Tag Archives: Orcas Island Washington

There’s No Place Like Home

I have been dreaming all winter long of sailing off into the sunset down south in Bahamian waters. Good friends, clear-warm water and a life style to relax in and warm my soul. However, to my surprise, I found myself feeling empty. I could not put my finger on it until I was on the ferry returning to Orcas and rounded the corner at Shaw Island; the Orcas ferry landing came into sight. I missed my island life!

I’ve always had a “welcome home” feeling when getting back on island from a short trip to the mainland, but this trip took me away for three weeks. Returning, I found myself deep in amazement of life right here on this island. Life gets too busy. I had not taken the time to slow down, look around and be thankful. I had been taking my island life for granted, and in fact, had some angst about life not fulfilling my every desire. It was always right in front of me………. If I had just slowed down to look around and see how my life was filled with treasure. I did not have to sail so far away to find what was in my own back yard. Growing my own fresh food, the land around me filled with nature and family memories, work and friendships that challenge and fulfill my soul. I am so glad to be back home and will never again go looking outside my own backyard searching for my heart’s smile. Enjoy today, Teri

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Filed under Art, Arts & Crafts, Boating, Community, Family Life, Gardening, Nature, Uncategorized

Birdfest on Orcas

teri_cropBy Teri Williams

Spring is my favorite time of the year for so many reasons.

I’m back in my garden, seeds are sprouting, flowers are blooming, and birds are nesting and singing.

From hummingbirds zipping around my garden to eagles nesting across the valley, we have a huge variety of birds to appreciate.

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Get your birding book out and enjoy learning about these little chirpers! This photo was found Googling birds in the San Juan Islands.

And Orcas celebrates our feathered friends with a little help from the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the annual Birdfest, a celebration of birds! This year, the Orcas Island Birdfest runs for four days: Thursday, April 30 through Sunday, May 2.

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Sharp Shined Hawk

 

The schedule is packed with bird walks and nature tours, workshops, a fine art exhibition and scientific symposium, all focusing on the wonder of birds and grassroots solutions for maintaining healthy populations.

Even if you are not a “birder,” this is an unforgettable experience showcasing the natural splendor of the San Juan Islands.

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Hooded Mergansers at Otter’s Pond, ready to have ducklings in a month.

Grab your binoculars, pack your Birding in the San Juan Islands by Mark G. Lewis, put your hiking boots on and get ready for some local color and sound.

Wood peckers are easy to spot

Pileated woodpeckers are easy to spot.

Visit www.otterspond.com for a list of birds you can see on Orcas Island.

For information about the 2015 Birdfest and a complete calendar of events, visit  OrcasIslandBirdFest.com.

Happy Birding!

 

 

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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.

Cheers,

Beth

Georgia practicing breath focus

Georgia practicing breath focus

 

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Feathered Friends have Flocks of Fans on Orcas Island

Posted by Sandi

And I’m not talking about Seahawks fans – although there are plenty of those too.

Orcas Island – and the rest of the San Juan Islands – is home to many bird enthusiasts. There are guided bird walks, Frank Richardson Wildfowl Preserve, and of course we’re a migratory stop on the Pacific Flyway. But I recently found another bird-loving contingent here.

Charlie the African Grey Parrot on Orcas Island

Charlie

About 10 days before Christmas, my neighbor passed away leaving behind ‘Charlie,’ her beloved thirty-something Congo African Grey Parrot. I volunteered to find Charlie a new forever home.

First stop was the Orcas Animal Protection Society  where I was given names of several local parrot owners/experts to contact. All of these ladies gave me excellent info on what criteria to look for in Charlie’s new home. One offered to be foster mom until we found the perfect landing place.

Next I joined the Orcas Island Pets group on Facebook. This interactive page is where you can ask for advice, trade pet supplies, post lost and found pets, and rehome  or adopt a pet.

Charlie the Parrot in his new home on Orcas Island

Charlie gets a new home for Christmas

The grand slam, though, came when I posted on two online Yahoo groups: “Deer Harbor Community Bulletin Board”  and “Westsound Neighbor-to-Neighbor”. I was flooded with emails, phone calls and offers to help. That’s when I found the perfect home for Charlie: Ed and Amy Masters.

Ed and Amy and their two teenage sons live on a 10-acre farm near Westsound. They own Orcas Island Shuttle (our local rental car company) and work from home, so Charlie will have constant attention and activity. Amy has experience with parrots and a close friend that raises parrots. She always wanted an African Grey. They’re prepared to provide a loving home to Charlie for the next 30+ years.

Charlie the Parrot on Orcas Island

Charlie flies to his new mom during Christmas dinner

We delivered Charlie a few days before Christmas to their beautiful 3-story A-frame home, overlooking a large pond with their pet ducks and geese. They also have horses and chickens.

Charlie has now integrated well into the family and they all LOVE him! Each day he responds with revealing more of his intuitive personality and extensive vocabulary. On Christmas Eve, they allowed him to perch outside his cage for the first time, and during dinner he flew to Amy and perched on her arm for the duration of the family meal.

I’m so thrilled at the happy ending to this story. And it was made possible through the amazing community network of caring people we have here on Orcas Island. Thanks Orcas!

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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What’s Up, SeaDoc?

Posted by Sandi

We’re fortunate to have many conservation-oriented organizations in the San Juan Islands dedicated to understanding, preserving and restoring our ecosystems. One of the most important is the SeaDoc Society, based on Orcas Island.

The SeaDoc Society, Orcas IslandSeaDoc sponsors a very cool Marine Science Lecture Series on Orcas in the fall/winter. I’ve been to many of these and highly recommend them. Get there early as they’re usually packed! It starts with cookies and refreshments, followed by a slide presentation with a scientist, then Q&A. It’s a fun educational event for all ages. Click here for the schedule. The next one is December 11th and focuses on potential local impacts of Climate Change.

SeaDoc is now posting videos of these informative presentations on their website. The October lecture was fascinating and one well worth watching: Indirect Effects of Humans on Native Species and Ecosystems.

Black-Tailed Deer on Orcas Island

Foxglove and Daisies, both non-natives, thrive here because they’re not on the deer diet.

The biggest takeaway for me was that our deer population, which is 10 times larger than it was when we had apex predators on the island, is responsible for large declines in native plant variety and therefore songbirds — two of my loves. Professor Peter Arcese, the lecturer from University of British Columbia, says responsible stewardship is the only way to reduce the deer population so that the ecosystem can begin to recover.

Stewardship is a nice word for hunting, which I’ve been adamantly opposed to. However, this lecture really opened my eyes as to the impact of letting the deer population run wild. Our current hunting law, though, permits up to two deer to be “taken” per hunter per year. Venison anyone?

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Prawns and Fettuccini

Posted by Teri

This is soooo easy, fresh and light. A dish that is just right for a summer casual patio dinner. I pulled the recipe out of a magazine (Rachel Ray’s, Whole Living, Light Cooking or Martha) Not sure which one. I have since lost the recipe so I create by memory… that’s my style. I do not like to follow directions.

Serves two people with a little left for Jay’s next day lunch.

Peel a hand full (10) prawns, set aside.

Local prawns

Local prawns

½ package of fettuccini. Place pasta in boiling pot of water while you make sauce below. Cook fettuccini to al dente. I have used many styles, rice, whole wheat, egg noodle. Any style you choose will be great with this light sauce.

Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil to a skillet (I have the biggest collect of cast iron skillets in San Juan County!)

Add chopped or grated garlic and sauté, careful not to burn.

Add ½ c. white wine and bring to a simmer.

Turn heat to low, add ½ c. Crème Fraiche and mix well. I have added more if my noodles seemed too much and needing more love.

Add 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice.

Add prawns and cook 2-3 minutes, just until they turn pink.

Add cook pasta and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

Light, fresh sauce adds just the right touch to local seafood

Light, fresh sauce adds just the right touch to local seafood

Serve in bowls with freshly grated parmesan cheese, a hint of grated lemon peel and chopped chives.

I serve this with a side green salad. Top with a splash of color with sliced green grapes and strawberries.

Crudités are a great side as well

I recommend serving around a fire on the patio with a great bottle of wine-bonus= ROMANCE!!

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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A Breakfast to Remember

Posted by Teri

Otter's Pond

Otter’s Pond

I was honored to receive an invitation to breakfast from Carl and Sue Silvernail, owners of Otters Pond Bed and Breakfast. The date was the Friday before Easter week-end and the B&B was booked for the holiday. However, Carl and Sue found time to share their home located on a tranquil forest-wetland, Otter’s Pond, with a few of us locals.I met Carl and Sue 15 years ago when they were purchasing this home and needed a permit for the Bed and Breakfast. Permit in hand and the purchase behind them, they set out to create a romantic, cozy, nature based island getaway where people will feel welcome and relaxed.The home sits on the edge of Otters Pond where a variety of wildlife swim, swoop and waddle. I’m saying this pond is alive! I watched the newly arrived hummingbirds sip sweet nectar adjacent to several bird feeders loaded up with bird seed. The amount of bird seed Carl and Sue need on hand was shocking, but the affect is something all visitors will remember

Melt in your mouth sorbet

Melt in your mouth sorbet

I arrived that morning to find Carl and Sue busy in the kitchen creating tasty, colorful courses soon to put smiles on their guest’s face. First course was a melt in your mouth guava sorbet. Presentation is everything and each course was a feast to the eye before your taste buds wanted more. Spiced baked pears followed with a very simple presentation, yet also a promise to the palette. Just when I thought it could not go on, a mini dutch apple pancake was served with lemon.

I found myself asking for the recipe and Sue handed me a recipe book show casing her favorite recipes, Featherbed Eggs and Other Favorite Recipes.  I served my husband dutch apple pancakes for Easter!!!

Taking time to share this special place with a few of us locals that morning before a busy week-end tells you the business plan for the B&B is about people and comes from the heart. Give Carl and Sue and call 1-888-893-9680 or check out their website www.otterspond.com and tell them Teri sent you 🙂

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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by | May 15, 2012 · 4:43 pm

Sweet Honey 

I have never thought about finding a honey comb in our local woods. Well now I am thinking and looking.

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Found Honey Comb

Jay was at the local neighborhood “club house” and saw a honey comb sitting on the counter. One of the guys had found it out in the woods and brought it in.Just another show and tell at the end of the day where a few beers are enjoyed and stories of the day’s goings on echo around the room. But, nobody was getting too excited about the bee’s work.

Jay can’t think of anything going to waste, and more importantly, he is always looking for a “find” to gift his bride-me!

The honey comb came home and placed in a plastic freezer bag, small hole cut in the corner and the project was hung by the wood stove with great hope of something sticky and sweet. I was feeling a bit like Winnie the Pooh!!

Thoughts of Winnie the Pooh in my head

Thoughts of Winnie the Pooh in my head

We are now enjoying the sweetest of treats and dreaming of more edible finds in the woods.A great website for honey: www.honey.com

Honey-Lemon Jelly

Makes 2 pints

  • 5 to 6      lemons
  • 2-1/2 cups      honey
  • 1 package (3      oz.) liquid pectin

Grate rind from lemons to measure 4 teaspoons; set aside. Squeeze juice from lemons to measure 3/4 cup pour lemon juice through fine strainer, discarding seeds and pulp. Combine rind, juice and honey in 6-quart saucepan, stirring well. Bring mixture to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in pectin. Return mixture to a rolling boil, and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam with metal spoon, if necessary. Pour jelly quickly into 2 hot, sterilized pint jars, filling to 1/4 inch from tops; wipe jar rims. Cover immediately with metal lids and screw on bands. Process
jars in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Cool jars on wire rack.©1997 Southern Living, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Tip: A 12 ounce jar of honey equals 1 standard measuring cup.

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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by | April 15, 2012 · 11:00 am

Backyard Hens …

Backyard Chickens

Posted by Teri

Backyard Hens

I have wanted my own flock for some time now. Jay kept saying he does not want to get into the chicken business (he knows who will end up tending MY chickens, and his name starts with J!). Thank goodness for grown sons. My eldest, Eric, homesteads at the south end of our 4 acres and shares my desire to feed myself through farming. Before I knew it a coop went up and the word was out that we were looking for chickens. It is amazing what this island community will provide, you just have to ask. Great friends on Lopez had an extra hen, a Golden Laced Wyandotte, she’s a beauty!. Within 5 days of coop construction, Eric had collected 5 hens with more promised as they hatched. We are in the egg business. I have a feeling, if this pace keeps up, I will be blogging egg recipes and asking for your favorite way to prepare eggs! 

One of my favorite magazines, Organic Gardening, had a section on chickens (June/July 2010) naming pros and cons and discussing best backyard breeds, www.orgaincgardening.com.

Now I am finding chicken information everywhere. Island Hardware www.islandhardware.com  had a stack of 2012 WSDA Calendars- Birds of Washington, chock full of tips, dos and don’ts for a healthy flock. The WSU Avian Health & Food Safety Laboratory will conduct diagnostic testing for backyard poultry that die. Call 1-800-606-3056 for information.  The Avian Health Program also offers two free online training courses: Avian Disease Prevention Training Course and Poultry 101 Training Course. http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/AvianHealth/AvianCertificationTraining.aspx

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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by | February 27, 2012 · 4:59 pm

Waiting for the Anacortes Ferry? Get Out of the Car and Onto the Beach!

Posted by Sandi

Trail to beach at Anacortes Ferry Landing

Trail to beach at the Anacortes Ferry Landing

I don’t go to the mainland often, but when I do, I like to get in the Anacortes ferry line early to make sure I can get the 3:35 boat back to Orcas. Usually I spend the extra time sitting in the car — reading, napping, catching up on emails or phone calls. But recently I tried something that Teri recommended: a relaxing walk on the beach.

Beach and marsh at the Anacortes ferry landing

Yes, Virginia, the sun DOES shine in November -- sometimes 🙂

It was a brisk November afternoon with the sun shining. From the ferry line I carefully crossed over the “pet” area and picked one of the sandy trails toward the beach. The first one dead ended in the marsh so I backtracked until I found the right one.
 
Beach at Anacortes ferry landing, Washington

Why did I wait so long to enjoy this sweet sandy beach?

At the end of the trail I was rewarded: A beautiful long sandy beach that felt far removed from the ferry traffic. In fact thanks to the wide marsh and sand dunes, the cars weren’t even visible. In the summer the beach is probably quite busy, but today it was all mine. I would be here awhile, glad I wore a watch.

You can’t tell from the photos, but near the water there were also small rocks of various colors, patterns and textures. I wonder, where do all these rocks come from? Did they travel large distances or are there are many large “mother rocks” under water? Is there an endless supply?

New boardwalk at Anacortes ferry landing

New boardwalk through the marsh - an easy walking trail ideal for bird watching.

I meandered down the beach until I came to the entrance of the new boardwalk Teri had told me about. Apparently it was built to give the new subdivision up the hill access to the beach. I walked a short way and decided I better get back to the the car. Next time I will arrive even earlier so I can explore more of the beach and boardwalk  – maybe even bring a picnic lunch!

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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