Tag Archives: Washington

Orcasong Farm

By Teri Williams

Now this is the way to welcome Fall – by celebrating with our community at Orcasong.

So honored to receive the invite and have a chance to check out this new and exciting farm I’ve been watching for many months. I live just around the corner and have been watching the transformation, the newest being the lavender fields.

You can feel the energy coming from the farmers tending the land. Fencing was erected, the ground was tilled, materials and farm hands showed up and then the planting. What could it be? Lavender … and the promise of color and sweet fragrance to come!

But lavender is not all this farm is producing.

Orcasong’s mission is to restore the land they steward on Orcas Island using ecologically regenerative practices. Guided by the wisdom of nature, they are committed to local resilience and social change and to advance through holistic education, arts and event programming, environmental advocacy and interwoven farm-based enterprises.

You can feel the mission statement when you arrive. On this day, farmers were working in the gardens and offer big smiles encouraging me to come help harvest fresh vegetables, wander and dream in the flower-filled overgrown garden laid out with purpose and standing proud in the soil. I love the mix, feeding the soul and the body.

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Walking around the grounds, you can see the love and intention given to every detail. These farmers really walk the talk, collaborating with a team that searches for solutions to keep them connected to the land, the people and this community.

Standing among them, I can’t help but feel how life can keep us spinning in our own worlds, keeping us from slowing down and taking in the gifts right in front of us.

Food, friends, song, sharing, dreaming – it just doesn’t get any closer to “island life” than this experience.

In Gratitude.

www.orcasongfarm.org

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Pizza Camp

Sharing life, love and lunch.

I love Pizza – Who Doesn’t!

By Teri Williams

 

 

 

 

Ok, so I don’t need to eat more carbs, and yes we have Hogstone Pizza in town. So why, you ask, do I crave to create the best ever pizza??? Last time I was in Darville’s Bookstore I found a book about pizza titled Pizza Camp by Joe Beddin. I love to read cookbooks, especially when they have humorous commentary and throw in common sense. After reading Joe’s recipe and constitution on how and what to use to make the best-ever pie I started planning and dreaming. So let the fun begin!

I have never had any luck with yeast. So the fact that Joe’s recipe for the dough does not include warm water and is put in the fridge for 24 hours gave me even more skepticism. However, I jumped in and made the first steps towards my crusty cheesy tomato dreams. Joe’s policy for making dough: “Turn your phone off and don’t speak, this is a time to listen, for new ideas, it’s not busy, be present. Making dough should be calming, meditative and a great time to think of new ideas about pizza and life.” I spent the time to enjoy the moment and think about what my garden would provide as toppings.

Book in hand, tools in place. This is the beginning, bring on the yeast.

Love it when your work looks like it does in the book!

After the dough was in a ball and had to rest for 30 minutes, I wandered through my garden and gave thanks for being here now on Orcas Island. Second round of kneading left the yeasty ball in the fridge for 24 hours. Until tomorrow …

Garlic drying in the sun. Going to learn to braid this summer!

Basil love

The sauce. I always thought you cooked up a batch of grandma’s secret tomato sauce and let it simmer for hours on the cooktop. No, Joe says they never cook the sauce in Naples. He recommends a nice fresh and bright tomato sauce, which comes with using the right tomatoes. So I read on. Joe uses Jersey Fresh crushed tomatoes in a can. A CAN!!! Ok, I can do this, FYI- I did go to Maple Rock Farm stand down the road and purchased fresh island grown tomatoes. Just in case. Continuing to read more from Pizza Camp, I learn the canned tomatoes, garlic and salt need to sit for a few hours in the fridge to meld flavors. I found canned tomatoes at Island Market from Italy – yes in a can.

Cheese will include fresh mozzarella and a hard cheese purchased at Roses Bakery. I think I will search for some local fresh goat cheese for the next time – Wendy Thomas, I’m headed out your way soon, girl.

Now what will I choose for toppings? Well I think a simple marguerita is a must. Just cheese and fresh basil – I can do this, and get a chance to go thank my garden once again for providing me with peace of mind and room for dreaming and creating good food. I wanted something a bit more for the second disc of saucy goodness, so I pulled some local pork out of the freezer. Pizza Camp shares many styles and types of toppings, one being Pizzeria Beddin’s Sausage – perfect!

Anticipation is a wonderful thing. I could not enjoy this pizza experience by myself so made a short last minute call to Cory, Monee and Eleanor to come to Gramma T’s back yard bbq pizza oven. I believe this can work with my cast-iron flat pan. Yes, why not. Too early in the game to order a wood fired pizza oven to be constructed in my patio (save these dreams for when I am making dough).

Ju DE VIE from tasting at Doe Bay Wine Company

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This was the hardest part and I have to say, I cheated and used my Grandma’s rolling pin. Need to do some recon on what is the trick to pushing, pulling and stretching the dough.

After Notes:

You need a pizza peel. I’ll save you the details on this, just believe me. And, do not grease your pan with olive oil. Avocado oil will stand the heat much better.

The two days of planning was a tasty success. I still love pizza and am already dreaming up the next PIZZA CAMP!

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Celebrating Summer in the School Garden

A long and productive spring in the school garden led right up to the last day of school! What better way to celebrate and culminate another school year than with a pizza party in the garden?2016PizzaParty_SchoolGarden (11 of 17)

Orcas Island Elementary students each spend one hour a week working in the school garden in a class I teach called Farm to Classroom. At almost 8,000 square feet, the school garden requires individual attention from each of the 200 students. Some children take on assigned tasks such as weeding, hauling compost and planting.

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Harvesting strawberries and pulling weeds.

Other children take on projects of their own choosing. One class was dubbed “the diggers” for their love of digging!

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“The Diggers”

Another group of students took weekly responsibility for watering plants.

13499604_1783696268532929_564887034_oOne boy decided it was time to properly install the large stainless sink we salvaged from the old shop building before it was torn down. Each week he would lead a group in the many steps it took to put  the sink in its final resting place.

When the wood chips arrived, donated by Tim’s Tractor Service and delivered by Tim’s son James Segault of Island Climb Inc., the students ban together to move the massive mountain all around the garden. Throughout all of this garden work you can see real-world examples of children caring for the environment, working together, problem solving, communicating, using physical skills, and eating healthy. These are important life skills that no standardized test can ever measure.

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A delivery of wood chips for our paths from Tim’s Tractor Service and Island Climbing Inc.

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Working together to move a mountain of wood chips!

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Unloading a truck full of firewood. Many hands make for light work.

A cornerstone of the children’s time in the garden is the idea that you may only enjoy the fruits of your labor, after you labor! The last ten minutes of each class is dedicated to “harvest time”. During this time the children graze in the garden, eating fresh from the plants they have nurtured. This may be one of the most rewarding times for me as the teacher. It only seemed fitting to end our school year with a garden pizza party using our cob oven.

The pizza party couldn’t happen with out the help and generous donation of James Ferraris of Soul Flour Bakery, AKA The Pizza Man!  James makes the best pizza dough and knows how to bring each pizza out with the perfect amount of doneness.

The children are the real artists at this event. They are supplied pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. The rest is up to them! The toppings come from the plants they lovingly grew. Pizzas topped with strawberries, sorrel and mint are popular. Garlic scapes, borage flowers, rosemary and raspberries top others. There is no limit to the creations they come up with. After each pizza comes out of the oven the chef or chefs responsible tell their classmates what ingredients they used. Then the creators get the first slices and the other children sample after them. Pizza after pizza comes through in this way. The children turn into food critics, analyzing the combinations placed before them. The pizza is devoured and never are the usual pepperoni and sausage toppings missed.

Another remarkable year in the school garden has been completed. If you would like to see our garden please stop by and check it out. If you would like a tour of the garden, we will be on this year’s Orcas Island Garden Club tour June 25th and 26th.

Now that school is out, I’ll be spending the summer with family and friends, taking road trips, and helping people buy and sell real estate on this amazing Island I call home. I love summertime on Orcas Island!

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Johnny visiting Momma in the garden.

 

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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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My Favorite Native Groundcover

Posted by Sandi

This weekend is the annual Garden Tour sponsored by the Orcas Island Garden Club. The theme is Homestead Gardens, and the focus is on “the sustainable horticulture of fruits, vegetables, herbs and livestock.” This will be interesting, and I’ll probably come home hungry with flatlander envy. My consolation prize: my flourishing native plants that have been taking care of themselves for eons. While they don’t provide a meal, I find they do provide food for the soul.

Case in point: Some years ago I discovered this cute little vine creeping alongide salal. It had been there all along, I had just failed to take notice. I thought it might be a weed, but it persisted through the winter. I took a sample to a Master Gardener, and even she couldn’t identify it. Well come the next June, this glossy evergreen creeper erupted with tiny pairs of pink and white bell flowers, dangling at the top of delicate stalks. There was no mistaking it: this was Linnaea borealis, our native Twinflower. How lucky am I!

I started weeding out her competition, and she immediately showed her appreciation. Unlike salal which is quite prolific on our property, Twinflower has selected just a few areas to thrive: a smaller patch along a sunny cliff, and a larger established mat under fir trees which receives afternoon sun. In the shady patch, the blooms last nearly all summer and keep the bees busy.

Although Twinflower can be easily propagated by cuttings from runners, it’s very slow to establish and takes seedlings about thirteen years to bloom. So when taking your woodland walks this summer, be sure to look down and notice this diminutive but hardy little creeper. She’s a special one!


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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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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Spotlight on the Starflower

Posted by Sandi

Spring arrived early this year and the calendar is turning quickly. It seems like every time I look around, there’s something new blooming in my native plant garden. Mother Nature has expertly planned a succession of blooms so there’s never a moment without color or interest. Just when I’m lamenting the loss of the beautiful calypso orchids

Broadleaf Starflower

Broadleaf Starflower on Orcas Island…the Broadleaf Starflower steps up to center stage. Her delicate green leaves begin emerging in early spring as she creeps quietly along shady paths, playing the supporting role. Then suddenly she erupts with a sea of pale pink stars that last through June. All with zero effort on my part.

Broadleaf Starflower on Orcas Island

The effect at dusk or on a moonlit night is magical!

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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Gifts From The Heart

Posted by Sandi

‘Tis the season for gift-giving (and receiving:). An upside of our down economy is that many of us have scaled back our purchases re-learned the joy of handmade gifts. This is especially true in our small island community with so many creative, resourceful people choosing to live a simpler, less materialistic life.

A gift from the heart conveys so much more meaning than the gift itself because of the time, effort and forethought involved. Money is tight, but time is universally more precious! A truly personal, one-of-a-kind gift will be cherished forever.

I’m excited about a few gifts I’ve made for Christmas this year (will save for a future post so as not to spoil the surprise.) In the meantime, here are some images from the archives. If you’ve given or received a gift from the heart that had special meaning, we’d love to hear about it!

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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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Searching For Island Fairies – The Elusive Calypso Orchid

Posted by Sandi

Our native Calypso Orchid - isn't she a beauty?

The cooler wetter spring we’re having is rewarding us with extended bloom times. As our aquifer is recharging, both natives and ornamentals are flourishing (as well as the pesky weeds!). And for those who know where to look: the tiny Calypso Orchid — also known as the Fairy Slipper — one of 42 native orchids in Washington State.

Taking the name “Calypso” from the Greek meaning “to hide”, she lives in seclusion, requiring just the right combination of shade, moisture and fungus in the forest duff to pop up in the spring. If you kneel down to take a picture, take care not to compress the ground around her. She doesn’t like that. And for heaven’s sake, don’t dig her up – she won’t survive!

A clan of Calypsos peeking above Broadleaf Starflower in my woodland garden. They're thriving this year because I put a fence around them to create a "fairy garden."

We have the ideal climate for the Calypso Orchid on Orcas Island, but if you’re interested in trying to grow this pretty, you must be very patient – she can germinate for years before sprouting a tiny leaf the size of your fingernail! A good source for growing tips (and also for bulbs and seed) is The Calypso Orchid Company.

Now that you know how delicate she is, next time you discover her you’ll have a new  appreciation for our little native fairy. Walk lightly!

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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