Besides owning and maintaining New Song Stables, what else do you do, or have you done?
I’ve already said I owned and operated a marina outside Olympia. For three years while operating my own private marina, I also operated a marina for the Port of Olympia. That gave me a different perspective. My marina had 110 moorage slips, sold fuel, and had a small convenience store. I had a partner at the Port's marina and together we managed over 400 moorage slips, and were responsible for all the maintenance on the docks and about twenty acres of land used for parking and grounds. While owning the marina I had it completely rebuilt, getting all the permits, writing an environmental impact statement, going to hearings, etc. During that time the County bought out the local water system and installed a sewer system in the neighborhood. Since we were a large part of the neighborhood focus, I was very involved in all of those discussions, planning, and zoning. At the Port we had to make presentations to the Port Commission, be the front persons for the Port in discussions of live-a-boards, maintenance, stores, etc - anything that is sometimes involved in a marina. We went to boat shows and had promotions at the marina, too. At my own marina, the issue of selling gas and diesel on the water was big. The EPA requirements were changing and tightening up and that became very costly.
After 15 years of marinas, I went to law school. For three years I drove daily to Tacoma, about an hour one way, and worked with a trusted employee to keep my Marina running. By this time, I was no longer working at the Port of Olympia. When I had finished law school and taken the bar exam, I had an opportunity to sell the Marina, and I took it. A marina, like a horse stables, has a lot of maintenance to the physical facility; it needs periodic infusions of a lot of cash.
So then I practiced law in Thurston County for several years. I worked mostly in Family Law and juvenile law, although I also did misdemeanors. I still do legal consulting and document reviews, etc. I liked that too.
My children grew up around the marina business. They know boats and fishing. By the time I was practicing law, they were both out of the home, in college or just out and teaching.
In both the marina management business and in practicing law, women were in the minority. Maybe that's why having mostly women in our barn is so significant to me now.
While I was managing marinas and raising children, I also earned a private pilot's license. I had always wanted to fly, and at one point I said to myself, that no one was ever going to get it for me, so if I wanted to learn I had better go out and do it myself. That was fun, sometimes a little scary. But I stayed with it and finished it. I like flying, but the time and money it takes were not available for awhile and I got out of it.
I also earned a real estate agent license. My Dad sold real estate in Whatcom County for more than 40 years, and I had learned a lot from him. By the time, I earned my license I and my husband had bought and sold a couple of houses, and with my back ground, I found the learning interesting and the test not too hard. Of course, that's expired now, too, but it still gives me a perspective that is helpful.
My greatest loves are my children and grandchildren, my family. Outside of them, I enjoy gardening, especially vegetable gardening. I have grapes near the stables, now, and this year, I should be getting a decent harvest. I like watching plants grow, digging in the dirt, and seeing the results of that work. These days, while it's warm enough, you'll often find me on my knees in the dirt. I proclaim the goodness of home-grown, organic food to everyone who will listen, and promote using composted horse manure for mulch whenever possible.
By: Larissa Cox