Yellow Flocks

Last spring I realized my daffodils had gotten completely out of hand. I have a nice mix of different varieties, but they had grown out of their little clumps and were scampering back and forth all over my garden areas. After they bloomed and died back, I spent a lot of time in the early summer digging and thinning. I gave little bags of bulbs to anyone who even thought about approaching my back door.

Toshiba Digital Camera

A good friend told me an old family story about his grandfather who grew up in Cornwall, England. He was an acclaimed runner, and in the spring he sometimes ran through whole fields of daffodils in order to get from one place to another. As he ran, the story went, he kicked off the blossoms of any in his path.

Yellow trio in my neighbors' yard: oregon grape, daffodils, and forsythia, all blooming at once

Yellow trio in my neighbors’ yard: oregon grape, daffodils, and forsythia, all blooming at once

Ann Lovejoy in her column in early November of last year told another daffodil story. Many years ago Mary Sam, a healer and granddaughter of Chief Sealth, lived in a log cabin on Bainbridge Island on what was then known as “Welfare wagon road” (near Phelps Road and Ellingsen today). Years later a neighbor, Dick Krutch, noticed that she had planted daffodils around where her cabin had been and also around the neighborhood.

Krutch decided that if this woman made such an effort for an old road and cabin, he would like to continue the effort. Over the years he has donated over 100,000 daffodils for the island’s neighborhoods. If you visit Bainbridge Island this time of year, you can’t miss them along the roadsides. Dedicated volunteers have kept the project going.

This variety, the “King Alfred Type” bulbs are a large, hearty, golden blossom. The original King Alfred daffodils were developed in England in the late 1800′s. Lovejoy said that since Port Townsend had a British consulate with gardens, Pacific Northwest gardeners were among the first Americans to grow this sturdy variety that can live for generations.

However, this true King Alfred daffodil is not sold today. Over time, the name “King Alfred” became a generic name for all the bigger “yellow trumpet” varieties. Some botanists believe that nearly all the original King Alfred bulbs in North America were wiped out by a viral disease by the mid-1900′s.

The only true King Alfred variety may be found in old yards that date back to the early 1900′s. A few Dutch bulb growers continue to grow them in order to keep them from becoming extinct, but they’re rarely sold.

Since my house dates back to the early 1900′s (and some bulbs I planted 40 years ago came from a yard of that age, also), do I have the original King Alfred in my yard? I like to think so. Regardless, I enjoy all those spots of bright yellow and remember that closing line of Wordsworth’s poem that I memorized in grade school:

Greeters at my back door

Greeters at my back door

“And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”

Rivers of Ice

Like a little kid, I barely resist the urge to push people out of my way so I can get up to the ship’s rail to see better, but people around me are also excited and I’m afraid they might push back. When I see a hole open, I dive for it. Directly in front of me is the face of Johns Hopkins Glacier, about one mile wide and about 250 feet high. It extends another 200 feet or so beneath the water’s surface. This tidewater glacier moves about 8-12 feet a day, a slow river of ice heading for the sea. Occasionally, a big section will crack off and splash into the water, a “calving,” but we’re not lucky enough to see that today.

Johns Hopkins Glacier, September 2013 (courtesy of the Potter)

Johns Hopkins Glacier, September 2013 (courtesy of the Potter)

I doubt that I’ve ever seen so many cameras in one place. I sense that we’re all aware of being swept back into that earlier Ice Age when continental-scale ice sheets covered much of the Northern Hemisphere, reaching as far south as what is today the Upper Midwest. My friend Jean lives near Ice Age debris in Wisconsin. She helps maintain her section of the Ice Age Trail.

The glaciers came and went, but in the mid 1700′s up in the Glacier Bay area, just north of Juneau, Alaska, they started a final retreat. Since then, many inlets and bays have opened up, and in 1980, President Carter signed the conservation act that turned that whole area into Glacier Bay National Park.

The air is cold and it’s raining lightly, but these sightseers, unlike glaciers, do not retreat. Occasionally I move aside to let someone in, and then go to a different deck for another view. I try to memorize the scene in front of me, especially that beautiful, deceptively soft, light blue color of the glaciers.

We finally retreat to our room and watch from our little deck. Here, away from people, we can actually hear the glaciers–a kind of crackling or rustling sound. Once we hear a loud crack that sounds like a gunshot.

The ship, moving very slowly through the inlets and bays in order to protect the area’s humpback whales (we’d seen a group of about 14 a day or two before), visits a number of other glaciers that day. Chunks of ice float in the water around us, and with the binoculars we see a harbor seal resting on one of them.

You, too, can visit Glacier Bay National Park. There are some stunning photos and videos at their website, www.nps.gov/glba/index.htm You can explore the whole website, but don’t miss “Photos & Multimedia” in the menu on the left hand side of that first screen. Scroll down to the bottom of the next screen and watch the two videos. Perhaps take a quick overview flight in the first one, “Glacier Bay from Above,” and then watch “What’s So Special about Glacier Bay NP?” You will see Glacier Bay like very few visitors do–in sunshine and blue skies. This is rain forest country, with only about 50 sunny days a year, so most of these videos were taken on very rare sunny days. Treat yourself!

Seahawk Mania and the Existence of Quarterbacks

The Pacific Northwest has gone just a little crazy over football after the Seahawks’ win of the Super Bowl. Even those of us who never watch football have found ourselves glued to the games and, truth be told, actually cheering.

I sub in school libraries occasionally and found myself subbing in an elementary school the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday. The principal had relaxed the “uniforms only” rule for that day and the kids could wear sports t-shirts instead (or colors of their favorite teams). I wish I had counted the Seahawk jerseys I saw–a sea of blue and green all day long.

The day before the big Seattle victory parade, I was again subbing, this time in a high school library, and I overheard plans and scheming all day long. Predictions at that point were for a 200-300,000 crowd. We’re located on the Kitsap Peninsula, a 10 mile drive and a ferry ride away from Seattle, but the seniors early in the day had planned that this day would be their “senior skip day.” Excitement turned to disgust when they realized a bunch of juniors were going, too. In the end, a sizable number of ninth and tenth graders must have joined the ranks–the staff speculated that at least 2/3 of their student body was gone the next day. And predictions were wrong–a crowd of some 700,000 showed for the parade.

But earlier, the day before the big game, five women friends and I gathered for lunch. Eventually the discussion turned to football’s finer points. That was a stretch since what we five know about football could be written in a big black marker on a toy football. It was pathetic.

Betty (I’ve changed names to protect all of us) was the most excited. She and her husband, who rarely watch television, had watched the game against San Francisco and could hardly wait for this game. “I bought hot dog fixings and we’re all set–we’re going to have popcorn, too!” She passed the bowl of spinach to Dora.

“Maybe I’ll watch, ” said Dora as she tackled her spinach. “You know, I didn’t know what the ’12th Man’ was until two weeks ago.”

“Neither did I,” added Rochelle (who grew up in football-crazy Ohio).

“Well, I knew THAT!” exclaimed Margaret. “But I didn’t know until recently that the two parts of the team, defense and offense, aren’t on the field at the same time. Imagine that!”

“They’re not? said Dora.

“I didn’t know that either,” added Rochelle.

“Well,” explained Betty, as she fumbled with her roll as she buttered it, “A few of the players do stay on the field, though.”

“I don’t think so.” Margaret was running a little interference.

Henrietta took a sip of tea and entered the line-up. “Did you know there are no quarterbacks anymore?”

“Really? Are you sure?” I was feeling blind-sided.

“Yes, really–no quarterbacks,” Henrietta defended.

(She emailed the next day that she was mistaken–she thought cornerbacks had replaced quarterbacks, “But actually they both exist.”)

“So who’s predicted to win?”

“Denver.”

“I heard Seahawks. It’s going to be a close game, a good game.” Betty had the ball and was running with it.

“So you’re predicting a close score?”

“That’s what some people are saying.”

Yep, we were all blind-sided!

Chicken Out!

Edison, Washington. Ever heard of it? Probably not. If you even think about blinking when you drive through it, you’ve missed it. It doesn’t even qualify as a wide spot in the road. But if you do miss it, you’ve missed a couple of yummy bakeries, some great eating places, a lovely art gallery, a fine wood-working shop, several friendly taverns, and, in the dreariness of winter, views of elegant flocks of swans in the surrounding rich farmlands.

Sough Food, just one place to get a bite to eat

Sough Food, just one place to get a bite to eat

Edison is located northeast of Seattle, just a little bit north of Mount Vernon, right before you hit that beautiful Chuckanut Drive overlooking the Sound and the San Juan Islands.

We picked out a lively day in February last year to explore it–the Second Annual Edison Bird Festival, which has been described as an “educational and quirky” event. We chose the “quirky” part and watched the Chicken Parade, which took all of maybe eight minutes. But those eight minutes! Yes, we saw a few real chickens, handsome and clucking, but most of the chickens were quirky Edison residents, also clucking and strutting. Those bright chickens brought a lively spirit to that dark and drizzly February day.parade1

The theme of the first annual parade was “Keep Your Chicken in Line,” which likely meant trying to get your chicken down that eight minute parade route. Last year, the theme was “Embrace Your Inner Chicken.” Our favorite group was a group of older hens, the “Mother Cluckers.” One of the bakeries was selling crusty bread “feathers.” And as the parade ended, the few spectators spilled into the streets and mixed with the chickens. I think we were some of the only people who didn’t know anyone there–small town at its best!parade2

Don’t be deceived by the silliness. A ton of great birding workshops, talks, demonstrations, and tours were also available. We took in one bird print-making activity that was attracting lots of children. The event is always scheduled for the same weekend as the Skagit Valley Hawk Census.

The Mother Cluckers were still trying to get organized as they passed us (photos courtesy of the Potter).

The Mother Cluckers were still trying to get organized as they passed us (photos courtesy of the Potter).

This year the theme is “Chicken Out,” and is scheduled for February 8-9 with what looks like even more activities. Their website at edisonbirdfestival.com shows all your choices. If you want to do a great loop tour, the annual city-wide antique sale in Snohomish is scheduled for that weekend also. We hadn’t planned on making the trek this year, but I just noticed a Fowl Roller Skating Race through town is scheduled right before the parade. Who can resist that?

Edward R. Murrow grew up just a few miles north of Edison.

Edward R. Murrow grew up just a few miles north of Edison.

SHORT NIGHTS for Long Winter Nights

As we move into the winter months, it’s time to hunker down with a good book, and this one is it! When I saw that Timothy Egan, author of The Worst Hard Time (about the Dust Bowl) and The Big Burn (about the Fire of 1910 that helped create the U.S. Forest Service), had published a book about the photographer Edward Curtis, I headed for the library.

English: Self-Portrait of Edward S. Curtis 186...

English: Self-Portrait of Edward S. Curtis 1868-1952. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, Egan introduces us to the young photographer of the early 1900′s who started what would become his life’s career by taking a picture of Princess Angeline, daughter of Chief Seattle, on a Seattle street.

English: Princess Angeline in a photograph by ...

English: Princess Angeline in a photograph by Edward Sheriff Curtis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Curtis was a driven man–hence, the title, “Short Nights.” He seldom slept. He set out on what was to become a life’s work of documenting about 80 American tribes. Not only did he document with unwieldy and crude cameras, but also with words–descriptions, languages, and alphabets–that have become invaluable today as tribes reclaim lost customs and languages. And he did it without today’s tape recorders, instant photography, and laptops.

Not enough has been written about Curtis. He’s come under criticism for “staging” photos–putting natives into traditional dress and ceremonies, and dramatic poses. And Egan has been criticized for not addressing that issue more in this book. But, as he pointed out, “Curtis was a documentarian only of a certain kind of life,”–the old life. He wanted that preserved before it was lost.

Initially, it’s clear Curtis saw this as a lucrative undertaking. He began his career when the American public was fascinated with the “Noble Savage.” He was encouraged by President Theodore Roosevelt and supported by the financier J.P. Morgan.

That changed. Interest in the American Indian waned in the affluent Jazz Age, followed by the Depression, and Curtis would spend the rest of his life scrounging money for his next excursion. He never drew a salary and even though he completed all 20 volumes of The North American Indian, he died penniless. He did, however, become an outspoken advocate for Native Americans during a time when few others were.

Edward S. Curtis Collection People 046

Edward S. Curtis Collection People 046 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s an absorbing story–a disastrous home life, fascinating treks into wilderness areas (my favorite was his voyage to remote Nome and finding happy, healthy villages), short stints as a photographer in Hollywood to fund the next excursion, and hair-raising adventures. Twice, newspapers were preparing his obituary as reports of his being missing at sea drifted in.

I especially enjoyed the descriptions of all the people surrounding Curtis–his team of men and women (and his children!) who devoted their lives to this “losing” enterprise, his meeting with J.P. Morgan, his relationship with Morgan’s cold secretary (who held a secret in her past), his photography sessions with President Roosevelt and his family. Lots of good stories! I also appreciated the Curtis photos at the end of each chapter, photos Egan had described in that particular chapter.

Edward S. Curtis Collection People 066

Edward S. Curtis Collection People 066 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After I finished reading the book, I ran across a review of another Curtis book back in 1985 in the Pacific Magazine of The Seattle Times/Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The review quoted Leonard Forsman, manager of the Suquamish Tribal Museum at that time. Today he is chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, not far from my home.

“Some of his images are a little stereotyped, showing people looking off into the distance in a noble pose, but he’s helped our museum document a number of traditions we have no other record of….There’s no feeling that he was exploiting the tribes.”

I’ve always appreciated Timothy Egan for his exacting research and his gifts as a story-teller that compel me to keep turning the pages. Once again, he hasn’t disappointed me.

Under the Snow Bank and Beneath the Leaves

I still remember the joy of discovery as the snow melted in the spring in Montana and revealed toys that had been left outside, caught in that first snow, covered for the winter and forgotten. Even a rusty sand bucket was welcomed back like an old friend, better than any shiny one off the store shelf.

I have that same childlike feeling as the leaves fall off the trees every fall, revealing secrets that have been hiding from me all summer long. I can see farther back into the woods through the bare branches. Everything looks different, fresh. This fall a good-sized bird nest in a small alder that was within a stone’s throw of the kitchen window was suddenly exposed. I never noticed it through the summer even though I walked within a few feet of it every day. Finding that nest was enough to prompt me to walk around the yard and check out the other trees.

Even with the leaves gone, the nest is still somewhat hidden.

Even with the leaves gone, the nest is still somewhat hidden.

But fall’s surprises can be more alarming. In early October I walked into the kitchen one sunny mid-morning and stopped. Something was wrong, something out of order. I glanced around–everything seemed normal, the frig was running fine. What was it? And then I noticed it–a reddish glow–like the reflection from a big fire. This was even more alarming until I realized it was the reflection of the bright red leaves of the blueberry bushes–at the height of their color–reflecting through the windows in the bright sunlight. I think this happens at least once every fall to me, and I always forget about it until it catches me again the next year.

The last few blueberry leaves

The last few blueberry leaves

Every season yields its surprises. Of course, it’s that noticing, that discovery, the surprises, that provide the joy that helps to make life meaningful and fun. It’s the reason we continue to support and fight for efforts to protect wild places, and to treasure and fund our regional, state, and national parks. We do it for our children and for the generations who will live after us, but we also do it for ourselves!

Growing Mosseries

I’m part wood nymph. I require mountains and warm, dense patches of
moss to thrive.
–Vera Farmiga

Dense moss colonies in a cool coastal forest

Dense moss colonies in a cool coastal forest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, has just published a novel, The Signature of All Things, in which the main character studies, of all things, moss–she’s a “bryologist.”

A number of years ago I became alarmed at the cushioned layer of moss that was taking over areas around my fruit trees. The grass was not thriving. I listened to the moss killer companies’ urgent pleas to save the grass, and sprinkled something toxic on the worst of the moss, and then lost interest, especially as the moss returned as healthy as ever.

Ann Lovejoy, the master of all master gardeners in my part of the world, has convinced me that moss is not the problem. The grass is invading my moss! In her newspaper column last January she pointed out that grasses are not native in most of the Pacific Northwest. We Midwest and East Coast people, when we migrated here, brought our love of green, grassy lawns. We fight the moss with chemicals–the moss that persistently grows because it is native. And then we try to keep the grass going with chemical fertilizers and more water.

However, as Lovejoy pointed out, those green, grassy lawns require lots of water through the summer. That extra water can cause root rot in native trees and shrubs. And then if you rake the leaves (to save the grass), you take away the nutrients for those trees and shrubs.

My favorite area of the Bloedel Gardens on Bainbridge Island has always been the moss garden. All sound seems to be muffled by the moss, so it’s quiet and serene. I feel like I’m walking through an ancient woodland.

English: The Moss Garden, Bloedel Reserve, Was...

English: The Moss Garden, Bloedel Reserve, Washington State, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to one site I checked, in the late 1800′s many British and American gardens boasted “mossaries,” a small slatted wooden structure with a flat roof, open on the northern side in order to maintain shade. Moss was “planted” between the slats. Perhaps they were miniature gardens, something like today’s moss terrariums in a jar? It was a passing fad, but the dictionary still defines a “mossery” as a place where moss is grown.

I like that idea. I think I’d like a lot of mosseries in my yard. No, I don’t want moss on my roof, but I’m going to encourage it in the rest of my yard. I may continue to rake some of the leaves (I use them as mulch in the garden area), but I’ll try to leave a few more each year around the trees. I won’t dig up the grass I have, but I won’t encourage it, either.

In researching moss, I found a really fun commercial site you might enjoy exploring to learn more about mosses: www.mountainmoss.com

Think Like a Grape

When I met a fuzzy caterpillar crawling down my driveway last week, I knew it was time to pick the grapes.

“Picking grapes.” Sigh….

Sounds like a leisurely and elegant afternoon activity, doesn’t it? Do you have a picture in your mind of reaching up to “pluck” a cluster of grapes? Hardly. My Island Belle grapes go into battle mode when they see me coming with my clippers and empty buckets.

Once I have several buckets of grapes picked, transforming them into jars of grape juice is a piece of cake. The most difficult part of the whole operation is capturing and subduing those grape clusters.

The bending, pushing, reaching, stooping, twisting, and clipping challenges any workout routine. Grapes hang on. They grab onto whatever they can find (usually another branch), and then wrap their twisty little stems in corkscrew shapes around and around it. And then around it some more.

They hide behind those big leaves that do every bit as well as a fig leaf to hide its jewels–plump, juicy, purple bunches of beads.

You need to think like a grape in order to find them. Push branches aside to get to the inside of the plant, even though those branches will fight you. Push harder! Look down low to better hiding places if you don’t see any grapes at eye level.

And then, just about the time you’re confident you’ve got this routine down, you realize that some of the biggest ones are up on top, right out in the open–while you’ve been searching inside the depths of the bush.

My grape juice gets high praise from my family, and I like all of that I can get, which explains why I continue, year after year, to put myself through this workout.

My son and his wife served small glasses of juice to guests one year, intending to only give them a wine glass sample. The guests kept asking for more.

“They drank it all!” my son complained. “They said it was the best thing they’d tasted–not the best juice, not the best drink, but the best thing they’d ever tasted!”

In the end my grapes gave me nine quarts and two pints of juice this year, but they put up a valiant fight.

Toshiba Digital Camera

 

Summer Reading on the River

If you find yourself pushing too hard to fit in too much in these last few weeks of summer, it’s time to slow down, sit back, and open one of my favorite books, The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. I grabbed a copy at a garage sale last week.

Cover of "The Wind in the Willows (Gollan...

Cover via Amazon

You’ll find it shelved with the children’s books at your library, but it’s not a book for children anymore. Published back in 1908 (when very few books were published for children), the language is of that era, difficult for today’s child. And, like a really good children’s book, adults can enjoy it as much or more than a child. While working in a school library for almost 15 years, I never saw this book checked out–nor did I ever recommend it.

The book is a series of summer adventures, told through the eyes of Mole, who throws down his spring-cleaning equipment (“Bother!….Hang spring-cleaning!”and bolts out of his earthen home into the bright spring air, through the meadows, and stumbles upon the river.

Never in his life had he seen a river before–this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh….All was a-shake and a-shiver–glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble.”

English: The Wind in the Willows. A breezy sum...

English: The Wind in the Willows. A breezy summer’s day shows off the willow trees lining the banks of the Avon. The photo is taken from the footbridge across the avon at this location. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so the river summer begins–a series of madcap adventures with his new friend Water Rat who owns a rowboat. Rat writes poetry and songs, and introduces Mole to Toad, irrepressible, brash, self-centered, wild Toad. Toad flies from one adventure to the next, with his friends trying to keep up and save him from himself. Badger is the wise old adviser who sometimes saves the day. The Weasels and Stoats? We won’t talk about them–too dangerous.

Community is the theme–caring for and loving your friends and standing by them even when they get themselves into terrible fixes and make fools out of themselves.

Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was a Scottish writer. His mother died when he was five, and since his father, an alcoholic, was unable to care for the four children, they were sent to live with a grandmother in a large old country home close to a river. It provided ample exploring trips along its banks.

English: Kenneth Grahame Русский: Кеннет Грэм ...

English: Kenneth Grahame Русский: Кеннет Грэм (1859-1932) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grahame did well in school and wanted to go to Oxford University, but due to financial constraints, went instead to work as a clerk in a bank, eventually becoming Secretary of the Bank of England. He wrote and published children’s stories over the years, married and had one son, nicknamed “Mouse.”

Wind in the Willows was immediately praised on publication (the same year he retired from the bank), even by President Theodore Roosevelt. The headstrong character of Toad is based on Grahame’s son’s childhood personality.

In the past when I’ve read the book, I’ve forgotten this was written over a hundred years ago. Mole and Rat’s first adventure with Toad is with a fancy traveling cart pulled by a horse–the RV of the early 1900′s. Toad is run off the road by a “motor-car,” and he happily abandons the cart in the ditch to find one of those wonderful playthings. Toad, by the way, just begs the modern reader for a psychiatric evaluation!

It’s humorous–and it’s spiritual. One of my favorite chapters is Mole and Rat’s hazy and mystical encounter with a divine being through the beautiful call of a piper.

English: Hardwick House Toad Hall? The author ...

English: Hardwick House Toad Hall? The author of Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame died at nearby Pangbourne in 1932, and would have known this section of river whilst writing his most famous book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last paragraph of the first chapter of The Wind in the Willows:

“This day was only the first of many similar ones for the emancipated Mole, each of them longer and full of interest as the ripening summer moved onward. He learnt to swim and to row, and entered into the joy of running water; and with his ear to the reed-stems he caught, at intervals, something of what the wind went whispering so constantly among them.”

The Curse of the Voodoo Lily

Think twice before you ever let this plant weasel its way into your garden. It will continue to haunt you every spring for years thereafter.

When we moved into our old house, a flower bed next to the carport was overgrown with weeds and old plantings. We dug and cleared it and then added some herbs and flowers. We let it go and each year it grew a little thicker.

Then one spring I noticed it. A stench. I was convinced we had body parts, if not an entire corpse, buried near the back door. I ignored it that year and it went away. The next year I blamed it on the cat’s hunting habits. One spring we even checked the nearby sewer pipe. Gradually I realized this had become an annual event. The year it got so bad that I couldn’t ignore it anymore I sent my husband hunting for it.

He found it–a gorgeous, elegant, dark magenta-colored lily. The Voodoo Lily had a swarm of flies, attracted by the odor, flying in and out of it and doing their job as well as any bee.

My Voodoos working their black magic

My Voodoos working their black magic

This very large and not-so-sweet wildflower is native to the Balkans, Mediterranean Europe, Greece, Crete, and the Aegean Islands. The Greeks call it the “dragon flower.” It’s similar to the Calla Lily, but more ruffled, and  has a very dark maroon, almost black, color.

I’m guessing that you’re thinking that I exaggerate the aroma description?

The late botany professor Bastiaan Meeuse of the University of Washington studied the sex habits of Voodoo Lilies for years. He described its particular aroma precisely:

“It smells like a mixture of cow dung, carrion, dead fish, manure and halitosis.” This greets visitors when they arrive at my back door in the spring.

Over the years, however, it’s become familiar, if not a friend, and an annual event that only lasts a week or two. It’s an event I definitely mark. We both have survived each other for another year.