May Wonders

Some of you may be wondering what is going on with the cottage remodel these days.  Unfortunately, since the travel ban, our guests have not arrived and so the impetus to get things done has stalled.  There have been a lot of fiddly things.  Not much to look at.  For instance, the vent for the toilet was placed.  Roger’s time on the roof sawing that hole scared me enough to ask him if we could rent some scaffolding for when he saws the skylight openings.  No way, man.  We can build our own scaffolding.  Which is what we did last Sunday.  We also have hot water now.  In this picture you can see the water heater sitting snuggly under the addition.  No more wildly fluctuating hot and cold showers my friends!

The Willow falling down over the henhouse did show up on Facebook.  But since this is a record of events for the year I will include it in this blog as well.  A little bit of excitement on a windy afternoon in late April.

Evelyn Jane Jones 1938

May is a month of many birthdays in our family.  Almost as many as April.  On May 2nd, my mom would have turned 100.  Here she is in her HS Senior Photo.  My brother-in-law Tom turned 60.  And I had a birthday as well.  Thanks to all of you who sent cards and greetings.  A weird time to celebrate—I even had a Zoom bday party with good friends. 

Maggie Mae had a May birthday as well.  She turned one on the 21st.  I don’t have any fabulous pictures of her—she moves too much.  And my dog grooming skills are not quite there yet.  I’ve given her three haircuts since the quarantine began but she still looks quite shaggy.

The Farmers Market is going great guns for the Grange Booth.  Roger has been selling biochar, trees, berries, eggs, and even some of my parsley.  But they are playing by the rules and practicing social distancing.

Who are those masked musicians?

As in the previous two months, a great deal of our coping comes with being outside, digging in the garden, mowing the paths, and appreciating the ever-changing landscape.

The fawn lilies were out at the beginning of the month, that gave way to service berries, then hawthorns, and the dogwood are at their peak. Rhodies, roses, ceanothus, lilacs, iris.  The fruit trees in the orchard really put on a show this year.  More than usual to make us all feel a little better?  One wonders.

Wait for it

March 13 – Corbin’s 6th Birthday

Took him to the Pacific Science Center for the day.  Hasn’t changed much since we took Bjorn there 30 years or so ago.  A bigger thrill was riding the Monorail up front with the driver.

monorail

I finished my basket project– a shade for the lamp in the cottage:

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And one couldn’t talk about March without mentioning March for Our Lives wherein the students took to the streets to advocate for gun safety after a terrible shooting in Parkland, Florida.

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March 20  Spring finally showed up in a few spots around Thornbush.  The weather has been wetter and colder than I would prefer except maybe when these photos were taken.

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April 1 – 7  Easter and the twins twelfth birthday came and went. The Friday Walkers came and walked Zylstra Lake property with me.  Roger started back in again at the Farmers Market selling trees and shrubs.

Roger Farmers MarketAnd then, and then

April 12 – 8:15 AM  Roger called 9-1-1 and they came and took me away in an ambulance.  I had stood up and discovered I could not control the left side of my body.  I was experiencing a minor stroke.  Fortunately, the symptoms were no worse than that and went away in a few hours.  By then, I had been examined at our local hospital and flown by helicopter to St Joseph’s in Bellingham.

At St Joe’s I underwent a bunch of tests including an MRI which our local hospital could not provide.  After 24 hours of testing and observation I was released. The trip which  had taken 15 minutes by helicopter took Roger about 4 hours by ferry and car.  We got home about 7pm on Friday the 13th.  Lucky day for me.

 

 

The Roger Project

But enough about me.  What has Roger been up to lately?  

answer:  He’s been up to his neck in our heating system.

You see, after seventeen years, the “turbo burn” the unit in our car port with the firebox that heats the water that heats the radiant floors in our house began to leak.  Roger had to tear apart all the housing and insulation around it so he could climb in for the repair.  When he got there, things didn’t look so good.  He decided he could not weld  it well enough to keep it water tight.

His solution?  Fill it full of sand instead of water, and while he’s at it, remove it from the car port area entirely.

Instead, we will have a separate water tank that will receive water from pipes circulating inside of the sand.  This tank will rust out eventually, but can be replaced when it does.

cleaning an old oil drum to be our new water tank

So, yes, the railroad tracks had to be removed temporarily and new structures will need to be built over both the water tank extension to the car port and the relocated turboburn.  And yes, Amazon Prime is losing money on us by delivering thermostats and thing-a-ma-jigs that move the water around at the correct temperature.  But hey, this can fit right in with Roger’s bio-char production and the room above the water tank will be very warm and useful for something, right?

Ok, it is Columbus Day and the nights are getting a little colder.  So I’m hoping this all tests out and I’ve been told it does.

selling biochar in the Grange booth

But that’s not all that Roger has been up to, of course.  A very sad event happened in September, the passing of a dear friend, Mark Cunningham.    The memorial will be next week.  Meanwhile, a wake of sorts at the monthly poker night that Mark C helped organize:

photo by Paul Walsh

And still, it is October, and that means–

the Farm Parade

Eighth Annual parade and Roger has organized it every year.  He works very hard on the poster and leaning on farmers and such to participate.

Our friend Barry came up to help decorate the rig–

Farm Parade photos here

scarecrows from Island Rec kids activity were added

And the whole shebang ended with the dedication of the new Grange deck.  Roger got to cut the ribbon (sorry I don’t have a picture of that) but he did work very hard on the deck with the rest of the crew for going on three years in fits and starts.  So Hallelujah!

a little champagne to celebrate

We’ve also been picking a ton of apples, pears, asian pears, some corn, some beans, lots of potatoes, all the plums, of course.  What did I miss?

And me?  You want to know about me?

I’ve been pretty useless, I sprained my wrist in late August.  Did not accomplish much in September.  Took a couple unplanned trips to see my ailing dad in Seattle.  He’s better now.  And, my sister Jeannette came up to visit.

note wrist brace on right arm

back to me next month.  Meanwhile–let the beautiful Fall weather continue, and let’s all stay warm.

 

Collecting April thoughts

It is my ninth April in retirement. Nine years of wildflower walks, fruit trees in bloom, chicken mayhem, start of Farmers Market, birthdays to celebrate. What else is there to say?

Thai iced tea, anyone?

So, to reiterate:

Here are Lenora and Iliana showing off birthday dresses from Hawaii.

Roger has given his truck a conestoga wagon look. This is to transport the trees he is selling at the Farmers Market.  We are expecting big things from the market this year as Roger has added fruit trees to his inventory.

The shooting stars are in bloom both on Mt Young and Cady Mtn. Friday Walkers have recently walked in old Argyle– a town abandoned once it was decided the bay was to shallow so they all moved to Friday Harbor. And a hike to the top of Cady Mountain to look at wildflowers and old, very old, oak trees. One has been measured to be 500 years old!

click on to enlarge–have you read “the Hidden Life of Trees” yet?

So there you have it, this La Nina Spring may be the coldest that I can remember, but children have birthdays, bulbs come back to life, and old trees continue to fill us with awe.

The Merry Month

IMG_7010Not just because it is my birthday month, May 2015 has been especially merry.  But first I’ll start with a late April visit from my cousin Rose who blew in from Idaho for a couple days of National Park events.  She brought with her two lovely quilts; one for me and one for my sister Rosalie.  Rose is a quilter extraordinaire and she nailed the colors in my living room.

 

 

 

 

IMG_6890On the first of May, Jenny and I went with the Friday Walkers on a field trip to Yellow Island.  Do you think these buttercups dancing with the camas are the reason they call it “Yellow”?  Not just camas, lots of other wildflowers in abundance.

paintbrushThis festival of flowers was followed the next day by a festival of ukuleles!  The first ever “Ukenalia” held at our very own Grange Hall and sponsored by S.T.R.U.M. Seattle’s Totally Relaxed Ukelele Musicians.  It was a fabulous event!  And started off with a flash mob at the Farmer’s Market.  Imagine up to 60 uke players singing Let’s Go Fly a Kite to maybe half that many vendors and tourists.  It was overwhelming!

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Marry Month

But wait, there’s much more to come!  Because my brother Marc and his fiancé picked Roche Harbor for their wedding weekend.  It started off with a barbecue down on the beach on the sunniest day of the year.

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Corbin orders his first Coke.

barbecue jam

I-phone flashlight keeps the musicians playin’

 The day of the wedding was just as beautiful.  Dad stayed with us here at Thornbush as did Bjorn’s family.  The wedding itself was held at Our Lady of Good Voyages Chapel and we all got leied by Nancy and Marc.  Then, the Zydeco Band had us dancing the night away.

Corbin and Uncle Roger

Corbin and Grandpa Roger

getting leied.

getting leied.

I could go on and on.  You just have to believe it was a great event.

Bride dancing with her new Father-in-Law

Bride dancing with her new Father-in-Law

wedding guests

You might think that my birthday got overshadowed with all of these great events–but I came out fine. First I enjoyed a little Taurus b-day potluck at some very dear friends house earlier in the month, I’ve been enjoying all the phone calls, e-mails, Facebook posts, and cards my friends have sent. And tonight we went to the Backdoor Kitchen, I had scallops in honor of Mom, who loved them so. Happy May.
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Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

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Local Meat discussion, Quimper Grange, Port Townsend

On 4/12/15 at Quimper Grange in Port Townsend we watched a documentary called “American Meat” which raised the question about whether US could be fed on ethically raised rather than commodity (read factory) raised animals.  It was followed by a panel discussion with local farmers in the peninsula area.

On 4/14/15 Roger participated in a panel discussion following the viewing of “Restoration Agriculture”.  This is the second in a series that the Ag Guild is presenting.  The first was “Symphony of the Soil”“ having to do with better practices in farming.

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Kah Tai Lagoon Park, Port Townsend

On 4/16 we will be attending the 3rd in a series of evenings at the Grange Hall devoted to watching a Showtime series called “Years of Living Dangerously” about Climate Change. The fact that corporate farming is one of, if not the main factor in carbon dioxide emissions which are ruining our atmosphere is brought home in many of these events (that and Coal Plants which are also on our radar)

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Farmers Market, Port Townsend near Red Dog Farm booth

See the pattern here? Of late, we’ve been immersing ourselves in “Transition Town” issues: Resiliency in the face of Climate Change, improving the soil, learning to feed ourselves, developing community.

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Roger surveys Kinzie Artillery site at Fort Worden

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“Art Bus” on Water St in Port Townsend

And yes, we’re worried about coal trains and oil pipelines and spills in our Salish Sea.  It would be nice to wake up every morning, not turn on the news, and live in our own private Idaho (SJI) That seems to be what the majority of Americans are doing.