Or, Farm Girls Don’t Wilt or Melt!
So, by now if you follow our exploits over on Facebook (Search
for the WSU Kitsap Small Farms and “Like” us!) you are
aware that Shannon and I had A Big Adventure on
our way home from the statewide Small Farms Team meeting and
retreat in Plain, WA. The weather in Plain, was well, plain.
We had some drizzle but coming from Western Washington we
weren’t even fazed by that! After spending a busy two days
talking about challenges and opportunities for farmers,
coordinating programming and getting great ideas for new classes
and programs to implement in Kitsap, we hopped in the van and
headed across Stevens Pass to head back to home and hearth.
On the way we needed to stop and pick up Shannon’s kiddos at
the Grandparent’s so we were eager to get back to the west side.
There was some mixed rain and snow at the summit of the pass
but as we headed down the west side it was raining HARD. At
this point that the warning light came on and the van began to pull
to the left. We turned out in the chain-up area (a nice
convenient wide spot right where we needed it!) and sure enough the
driver’s front tire was the going flat. Bad Word, Bad Word.
(This is a family paper after all!)
We called road service and they couldn’t get to us for about two
hours – so we used the smart phones to try find someone closer.
Billboard Towing in Skykomish (8 miles away) answered the
call and despite a 4 1/2 star rating on iKarma they were half an
hour away. Groan. So, we said a little prayer for A
Break! and put on our raincoats. Farm Girls won’t melt when
they get wet!
Some exploration revealed the spare tire under the back – but
the latch on the back gate of the van is broken so all access had
to be over the seats through the side door. After some
grouching and groveling on the pavement (with a river of water
running down the hill beside my head!) on a couple of feed sacks
the spare was free and we started removing the flat. Note
here: Farm Girls always have feed sacks in their cars! It
comes in handy when trying to get out of a snow bank or change a
At this point the rain had let up a bit and it was merely
sprinkling on us, but we were soaked. Then, a
good Samaritan turned around and came back, offering to
help. We were almost done and there wasn’t much point in them
getting wet too so we thanked them for their kind and good thoughts
but declined. Shannon, who had a lot more good humor about
this affair than I said, “You know we will HAVE to blog about
this!” so I whipped out the phone and documented the Farm Girl in
Once back on the road we cranked up the heater (did I mention it
was really COLD rain?) got on the phone and called Les Schwab in
Monroe. They were closing in about 10 minutes but told us
“We’ll leave a light on for you!” Arriving a few minutes
after 6:00 they put us in the bay and fixed our flat – for FREE!
I love the good folks at Les Schwab! Their customer
service is second to none and they consistently support farmers by
carrying products like farm truck or tractor tires and buying from
4-H and FFA Jr. Livestock Auctions. Their “Free Beef!”
promotion is a nod to their farm and ranch origins in Prineville,
OR. We changed our clothes and were back on the road within
30 minutes, warm and dry!
While it was nice feeling to meet this challenge, it was so good
to get the tire fixed and back on the road and head home!
Heading out of town, with our Big Adventure behind us,
I was able to feel briefly jealous of Monroe, WA. They
had three Farm and Feed stores in town,
and a fertilizer and tractor dealers! Next summer I will have
to take a field trip up there and check out some local farms –
hopefully the weather will be better!
As a final note, I was feeling blessed by our circumstances as
we got home. It was an unpleasant little hiccup but we were
able to prevail. The goodness of people willing to stop and
help two drowned women encouraged me, and Schwab’s generosity
warmed my heart. I know that all the truckers heading up the
pass who honked at us while we were changing the tire were only
doing so “In Support!” (okay, perhaps not all of them!) But
when I turned on the news the next morning and the pass was closed
with a 15 foot avalanche and the Skykomish River was flooding the
valley, I felt doubly blessed to be home safe!