Season’s Greetings to Everyone

Our rollercoaster of a year is ending with a smooth coast. A solstice card I received said “Amidst the darkest days, new light appears on the horizon.” After looking back over my posts of the past year, I see that all sorts of great and wonderful events took place. But for me, 2018 is the year that my dog died, I had a stroke, and then cancer. Dark days, indeed. If you are interested in those things, you can look at the months of February, April, August, and October.

But if that is old news to you, let’s press on with the good things that have happened in the last month:

So above are examples of a very, merry Christmas with family and friends. And that wasn’t all that happened this month. We finally got our new oven!

Roger installing the new oven

Also, December in the San Juans can be very beautiful.

So here’s to the new light of 2019 that beckons with promises of more time with friends and family and road trips and perhaps a new beloved pet. A 2019 that is cancer free, healthy, productive (new bathroom on the cottage?) and much to be thankful for.


The Saga Continues . . .


On Saturday, August 25th, WSU Extension hosted a Forest Owners Field Day at Thornbush.  There were about six or seven workshops repeated throughout the day.  Due to Roger’s hardwork mowing and clearing clutter, the place looked great.

There’s a lot of waiting involved with this cancer stuff.  On August 30th I received (is that the best verb?) my lumpectomy.  And then waited almost three weeks to talk to an oncologist about what it might mean for me going forward.  The surgeon meantime had given me both good and bad news,  good–they got it all, bad–bigger than they expected.  So I wasn’t completely surprised that they would recommend radiation therapy.

In the meantime, I wasn’t just waiting around, there’s a lot of stuff to do in September.  Two good friends visited right after Labor Day.  And even though there is no bathroom on the cottage yet, the framework for the deck had been completed.


And now we have a new deck and are starting to clear space for the new addition.

Also, there’s the tyranny of the harvest.  The racoons got most of our plums and a good portion of our hazelnuts.  But we managed to pick a few hundred pounds of apples, pears, and Asian pears.  I’ve already canned the orca pears with our neighbor, bartlets next week.  And we’re bringing in a lot of veggies as well.

Last week I was on Orcas Island at a willow workshop.  Our project, taught by a leading willow instructor, Jo Campbell-Amsler, was a picnic backpack.  The setting was a beautiful farm called Morning Star.


picnic backpack

my basket–so far, not finished

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I worked on my basket for three more days after I returned home, only to run out of weavers right before I was done.  I’ve set some of my own willow to soak and hope to show you a finished basket in my next post.

By my next post, I should also be able to tell you the schedule for my radiation treatments.  After much consideration, and a few consultations, I’ve decided to “bite the bullet” as they say.  This will involve weeks of travel off-island, to a hospital in Sedro Wooley, as they do not do radiation here on the island.  Chemo, but not radiation.

You’ll also see some great pictures of the Eighth Annual Farm Parade.  Stay tuned.

apple harvest

Burying the Lede

Lede:  the opening sentence or paragraph of a news article, summarizing the most important aspects of the story:
“the lede has been rewritten and the headline changed”

Who knew?  I thought it was always spelled “lead”

Not wanting to be accused of burying the lede like last April “Wait for It”.  I am telling up front, that this summer I have had a series of tests culminating in a biopsy on July 23rd which found cancer in calcifications in my left breast.  I have scheduled a lumpectomy for August 30th.  This is a very early, 0-stage? d.c.i.s. (ductal carcinoma in situ) I will visit the oncologist mid-September to find out what happens next.

Now that I have gotten that news out of the way, I can tell you the fun stuff that has happened this month.

The Project: Our friend Jay came up for a week and helped twist the cottage a few degrees clockwise.  It was quite tedious as there were many adjustments along the way.

Poor Jay, wish I could say we had some fun times while he was here.  Maybe he’ll come back in another 8 years.

20180805_163509_HDRJay wasn’t the only one put to work.   Our eight year old granddaughter Audrey joined us for the following week and she helped as well.

After the cottage was turned, we raised it nine inches with house jacks and new posts so that it is at the same level as the house.  So once the deck is rebuilt, you can walk from cottage to house without the two stairs.  Then we poured concrete in all the new post holes.  Next comes the skirting around the foundation.

Audrey’s Visit:  Luckily, tractor driving counts as fun for Audrey.  She also got to ride a horse for the first time, have art lessons, go fishing, attend the county fair, among other fun activities.


The Fair:  Roger and I worked several shifts at the Fair this year.  Roger judged the 4-H youths in horticulture.  I hung around the Fiber Arts exhibit as docent among other chores.  Audrey got to make fiber beads as a Courtyard Activity.  She also got to go on a number of rides.  Her parents and siblings joined us later in the week and attended the Fair as well.

Family Visit:  So Bjorn’s family went to the Fair one day and we went to the beach the next day.  After that, the forest fire unhealthy air attacked us and we stayed close to home.  There was this game about deactivating a bomb (fun, right?)  and a puzzle among other games.

Coming Soon:  The air finally cleared today (8/23) at least for awhile.  We have a forest owners field day at our house this coming weekend.  And next week, my surgery.  I will hopefully be reporting on these events as well as more cottage project advancement.

I’ve placed a new sculpture next to Willow Man in the front courtyard.  Remind you of someone?

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Where did July go?

bestThe Fourth: July whizzed by faster than ever this year.  Started with a bigger bang than ever.  That’s because I rented the Grange Hall for a fireworks watching party.  First came the  parade.

Fruit and Friends:  Our friend Gene and his wife Jennifer made their annual visit to Roche and we had a lovely visit there and at Peggy Sue’s.

20180706_182413_HDRBut mostly July was about picking fruit and baking with fruit.  Raspberries dominated, although it has been a fabulous year for all kinds of berries (and cherries). Fortunately there were a number of fun potluck dinners with friends so that we didn’t end up eating all of these desserts by ourselves.


In July I also made a lot of trips to the mainland, often meeting friends for lunch in Anacortes.  Walking on and enjoying the ferry without the hassle of a car.

The Project

I promised more about the cottage–tearing the bathroom off, pivoting clockwise, and eventually raising it up 9 inches, putting a foundation “skirting” around it, and then building a better bathroom.


Whew.  We are turning the cottage today (8/3) I’ll let you know how it turns out in my next post.

P-Furs and Fun
This past weekend Roger and I both ventured off-island for a concert with two of Roger’s favorites bands from the 80’s–the Psychedelic Furs and X.  My sister Jeannette and her husband and our friend Michelle joined us at the Woodland Park Zoo.


And that’s where July went.


Leaving Friday Harbor

June Gatherings

June Gatherings


Art appreciation and art participation.  Saw several art studios on studio tour weekend.  On Fridays, my friend Francie and I have been making object d’art out of willow sticks.



My friends and I have been taking lots of walks, along the Zylstra Lake property and at low, low tide a False Bay.


Spa weekend was fabulous–we went to Afterglo Spa at Roche this year.  And we saw a Gee’s Bend exhibit at the art museum.



dismantling the porch on the cottage.  Wait ’til you see what’s next! (July post)


Thankstween got moved to Solstice!  This year we all rented cabins at Ovenell’s resort in Concrete, Washington.  That’s in Skagit County, so easy for our corner of the state to attend.  Dad just turned 96 this month.  He’s not in hospice anymore and enjoyed seeing the whole family together.

The first night was pizza at a local restaurant. We took over the party room.  Here’s James showing us how to properly eat pasta.

That night some of us drove up to Newhalem to Ladder Falls.  They turn on colored lights after dark so here are before and after dark pix.

Saturday we went up to see the Lower Baker Dam outside of Concrete.

Bjorn and family came up that afternoon and music and games were played and food was prepared and eaten.  And a fun time was had by all.



Stayin’ Alive at 65!


At Duck Soup

Picking up the story where I left off, in honor of our 30th Wedding Anniversary, Roger and I took the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Oakland for a few days in late April.  We were met at the Jack London Square station by my niece and her two children.  We then drove to Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley where we had tons of fun riding the Redwood Valley Railway, a carousel, and visiting the Botanical Gardens.

We stayed in Berkeley that night and took BART to San Francisco the next day.  In S.F. we spent a lot of time at the Ferry Building and riding streetcars and cable cars.  It was quite the transportation holiday.  Here are some pictures: pictures of trip

Click above link for 44 photos of our fabulous vacation.


A week after we got back I was on the go again to Seattle for a meet up of some Metro friends for lunch and then a Mexican themed party at my friends Diane and Craig’s house.

Meanwhile, Spring is busting out all over here at Thornbush.  We’ve been gardening, mowing, making raised beds, and enjoying the outdoors through walks with friends.


Partied with friends the week of my birthday and then I was off again on another trip, this time to Portland to attend the Association of Northwest Weavers Guild’s Annual Meeting.  My friend Karen came down with me to visit her daughter.  And I also managed to see my dear friends Lou and Wes and their dog Micro.


Lindsay’s House

Tilicum Crossing

Now I am actually going to stay home for awhile.  I’ve started a new random weave sculpture, we’ve got some home renovations planned, and of course, there is always the gardening.



Home Improvements

Can’t lie to you, it’s been a terrible month since my sweetheart Suzie Q Poodle died.  But I’ve been trying to keep very busy and I do have a few accomplishments to show for it.  The best and biggest is not from me.  It’s the electric backup system for our home’s radiant floor heating system.  Now, if Roger is sick or just not inclined to go out in inclement weather to build a fire we still stay warm.  Our electric bill, though, is sure to climb percipitously.


twined willow bark

First I’ll backtrack a bit and let you know that I went to a basketry retreat at Seabeck on the Kitsap peninsula in January.  Took a couple basketry workshops and reconnected with NW Basketry Guild members I’d hung with last July in Tacoma.


Audrey turns 8

Stayed with friends in Brier on the way back so I could celebrate granddaughter Audrey’s eighth birthday.  Just a day trip to LaConner but Roger and I loved spending time with her.


All winter I’ve been working on my first “rep weave” project– placemats.  I was able to finish them in February.  Plan to use the same weave to make a rug–hopefully this year.


knotless netting

I showed some of the San Juan textile group how to use waxed linen to make knotless netting around a rock or solid object last month.  Next week I am leading a group of SJC Textile Guilders to Bellingham to see a stunning display of basketry at the Whatcom Museum.  So on Feb 7th my friend Laura and I took a reconnaisance trip to check it out.  Beautiful day coming home on Chuckanut Drive.


Nan at Afterglow Vista

My friend Nan came up to visit me (and console me about poor Suzie).  We got hit by a late winter snowstorm that dumped eight inches in a few short hours.  The next day I went out to check out the animal prints in the snow.  Mostly deer, but others were quite mysterious.


not deer, but what?

Accomplishment #??? We did our taxes. Get $47 back. Wheee!


Done deal. I’m an art collector!

And then, out of the blue, I did a most compulsive thing.  I bought art!  A friend who is moving off island sold me a Jack Gunter original.  I could not pass it up but I believe my extra-budgetary expenditures are depleted for the year–and it’s only March!


Rose’s Quilt

So Roger helped me put up my new painting and we balanced the look of the room by hanging the quilt my cousin Rose made for me a few years back.  They both look great.

Two weeks until Spring.  I’m working on a basket project and waiting impatiently to get out into the garden.  Have planted some flower and vegetable seeds in the propogation house.  I need to keep very busy.