Five Things I Love About Shaw Island

Sandi Friel - Orcas Island Real Estate brokerPosted by Sandi Friel

I admit: I lived in the San Juans for years before ever having set foot on 7.7-square-mile Shaw Island, the smallest of our ferried islands. My first introductory trip was back in 2011 when I posted a blog about missing the ferry back to Orcas. It was a whirlwind visit that showed me a few Shaw “scenes” but didn’t really give me its flavor.

That changed recently when I was invited to list a property for sale on Shaw. In getting to know the property owners and speaking to a few other residents, I’ve since become more familiar (and enamored) with this quirky island that 240 people call home. Here are a few aspects that now come to mind when I think of Shaw:

  1. Shaw Island General Store

    The tiny General Store at the ferry landing, open May through through September

    It’s quiet. Really quiet. If you really want to get away from it all, Shaw is the place for you. The fact that there are no restaurants, hotels or even a grocery store (except in the summer) keeps residents down to a minimum and tourism almost non-existent. It’s a minimalist lifestyle focused on the necessities and simple pleasures of life.

  2. 303 Copper Hill Lane, Shaw Island

    The quiet life of Shaw Island within reach: This cedar cabin on 5 acres is listed at just $299k. MLS 765069

    Remote yet connected. I’m told that the seclusion is what privacy-craving residents love most about Shaw, yet the close sense of community is also tops on their list. To get an idea of how cohesive and active this island is, visit their community website:

  3. Fiercely independent Shaw Islanders do their own thing. When the state wanted uniform green metal street signs posted, Shaw said ‘no thank you.’ Instead, Shaw roads are discreetly marked with rustic hand-carved wooden signs.

    Shaw Island School

    The historic Shaw Island school uses a personalized and modern approach to teaching, outfitting its students with laptops and ipads and treating them to hands-on learning and fun field trips. Learn more at

  4. Over the years, devoted residents have created — and continue to create — unique community hubs to serve the island, Shaw style. From the all-volunteer library and log-cabin museum, to the historic little red school (longest continuing operating school in the state) and the active Community Center, energetic islanders have crafted a robust social fabric on this tiny island.
  5. This gorgeous sandy beach is part of 60-acre Shaw Island County Park, one of the nicest in the San Juans.

    This gorgeous sandy beach is part of 60-acre Shaw Island County Park, one of the nicest in the San Juans.

    The pristine south-facing County beach is a gem. Located on protected Indian Cove, the wide sandy beach leads to shallow waters that warm up enough in the summer for a brisk swim. Last time I visited, a pacific white-sided dolphin was breaching! There are also rustic campsites, so you can enjoy the beach in the moonlight.

If Shaw sounds like the type of getaway lifestyle you’re looking for, contact me! I’d love an excuse to go back over to this special island and show you around.



Filed under Adventure, Community

There’s No Place Like Home

I have been dreaming all winter long of sailing off into the sunset down south in Bahamian waters. Good friends, clear-warm water and a life style to relax in and warm my soul. However, to my surprise, I found myself feeling empty. I could not put my finger on it until I was on the ferry returning to Orcas and rounded the corner at Shaw Island; the Orcas ferry landing came into sight. I missed my island life!

I’ve always had a “welcome home” feeling when getting back on island from a short trip to the mainland, but this trip took me away for three weeks. Returning, I found myself deep in amazement of life right here on this island. Life gets too busy. I had not taken the time to slow down, look around and be thankful. I had been taking my island life for granted, and in fact, had some angst about life not fulfilling my every desire. It was always right in front of me………. If I had just slowed down to look around and see how my life was filled with treasure. I did not have to sail so far away to find what was in my own back yard. Growing my own fresh food, the land around me filled with nature and family memories, work and friendships that challenge and fulfill my soul. I am so glad to be back home and will never again go looking outside my own backyard searching for my heart’s smile. Enjoy today, Teri

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Filed under Art, Arts & Crafts, Boating, Community, Family Life, Gardening, Nature, Uncategorized

Birdfest on Orcas

teri_cropBy Teri Williams

Spring is my favorite time of the year for so many reasons.

I’m back in my garden, seeds are sprouting, flowers are blooming, and birds are nesting and singing.

From hummingbirds zipping around my garden to eagles nesting across the valley, we have a huge variety of birds to appreciate.


Get your birding book out and enjoy learning about these little chirpers! This photo was found Googling birds in the San Juan Islands.

And Orcas celebrates our feathered friends with a little help from the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the annual Birdfest, a celebration of birds! This year, the Orcas Island Birdfest runs for four days: Thursday, April 30 through Sunday, May 2.


Sharp Shined Hawk


The schedule is packed with bird walks and nature tours, workshops, a fine art exhibition and scientific symposium, all focusing on the wonder of birds and grassroots solutions for maintaining healthy populations.

Even if you are not a “birder,” this is an unforgettable experience showcasing the natural splendor of the San Juan Islands.


Hooded Mergansers at Otter’s Pond, ready to have ducklings in a month.

Grab your binoculars, pack your Birding in the San Juan Islands by Mark G. Lewis, put your hiking boots on and get ready for some local color and sound.

Wood peckers are easy to spot

Pileated woodpeckers are easy to spot.

Visit for a list of birds you can see on Orcas Island.

For information about the 2015 Birdfest and a complete calendar of events, visit

Happy Birding!




Filed under Art, Gardening, Nature, Uncategorized

’round the Bend

'round the Bend

’round the Bend

Roxy Marck, GRI

Roxy Marck, GRI



South Boundary Loop



Today we embark upon a “Do As Much As You Want” hike. There are several turn-offs along this loop hike which will give you the opportunity to shorten the hike…wimp. The full hike may take a little over three hours and have an elevation gain of about seven hundred feet.


Swan on the Lake

Start at the Cascade Lake parking lot. Follow the trail north, counter-clockwise around the lake. Travel through ancient cedar trees and cross the small wooden bridge over Moran Creek, breeding ground for the Kokanee salmon. At the north end of the lake you’ll pass one of the more popular swimming sites in the park. Known as “the tree” this grizzled old evergreen which hangs out over the lake is frequently decorated with youths preparing to swing on the rope or climbing out onto a limb to jump into the lake. A word of caution…the water level varies so check it to be sure it is deep enough before you make the leap.


The Lagoon

The trail wanders up and down along moss-covered granite outcrops and through clumps of salal (a low shrub with dark blue, marginally edible berries) until it reaches a long, wood bridge.  Lilly-pads decorate the lagoon on your right while the view to your left shows the expanse of the lake.

Exiting from the bridge you’ll enter a shadowed forest. Here the trail turns south. Peek-a-boo views of the lake pop-up until you reach the south-end of the lake and the junction to Sunrise Rock.

If you’ve sprained an ankle, forgotten your meds or are simply willing to admit to being a wimp here is your first opportunity to shorten this hike. Continue straight along the trail through the camp-sites to finish the loop around Cascade Lake.

Follow the sign to Sunrise Rock which sends you to the right away from the lake. After a short distance the trail dead-ends at the south boundary where you head left toward Cascade Falls. As you hike this trail keep watch for the old, stone boundary markers. You’ll find them hiding like Easter eggs along either side of the trail until it veers away from the edge of the park.


Old State Park Boundary Marker


When the trail crosses the county road turn right and cross the park’s south entrance bridge. On your left just past the bridge you will see a short, steep incline. Follow the narrow path which should be marked with a sign identifying it as the Southeast Boundary Trail.

The county road provides you with another opportunity to cut short the hike and skip some of the elevation gain. You can head left to follow the county road back to the parking lot. Or you can continue across the road and follow the signs for Cascade Falls. Hike uphill to the trailhead and parking lot for the falls. Across Mount Constitution Road you’ll find a tiny “trail” sign marking the trail back to Cascade Lake.


Cascade Falls

Regardless of your decision, when you reach them, take a few minutes to view the falls. Be warned, however, there is a time vortex at the falls. What seems like a few moments may turn into an hour as the cascade of water can hypnotize just about anyone…plus there are about a million angles from which to shoot a good photo of the falls.

Continuing up the hill you’ll find the trail has a fair amount of up and down … mostly up. Horse trail-rides and mountain bikers use this trail frequently so keep an eye out for road apples and an ear for bicycles racing down the hill.

The trail becomes the service road where a  sharp left turn will take you through the “picnic table graveyard” to Mount Constitution Road and your last opportunity to bail on the hike. Don’t! You are almost there. Continue straight along the fire road as it heads northwest toward Mount Pickett. When the road appears to dead-end turn left to reach Mountain Lake where you’ll make another left to arrive at the dam and a nice place for a break.


Pileated Woodpecker

Soak the tootsies; take a swim if you dare; sit on a log; or sit in the sunny clearing before you travel downhill along the spillway from the dam. You won’t need to but may feel like ducking under the trunk of a large tree trunk which leans across the trail. If you hear a staccato drumming look for our pileated woodpecker friends. You’ll need to have your camera ready and be quick if you wish to catch a shot of these shy birds with their red, pterodactyl-like heads.

This path ends right after you cross a sturdy, wood bridge over Cascade Creek. Look left to see the “picnic table graveyard” but turn right to travel along the fire road. A small path to the left will appear a very short distance down the road. Look closely as the trail marker may still be resting on the ground. Apparently he snow and wind of a winter storm last year wore out the poor thing. Here you have to decide whether to continue straight to Mount Constitution Road or go left to follow the creek to the top of Cascade Falls.

If you decide to travel along the creek the first right-hand trail you pass will take you to the trailhead and parking lot for the falls. If you’d like to take a photo of the falls from the top continue downhill. There is a small knob which hangs out over the falls and is nearly perfect for a down-angle shot. Access to the bottom of the falls is just a short distance further down the hill. After filling your camera’s memory card travel up hill toward the parking lot. To avoid retracing your steps you can follow the wide uphill trail to the left. It provides a more direct path to the trailhead.


Frozen Cascade Falls

Our trail picks up across Mt. Constitution Road from the parking lot. Follow a small “trail” sign marking the trail. This path will wind its way up and down and around several camping sites and through a picnic area until it reaches the parking lot at Cascade Lake.

Congratulations. You’ve completed the hike. If you’d like to hike your own trails call us here at T Williams Realty. We’ll help you to find your very own “mini-park”.

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The Incredible Edible Stinging Nettle!

122 By Mandy Randolph

Springtime on Orcas Island means nettle time! Some people only consider nettles to be those pesky weeds that cause an irritating sting when brushed up against. My students at Orcas Island Elementary School know otherwise… they know that nettles are nutritious, tasty, and free!

A fresh nettle patch growing on Orcas Island.

A fresh nettle patch growing on Orcas Island.

Nettles are low in calories, but pack in a whopping amount of iron, calcium, vitamin K, and fiber. It has long been believed that ingesting nettles can combat the symptoms of hay fever and seasonal allergies. Try drinking two cups of nettle tea a day just prior to and during your allergy season and see for yourself! You do need to be careful when gathering your nettles. Wear long sleeves and pants. Use gloves and clippers to harvest. You can take the sting away from your nettles by drying them in the sun or simply by rinsing and soaking the nettles in water. The most certain way to take away all sting is to boil briefly.

A box full of freshly harvested stinging nettles.

A box full of freshly harvested stinging nettles.

After harvesting your nettles and before eating them, you could take some time to investigate them with a magnifying glass!


Farm to Classroom students investigating stinging nettles with magnifying glasses.


You can enjoy nettles in many ways, in soup, tea, sauces, and stir fry. We decided to make a nettle pasta dish in Farm to Classroom last week. Here is how we made our nettle pasta.

Stinging nettle pasta!

Stinging nettle pasta!

Start by mincing garlic and sautéing it in some olive oil. 20150312_113039


Bring a pot of water to boil and add nettles to boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Remove the nettles with a slotted spoon and chop them. Add your pasta to the same water you boiled the nettles in.


Add the chopped nettles to your garlic and sauté. Add a few pinches of sea salt if you’d like.


Add the cooked pasta and mix thoroughly until combined.

Fresh stinging nettle pasta.

Fresh stinging nettle pasta.

Enjoy warm or cold!


Here is an easy way to store your extra nettles for use later. Boil, chop, squeeze out excess water and form into a ball. Freeze the nettle balls on a baking sheet and transfer to a Ziploc bag once frozen. Then you can toss a nettle ball into soup, smoothies, sauces, scrambled eggs and omelets, you name it!

A batch of "nettle balls" before they went into the freezer.

A batch of “nettle balls” before they went into the freezer.

Go ahead and try some stinging nettles. My students enjoyed them, and you may too!

Happy students enjoying stinging nettle pasta. Seconds please!

Happy students enjoying stinging nettle pasta. Seconds please!

Eat your nettles!


Filed under Gardening, Nature, Recipes

Just a Simple Farm Girl

teri_cropBy Teri Williams

Sometimes I stray too far from the barn, but a day at Coffelt Farm Stand brings me right back to what really is important, family, farming and friendships.


Local berries make a sweet colorful gift and reminds me of kitchen time with grandma

Local berries make a sweet colorful gift and reminds me of kitchen time with grandma.

My grandparents had a dairy farm complete with chickens, horses and bottle fed calves. Grandma’s garden filled canning jars and the cellar was filled with pears, apples and plums from the orchard. These are fond memories deep in my soul. I spent many summers picking berries with grandma, never wanting to eat any so my bucket would be as full as hers. Jams and pies were  yummy results. I still remember when grandma left the pie making to me for a family gathering. Her shared crust secrets and faith in me still show in my pies today.

Grandma T's garden shares ready to eat sweet peas and the promise of greens for a meal

Grandma T’s garden shares ready to eat sweet peas and the promise of greens for a meal.

Wanting to get out of the city, I moved to Orcas Island 27 years ago with 3 sons and a desire to find my roots again. The boys are grown and raising their own families now.  It is my garden and orchard they will remember in their hearts and souls, as well as the many trips to local Orcas Island farms.

In my garden, each year I look forward to planting new things, talking to other farmers about their favorite seeds and sharing tricks to invite worms to feed the soil.  I have starts from Sid Coffelt, plum trees from my great grandma’s orchard, tomatoes from John Cadden, garlic from Mary Ann Sircely, raspberry bushes from my mom, Arlene Carlson and blueberry shrubs from Faith Deeds garden. There is much heart and soul in my garden and I dance with joy thinking about the harvest with my grand kids!!!

Brand new lambs and a proud mom

Brand new lambs and a proud mom.

The Coffelt Farm, located in Crow Valley, Orcas Island, gives tours to school children in the spring time when new born run the barn yard. This spring the farm welcomed several new piglets, lambs and a couple of calves.

Orcas Island School children enjoy a day on the farm learning about all the animals and what it means to be a farmer

Orcas Island School children enjoy a day on the farm learning about all the animals and what it means to be a farmer.

This farm girl says get busy, visit a farm, offer some volunteer time in a garden, share an afternoon canning the harvest, spend time with your grandma, bring a friend and create a memory to nourish the soul.

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Filed under Community, Family Life, Gardening, Nature, Uncategorized

Baby Boom for the San Juan Islands

Sandi FrielPosted by Sandi Friel

Orca babies, that is! This winter we’ve had three calves born to our resident pods of killer whales. Two of the calves were born to J-Pod, the group that spends the most time around the San Juan Islands. The third baby belongs to L-Pod, the largest of our three pods of Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW).

Every new addition to our local pods is awesome news, because this population has been in trouble. The Southern Residents were listed under the Endangered Species Act back in 2005, but the population has continued to decline and there haven’t been any surviving calves born since 2012. So these three blushing babies (whale calves are born with a pink hue on their white parts) are most welcome.

Christmas orca calf J50

Newborn J50 with her mom, J16, and big brother, J26. Photo courtesy of Center for Whale Research.

The first calf to show up, J50, was just the Christmas present all our local orca fans were wishing for. This little one was born right around December 25th in the protected waters of East Sound. (You might remember Teri’s post reporting a sighting of the new calf during her Christmas cruise.) Making the present even better for JPod is that J50 (it’s a tough ocean out there, so baby orcas aren’t given their human nicknames until they survive a full winter) is a little girl, and this population needs all the future mommies it can get. J50’s mom is Slick (J16), who is over 40 years old!

There’s definite girl power in orca pods, as our residents live in matriarchal societies. Each pod is made up of smaller matrilineal lines led by a mother, grandmother or, as is the case with Jpod, by a great-grandmother. In J-pod, that’s J2, Granny, the best-known wild whale in the world, who researchers believe is around 104 years old!

killer whale baby J51 and mom J19

Baby J51 alongside mom. Photo courtesy of Center for Whale Research.

The next baby in this recent boom is J51, born early February somewhere in the Straight of Juan de Fuca to 36-year-old Shachi, aka J19. As of this writing, J51 hasn’t rolled over yet to give researchers a look at its belly to be able to tell if it’s a boy or girl.

And just this week, on February 23, a new L-pod calf, L121, was seen off the Oregon coast happily swimming alongside its mom, 20-year-old Calypso (L94).

L121 with mom L94

L121 spotted by NOAA Fisheries this week off of the Columbia River. NOAA’s research ship is in the background.

Three babies within just a few months is a huge deal here. The whales only give birth about once every five years, and out of our current population of 80 (a near record low), there are only a few reproductive-age males, and several of our reproductive-age females had not been having calves. Late in 2014, disaster struck the Southern Residents when Rhapsody, J32, a 20-year-old female just coming into her prime breeding years, died from a problem pregnancy.

In addition to the new calves for the Southern Residents, there has also been a baby spotted with one of the Transient pods of orcas that frequents our local waters. Though it’s tough for casual observers to tell the Residents and Transients apart—they’re all huge black-and-white members of the dolphin family—there are actually marked differences between the two types of orcas.

Orca whale spy hopping off Henry Island

My husband took this lucky “spy hop” shot from our boat last year when we were drifting off Henry Island and the orcas swam up to check us out.

Resident orcas live in much larger groups than Transients—if you’re out on the water and see more than four or five orcas together, you’re almost certainly seeing Residents, who sometimes even form Superpods when J, K and L all get together to socialize. A small group of whales seen around the San Juans could also just be one family of Residents swimming together away from the rest of the pod, but if you see them acting very stealthy then it’s more likely you’re seeing Transients.

The reason the two types of killer whales act and group differently is because they’ve evolved remarkably different cultures. Transients travel in small, stealthy groups because they’re always trying to sneak up on marine mammals like seals. Usually the only time you’ll ever see Transients leaping out of the water and doing celebratory fin slaps and tail lobs is after they’ve had a successful hunt. Fortunately for them, if there’s one animal we have plenty of in the Salish Sea it’s harbor seals, so the Transients have pretty easy hunting.

Chinook salmon

Endangered Chinook salmon, favored fish of our Resident Orcas. Photo NOAA

Our Residents are not so lucky. They’ve evolved to eat fish, and in particular, to specialize in hunting big, fat Chinook salmon. The salmon aren’t as smart as seals, so the Residents are able to talk to each other a lot more (each pod even has its own dialect of orca language). They can also splash around more at the surface because they don’t have to worry about the fish jumping out of the water and climbing up on rocks like seals can. So salmon are easier to hunt, but that’s just the good news. The bad news is that Chinook populations have their own troubles—so much so that they’re also listed as endangered. Each one of our Resident orcas needs to catch between 100-300 pounds of sushi a day just to stay healthy, and every year there are less fish around.

Challenges in finding food is likely the main reason our Southern Resident Killer Whale population hasn’t bounced back. Scientists believe there used to be around 200 Resident orcas frequenting the Salish Sea, but that was before a bunch of them were kidnapped for aquariums. And before that, they were even hunted and considered nuisances known as Devil Fish.

So for our iconic and well-loved group of Resident orcas to suddenly jump in number from 77 to 80 is big news. Seeing wild orcas is one of the many reasons why living in the San Juan Islands is such a special privilege. We’ll all be pulling for these new babies to thrive, since they’re carrying the hope that we’ll continue to have the honor of sharing the Salish Sea with these beautiful and complex creatures for many years to come.


Filed under Nature

’round the Bend

'round the Bend

’round the Bend

Roxy Marck, GRI

Roxy Marck, GRI

Cold Springs Trail

by Roxy Marck, GRI



Ditch the gym membership! If you want to do the Stair-Master try hiking up the Cold Springs trail.

Gorgeous scenery and varying terrain make this hike a fabulous addition to any work-out routine. This up and back hike can take almost the same amount of time climbing uphill as it takes to traverse down. And while it may seem like the scenery repeats itself, trust me, it looks different when you reverse direction. Because it is up and back and because you can make this hike into a four-plus hour round-trip to the top of Mt. Constitution there is room to grow your cardio program.


A little vitamin D with your hike?

Before you begin the hike I suggest a little warm-up stretching at the trail head adjacent to the Kokanee hatchery across the county road from Cascade Lake. The gentle incline  at the beginning of the trail where it runs along side Moran Creek does not provide much in the way of a warm-up.

This hike starts with your back to Cascade Lake. It passes through a grove of large, old cedar trees many still showing damage from a devastating fire which swept through the park decades ago. Tread lightly on top of the roots of Great-Grandfather, the gigantic  cedar tree, as you loop past his massive trunk when the trail makes a sharp right-turn away from Moran Creek and begins an uphill climb.

Cross the first wooden bridge and wind uphill along a couple of switchbacks. When you reach the point where the trail runs high above a small stream bed keep a sharp eye for the barred owl that frequents this area. You’ll be in position to look into the upper branches of several tall fir trees so sometimes this winged-creature will be at eye-level.


A good place for a break

Cross the third wooden bridge to begin one of those increase-your-heart-rate activities popular with most exercise programs. Push on before taking a breather until you reach reach the green gorge with its moss covered slopes, large fallen tree and small waterfall. If you need to, this is a good point to pull-over to check your lungs. If you haven’t thrown one, take a photo, catch your breath and continue on uphill. Or make it a goal to reach this point in less time with your next work-out.

Deer frequent the trail so don’t be surprised if one bolts across the trail. A wide variety of bird-song fills the air with trills, tweets, warbles and calls …  assuming you can hear them over the boom of your heart or the angry chatter of the squirrels whose home you’ve invaded.

There are a couple of small water obstacles on this trail. For the most part they are relatively easy to cross. The largest of these streams crosses the trail just before you reach “the meadow”, a relatively large open area of moss covered rocks. Don’t stop at the first one. Push on just a little farther because the second one has a cute peek-a-boo view over the islands.



If you are in reasonably decent condition you should be at about the one-hour mark. I like this meadow because it makes for a good goal. You can be up and back and home in your ‘jammies within two hours. Now that you know you can reach it you can spend a few days of workout improving your time. Once you’ve mastered this portion of the trail you can add to your routine the “Find the Cave” target.

“Find the Cave” means movin’ onward and upward. First, congratulations! You’ve reached “the switchbacks”. Orcas Island’s novelty of “the cave” is about three-quarters of the way up a series of about eight switchbacks. Watch for a not-so-well defined path to your right. This path will take you up a steep, rocky incline to the mouth of two small vaults. One of these was recently walled closed because some “yahoo” managed to get stuck and our first-responders don’t need the exercise it takes to climb to make the rescue.

Unless you have a fascination for caves or want bragging rights the side-trip is hardly worth the effort to climb the steep slope up to reach the mouth of the cave. However, you have just added a good fifteen minutes of intense cardio to your program with this mile-stone. What’s another 90 seconds? At this point you can shoot to improve your time on your next hike or power on to Cold Springs or push on to a lesser goal of the Mountain Lake cross-trail.

Cold Springs

Cold Springs

Either goal means that you’ll soon finish the steep climb and the switchbacks. Take heart when you pass under the huge, moss-covered granite outcrop. You’ve reached the beginning of the end. You are almost finished with the steep climb and the looming cliff provides good motivation to continue moving.

One last increase of your heart-rate and you’ll reach the cross-trail to Mountain Lake. From here the trail rolls up and down as it passes through the swamps and pools around Cold Springs. There is a shelter a few dozen feet beyond the springs where you can take a long breather or perhaps have a snack.

If you absolutely must climb the whole mountain. And that’s not a bad goal. Continue along the trail through the parking lot and across Mount Constitution road. The trail dead-ends at the Little Summit trail. Turn left at this junction. It is only a short mile and about 300 feet of incline to reach the summit.

The trail passes Summit Lake on your left before reaching the last of your increase-your-heart-rate climbs. Have faith and push-on because you are almost there! In less than one-half of a mile you’ll reach the tiny, little cabin housing the Friends of Moran gift shop. Stop in for an energy bar to much on while you drink in that breath-taking view from the top of our famous tower. Or if you are ready to buy your own mountain or view, call me at T Williams Realty and we’ll go find you your own mountain.

This is what I call a reward!

This is what I call a reward!

A side note. If you find no desire to climb UP the mountain, you can buddy-up with someone. Leave a car at Cascade Lake, drive up to the parking lot at Cold Springs and walk down the mountain. I promise I won’t call you a wimp…at least not to your face;)

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Winter Football On Orcas

Kelly Koral, our Land Use Consultant, Property Manager and #12 FAN

Kelly Koral, our newest #12 FAN

By Kelly Koral

Winters can be long and gray but as Sandi Friel posted a bit ago, we get our sunshine as well. I truly enjoy all seasons here but winter is near and dear to me. That’s when I can work on my quilts without feeling guilty about yard work. I can spend hours in the kitchen cooking comfort food without overheating the house. And best of all……. FOOTBALL!!

I told WH (that’s Wonderful Husband) just the other day that I will actually be a bit  sad to see warmer, sunnier weather come along because it will mean football is over for another season.

This year not only on Orcas but the entire Northwest is absolutely besotted with the Seahawks. Everywhere you go on island the green and blue is flying. Windows are painted, flags are waving and almost every email is signed with “Go Hawks!”

This year not only on Orcas but the entire Northwest is absolutely besotted with the Seahawks. Everywhere you go on island the green and blue is flying. Windows are painted, flags are waving and almost every email is signed with “Go Hawks!”

In our small community we always gather around each other for hard times and bad times.It is absolutely wonderful to come together for something that is so fun and exciting.


Kelly Koral and friends in Eastsound getting ready for the BIG game !!!!

Kelly Koral and friends in Eastsound getting ready for the BIG GAME !!!!This year not only on Orcas but the entire Northwest is absolutely besotted with the Seahawks. Everywhere you go on island the green and blue is flying. Windows are painted, flags are waving and almost every email is signed with “Go Hawks!”


Ada Sandwith, wearing her new, Teri-Williams-made Seahawks tutu!

Ada Sandwith, wearing her new, Teri-Williams-made Seahawks tutu!

Local color from "locals" on Orcas Island

Local color from “locals” on Orcas Island

Good food, game day fun and plenty of cold beer to cheer on the Seahawks!

Good food, game day fun and plenty of cold beer to cheer on the Seahawks!


Today all the channels are a buzz with football lore, old players telling stories, sharing memories, reliving that last winning play, checking out uniforms, trash talking the other team, mouth watering for those wings, looking for your old ball in the closet, setting out your blue and green tutu to make a fashion statement, face paint, calling all your rowdy friends……. and that is just what is happening in my living room! Game On!!!! Gotta go :)



Check out T Williams Realty Facebook page for all the before, during and after game stories and pictures.











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Garden Fresh Roasted Potatoes

122 Posted by Mandy Randolph

When I am not busy doing all things real estate at the T Williams Realty office, I enjoy my other career as an elementary school teacher. In my previous post I told you all about our great potato dig in the school garden. Well, just last week we finally enjoyed the fruits of our labor. All of the students at Orcas Island Elementary School helped to make and then eat some garden fresh roasted potatoes!


Our yummy garden fresh roasted potatoes- just look at all those colors!

The potatoes were stored just the way they like; cool, dark, and dirty. They spent the past three months stored in cardboard boxes and covered with shade cloth in a rodent free, unheated garage. When we opened the boxes they were just as firm and glorious as the day we picked them.


Kindergarten students digging up the potatoes in the school garden last fall.

In the classroom the children are divided into working groups: Potato cutters, onion dicers, garlic peelers and mincers, and the rosemary choppers. Yes, all of the groups will be using knives. Children and knives? At school? Yes! The students are taught safe knife handling skills starting in Kindergarten. The rules are followed closely because the children know that using the knives is a privilege that must be taken seriously or they will lose it. Kids LOVE to be helpful! Sometimes we adults forget to give them the opportunities. Not in Farm to Classroom– all students are taught to use tools and expected to do their part!


Elementary students safely using knives in Farm to Classroom.

Once the cutting commences there are ooohs and ahhhs as the purple majesty and cranberry red potatoes are sliced open to discover that they are also colored on the inside!


The stunning Purple Majesty potato!


The Cranberry Red potato- red through out!

The onion group starts to complain of watering eyes. The peeled garlic (harvested from our garden) starts to fill the room with its distinct scent. The rosemary group is focused on cutting tiny pieces so it doesn’t “feel like we are eating the Christmas tree”.


Carefully dicing the onion.


Peeling and mincing garlic grown in our school garden.


Focused on chopping the rosemary into teeny-tiny pieces.

With the chopping complete the potatoes, garlic, onion, and rosemary are tossed together with olive oil and some salt.


A very colorful bowl of potatoes.

Off into the oven set at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Our garden fresh roasted potatoes are so delicious! The children loved eating them and you will too!

Farm to Classroom Recipe: Garden Fresh Roasted Potatoes


5 medium potatoes

1/3 cup Olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic

½ small onion

Rosemary sprigs

Salt *optional


Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes, dice onions and garlic

Mix potatoes in large bowl with olive oil, garlic, onion, rosemary

Spread out in one layer on a baking sheet

Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes

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