Column, Gales Creek Gatherings, Gardening

Column | Gales Creek Gatherings: Preparedness and Preschool Pumpkin Planters


A sixteen year tradition began with a simple field trip to Anne and Rene Berblinger’s Organic Farm. The Portland Tillamook Preschool was the ‘alma mater’ of Anne’s niece 16 years ago whose new alma mater is UBC. But a new generation of pre-schoolers has come out every year since, to ‘help’ the farm plant their pumpkin patch. The seeds are begun at school and proudly planted at Gales Meadow Farms. Come fall, this same group of pumpkin planters will return to harvest their golden treasures. There is more to sustainability than fresh organic produce….children whose lives are enriched, who are learning where their food comes from, and are growing fond memories is another crop grown with the help of our Gales Creek ‘ family’.  

Two plant sale days were also part of the spring offerings at Gales Meadow. Their superb organic plants; golden beets, heirloom tomatoes, and squash varieties will hopefully finish their lifespan successfully in my raised beds. I personally want to thank Anne, Rene and Laurel and all the others who work tirelessly to improve our little corner of the world.


You re-read a book, watch a movie for the second time and comment “I don’t remember that part.” Much the same happens at the emergency preparedness meetings NeighborWatch sponsors for the Gales Creek residents. Much of what was presented I have seen before, but each successive ‘learning’ I retain more; I act on more; I become one step closer to becoming fully prepared. (if there is such a thing). This particular meeting emphasized preparing for wildfires. Our region has been plagued by drought now for several years. Wildfire season has begun earlier in the season for several years. This year we experienced brush fires at the tail-end of winter!  

We were reminded to keep our gutters free of the lovely fir needles so prominent here. We learned the importance of firebreaks around our dwellings; why its essential to keep garbage piles cleaned up; what constitutes agricultural burn and backyard burns. But, perhaps the most valuable lesson learned at these community meetings is; that guy over there is my neighbor; he has a tractor. See that couple over there, if there’s a problem, I should remember to check in on them. Our community for decades has been built on neighborliness, families helping one another, looking out for each other. With a new demographic moving into our valley, we increasingly see families reclusing or simply not being involved. While that may work in urban development, it is neither safe nor practical for rural folks. So, my invitation to you is meet your neighbors, attend meetings, volunteer. We need you and you do need us. 

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