Monthly Archives: March 2012

It’s Mating Season for Mosses Too

Posted by Sandi

We’re starting to see welcome signs of Spring here on Orcas. Days are longer, trees are budding and blooming, birds are singing. And if you’re a moss enthusiast, there’s a whole world of miniature lovemaking taking place.

Moss sporophytes on Orcas Island

After the sperm fertilizes the egg, a sporophyte emerges. The tip is a capsule filled with spores which will disperse to create new colonies.

Like many plants, mosses reproduce both sexually and asexually. Unlike seed plants, though, mosses have flagellated sperm that must swim to fertilize an egg. That’s one reason they can only survive in moist environments. In early spring, raindrops splash sperm from male plants to female plants. The sperm follow a trail of enticing chemicals in a film of water down a love canal to the egg chamber and bingo, they form a zygote. This is fascinating to me!

Hidden moss sporophytes

Some sporophytes are less conspicuous

Mosses are the oldest plants on land, evolving from algae in the sea that crept onto barren rock. In fact we have mosses to thank for all life that followed: it is their colonization and decay that formed the first organic material and created a hospitable environment for subsequent plants and critters to emerge.

Moss covered rocks on Orcas Island

Moss is a major part of our island landscape

Mosses are both delicate and hardy; they’ve survived ice ages and several mass extinctions. They’re  ecologically important and sensually wonderful in so many ways, helping to create the serene green lushness the Northwest is famous for. They lie dormant during our summer drought and faithfully spring back to life when the rains return. Being surrounded by a soft green blanket of moss instead of traffic and pavement is just one more reason I love living on Orcas Island. Let the mating begin!

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 Nature

Rehearsal Dinner

Posted by Teri

Did someone say “rehearsal dinner”?

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to cook and feed people, so when my son asked me if we would like to do the rehearsal dinner for his upcoming wedding here on Orcas, I jumped at the chance! He reminded me that this was not going to be a traditional wedding. Good, I said because this was not going to be a traditional rehearsal dinner.  My invites read something like this- “Welcome to Orcas………Island Style. We begin with a bonfire; add good food, family and friends. What to Bring: warm clothes/outdoor shoes”. Then I reminded my son to inform our guests of the weather here at the end March!

Next…menu planning. Welcoming guests to Orcas for the first time or anytime is meaningful to me and has to include as much of what we offer here as possible.

I called Becca Gray, Island Hoppin Beer,  and ordered up one of their hoppy beers. My son and his bride live in Portland where IPA’s are very popular. City brewing has nothing over Orcas brewing!

Next I contacted Rick Hughes, Ray’s Pharmacy (more than your mainland Rite Aid) and ordered wine. Jay gave me an organic red for Christmas that seemed to swallow easily, Green Truck, .  Rick recommended a white also and the beverages were checked off the list!

A call to my favorite oyster business, Judd Cove Oysters, check them out at  Bill and Char were more than happy to provide me with more than enough to satisfy any “crassostrea gigas”  craving. Add some garlic butter and parmesan and we may need to leave more time to rest our tummy before the main dish is served.

King Salmon

King Salmon

My last order was placed with Troller Point Fisheries, .  Mark and Diana Hoffman, Orcas locals, who have found their passion in fishing. The Kings are on their way as I write.Salmon Recipe:

Place 1 large bay leaf on a square piece of parchment paper. Top with thick slice of

beefsteak tomato; add several slices of red onion. Place room temperature piece of salmon (one portion) on top of the pile. Mix 2

Parchment Salmon Main Dish

Parchment Salmon Main Dish

Tbsp of mayonnaise and tsp of dill together and spread on top of salmon. Fold and close up the parchment paper. Place package on a cookie sheet and place in a 300 degree oven. Depending on thickness of the fish, bake 20-25 minutes, just until fish is turned color and flakes apart. Do not over cook. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. The fish will continue to cook in the parchment pouch. Serve the pouch next to a Caesar salad. Lay several spears of cooked asparagus on top.

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

Tap Into Your Inner Child: Build a Fairy House!

Posted by Sandi

Recently while showing property I happened across a neat surprise: a fairy house built on an old stump at the end of someone’s driveway. Instant enchantment! I went back to take pictures when I had more time. I just love it and am starting to look at stumps around my property a bit differently. Let me know what you think!

Fairy House on Orcas Island

The most important feature of a fairy house is the door. This one has a roof overhang above, garnished with a bird's nest.

Entrance to the Fairy House

Closer inspection revealed that the fairy house was already inhabited. Look at the the cute candle above the bench!

Chimney detail on the fairy house

Around back I found a stacked stone chimney. Cool!

Back of the Fairy House

And then I found another surprise - a second bird's nest! Someone really had fun with this.

There are many fairy house enthusists – and not all are children. You’ll find books, websites and even YouTube videos on building fairyhouses. All you really need, though is an imagination and desire to have fun outdoors. So go ahead – release your inner child!

And if this inspires you to make one, send me your pictures and I’ll include in a future post!


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


Filed under Arts & Crafts, Community, Nature