High plains life in blood of transplant

TRANSPLANT TAKES ROOT — Bickleton wheat farmer David Clinton and his Bullmastiff Tiberius pause before tackling another day of farming on the high plains overlooking the town of Bickleton.

The Bickleton small town video can be seen on Facebook: https://www.faceb...

At his “Greenhorn 40” site, look for Clinton’s videos about driving in the snow and planting a flag pole.

“I’m working on another winter video after this year’s blizzard,” he announced.

BICKLETON — The lyrics to a 1985 John Cougar Mellencamp song could be the soundtrack to David Clinton’s life.

A high plains transplant, Clinton wasn’t born in a small town. But, like the song lyrics go, “…I’ll probably die in this small town,” he declares.

Raised on Whidbey Island, with Puget Sound as his front yard, he never considered moving to a town with a population of 90, with an endless horizon.

“I thought this was the arm pit of the world,” he said of his younger self view of the treeless view.

But he met a Bickleton girl, Kim Naught, while attending Washington State University, located in the state’s other big wheat country.

That meeting changed his life and his mind about Bickleton.

Now, the land and the community are in his blood.

After several cross-state moves, east to west and back, he and Kim, and their two children, made their final move to her family’s five-generation farm, a few miles outside of Bickleton nearly 20 years ago.

It didn’t take long to find himself farming the land alongside his father-in-law Stephen Naught, and a leader in the community.

“We’re all busy with multiple volunteer jobs around here,” he grinned, listing off his involvement, including being an Alder Creek Pioneer Association trustee, a volunteer fireman, a Klickitat County Sheriff Posse volunteer deputy, and a deacon at the church.

So, when asked to help with a video project promoting small town life for his church, he happily brought out his DJI Phantom 3 Standard Drone, a present he got for Christmas four years ago.

“This film was made in 2018 to show small town life for our Presbytery,” he explained.

The video was shot in and around his farm, featuring wheat harvest, equipment repairs, giving fellow farmers a hand when stuck in the mud, and, of course, the endless wildlife, from antelope to rattlesnakes… and the world famous Bickleton Bluebirds.

The program also included hundreds of wind turbines that scatter the horizon.

Also, on the short video are scenes of Market Street, the school and, of course, the historic Bickleton Evangelical Church.

“I also made a film for YouTube about driving in the snow at Greenhorn 40,” he said, adding it has received 1.6 million views since it was launched in 2015.

David recently added a show about driving a snowplow on his tractor through the February snow to pick up his wife at school.

“I hit a few snow drifts and had a hard time staying on the road,” he admitted.

“It was just another day in small town life,” he smiled.

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