Monthly Archives: November 2014

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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Filed under Community, Recipes

My Happy Place

Beth Holmes, T. Williams Realty

Photo by John Curry

Do you like beer? Yeah, me too. That’s why after a day at the office or after a glorious, weekend hike on one of Orcas Island’s many trails, I like to grab mug #097 off the shelf and belly up to the counter at the Island Hoppin’ Brewery taproom. Talk about a place where everybody knows your name; 33 Hope Lane is the place, indeed. The staff is super friendly; always warm and inviting. And guess what? They’re open year round, everyday!

Orcas Island

Hand thrown mugs made on Orcas.

Stop by Tuesday nights for Ping-Pong tournaments or Thursday nights for Mug Club drawing and a chance to win some cold, hard cash! No time to sit down and enjoy a beer? No problem, just grab a growler to go. Easy as pie! The tasting room is kid-friendly, so you can enjoy one of several amazing brews while you play Jenga with your Izze-guzzling, pretzel and peanut devouring rug rat. Right here on Orcas Island, ahhh the luxury.

Look, there's the little, orange car!

Look, there’s the little, orange car!

If you see a bright orange car parked outside, and chances are you will—that’s me! So c’mon in and enjoy Nate, Becca and Jim’s Elwha Rock I.P.A. or one of their other delicious beers with me. Reason #129.5 to love living on beautiful Orcas Island!

Here are another 18 reasons to love living on beautiful Orcas Island. From time to time, each of these local establishments offers Island Hoppin’ Brewery’s beer on tap.

BarnacleDeer Harbor InnDoe Bay CaféLower TavernMadrona Bar and Grill, Mijita’sNew Leaf CaféOrcas HotelRosario, Roses, Inn at Ship BayWestsound CaféWest Beach ResortPortofino’sRandom HowseWhite Horse Pub and The Island Skillet

Brewmaster Nate creating the goodness.

Brewmaster Nate creating the goodness.

Beer selection currently on tap is listed on the board. I'll take a #1, thanks!

Beer selection currently on tap is listed on the board. I’ll take a #1, thanks!

If after visiting Island Hoppin’ Brewery you have found beer bliss and like me, you simply cannot go another minute without living nearby, give us a call at T. Williams Realty and we’ll get you squared away!

Cheers!

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The Great Potato Dig!

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Orcas Island School District is home to one fantastic school garden. You’ll find it right there next to the great maple tree in front of the big brick building that houses Orcas Island Elementary School.

The garden is maintained by the Elementary Children during a weekly class called Farm to Classroom. I have been teaching this class since its inception almost six years ago. It is a labor of love and a time of great discovery by all.

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Miss Mandy sharing a watermelon grown in the school garden with some eager students!

One of my favorite activities in the garden is the yearly “great potato dig” with the Kindergarteners. It is early October in the school garden and the potato patch is ready for picking! Enter 35 Kindergarten Students. First a quick lesson on potatoes. You wouldn’t believe how many 5 year olds don’t know that potatoes grow under the ground. You can imagine the delight on their faces once they realize that they get to dig for the buried treasure.

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Farm to Classroom students digging for potatoes!

The digging commences and soil starts flying from the children who dig with wild abandon. Some of the kids decide it is much tidier to pull the plant and pick the potatoes off the roots. Everyone is actively engaged.

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Beautiful red potatoes and the excitement of pulling out the entire plant with potatoes still attached at the roots!

Oh, the squeals of delight as they find their first potato! And then the variety of colors and potato shapes cause more shrieks of delight and several shouts of “Show me, show me!”

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Just look at our variety of potatoes. Red, purple, blue, yellow, and we even grew a heart shaped potato!

The potato patch was plentiful this year. We started a new patch in a well-seasoned compost pile. Added to that was a delivery of soil from San Juan Sanitation to establish a nice deep area of loose soil. We planted organic potato seeds of several varieties. What a fabulous combination. We will use these potatoes for cooking projects in the classroom this winter.

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“This one looks like a person!”

The children have put the garden “to bed” for the winter. The potato patch was gently tucked in with a cover crop of fava beans that will certainly provide another exciting opportunity for discovery next spring!

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Third and Fourth grade students prepare the potato patch for the fava bean cover crop planting.

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