’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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Filed under Adventure, Nature, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Community, Gardening, Nature, Recipes

The Shocking Truth: We Get Sun In Winter

Sandi FrielPosted by Sandi Friel

On Friday I had the pleasure of showing property all day to a couple who are thinking about retiring here. They scheduled their trip for January so they could experience the worst of our weather, fully expecting rain and gray clouds. Well, take a look at the photos I snapped throughout the day:

Deer Harbor Estuary January 2015

Taken at 9:00 am from the Deer Harbor bridge overlooking the estuary. Pair of Hooded Mergansers gliding by, with Turtlehead peeking up behind the treeline, catching morning rays.

Crescent Beach Orcas Island January 2015

View from Crescent Beach, taken midday on the way to lunch in Eastsound. Temp was a balmy 44 degrees.

Sunset at Cormorant Bay on Orcas Island January 2015

The day ends with an exquisite sunset over President Channel on the west coast of Orcas. Who could resist?

I’m not claiming that we get sun all winter long, but more than you might think. It’s part of the rain shadow effect created by the Olympic Mountains, which keeps the San Juan Islands drier than other parts of the pacific northwest. So if you’re thinking of an Orcas getaway or property scouting hunt, make sure to pack your sunglasses – even in January!

Looking to enjoy the simple life on beautiful Orcas Island?
Contact T Williams Realty – we’ll help you find your way home.

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Christmas Gift Aboard the Blue Pearl

Teri Williams, T WIlliams RealtyBy Teri Williams

Headed to Friday Harbor on Christmas Day.

Heading to Friday Harbor on Christmas Day.

Every other year Jay and I find it’s just the two of us on Christmas morning. We actually look forward to these holidays as much as the full-on grandma-and-pa celebrations with all the trimmings and train set running under the tree. This was our year and the Blue Pearl called for us to pull her away from the dock and breath the fresh salty air. Loaded down with a baked Coffelt ham, fixings for Debbie Woodruff’s garlic potatoes, my garden spaghetti squash, long johns and earmuffs, we pulled away from the dock at 3:00 on Christmas Day. Little did we know it would be a cruise to remember.

one sailboat

We see only one other sailboat on the way, plus four powerboats.

A half-hour under way it dawned on me – we are going to lose daylight! Probably a good time to ask Jay what is on his mind for the night. We usually tie up to a dock this time of the year as it’s warmer, you sleep better and wake up where you left her the night before. Windless, blue sky scattered with white clouds and sun on our face, we arrive at the Port of Friday Harbor at 4:08. Not bad, very calm, saw four powerboats and one sailor.

On the foggy, cold morning after Christmas, the Blue Pearl heads north to Roche Harbor. No wind again (Jay says we really have a power boat). No sign of another adventurous sailor, we cross paths with Washington State Ferry headed to Vancouver and the Pintail barge.

crabs in crab pot

We bring up 16 crabs in our pot, three keepers.

Arriving into Roche Harbor at 2:44, we dropped two crab pots and cruised the harbor (Laurie and Eric say it should only take 30 minutes and fresh chicken). Half an hour later we had 16 crabs in one pot, three keepers. Tie to dock at 4:11. Ready for warmth and a hot toddy.

festive lights in Roche Harbor

Festive lights decorate the dock in Roche Harbor.

Crab on ice, we head to Roche restaurant, all lit with festive lights and music of the season. It really does feel like Christmas!

A lazy morning turns into a “get your butt in gear, we need to go with the currents and get back to Orcas!” It was very windy with dark clouds as we motored through Spieden Channel. Nobody was out except the Coast Guard and a few fisherman. Throughout the trip, I kept saying to Jay, “wouldn’t it be a wonderful gift to see whales?”

Just then, off the north end of Jones we see what looks to be a porpoise, but turns out to be a mother and baby whale swimming. A few air blows of spray in the air and our hearts were racing. I run to get my iPhone and push the video button. No matter how many times or how many of these beautiful mammals you see it is always very exciting and memorable. So much so, you better memorize it in your soul because if you are like me, all you get on the video is sky and your feet with a lot of vocals that sound like “oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!” We must have been one of the first to see the new baby orca, Calf J50. We followed for a bit, but they were headed north and we would have had to buck the current, so turn around we did.

new baby orca

We must have been among the first to see the new orca calf.
(From Yahoo News, photo by Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research)

It was a memorable Christmas indeed and a successful sailing on the Blue Pearl…. ahh, I mean motoring. No matter, the saying goes, there is nothing better than messing around on a boat, especially when you do it on Christmas, eating crab, dodging ferries and being one with the whales.

Want to learn more about the new baby whale? Here are two articles you might enjoy:

Orcas Issues: Hey Girl, Who’s Yo Mama?
Yahoo News: Newborn killer whale a good sign for imperiled pod



Filed under Adventure, Boating, Nature

Happy New Year

By Beth HolmesBeth Holmes, T. Williams Realty

Breathe deep in 2015.

There are so many mental and physical benefits to deep, intentional breathing yet we forget. At any given moment, stop and notice your breath. Likely, you’ll catch yourself taking short, shallow breaths or maybe holding your breath; happens to me all the time. Something as simple as one deep inhale makes such a profound difference for me and I just wanted to share.

Be excellent to everyone and don’t forget to breathe.



Georgia practicing breath focus

Georgia practicing breath focus



Filed under Community

’round the Bend

Roxy Marck, GRI

Roxy Marck, GRI


’round the Bend

  Twin Lakes Loop

       by Roxy Marck

Are you ready for a squishy, adventurous hike? Today I take you   along a trail desperately in need of a sugar daddy, the Twin Lakes loop.

Sunrise at Mountain Lake

This hike begins at the Mountain Lake boat launch. We travel north, clockwise around that lake. A level trail gives us a nice and easy warm-up before we make the short climb up to Twin Lakes. At the northern end, after hiking down a moderate incline and crossing a small wood bridge we see the sign directing us left up the hill.

This shady, sometimes gloomy part of the park is a mushroom hunter’s paradise. During the season a wide variety of fungi festoon the edge of the trail, the logs and the trees. I cannot (under penalty of getting no more) tell you where the edibles grow so please take only photos.


The trail follows a small stream lined with tall cedar trees until, about half way up the hill, the cedars give way to alders. This time of year all have shed their leaves leaving a light, open area. Tall marsh grass hide the pools and ponds hosting the source of that skunk-like odor, the marginally edible skunk-cabbage. Exiting this microenvironment the trail will become a little more steep as we pass through a forest of fir, cedar and hemlock before reaching “the twins” and the intersection of several trails.

At this intersection we have several options. We could turn left to climb up to the top of Mount Constitution, an aerobic climb of about 1289 feet. Or we could turn right following the sign to Mount Pickett for a 740 foot climb. Or we can travel a figure-eight around the lakes. Or we could go jump in a lake.

Today we’ll do the figure-eight. A coin toss sends us counter-clockwise around the big twin. Head to the right as if going to Mount Pickett. Cross the small bridge and continue a short distance to reach the turn-off to Mount Pickett.

Big Twin

Big Twin

Here’s where things start to get a little tricky. First we need to traverse the small gully directly in front of us. The original trail around the big twin is visible on the left as is the lake. If you follow this trail you’ll quickly find yourself facing a hole the size of a small foreign car. Look carefully to see a small, barely visible trace climbing up the knoll almost directly ahead. This detour becomes a little hard to follow just before it meets up with the main trail.

Once back onto the main trail we travel only a few dozen yards DSC_0028before coming to a fallen tree so massive Paul Bunyan would have found it a challenge. A shout out THANK YOU to the volunteers who managed to cut-out a small section so that skinny or small people can get through. Everyone else will have to turn sideways, suck in the gut and push a little.

At this point the trail becomes more difficult to follow. It climbs a steep set of “stairs” and travels along the mossy face of the rocky outcrop  before hitting the first of several water obstacles. Run-off streams pose a small challenge unless, like me, you hike the trail after a serious rain. Crossing successful! New boots waterproof! Onward!

One of many small streams

One of many small streams

Around the back side of the big twin you may notice tall white stakes marking the boundary of the park. The trail actually exits the park and travels through a day camp for Camp Orkila at this point. It’s my guess that the tread of small feet are the reason why this portion of the trail becomes more well-defined although that big fallen cedar across the trail does pose a bit of challenge.

Having completed our journey around the big twin we find ourselves in familiar territory, the cross trail to the top of the mountain. It is tempting to skip the little twin and head back down the hill but a stubborn desire to do an eight and not a zero sends us left over the bridge toward the Mount Pickett trail. This time we veer right after the up and down of the gully to follow the trail clockwise around the little twin.

Evil Twin

Evil Twin

The beginning of this trail is gorgeous with a peaceful view of the lake and a nice big log inviting you for a short sit-down. Deceiver!  The little twin is the evil twin! Just so you know.

About a third of the way around little twin you hit the first of several bridges which appear to be older than light. Uneven, slippery and with gapping holes they invite a twisted ankle or short step into chilly water. Then you hit the squishy part of the trail.

Twin Lakes reside in a marshy saddle between Mount Constitution and Mount Pickett. I made this hike after a period of heavy rain and quickly wished I brought my scuba gear because the trail was under water. A little “off-roading”, a deer skeleton or two and a balancing act along a log or three takes us the final distance around the little twin to the gully and cross-trail.

Orcas Island Message Board

Orcas Island Message Board

Turn left for a third trip over the wooden bridge and left again to head down the hill to Mountain Lake. When you reach the lake check your time. If you have an hour turn left to hike the east side of the lake. You’ll have a teeny, tiny 250 foot elevation gain up a series of switchbacks before you reach the “message board”. There you can check the most recent post and make a new one.

A right turn when you reach Mountain Lake will take you back to the boat launch. Either way the trail will become level near the end so that you’ll have a nice “cool down” walk as you head back to your car. Now that we are back safe and sound would someone please adopt this poor relation, the Twin Lakes loop, and give it some luv! Or if you are ready to adopt Orcas as home, call us at T Willliams Realty. We’ll help you find a lake to call your own.

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Filed under Adventure, Nature

On Raising Island Children

IMG_1383IMG_3330_bwBy Marlis K. Sandwith

Last week, our family traveled to my high school sophomore son’s debate tournament in Tacoma from our home on Orcas Island.  As I am packing, my seven-year-old says with gusto, “ I just love going down to the States!”  And as we are driving down Interstate 5, my four-year-old says “I’ve never seen this island before!”  Such are the lives of island children, for whom going “off-island” is a special treat, a visit to a place of Untold Wonders, and sometimes quite an endeavor, depending on how many errands we are trying to schedule along with the main event of our trip.

For most, raising an island teen (or even pre-teen) means a LOT of off-IMG_0590island trips, as they travel about half the time for sports and activities, often making for a whole-day affair, leaving on the “red-eye” and returning on the “late ferry.” For us, it has become such a part of our lives, I forget it is not a reality for most parents in our country, much less the world. Though there are times I wish I could click my heels together three times and arrive home instantaneously, I have come to enjoy these trips very much. There is much camaraderie (and often food) shared amongst both parents and kids, and the ferry is a place of coming together after wins and losses alike.  

But ferry travel is only one part of an island childhood. The biggest part, and the reason my family lives here, is this archipelago of islands itself—the San Juans, and its inhabitants. They provide such unique simplicity and richness at the same time. Here is a list of just some of what it means to have grown up an Island Kid:

  • Beaches, beaches, beaches. They outnumber parks, and a driftwood playground will entertain for hours upon hours.


    Low tide in Eastsound reveals a bridge, called a “tombolo” on which to walk to Indian Island.

  • Nature is King for island kids. But in a county where gravel driveways outnumber paved ones, a patch of cement can be a valuable commodity for bike riding, skateboarding and ball play. 
  • Boating is part of daily life for some. For those who live on outer, non-ferry-served islands, they are more important than cars.
  • Finding (and making up) fun things to do in a place with less structured activity centers.
  • On Orcas, the [newly revived and fabulous] movie theater usually plays one movie at a time, and only on weekends, so it is a special event indeed.
  • Life is very seasonal. Shops and restaurants adjust their hours to the season, many of them even closing for a few months in the winter. Farmers Markets are the hub of much social life and events.
  • Healthy (and delicious) school lunch programs are the norm in the San Juan Islands, with many schools relying on local farms and even school-run gardens for a large portion of their produce and meats.


    Moran State Park lives in the heart of every child who grows up on Orcas Island.

  • The number of kids who learn to drive early is surprising to some. Many learn from helping on their own or local farms, especially those who help with haying season, driving the hay trucks.
  • Island childhood is definitely an experience of being watched after and known (sometimes to the chagrin of the kids). Just about everywhere they go, there is someone who knows them.
  • Celebrations around bonfires, even in fall and winter, are common and enjoyed by many.
  • Pond life. Lake Days. Hot summer days mean finding and knowing the best swimming holes.


    Camp Orkila generously provides programming beyond their summer camp season to the local community and school children.

  • Summer jobs often come earlier for island kids than mainland kids, and since they are not competing with a huge college student population, they have a lot less competition in hiring.
  • The islands are full of some of the most interesting people you’ll meet, often well-traveled, highly experienced in their careers, artistic—many of whom give countless hours of their time and expertise to all sorts of programming and education for island kids.
  • All sorts of animals—whales, porpoise, fish, herons, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, otters, rabbits, a very wide range of farm animals (island kids are avid 4-H’ers), deer, deer and more deer—these are only a mere fraction of the animals island kids encounter in their daily lives.
  • Darvill’s Bookstore. The children’s section has the best view in town. Period.

    The view from Darvill’s children’s section.

    These are only a few aspects of a childhood in the San Juan Islands. I was lucky enough to spend the second half of my childhood on San Juan Island. Now I am lucky enough to raise my own three children on Orcas Island. If you are curious about relocating your family to the San Juan Islands, I would love to talk with you. My “other” career was in education, so I love to talk schools as well. We have so many great ones from which to choose, including several one-room schoolhouses (maybe my next blog post?).

    Give me a call anytime at (360) 298-1375, or email: marlis@twilliamsrealty.com

    Happy holidays and best wishes for the coming year!


Filed under Community, Family Life, Nature

Fall and Winter on Orcas – What’s to love about it?

Sandi Friel - Orcas Island Real Estate brokerBy Sandi Friel

Now that I’ve recovered from my brief mourning over the end of summer, I’ve fully embraced the change in seasons. Just like the moss and licorice ferns burst back into life at the first rains, I find the slower pace renews me and allows me to grow inwardly.

Sandi Friel's moss terrarium

One of my mini moss creations

This is a great time of year for inside projects and creativity, and one of my hobbies is creating moss terrariums. It combines my love of miniatures, moss and designing with CTnature. And it lets me experience a little bit of the outdoors, inside?

There are plenty of other reasons to love this time of year, too. Here’s a list of a 10 that come to mind:

  1. The departure of tourists and part-timers creates a strong camaraderie among year-round islanders. It’s like being a part of an exclusive club and gives a comforting “we’re all in this together” feeling.
  2. Yes the days are shorter, but the nights are longer. If you’re an avid reader and/or Netflix movie hound, this is the time of year you can indulge yourself without guilt.
  3. I’m loath to leave the island when the weather is picture-perfect, but December gives me a great reason to visit mom in Florida.
  4. Soups, stews and other comfort food. I’m trying a new recipe each week.
  5. Planning and prioritizing for next year helps me gain clarity and focus.
  6. Flannel sheets.
  7. Cozy fires in the fireplace.
  8. Hot apple cider, dusted with nutmeg and stirred with a cinnamon stick.
  9. Reconnecting with people who’ve been on your mind.
  10. The glow of indoor colored lights strung around a gray window scene.

What we experience on Orcas in the quiet season is much like the Danish concept of hygge: a sense of comfort, camaraderie, warmth, coziness, well-being and connectedness. It’s nesting at its best, and one of the simple pleasures of living on a small island.

Looking to enjoy the simple life on beautiful Orcas Island?
Contact T Williams Realty – we’ll help you find your way home.

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So Very Thankful

Teri Williams, T WIlliams RealtyBy Teri Williams

I started to write about how thankful I am for my island community, Orcas farmers, my work, friendships old and new, family, the summer of 2014, grandchildren, my cat’s unconditional love and my health.

But, that is not what I am going to share with you.

Through this exercise, I realized I would not have my life without my husband’s never-ending support. He came home from work to young step sons and sat at the dinner table and passed out love and shared his strengths, resulting in grown loving sons who look up to him and pass along to their children what they learned from this man.

Teri Williams and jay Fowler

Just yesterday, Jay was in the office helping us put a new coat of paint on the walls. This man does not quit!

I wake up each morning to coffee, the garbage taken out and a little note telling me how he will think of me and can’t wait to come home, even though he may take the brunt of the day from me when he returns. The support from this man I have never known anywhere else in my life and I would not have all the things in my life I am grateful for without it.

Thank you, Jay Fowler, for everything, and cheers to another Thanksgiving together!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and I hope you are able to get together with loved ones and friends on this day of thanks. Why not warm your hearts with the warmth of home cooking, and gather around a pot of hot soup — I offer one of my favorites: Cheddar-Ale Soup.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Cheddar-Ale Soup

4 thick cut Coffelt Farm bacon slices, cut into narrow strips
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 cup pale ale
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups each, whole milk and vegetable broth
1-¼ lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt to taste

In a 4-5 quart soup pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towel, save for garnish. Reduce heat to medium; add olive oil and butter, melt. Add onion, carrot and celery; cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add flour; cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes. Add ale; cook stirring constantly 2-3 minutes. Add Worcestershire, milk and broth; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Puree in food processor until smooth. Set over low-medium heat. Add cheese gradually, stirring constantly. Do not boil, watch for scorching. Season with salt to taste. Top with bacon.

Serve with toasted baguette slices. Can be made ahead of time. Re-heat slowly, using a whip to smooth out lumps.


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