Lots of Good News from Willowbrook!
I’ve got some great things to share with you!
But first: for those of you who are new readers, I’m Terry, owner and caretaker of Willowbrook Manor English Teahouse and Farm Stay.
This email comes to you because you either signed up for this newsletter, made a reservation at Willowbrook Manor, are a friend of mine, or are a follower of my mother, author Liz Adair, who has her own corner here in The Willowbrook Word. There is a giveaway at the end of each newsletter, so make sure to read to the end. (If any pictures come to you sideways, click on the link at the top of the page to view this in your browser.)
A Heartfelt Thank You ~
To all of you who wrote in to the Skagit County Commissioners in support of agritourism businesses like mine, I am happy to say that your voices made a difference! The county postponed the meeting about limiting venues like mine to only 12 events per year. The public response was so great they needed more time to go through all of the letters. I am hopeful that positive changes will be made and will keep you posted.
A Ribbon Cutting for the Wishing Well ~
The Wishing Well Garden at Willowbrook is finally complete! When I hosted the Sedro Woolley Chamber of Commerce August luncheon, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the creation of this beautiful garden.
Everyone raised their teacups in a toast to wellness. The Wishing Well is a focal point of the garden and invites guests to make the wishes of homeless children come true. A QR code at the well facilitates giving, and all funds go our local agencies that assist homeless families.
A large stone sits at the garden entrance with a sign that says to place your troubles on the rock before moving on. Sometimes we need permission to let go of the mental weight we carry and allow the gentle calm of nature to give a reprieve from worry.
The Skagit Valley Herald published an article on the Wishing Well Garden. Click HERE for the three-minute read.
Sign up for a Willowbrook Winter Workshop!
In the ‘olden days’ women would gather together for needlework parties before the holidays. It was a time to visit as they created homemade presents for loved ones. This was my inspiration for the Willowbrook Winter Workshop.
The idea is to gather friends for a cozy weekend of good food, good company, making home-made gifts and drinking lots of tea.
Here are the gifts you will make in the Winter Weekend Workshop that runs from Friday through Sunday:
Gingerbread Men ~
Friday evening after a delicious meal you will make a dozen gingerbread men to give to neighbors.
Make a Willowbrook Woolley ~
Saturday morning after tea and scones, you will stuff and assemble the already-sewn kit of this very first ‘Willowbrook Woolley’ named Mim.
Mim the mouse is the main character of Willowbrook’s first picture book. Mim learns to manage anxiety with a good book and some chamomile tea. Mim is made with fabric that came from both my grandmothers, and I am having the best time putting together the book that will accompany this darling doll. The book and doll will come with a tin of chamomile tea and a Willowbrook tea strainer. This gift set will be a bedtime, story-time treasure.
Herbal Class and Gifts ~
After a scrumptious lunch, you will enjoy a hands-on class where you will learn the health benefits of herbs and step-by-step directions on how to make four herbal gifts, packaged and labeled as made by YOU! Robin Haglund is our local herbalist and is a fabulous instructor.
Again, the workshop runs from Friday evening to Sunday noon and is $295/person. We have room for 15 people. If you are local, you are welcome to participate and sleep in your own bed at night, or you can book a room at Willowbrook Manor. Overnight stay is additional cost.
There are two weekends to choose from: Nov. 3rd-5th and Nov. 17th-19th. For more information and to reserve your spot, click HERE.
Time for Liz ~
This is where I turn the newsletter over to my mom, author Liz Adair, to share a bit of her world with you.
Liz Sez ~
It’s been about ten years since I wrote Trouble at the Red Pueblo, which is Number 4 of the Spider Latham series. I had written the first three in the series about ten years earlier, but my editor at Shadow Mountain said they didn’t want to publish any more Spider Latham mysteries. Her logic was that they “skew masculine,” and since most books are purchased by women, she wanted my next mystery to have a strong female lead.
The funny thing about that conversation was that I had just sketched out the plot of my next book and said I was going to set it in Kanab, Utah. Her eyebrows arched. “Kanab? Nobody wants to read about Kanab. They want to read about exotic places.”
I dutifully wrote a romantic suspense with a strong female protagonist set in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. It was a best seller for Shadow Mountain, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as writing about Spider Latham in Kanab would have been.
Coincidentally, about ten years after my editor told me nobody wants to read about Kanab, Derrill and I moved to that small town. During that time, I had decided I liked the freedom and control of self-publishing and immediately moved Spider Latham to Kanab, too, and set him to solving a mystery.
Along with exploring the canyons and mesas in Southern Utah and visiting Ancient Puebloan sites, we also visited the recently-established Red Pueblo Museum just over the border in the hamlet of Fredonia, Arizona. Dixon Spendlove, the museum director, is very knowledgeable about these Native Americans who lived in the area from about 700 to 1200 CE. In fact, most of the museum collection belongs to him.
When I talked to Dixon about setting a Spider Latham mystery at the museum, he suggested it center around a cache (pictured above) he found in a cave when he was a young man. I’m going from memory here, but the cache contained among other things an old hex-barrel rifle, ammunition, matches, and a woman’s handkerchief. Dixon figures it was left there in the mid-nineteenth century.
I wrote Trouble at the Red Pueblo, and it’s had a decade of solid reviews. During that time, the museum has grown in popularity, and tour buses now have it on the itinerary. As Dixon does his guided tour, he finishes with the story of finding the cache in the cave. That’s a natural segue into the Spider Latham mystery written about the cache, and he lets the people know they can buy the book in the lobby.
I was there last week signing another fifty books for the book store when a couple from Texas moved on from viewing the cache, and Dixon, without missing a beat, said, “And here’s the author.”
What could they do? They bought the book, had me personalize the signature, and I asked if I could take their picture to put it in the newsletter.
To celebrate the decade of both Red Pueblos (museum and book), for people who like the feel of a book in their hands, I’m giving away two copies of Trouble at the Red Pueblo.
For others who have a kindle or a kindle app on their phone or tablet, you can buy Trouble at the Red Pueblo for free on Amazon. If you’re like me and you’ve already read it, a re-read is often enjoyable. Or, give it as a gift. They don’t have to know you got it free.
For your free copy click below:
Now back to Terry ~
I’ve Saved the Biggest News for Last!
Kim Holcomb of King 5 Evening Magazine (NBC’s affiliate in Seattle) did a story on my teahouse and farm! A special thanks to my friends and staff who came for tea the day of filming. This is probably the biggest thing I’ve done in quite a while. It aired on September 28th and can be viewed HERE.
My daughter Kjaisa repurposed a black teapot by etching the King 5 logo into it as a gift to Kim and photojournalist Diane.
It was a delight to do the interview with Kjaisa in what used to be her childhood backyard playground, now turned Wishing Well Garden of Willowbrook.
This Month’s Winner! ~
Congratulations to Lijanne S from Blaine for winning the drawing for this framed fern artwork created by my oldest daughter Addy.
Enter to Win Trouble at Red Pueblo ~
Enter to win a copy of my mom’s murder mystery by clicking HERE. Don’t forget to include a little note to let me know how you are doing.
Hero of the Month ~
The roof to the Wishing well was the biggest challenge of the whole garden. Building a cone-shaped roof was way beyond my ability and the clock was ticking closer to the scheduled ribbon cutting. Jim stepped in and worked a miracle, creating the most adorable, and strong roof to cover the Wishing Well before the deadline. He truly is my hero. Thank you Jim.
That is it for this edition of The Willowbrook Word!
Wishing you well from the Wishing Well Garden (when it was under construction).
Here is my calendar of events:
(Click on the link listings for more information)