Cocooning in the Cottage

With Covid. Caught at the tailend of a road trip with my friend Nancy to see friends and waterfalls from here to Montana and back.

iconic Snoqualmie Falls

Avoiding I-5 I drove to Nancy’s past Snoqualmie so why not stop for a picture? Next morning we drove over Chinook Pass Through Yakima and stopped to see my brother John and his wife Marilyn for lunch. They just celebrated their 49th anniversary. Whoo-hoo!

Spent the night in Pendleton which has a nice historic downtown. Did not get a pciture. Next day it was on to Picabo, Idaho to visit my cousin Rose. We had to travel through a lot of smoke from a recent fire. In fact, smoke followed us all along our journey. It is fire season in Idaho and Montana. Rose was the perfect tour guide. We went to her quilting group’s annual picnic. Next day toured Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Rose took me on an adventure climbing through a Lava cave. It was difficult! After a brief rest she drove us through Haley and Ketchum to eat at Sun Valley Lodge. This was all new territory for me. Thanks, Rose!

Our next stop was Dillon, Montana where a friend of Nancy lives. Dillon had a fun antique store called Gracie’s. It had historic buildings. And Nancy’s friend Ronnie had dogs! Two were doodles!

So Dillon was a success. The next day we arrived at our ultimate destination, Linda and Tom’s place on a ridge near Livingston. Nancy and I visited their place in 2009. There have been some changes–notably they are building a guest house. We heard elks trumpeting, saw a bear, had a strange bat/moth experience. It was wonderful. But smoky.

We stopped in Bozeman on our return trip to visit with Nancy’s grandson Noah. We went to the Montana Ale Works in an old Great Northern freight house. Cool place but I think this is where I might have caught Covid. Will never know for sure.

Nancy and Noah

Onward to Lolo Pass. What a beautiful drive. We stopped in Orofino at a place right on the Clearwater. Still feeling pretty good at this point.

view from our balcony

The next day was our much anticipated trip to Palouse Falls. I hadn’t been there since my Pullman years and Nancy had only driven by the sign. Even though this is the lowest water time of year, it was still a wonder, coming out of the desert like it does.

remind you of Dry Falls from my April trip?

We spent the night in Sunnyside which is completely different topography from our night on the Clearwater. What variety on this trip. Our last day, we left Sunnyside to take Hwy 12 “White Pass” home. There had been a fire near Packwood a few days earlier so we felt we were taking a chance. At Clear Creek Overlook I found another water fall. Bonus!

Clear Creek Falls

By this time, I was feeling pretty run down and had a serious headache. I took a test in Eatonville and it came out positive. What a surprise after the umpteen negative tests I’ve taken in the last two and a half years. Not wanting to infect Nancy’s husband, I elected to make the long trek home that night. Getting in about 10 PM, twelve hours after leaving Sunnyside. What an ignoble way to end a gorgeous journey.

So far, Nancy, Linda and Tom have all tested negative. fingers crossed.

But as many of you know, I have a sweet little cottage with a very nice bathroom. And my husband has been feeding me. So I will get through this. So long for now.

(friends, I know many of you read my posts on your phones which is fine and easy. But the formatting is much better if you read them on your browser.)

July and August by the pix

The beginning of July was quiet.  Still Covid conscious, we did not attend the Fourth of July parade this year.  We had family over for traditional BBQ on the porch.

Spent a lot of time mowing as the wet Spring gave the grass quite a boost.  But I managed to enjoy the water and go on group walks to various gardens around the island.

Near the end of the month my friends came up for a few days and we enjoyed showing off the island and our new, improved cottage.  And the new carriage doors finally arrived and were installed.  A good month for home improvement projects.

Segue into August and the improvements and visits from friends continued.  Jay helped Roger fell several “mostly” dead alders when he came for a week.  And then our new range hood arrived and Roger and I put it up ourselves (whew) with the help of large books and a hydraulic lift.

The BIG event of the month was Emily and Will’s wedding at the Chihuly Garden at the Seattle Center.  Saw a lot of family we had not seen in quite a while and the ceremony itself was very nice with a fantastic setting.

We topped this off by meeting with the Ellison side at Lil’s house in Twin Lakes where we met Bree’s twins Kloe and Kaia for the first time.  They’re two already!  And James’ boys have grown so much since we saw them last.  (I know this is all cliché, but it’s true!)

This is us

Not missing a beat, we collected two of our grandkids on the way home.  The San Juan County Fair started immediately.  Roger and I volunteer for our various organizations and we had the kids so—yeah, we were tired.

After a ten-year hiatus, I decided to enter the Trashion Fashion again.  This time with a costume created from long collected Rosamonte Yerba Mate packaging.  It is shiny and red, black, and gold and is from Argentina so of course I went as a flamenco dancer.

The twins had joined us so four grandkids in all.  There was a lot of game playing, some pond activities, train rides, sand castles, and a lot of sitting around looking at devices.  And at least one possible case of Covid before they all went home on Tuesday.

This week we are resting up for the next round of activities.

That’s Azolla, Folks!

Time Flies–the last eleven weeks

June sunset by Christopher Teren

Sheesh. Had no idea it’s been this long. Thought I just had to review June. Who can remember what happened in May let alone the last two weeks of April? Hope I took some good pictures. Maybe I was just waiting for something interesting to happen. Very little did. The weather has been lousy (although we did have some nice wildflowers this Spring) Covid hit the island hard in May but has abated some. I will look to my journal for some highlights.

chocolate lilies at American Camp

April 16th, the last day I posted, we went to a Roger McGuinn concert. April 20th, friend Liz from Seattle visits–nice hikes around island. May 6th, sister-in-law Lil and her sister Paula visit. Very fun showing off the island. Lots of zoom meetings in between. Birthday zoom as well and then out for pizza. working on cottage and started tapestry and regular walks with friends with dogs. big windstorm on May 18th. May 24th, an 18 year old shot up an elementary school in Texas. (it’s all bad news after that).

June. Spending a lot of time with Transition San Juan Waste Reduction Team. Hosted a booth at the Farmers Market, posted on Facebook for “Plastic Free July”. Wrote emails, attended Port meeting and many Zoom meetings. Made more beeswax wraps with Tina.

Art Studio Tour Weekend–Went to four studios of friends, mostly. Bought some pottery. Bought new tires in Anacortes, new gutters for the cottage, streamed a lot of shows. January 6th committee begins hearings. Three little chicks are hatched, two survive. More rain and wind storms come through. Grass grows tall but nothing else is growing, no pears at all this year, fewer apples, everything two or three weeks behind.

June 14th. The Sun comes out. Book club is so excited they insisit on an in-person meeting outside on my deck. First in-person meeting in a year? June 17th, Willow Basket teacher, Maria Bullock arrives from Orcas to teach class on Grange deck. She stays in cottage. Basket class a success. June 20th–Summer arrives-finally! June 24th, Roe v Wade overturned. June 25th, long-time Metro friends Nancy and Mary arrive. Fun ensues. We go to Orcas for the day on 27th.

Meanwhile, Roger busy with tons of Grange stuff including blackening cedar and making and teaching how to make biochar. Also, mowing, mowing, mowing.

Cedar blackened for use as planter box

See? Very little happened.

April Adventures

April First. Grandtwins turn sixteen. Celebrated with Pho lunch in Burlington.

April Sixth: Road Trip with friend Francie and her dog Chulo. First Day, made it to Wenatchee with stops in Index and Leavenworth.

Sun halo above Index

April Seventh: Wenatchee to Republic with stops at Dry Falls, Bridgeport and Omak.

Dry Falls

April Eighth: Republic to Kettle Falls with visits to Rachel in Rose Valley and April, Tony and James in Curlew.

in front of Rachel’s place

April Ninth: Kettle Falls to Spokane (Colbert): Stopped on Lake Roosevelt beach, toured Joe and Cheryl’s place, stopped Colville, Chewelah, Loon Lake. Stayed at Mary’s.

April Tenth: Colbert to East Wenatchee via Highway 2, Grand Coulee Dam, Ephrata, Quincy. Worry about pass conditions spurred us westward a day earlier than planned, eliminating our exploration of Spokane.

Grand Coulee Dam

April Eleventh: East Wenatchee to Friday Harbor via I-90 with blizzard in Vantage, stop in Ellensburg.

Of course I’m leaving out tons of pictures of scenery and family, but this gives you an idea. We covered most of Northeast Washington. We laughed, we cried. I’ll make a photobook like the one I made for our trip to Olympic Peninsula in 2019.

April Fourteenth: I got a haircut

I went to the desert in February

this is what it looked like

My friends Diane and Craig live in Palm Springs half the year and I decided February was a good time to see what it was all about. And yes, I took Covid Rapid tests going and returning. And yes, we wore masks when we were inside. Diane took me to Moorten Botanical Garden to check out the desert flora.

I arrived in time for a birthday celebration in the secret room of the Tonga Hut

We decorated golf cars for a Valentine’s Parade around the Community Center where they live. First prize went to the Tiki Car and 2nd to the Queens of Hearts.

They took me lots of places including a Farmers Market, a Vintage Market, nice restaurants. But my favorite day was when we went to Joshua Tree National Park.

Thank-you Diane and Craig for a wonderful sampling of your desert life. It felt good to get out of the rain.

Fourteen Years of Retirement

on January 31, 2022 I will have been retired for fourteen years. That’s one year more than the time I spent in Metro Operations as a driver and first-line supervisor and three shy of my time in Service Development. So many of the people I worked with and trained in Scheduling have since retired. The ones that are left have been working remotely since March 2020. I’ve been back to Seattle just twice since the pandemic started almost two years ago.

my retirement party–the twins are almost 16 now

It was a quiet Christmas at Thornbush, but it wasn’t woe be gone. No one died and we were not stuck at an airport for three days like some people I knew. It snowed so there was just the three of us, Roger, me, and Eric. My washing machine broke mid-cycle and Eric was able to finish washing the clothes. I guess you could say I got a new washing machine for Christmas. It came on the 12th Day.

Like I said, it snowed– a lot! My friends were not able to make it up here for New Year’s between the snow here and in Seattle, the new Omicron virus and need for testing, and the ferry system which has been understaffed and canceling trips right and left.

The whole world seemed snowed in

limbs fell in the heavy snow

We finally got to see the kids to open gifts on January 9th. Masks and all.

kitten socks

I helped teach a second class on how to make beeswax wraps for the Transition San Juan Waste Reduction Team.

lots of beeswax wraps made my students

And now that the snow has finally melted I’ve been outside harvesting willow. Hopefully, I will have time to make some baskets this coming year.

Work on the cottage bathroom continues. This week I finished painting and most of the varnishing. Roger repaired multiple pipe breaks under the cottage from our freezing weather. Oh, did I happen to mention the frozen pipes over Christmas? He’s also spent a great deal of time building the kiln that will do everything: make biochar, heat the house, dry the wood, make wood vinegar, and perhaps bake some bread as well.

Maggie Mae and I have taken some great walks by ourselves and with our friends and their dogs. I’m trying to get a couple miles a day in or one mile and some yoga. My life here at Thornbush is very rich. Even under lockdown. Life in Seattle, in an office, at a desk seems very remote indeed. But not that remote. I had another busdriving dream just last night. You can take the girl off the bus but cannot take the bus out of her psyche.

2021 Wrap Up

Warm Wishes from Roger, Anita and Maggie Mae

Strange year (again).  Roller-coaster of believing Covid-19 was behind us and finding out that was not the case.  We were vaccinated in January and February, actually travelled a bit in May to visit with family.  We spent much of the year working on the cottage and milled and put up all the siding on the cottage addition, had it painted and tiled. And then we boostered again in Dec.

family gathering in Winthrop

One highlight for me was my 50th High School gathering in September.  Roger focused on building a new kiln to replace our “turbo-burn” which heated out house for the first 18 years of the 20 that we have lived here.  We had some good visits with kids and grandkids.  And of course, Maggie Mae played a big part of our mental health in dealing with lockdown and social isolation.  In August, she and I participated in a dog show, one of a few outdoor activities that we felt safe enough to participate in.

The beauty of the island and of Thornbush in particular is a blessing and a comfort in good times and bad.

We have plans for an active, productive, and more social 2022. Be safe and well, everyone!

August and September went to the dogs

August and September went to the dogs

August started off with Maggie Mae entered in the Community Theater Dog Parade Fundraiser. The next week I attended the Island Childrens’ production of “101 Dalmations”. And every Monday for a couple years now, friends with dogs have joined me for a walkabout at Thornbush. so . . .

My friend Francie came to craft with me on Fridays along with her dog Chulo. And I played around with making an owl for a friend.

Our local museum had a fabulous display of African photographs by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher. Ms Beckwith spoke at the museum one night but Covid restrictions limited the audience to the big donors.

It was a little escape but I had an actual field trip later in August when my Transmission Waste Reduction Group travelled to Orcas and Lopez Islands to learn about their recycling options. (They do it a lot better than we do)

visiting Nikki on Lopez

In September, the paint finally came in for the cottage and work began both on the outside and in tilework on the inside. I’m still painting trim around windows. And the tiling is moving at a snail’s pace, but —progress!

Went to my 50th High School Reunion in Seattle and stayed a few extra days to visit friends. The Reunion had two events that I attended. One at Angelo’s Italian Restaurant in Burien where I grew up. And the main event at a place near the airport called Cedarbrook Lodge. We had a relatively small class at Kennedy HS of 173 and a large percentage of these came from my grade school as well. So some of the folks I knew back when I was six. Not enough time to really catch up with folks, but had some great conversations over the two nights. Masking during the evening was not all that fun and brought on some anxiety due to the Delta Variant spike. Must have worked out because two weeks out, I feel fine.

Frank, Mary, Me and Antoinette

A highlight was taking in a Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives concert with friends later in the week. We had to show our proof of vaccination and wear masks during the show. But very worth it to listen to great musicians doing live music.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Fall posting without mentioning the “Tyranny of the Harvest” . Yes, it has arrived. We’ve been dehydrating fruit non-stop. Picking apples and nuts. The quince and asian pears are not quite there yet. I made a very interesting jelly out of aronia berries.

This is the last week we can walk around Zylstra Lake Preserve. The preserve is closed to dogs for six months to protect waterfowl. And who wants to walk there if you can’t bring your pooch?

May and June zoom by

May and June zoom by

sometimes they go by because I have nothing to say and sometimes they go by because way too much is happening. I would say this time is more like the latter. Two whole months! How shall I ever remember and recount? Having a hard time remembering anyway–Covid brain, they call it. Or in the “before times” we would call these senior moments. Let’s see now . . .

View from our room

Way back in May the big event was a mini-vacation to Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop Washington which is not all that far away in car miles but definitely over the mountain and through the woods. Roger and I stayed at the lodge with half the family some I hadn’t seen for a year and a half. We are all vaccinated now and could hug and go out to dinner with only a little trepidation.

What made the trip even more interesting is that I have friends in nearby Twisp and were able to meet up with them and a mutual friend for a long hike and a fabulous luncheon featuring a garden in a pizza. To top it off, they have a donkey named Maggie Mae.

Me and Maggie Mae

It was great to spend time with my brothers and sister and their spouses, to hike among the wildflowers of eastern Washington, to shop (!) in the westernized town of Winthrop, and to drive over Washington Pass which had just opened for the season. Gorgeous.

So that’s pretty much it for May. Well, I should mention that we hosted a May birthday party for myself and some others and Roger and I went out to dinner at Duck Soup Inn. Those were giant post-Covid activities. In June, no trips–all my friends came to see me. One week we had five different visitors staying from one afternoon to five days. And no, the cottage bathroom is not finished. But there is water and a toilet. We’ve been working steadily on plumbing and tile prep. I’ve looked at tons of tile on line and on a trip to Bellingham. Crossing my fingers we have finally figured it out and ordered the tile. But I digress. It was fun to see my friends and to take a break from routine and actually sit on the beach for a few minutes. We do live in a beautiful place and nature does not disappoint.

Manya, Maggie Mae and Jack at False Bay

Also, the groups I belong to are finally getting together in person. A dinner party here and there, a couple of potlucks, and now meetings in person, not just on Zoom. The Artist Studio tour was fun and well received. I belong to Transition San Juan in the Waste Reduction team and we are hosting Plastic Free July on the island. This includes setting up a table at the Farmers Market to introduce the concept and get people, businesses, and our local government behind the idea. Plastic Free July – Be Part of the Solution

Grange picnic at Jackson’s Beach

The Northwest had a few days of intense heat under the “heat dome” and our island was not immune. Some towns in Eastern Washington got up to 118 degrees but our 102 to 104 was barely bearable especially as we do not have air conditioning. A couple of days were spent reading in my craftroom in the basement. The heat took its toll on birds, bees, flowers and trees. By all accounts its going to be a long, hot summer. No rain in sight.

note the many helping hands

One event that has opened up– the Fourth of July Parade took place. It was very last minute but our governor opened the State up on June 30th. And it you open it they will come. Two years ago my friend Francie got a lot of us together to push shopping carts down the street collecting food for the food bank and the Family Resource Center and we revised it again this year. The theme: Lending a Hand.

Maggie Mae greets Bishop

Looking forward into July–more visitors. Stay tuned.