Tara: With a remote control tether to it.

TYG: Sometimes they’re wired, sometimes they’re wireless. For caves, for example, wire just isn’t going to do a thing. They’re not powerful little things—they’re slow. They have one dinky propeller on each side—actually, they may have two on the back. We’re not talking about some speedboat here. Usually they’ve got cameras; usually they have one or two fish nets. The ones I’m most familiar with are the deep sea ones; they have little sample cylinders. 
Tara: I’m not sure what ROV they use, or how they use it—and I don’t know that they collect any samples with it.

TYG-GD: The hook-and-line probably catches samples.
Tara: They do: they weigh them, they measure them; they take every bit of data they can possibly take on the fish, and then they put it back—it’s catch and release.

TYG-GD: Do they tag them?
Tara: I don’t know!

TYG-GD: Maybe they’re not big enough. 
Tara: [...] What they’ll do is a hook-and-line within the reserve, then they’ll have a comparable spot outside the marine reserve, then they can compare that data. So they want to see how the marine reserve, over time, is flourishing (or not), and how that impacts the communities. Especially along our coastline—we have many fishing communities, so we don’t want to have negative impact.

TYG-GD: Although, there’s no port within the marine reserve. 
Tara: No, the closest port would be Newport, north, and Florence, south. Redfish Rocks is the most southern marine reserve, which is in the Port Orford area, I believe.

TYG: So south of Coos Bay by a little bit.
Tara: Yes. And then Cascade Head is the most northern one, up by Cannon Beach [between Lincoln City and Neskowin].

TYG: So this is the prize reservation. [laughter] Because it’s the biggest, and it has lots of diversity. I’ve lived here for ten years, and it never ceases to amaze me.
Tara: They’re fairly new, too. In 2012 is when they designated them, and started actually doing research within the marine reserves. And in 2023 is when they’ll come together and do a review of all of that. They’ll look at the data; they’ll look at the research.

TYG: So roughly a ten-year program.
Tara: And even then, it’s not long enough. But they can take a look and see what they’ve gotten. They can take that, and make better decisions on how to manage.

TYG-GD: So what is your position exactly? It seems like you do a little bit of everything...
Tara: Yes! I do outreach to the public, coordinating of events. We have a volunteer appreciation event in September of every year. We invite all the volunteers who work as part of these research projects, all up and down, working within the Cape Perpetua area, and we celebrate them and all the great work. And then we have the Land-Sea Symposium, which we just had a couple of weeks ago. So I help organize that. We have a lot of state agencies and organizations there that are presenting their work at a table. They come with table displays. We line up some speakers: this year we had Bill Pearcy, who spoke about Heceta Bank. But I do a variety of things: I coordinate events, I do a lot of communicating just by e-mail with everybody about what’s going on in the area. Now this is a slower period—the research projects are done now for the most part.

TYG-GD: For the ten year period, or just for the year?
Tara: No, no, it’s more seasonal-based. There’s more going on in the summer than during the winter, like the seabird monitoring project that looks at nesting cormorants; there’s the black oyster catcher monitoring.

TYG-GD: So when I was looking up your name last night, I saw a lot of DuBois people associated with bird counts. [laughter] So is your whole family into this?
Tara: You did? Oh my gosh, that’s funny... Yes, actually, I bring my daughters along. They’re eighteen and sixteen, and I’ve been doing that cormorant-nesting project with them since we moved to the coast. We’ve been here four and a half years now. And the same with the black oyster catcher project. That’s where you try to find the nests, and then you monitor them. I’m really into just getting out there at the local level and doing as much as I can for my work and I just have strong beliefs about just getting out and doing what you can locally. With Coast Watch and Oregon Shores, they have a variety of projects, like where you can adopt a mile of beach; we’re very active in that. Beached birds—I mean, this is just a variety of things that volunteers are doing in this area.

TYG: I presume that the Adopt-A-Beach thing is for a neighborhood, not just one person.
Tara: No, you can it as a person, you can do it as a family, you can do it as an organization... whatever you want to do.

TYG: Just the idea of taking on a mile of beach! 
Tara: So, you just kind of walk it, you know, and you just kind of pick up trash, and then submit if you found anything fascinating. There are beached birds, where you look for birds that are no longer alive and you try to identify them. Sea star monitoring: they’ll go out at major low tides here at Yachats State Park. We just did one in September—the last one of the year, because of the way the tides are—and we surveyed over four hundred little sea stars.

TYG-GD: [gasps] Really! 
TYG: Nice! That’s good to see that they’ve come back!
Tara: Yes! They have a specific area that they survey every time they go out there, and it was such a pleasure to be with them on that last one. There were a lot of the little ones! You can’t even see them until you’re right up on top of them. From a distance I wouldn’t have noticed them, but we were really out there—they monitor them when the tide is really low. So what they monitor is oftentimes under water. And that’s where the sea stars hang out.

TYG-GD: So how does Audubon fit into this?
Tara: Audubon finds grants for these research projects for the bird monitoring along the coast. Then there’s the bird sanctuary at Ten Mile. That’s where the Land-Sea connection comes into play. You’ve got the coastal forest here that’s adjacent to the marine reserve, and then you have animals, such as the marbled murrelet—this is a bird that lives on the ocean, but during nesting season they will nest up to 30-so miles inland, up in these really high old-growth trees. Some of the marbled murrelets have been observed nesting in the Ten Mile Sanctuary. Audubon have come in and purchased that land. They’re doing forest restoration there, restoring streams for the salmon to have more habitat for spawning spots, when they’re coming back up the stream. Audubon is really involved along the coast. They do a lot of research and monitoring around birds and habitat. The Surfrider Foundation is another non-profit, and they do a lot of water quality testing all along up and down the coast. I’m connecting with somebody in a couple of weeks [from Surfrider] to get more information on the testing they do at Ten Mile and Cape Perpetua. Audubon, Surfrider, and Oregon Marine Reserve Partnership are who host the events such as Land-Sea Symposium and the Volunteer Appreciation. They finance the events and help them happen.

TYG-GD: Is that where your funding comes from? You mentioned the City of Yachats...
Tara: Right now I’m [funded] through a grant from
the City of Yachats. After December, they’ve just found out they got a grant through the Oregon Community Foundation, and that will continue [the position] into next year.

TYG-GD: Great!
Tara: Yes! My position, as well as Paul Engelmeyer’s—the manager of the bird sanctuary I was telling you about. He also does a lot of work with watersheds. Fantastic wealth of information.

TYG: Watershed stuff is really interesting. 
Tara: Yes, it is! Oh my gosh, every time I get together and chatting with him, I just... wow! [laughs]

TYG: The physics of it are really interesting as well—the physics of the water routing.
Tara: Yes! And you really don’t think about the small things, like the tree that’s fallen over and is laying in the stream. That is just where it’s supposed to be! Because it creates habitat for something. Or like when you’re restoring the forest, you shave down a tree and you’re left with the trunk. It’s called a stand, and what that does is that it opens up to bring light in to the forest, so the growth happens at the bottom.

TYG: Which is what would happen in nature anyway.
Tara: Yes, exactly. So they’re working on doing those things within that bird sanctuary. [...] The main thing that I consider myself to do is really just educate people about the marine reserve, and just share with them about it. A lot of people don’t even know they’re here!

TYG-GD: In terms of visitors who don’t know?
Tara: Visitors and locals! Really just kind of letting everybody know what’s going on in the marine reserves.

TYG-GD: So the whales, when they go back and forth, do they go through the reserves, or are they further out?
Tara: You’ll see them further out when they’re migrating north and south, but they will come in closer during July through October. There are 200 to 250 whales that stick along the Oregon Coast, and they feed during the summertime. There are times when there are one or two that will come in closer, like near Spouting Horn. Or if you’re up at the top of the Cape lookout, and you look down; from that vantage-point you can really see the outline of the body—that’s really cool. It just depends—it’s not a regular spot.

TYG-GD: How come this particular area around Cape Perpetua was chosen for a marine reserve?
Tara: All of the marine reserves were chosen by community groups that came together. They were looking for diverse areas with a lot of bio-diversity, and significant. They were named after the nearest geological feature.

TYG-GD: I wonder if the lack of ports had anything to do with it.
Tara: Maybe!

TYG: Well thank you so much for your time!
Tara: You’re welcome! I really appreciate connecting with you!

Interview with Laren Leland

Laren Leland, who goes by Leland, is a native bee conservationist and a former OSU master gardener. This is the continuation of her interview started in Issue 74. Her first radio show is scheduled on KYAQ 91.7 FM on December 15th at 12:30 PM.

TYG: How did you learn your real estate skills?
Leland: Anybody who wants to become a broker can go to school to learn. I did an online program. It’s not even very long, but you learn so much about the law. You know, I have a background in fine art—I did a Master’s degree in inter-media art, and I was a graphic designer for years in San Francisco. So my background was completely not like [real estate] at all. But [...] I thought I needed to get myself an education, so that’s why I went into real estate. Even though the real estate market goes up and down a lot, actually, people are always going to need a place to live, and land is always going to be valuable.

TYG-Graphic Design: So, you spoke of fine art and other things—how do you incorporate that into your bee-keeping?
Leland: Well, I haven’t really made what I would call, quote, unquote, fine art for years. I haven’t been as interested. I went to San Francisco when I was 25, right after graduate school, and I thought that I was going to jump into the art world, and I actually did. My first job there was managing the studio of a pretty famous artist, whose name I won’t mention. But it wasn’t a great experience. It made me decide that I didn’t want to be part of that world as much as I thought I did. I did then become a self-taught graphic designer, and I got a full-time job working in the adult entertainment industry as a graphic designer, which was a very interesting experience. [laughs] I won’t go into detail on it, but I thought I’d mention it, just because it was a big part of my life, and it was really interesting. And then when I came to Portland, I thought I was going to start my own graphic design business, but then I became a real estate broker instead. How does fine art fit into that? I actually end up doing a lot of artwork for volunteer stuff. So for the Portland Urban Beekeepers I designed their Tour de Hives poster for three years in a row, which was fun. And I’ve done a line of greeting cards, and just little projects. I build my own website for my real estate stuff, and I design all of my own marketing for real estate and for this farm. So it pops up in those kinds of ways. I’m actually kind of interested in making fine art again, now, and I’ve kind of been starting to dabble again.

TYG: Interesting! Going back to the farm, what kind of stuff do you grow here?
Leland: We have ten acres of pasture, but we’re vegetarian. Well, we eat fish, but we’re not into big animals, so we’re probably never going to have big animals here. So my dream for the ten acres, actually, is to turn it into a bio-diverse meadow for pollinators.  But that’s quite an undertaking, and we’ll probably need to write a grant to do that.

TYG: What do you mean by that?
Leland: To ask ...

TYG: Oh, to ask for help, okay.
Leland: Yes! It’s a really good environmental project, for the world, and I think we could get help with funding for that.

TYG-GD: Why would you need an actual grant? 
Leland: In order to turn something as large as ten acres into meadow, it’s a process of years of trying to get rid of the tall fescue, which is very aggressive. Tall fescue is a grass that cattle eat, and it grows really tall, three or four feet tall. So in order to get that replaced with the type of plants which we want, which are native meadow species, maybe some European meadow species as well—they can’t compete while there’s that much grass. So the process is cutting it down, laying down seed, in succession over years. And that amount of seed is really expensive. And this is because we wouldn’t want to do it with herbicide. If you just sprayed the whole thing, you could probably do it in one season.

TYG-GD: Or if you bulldozed it?
Leland: We might use some controls like that, like with our tractor, pulling some of the grass out.

TYG: It’s pretty disruptive to what’s already there.
Leland: Yes, and we want to maintain the soil fertility. Actually, we want to decrease the fertility and stop putting lime on it. It’s a whole process, and I need to learn more about it.

TYG: And then what would the elk do?
Leland: Our neighbors tease us that we’re raising elk. [laughter] If we are successful in growing native plants, it will be improved habitat for the elk! [...] We do have our two little chickens out there, and we’ll be adding more to our flock next spring.

TYG: For the eggs, I’m presuming?
Leland: Yes. And because we just love them.

TYG: So do you have any fruit trees on the farm?
Leland: We do, actually. There were some really old apple trees over there, but the first thing we did when we got the land was to add two plum trees, a crab-apple, quince... there was a list of things we added, because of course the trees take the longest to grow and get established.

TYG-GD: Why quince?
Leland: It’s just a beautiful flower, and also the fruit is really nice in applesauce.

TYG-GD: In applesauce?
Leland: It adds a different dimension.

TYG-GD: [laughs] Huh. We had a quince tree when I was growing up, and I remember biting into those suckers, and Oh, my goodness! 
Leland: There are only one or two varieties really that you can eat raw.

TYG-GD: At the place where I grew up longest, in Switzerland, there were about 50 varieties of trees, with tons of fruit trees planted in the front. It was really amazing. Plus, they had two redwoods and an incredible variety of different trees. But, as it so happens, I’m allergic to raw fruits and vegetables for the most part, which was really distressing being a vegetarian. [laughs] But especially hard-stoned fruit. So all the peaches, and cherries, and apples, and all those. 
Leland: But you can eat them cooked?

TYG-GD: I can eat them cooked. 
Leland: Nothing wrong with pie... [laughter]

TYG-GD: But anyway, I remember harvest time coming around, and oh my gosh, that was a lot of fruit.
Leland: The trees we planted don’t really have much fruit yet, but we’re already kind of overwhelmed with this black walnut situation. [laughter]

TYG: What?
Leland: There’s a black walnut tree out here—it’s a huge tree. It was probably planted at the same time that the house was built.

TYG-GD: [looking at the overflowing pails littering the kitchen] So you bring them inside?
Leland: We do, and then you take off the husk, and the walnut itself is what you dehydrate, and then you can crack those open. This kind of walnut is native to the United States.

TYG-GD: So are you going to use the hulls for dyeing?
Leland: We might! I have used black walnut ink in the past, and that’s pretty cool.

TYG: You know what would be beautiful: black walnut stained ash wood. Or rather, alder wood.  
Leland: It’s very strong. I was using latex gloves, but I didn’t realize it had a hole in it. These two fingers were almost entirely black. It’s probably going to be on my nail until it grows out. But we had pumpkins this year; I just made my first pie out of a pumpkin that I grew myself. And tons of squash. We did Hugelkultur beds, which is a permaculture technique. You bury wood, like alder is very good, or almost any deciduous tree—conifers aren’t as good. Then you cover the wood with soil, and plant into that. The idea is that the wood retains water, so the roots go down and can find that water and you don’t have to irrigate as much. And then we have another permaculture project happening on the other side, which is going to be a large, perennial bed for pollinators, but we’re just starting it. So we did a long row of lavender, and around that we did cardboard, and then compost on top of the cardboard, so that over the winter the grass underneath will die. Then we can plant into it more in the spring.

TYG: I feel like cardboard is pretty good and eco-friendly, honestly. 
Leland: It has glue in it, so I wouldn’t want to use it around vegetables, necessarily. But it’s better than some other options.

TYG: But it can be a good, basic soil fertilizer.
Leland: Yes. And it will kill the grass naturally, so again, we’re not going to be using herbicides.

TYG-GD: So why use cardboard instead of newspaper?
Leland: Because that’s what we had. [laughs]

TYG: Did you have anything you wanted to add?
Leland: Can we talk about the pollinator corridor a little bit?

TYG: Of course! I’ve never heard of the pollinator corridor! What is that?
Leland: So, when I first got here I met a woman named Maxine Centala, through Cedar, and she’s been working for ten years with Concerned Citizens for Clean Air to keep herbicide off of 25 miles of the Highway 101 corridor, from Yachats to Newport. But ODOT was kind of getting tired of it; they were calling it a pilot program and they kind of wanted to shut it down. So Concerned Citizens for Clean Air had the idea to turn it into a pollinator corridor instead, because they thought maybe ODOT would be interested in that, and it worked. So she recruited me to help, and Concerned Citizens for Clean Air is kind of turning over into a new group called the Pollinator Restoration Project of the Central Oregon Coast. We’re going to be looking for people to help. Basically anyone with any skills that they want to contribute, and it could be anything from grant writing to marketing to pulling weeds on the side of the road. We do have crews that do the power tools, and a lot of the maintenance, but we will need some help with invasive weeds. Eventually we’ll be planting native plants, and it could be a really fun project.

TYG: You should contact the Trails Sub-committee!
Leland: We will, yes.

TYG: Because they’re great. I’ve done some work for them in the past, and they’re amazing. 
TYG-GD: So, are they going to be focusing on replanting, or encouraging what’s there, or both?
Leland: Definitely encouraging what’s there—even if it’s not native, as long as it’s good for pollinators and non-invasive. Also, getting rid of things that are invasive, and planting things that are native.

TYG-GD: Such as?
Leland: Oh, there are so many great pollinator plants... Nootka rose, camas, ocean spray, goldenrod, pearly everlasting, early blue violet, bleeding heart, and the list goes on...

TYG-GD: Is there a deadline for any of this?
Leland: There’s a lot of bureaucracy because Lincoln County is also kind of overseeing the project. It’s going to be a relatively large project. But they’re hoping to plant in the fall of 2018. And we’re hoping to have them mow earlier in the year, and later in the year, so that the plants don’t get destroyed along the highway.

TYG: Great idea! Thank you so much!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Yachats Gazette, Issue 74, November 1 2017

Please click here for a printable version of Issue 74

Interview with Laren Leland

Laren Leland, who goes by Leland, is a native bee conservationist and a former OSU master gardener.

TYG: So, what made you decide to move to Yachats?
Leland: Oh! We had been looking for farm property for about a year. I actually wanted to be closer to Portland because we still have a house there, and I kind of wanted to be able to go back and forth. But Cedar, my partner, grew up in Newport, and she’s a surfer, and she really had it in her mind that she wanted to be close to the ocean. So we started looking in Manzanita, but didn’t really find farm property that we liked. Eventually we ended up down here to look. I kind of asked her at one point, “If you could live anywhere in Oregon, where would it be? And she said, “Yachats.” She had worked at the Green Salmon before, she loved the community here, and we were also really interested in finding a place that has a culture that was comfortable for us, being two women as partners.

TYG: Yachats is certainly that.
Leland: Yes. And we don’t know if we might adopt some day, so our kids might be a different color from us, and we just didn’t want to be anywhere where that would be a problem. And this property that we found has amazing water rights, and it’s beautiful. It’s just gorgeous.

TYG-Graphic Design: Hmm. What about the water rights?
TYG: I was about to say, I don’t know what those are.
Leland: We have access to the north fork of the Yachats River. We’re allowed to irrigate one to two acres of our property with that. And we also have multiple springs, one of which we have the right to use as household water. And there was supposed to be a well, but the well doesn’t work, unfortunately. But we could fix it or put one it at some point if we needed to.

TYG: So I’m guessing you can irrigate from the other springs?
Leland: We can only use one of the springs; the others flow off of the property. But it’s still nice to just have lots of water available.

TYG: So when did you move down?
Leland: My family bought this place a year and a half, two years ago. Our plan wasn’t to move at that time; we were just going to sort of have it as an investment property, and an Airbnb; we have made it an Airbnb. But about three months ago, we just decided that we were kind of done living in the city. I’ve always lived in cities, and didn’t think that I would ever not want to live in the city. [laughs] But as my interest in environmentalism has grown, and... I really love gardening. I did the Master Gardner’s program in Multnomah, and our little one tenth of an acre just started to seem really small.

TYG: That is small!
Leland: [laughs] My priorities shifted too; instead of wanting to have a big house and not very much space outside, I wanted a lot of space outside and a smaller house.

TYG-GD: So how many acres do you have here?
Leland: This is 42.

TYG: 42?! I’m presuming it must go into the woods, then.
Leland: People reading the article won’t be able to see which way I’m motioning, but it goes all the way to the top of the ridge. [visible in the photo accompanying the article]

Blossomwood Farm

TYG: Okay! I was thinking that there’s no way that this field is 42 acres.
Leland: Yes, the field is only about ten to twelve acres.

TYG: I’m guessing the forest is pretty low maintenance.
Leland: Well, I’m sure we could be doing more! [laughs] You know, we’re trying to establish a native bee sanctuary. So that’s where most of our time and effort is going.

TYG-GD: So you say “native bee.” What is that?
Leland: Well, it’s funny. When we say that we’re doing a native bee sanctuary, people ask us if we have honey to sell. And we have to laugh, because honeybees aren’t actually native to the United States. People don’t know that. In the fossil record, there was a honeybee that lived in the Americas a long time ago, but it’s not related to the current honeybee that people keep.

TYG: I wonder where it came from, then.
Leland: The colonists brought it over, when they settled.

TYG-GD: From England?
Leland: Yes.

TYG: Important crop. I imagine it does well for pollination, though.
Leland: Actually, the native bees do it better. They’re more efficient pollinators, however they can’t really be managed as easily as honeybees, so that’s why honeybees are used. One fun little fact is that the indigenous people called honeybees “White man’s fly.” [laughter]

TYG-GD: That’s funny.
TYG: That’s weird, because they don’t look anything like flies.
Leland: Well, if flies are your only reference...

TYG-GD: So what are the benefits of native bees versus honeybees? You said more efficient pollination.
Leland: Yes, more efficient pollination, and they’re the ones who evolved to live here, so they have ongoing relationships with the native plants.

TYG: That makes sense. Presumably evolution has adapted them more to the native plants so they can mesh more easily.
Leland: Right. Honeybees will pollinate our native plants as well. Also, unless honeybees escape from domesticity and become feral, they’re only going to be where the keepers are keeping them. Native bees are spread throughout—they’re everywhere.

TYG-GD: Does Oregon have a particular species of native bee?
Leland: We have sixteen bumblebees, and quite a few of others, too. There are actually over 4,000 kinds of native bees in the United States. I’m not sure how many in Oregon.

TYG-GD: So bumblebees are part of what you call native bees?
Leland: Yes! There are bumblebees, sweat bees, leaf-cutter bees, cuckoo bees, mason bees—all kinds of different types of bees.

TYG-GD: Wow, I’ve never heard of most of those!
TYG: I think I may have heard of leaf-cutters before.
TYG-GD: I’ve heard of leaf-cutter ants, in the Brazilian forest, but... [laughs]
Leland: Yes, the leaf-cutters are really adorable. They cut almost perfect circles out of leaves, and they carry them through the air. They lay one egg, and they collect pollen, and they make a little capsule around it—a little hibernation thing.

TYG: So I’m guessing all these bee species have very different hives?
Leland: Actually, none of them have hives.

TYG: Really—that’s a European invention?
Leland: Yes. You know, even honeybees, in a natural circumstance, would live in a tree cavity, and they would create a colony there. But hives are very unnatural. They’re just a human’s idea about where bees should live. The only social native bee is the bumblebee. Every other native bee is solitary.

TYG: What do you mean by “social”?
Leland: Meaning that they have colonies where they work together, and they have one queen and then a bunch of workers.

TYG: So is it all bumblebees, or just one particular species?
Leland: Most of them. There is a type of bee called a cuckoo bee, that looks like a bumblebee. They’re kind of like a cuckoo bird, where they go into established bumblebee nests and kind of take over and turn the worker bees that are there into...
TYG-GD: ...their personal slaves?

TYG: So they replace the role of the queen.
Leland: Yes. Bee biology is pretty fascinating.

TYG-GD: So, do you focus on other pollinators besides the bee type?
Leland: Yes! Actually, this Saturday I’m teaching a class on native bees and butterflies. You know, it’s almost like butterflies are too pretty; everybody loves them. I’m not as interested in them, honestly, but I really like caterpillars. [laughs] So my interest in butterflies focuses on the caterpillars.

TYG-GD: But the caterpillars don’t necessarily pollinate, do they?
Leland: No, they don’t. Adults do.

TYG: However, I feel like if you can get it through the caterpillar stage, it’ll probably be alright at the butterfly stage.
Leland: Well, only ten percent of caterpillars actually make it to the butterfly stage.

TYG: That’s what I mean. If you can get a raising facility for caterpillars, then you can make a lot more butterflies a lot quicker.
Leland: Yes! You can help them along by putting them in a mesh laundry basket or something, make sure they have food and water...

TYG-GD: Do you remember when you had a chrysalis?
TYG: Yes, I remember—I think it was two or three. [to Leland:] Are you taking any interest in hummingbirds?
Leland: Yes, I love hummingbirds. I mean, there’s no pollinator that I don’t like, really. And I’ve thought that maybe we should change it to a pollinator sanctuary, but... I don’t know. Bees were my first interest, and that’s kind of what we named the farm for. But we’re doing things definitely to support all kinds of pollinators.

TYG: Because that’s probably the most common kind of pollinator we see at our house, is hummingbirds. We see at least one hummingbird almost every day. We try to keep up the feeders, but it’s really hard.
TYG-GD: Well, we have fuchsia bushes and escalonia, not feeders.
TYG: If you ever need a spot, I’d highly recommend fuchsia. Not only are they good pollinator plants, but they produce some beautiful berries.
Leland: They are very easy to propagate, too.
TYG: Oh my gosh.
TYG-GD: We know! We have one fuchsia bush that’s bigger than the kitchen.
TYG: They actually produce really delicious berries. They’re small, but they’re really sweet and delicious.

TYG-GD: So, how did you get interested in all this?
Leland: I decided I wanted to become an environmentalist just because I’m so concerned about pesticides, and herbicides, and our food system. Environmental justice, like the inequity of where pollution happens, and all these different topics. But when I dwell on all the negativity, I get really angry and it doesn’t feel productive to me, so I decided to focus on the positive side in promoting the care-taking aspect. I’m just specifically really interested in bees. I found out first about the Portland Urban Beekeepers before I knew that honey bees weren’t native, and I started going to the Portland Urban Beekeepers, and I became part of the club, I became a honey bee keeper. I really love honey bees—I’m not trying to say anybody shouldn’t be a honey bee keeper, and we still have a hive in Portland at our house there. But, since my focus was on environmentalism, it just kind of made sense to switch over to native bees once I learned more.

TYG: Are honey bees the only ones to produce honey or anything like it?
Leland: Yes! There are different species of honey bees though—there’s a native bee in Australia, a stingless bee, that produces honey. They have sort of a spiral look to their hive—it’s really different.

TYG: That seems like it could be a serious crop! I feel like one of the big problems with honey bees is that they sting.
Leland: [laughs] I mean, it’s not really a problem, it’s how they protect their hive.

TYG: I understand that. I’m just saying that for purely practical reasons, for gathering honey, that’s a problem.
TYG-GD: So, what do bears eat, if they don’t eat honey? I have visions of Pooh in my mind, and I’m having a problem with it. [laughs]
Leland: Well, the funny thing about the bear situation is that they’re actually going out for the grubs when they go after a hive. They’ll eat the honey too, but the grubs are so much more what they’re focused on.

TYG: There’s so much more protein.
TYG-GD: Oh, no wonder. Duh. [laughs]
Leland: Bears eat salmon, and berries, and whatever else you can find in the forest. Famine, I think, is the thing. [laughs] I read a really interesting article recently about how they have tested trees and forest fertility, and how much is tied to the salmon being kind of thrown all around by the bears. The salmon becomes a fertilizer for the forest. Everything is interconnected in way more ways than we’ll know... I thought that was particularly really interesting.

TYG: Nature’s had four billion plus years to figure all this out!
Leland: Yes. And it’s only taking us a few hundred years to mess it up...

TYG-GD: Yay, us... [laughs] That’s really funny. I can see the messy eater, totally see the fertilization happening. Things I never would have thought of.
TYG: Yes, that’s the kind of fertilization we need to shift to, instead of ... Well, manure’s pretty good, actually. I feel like manure’s pretty eco-friendly.
Leland: Depends on what they’re feeding the animals, but yes.

TYG: We need to stop using these chemical fertilizers.
Leland: Well, it would be great if the government would switch their farm subsidies into farms that build soil, instead of destroy soil. I think that would really change the world.

TYG: We need to switch to bio-fertilizers. I wonder if you can make fertilizer out of plants?
Leland: Yes, absolutely. It’s called green manure.

TYG-GD: Is that different from composting?
Leland: No—I mean, that’s another way to do it too. Green manure refers more to when you have crimson clover or fava beans or something like that, and then you chop them into the dirt. It turns into a compost, for sure. Also making compost piles is another great way to do it. Or, I just read an amazing book about worms, The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms by Amy Stewart (2004). It was basically about how, if we take things like human waste, even, that has all the water taken out of it so you just have these solids, you can run worms through that and they convert it into the castings, and it’s actually a really good garden compost, and it can be done safely.

TYG: It probably gets ammonia back into the soil, at least in limited quantities.
Leland: I think they have to get rid of the ammonia first because it kills the worms.

TYG-GD: Hmm. How do they purify the bacteria?
Leland: The worms actually have stuff in their guts that helps with that. So yes, I think there are a lot of biological ways—and they’ve been using fungus for remediation too—growing mushrooms on super-fund sites.

TYG: On what sites, sorry?
Leland: Super-fund. Places where they’re contaminated by humans.

TYG-GD: Like Hanford, with nuclear waste.
Leland: There are super-fund sites all over the place, especially Portland has a lot of them. Anything where they were doing manufacturing. [...] 

TYG: So, I know that you do real estate for a living. Where do you work?
Leland: My brokerage is called Advantage Real Estate, and it’s based in Newport.

TYG: So what kind of properties do you want to sell and buy?
Leland: I really like to help people buy their first homes—I’ve done a lot of that. Of course, I’d love to work with high end beach front properties. [laughs] I really like rural properties with farms, too.

TYG-GD: So what does a real estate broker do, anyway?
Leland: We facilitate somebody’s ability to buy. There’s a lot of legal documentation that needs to happen, really too much to learn for somebody who’s just trying to buy a house. If I’m helping a buyer, I walk them through the entire process. I make sure all the deadlines are met. I educate them on what’s happening, because a lot of people don’t even know what an escrow company is, for example. That’s the third party company that holds the deed and the money to make sure nothing untoward happens during the deal. There are a lot of deadlines, a lot of contingency periods, large sums of money being exchanged. People are really emotional. Maybe not every real estate broker would answer the question this way, but I hold space, to be like, “Hey, I understand that you’re going through something really emotional. I’m helping you with the legal side so you don’t have to worry about that.”

This interview will be continued in Issue 75.

Interview with Dave Cowden

Dave Cowden is a Yachats-based musician who currently plays with Creighton Horton (TYG Issues 65 and 66). This is the second half of his interview, continued from the previous issue.

Dave: I did have a really serendipitous thing happen. At work, I’d been transferred to Omaha, Nebraska, and I lived up there for eight years. I started playing with a group up there. I wanted to increase the sound palette of what we were doing. So I thought, “I’ve got some piano skills.” I hadn’t been totally away from it. So I bought an electric piano and parked it in my family room and I just started working on some of the stuff we were currently playing. And I got to where I could play maybe 25 percent of the songs we did on piano, where I’d normally play the guitar, and then I started working that in with the band. Well, my parents came up for a visit and we chatted for a few minutes, and I said, “Dad, come here, I want to show you something.” So I took him down to the family room, and I turned on the piano, and I played a little bit for him. And he’s standing behind me, and he’s very understated, quiet, and, “Well, I guess those music lessons didn’t go to waste after all.” And I stopped right in the middle of what I was playing, and I turned around and looked him in the eye, and said, “Dad, no they didn’t. They didn’t. This is what I love to do. I don’t own a fishing boat, I’m not a golf addict, I don’t do all these things that cost a lot of money. This is my hobby that I love to do, and I get paid to do it!” So I think that’s the first time—he was, gosh, probably in his seventies by then. But I think that was the first time that he recognized that he had pounded the money down the right hole, that he’d really felt like it had been a wash. I was really, really grateful to have had that exchange with him before [he died.] I played piano and sang at both my parents’ memorial services. There was a song that was picked up—I can get into some of the stuff that the bands did, but I’ve had a couple of runs, I’ve been on billboard charts nationally, twice, in groups that I’ve been in. They’ve had national release records, one from each group. The second one, we did a concert with Ricky Skaggs, a big country artist at the time, and he had a song that just resonated in a really big way with me. So I played it, and it’s called “Somebody’s Praying.” It’s about how you go through life, and there are people around you who care about you, and want the best for you, and you may not even be aware of what’s going on in the background. That’s kind of the theme of the lyrics, and it just resonated with me in a big way. Because prior to that, my Dad had passed away—my Dad was 92, my Mom was 96—so I’ve got some decent genes going on there. I had a conversation with my Mom several years before she passed away, and I said, “Mom, I’m just infinitely amazed that being a teenager in the sixties; going into the military when Vietnam was at its peak; playing in a rock and roll band in the sixties and seventies, with all the drugs and all the stuff that was going on—how in the world did I navigate through all that and not be a victim in some fashion or another from one or more of those things?” And my Mom reached out, and she put her hand on my arm, and she said, “Well, you know David, there was never a day that your Father and I didn’t pray for you and your sister.”

TYG: Awww!
Dave: So, that’s why that song really resonated with me, and I had a hard time getting through it at the memorial service. But I managed to do it, and I’ve had several people say that was awesome. So it was a good thing.
Anyway, to get back to the music—and I know that’s what Creight put you onto me about [laughs].

TYG: Oh, there is no agenda.
Dave: No expectations? Okay. I told you about meeting Creight, a little bit about how my wife and I connected... I mentioned how I started playing in a group after I got out of high school. A couple of these guys were in the Conservatory at the University of Missouri, and I’d taken some theory and harmony when I was in college, so we felt that we had more than just a passing knowledge about structure. But there a couple of guys that wrote songs and were really good lyricists. I can write music, but I’m a terrible lyricist. My lyrics are pretty inane. [laughs] They’re pretty juvenile-sounding; I just don’t have the gift. I’m not a poet. But a couple of them really did well, and we had some recordings that did well. We got a single released in 1967 that made the Top 100 nationally.

TYG: Wow!
Dave: Didn’t go anywhere. [laughs]

TYG-Graphic Design: Nobody picked you up?
Dave: No. We were hoping to get picked up by a label, and we got shopped around, and it didn’t happen. The one thing that it did for us, though, was that it upped our exposure on the live shows that we were playing. We got to open a lot of concerts for some big names, and along with that, the money goes up. So it served a purpose. So I was with those guys, and I got transferred to Omaha. One of my customers, who didn’t even know I was a musician, invited me to go out with him and his wife to hear a band that they had followed around, and we were sitting there listening to them, and he said, “How do you like these guys?” and I said, “Oh, they’re really good! They’re great singers. They’ve got really nice harmony and I like that, because that’s where I come from. I used to play in a band in Kansas City.” And he said, “Really? What do you play?” And I said, “Well, I’m a guitar player, primarily a lead guitar player.” And he said, “Seriously? These guys are losing a guitar player in a few weeks. Do you want me to introduce you to them?” So I said, “Sure!” So it was just one of those planetary alignment things, you know. [laughs] So he introduced me to them, and three weeks later I’m rehearsing with them and starting to play. So we played along there for a while, and we did some recording of some original stuff, and [then we had] almost a repeat deal of the band in Kansas City. We had a single that made it to the national charts, and again, it didn’t go anywhere. But we did some big shows, and had a lot of fun with it. It was an interesting time and an interesting ride. But it kind of wound down and ran its course, and I had a chance to transfer back to Kansas City, and I was kind of inclined to want to do that because I had my family mostly in Missouri, and I had a sister who lived there, and my parents were in Springfield, Missouri. So I left that group and moved back to Kansas City, and that’s when I started playing in church. That was how I got my musical fix. I did that for a while, then I left that and when Johnni & I... And I had sold all my equipment at the time. I had that piano, and I had like three or four guitars, a bunch of amps, and a whole bunch of just stuff that you accumulate. When Johnni and I went to high school... She said, “Well you were the guitar guy in high school. That was your thing!” I was sort of pushed along that path, because [in] my senior year, we did Bye Bye Birdie—the musical. It’s a comedy musical—it’s a spoof about Elvis Presley, about him going in the army and being a teen idol and all that kind of stuff. So we did Bye Bye Birdie, and because I was in choir and all that stuff they tapped me to be Conrad Birdie, who was the main guy. Kind of a play on words between Conway Twitty and Elvis Presley. So [Johnni] said, “You were the guitar guy! Where are you playing now?” and I said, “Well, I’m not.” “What, you’re not playing?” “No, I kept one acoustic guitar, and I sold everything, and I don’t play anymore.” “Well that’s not right!” So she bought me an electric guitar when we first got together and it’s been downhill ever since! [laughs] No, I’m just kidding. I now have lost count, but I think I have nine guitars, and a piano, and a violin. I played a little of that in a country rock band.

TYG-GD: That’s a different instrument!
Dave: A little bit! But I managed to pick that up pretty quickly. It didn’t take a lot of work. It was a country rock band in Omaha and Alabama [the group] was huge back then in the eighties—I transferred up there in 1980. That band was just killing everybody, so you had to have a fiddle in the band if you wanted to play. So I bought a violin and just wood-shedded it at home on my own, and learned enough to be able to play a couple of Alabama songs. But I’ve got the piano and the guitars and the violin, and maybe four, five amps, I don’t know. And a bunch of... I call them toys, but they’re sound effects things: digital delays, and chorus units, and graphic-y cues, and 12-string simulators, and a whole bunch of little pedals that are all plugged together. If you want a 12-string guitar, you just stomp on a pedal and you’ve got one. So I’ve accumulated all that stuff. It’s been fun. I’m starting to see some problems with the fingers [Dave winces], a little bit of arthritis. Once I limber them up they’re okay, but it’s starting to creep up on me a little bit. It’s a sign of the times, I guess.

My kids are all musical. One of my sons has a degree in music. They all play guitar, and three or four of them play several instruments. The sixties band had a reunion concert, and then we did a couple of benefits for The Parkinson Foundation in Kansas City. The last one we did, I floated the idea to the other guys in the band. It was in an arena, and it was a big crowd. I thought the regional audience would really get a kick out of seeing the second generation perform. The name of the band was The Classmen—this is one of the pub shots that we had—these are the brothers that were the leader of the band. That’s our manager, their father. He sold his insurance agency and started managing the band full-time. This guy, Drew, was the leader, and he had two kids that were musical. This guy [points to a different young man] had two kids that were musical. I had five. Anyway, so I floated the idea. Our audience—everybody knew The Classmen. We were kind of a big deal, regionally. We did tour a little bit—and actually, after I left the group they did a Far East tour: they went to Japan, and South Korea, and traveled and played. They did some big stuff after I left the group! [laughs] But no more records, so I was in on that. I said, “I think the crowd would really get a kick out of hearing the second generation Classmen, because we have enough kids—I’ve got a piano player, I’ve got guitar players, the daughter plays flute and guitar. One of the guys’ kids is a drummer, and he’s a drummer in Nashville, does some studio work in Nashville—he’s a really talented guy. And then one of the other guys is a base player.” So we got them all together. I did kind of the production end of it. I rehearsed them, and they picked out the songs they were going to do, and I got them all together and “Okay, you need to do this part, and you do this part, and...” They just killed it. They did a really great job. It was fun to leave the stage, and just go down into the audience and watch them play—it was a lot of fun.” And at the end of the show, we had collectively brought all of our remaining 45’s; we had five different 45 records that had been put out—only one of them made the national charts. But between us collectively, we had hundreds of those things left. So we just sort of handed them out. Anybody in the audience that wanted them, they could have them. We didn’t have enough to cover everybody in the arena—it was a pretty big crowd. But we probably gave away three, four hundred records. Freed up some closet space. [laughs] The thing for me that’s really poignant is this guy Drew, who was the leader of the group, and his brother Doug, who was 11 years old when I started with him. He was already a very accomplished drummer. And his Dad, who was the manager, had been a drummer in not really a dance band, but a small band back in the forties—he was a pretty good drummer. Doug was a good drummer, Drew played bass. And out of this group, the youngest one and me are the only ones still living. Drew was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 16, 17 years ago, when he was still pretty young; his younger brother, five years ago, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Drew passed away, this guy passed away. He was the writing force—he wrote all the songs on the records we had, Denny. So their family, the Dimmel family, got involved in The Parkinson’s Foundation in Kansas City. They have a sister, Suzanne, who’s involved in it as well. They came up with the idea for us to do a benefit for The Foundation. So we ended up doing three different benefits. The first one was kind of a small deal; it wasn’t that big. The second and third ones were quite large, and the last total I heard was that we’d raised $100,000, so that was a good feeling.

Yeah, it was fun. They arranged for the arena, we had a sound company come in and set up all the sound equipment, we had smoke and light machines and the whole shooting match. It was a regular, big-time kind of concert feel. For me that was fun, but the kids got a kick out of that, because none of them had even played anywhere close to that kind of venue. Some of them had never played publicly before. The one son, who’s got the degree in music, he played a solo with the Kansas City Symphony several years ago when he was in high school. He was the first chair, all state, clarinetist in the State of Missouri three years in high school. Beat everyone in the state. So I’m really proud of him. He’s involved in music in his church, and he doesn’t do anything other than that. He’s working for a company that’s like air traffic controllers for the shipping industry, shipping traffic world-wide globally from Norman, Oklahoma.

TYG: That is weird.
Dave: Who would have thought, from the middle of the country! The oldest son, he’s a research scientist in the medical field; Number Two son went to Korea and taught English and came back, got Braille-certified and taught visually-impaired kids, then he left that and is working for a start-up bakery, baking bagels. He’s always been our culinary kind of guy, and he was baking his own bread at home well before that ever happened, and doing a really nice job. I guess teaching wasn’t creative enough for him. He enjoyed it—he got employee of the year at one of the school districts he worked at—and he was very well-respected and did a good job. But he decided that baking bagels was his cup of tea, so I said, “Knock yourself out!” I told all my kids: “Look, whatever you think you might like to do in life, if it’s something that you really enjoy doing, that’s what you need to grab onto. If you can figure out a way to earn a living to the level you want to live at, whatever that is, doing something that you really enjoy, you’ve got a leg up on so many people in the world. I enjoy what I do—I’ve been at it long enough that it’s kind of second nature, it’s easy for me now because I don’t have to look up things. I just know the nomenclatures and chemistries, and I’ve just been down that road enough that it’s easy for me to work now as opposed to when I was on a learning curve. But if you can get out of bed in the morning, and go, “Wow, what’s going to happen today?” [rubs his hands], you know... I like what I do, but I don’t really love it.

TYG: That’s why you do your music.
Dave: Music is my love. Selling metal is my wherewithal to be able to play.

TYG: Well, great talking to you!
Dave: Nice talking to you too!

Some of Dave Cowden's memorabilia

Yachats Celtic Music Festival Announcement

The 17th annual Yachats Celtic Music Festival returns to the beautiful coastal city of Yachats, Oregon, November 10—12, 2017. A glorious weekend of Celtic music awaits you. The festival is always a delight featuring world class traditional and contemporary music of the Celtic countries, showcasing the influence of Celtic music throughout the world. This year festival entertainment features: The Seamus Egan Project, The Bronnie Griffin Band featuring Bronnie Griffin with Cary Novotny and Johnny B Connolly, Kevin Carr and Family, Lindsay Straw, Na Rosai, Bob Soper and Elizabeth Nicholson, plus many surprises. The entire town of Yachats embraces the festival. Experience a new "pub style" format at the Yachats Commons, along with mini concerts at the Little Log Church, and dance workshops on the wooden floor of the Yachats Lions Club. Experience the "Piper on the Point"  at sunset.  Enjoy workshops, story-telling, dancing,  jam sessions, whiskey tasting, gourmet food and drinks, plus a variety of vendors.  Friday activities start at 12 noon this year with a mix of free and paid events throughout the weekend. The Yachats Celtic Music Festival is produced by Polly Plumb Productions. 

Tickets are now on sale at:
Please visit us on Facebook  or on our website:           541-968-6089

Oregon Lodging & Restaurant Association (ORLA) honors

Oregon Coast hotelier as Employee of the Year

The Oregon Lodging & Restaurant Association, (ORLA), held its annual awards convention at the River House on the Deschutes in Bend, honoring exceptional leaders in the industry. This year Heather Tincher-Overholser, a 21 year veteran and assistant manager of the Yachats hotels, Overleaf Lodge & Spa and The Fireside Motel, was awarded the distinguished “Employee of the Year” award. Heather was one of many nominated for the award.

Some of the words used to describe Heather, by owners Drew and Kristin Roslund are, “dependable and honest”, “one who supports her staff in just about every way possible”, “her integrity is impeccable”, “She has the biggest heart”. Some of the values that Heather expresses in what it takes to provide exceptional hospitality are honesty, an incredible work ethic, sacrifice, caring and being your authentic-self.

The Overleaf and Fireside have earned a loyal following and are well known for celebrating a genuine Oregon coast experience. The Overleaf Lodge & Spa is also known for their third-floor hot soaking pools and spa with sweeping views of the ocean. The Fireside Motel is best known for being pet-friendly. Both properties are revered for being people-friendly, and Heather clearly leads the team with this spirit.

YouTube: ORLA-Employee of the Year:

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Yachats Gazette, Issue 73, October 1 2017

For a printable copy of Issue 73, please click here.

Interview with Dave Cowden

Dave Cowden is a Yachats-based musician who currently plays with Creighton Horton (TYG Issues 65 and 66).

TYG: So, where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in Kansas City and Johnni, my wife, was as well. We went to high school together. I graduated a couple of years ahead of her, went to college, and then I went in the military. She went to college, and we parted ways and ended up marrying other people. Then we ran into each other being single again back in Kansas City about thirteen years ago. She was living in Eugene, and I was still in Kansas City because I had five kids. So we did the long-distance thing for a while and got sick of that. That got old in a big hurry. She was sort of thinking she could be done with her career—she was the Executive Director of the Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene for quite a few years. She’d reached a point, like I said, where she felt she could be done with her career, so we started seriously talking about getting married, what we would do, where we would live. So I negotiated a deal with her to get married and move back to Kansas City until my youngest one graduated. So we got married in Eugene, and moved back to Kansas City for six years. We thought we were going to move back to Eugene because we had kept her house that she had there. All the time we were vacationing we were coming over to Yachats, to the coast, and we just fell in love with the place. But the last year we vacationed here we saw this house for sale and inquired about it, not having any intention of buying the thing. We were more or less just being nosy—we had no idea what the real estate was like here. So we were going to move back to Eugene, but we found this place and just kind of got a little snooping about it. We talked all the way back to Kansas City—just yak, yak yak yak, you know, doing the pros and cons on it. We finally decided to make an offer on it. It was an estate sale, so there were some motivated sellers, and we happened to hit the market and the interest rates in the right place. So we bought it, and moved here in June of 2013. I work from home, I’m in sales. So I worked out a deal with my employer. I sell industrial metals: aluminum, steel, stainless, that kind of thing. Business has progressed over the years with the advent of the internet and communications and all that. I tell people jokingly, but really it might be possible, that I could work from the moon if I had internet connectivity; it wouldn’t matter. [...] I worked out a deal with my employer to work from home, because I did work from the corporate office in Kansas City. We don’t sell any finished product, it’s all just raw materials: sheets, plates, bars, tubes, that kind of stuff. We sell to machine shops and manufacturers who build anything and everything that’s made out of metal. It’s amazing, if you look around and really pay attention in your world, the things that are made out of metal. It’s unbelievable: door hinges, automotive parts; I sell to just about every industry that’s out there: farm implements; a customer who was the first subcontractor to Lockheed Martin and NASA—I sell him titanium and aerospace aluminum, castings and forgings and that kind of stuff. It’s pretty interesting. I’ve been in the same field for 44 years.

TYG-Graphic Design: Did you get a degree in that?
No, I didn’t! I bounced around with the idea of what my major should be, and I haven’t really graduated from anything. I took music, and I was in art and photography school for a while, and just life got in the way. I went into the military, I got married... Things just drive some of your choices. I’ve got a smattering of knowledge of a whole bunch of stuff that’s not related to each other. It’s been a good career; it’s been ups and downs, with the economy. There have been some really, really good times, and some really slow times. Right now it’s not particularly good, but it’s kind of showing some signs of trying to come back. But moved here, and met Creight—I know you did an article on him. He and his family moved here about three months after we did. Creight and I met at an open mike at Green Salmon—they have one once a month. I played something solo, and he played something solo, and we just kind of chatted afterward and said, “Well, I like what you’re doing, let’s just get together and jam!” And that was the intent. We were just going to get together and enjoy playing a little bit of music together. Over a period of time, we found out that there were some venues around here that hired local musicians, so we thought, “Well, maybe we could work up enough material to maybe play once in a while. Well, “once in a while” has turned into a pretty significant part-time job! [laughs

TYG: Every couple of days, right?
Well, during the summer season it gets crazy! I keep track of it on the calendar—I think in July we played eighteen times. And August, we did like fourteen, and September we’re going to end up with something like sixteen.

TYG: Wow!
TYG-GD: Where do you play most often?
We’re kind of the house musicians for Luna Sea Fish House.

TYG: We’re neighbors with the owners—they’re literally just across the courtyard.
Oh! Well Robert Anthony, who owns Luna Sea Fish House, hired Creight’s daughter Eyrie before she went to college, and she’s come back every summer and worked as a server. She told Robert, “If you build a stage, my Dad and his buddy might come down and play music sometime. He thought that was a good idea, so he built a platform, and the platform year on year has become a platform with walls, and then a platform with walls and a canopy, and then they put a glass wall on one side. So we’ve got almost an enclosed little stage down there, and this is our fourth summer playing. We play kind of a lunch hour set on Saturday, and then an evening set on Saturday; and then on holiday weekends like the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, there’s always a Monday involved and sometimes Sunday too, so we play there pretty regularly. And then we play at the Drift Inn a couple times a month. In fact, I played a solo gig—Creight’s out of town, he went to his fiftieth high school reunion. As much as I dislike it—I don’t like to play solo, because over my musical career, I’ve always played in a band. I never really considered myself to be a lead singer. I played in bands that always had at least one guy, if not a couple guys, who had really good voices, good lead voices. I took vocal music in school and studied harmony and theory in college, and I know the mechanics; I took piano as a kid, so I know the mechanics pretty well, but I was always way more comfortable singing harmony behind somebody who had a really good voice.

TYG-GD: What is your primary instrument?
Guitar. Creight and I both play guitar, and he plays banjo, mandolin, and a little harmonica; and I play piano—I’ve got an electric piano, an 88-key piano that I used to carry around, but for one-nighters, and as I get older, it’s just a little bit more than I want to deal with physically, to haul the piano and set it up along with all the other stuff. 

TYG: I’m not sure, but I think ours may have more than 88 keys. 88 keys is really small, right?
No, it’s a full size.

TYG: Oh, never mind then.
The only piano which is bigger than that is a Bösendorfer, which is about a $100,000 grand piano, and it has an extra octave on the bottom. When you hit those big, crashing low notes, it rattles the walls almost. They’re pretty amazing pianos—I’ve never had my hands on one, but... I wouldn’t know what to do with the extra keys, probably! [laughs] [...] I’m a fan of a bass line. In bands, I’ve played bass off and on. I played stand-up, double bass in a church choir for twenty-some years in Kansas City, just because the transition from a guitar to a bass is not a big step; it’s a pretty easy jump. I enjoy playing bass.

Before that, my musical background... I was in a working band when I was fifteen years old. I couldn’t even drive—I had to have one of the other guys come pick me up. That was really just a once in a while on a weekend kind of thing, whenever we could get a job somewhere. They were pretty small events.

TYG-GD: How do you hook up with a band when you’re a fifteen year old?
School. You know, guys I went to school with. Interestingly, when I was in school—I graduated in 1964. Johnni and I went to school together. It wasn’t a small school; it wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t a small school either. I think in my graduating class there were about 270 something people. At that time, if you think back in the 1960’s, in the early 60’s when I was in high school, I was in the only band in the whole school, the only young guy band that played rock and roll music. My kids all graduated from a different high school in Kansas City, admittedly it was a larger school, but you can’t throw a rock down the hallway and not hit two or three kids who play in bands! They’re just all over the place. And some of these kids are scary good. My daughter plays guitar and sings and writes songs, and she played in a couple of little talent show things at school—they had to audition for it, and they pared it down to like eight or ten acts and she performed at those—some of those kids! I think back to what my skill set was and I look at some of these kids and think, “I’m glad I’m not trying to compete with them!” But having said that, you go back to the internet again. You can go on the internet and find out how to play, note for note, anything. You can just dial it up and there it is, and it’ll show you slow motion, and show you the tablature and everything—leads and chords and everything. It’s a lot easier now. [laughs] I had to keep backing up the needle on the record player, sit there and listen to it. My parents both were farm kids. My mom played piano a little bit; my dad wasn’t musical, but he enjoyed music. In fact, he had a big classical record library and he liked to listen to music. When I was in high school, the Beatles were really just coming out. And I’m backing up the needle and trying to play these lines, and figure them out all on my own, just by listening, playing by ear. We had a combination TV/stereo system in the living room. My dad would be sitting there reading a paper, I’m backing this needle up, and I probably played the same four bars of a guitar part a dozen times, and pretty soon I kind of hit his limit, and the thing that I remember him saying was, “Why don’t you turn that off and let it cool down a little bit?” [laughter] Because I just wore him slick hearing the same thing over and over again, and on top of that, not being music that he could appreciate. But that was the way you learned things back then! I used to go and watch other bands play, and watch other guys, better guitar players than I was at the time, and try to pick up things. I played in high school, I played in college, and right after high school I joined a group that had a full-time, professional manager. They had some good musicians; a couple of them graduated with degrees from the conservatory in the city, so these guys were schooled and smart musicians. One of them had a degree in composing and arranging. He would chart things out, and I would kind of have to try and figure out how to read it. That was good for me, because it kind of forced me to up my game.

TYG: Also to pick up musical notation!
Sure! Like I said, I took vocal music. I can sight read vocal music—two or three passes, and I can pretty much nail it. I’ve just lost my skill at playing piano and reading music. And I wasn’t that successful at piano lessons, because my ear was just too strong. My discipline to read the notes and put them on the keyboard.

TYG-GD: What do you mean exactly by your ear is “too strong”?
Well, I ... you hear it. Right now, if you picked something on the radio and played me a few bars of it, I could probably play it back to you on the guitar in a couple of minutes. Wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be close. It’s just the way my wiring works, and I can hear things. That’s the reason I took piano lessons as a child, because when I was like five years old, we went to an aunt’s birthday party, and there was a cake stand that had a music box in it that played the birthday song, and I’m five years old, and they’re sitting around the dinner table having coffee after dinner, and I’m in there one-finger playing, picking it out on the piano. Of course my parents said, “Oh my god, he’s a prodigy!” So I took piano; my sister and I both did. Being a parent now, I have to really look back at the time when I told my dad, after he had spent a lot of money for a piano, and music lessons... We lived in south Kansas City—there were no shopping centers, there were no suburban music centers that taught lessons: you had to go all the way downtown. So rain, sleet, snow, shine—I remember one time my dad put chains on the car, just so we could get downtown for a music lesson—so between financially and taking care of things, there were some things that my parents went without. I recognize that now. And my dad, he didn’t show a lot of emotion at the time when I told him I didn’t want to take piano anymore, I wanted to play the guitar and play in a rock and roll band. My dad’s a pretty soft-spoken guy, and like I said, my parents were both farm kids and pretty down to earth, and they probably could have been a little tougher on me than they were.

TYG-GD: How old were you when you announced this?
About thirteen, fourteen, something like that. And by fifteen I was in a band, playing jobs.

Our interview with Dave Cowden will continue in Issue 74.

Interview with Gretchen Milhaupt

This is Part 2 of our interview with Gretchen Milhaupt, who has a show currently hanging at Ona Restaurant and Lounge.

Gretchen: I got to art school at age 52, in Portland, and somehow by almost magic got to go to New York City, because there was a program, I found out at PNCA [Pacific Northwest College of Art], that said if there’s room, you can pay your tuition here in Portland, but you can go to this New York studio program, that’s associated with Parsons [School of Design]. I applied for it, I got in, I had my show that fall in 1997. I was only supposed to go for one six-month period. When I knew I was in, then I called my brother, and I was like, “Okay, I’m in, now what?” I mean, his apartment was only a one-bedroom apartment, there was no way I could live with him. But he said, “Well, we’ll see. Let’s just hang in there.” He called me up a couple of weeks later, and said, “You’re not going to believe this. There’s an Italian woman who has a studio apartment down two floors, and she wants to go back to Italy and she doesn’t know what to do. So I rented it for you.”

TYG-Graphic Design: Oh my gosh. How perfect is that? [laughter]
So all those younger—much younger, decades younger—art students, if they found out I was living in a seventeenth-floor beautiful studio apartment with a view of all of New York in Greenwich Village, in walking distance of the school... [grimaces] That’s called being fortunate! I know that, and I know that I’ve experienced that. And I really appreciate that my brother did help me a lot. So I feel that I got a much better art education in terms of art history. The deal about the program in New York was to get into famous artist studios, have artists come—famous artists, even well-known New York artists who have their studios all around there—come to the program, look at our art work, give us critiques. All of that. It was a fanTAStic experience.

Then my brother’s health went way, way, way down, and he didn’t want me to leave, and I didn’t really want to leave, and the people said, “Well, you could just apply to get into Parsons.” There were two girls who walked into Parsons and said, “We want to go to Portland, to PNCA.” So, we exchanged. If there wasn’t that kind of exchange, there wasn’t going to be room for them. [...] So I went to Parsons in the Fine Arts department, and I had painting and drawing teachers there. And it was really a wonderful experience. But it was tempered with the idea that first of all, I was in my fifties, and I had foot pain, and my brother was dying, and it was very, very difficult and stressful. And he did; he died before school got out, and I did everything that I could to keep up with everything. Some of the teachers were very nice to me, and I said, “Well, could you just give me a C, and I won’t take the test?” And they said, “Okay, that’s alright.” I mean, I don’t want to say that they made it real easy for me because I did do my work, but I got through it, and I came back. So then, I finished school at PNCA, and I’ve never forgotten one of the professors there, once I was graduated, I ran into him in the Pearl district—and meanwhile, from the time that I started, they were partly at the Art Museum, and then they went over to the Pearl district, and they were they when I came back from New York. Now, they’ve moved to another building—but the Pearl district, in 1998, when I came back from New York, it was still just kind of starting up, so it was a big deal for them to be there. And it was fun. So I remember this professor saying, after I graduated, he ran into me. And he said, “Well, how are you doing Gretchen?” And I said, “Oh, I’m doing okay.” I really wasn’t, but I didn’t want to say because I was so tired. And he said, “Now, you have to spend the next five years getting us out of your system! Hahaha!”

TYG-GD: You mean, as a school, to break free of their influence?
And one of the things I’d say I learned in art school... I had this one teacher who scoffed, “It just looks like you’re drawing with paint.” Okay. Another one came along, and said, admiringly, “Look! You’re drawing with paint!” So, I think one of my friends said, “Oh, the only thing you’re going to learn in art school is how to do things on a deadline, and how to take criticism.”

TYG-GD: Taking criticism is actually a really good skill.
That is what you want. And you want to respect who is saying this, who is criticizing, or critiquing your work. There’s a lot that is done in art school that does teach you what you are looking for and what you’re supposed to be talking about and saying, not just dissing people or whatever.

I would say that another way I’ve been fortunate is, even though my brother spent all of his money, there was something else that happened. The man he worked for was a billionaire, and there’s a portion of my brother’s estate which helped me to stick with doing art work. I had my house, I had house-mates, I painted in the basement for ten years, even though I said, “I hope I’m not known as one of those women who painted in her basement for ten years!” [laughter] I started selling my work even before art school, while [in] art school, and after. But I have to say that 2001 put a big damper on a lot of that activity for a lot of us, and I was a kind of newbie. But at the same time, I would say that I know that I’m a very fortunate person, because I’m getting to do what I always wanted to do. This is all I ever wanted to do. [Follows an interruption to move cars around in the parking lot.]

Where were we? Okay, so I got out of art school. Had a great time. I also had to have an operation in the middle of my senior year and I almost died with blood clots in my lungs, and after that I was really supposed to finish my thesis work in December, but they said I could let it slip till May. My thesis advisor said, “Oh, if you want to wait till next year, we can do that, that’s okay.” I said, “I’ll go get a gun and shoot myself if I have to do this anymore.” When you’re three and a half years into this, and you have one more half-year, and you’re in the middle of your thesis, you want to get it done! So I managed to get myself up. What I wanted to do, was portraits. Because all along I had been drawing the figure in Phil’s studio—three years of doing that twice a week for three hours at a time, four years always taking drawing classes and always drawing the figure. It’s really partly because of Alice Neel, partly because it’s a real tradition, partly because it’s very hard to do: it’s hard work to learn how to do that. Even if you have a natural ability—maybe I have some of that—I did it. I got carpal tunnel syndrome, I got stress injuries, I got a knobby thing here [points at her hand], shoulder problems... but I really was determined. I took as many painting classes as I could. I took them at night, and I took them during the day. So I kept going.

I eventually got out of my basement, and made a little studio in the back, with a door out to the deck, which was really nice. I showed my work at some places in Portland. Nothing big-time, because [...] you have to create a body of work. So, to me, that’s what’s in Ona [Restaurant & Lounge, in Yachats]: a body of work. And that’s not my first body of work—I’ve done many others. I’ll show you around here, because there’s evidence of that here. I loved going outdoors in the ninety degree summer heat, in the shade of the big beautiful trees in Laurelhurst Park and do figurative drawings and paintings like that. I sold a bunch of those. But then 2008 came, and that was a real tough one for all of us. Everyone, whether you owned property, whether you were an artist—whatever you did, it was like a world-wide crash and it was difficult. And I remember reading a New York article about how galleries were sending out letters to their rich patrons saying, please, buy art! These artists are going to die if you don’t buy art! And we have a $57,000 overhead that we’re not going to be able to pay! This is the moment of truth kind of thing. There’s definitely something about “Why are doing art?” You have to keep that in your mind and heart and in your gut, and say, “Because I have this need to do this. I really can’t not do it.” Of course there’s ego involved, which says, “I want to identify as an artist. I can’t just sit here and not be doing it.”

So, in time, because of my experience living down in Bob Creek, knowing this area—and even in Portland I’d say, “Oh, I’m going down to Yachats!” and they’d go, “What? Where’s that?” “Oh, forget it.” Finally I got to the point where I could sell my house in Portland, and I did, and I didn’t really know exactly what I was going to do so I moved into an apartment. Those were my years of really living irresponsibly, which I was completely into. And then pretty soon I’m turning 70, and going, “Oh, I always wanted to be an old lady back at the coast!” so I started coming back here, over a number of years. And I ran into somebody who used to date my younger brother in Eugene in middle school, who lives in Yachats, and I’ll leave out her name, but she helped me. I said, “I need a house-sitting gig!” so I could maybe try to figure out where is my place here on the Oregon coast. Also, I grew up from age eight to sixteen in Eureka. It’s on the coast—it’s a little bit like Coos Bay or Waldport, but there’s the same kind of weather. I get over here and I just go, “Yes!” [groans emphatically] I lived in Portland for the Portlandia years—it was wonderful! We had a wonderful time, and I lived as an urbanite, which I wanted to do, and I got it all out of my system, and I said, “I can’t take this anymore. I want to move over here.”

So my friend and I were sitting at the Green Salmon looking at The Skinny, and there was a trailer [with an affordable price]. And my friend said, “Oh, but it’s in a beautiful place!” But I came and I really didn’t like it. So I called Charlie Tabasko, and we established that we were in Eugene in the 60’s at the same time. He said, “There’s a nicer one, if you want to see it tomorrow. It’s more, but not so much more.” So I came over here the next day, and there had been a sale fall-through the day before. I was here at eleven, and Charlie said, “I’m showing it to somebody else at one, so you have one hour to make up your mind whether you’re buying this or not.”

Okay, now let me show you around a little bit. [She does so.] I thought it looked like a good idea, and in an hour I made up my mind and said, “Yes, I’m going to do it.” The only way I could make up my mind in one hour that “I’m going to buy this place and move here!” is because I knew that there were people playing ping pong in Yachats, at the Commons, on Monday nights. I didn’t really feel ready to give up my 20 years of playing ping pong in Portland. And two weeks later it was mine, and a month later I moved down. And I’ve been the happiest, happiest, happiest 72-year old now you’ve ever met. [laughter]

[She shows us more of her work inside] That’s one time in Portland where we were doing what’s called “up-cycle”—so that’s old canvas, old materials, and pennies on it.

Up-cycled painting by Gretchen Milhaupt

But here, this one: that was my very first painting. I learned about an artist named Oskar Kokoschka, and I was trying to do a self-portrait in the vein of Kokoshka. But I didn’t do it from looking in the mirror—I was looking at a photograph that somebody had taken of me.

Self-portrait in the vein of Oskar Kokoshka, by Gretchen Milhaupt

TYG: I imagine that’s easier than doing it from a mirror.
No, there’s a whole discussion to be had about that. This is something that I refuse to do, because one thing you’re doing is painting a photograph. It’s just a little object here; it’s flat, and everything is taken out of it. It’s not the real thing. [...] These are older paintings done in oil, done outdoors, Portland scenes. And I’ve done dozens and dozens of them. I like oil paint, I like acrylic paint—the ones at Ona are all acrylic paint—and I like gouache. This is gouache. It’s an original painting, from a drawing that I did. I had a model, I drew the model, then I used that drawing to make a painting. That’s one way that I like to do that. Now this: I was out in the park and there were models there. But there’s also some level of making things up, too. One thing I’m not interested in, is realism. And I say, damn the details. [laughter] I’m not putting in eyelashes. I’m not putting fingernails on the fingers. I’m not even maybe making the fingers. You know that’s a foot! But really, it’s a painting. I’m not interested in tedium.

[To Allen] So, you posed a very interesting question about using a photograph. So, in my [portfolio] album, there’s a picture of two kids that I painted, a girl in a pink blouse and her brother next to it. Right after art school, a friend brought his kids over to my studio basement and said, “Alright, I want you to do their portrait, but you have to do it looking at them—there’s no using photography. And I learned the difference. And I’m very grateful to him. Since I did those portraits, I told people that if they wanted to come in and have me do a portrait, I’d try to do it in five sittings. I remember saying to little Chloe, who was eleven or so, and it was in the summertime and she was all tired-looking in the beginning, and she came back the next week and I said, “Chloe, are you the same person today that you were last week?” And she looked at me [like I was crazy]. “Well, I’m not the same person I was last week. I was really into it last week. Today I’m tired, and I’m not sure I really want to do this, but here we are, we have to do it. So I’m not the same person. Really, I don’t think you are either, because this is a very in-the-moment thing.” And the painting grew, and got better, and I learned that it does get better. By people coming back, and they learn what their pose is, maybe the light changes a little bit, maybe they change a little bit, maybe I change a little bit: it’s a process that builds a full, rounded painting. There are layers of paint. You don’t know that’s what you’re seeing is all that painting. But you are. So it’s a line that I’ve drawn, and it’s probably like shooting yourself in the foot. Because if I could just do portraits from photographs, then maybe I could be doing that. But I don’t want to do that. And guess what? I’m old enough to say that I don’t want to do what I don’t want to do. [laughter]

TYG: Did you have anything else you wanted to say?
Well, when I got here, a friend said, “You know, you should show your work at Ona.” I said okay, and I sent [Michelle Korgan] some pictures, and she said no. So I thought, “Well okay, I guess I’d better re-strategize here.” So, this is how things happened, and it’s how things happen at the coast: I went to the art group, and I met nice people, and I did it more for meeting people than doing the art work. I got here in May, and all that first fall I had to have a bunch of little surgeries that were unpleasant, and I couldn’t really do things. Finally in January I got up the nerve to go Monday night and face those people in Yachats, whatever level of play they had. I would talk to Leon, and he would say, “Just go!” But I was nervous.

TYG-GD: This is the ping pong people?
Yes, the ping pong people. I was nervous first of all that maybe they’d all be really terrible and it would be a big disappointment, or they’d be really good and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. So it’s just something that you worry about, and it’s hard. Anyway, so I faced my fears and went over, and we had a great time. Subsequently, I feel that they are some of the core people that I formed friendships with. That’s how I met Ian [Smith], and that’s how I met Chris [Graamans], his brother-in-law. Last year, I decided that “I need Chris to come over here and take photographs of my artwork, because I have to get more serious about actually doing something.” And then, I met some guys who moved to Yachats, and they bought a house for Airbnb on the ocean. And I said to them, “You need some of my big paintings in there!” And they said, “Yeah!” So they did. And that helped me get them out, out of here. Anything that helps them get out. And then I made a new friend, and she bought a house, and she saw the paintings, and she said, “Oh, I have to have one” but now she has three. And then she said, “Why aren’t your paintings in Ona? So I said something to my other ping pong buddy, “You’ve had your artwork there, would you say something to Michelle?” And so he did, and she came here. My goal was—I thought the best thing I could do for me and my artwork was to be in Ona for three months in the summer. I knew that her basic idea is to change every three months. Every month—that’s a nightmare! You have to deal with artists every month? Oh, my god! [laughter] She came here and liked what she saw, and I had five new paintings. One of them wasn’t even finished; it’s the triptych in the entry. She said, “Well how long will it take you to finish that?” “I don’t know...” Then it was like, “You have to have them there by June 28th.” “Oh, I’ll get it done!” And the other two, I got done too.

Triptych by Gretchen Milhaupt

TYG-GD: [laughter] Sometimes deadlines are not so bad!
So there you go, there’s that story!

TYG: Well thank you so much for your time!
Thank you for coming.