Cathy Taggett and Ron Snyder have turned to art after a combined 60 years as educators. They operate Circle of Trees Homestead, which includes an art studio on their farm near Blaine.
Taggett creates a variety of artwork, including watercolor paintings and mixed media, while Snyder creates old-fashioned, hand-tied brooms, along with other art pieces.
Taggett is also a master gardener, and the couple regularly host tours on the 2.5-acre farm.
"'Food insecurity' is a big issue," Snyder says. "We spend time showing people how to grow their own food. Whatcom County is a unique place where we could feed our own people just by growing food here."
Snyder learned his broom-making craft from mentors at Shenandoah Mountain. One of his brooms is at the Smithsonian.
Snyder and Taggett focus on community service in their free time, and they've been involved in starting a dizzying array of projects. They've started a community sailing school in Blaine, teach baking at schools and Blaine's community center, and helped start an art studio tour and a gardeners' market in Blaine.
"We're in the business of making people's lives better," Snyder says. "When we first came here and starting talking about some of these ideas, people said, 'That's fascinating, how can we help?'"
One of the first things they did after arriving in Blaine in 2004 was to ask people in the community what was needed. Once they came up with a list, they began tackling them one at a time, with the idea of starting things, then stepping back to see where the community takes the project.
Next on their list is being involved with local American Indian tribes in canoe paddling events, much like the Paddle to Lummi event in 2007. Snyder and Taggett, who have a boat, plan to be part of the safety crew during the Paddle to Quinault in 2013, and a tribal canoe trip from Seattle to Bella Bella, B.C., in 2014.
With all of those projects, working together as partners is key, Taggett says. She describes herself as the idea person and Snyder as the organizer in the partnership.
"When you have a loving, caring partner to do this with, it makes it much easier," Snyder says. "Our energy is greater together than the sum of the parts."
CONTACT: Circle of Trees Homestead, 360-332-8082
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at email@example.com or call 715-2269.