Page 1

Country Life

Gardening • C7 FFA/4-H • C8

Section C • lyndentribune.com • Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The tractor trove

Escape to the countryside

The Oostema Farmstead Inn opened for business last year. (Courtesy photo)

Oostema Farmstead Inn offers a stay with a history By Ashley Hiruko ashley@lyndentribune.com

A wide variety of antique John Deere tractors were pulled out of Martin and Betty Grasher’s old barns last year. (Courtesy photo)

Martin Grasher’s antique tractor collection, hidden away for decades, sees the light of day By Brent Lindquist brent@lyndentribune.com

CUSTER — For much of the 20th century and part of the 21st, the barns owned by Martin and Bet-

ty Grasher became something of a local legend among tractor collectors. Martin Grasher was born in 1920 near Custer. He ended up doing custom farm work around the county, purchasing his first John Deere tractor — a 1924 John Deere model D — and plow around 1939. Martin chopped off the tractor’s fenders to make it easier to roll over sticks and roots without plugging up the tires under the fenders. Martin eventually parked that John Deere D

in his barn and went on to work as a mechanic for a Chrysler dealer. He didn’t stay away from custom farm work, however. Larry McPhail, president of the Puget Sound Antique Tractor and Machinery Association, remembers filling silos and putting up hay for Grasher around 1959. “I remember even back then, he would say, ‘Do not get any salt on those old John Deeres in the barn,’” McPhail said. Later in life, Martin drove other farmers’ tractors while doing work for

them. One night in 1998, Martin died of a heart attack while roto-tilling in a tractor. His collection remained hidden away from the outside world for decades, in his barns on North Enterprise Road. His son, Ray, moved back home to live with Betty, and was just as protective of the tractors as his father was. “Nothing was ever done with those tractors again,” said Lisa Weyh, Ray’s daughter and Martin’s See Tractors on C3

LYNDEN — For those traveling, or looking to get away, the Oostema Farmstead Inn offers something different than what’s typically found within the bustling cities. The inn, situated just a seven-minute drive from downtown Lynden on Northwood Road, offers a homey stay in the country. It’s been over a year since the inn went live on Airbnb, a website that connects those looking to rent their homes and those seeking accommodations, in April 2016. The place is a full-time venture for Lisa Oostema, who said she first started the business after

a friend had planted the idea. “The first couple times [guests stayed] I was a little nervous about it,” Oostema said about hosting. “But now, it’s a piece of cake.” Now Oostema looks forward to hosting guests from around the world and helping to get them acquainted with Lynden, she said. “I like to meet new people,” Oostema said. “I always have. It’s kind of fun to see who’s coming, what they’re going to do and where they’re going.” And when they get to the inn, a two-bedroom two-bathroom suite off of the Oostema farm and home that was built in the 1950s, guests are greeted at their cars not only by Oostema, but also with spectacular views of countryside and mountainous ranges. Inside their suite, visitors are surrounded by See Farmstead on C2

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C2 • Wednesday, June 14, 2017 • lyndentribune.com

Farmstead: Crabtree remembers living on premises Continued from A1 objects that scream Lynden. Lynden Christian yearbooks dated back to the 1950s and photos of the farm’s past, some of which contain moments captured by the Smiths, a family of nine that used to reside on the property and ran a dairy farm, are located throughout. Rose Crabtree was one of seven Smith children and said she remembered living on the premises as a child. She later revisited the farm after the Oostemas had done renovations on the two-story building. “I went down to see where my bedroom was, the larger of the two, and it’s like wow that is so different from my memory of the home,” Crabtree said. “It’s nice to be able to see how they’ve upgraded it and made it a special place.” Although upgrades were done, Oostema said she’s trying to preserve the history of the farm. The house itself still has that farmhouse feeling and offers an alternative to the modernized hotel chains popping up in the area. “If everything in here was modern and normal it wouldn’t be fun,” Oostema said. “This makes it more homely.” For those interested, Oostema offers tours around the premises. Gardening has become one of her past times and is evident by the beautiful landscaping done on the property. An old barn still houses Jersey and Holstein cows — a sight that often pleases young children Oostema said. And the guests have responed positively to their stay. The reviews for the inn are primarily five stars, earning Oostema a Superhost credential on Airbnb. Oostema has even built up a repeater clientele. Most of the guests that stay with her are visiting family that reside in the area, although she does have the occasional guests that are

Oostema gives tours around the property to guests staying at her bed and breakfast. (Courtesy photo) traveling through Lynden and needing a place to rest for the night. One young couple she spoke of was traveling to Kodiak, Alaska from California. Hoisted to the back

of their large truck was a boat, and they had a dog in tow (did we mention the inn is pet friendly?). Other prior guests include a lady who stayed with Oostema for 18 days.

She was in town from Spain and was visiting her daughter, an exchange student in Lynden. “Their adventures, I can kind of live through them,”she said. And some guests she had bonded

with. Oostema recently began renting out a trailer to be towed or to stay in within the garden space, offering a glamping experience and yet another avenue for

those wanting to discover the countryside experience. To book your stay, visit www.oostemafarmsteadinn.com or call 360815-1494.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017 • lyndentribune.com • C3

Tractors: 10 antique tractors dated back as far as 1924 Continued from A1 granddaughter. “Because my grandfather actually built those (barns), back then it didn’t go to the county, meaning they weren’t exactly up to code. The place started to fall apart.” Ray died in January of 2016, leaving behind dozens of mysterious items still covered up by the caved-in barns on the Grasher property. Joined by her husband and a few helpers, Weyh rented some excavators and worked tirelessly to remove the debris and uncover whatever lay unwithin the old barns. “I did not know what to expect,” Weyh said, “because you couldn’t even get in there. The roofs had come down, and there were safety issues. I knew there were some really old (tractors) in there.” Once the debris was removed and the contents of the barns had been moved out into the open, the full extent of the collection was revealed. It included 10 antique John Deere tractors dating between 1924 and 1956, along with classic cars and trucks, Allis-Chalmers and New Holland tractors, a speedboat and a variety of other vehicles, farm implements and pieces of equipment. Local farmer Gordy James lives near the Grasher property, and actually ended up purchasing it. He helped with getting the tractors, vehicles and equipment out of the barns, and recalls touring the property with Weyh before the job was done. “I knew that a lot of them were in there, but I did not know the extent of what was in there. One evening, I went over there and I said, ‘Hey, let’s go take a look.’ You weren’t allowed to go in the buildings there before,” James said. “It was kind of fun to do that.” The crown jewels of the collection turned out

Some of the old tractors are still around Whatcom County, while others sold to collectors across the country and in Canada. (Courtesy photo)

to be Grasher’s original model D tractors. McPhail said tractors produced by John Deere between 1924 and 1926 featured a spoked flywheel. McPhail noticed weld marks on these tractors’ flywheels, meaning they were repaired at some point, and pointed to the reason John Deere moved away from the so-called

“spoker” tractor flywheels: their tendency to break. Weyh brought in a garage sale contractor to help sell off the old tractors and the rest of the equipment over the course of several estate sales. They brought McPhail in to appraise the antique John Deeres. He estimates that about half the antique

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tractors remained in the area while the other went out of state. Grasher’s original model D tractors remain highly collectible; a buyer in Alberta paid $40,000 for the pair when they were auctioned off last year. Three more tractors went all the way to Minnesota. McPhail didn’t purchase

any tractors, but he did pick up an old John Deere implement, which he has repainted and re-stamped in the year or so since the estate sales. Though the auctions took place in 2016, James said the final piece of Grasher’s collection of equipment, the speedboat, sold just last week.

McPhail said it was a pleasure just to be around the collection as it was removed from the barns and lined up. “It was cool to be there, because that style, the type that they were, you’re lucky to see stuff like that once in a lifetime,” he said. “It’s that rare.”

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C4 • Wednesday, June 14, 2017 • lyndentribune.com

MOOSTACHE

June is National Dairy Month 2017 Whatcom County Dairy Ambassador: Emma Weg and Annika Asplund, Alternate

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017 • lyndentribune.com • C5

MOOSTACHE

It’s June! June means that summer is beginning, and that it’s National Dairy Month! This month is not only an opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of dairy products that hold such great nutritional value, but appreciate the hard-working dairy farmers of Whatcom County. The Dairy community works seven days a week and 365 days a year to produce the products that we all love! Please join me in thanking the Dairy Farmers of Whatcom County and remember to enjoy three servings of dairy every day.

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C6 • Wednesday, June 14, 2017 • lyndentribune.com

4-H seeks leaders for new programs By Ashley Hiruko ashley@lyndentribune.com

WHATCOM — 4-H is currently seeking people in

the Whatcom communities to volunteer in leadership positions and is hoping to make expansions in the areas of science and poul-

try around the county, said Brenda Dunford, Washington State University 4-H coordinator. Leaders are also need-

ed to run 4-H groups in Bellingham, she said. The city currently has a pigeon club, among others, but is in particular need of volun-

teers to lead groups focused in other areas. What follows is a Q&A with a couple of people currently participating in 4-H

programs and why they choose to do so.    Call (360) 778-5800 for more information on volunteering with 4-H.

A photo taken last year during a 4-H celebration at the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden. (Courtesy photo)

Helen Zylstra is the leader for Country Partners and said she enjoys watching the children flourish while participating in the 4-H program. (Courtesy photo)

David Lenssen, Dairyland 4-H

Helen Zylstra, Country Partners

How did you get involved with 4-H? “My dad started a dairy 4-H club 51 years ago. When I became nine, the first year I could join, I did. As a 9-year-old, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I had been around it so I kind of knew. Still, it was my first time showing and judging and participating. About seven years ago, my middle son wanted to join 4-H and my dad had passed on the group to another father in the area, a previous member. I signed him up and after the first year, the current leader asked

How did you get involved with 4-H? “I was in 4-H as a kid. When my oldest son was nine, I actually talked to a gal at work about starting a 4-H club. [There were] five families that started Country Partners originally. Three years into it … I became the leader. The rest is kind of history. The club has just waxed and waned over the years between 45 members and at most 68 members. That’s kind of where we’ve been in the last five or six years or so.”

if I wanted to participate again. How much time do you spend volunteering for 4-H now? It depends. During the fair week we put in a good 60 hours and it’s fairly reasonable to put in a couple hours a month. What kinds of activities does your club participate in? Our main focus is dairy judging and the showing at the fair. Why do you volunteer for 4-H?

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“The satisfaction of watching them progress from year to year, watching them gain that knowledge and experience. I enjoy helping out the kids and watching the older kids return the favor and pay it forward. What advice would you have for people considering volunteering for 4-H? I would say, the program is as flexible as it needs to be for any level of experience. They can essentially help and direct the kids, and learn sideby-side. My grandfather was a Whatcom County extension agent for 4-H and he got my dad to sign up for a club. It’s what introduced my mom and dad at a 4-H potluck. Now we have four generations of family participating in 4-H. That’s kind of a special thing about what I do and how my kids are involved in the whole bit. All four of us boys went through the club and now my kids are.”

How much time do you spend volunteering for 4-H now? “It totally depends on what we have going. Our club is busy all year long. During the summer time, it’s really busy and we have something going every week. So, during the summer months a couple hours a week. During winter months it just depends on community service projects. We have a main meet once a month and then we’ll have some other

activities that’ll be community service club events of some kind.” What kinds of activities does your club participate in? “[We] help out at the senior center and we do a variety of things. Our kids are pretty good about their community service. Our community service projects (include) the Everson Senior Center Pancake Breakfast. That’s in July. We do a thing we call Baskets of Blessings, a program for them around Thanksgiving where we put together homemade baskets of things and have a little program for them. In December we do a live nativity for the community. We also put together an auction for the youth fair.” Why do you volunteer for 4-H? Well, 4-H makes good citizens and it’s a great program for kids age 6 to 18. It’s one of those things that your whole family can be involved in. With music

lessons or sports, usually only one kid participating. 4-H is one of those things where everyone in the family can be involved. It teaches kids a lot about community service and a lot about competition. Competition is good. Everybody should get a trophy in 4-H, but have to work really hard for their trophy. It teaches kids life skills. Your 4-H kids will know a lot about raising an animal and a lot of other things kids don’t typically learn. What advice would you have for people considering volunteering for 4-H? I would say jump in with both feet and just do it. If you have any inkling to be a 4-H leader, just do it. Everyone will help you along the way. It may take a couple years to know everything but once you do it’s great. Just do it. Just get in and do it. It’s just like anything. You know you have to learn what it’s all about and the things that you need to do to be a 4-H leader, you learn by doing.

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By David Vos General Manager, VanderGiessen Nursery ready yet. Several perennials, however, can fill the void with a pop of color. One of my favorite perennials for low-maintenance color all summer is delosperma, known commonly as hardy ice plant. This sun-loving groundcover spreads up to two feet wide and can tolerate very dry, rocky soils. With colorful daisy-like blooms starting in June, hardy ice plant will continue to flower throughout the summer, even when you forget to water. Frankly, it’s about as goof-proof as perennials come, and a great addition to any garden regardless of your knowledge or experience. Another perennial that will give you color in early summer is lupine, an oldfashioned classic recently given a fresh update. See In Bloom on C7


Wednesday, June 14, 2017 • lyndentribune.com • C7

In Bloom Continued from C6 The new Westcountry lupines, introduced from Great Britain, have vivid colors, several of which are unique two-toned blossoms. Two of my favorites are ‘Gladiator,’ which boasts vivid yellowand-orange blooms, and ‘Manhattan Lights,’ which shines with rich purple and yellow tones. Second, June is the perfect time to prune many of your spring-blooming shrubs. Rhododendrons, azaleas, lilacs and several others bloom on old wood, meaning the flowers you enjoyed this year developed last summer on that season’s growth. For this reason, if you need to prune, do so as soon as the flowers fade so that the plant can recover and put out some new growth (and next year’s flower buds) with plenty of time left in the growing season. Third, this month is an important time to feed your lawn for summer. Back in March and April, you might have treated for moss in your yard and fertilized it for spring. If it has been at least six weeks since you last fed the lawn, though, now is time to fertilize it again. Use Scotts Turf Builder for a better

Local FFA teams find success

blend of nutrients and higher quality ingredients than generic fertilizers. Feed now and you won’t have to fertilize again until August. Finally, now is the time to make sure your lawn and garden are prepared for hot, dry summer weather. Up to this point of the season, keeping up with the water needs of your lawn and garden has been fairly easy. Long stretches of warm dry weather will (hopefully!) soon arrive, though, and now is the perfect time to apply a water maximizer like EveryDrop to your lawn and garden. If you’ve ever tried to water a dry lawn or garden, only to watch the water bead up and run off the dry soil, you’ve seen the effects of surface tension on dry ground. A soil wetting agent like EveryDrop will break up the surface tension, allowing water to penetrate and soak more deeply into dry soil, reducing the amount of water you need to use. Apply it to lawns, flowerbeds or even vegetable gardens to help soil absorb water and keep your plants happy. As we near the summer solstice, enjoy watching your lawn grow and garden begin to fill in with color and fresh produce!

Above: The Lynden Christian High School farm business management team placed first overall in state. The team is, from left to right: coach Jill McKee, Kobi Lautenbach, Elea Van Weerdhuizen, Ryan Vandenberg, Nathan Van Dellen, Shane Whittern, Aaron Doucet and coach Mike Ruble. (Courtesy photo)

Ferndale’s Addi Ericksen placed first in the Creed speaking competition at state. She will be heading to Indianapolis in October to compete at the national convention. (Courtesy photo)

Check out the Tribune’s Classified section for more details. www.lyndentribune.com

The Ferndale FFA Veterinary Science team placed first in state for the fourth year in a row. The team is, from left to right: Shelby Robinson, Jamie Mason, Kailey Robertson, coach Tony Torretta, Cameron Pitt, Skylar Tannahill, Lindsey Quackenbush and coach Lisa Abbott. (Courtesy photo)

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C8 • Wednesday, June 14, 2017 • lyndentribune.com

4-H Reports BARN BUDDIES Tabitha Revak, reporter Debbie VanderVeen, leader    As of today, there are exactly two months remaining until this year’s Northwest Washington Fair. For Barn Buddies, this means that there are two months remaining to prepare for the Small Animal Experience at the fair. There is much to do between now and then, and also much to anticipate. This year, we are looking forward to the return of our old, faithful and friendly miniature donkey, Buckles. Buckles, along with our two alpacas, has spent the past several months residing at the Lynden High School barn, helping to educate animal physiology students on the proper care of animals. We also have

many members and leaders returning this year to work in the SAE, including Archer Luginbill, who has served both roles over the course of his 4H career. When we sat down at our 4H leader’s kitchen table during a Memorial Day weekend celebration for a short interview, he was wearing an “I Love this Fair” shirt from a previous year, testament to the countless hours he has spent at the NWWA Fair as a 4H member, leader, and fair volunteer. Despite the tiring hours, Archer maintains a positive view of the fair, saying that “the fair is always for a good cause - educational, agricultural” and that the SAE is “always just a fun event where people get to participate and just go to,” interacting with animals and 4H members.    As a current Barn Buddies member, I have

113 Sixth St., Lynden • 354-4444 www.lyndentribune.com

had the opportunity to participate in the SAE for the past several years and discover what makes working in the SAE such a fun event. Though the hours working in the exhibit can be long, it is worth it to watch and listen to guests (all ages, not just children) pointing out the animals, naming them and becoming excited when they learn something new about the animals. It is satisfying to be able to be the one to share new information and facts with exhibit guests.    Along with our returning animals and workers and continuing traditions in the SAE, Barn Buddies is looking forward to this year’s changes. This year, Brooke VanderVeen will be our new SAE leader. She has been heavily involved in Barn Buddies and the SAE for many years, and is now stepping up to the role of exhibit leader. Brooke shared her enthusiasm about the Fair and the SAE in a written interview, saying: “I love how our members share their agricultural knowledge with all their friends, neighbors, and community members throughout the week. We all come

together to learn, experience, and have a blast!” THUNDERBIRDS RACING PIGEON CLUB Simeon Leavitt, reporter    Hello, you probably have heard my reports before in the Lynden Tribune. If not, I’m Simeon Leavitt, reporter of the 4H Thunderbirds Racing Pigeon Club. This year at the Memorial Day Festival of Flags we had the honor of doing the pigeon release. If you were there, you probably would have seen us. If not, you still would have seen the birds. We take the pigeons in boxes and release them out of the boxes when the time comes. Lots of people were at the Festival of Flags. They announced when we were to release; you probably heard the announcement. After we release the pigeons, the pigeons fly home.    The reason that we release the pigeons is that, in World War I and World War II, pigeons were used a lot. They were carrier pigeons. The pigeons we release aren’t carrier pigeons, but they would look the same. The ones we release are homing pigeons.    To join, contact Vicki Strand at (360) 966-4796.

Parade awards announced Washington Tractor takes top award    LYNDEN ­ — With 98 parade entries, downtown Lynden was filled with a colorful array of tractors, farm equipment, horses, antique vehicles, floats and entries from local organizations and businesses in the annual salute to agriculture and local commerce of the 2017 Farmers Day Parade on Saturday, June 3.    The Lynden Chamber of Commerce thanks all parade volunteers, judges, participants and donors as well as parade grand marshal Washington Tractor Co. and title event sponsor Peoples Bank. Without their help, the event would not have been possible.    These are the results of parade judging: Best in Parade — Washington Tractor Best Float — North County Christ the King Best Original or Restored

Car — Dancing For Joy Best Original or Restored Tractor — Cascade Two Cylinder Club Best Original or Restored Vehicle, Other — Crabtree RV Rentals Best Organizational Float — Infinity Dance Best Mounted Horse Entry — Northwest Renegade Cowgirls Best Horse Entry with Wagon — Northwest Propane Best Clean-up Entry — Northwest Renegade Cowgi rls Best Commercial Walking Entry — Skagit Bank Best Organizational Walking Entry — Nooksack Valley Drama Best Youth Walking Entry — Lynden Tennis Best Middle School Band — Meridian Middle School Best High School Band — Lynden High School Best Commercial Truck — Darigold Best Commercial Farm Unit — Oxbo Best Commercial Van/ Small Bus — Lynden Community Center

Whether it is healthy eating, sustainable businesses, or organic farming, there are so many ways to embrace the green lifestyle in north Whatcom County.

IT CHECK

OUT

Get Ready For Summer the Green Way

• Skip the Charcoal: Charcoal grills are dirty and contribue to poor air quality. Try a propane gas grill or an electric one to help keep the air cleaner. • Safer Sunscreen: Sunscreen is great for keeping you healthy and safe, but some of the chemicals have harmful effects on our environment. Look for an all-natural sunscreen next time you spend a day in the sun. • Reduce Picnic Trash: Skip the paper plates and plastic cups and bring some of your own reusable tableware like cloth napkins, silverware, plates, and your favorite reusable water bottle during your next picnic.

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JUNE - SEPTEMBER Mon-Sat 9-6 • Sun 10-4

U-PICK • WE PICK

Our store is OPEN

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WE HAVE STRAWBERRIES! Strawberry Festival • June 17th & 18th • 12-3 PM •••••• FREE STRAWBERRY SUNDAES ••••••

Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries • Homemade Jams, Syrups & Pies

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Serving Whatcom & Skagit Counties Since 1967

You-Pick We-Pick

strawberries, raspberries, blueberries & blackberries. Open: Mon-Sat: 9-6 | Sun: 10-4 Visit our picturesque mini-farm offering fresh in the Summer, Frozen Available Year Round

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Medium and Fine Bark For Your Landscaping Needs Sawdust Shavings • Hog Fuel • Cedar Chips • Bark Mulch www.facebook.com/starkenburgshavings

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Green Earth Technology 774 Meadowlark Road, Lynden

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Meadowlark Rd.

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M-F 7:30am-4:30pm, Saturday 8am-1pm

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upcoming workshops ‡ summer propagation ‡VXPPHUFDUHLQWKH vineyard ‡SODQ\RXUZLQWHUJDUGHQ register online

hours: monday-saturday 10-5, sunday 11-4 6906 goodwin road, everson | (360) 966-5859

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Cascade Blueberry Farm Agritourism • Farmers Market • Farm Stand • Phone Orders • Wholesale

Family owned and operated since 1985. Farm stand open 10am to 6pm, seven days a week, - May 1st to October 1st Vegetable starts, hanging baskets, vegetables and blueberries available in season. (Blueberries avail. Aug. 1st) Kevin & Bianca Maddux - kamaddux@hotmail.com

2667 Willeys Lake Rd., Custer • 360-366-5188

Call us at 360-354-4444 if you’d like to be included in our monthly Go Green Whatcom section!

Country Life June 2017  
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