Olympic Trails

Olympic Trails

My friend Francie and I went on a Road Trip to the Olympic Peninsula for the week of September 9 thru 13.  It was wet.  But that’s what one expects when they go to the rain forest, right?

Here is the link to all the pictures:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/myake/albums/72157710857378583

at Fat Smitty’s

And so, inspired by books such as “Backroads of Washington” and “Weird Washington” we set off to explore.  And we were not disappointed.  First off, after two ferry rides, we ate lunch at Fat Smitty’s.  Decorated in dollar bills from ceiling to floor it fit in nicely with our aspirations for the trip. 

We visited Marymere Falls in the rain and dropped by the Lake Crescent Lodge, ending that day in Sekiu in a very cheesy motel room.  This became somewhat of a theme for us.

Sekiu, WA

The next day we headed to Neah Bay for the Makah Museum and the not to be missed walk out to Cape Flattery.  It did not rain on us on this day.  After stopping in Clallam Bay, Forks, and Kalaloch we made it to Lake Quinault that night.

Francie at Cape Flattery

The next day we walked the 3 mile Forest Loop at Quinault and then headed to Raymond to my friends Brent and Kathy’s house.  We made arrangements to see Kate O’Neal’s art work and visit the gallery in South Bend.  That night in keeping with our theme we slept in a whimsically decorated room at the Pitchwood Inn and Ale House.  https://www.pitchwoodalehouse.com/pitchwoodinn

imaginary tea in Kate’s eclectic back yard

On Thursday we made our way to Ruby Beach and in a chance, serendipitous, coincidental moment ran into my sister-in-law Brenda and her hiking buddies on the trail coming up from the beach.  Amazing.

Then it really started raining and we made our way to the Hoh.  We saw a Roosevelt Elk on the path.  Then made our way to Sol Duc Hot Springs which I had not been to since I was a child.  It has changed.  We had a nice soak in the rain.  Wish we could have stayed there but no room in the inn and we made our way to Port Angeles. And there on our last day we discovered a fabulous five acre sculpture park called Webster’s Woods at the Fine Arts Center.  http://www.pafac.org/

dog? in Webster’s Woods

What else has been happening in my world?  Well, Maggie graduated from Lucky Fido Puppy Class, she is 17 weeks old now and 23.4 pounds. Our skylights arrived.  Roger put a porch on the cottage while I was gone, but I wish the roof was further along now that it has started raining in earnest.  Then there is the tyranny of the harvest.  Pears are all picked, not all the apples are ready.  The hazelnuts rescued from the raccoons. And don’t even talk to me about tomatoes!

cuz they’re cousins!

Oh, and visitors!  Lots of visitors.  Roger’s cousins came over from Lopez and my friend Karen from Portland and brother Marc and his wife Nancy stopped in on their way to Vancouver Island.  And more are coming!

Check out the rest of the pix–and Happy Trails to you until we meet again.


Maggie, Maggie, Maggie

You stole my heart but I love you anyway

It’s been Maggie Maggie Maggie ever since we got her last month.  We have her enrolled in Puppy Class with the added benefit of puppy play day mid-week.  There’s been trips to the Vet and some socialization with friends (easier now that she doesn’t get car sick)

at 16 lbs she’s twice as big as when I got her

Roger took her to the Farmer’s Market last week and she got to meet scores of people and other dogs.  Just like Rod Stewart says, she wears me out.  I set low expectations for myself and then fail to meet them.  I look forward to her nap time so I can get anything done but sometimes that has to be a nap for myself.  It doesn’t help that I need to get up at 2 in the morning to give her a chance to “do her business”.

There are a few other things that have happened this month:

Roger bought a Smart Car to get to and from town.  He decided it was not smart to use his ’94 Dodge Truck for the smaller errands he needs to run.  Someday we’ll get an electric car but this satisfies for awhile.

I installed my “Whorls within Whorls” in the yard.  But need to wait until late Autumn to attach the living willow that will embrace it. 

As promised last month, we have done a lot of work with walls and roof on the cottage remodel.  We’ve ordered skylight and talked to the tile guy.  Slow but steady progress.

And then there’s the Fair.  Did my share of volunteering for the Textile Exhibits.  I was in charge of the “Fair Challenge” this year.  The theme was “Put a Lid on It” and it was all about hats.  Collected Styrofoam heads from many people and assembled a display as best I could.  I also volunteered as a scribe to the judge and a docent for part of one day and took a lot of pictures for posterity as I am the Guild’s archivist.

Bjorn’s family came up for the last days of the Fair.  This year the sleeping arrangements were a little odd.  As we have no bathroom in the cottage we opted to rough it out there and give over the house to the young people.  But Bjorn and Ethel also decided to rough it and pitched a tent—leaving the house to the four grands. 

Corbin got the t.v. room.  And stayed for a week.  Big excitement for him was Mindcraft Lego Camp every day from 9 to noon.  In the afternoon he alternated between fishing, reading library books, watching episodes of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and learning to play Chinese Checkers on the board his great-grandfather built.  We also watched  movies at night and I think he was pretty pleased with his week despite being unhappy with the bitey, jumpy puppy.  Next time he sees her they’ll both be much bigger and more mature.

Red is my Color

Red is my Color

Family:  So, starting off with the last weekend in June in Concrete, Washington site of the 2nd annual Barreca Gathering at Ovenell’s Heritage Inn.  Big event this year with uncle and cousins from San Diego, St. Louis, and Craters of the Moon joining our family.  Nieces and grand-nieces and nephews as well.    Highlights were of course, music by the Outlaws and In-laws, a big potluck dinner, plenty of outdoor activities.  And Dad’s 97th birthday celebration to boot.

Independence Day:  This sent us into July 4th activities with a bang (hee-hee).  Both Roger and I participated in the big parade.  I drove a shopping cart with the “Legends in their Own Minds” crew.  We won a prize for best costumes!  This was the first ever food drive during the parade and we accepted a pick-up truck’s worth of food for the food bank.  Roger walked with the Farmers Market gang.

That evening we spent our second Fourth watching the fireworks from the Grange deck.  I brought raspberry sorbet to the potluck dinner that night.  Raspberries have been a big part of this month.

working on the floor now and ceiling next

Projects:  Working on the cottage bathroom, pulling out English Hawthorn, watering the garden, picking tomatoes and scarlet runner beans.

blown glass fish at “Deep Dive” exhibit

Art:  Working on the whorls within whorls, visiting the “Deep Dive” exhibit at our local art museum featuring artists inspired by the Salish Sea.  Attending a concert by the Space Lady at the Alchemy Art Studio on Wold Road.  If you’ve never heard of the Space Lady, check her out at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Space_Lady

Jamie knits little bitty socks

Then, in keeping with our keeping it in the neighborhood theme, we went to The Merchant of Venice at Island Stage Left.  And in the same week, on the same road, I visited the Lavender Festival as some of my friends had booths there.

Visiting:  Our friend Jay came up for almost a week and helped in the garden planting beets.  Went to Anacortes one day to visit an old friend, and hosted a neighborhood potluck for a new neighbor.  (featuring more raspberry sorbet!)

That dirty no good robbin’ Maggie Mae

New Addition:  And now for the ultimate Red news—we got a new poodle puppy!  Her name is Maggie Mae and she’s Red.  She was just shy of nine weeks when we got her.  And her parents—Willy and Shelby are both pedigree poodles—also red.  I got her at Pilchuck Poodles in Snohomish.  But to check out how she might look in a year, look at Gingerbred Poodles in Lakewood to see where they came from.  http://www.gingerbredpoodles.com/

Yes, it is a lot of work and a lack of sleep raising a new one.  She’s got sharp little bitey teeth and is on the willful side.  But she’s also smart as a whip and seems to be fitting into our life here at Thornbush just fine.

Super Natural June

Super Natural June

June is naturally beautiful, but this June was Super. Weather terrific. Flowers abundant. And Fiber Arts stood out as well.

View from Turtle Back, Orcas Island

I went Orcas to attend a workshop on Salish Weaving techniques taught by Chief Jan George who figures into a later story. Before class, I took a hike on Turtle Back.
“Buddy” Joseph warping loom

The next day Roger and I went to a couple Artist Studios on San Juan as part of the annual tour. The Tempestry Project was installed at the Grange. And Mary M and I worked on more willow projects in my back courtyard. I’m calling mine “whorls within whorls”.

We have been working on the cottage. Here’s a pix from early June:

On June 10th I met up with travelling partner Nancy W in Anacortes and we drove up to Canada. After telling the border guard our intent, he told us to be sure to look up Mr. PG upon our arrival in Prince George. But our first stop was Whistler, a place I describe as Leavenworth on steroids. Highlights were a pedestrian corridor to walk, watching trail bike riders go up lifts and come down the course, and a trip to the Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre that Chief George suggested we see and that she helped design.

The scenery between Whistler and Prince George was fabulous. We stopped the night at 100 Mile House.

And then, we arrived in Prince George for the Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds Conference. My firstworkshop was not until Friday morning so we had all Thursday to look around the place.

We saw a lot of trains first. At the Railway and Forestry Museum and then a steam train ride (2’ gauge) at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.

I attended three workshops at the Conference. The first was about Peruvian Weaving. The second, ethnobotany of the region, and the third and actual weaving workshop with hints on easy ways to warp the loom.

Peruvian textile in a purse

Oh, it was a terrific conference. There were exhibits from several guilds, a gallery of individual weavings, a vendors’ area, wrapping up with a fashion show on the last night.

And I won a raffle prize!

We left PG on Sunday, June 16th and found my friend Judy A in Quesnel along with her husband Mike and two dogs, Serena and Jasmine. Judy took us to Barkerville, a historic mining town preserved as a National Historic Site of Canada.

Judy and me at Sing Kee Herbalist building

Judy convinced us to take the Fraser Canyon route to our next destination—the Sunshine Coast. We were not disappointed. Following the Fraser River down to Vancouver is not to be missed.

Fraser Canyon Route along Hwy 1

This had us staying overnite in Chilliwack and then taking the ferry the next morning to the Sunshine Coast. We soon realized that it would take more than the three days we had allotted to do it justice so we just stuck to the South and did not take the 2nd ferry to Powell River. (Another time)

Madeira Park, Sunshine Coast, BC

park in Gibsons with Heron

Davis Bay Pier
Last night at Davis Bay

For more pictures, go to my Flkr album at:

progress on cottage- note more posts



Thornbush May

So many things to report this month.  Starting with last month when I met this foal named Lucy at a friend’s farm.

The next day I travelled to Orcas for the Textile Guild Meeting with a number of my textile guild friends.  Here’s a pix of Jason and me waiting for the ferry to return home.  There’s a nice cider bar conveniently located near the landing.

In early May, the weather was exceptionally nice and we got a lot done.  I made a wattle fence for my roses to lean on.  And we made some more baby steps with the cottage remodel.  I also made willow tomato cages for my twelve tomato plants.  We bought a second water storage tank because water will continue to be an issue in the future

3000 gallon tank

My birthday weekend was full of fun.  I had some friends over for a collage making party to envision the upcoming year.  And the next day went to Lopez for the Lamb, Goat, and Wool Festival which was very fun.  I demonstrated my “sprang” project and took pictures of all the textile guild members for this year’s photo-journal.  Had time to drive around a see some of Lopez including Spencer Spit

recycled fishing net sheep
yarn bombing Lopez Community Center

And yet another trip off-island the following weekend to the NW Quilt and Fiber Museum for a reception of our guild’s three-month exhibit.  I have three pieces there:  my picnic basket ala Jo Campbell-Amsler’s class last September, my random-weave dog from last summer, and my adaptation of the tempestry project scarf which I finished last month.

Me with “sentry dog”

This was “spa weekend” with my friend Liz.  She joined me at the museum event and we took in a little of LaConner.  Sunday, after a weaving study group meeting at my house, we hiked up Mt Grant.  The weather was fabulous.  Roger gave a talk on biochar at the co-op.   And the next day (in the rain) we finally got our spa experience in Anacortes.  Lots of trips off-island this month.

The hawthorns and rhodies are particularly vibrant this Spring.

To round out the month, basketry friends Francie and Mary came over to start playing with sticks.  Francie is working on a horse (perhaps) and Mary is building a “hurdle” (portable panel usually of wattled withes and stakes) and I am building a sphere.  Watch it grow over this summer!

Right now there’s a half dozen quail in the courtyard with daddy quail sitting atop the crabapple tree.  We’re going to a musical tonight at the theater and Monday there’s another potluck.  Life is good!

Finally . . .

I can see clearly now
My brother does his blog post in Word first and imports it. I can understand why. Every time I work on this page it changes in appearance. I’ve written captions for all of these pictures at least four times and sometimes they appear and sometimes they are gone. I have no idea what this post will look like when you open it. I usually recommend opening it in your browser, but it may be more readable as an e-mail at this point. But even without the captions, I think you get the picture. Spring has definitely sprung and we have begun doing things, going on walks, working on the cottage bathroom remodel, selling more eggs. And I finished my tempestry scarf. It will be displayed in LaConnor at the Quilt and Fiber Museum along with the rest of the Tempestry Project wall-hangings that my Textile Guild is presenting from May through July.

Spring and Sprang

Hah, you are wondering about this title, aren’t you? It is actually very clever because on February 23rd and 24th, I took a class in “Sprang” from a world famous Sprang teacher, Carol James. Sprang you see, is an ancient braiding technique used to make clothing before knitting was invented.

So far I’ve made 3 pouches and I intend to make a hat soon. I’m also working on a crocheting project that I will present to this blog when finished. And I’m starting on a very big rug weaving project which got bogged down in trying to clean up my floor loom first.

The next big event was Corbin’s 7th birthday. Roger and I went down to celebrate with him by taking him to the Woodland Park Zoo. We had a very fun day, although it seemed to me that he was more interested in the bronze animals than the breathing ones.

After Corbin’s birthday we celebrated Eric’s birthday, St Patrick’s Day with the Soroptimist Fundraiser,  the First Day of Spring with a “Super Moon”, and the best weather we had seen in weeks.   And Weeks.  So we began doing things outdoors:

Roger began making copious amounts of biochar to sell at the Farmers Market, we made a raised bed for the kitchen garden, harvested lots of willow for a variety of projects, went on more walks, cut down several trees, planted olive trees (!) and pretty much celebrated Spring.


I’ve also been benefitting from physical therapy to reestablish range of motion on my left side.  More decisions about what to do post-cancer are ahead for me.  More on that next month.  And this last week I’ve suffered from a terrible cold which has put a damper on a whole host of projects I’ve wanted to work on.  I’ve been unable to spring into action.