Since Monday, I’ve been on a service immersion trip through the Center for Service and Community Engagement at Seattle U, called “Earth, Air, Water.” We were exploring environmental issues around the Seattle area and doing some service hours as well. We were staying at the SU Homestead in North Bend, about 40 minutes out of Seattle.
Monday, we went to see Farmer Erik at Jubilee Farm, a biodynamic farm in Carnation. We pulled plantain and other weeds out of some broccoli rows. He also spoke to us for a while, as he is wont to do, and inspired me a lot, as usual.
Tuesday, we met up with some folks from Mountains to Sound Greenway to help build a trail. We hiked up a mountain between Mount Si and Mount Tennerick (?), carrying tools, and then moved a lot of rocks around for a couple of hours, trying to get them into a stable situation so they could be walked on.
After that, we went for a tour of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
Wednesday, we met with representatives from the EPA and Washington Department of Ecology to discuss the Superfund sites on the Duwamish “waterway.” Afterwards, we took a kayak tour of those sites, which was a really great way to see first-hand what is going on there.
Yesterday, we did some invasive plant removal at a place on the Duwamish that had been replanted, and then went to the Duwamish Longhouse to get a tour from James and learn the history of his tribe.
Last night we were all kind of creeped out by the legend of the little girl who comes into the Homestead, looking for her bracelet, if you leave the doors or windows open. We finally turned the lights off about 12:30, and right as we were drifting off I received a text message from my mom, informing me that Nikki was in labor.
Lizzy Fox and Alison Pollack kindly offered to drive me back into Seattle so that I could get Caelum’s car and drive out to Mount Vernon to be there for the birth. We were driving up the long dirt driveway to the road when the AVC light that had been blaring at us all week decided to make good on its threat. We slowed on the hill, the tires started spinning, and then we were going backward. Lizzy, the driver, was yelling, “The brakes aren’t working! The brakes aren’t working!” as Alison and I sat, frozen and useless. Fortunately, she pulled the E brake just as we moved into the bushes toward the trees.
Caelum again saved the day by meeting me up in North Bend, and I continued on up the 5 after dropping him off in Ballard. I arrived at the Skagit Valley hospital around 4:30 and met Nikki, Charles, and Marla in the hospital room. Nikki was standing up, swaying and smiling at us in her little pink nightgown. She was a powerful and amazing creature in labor. I will never forget it.
After only about two or three hours in the hospital, Nik gave birth to Ginger Rae Beall at 6:37 am, June 19th, 2009. She’s 7 pounds, 18 inches, with so much curly black hair that the nurse, Kim, had to shampoo it. I am completely in love with her.