Family, Winter gardening and a barn raising.

Things have been busy, nothing new there!

More of our family has moved up to NW Washington and will soon be increasing in size with an addition of a Grand-daughter early next year.

Our first Winter garden of kale, chard, brussel sprouts, brocoli and garlic that were planted in the first row are doing well, very happy to be in the ground. There would have been many more plants, but our dog “Stella” decided to thin the seedling tray and left less than 50%.
The 120 or so garlic bulbs that I planted (5 varieties) last month have started showing green tips. I’ll need to mulch soon with straw to slow them down till next March. It’s amazing to be able to garden year round here.





Mike Canfield our incredible designer and master carpenter has been very busy the past two weekends. Our first out-building, a 12×16 foot barn is coming along great. The size was chosen as the maximum foot print possible without requireing a local building permit. It’s 1-1/2 stories with a gambrel roof. The siding and roof (materials and colors) will match the house.


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Rust Never Sleeps

gateLast post – I said summer was a busy time.  Yup.  It’s been awhile since I posted and so much has been happening.

The picture is of our “new” repurposed garden gate.  Isn’t it just splendid?  It began with an idea and an old bed post.  Our fabulous Mike took it and ran wild!  Isn’t it spectacular?  Next on the list for the garden is to finish the beds and then start adding bits of rusty metal here and there.  I also have a collection of large garden flags and I do believe one of them needs to go up today.

The weather on the Island has been warm and wonderful. To our great delight, the nights have cooled to the point that the mosquitoes have begun to disappear.  Neighbors told us this has been the worst mosquito year since they moved here – 1989.  That is very good news.  Pesky buggars one and all.

Garage sales, thrift stores and storage units have been visited and many items purchased.  We now have a new kiln, drill press, another work bench and more.  The garage is being reorganized.  It will become a workroom one of these days.

We are chasing net zero.  So close, so close.  Good times.

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Penn Cove

SONY DSCSummer is a very busy time on the Island.  There is so much to do that it is often overwhelming.

Last weekend was the annual Coupeville Arts and Crafts Show and the Gray’s Harbor Pirate Ships came to town.  We had the pleasure of a 3-hour battle cruise on an absolutely perfect day.  The Hawaiian Chieftain and the Lady Washington battled it out on Penn Cove.  It was awesome!

The garden fence is done, except for the gate.  We have been loading and unloading concrete blocks for the raised beds.  One more load to go.  Then we will place cardboard at the bottom of the beds to stifle weed growth.  Hopefully, a few fall plantings will make it into the ground.

The house has undergone a couple of changes.  We had screening put into the gutters.  We were not comfortable with the underground gutter drainage and the prospect of the tiny fir needles clogging the system.  So, we had screening placed in the gutters.  So far, so good.

We moved a bit of furniture and we still have paintings and rugs to hang.  We are thinking about having a heater installed in the master bath.  We just don’t run the floor heat as warm as a lot of people do – I guess?!  A bit more heat in the bathroom would be good.  We have a small wall heater in the upstairs bath and we should have done the same downstairs.  Live and learn.  It is certainly not needed in the summer, but fall is approaching.

We had visitors for a week and they thought the house and the Island were terrific.  We do too!  We went to a Lavender Festival and I am now determined to have a lavender garden in some sort of spiral pattern.  Lavender is beautiful and mosquitoes don’t like it.  Double whammy!


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Beat the Heat

boatA boat would be a terrific way to beat the current heat wave.  Another splendid way to beat the heat is to live in our home!  Cool as a cucumber.  Stays warm, stays cool.

And all the while our amazing solar panels are soaking in the rays!

We also live close to the water; very close.  No view, but all the cooling effects of water.  That’s why we have wonderful drifts of fog slinking through the treetops on a regular basis.

Life is very good on the Island.


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welcomeThe garden fence is nearing completion – need to get the 2nd gate constructed.  I did find an old metal headboard and I am hoping it will work.

Four of our Turkish pillow covers have been framed and are now hanging in the entryway.  They are stunning and very colorful.  The entryway shelving/basketry “thing” has been put together and is in place.  Now, we need to go through all the papers on the counter; sort, toss, save, organize and get them off the counter.

I found a gorgeous quilted runner for 1/2 price at the thrift store; $4.  It now adorns the oak buffet that I am using as a linen closet.  I also ordered four more window shades; three for upstairs and one for the great room.  These are top-down, bottom-up, cordless shades.  We have an identical shade in the master bedroom and it is terrific.  I am not a fan of window treatments, but when these are not in use, they are basically out of sight.  I also bought a couple of vintage hand-crocheted doilies for the new dining table and the upstairs end table.  I am sure I have vintage doilies packed away, but who know.

Our daughter was here for a couple of days and concurred that the smaller of the loft rooms makes a more comfortable sleeping area.  Decision is still out on the need for a folding screen of some sort.

The boss bought himself a cement mixer at a garage sale./  Concrete projects will ensue.  Hypertufa!  Stepping stones!  Sculpture!  Fun!

The search for a boat has seriously commenced.  I know squat about boats.  This could be another blog in itself!


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Growing Green

?????????????????????????????So – the garden fence is looking fabulous.  We are in search of an old iron headboard for Mr. Fabulous to turn into a garden gate.

I really wanted the front “yard” to be a lovely meadow in which Bambi would stroll.  The hard truth is that the long grasses are havens for mosquitoes.  We have been in a battle to find plants that deter the nasty buggers, natural mosquito repellants and such.  I’m all about keeping it “green”.  However, I will not be held hostage in my home because the skeeters have claimed their area.

Today, I took the weed whacker to the long grasses around the deck.  (This was after I had collected the afternoons swath of slugs.)  I whacked the crap out of the grass around the deck and the mosquitoes were not happy.  Then I set forth to the mailbox – through the “meadow” across the property.  Holy freaking moly, I became a cloud.  Skeeters swarmed me.

Okay – I get it now.  I hate lawns.  Hate them.  Stupid waste of time and energy.  Oh my – in the lush forest here in the Pacific Northwest a lawn (or mowed meadow) may be the first line of defense against mosquitoes.  Who’d a thunk?  Not me.

Am I discouraged?  Not a chance.  Recently we made a quick trip to California.  It was spectacular.  Lake Tahoe and rafting on the Truckee River.  I looked at that crystal clear blue sky.  Had we made the correct decision?  Oh yes.  We came back to the Island and a huge sigh of relief ensued.  I will take the skeeter battle and the slug war and love every minute.  Forge ahead.  I refuse to whine and moan – join in life and live it.  Please.

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table2There’s the new table.  Love it.  Then we snagged three oak jury chairs on Drewslist. “Stuff” on the Island just gets shifted around.

Free items appeared at a closed lumber yard and we again managed to snag a few fabulous items.

Seriously – living on an Island makes furniture swapping a true game.  Not just furniture – everything!



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?????????????????????????????Summer burgeons forth with a spectacular morning of sunshine in the treetops.  The view from upstairs is truly lovely.  The solar panels will be busy today.

Concrete has been poured and the garden fence posts are in.  Today, Mr. Fabulous, our #1 Master Carpenter, will continue working on the garden fence.  He has secretive plans for an extraordinary welded garden gate.  I cannot wait!

Before the concrete was poured, our grandson discovered frogs in the deep holes.  Oh my.  Rescue was in order.  I grabbed the fish/tadpole net and managed to snag the frogs.  Oops, we had happened upon a frog love rendezvous.  Let me just say that nothing stops frog lust.  We gently relocated the frogs to the forest and went back to get the frogs in yet another post hole.  Yup, ditto the above.  These were tree frogs and they are gorgeous.

Tadpoles.  They are growing.  The other day I dropped in a very small worm and it was eaten with vigor.  Aha!  The worm search was on, but I had difficulty finding more specimens.  I thought about the abundance of spit bugs on some of the plants.  I gathered a few and they were immediately eaten.  They are, however, a lot of work for not much meat.  Yesterday, grandson and I drove to the pet store and bought a few meal worms.  The owner was very happy we had rescued a few tadpoles and that we were raising them.  Good vibes.  Back home, we dropped in a meal worm and the tadpoles were on it, but seemed to be having difficultly with it.  So – we turned the whole meal worm into tender filets and the tadpoles responded like vicious alligators!  Who knew?



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Habitat for Humanity

????????I love Habitat.  Great people.  Great homes.  We furnished our rental and our new home with many of their pieces.  Today, three darling men showed up as we “re-gifted” the dining room table to them.

They LOVED the house.  They had loads of questions.  They were stinking cute.  We chatted about this, that and the other thing.  They welcomed us to the Island.  I told them we camped here in the 70’s.   As they carted out the old table I admonished them that they needed to find us a “new” one…oh man, they were all over it!  What do you need, want, etc.  I think I need to volunteer.

Life is good.

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Net Zero

?????????????????????????????Net Zero.  I am no expert – not even close – I seriously know little about it.  I do know that we are producing more energy than “they” predicted.  That is amazing.  We live in the PAC and it rains here all the time – uh, not so much.

So, the solar panels are just cranking along, doing their job.  The ground source heat pump is equally on target.  We had a thermostat added to the system.  We were running around adjusting the temperature every morning and evening, basically to reduce the noise, but now the system is controlled by one thermostat and it goes on in the morning and off at night.  Love it.

Fencing and timber has been ordered for the vegetable garden.  A certain someone needs to get his hands into the soil and play!  We have almost always had a great garden and it has always been his hobby and joy.  Bring it on.

The dining room table is out of here next week.  Then, we’ll move furniture around and see what we need.  One thing we need is an entry table/cupboard/shelf for mail, keys and all.  At the moment, we toss the aforementioned on the counter and it makes me crazy.  That countertop is gorgeous and should not be covered with the monotony of everyday life.

Picture frames have been ordered for Hmong needlework art we purchased in Lompoc, California in 1985.  They have been traveling around with us for decades and it is time to get them up on the walls.  Well, that’s quite an understatement isn’t it?  We also have some exquisite needlework from Turkey and I found frames for some of them.  I also bought a couple of quilt hangers and it dawned on me that the Turkish spread our daughter gave us would be a perfect fit.  So, I now have the spread in the hanger and all I need is a very tall ladder and extra people.  My trepidation to hammer a nail in the wall has passed…

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