Hedgebrook LogoHedgebrook Logo

By Anca Szilagyi

Gushing About Hedgebrook Like There’s No Tomorrow

Upon turning in to Hedgebrook, we (a poet, a playwright, and a fiction writer carpooling from Seattle) crowed at its green loveliness. A scent of wood smoke wafted out of the longhouse. And, inside, an abundance of welcome, and bagels so good I almost cried.  Outside, I met with my first workshop, “The Funny Bone is an Erogenous Zone,” with Jennifer D. Munro. On the walk to the cottage, Jennifer pointed out a bench with a view of Mt. Rainier, and my poet-car-sharer Elissa pointed out a heap of lavender in a rusting wheel barrow. It was almost too perfect.   Read more

By Kate Thompson

Who Cooks for You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He flew on silent wings; one swoop and his talons grazed the top of her head. She didn’t see him coming. She was walking down the forest path to her cabin after a hearty meal at the farmhouse. It was twilight, drizzly and she was alone. Before she thought to run, he went in for a second swipe. This time, she left sprinting and even though her cabin was closer, she ran back to the farmhouse to warn us.

This was my first night as a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers located on Whidbey Island, WA. The writers’ cottages are tucked away in the forest amongst cedars and furs, pines and hemlocks and vine maples. In owl territory, it seemed. Funny, the packet I received when I was awarded the Hedgebrook residency, mentioned deer and bunnies, not crazed owls.   Read more

By Allison Green

Dreaming Hedgebrook

Before I returned to Hedgebrook recently for a brief stay, I had a dream. I arrived to find that the Hedgebrook property was ringed with new buildings. A teaching colleague — it didn’t occur to me to ask why she was working at Hedgebrook — gave me a tour of the dark-panelled bowling alley and the snack bar that smelled of frying oil. She showed me my “cottage,” a dingy brown nylon tent. When I asked its name, she said it was called “Willow,” just like the cottage where I had originally stayed seven years before. Outside the tent, cars in a perpetual traffic jam idled in four lanes.

  Read more

By Lesley McClurg

Turning Down the Volume

Surprisingly, the silence around me doesn’t feel lonely or empty.  The frenetic thoughts of my mind are quieted by the stillness here in Waterfall Cottage at Hedgebrook. I don’t feel my usual urge to fill space with sound.

Often the first thing I do when I come home to my apartment near downtown Seattle is cut through the emptiness by turning on the radio. I struggle to relax when my apartment is quiet because the stillness feels oppressive. A creepy loneliness settles over me when I sit and eat without the radio playing. Music or podcasts are my imaginary dinner guest.

Yet, here in the woods where nature offers only the subtlest noises, I don’t feel alone.   Read more

By Cathy Bruemmer

I’m a Reader not a Writer

When I give tours or orientations I am frequently asked, “Are you a writer?”  I’m not a writer. I’m a reader.   One of my rare pleasures is a chance to read a book from cover to cover in one day, preferably in my pajamas.  On a recent solo trip across the country I found myself shocked that the flight was almost over.  This happened BOTH WAYS.  All it took to transform the drudgery and discomfort of coach seats was a couple of good books and some earplugs.  Because I was traveling with my son I suppose the fact that I didn’t have to provide snacks, entertainment or listen to a few hours of chatter about the latest development in ski technology played a part in the feeling of a time warp.  But what made the trip a pleasure was the opportunity to enter a different world, to hear a new story. The gift of a good book is something I am deeply grateful for.   Read more

By Nancy Bardue

Hedgebrook Vocals

At Hedgebrook, when you hear “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all…” the call is not coming from the Farmhouse kitchen but from the depths of the forest. Our vocal – often loud mouthed – resident Barred Owls are making all the racket. Indeed, most alums can attest to waking up in the middle of the night from “noises like I have never heard before” or “a sound that scared the sh*t out of me”! It’s really fun when writers come to the office and verbally try to imitate the call, “No, no it was more like a hooooaahh, hooooaahh!” I love that they are also called Le Chat-huant du Nord (french for The Hooting Cat of the North).

  Read more

By Vito Zingarelli

A Change of Seasons at the Retreat

The brilliant coloration of witch hazel framed against the equally radiant coral-barked maple outside the Farmhouse is the best indication that Fall has arrived at Hedgebrook.     Read more

By Cathy Bruemmer

An Update from the Hedgebrook Garden

The growth in June is outrageous.  We have gone from famine to feasting and I’ve renewed my job as vegetable pusher.  Actually I’m pretty much just a salad pusher (keep reading for Denise’s amazing Caesar dressing), but at least the greens are abundant.  The pea vines are FINALLY flowering and I hope by next week we can start picking.  Strawberries began ripening this week and the first bulbing fennel are beginning to fatten up.  Mustard greens and baby bok choy are making their way into the kitchen and the first big bundle of carrots wound up in Julies Indian stew.   Read more

By Cathy Bruemmer

Slow Spring

Seattle Tilth’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide refers to April as the month of the slug. If you’re at Hedgebrook it’s the month of the snail. They are everywhere. I hunt in the mornings, watching for their slime tracks and looking under leaves. The rhubarb is an especially popular hangout. Sorry to those of you who are squeamish, but I’m merciless with my boot stomping. I feel a bit like the momma bear out there protecting my young. Given the cold weather and slow growth, the seedlings need all the help they can get. Fortunately, there’s Sluggo, an organic slug and snail bait that I buy in the giant 10-pound jug. Between the boots and the bait I think the garden has a chance.

There’s not much to harvest yet. This past fall I decided to put the garden to rest and cover crop every bed that wasn’t planted in garlic. I dug the cover crop into about half the beds in late February. Those have been planted in peas, salad and cooking greens, herbs, beets, spinach, carrots, fennel… Today I hope to finish the second round of bed prep. I grow starts at home on my sunporch, and it’s about time to move some flats out.

Two years ago I discovered a new pest in the garden: root weevils. They are tiny, the color of dry dirt and they devour new seedlings. I’ve always preferred direct seeding. It’s a labor-saving choice, and I find transplanting tedious. Twice I’ve added parasitic nematodes to the garden beds hoping they’ll eventually win out over the weevils.

Between the cold and the pests it’s been a slow start this year. My usual springtime optimism seemed to finally return, along with the swallows, last week. A little sunshine and a few degree increase on the thermometer makes for a happy gardener.

 

1 2
X