Monthly Archives: August 2011

Letter to Grandma

Posted by Teri

Dear Grandma,

I know what unconditional love feels like because you gave so much of yourself to me.

I could count on the flowers in the yard, the vegetables in the garden, kitties in the basement, hay in the barn, pie in the oven and swimming in the neighbor’s pond after the day’s chores.

You took me blackberry picking. Told me stories about my grandpa and how he logged the land and how these spots were the best for berry growing. I put every berry in my coffee can so I would have a full can by the time your can was full. You taught me to bang my cans together to scare away the bears. I was never afraid because I was with my grandma. 

There was always pie. I love pie. Today, when I make pies I think of you for many reasons. You shared memories, one being that syrup came in a round glass container, we now use as a pie dough roller. I have several and cannot pass one up at a second hand store. You gave me your pie plates so I could make pie and you shared your secret to making the best cherry pie (almond extract).

It was important to you to hold my babies and give me fearless advice on being a mother.

You taught me that making a crab salad was an art and that the right kind of lettuce mattered. Iceberg lettuce, boiled eggs, olives, celery, ripe tomatoes and Thousand Island dressing. I cannot eat crab salad without thinking of you.

You took me clam digging as a young girl. We slept in the back of the truck and cleaned clams for days.  I took you back to Ocean Shores not long ago and we feasted on clams and salmon. You won $400 in the casino that now sits along our clam digging beach, no campground in sight, but, oh the memories we dreamed about together that weekend.

You showed me the strength that generations of woman embodied before me and that I was part of something that mattered.

Thank you Grandma for all you have given me. Most importantly allowing me to see myself through your eyes. 

Lenora Alice Whitmore Carlson Larson

My Grandma

Lenora Alice Whitmore Carlson Larson
January 29, 1916 – August 19, 2011

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Take Your Garden to Work

Posted by Teri

Bountiful garden at T Williams Realty in Eastsound, Orcas IslandWhen I bought my corner commercial units in Eastsound three years ago, I got more than just prime office space: I gained an enviable street-front garden area.  Since I spend almost half my time in the office and my desk looks right out to this greenspace, I decided to make it my own. After the first season, I banished the landscaping service and some of the so-so shrubs in favor of a riot of color I could putter with.

Yarrow and lavender at T Williams Realty in Eastsound, Orcas IslandAt home my garden is mostly veggies, so at “work” I’ve chosen to indulge myself in flowers and fragrant herbs. I like to arrive early and snip here and there, bringing fresh cuttings inside the office for our centerpiece bouquet. On Saturdays you’ll often find me weeding and chatting with the passersby on their way to and fro the Farmers Market.

Fortuantely for my plant habit we have several nurseries on the island:

And when I’m on the mainland I love to lose myself at the amazing Christianson’s Nursery . Worth a day trip!!

Driftwood beach signs at T Williams Realty in Eastsound, Orcas IslandRecently I painted signs for a fun garden focal point. The directional driftwood arrows point to beaches on Orcas, some not so well known – so they should be a conversation starter.

I feel fortunate to be able to bring my hobby to the office. This garden, like every garden, is a labor of love and work in progress. Next year it might look completely different!

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


Filed under Gardening

Summer Strawberry Hand Pie

Posted by Teri

I found this recipe in an OPRAH magazine and had to rip it out to try when my strawberries were ripe. Even though this includes fresh fruit, it’s not a fat free, good-for-you recipe. BUT it’s yummy and the hand pies are small, so calorie count is tolerable (unless you are like my husband Jay and you enjoy 2 or 3.) 🙂

I doubled this recipe and put them in the freezer. I tried to make fresh, but had problems with filling running out onto baking sheet, and under-cooking. I had no run or doneness problems with the frozen pies. DO NOT over fill or under cook no matter how you prepare your pies to cook! Double makes approximately 18-20 pies. 

Strawberry hand pie made with Orcas Island strawberries

Mmmm....better make a double batch!

Single Recipe:

4 oz. cream cheese

1 stick butter, softened

¼ cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 cup flour, plus more for dusting

1/3 cup strawberry jam

¾ cup chopped strawberries

1 egg, beaten

1 ½ Tbsp raw (turbinado) sugar

  1. In a food processor (or with a hand mixer) mix cream cheese, butter, cream, granulated sugar and salt until smooth. Add flour and mix until a sticky dough forms. Cover dough snugly in plastic wrap; chill until firm, 2 to 3 hours. You can keep over night.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working on a floured surface, roll out half the dough until very thin. Using a bowl or glass, cut out 4-1/2” circles.
  3. Drop about 2 tsp of jam onto one side of each circle and top with 1 Tbsp of strawberries. Brush outer edge of circle with egg, then fold over to make half moons. Press edges together firmly and seal with the tines of a fork. Place on a parchment paper lined sheet tray and cut 3 small slits in each top. Brush with egg, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes.

Got a favorite strawberry receipe? Please share it soon — I’ve got berries to use!!


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


Filed under Recipes

Island Watercolors

Posted by Teri

Indian Island watercolor by Debi Madan, Orcas Island WAMy post on Indian Island  the other day reminded me of a notecard I have with a watercolor painted by my good friend Debi Madan. I’ve always admired her talent, and earlier this year she agreed to give me lessons! On Fridays we get together at various inspirational locations around Orcas – Crescent Beach, Crow Valley, my garden – and as she shows me the technical aspect of painting, I try to unleash my creative side. Maybe someday I’ll feel confident enough to post one of my creations. 🙂 Until then, look for more of Debi’s inspiring art in future posts!

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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