Living in Utah, Ken was looking to retire from a life of excavation work and leave his company in the hands of his son. His wife Laura, had just sold her bakery cafe and was enjoying life as “Nani” (also known as grandma) to their 10 grandkids. Life was good! But they had no idea that life would soon lead them to Spokane, Washington.
Off on a quilting retreat with friends, the tour bus made it’s way around Green Bluff, stopping briefly for visitors to experience the charm of the area. Laura quickly became distracted by a nearby property. The caution tape wouldn’t stop her from looking around the run down farm house and taking a walk through the chest-high weeds. The brochure offered on the “for sale” sign told of a home built in 1898 on 10 acres, with over 750 fruit trees. It wasn’t a month later that Laura convinced Ken to visit the “magical” place she’d found on the Bluff. Together, they made an offer and started “retirement planning.”
With the foundation of the house unstable and sunken in, the house was a complete loss and had to go. To clear the land for their future home, all Ken needed was a match, a little gasoline and a backhoe. When Ken has a job to do, he means business! This fiery ordeal made way for the building of White Gables and the Red Apple Barn. The orchard itself, however, took a bit longer to clear. 15 years of neglect required a year of cutting back weeds and pruning the trees. It was through this process that we found 17 pear trees, 7 cherry trees, and just under 600 surviving apples trees of differing varieties. Ken and Laura are still working to identify all the trees.
It’s been quite the adventure… and has taken a lot of work. But through it all, the magical feeling that drew Ken and Laura to one of the oldest orchards on the Bluff was never lost. In fact, in continues to grow!