H 2 O

Today we’ve had rain on and off, and the plants are drinking it all in. Ask people what they think of Washington, and most would probably say it’s a rainy state. After all, we are called the Evergreen State, and staying evergreen requires plenty of water. We are even home to some very beautiful rainforests.

Here at Coppertop we live in the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains, so we get considerably less rain than other parts of western Washington, including Seattle. I found it surprising to learn that in comparison to Norfolk, Virginia’s 46 inches of annual rainfall, Port Angeles receives an estimated 27.  Much of that precipitation is drizzle or heavy fog, and grey days abound. These first months in Washington haven’t been as grey as I’d imagined, though. I’m feeling spoiled.

These gardens require serious amounts of water, and we haven’t even entered the vegetable growing season yet. The terrific thing:  This is the first home we’ve owned with all its own water and sewer systems. Our well, filtering,  and septic setups were pronounced “the cadillac” of systems by the home inspector prior to purchase. This water is the freshest, coolest, cleanest, sweetest-tasting elixir. It reminds me of how I loved drinking alpine water during childhood summer trips to Tahoe.

On this drizzly day, I’ve been attempting to learn about the many evergreen trees growing in this Evergreen State, mainly so that I can identify what we have on our acreage and what we see when we’re hiking. I’ve found this resource from Washington State U. to be helpful: http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/eb0440/eb0440.pdf

This informative web publication, complete with its cartoonish sketches, helped me identify one huge tree in a prominent location near our greenhouse. The tall evergreens around here look strikingly similar — until you examine their bark and cones.  I’m pleased to identify this tree as most definitely a Douglas Fir!  Hubby grew up decorating a small one of these each year at Christmas, while my family always chose a Noble Fir.  Here’s the smallish cone dropped by our big Douglas Fir with its recognizable pitchfork-shaped bracts:

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