edging back into normalcy

Back last summer I said I would only post if there is something interesting to say.  Apparently, there has not been anything interesting in the last eight weeks—or else, maybe I’ve just been too busy?

So here is a quick summary:

We have both received the Moderna vaccine.  We had a rough day after the second dose, but are fine now and edging back into normalcy.  As you shall see . . .*

I’ve been weaving a rug now for a number of weeks.  It is a new experience for me and I’ve been taking my time with it.  Trying to enjoy the process.

Roger has been way busy with building a kiln to burn wood into biochar with the heat produced used to help heat the house. 

Large limb over path from fir behind the cottage

It snowed in February and that snow stuck around for a week.  I think it pushed Spring back a bit here at Thornbush but we are way in it now.

Waiting for Godot?

Our grandson Corbin got to come here for a sleepover on his 9th birthday.  We rode the ferries back and forth to pick him up and deliver him. *First time in over a year.

People have been asking about the cottage.*  So here is a little of what we’ve been doing all winter:

  1. Take a log from a pile of them in the woods and mill it into boards and battens.
  2. Cut the lumber into the correct length and finesse it a bit with the table saw.

Put as much of it as we have on the cottage addition that same day

Look at Pinterest a lot to see tile ideas for when we get done with the outside.  The shower parts are there but not installed.  The tile guy is coming over this week to check it out. We have hot water and a sink and a toilet. Mostly but not completely insulated.

Ventured on to the mainland yesterday to pick up a yellow plastic kayak from a friend.  Then got to visit with kids and grandkids and take the twins out to a real restaurant for their fifteenth birthday.*

*edging back into normalcy

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.

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.

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.



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.


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


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.



Sitting on Top of the World

Sitting on Top of the World

May is my birthday month and it has been glorious.  The weather, the flowers, the fun–all has come together this month.

Got my first two sets of visitors the first week and have been going full blast since then.  Today, May 23rd, is the first day I feel the pace has slacked off a bit.


Marc & Nancy visit us on Mothers Day Weekend. We show them Mt. Grant

Marc & Nancy visit us on Mothers Day Weekend. We show them Mt. Grant

Thornbush has had a lot of bird visitors also this month.  Including a couple barred owls who decided to take a dust bath in our road one afternoon.

owls on road

My birthday week included these owls as well as dinner out with good friends at our local Sushi Bar and the next night at the Pub and the next night at the Wine Bar.  This overabundance of eating out was due to my hosting two willow basket teachers at Thornbush over the weekend.  Katherine Lewis, renowned willow basket maker from Dunbar Gardens in the Skagit Valley came over to teach a class for the Textile Guild and she brought an assistant, Maria, from Orcas Island.

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Maria giving some encouragement to me as I “fitch” my basket.

The fun continued on into the next week with a trip to Anacortes with friends for a pedicure and lunch at Anthony’s and another lunch at Roche two days later.  Then it was time for Roger and me to get serious about our willow and alder demonstration at the National Park’s “bio-blitz”.  We were just a side attraction.  The main purpose of the blitz is to take inventory of plants and animals.  But we dutifully loaded up the truck with material and set up under a huge juniper tree for the day. link to bioblitz info

Yesterday I walked up Mt. Finlayson with Elizabeth for the first time since the new road opened.  Another beautiful day, we saw fox and deer and at the tail end of our walk, this eagle called out for our attention:


click on picture to make bigger

Yes, it’s been quite a month.  And there’s still a week until Memorial Day!



We’ve had some unseasonably warm weather this April which makes for a lot of growing– growing of weeds, growing of grass, and growing of flowers.  I don’t think I’ve ever mowed as much in April as I have this year.  Luckily for me, Roger and Eric found me a nice, newer riding mower.  Roger bought himself a new, new mower (hmmm).  Anyway, there’s a lot of grass to mow and we’ve been doing it.


All the flowers seem to be about two weeks early, but of course, I think that most years.  The big event this month was a visit from my brother John and sister-in-law Marilyn and our subsequent journey together to Victoria, British Columbia.  Stayed at a very nice hotel that they normally book and went to some very nice gardens as well.  We also ate a lot of good food.  More pastry than I consume in a year.  (I think I’m finally back down to my previous weight.)

The photos from Victoria are numerous so I have placed them all in a Flckr album.  Here is the link:



You will see some interesting photos of John, a canoe, and our pond.  Let’s just say there’s a reward for finding an oar at the bottom of our pond and leave it at that.

So the theme of this posting is flowers–the wild ones and the cultivated ones.  This, I hope, will be a good antidote to last posting’s sad news.  Although, to be perfectly honest, Suzie–just this week has killed a rat and three fledgling wrens.  What a mighty hunter she has become.

Many other celebrations took place this month including–our anniversary!  And the Queen’s birthday which I celebrated with good friends Lunnette, Peggy Sue, and Vivien.  Here’s a photo courtesy of Vivien:

queens birthday

8:30 PM and it’s still light out.  That’s good because there’s lots to do to get ready for the merry month of May and the arrival of visitor season.  Thornbush is decked out in its finest.

Face of a Killer

Face of a Killer

Sometime the news isn’t so great here at Thornbush and we can’t shy away from it. This isn’t a Facebook Posting where only the good news gets shared. This is a report that chronicles events come what may. And this month, besides all the nice evidence of Spring and the birthday celebrations I have to swallow my pride and admit—that my poodle killed seven of our chickens. Whew.

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You would think that after eight years of being around them, of being trained to stand guard and never chase them, that she would know in her heart what was right and good. But this month for some reason she decided she loved feathers. Loved them so much that she went after them whenever possible and gradually gathered her courage until one night, when both Roger and I had gone to a neighbor’s to celebrate the Equinox, she struck.

Oh, the carnage! We had to look for her in the chicken yard with only a flashlight, stumbling on carcass after carcass, feathers scattered from here to tomorrow, until we found her working over her last victim. She was wild. It took us all a couple days to settle back down. Me, to clean up all the feathers, Roger, to burn what was left of the cadavers and rig up the electric fencing again for the upper chicken yard, the surviving chickens to face the world again, and for Suzie to throw up all the feathers she ate and reflect on what she had done.

We brought the last four from the garden up to the “compost yard chickens” and they have melded in quite well. Suzie has left them alone after just one jolt of “tough love”. We are now down to fifteen.



And now for some good news. We had a very nice visit with “the kids” to celebrate Corbin’s Fourth, Iliana and Lenora’s Tenth, and Ethel’s somethinth birthdays. We took them to the Childrens Museum in Everett. A highlight was seeing Audrey drive a bus–she seemed a natural.


And of course, it is Spring. I heard it was the rainiest winter on record in Seattle and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was here, too. And the last few days have been glorious. Too bad I sprained my knee last evening and have it wrapped and elevated instead of being outside gardening. Then again, I am making progress on learning how to crochet. And you have gotten this post.



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!


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.


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.