Ghost towns

Photo by Shelley Adina
Photo by Shelley Adina

In my research for the Corsair’s Cove books, as well as an upcoming series (which will mean the happy prospect of road trips for me and my patient spouse), I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about ghost towns. Or towns with ghosts, like the Cove. Or ghost towns that have ghosts.

One of the oddities I’ve discovered is that there are two ghost towns named Bodie, one in Washington State and one in California. So curiosity being what it is, I had to look into this more.

The one in California has been a state historic park since 1962, and has been dubbed (in true California fashion) “the best ghost town in the west!” What constitutes “best” is up for debate, but it certainly seems true that it’s in better shape than many ghost towns since it’s maintained by the state, and is a photographer’s delight. William S. Bodey discovered gold near there in 1859, and by 1880 the population was about 10,000–supporting some 65 saloons! Newspaper reports of the time indicate that a common question in the morning was, “Have a man for breakfast?” In the local parlance that meant, “Was anybody killed last night?” Bodie, CA, slid into a decline around 1912, and by 1920 only a handful of people lived there.

Bodie, Washington, is in Okanogan County and in the early days the mine, mining camp, and town were all called Bodie. Today the ruins of the mining camp and the old town are often confused, but in fact there are a few buildings still standing in the camp, and there isn’t much left of the original town at all. The town formed in 1888 but by World War II, operations at the mine had ceased and it began to decline. The mine is still owned by the Geomineral Corporation, however, and people still live in the area.

And its name? Yup, both ghost towns were named for the original claim holder, William S. Bodey. The man clearly had a talent for finding ore and founding towns. Keeping them going? Not so much.

 

Farm Fresh and Delicious

 

For supper last night, I made a Tomato, Corn, Leek and Potato Gratin from Susie Middleton‘s newest book, Fresh from the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories. It caught my eye at the library while I was looking for something else, so I checked it out.

The book is part memoir about starting a market garden and part cookbook. I read it front to back, including most of the recipes, and loved it. So much so that when I had to return it to the library, I ordered a copy to add to my cookbook collection.

Susie has lots of recipes on her website, but I couldn’t find the one of I made last night. It consists of a base of sautéed leeks and corn topped with alternating layers of sliced tomatoes and sliced and parboiled sliced potatoes. The dish is finished with an herbed breadcrumb topping. (FYI, my photos do not do this dish justice.)

My version ended up being a bit dry because I used Roma tomatoes. They’re nice and meaty, but not juicy enough for a recipe like this. Next time I’ll try beefsteak tomatoes.

And this morning, the leftovers made a delicious side dish with a serving of scrambled eggs. In fact, it gave me an idea because Prudence Parker, the heroine Kiss at the Cove, is rather well-known for her breakfasts. If you’d like to find out what else Prudence is cooking up, check out the free preview on iBooks.

Happy reading!

Until next time,
Lee