A Baby Goat Date might be the best date you ever go on
Baby boom at Leavenworth Reindeer Farm
U-pick tulips and field-grown rhubarb in Sumner
A short hike to paradise at Deception Falls trail
A rare stone that's only found in one Eastern Washington town: Where to hunt for Ellensburg Blues
Explore Seattle by sea and land with Argosy Cruises
Growing your own salad is easier than you think!
There's something special about when spring rolls around in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, we still get plenty of rain, but the promise of more sun, blooming flowers, and an abundance of opportunities for fun, outdoor activities are more than enough reasons to celebrate the start of the new season.
Follow along as we show you some of the best things to see and do during spring in the PNW!
A Baby Goat Date might be the best date you ever go on:
What's your ideal date? Dinner and drinks? A romantic night in? A scary movie? Trick question — none of those is your ideal date. Your ideal date... is a Baby Goat Date.
Puget Sound Goat Rescue is a Maple Valley non-profit that rescues goats from mistreatment and abuse. Whether someone isn't equipped to own a goat, or a dairy farm doesn't want baby goats — Puget Sound Goat Rescue takes them in.
Puget Sound Goat Rescue director Barbara Jamison says they first got the idea for Baby Goat Dates when her own friends and neighbors clamored to visit the farm during spring — aka, baby goat season. Jamison decided it would be a great activity to offer to people who support the non-profit as well.
Each fall, Puget Sound Goat Rescue posts online, announcing their Baby Goat Dates. Act quick, because these go fast. Buying one Baby Goat Date guarantees two hours of baby goat joy for two people.
All of the proceeds from the Baby Goat Dates go directly to the care of goats — Puget Sound Goat Rescue is entirely volunteer-run, so the money goes right back to making sure the goats are safe and sound.
If the Baby Goat Date inspires you to adopt goats, Puget Sound Goat Rescue can help you with that, too. You can adopt their goats, although the rescue requires adopters to adopt two or more goats. As they say, "An only goat is a lonely goat". They also only adopt their goats out as pets, never for milking or breeding.
Baby Goat Dates happen every spring, so follow Puget Sound Goat Rescue on social media so you can be ready to nab spots in the fall. Spots go fast, obviously — who doesn't want to spend two hours with baby goats?
Baby boom at Leavenworth Reindeer Farm:
There's been a baby boom in Leavenworth.
“We're at Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, and right now we have 12 reindeer, well, 15. We just had 3 babies born,” explained manager Erika Bowie. “We are expecting 5 more babies to be born on the farm this calving season."
Springtime here is busier than Christmas at the North Pole.
"This is the time of year when we're short on sleep, but it's the big reward of being able to cuddle with those cute little reindeer,” laughed Bowie.
Kari and Hans Anderson are the owners of this family farm. Currently, Kari also happens to be designated Reindeer Mom to calf Moonshine, a week-old calf whose real mom couldn’t nurse him. Kari hand feeds him, and he follows her everywhere.
During this busy time on the farm, which also has draft horses, a turkey, and some chickens, Kari and Hans’ kids and grandkids help with chores like feeding the reindeer their favorite food: "So we are feeding them fresh willow branches, which is the first tree to get its leaves and the last tree to lose them. It's what they're eating up in the wilds in Alaska. They love willow,” Bowie said.
This is the only reindeer farm in the lower 48 that's open to the public year-round. Visitors can go inside the reindeer enclosure and feed the reindeer right out of their hands. Even little reindeer lovers are welcome. These animals are very gentle, despite the imposing antlers.
“They absolutely love people,” Bowie said. “Sometimes we take them out to local elementary schools, and assisted living communities to love meeting the reindeer over the holidays.”
And this flock loves living in Leavenworth — not just because of their adoring fans — but because of geography.
"Little known fact, Leavenworth is actually at the same latitude on earth as Mongolia, where huge herds of reindeer naturally thrive. We actually have the same weather patterns here, and some of the healthiest fattest reindeer we've ever seen,” Bowie said.
And as the group of kids visiting the farm feeds this happy herd willow branches on a sunny spring day, everyone agrees: Meeting real-life reindeer face to face beats leaving carrots out for Santa's reindeer all year long.
Disclaimer: This is an encore presentation of this program.
Leavenworth Reindeer Farm | 10395 Chumstick Hwy, Leavenworth, WA 98826 | (509) 885-3021
Sponsored by Washington's Playground.
U-pick tulips and field-grown rhubarb in Sumner:
The Skagit Valley isn't the only place in the PNW that has tulip fields: Knutson Farms in Sumner has been growing them for decades.
"Harold Knutson came out of the dust bowl and he came here worked on this farm and eventually end up buying the farm,” said Brian Anderson, who married into the Knutson family and switched from teaching and football coaching at a nearby high school to being General Manager of this family-owned business. This year, for the first time, they're trying something new:
“We've always sold wholesale and with shrinking margins, we're trying to sell some of our own stuff retail and trying to think outside the box a little bit how on how to generate other sources of revenue."
You can do more than just tiptoe through these tulips — you can pick 'em. Bulb and all! Store the bulbs properly in a cool dark place like a garage, plant them in fall, and chances are they’ll come back up in spring.
“So it’s kind of a two-for-one.”
They call it 'The Spring Bloom' — along with picking their own flowers visitors can pet friendly goats, meet hungry piglets, and explore a working farm.
You can also pick up a bundle of Sumner's signature crop — rhubarb — harvested straight from the field. Fun fact: Sumner is ‘The Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World’.
"We ship a lot of rhubarb I think last year we shipped over one million pounds of rhubarb,” Anderson said.
Knutson Farms still raises wholesale food and flowers, but by sharing their bounty in person in their store — and in their fields — they plan to thrive for years to come.
"The farm means a lot to the family and it means a lot to the community, it's like we're standing on the shoulders of the guys that came before us and I'm doing that with my father-in-law and he's done that with his father. It’s generational and hopefully we can keep it going,” Anderson said.
U pick tulips will be wrapped up after May 7 and Knutson Farms retail store is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. through fall.
A short hike to paradise at Deception Falls trail:
Hardcore hikers don't give it much thought. But off Highway 2 near Skykomish, there's a little piece of paradise many never take the time to go explore.
"A lot of people use it for the restroom stop, but go beyond the restroom and go on and do the walk here too," said Craig Romano, an Outdoor Travel Writer.
"We are at Deception Falls,” Romano said. "It's a short hike, it's only a little over a half-mile but because it is a short hike with so many great attributes, it's a perfect way to introduce people who might have never done a hike before which is a great way to introduce them to the outdoors."
"What you're going to see is Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar and some Doug Fir. Best times to be out here are warm spring days, rainy fall days and you're going to see some incredible flow coming through the creeks and the river."
"It's very easy. Very, very easy walk. A little bit of elevation but very easy."
It may be short and easy, but Deception Falls nature trail shows you don't have to walk far to get away.
"Who should do this hike? Who should not?! Everybody, young people, old people. It’s perfect for everyone."
A rare stone that's only found in one Eastern Washington town: Where to hunt for Ellensburg Blues:
You can find a lot of blue in Ellensburg – from the chicory flowers in the fields to the skies above the rolling hills. But there’s only one Ellensburg blue. Millions of years ago water flowing through lava beds in Kittitas Valley made light blue agates. It’s a color Bernice Best loves.
"What do I love about it? It's blue. Blue's my color. Blue's the sky. Blue's the ocean. Blue's everything around us."
For decades, she has let people search for blues on her 200 plus acre Rock ‘n Tomahawk Ranch.
"It's better to share and let them look. With no guarantee that they're going to find a blue. The only thing I guarantee 'em is that they're gonna find a rock," said Best.
"This particular stone is the third hardest gemstone in the world to find. That tells you how rare they are."
Five dollars gets you all the blues you can find. Rock hunter Mary Hoy traveled all the way from Olympia to search for blues and found something tiny that might be the elusive blue agate. Usually, stones need to be cut to reveal whether there’s color inside:
"Pretty excited about that. We'll see when we get home with the Dremel and see what's in there," said Hoy.
The possibility of finding a rock that could be worth up to 250 dollars a karat means everyone who walks this property does it with a 'blues bend'.
Even the owner.
"It is addictive,” Best said, after stooping and picking up yet another tiny stone along a road cut.
A flat large blue that’s the shape of a tomahawk blade is the ranch's namesake. It was found on the property, polished, and given to Best as a Christmas present.
Another blue, mounted in a ring, her husband discovered stuck in his horse’s hoof.
Ellensburg blues seem to find people, rather than people finding them.
Every year in April, after the snow melts another bunch of blues emerges, hidden among the dusty stones on this land.
"There are people who will tell you there are none left. But in reality, the way they were brought here, there are more left. You just gotta keep digging!" Best said.
No matter what kind of blue you find out here, Best says the search is always worthwhile.
"Finding the blue is always the benefit. But being out here, I mean, I wouldn't live anyplace else."
Rock n' Tomahawk Ranch allows people to hunt their 200 plus acres for blues for 5 dollars, to make a reservation call (509) 962-2403. Ireland Jewelers in Cle Elum makes finished pieces using Ellensburg blues, 111 E 1st St, Cle Elum, WA 98922.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video below originally aired in August 2018.
Explore Seattle by sea and land with Argosy Cruises:
From MOHAI and the Center for Wooden Boats to trendy bars and restaurants, Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood has a lot to offer both locals and tourists. Getting there, however, can be a headache. So why not ditch the car for a boat?
Argosy Cruises Locks Tour might be the best way to see and get around the city. The ship leaves from Pier 54 on the Seattle waterfront, through the Ballard Locks and then into Lake Union.
“We get to go through Elliott Bay, see the city skyline and then we get to go out further into Puget Sound,” said Argosy crew member Samantha Kelly. “We get to see the beautiful mountains, the islands, and a lot of the natural beauty of the area.”
Narrated by one of Argosy's deckhands, passengers can sit back and take in the city's rich history, while also soaking up the stunning views.
“I think it’s really fun for the kids to experience,” passenger Kris Lafata said. “The kids spend a lot of time in the car, so it’s fun for them to see Seattle from the water.”
The only roadblock on this trip is an uplifting one. The locks act as a huge elevator powered by water. It raises the ship up, taking it from Puget Sound to Lake Union where the tour ends.
But just because the cruise is over, doesn’t mean your day has to be. Argosy Cruises Locks Tour allows you to experience another part of the city — this time on land.
“We decided we wanted to do some activities after we got off the boat,” Lafata said.
She took her family to play putt-putt golf at Flatstick Pub, which is a short walk from Argosy’s dock in South Lake Union. It’s just one of the nearby activities Argosy Cruises recommends to its Stay and Play passengers.
Sponsored by Argosy Cruises.
Growing your own salad is easier than you think!:
Spring officially arrived on March 20, and Seattle gardening expert Ciscoe Morris has a one-pot salad you can plant to celebrate. He says if you do this now, you’ll be enjoying fresh greens well into summer.
“First thing, I bought some good potting soil, got a little pot with good drainage, and I made sure I got some all-purpose organic fertilizer (5-5-5),” Ciscoe said. Then he added some pea starts; this is the perfect time to plant these cool-weather-loving veggies. Check the height of the ones you get, Ciscoe's grow to three feet when mature, so he added a trellis to the middle of the pot for the peas to climb.
Greens that go into a salad pot can go beyond lettuce. Ciscoe also planted mustard greens in his pot, and his favorite, arugula, also known as rocket lettuce.
“It’s so good for you, I tell you what I'm a big walker, and after I've eaten arugula, I walk like a rocket!"
Once you have your pot planted, the starts will look a bit bedraggled.
Ciscoe said generously watering after transplanting into the container will help revive the leafy greens and peas.
“They’ll come back like little gang-busters!”
Once the plants have established themselves in their new home, you can just pluck a few leaves every now and then, harvest peas when they are mature, and keep yourself in the salad days for days on end.
“I'll just come out and pick individual leaves off every night for my salads — and I'll be eating salads with great peas for weeks and weeks outta this pot right here. Oh la la. I can't wait!”