Master Gardeners’ Hints for Growing Vegetables in Mirrormont

What veggies can you plant now? Is it better to plant seeds or starts? When is it safe to plant tomatoes? On Sunday, March 12th at 7:00 PM at the clubhouse, Jessica Klein-DiStefano and Linda Shepherd will share hints from their Master Gardener training and personal experience growing veggies in Mirrormont.

As always, Mirrormont Pea Patch welcomes everyone (aside from canine companions) to come and see the abundance of food we can grow here. Right now, we are eating over-wintered kale, collards, chard, and beets. Garlic that was planted last October has emerged, and rhubarb is sending up new shoots. Mints and wild Sylvetta arugula are starting to leaf out. Last year, Pea Patch gardeners feasted on our greens and fruits—and donated 747 pounds of organic vegetables to the Issaquah Food Bank.

Handout: MG Hints for Growing Vegetables, 1-22-17

Washington State University Extension Master Gardener Fact sheets: #2 Gardening Publications_2017 final

There are many planting calendars online, such as

The best way to decide when to start planting is measuring the soil temperature. Probe thermometers are inexpensive, costing about $10. For early season veggies, insert the thermometer 2 inches into the soil, measure several days in a row at mid-day, and take an average. Begin to plant cool season crops (arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips) when soil temperature averages at least 40 degrees.

Doors will open at 6:30 for Happy Hour socializing and refreshments — wine, cheese, tea, coffee, brownies…

Firewise on 146th — Next Steps

Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting on 2/16/17, we have enough interest to go forward with a Firewise project on 146th. We are fortunate that Deputy Chief Greg Tryon of Eastside Fire & Rescue, Jarret Griesemer of King Conservation District and Linda Vane of King County Parks & DNR have been so supportive of our community. They put a great deal of time and energy into assessing our hazards and tailoring their presentation to our neighborhood.

Zone map: Jarret Griesemer drew 30-ft and 100-ft buffer zones around homes on SE 146th St on the attached aerial photo. These are zones of protection for Firewise landscaping with the goal of fuel reduction — limiting the amount of flammable vegetation and materials surrounding your house and increasing the moisture content of remaining vegetation.

See more about these zones at

King County has a brochure on wildfire safety tips (the one handed out at Firewise presentation), ‘Fire safety tips for rural homeowners’ at      A list of fire-resistant native plant and Ciscoe Morris videos are at

Individual assessments: Ten people on SE 146th Street and seven others in Mirrormont have requested Jarret Griesemer &/or Linda Vane to walk around their properties and give them an individual assessment and suggest ways to make their homes more Firewise. If you want to be added to their list, please contact me or email them directly at

Pruning workshop: Linda Vane is scheduling a pruning workshop at 10:00 a.m. on March 11th at Sheila & Doug Nast’s home to provide instruction on best practices for pruning trees and shrubs.

Fuel reduction: Now is the time to start hauling dead branches out to the road in preparation for chipping. Please stack piles so the butt ends of all branches face in one direction. You may want to partner with your neighbors to hand branches up or down the slope. You need to be an MCA member in order to be eligible for your branches to be chipped (your only cost for chipping).

Help: You can get help hauling branches from Tahoma High Schoolers at $14/hour through Brian Olson — start scheduling them now, and pay Brian directly. Or, if you need more help, you might consider partnering with your neighbors to negotiate a good deal with Brian for his professional crew, who can help with pruning and bigger jobs.

Vacant lots/work party: While your first priority is making your own home more firewise, we want to organize a work party to work together on fuel reduction on the vacant lots, probably on April 15th. Russ Gawler at Fire Station 76 offered EF&R volunteers to help you, if they are available.

Resources: See the attached “How to Have a Firewise Home”     How to have a Firewise home (PDF, 826 KB)  and “Firewise Landscape/Construction Guide”  landscaping-2  (a caveat on this one is that it includes a few recommendations for vegetation management that are geared toward eastern Washington like “space conifer trees 30 feet between crowns”).

Funding: King Conservation District has earmarked $2000 for our Firewise project. These funds can go toward chipping branches and some work on the vacant “Landman” lots owned by Woodland Properties.

MCA Dues: Please pay your $50 annual MCA dues now so that you can benefit from this MCA-sponsored project. This will be your only cost, unless you opt to hire high-school helpers or Brian’s crew.

Track your hours: In order to remain a Firewise Community and qualify for grant funding, we need to contribute $2 per capita annually—about $3000. This includes the worth of your labor, valued at $20/hour, as well as any cash expenses. So please report the hours you spend on Firewise activities to me (including cleaning your roof)—as well as money you spend for roof cleaning, pruning and hauling branches.

Fire concerns: One homeowner on 146th reported there was a young kid arsonist in the neighborhood about 15 years ago. Another homeowner reported on a conversation with David Kappler on a hike; he said homeless folks camping in Tiger Mtn State Forest use campfires. Linda Vane said there are close calls every year in Western Washington, with fires roaring uphill and burning fast.

Triage: Deputy Chief Tryon emphasized that, in the event of a fire, firefighters determine which homes are defensible or not. Given limited resources, they will focus on homes that can be saved. If our community is well-prepared, we have a better chance of protecting it. He also recommended storing elsewhere: important papers or copies, photos, information you’d need for insurance.

Contact info:

Linda Vane Forestry Program│King County Department of Natural Resources & Parks    201 S. Jackson Street Suite 600

Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 477-4842
Jarret Griesemer King Conservation District, IP Forestry Project Coordinator    1107 SW Grady Way, Suite 130

Renton, WA 98057  (425) 282-1953
Brian Olson Olson’s Outdoor Improvements (206) 605-8839

Thanks for doing your part to make Mirrormont safer!

Linda Shepherd

President, Mirrormont Community Association

Firewise: Making Mirrormont Safer — 2/16 at 7 PM at the clubhouse

Image result for wildfire free

Unlike Eastern Washington, where catastrophic wildfires occur annually across the landscape, Western Washington faces a different risk. Catastrophic wildfires occur once every hundred years or more, on scales much greater than the annual fires that occur frequently east of the Cascade crest. Unexpected, large and highly-intense wildfires can occur on the west side, and have in the past. Fortunately our fire response has been able to limit the extent of fire spread. It’s not a matter of if a catastrophic wildfire will spread beyond our control, it’s a matter of when. We can only try to control ‘the when’ by keeping the density of fire fuels low and staying well-prepared to fight fires.

Wildfires do burn every year in east King County. It takes only a few sunny days for forests to dry out enough to catch fire. In windy conditions, wildfires can get out of control quickly. The defensible space you create around your home could be the only thing left that could save your home and property, should a catastrophic fire go ablaze.

Before wildfire strikes, learn how you can help protect your lives and property by creating a fire-adapted space around structures.

Please join us on Thursday, February 16th at 7:00 PM at the clubhouse for a Firewise presentation by ES&R Deputy Fire Chief Tryon, King Conservation District Forester Jarret Griesemer and Linda Vane with King County’s Forestry Program.

As discussed in our annual MCA newsletter, Mirrormont News, Jarret identified SE 146th St. as our highest risk area because it is on a steep slope facing Tiger Mtn State Forest, and the large amount of fuels present on many homeowner’s properties and especially on the vacant lots. Jarret and Linda will discuss strategies for working on steep slopes.

You can schedule a free individual assessment of your property at the meeting. Jarret or Linda can help you spot wildfire risks on your property and advise you what to do about them.

Brian Olson, of Olson’s Outdoor Improvements, will attend the meeting. He wants to offer homeowners a “Mirrormont deal” for winter clean-up services if the work can be scheduled as a group.

Doors will open at 6:30 for Happy Hour socializing and refreshments — wine, cheese, tea, coffee, brownies…

Geology & Earthquakes in Mirrormont, 1-17-17

Geologist Andy Wade will talk about Mirrormont’s geological history and what might be expected here during a big earthquake. How did Tiger Mountain form? How close are we to major fault lines? What makes up our underlying geological “foundation”? What is glacial till and how deep does it go?

There was quite a bit in the news over the past two years about earthquakes, including the July 2015 New Yorker article and Sandi Doughton’s book Full Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. On Oct. 2, 2016, a 2.9 magnitude earthquake was centered near Mirrormont, plus a 2.7 on Nov 8th.

How can we prepare? How can we assess whether our foundations need stabilization? Andy grew up here and now works for Pile King, which underpins structures, so he can discuss how to avoid damage such as what occurred with the triple A-frame Channel 7 House during the 2001 Nisqually quake.

Hear Andy at the Clubhouse, 25500 Mirrormont Drive on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 7:00 PM

All Mirrormont residents are welcome.

Refreshments will be served!

MCA Annual Meeting, 1-17-17

Come learn what your MCA Board has accomplished in 2016 to make Mirrormont an even better place to live—and what plans are in the works for 2017. Contribute your ideas and vote for your 2017 MCA Board. Arrive early to view displays about Mirrormont’s history. Our annual meeting is a wonderful opportunity to connect with people who post on Nextdoor, meet new neighbors, and catch up with friends.

The MCA Annual Meeting will be held at the Clubhouse, 25500 Mirrormont Drive on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 7:00 PM

All Mirrormont residents are welcome.

Refreshments will be served!


Santa’s Reindeer Engine, Dec 17

Every year, as an annual gift to kids of all ages, Station 76 volunteer firefighter/EMT Anita Sandall and her Santa husband drive the Reindeer Engine through Mirrormont—all decked out in holiday lights. Keep a lookout for the spectacle and enjoy the holiday music piped from the “sleigh”! This year, their route will be:

Reindeer Engine: Starting at St 76 (5pm)

Travel on 152nd and turn Right 262nd. U turn

152nd to 260th U turn by 14900

152nd to 258th and travel around 149th to 256th,

Right onto Mirrormont WY. Right on SE 146th/252nd U turn.

From Mirrormont WY,

Left onto 247th PL

Left 250 PL U turn

Left on 251st PL U turn

Left on 253rd Ave SE. to Mirrormont WY, Right on 256th (6pm)

Right on Mirrormont BLVD to end and U turn

Right on256th to SE 159th St/158th U turn

Right on 259th Ave Se U Turn.

Right on E 157th St/ Right on 260th / Left on SE 158th St U Turn. (7pm)

SE 159th / SE160th St ….   Right on 266th Ave – U Turn

Left on 162nd PL   ………     Right SE 160th St

Right on 158th St- U Turn

Right on 263rd (8pm)

Right on SE 156th PL -U Turn, Right on 263rd to Right on SE 154th Pl-U Turn

Left on 263rd Right on SE 156th Right on 260th, Right on 154th

Left on 263rd, Left on 152nd Left on 260th Right on 154th/ Mirrormont Dr.

Left on 256th


MCA Adult Holiday Social

Annual MCA-sponsored Holiday Social for the adults (21 and over) at the clubhouse on December 9th from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Come and enjoy holiday cheer with your neighbors.
More details for the event: This year we are going to have a White Elephant Gift Exchange: it’s time to re-gift that awkward present you received last year, or that ’70’s tchotchke sitting above the fireplace! Wrap it up and see what you get in exchange!
Please bring your favorite potluck/heavy hor d’ouvres and a bottle of wine/ beer, etc. to share. MCA will provide non-alcoholic drinks.

Recycling: Virtual Tour

What happens after you toss paper, plastic, and glass into your recycling bin? Join us at the clubhouse, 7:00 PM on Tuesday, Nov 15th, for a virtual tour of Cascade Recycling Center where our stuff gets sorted and sold. Learn what we can recycle and what messes up their system—and why. Can we recycle compostable plates if we don’t have yard waste? What do we do with plastic bags? What about mixed cardboard-plastic containers? Bring all the stuff you’ve always wondered about.

Each month the Waste Management Cascade Recycling Center processes 12,000 tons of commingled recyclables from over 250,000 Western Washington households. Paper, metals, glass, and plastic bottles are collected together. To sort those materials takes specially designed technology, overseen by quality control employees. These machines then create bales of separated materials ready for shipment to processing facilities, where they are made into something new.

Chipper Days 2016: Oct 30—Nov

Chipper Days 2016 will be here soon.  If interested, please read the following information carefully.  There have been many changes from last year’s Chipper Week.

As an official Firewise Community, we are offering our third Firewise initiative for 2016: Chipper Days. The Firewise Pruning Workshop and street address sign program were designed to facilitate this, and priority will be given to those participants. Otherwise, it will be on a first come/first served basis upon receipt of your $20 co-pay for MCA members.

BACKGROUND & FUNDING: In 2015, Chipper Day became Chipper Week, which lasted 10 days. It was overwhelmingly successful, with emphasis on overwhelming. It served 117 homeowners, with piles that took from 15 minutes to 5 hours to chip, services valued at $10,000. Last year, King County Parks donated 4 days of chipping, then Brian Olson of Olson Outdoor Improvements heroically completed the job, giving us a very good deal. He was paid by a federal grant from the U.S. Congress, which allocates funding to the Forest Service to support projects like this. This grant was administered through King County’s Forestry Program.

Although King County Parks cannot offer their services this year, we are grateful to be receiving a $1500 grant provided to King County Forestry from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, under the federal Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, Title III. We are equally grateful to be receiving $1500 We are equally grateful to be receiving $1500 from Washington Firewise Community Small Funds Grant from Washington State Department of Natural Resources. In all, that amounts to only $3,000 in grants. So we need to require a $20 co-pay to make this happen.

LIMITS: Due to limited funding, we need to limit the number of participants to 100 and the size of piles. Your $20 co-pay and MCA dues will cover chipping of a single row of branches up to 4-ft high x 8-ft wide (cut ends) x 10-ft deep. Branches must be less than 10-ft long and less than 6” in diameter. No rope, nails, metal, rocks, plastic, or lumber. This is a $225 value.

THE DETAILS (please read and comply!):
•  Firewise Community Chipper Days will be held October 31 — November 4.

•  The MCA sponsors and funds this event.

To Be Eligible:

  1. You must be up to date with your 2016 dues. If you have any questions about your 2016 membership status, contact Lisa Lux
  1. You must have an easily visible street address sign by the side of your driveway (a reflective, two-sided MCA-sponsored signpost — or your own sign)

Once Eligible, Now What?

  1. Register for Chipper Days: 
  • Contact Debbie Bartlett with the following information: Name, Street Address, Phone number, email, and whether you want the chips from your pile, a 12-cubic yard truckload of chips or no chips?
  • Debbie’s contact information: Email:    Phone:  425-961-0037
  • Deadline:  5:00 PM on October 16th
  1. Submit your $20 co-pay
  • PayPal to   or
  • Mail to:   MCA, P.O. Box 476, Issaquah, WA 98027
  • Deadline:  5:00 PM on October 16th
  1. Finish making your pile of branches
  • Stack branches by the side of the road with the cut (fattest) ends facing in one direction.
  • Deadline:  October 28th
  1. Assess the size of your pile

a. If larger than the 4’x8’x10’ size listed above (see LIMITS section):

  • Contact Brian Olson, if emailing, attach a photo of your pile; include a yardstick (or tape measure set at 3-ft) for reference:  Email:; phone:  206-605-8839
  • He will tell you the additional charge and bill you separately. As long as you are a Chipper Days-registered MCA member, the rate will be $50 per additional 4×8-ft pile. Pile portions in excess of 4×8 will not be chipped otherwise. Usual minimum charge just to show up for chipping of any amount would be $150 outside of this event for MCA members. For all services offered by Olson’s Outdoor Improvements, see
  • Deadline:  October 28th

b. If your pile is no larger than the 4’x8’x10’ size limit, you do not need to contact Brian Olson.

  5. Print out and Post ‘Flow Number-House Number’ on your pile. 

  • ‘Flow Number-House Number’ will be assigned and emailed to you the week of October 24th.  For example, #21—14985.  Put the Flow Number—House Number print-out in a Ziploc bag to protect it from rain and post it on your pile.
  • Post by October 30th
  1. Report hours worked
  • Contact Debbie Bartlett: Email:    Phone:  425-961-0037
  • Report number of hours worked trimming, clean-up, and moving your piles to the roadway. The federal and DNR grants are cooperative/cost share grants; our share is “paid” with volunteer hours that go toward making our community “Firewise” and safer.This is important!
  • Debbie’s contact information: Email:; phone:  425-961-0037
  • Report by November 4th


  1. Before October 30th, clear dead brush and dry branches from the forest floor. Prune shrubs and limb-up trees to remove ladder fuels and dead material. Prune trees 6’—10’ from ground (but leave at least ½ the tree with live limbs). Pruning of trees and shrubs creates mini fuel breaks. See  When removing branches, be sure to leave the “branch collar” intact.
  1. See the linkon Tree Pruning for helpful information.  The following links also provide helpful information on pruning, see:
  1. When trimming, be safe. Branches can be heavier than they look, and trimming equipment is extremely sharp. Keep your distance from the chipper crew when they are working. They are the experts, and like us, don’t want anyone to get hurt.
  1. Stack branches next to the road so the cut (fat) ends point toward the road. This makes it easier to handle when chipping. Have your cuttings stacked no later than Sunday, Oct. 30th.  Assure that no rope, nails, metal, rocks, plastic, or lumber are in the pile.  Make a note of time spent cleaning, trimming, and stacking – it is this “volunteer” time that allows for our cost-share grant funding. Include time you spent this year removing debris from your roof and gutters.
  1. Through the week, the crew will work their way along our streets from pile to pile. Chips not wanted by homeowners will be donated to Mirrormont Park for trail and edging improvements and other landscaping.
  1. Be sure to sign up early to ensure you are part of this event!
  1. The success of this project depends on everyone complying with the above. Please respect the time that MCA volunteers are putting into organizing and implementing this.

Fire Authority Ballot Measure: Q&A with Fire Chief

At 7 PM, prior to our MCA Board meeting on Tuesday, October 4th, at Mirrormont clubhouse, Eastside Fire & Rescue Chief Jeff Clark will speak about the proposed fire authority for King County Fire Districts 10 and 38. Fire District 10 serves May Valley, Tiger Mountain, Mirrormont, Preston and the City of Carnation. Fire District 38 covers the unincorporated areas around North Bend and Snoqualmie. The fire agencies contend that working together will reduce costs, maintain emergency service levels, and improve efficiencies for taxpayers long-term. We encourage you to attend to ask questions and hear more about the proposed Fire Authority ballot measure.