Spring has officially arrived and activity at the Buckner Homestead and Orchard is increasing at a rapid pace. It was late and snowy winter in Stehekin, and as of Tuesday, there was still a covering of snow on the ground at the Orchard.
It should be noted that the traditional Buckner Family date for all snow to be gone at the Orchard is April 6. We'll see.
In no particular order, here are current items relative to the Homestead and Orchard.
Just reminder that our Annual Meeting is in Manson, on Monday, May 12, 7 PM at the Reclamation District office. This is our most important meeting of the year, where we determine our priorities and projects for the year, elect officers, and set the budget. More to follow.
The collaborative BHHF - NPS interpretative group will be meeting the second week in April to continue its work on planning and recommending changes and improvements to interpretation at the Orchard. The meeting will be in Stehekin, and the group members are Wendy Garfoot, Laurie Thompson, Vicki Gempko, Mark Scherer, Ken Hires, and Herb Sargo. All suggestions on your part are most welcome!
Working with the Buckner Family and the National Park Service, we are moving forward with a number of small interpretive projects that were instigated last year. Replacement of the dinner-emergency bell, the weather station, the Flag Garden flag pole, and providing the Buzzard Cabin with replicas of the original art work by the Buckner Family that once hung there are all intended to enhance the experience and memories of being at the Homestead.
And, approval has been received to move one of the Buckner Walk guide booklet boxes to a more easily-found location near the Buzzard Cabin bench. Complimenting this move, will be, at some point, the addition of newly-printed and updated guided tour booklets, with new Buckner Family information, the addition of a section on the forty years of residence by the Garfoot Family, and contact information for the Foundation, and more.
Very good news here! A small NPS restoration team will begin work in mid-April on a multi-year project renovating the Buckner House, with a goal of eventual occupancy.
This year's work will focus on stabilizing and rebuilding the house foundation where appropriate, replacing some of the structural support beams, and re-grading the ground around the foundation so as to move drainage away from the house. Over the years, soil has accumulated there, holding and directing water toward the structure, rather than a way from it. It is anticipated that a NPS family will be housed here, as the Garfoot's were for many years.
Replacement of the outdoor watering system that was intended for the fall of 2013 is now scheduled for completion this year, as well.
The audit, or financial review, committee of BHHF, two board members and treasurer Cinda Gilbert, is in the process of finalizing plans to meet and review the Foundation's financial practices and reporting. Clarity, transparency, timeliness, and conformity to our policies and good practice are among the things they will be reviewing, with findings and recommendations intended for presentation at the Annual Meeting.
The 2014 membership drive is off to a good start! Its never to late to help support the Homestead and Orchard with a membership, a general donation or donation for a specific project, or a memoriam gift honoring a friend or loved one. (membership form)
Activity at the Orchard
Laurie, our chief orchardist, is back at work pruning, and the really, really good news is that there was no elk damage this winter! A year ago, we were mourning the heavy damage to 40 seventeen year-old trees which, without bridge grafting last spring, would have died. As it is, we still lost 3-4 trees. So, this is truly good news.
Elk at the river - 2014
Volunteers prepped the orchard for pruning by stamping snow around the trees with snow shoes and removing heavy snow from the branches after the late-winter heavy snow fall.
Winter volunteers on snowshoes - 2014
Annual Meeting, Manson, Lake Chelan Reclamation District Board Room, 7 PM, Monday evening
Orchard work party, Stehekin, 8:30 AM, Saturday
Summer Board Meeting, Stehekin Bakery gazebo, Monday 8 AM
Orchard work party, Stehekin, Tuesday, 8:30 AM
Fall Work Party, Stehekin, Homestead and Orchard 8:30 AM
Harvest Fest Kickoff program, Stehekin, Friday evening
Harvest Fest at the Orchard, Stehekin, 10 AM, Saturday
Poetry Night, Stehekin, 7 PM Sunday Evening