Monthly Archives: October 2011

I Love Halloween!

Halloween on Orcas Island

The only day fashion matters on Orcas Island

Posted by Teri

I love Halloween on Orcas. After all the activity that takes place during the summer, Halloween reminds us we don’t have to wait for the holidays to celebrate and get dressed up!!

Halloween hayride in Eastsound, sponsored by Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce

Halloween hayride in Eastsound, sponsored by the Chamber

In true Orcas style, the community pulls together a successful event in Eastsound each year. Starting mid-afternoon, village businesses pass out treats to costumed kids of all sizes and styles.It might seem early in the day for goblins and ghouls, but it gives us empty-nesters a chance to gaze out the office window and remember when we too paraded down the sidewalks with tiny tots in tow.

Caramel apples for Orcas Historical Museum

Caramel apple treats for Orcas Hysterical Museum

This year the Orcas Historical Museum is doing something different: a re-enactment of the story of the Olga Bear, circa 1910. Orcas Center is lending costumes and community members will learn a few lines and become characters for one afternoon. Some of us are already characters!

Jay and I volunteered to make caramel apples for the museum event. I haven’t done this since my kids were young. I love caramel apples. We’ll see how many make it to the museum. ;0

Happy Halloween everyone!

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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Filed under Community

Spice It Up with Homemade Red Pepper Jelly

Posted by Teri

Red peppersOne of the simple pleasures of fall is canning the summer’s bounty — especially when you invite a girlfriend over to can along with you. Last week a friend and I had fun making Red Pepper Jelly — a recipe idea from Pacific Northwest: The Beautiful Cookbook by Kathy Casey

This versatile pepper jelly is a “must have” for your pantry. It’ll spice up an impromptu “happy hour”, add pizzazz to your Sunday Brunch or put a new twist on the same old entree (see chicken idea below.)

Canning on Orcas Island

Christina Bollinger, import from Lopez, family friend, blogger and connoisseur of fine food helped me can jelly.

Red Pepper Jelly

3 large red peppers, cored and seeded.

3 fresh Serrano (small hot red) chili peppers. Cored and seeded.

¾ cup white vinegar.

3 oz. (1 box powder) of liquid pectin.

3 ½ cup white sugar.

Cut the peppers and chilies into rough cut chunks and puree’ in a blender (approx 2 cups). Add vinegar, sugar and pectin and bring to a hard boil. Boil 20 minutes stirring constantly. Pour into 4 oz jam jars. Process 10 minutes in a water bath (cover jars with water 2” above jars and bring to boil before you start the clock.)

Serve with cheese and crackers. red pepper jelly


Serve with sour cream as a side to scrambled eggs.


Baked Chicken with Red Pepper Jelly
I got this idea from watching an Emeril Lagasse cooking show. Didn’t write recipe down, but remembered the gist of the dish.

Place chicken thighs and legs on a baking pan. Cut apple into 4 pieces (with skin), cut large chunks of yellow onion, and add both to baking pan. Dump jar of red pepper jelly on top of all ingredients and stir to coat all. May take 2 jars depending on size of your pan and amount of ingredients. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until chicken is done and apples and onions are to desired doneness. Serve with a green salad and rice. 


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

A Transplant Grows Native-Crazy

Posted by Sandi

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a native plant buff. When I moved from Florida to Orcas I was excited to start learning about the extraordinary native plants here in the Pacific Northwest. Our property is sloped and rocky, partially wooded, with moss and deer everywhere. So gardening with natives has turned out to be both practical and rewarding. An even bigger benefit, though, is conserving and promoting biodiversity. (Read this article to fully understand why this is so important.) I thought I’d share a few of my most-used resources and links:

Wallace W Hansen Garden Planner

This hand-illustrated guide is no longer on the Wallace H Hansen website, but I have a pdf copy I can share.

My hard-copy library includes the following:

  • Wild Plants of the San Juan Islands – Atkinson/Sharpe
  • Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest – Kruckeberg
  • Native Plants in the Coastal Garden – Pettinger/Costanzo
  • Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest – Link

I just had a fantastic onsite consultation this week with Michael Budnick and Laura Gibbons of Northwest Concepts. They are the go-to native plant landscapers in the San Juan Islands. I’m going to start implementing some of their ideas this fall and will post updates.

Got any favorite native plant resources? Please share!


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, Nature

Slideshow of Fall Color on Orcas Island

Posted by Sandi

Coming from Florida where it’s virtually one season year-round, I’m very attuned to (and appreciative of) the change of seasons here on Orcas. Spring and summer are wonderful, but Fall is my favorite.

In late September the pace slows and year-round residents reconnect after a busy summer. Days remain mild and light rains resurrect the mosses and replenish our aquifer. But I have to admit, it’s the eye candy that delights me most!

Here are a few of my favorite scenes (click on pictures to enlarge.) If you have any pics you’d like to share, I’d love to see them!

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


Filed under Community, Nature

Part Two: My Perfect Birthday Weekend – Boating in the San Juan Islands

Posted by Teri

(Continued from Part One)

Resident orca whales in the San Juan Islands

Birthday whales! What more could you ask for?

…I looked at the mouth of Friday Harbor to the north and saw a whale jump! I could hardly believe my eyes when the pod of resident orcas started towards us. A few swam to the west of Turn Island but soon came back and headed past our boat toward the deeper waters of the channel. The activity unfolding in front of our eyes took my breath away. If you’ve not witnessed these graceful animals frolic in the water you really need to put it on your bucket (or birthday) list! I told Jay these were birthday whales and a gift I’ll never forget.

Sunset at Parks Bay, San Juan Islands

A perfect ending to a perfect day...Life is good.

After the show, we crossed the channel to the protected waters of Shaw Island’s Parks Bay, one of my top spots for viewing the sunset. It has good bottom for anchoring and is surrounded by undeveloped land owned by UW. Although you can’t go ashore, a row around the bay is a treat. You might see raccoons harvesting oysters  or a blue heron patiently fishing in the shallows.

Sleep comes easy after a day on the water. Sunday morning we awoke refreshed enjoyed a leisurely breakfast – meals always taste better on a boat! We reviewed the currents and charted our course for motoring back to our slip at Bay Head. I like to head back early before the waves get sloppy and boat traffic heavy.

My birthday weekend was filled with love, laughter, good food, nature’s gifts and boating. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate another year of life in the San Juan Islands!   

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


Filed under Adventure, Boating, Nature