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Last updated on Fri, 10 Jan 2014

Fair and 42 F at Friday Harbor, WA
Fair and 42 F at Friday Harbor, WA

Thu, 9 Jan 2014 Winds are Southwest at 4.6 MPH (4 KT). The pressure is 1013.6 mb and the humidity is 82%. The wind chill is 39. Last Updated on Jan 9 2014, 7:53 am PST.

Comments Sought on Odysseyware
Comments Sought on Odysseyware

Thu, 9 Jan 2014 School District seeks public comment regarding online Odysseyware program San Juan Island School District is interested in public comment regarding a proposed curriculum platform called Odysseyware. The program can be found online at www.odysseyware.com. For individuals who cannot access the program online, a district computer will be available at the district office, 285 Blair Avenue, Friday Harbor, WA between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Odysseyware is an online curriculum platform, accessible for students in grades 3-12 in a variety of subject areas. The proposed audience would be students who need credit retrieval, academic remediation, content acceleration, ad individualized curriculum. The district would contract with the vendor for 1 to 3 years, negotiating the cost of individual site licenses. The program is aligned to Common Core Standards and includes diagnostic information and assessments. It is also accessible off campus. Reference: District policy 2020 The comment period runs January 12-17, 2014. Please send any written comments to: Rick Thompson , Superintendent San Juan Island School District PO Box 458, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 richardthompson@sjisd.wednet.edu Comments Sought on Odysseyware was first posted on January 9, 2014 at 5:45 am. ©2012 " San Juan Update ". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at editor@sanjuanupdate.com for permission.

Advance Camping Reservations for Residents
Advance Camping Reservations for Residents

Thu, 9 Jan 2014 County Parks announces advance camping reservations are available for county residents. For 2014, County Parks is continuing its “residents only” opportunity to pre-reserve campsites at county parks. This year, the popular County Parks program offers residents a chance to make their prime-time summer camping reservations between January 13th & February 27th. This offer is available for camping at San Juan, Odlin (Lopez), and Shaw County Parks and the County Fairgrounds R.V. campsites. Camping reservations for the general public will begin March 1. All three of the county campgrounds are located in waterfront parks with spectacular views, beautiful beaches, and small-craft boat launches. The County fairgrounds offers R.V. camping with water and electrical hook-ups, close proximity to downtown Friday Harbor and public beach. Proof of residency will be required (verifiable local address and phone number, driver’s license, or voter registration). Additional information is available on the County Parks website . County residents can email ( parks@sanjuanco.com ) or call the County Parks Department at 378‑8420 for a reservation form. Advance Camping Reservations for Residents was first posted on January 9, 2014 at 5:34 am. ©2012 " San Juan Update ". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at editor@sanjuanupdate.com for permission.

Licensed? You will be carrying a Medical Certificate.
Licensed? You will be carrying a Medical Certificate.

Wed, 8 Jan 2014 The USCG’s National Maritime Center announced today that mariners will be carrying a Medical Certificate as a part of their MMC. Here’s the basic info: What is the Medical Certificate? The medical certificate is a new document that serves as proof that a mariner meets the required medical and physical standards, per “Implementation of the […]

Community Dinner next Wednesday
Community Dinner next Wednesday

Wed, 8 Jan 2014 It’s community dinner time again! Check out this menu! Community Dinner Menu Poster – Click for larger image Community Dinner Next Wednesday, January 15th In addition to the Community Dinner, there will be Student Exhibitions throughout the school. Students will present their Community Projects, Art Walk-a-Bout and performance by the Jazz Band 5:00-5:30 Dinner is 5:00 – 7:30 in the High School Commons The Menu: Chicken Piccata – Lightly fried chicken breasts with sautéed shallot and capers in a lemon-butter sauce Herbed Orzo – Pasta tossed with herbs and olive oil Roasted Vegetables – Roasted broccoli and cauliflower Fresh Baked Bread – Toasted white rolls with garlic and parmesan Goddess Salad – Fresh greens with radish, cucumber, couscous and a tahini dressing Dessert - Nanaimo Bars made by the Baking Class – wafer crumbs topped by a layer of light custard butter icing and covered with melted chocolate Suggested Donation of $12 for Adults and $6 for Children under 12 See you next week! Community Dinner next Wednesday was first posted on January 8, 2014 at 5:40 am. ©2012 " San Juan Update ". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at editor@sanjuanupdate.com for permission.

New Captains Class Begins
New Captains Class Begins

Wed, 8 Jan 2014 Bellingham Yacht Club Master 100 Ton Begins While it’s too late join our Bellingham Course, we still have room in Anacortes March 4, – April 24, 2014 Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday evenings 5:30 PM to 9:30 Seafarers Memorial Building 601 Seafarers Way Anacortes WA 98221 Details and registration: http://goo.gl/MDJJZX More info on becoming a Captain: http://goo.gl/meUFR $100 will hold […]

Week One Rolls On
Week One Rolls On

Sun, 5 Jan 2014 I've been out birding for at least a couple hours every day so far in 2014, and as a result the year list has progressed slowly but steadily. January 2nd it rained all day, which made for very few birds during my walk at English Camp. I had more luck driving along White Point Road where I found a Cooper's hawk (62), my only year bird of the day. I did, however, also find a Eurasian form of the green-winged teal - a common teal. Not a separate species according to the ABA, but still the first time I've seen this race in the county and a cool find. Eurasian green-winged teal with a horizontal white stripe on its back instead of a vertical white stripe at the shoulder The weather was nicer on January 3rd, so I walked around Three Meadows Marsh and turned up a red-breasted sapsucker (63), downy woodpecker (64), brown creeper (65), a couple of Bewick's wrens (66), and a small flock of golden-crowned kinglets (67). At Jackson Beach I found one of the greater yellowlegs (68) that eluded us on New Year's Day: I also returned to American Camp, where it was warm enough that I decided to thoroughly enjoy the first sunshine of 2014 by sitting on this hillside for a while: On my way down to the water, a trio of deer where determined to cross the path in front of me - they did so pretty close and at a run! I also had a western meadowlark (69) fly along in front of me, and on my way back up the hill, I located the northern shrike (70) that was also a miss on the first of the year: I also had to stop and photograph this guy in his beautiful winter coat before heading home: Yesterday, the 4th, I picked up a short leg of our local Christmas Bird Count circle that still needed covering. In the process, I found a hermit thrush (71), a small group of bushtits (72), and a Hutton's vireo (73) in with a mixed flock of woodland species. I also found seven killdeer (74) in a field with several hundred European starlings and over 50 American robins. Today my original hope was to go over and bird Skagit County, where a bunch of "gimmes" await. When that wasn't going to work out, I settled for a morning hike over on Orcas Island. Surprisingly, I didn't add any species on the ferry ride over or during our hike on Turtleback Mountain. There was a chilly breeze blowing and the ground was icy in places, but the scenery was sure stunning! It was the Orcas ferry landing while waiting for the return boat that turned up the bird I was most hoping for - a Steller's jay (75). One of the few species I can get on Orcas but not San Juan Island! As an added bonus, I also found a pair of fox sparrows (76) and a ruby-crowned kinglet (77). While looking at the kinglet and associated chickadees, creepers, and nuthatches, I heard a strange call I couldn't place. The closest thing I could come to was a western tanager - I even played the call and it seemed like a match - but surely there wouldn't be one of those here now?! They did find one in Skagit county recently, but I couldn't ever get a view of the bird hidden in the canopy so there's no way I'll let myself count it. The mystery will have to remain! There was a group of crows hanging out near the parking area, and there were a couple of crows that were different enough that I'm going to call them American crows (78). Usually the only crows we see in the county are northwestern crows. Supposedly their range doesn't overlap with American crows, but of course that's a fuzzy line, with many regional birders thinking the northwestern is just a race of the American crow. They do remain separate species for now, however, so I usually count crows on the island as northwesterns and crows seen further south as Americans. The major difference between them is size and voice, and today I had two sitting right next to each other, both calling. The voices and sizes clearly matched accordingly, so I decided to count my American crow now. I wish I had my camera on me at the time, because I would have loved to get a video clip and see what others think! But by the time I got my camera and returned, I was left with just one crow. Which kind are you? While I saw more birds on the way over, the ferry ride back actually proved more productive for the year list turning up some Brandt's cormorants (79) and a single rhinoceros auklet (80). (For those keeping score, Dave sits at 72 and my dad at 84, but there will be a lot of moving and shaking in this early going!) The most photogenic birds, however, were the pelagic cormorants on the dock pilings at Orcas - look at those colors! I also had to get the camera out to capture the scene looking towards Mt. Baker as we rounded Shaw Island heading for Lopez on the way home: It's back to work tomorrow, so I'm sure the birding will slow down, but I'll still of course be looking!

That’s my rental car this am
That’s my rental car this am

Fri, 3 Jan 2014 We had about 24″ of snow here in Braintree MA last night. I’m outta here tomorrow.

Kickin' Off the 2014 Year List
Kickin' Off the 2014 Year List

Wed, 1 Jan 2014 It's a new year, which means its time to start the 2014 bird year list! Amazingly, Dave in England and I TIED last year, each seeing 192 species. We were both short of our goal of 200, but have our sights set on the same number for this year. It was funny to hear that Dave already had 3 pre-dawn species on his 2014 list before we had even turned the calendars over from 2013! My list has a very different look to start the year this time, since I spent New Years Day on San Juan Island instead of in Oregon. I still got off to a great start, but it's going to be very hard to reach 100 before the end of January without going off-island (several times?) to get some of the species that are gimmes in the Portland area but next to impossible to get there: black-capped chickadees, great egrets, western scrub-jays, etc. The last couple of years, I've been able to pass 10 species before even leaving my parents' house. I had hoped to do the same this year, but our feeders have gone completely quiet in the last few days. My first 20 minutes spent outside, in the yard, only turned up five species: red-breasted nuthatch (1), common raven (2), pileated woodpecker (a stellar #3 - was #129 in March last year!), Pacific wren (4), and American robin (5). Shortly thereafter I met up with my dad, who is also starting his 2014 year list, and a couple of other birders who were game for a day out and about around the island. Our first stop was at Sportsman Lake where we turned up a lot of waterfowl species including trumpeter swans (6), ring-necked ducks (9), and the first of the ubiquitous bufflehead (10) for the day. I also saw my first bald eagle of the year (15) here, and we moved on with 16 species on my list. Three Meadows Marsh added more of the expected species, and also turned up two I was very hopeful for - the marsh wren (23) and Virginia rail (24). Driving some of the central island roads quickly boosted the list to 34 as many more expected species were added, the most exciting of which was probably a small flock of purple finches (31). We then went for a walk from Deadman Bay to Lime Kiln, adding our first marine birds including harlequin ducks (35), black oystercatchers (36), mew gulls (37), and others. While walking back to the car, another unexpected find was a sharp-shinned hawk (41). We picked up a few more species as we meandered our way back to town for a lunch break, including a Eurasian wigeon (43) that I spotted very, very, very far away through the scope at False Bay and also a merlin (45) along Douglas Road. The only reason we saw the merlin is because I stopped to take a picture of this pair of bald eagles! We ate lunch at Jackson Beach, a location I had scouted a couple times in the preceding days. As hoped, we turned up some common goldeneye (48) and a pair of long-tailed ducks (53), but gone were the greater yellowlegs and peregrine falcon that will have to wait for another day. Gotta save something for later this month! We then continued the circuit we birded yesterday (when I was hoping to find a red-throated loon or some other surprise to regain my one-species lead over Dave), which turned up nearly 40 species for us in a couple hours on the last day of 2013. By this point the weather was turning, however, and gone was our pleasant, overcast morning, replaced with a chillier, rainier mid-afternoon. At Fourth of July Beach we found surf (55) and white-winged (56) scoters as well as a single Pacific loon (57). A pair of northern harriers (58) were flying near the redoubt at American Camp, but we couldn't relocate the shrike we saw there yesterday (and several times previously). By this time the light was beginning to fade already, so our last stop of the day was at Cattle Point where I knew I would have a shot to reach my Day One goal of 60 species. We saw a couple red-breasted mergansers (59) which I thought for sure we would have seen by then, and then the icing on the cake was a couple of surfbirds on Goose Island (60) as well as a few black-bellied plovers (61). Thank goodness for my dad's scope or we never would have seen them! Thanks to a few early morning sightings, my dad remains one ahead of me at 62 as the first day of 2014 came to a close. I've established a nice early lead on Dave, however, who in what sounds like stormy weather turned up 30 species on January 1 across the pond. We'll see how long it lasts me, though - I don't think it will last we very long at all!

2013 Year List in Review - UPDATED
2013 Year List in Review - UPDATED

Mon, 30 Dec 2013 DEC. 31 NOTE: For the second year in a row, blogging the review a day early got me in trouble, as there's still plenty of birding to be done on the last day of the year! This year, Dave tied me on the waning days, and despite my efforts, I couldn't regain the lead on December 31st. I did, however, add one more species - the eared grebe - to my county ear list. There's one day left in 2013, which means one more day to add bird species to my year list. I've stalled out at 192, well short of my goal of 200 species, but still a single species ahead of exactly tied with my competitor Dave in England, who added the tying species on December 31st!. My dad, with his trip to eastern Canada, will finish well ahead at 219. Here's how the numbers break down this year: TD P { margin-bottom: 0in; }P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total # Bird Species 233 203 222 192 Dave's Total 237 206 275/205* 191 192 Dad's Total 230 204 219 222 # States/ Provinces 6 4 5 4 # Life Birds 23 3 6 3 # SJ County Species 133? 157 145 148 149 # Species by Month January 87 114 105 110 February 19 13 52 6 March 25 12 3 14 April 21 25 12 20 May 37 17 24 10 June 24 2 14 5 July 1 4 0 1 August 2 4 3 2 September 3 5 0 1 October 2 1 6 0 November 4 4 0 22 December 8 2 3 0 TD P { margin-bottom: 0in; }P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } *World total/Europe total Last year the world traveler Dave was nice and granted me the win compared to his Europe total, but if I can hang on one more day this really feels like the first time I've beat him! (Nope, it's a tie!) I find it interesting how close we've been every year, and the fact that we're both in the low 190s this year after being above 200 in all the previous years. The monthly numbers are interesting, but to make a comparison you also have to take into account when I've traveled outside of the northwest. Last year, it was a California trip in February. This year, it was a California trip in November! The birding highlight of 2013 was undoubtedly my trip to California , which is also where I added my three life birds of the year, finally pushing my North American life list to over 350 species. My favorite hour of birding happened at Malibu Lagoon State Beach , where the year birds came fast and furious and the species diversity - so different form what I see in Washington - was really apparent. So, what are the plans for 2014? I'm keeping my goal at 200 species, and hope to make it as well as add a few life birds on a trip south in February. It will likely be a slower start to the year list as for the first time I'll be starting it on San Juan Island instead of in Portland, where there's a better chance for a wider variety of species. I like to try and reach 100 species before the end of January, but I think that will be a tough one this year, even with a trip or two off island! I'll still give it a shot, so we shall see!

Back to Beading!
Back to Beading!

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 December actually saw me in the studio many times (stringing beads, making earrings, repairing jewelry, making micro-macrame bracelet/earrings), and finally got to what should have been on the top of the list - bead embroidery! I just finished this: " Friends " - ATC by Robin Atkins It's an ATC ( artist trading card ), originally planned as one of my Bead Journal Project pieces for 2012. Even though I'm thinking of it as a BJP piece, I'm still going to send it to Karen L. Cohen , who sent me one of her ATCs many moons ago, and who is patiently waiting for me to send one in return. I hope she likes it. " Friends " is 2.5 x 3.5 inches. The hands are cut, one each, out of sterling silver and brass, and the "crown" on the heart is 22 gauge gold-filled wire. The beading, done on cotton fabric, is laced over a stiff water-color paper card, and lined on the back with Ultrasuede light, which is sewn to the fabric around the edges using a simple, single-bead, edge stitch. Let's see, what else... the heart is crocheted, and is a little lighter/softer color peach than it appears on my monitor. Some of the sequins are vintage. Most of the beads are size 15s, which is the only way to get this kind of detail on such a small piece. ATC by Karen L. Cohen Here's a picture of Karen's ATC, the one she made to trade with me. She is an enamel artist, and has included one of her enamels in the top left of the piece. I'm very pleased to have a piece of her work! If you have an interest in learning enameling, Karen is the author of a very lovely book on the subject ( here ). I'm of mixed feelings about ATCs. I love the idea of them, the initial idea that artists could paint/draw/make a small version of their work to trade with another artist. But these beaded ATCs (mine anyway) take many hours to create (I'm guessing about 9 hours on this one, maybe a bit more). I probably won't be making very many of them to trade.

Once a sign Webkinz owner himself the owner gets access to the world of Webkinz.
Once a sign Webkinz owner himself the owner gets access to the world of Webkinz.

Mon, 23 Dec 2013 Many kids on Facebook lied about their ages and the schools they attended -- if in elementary or middle school, the kids would list our local high school as their school. I have found that I need to limit her computer time to 30 minutes per day, or she...

Marmalade
Marmalade

Sat, 14 Dec 2013 When we go to England there are several typically English foods that we have to eat: Cream teas, Ribena, (black currant juice drink), draft hard cider, fish and chips, English bacon and....marmalade. You can get English marmalade here but you have to hunt a bit for it and there are so many more brands over there. In the olden days before terrorists plots in shampoo bottles we used to bring back a bunch of it with us. Now I have to make my own. I get my bitter Seville oranges from a place in California called Ripe to You who specializes in unique citrus varieties. My favorite recipe is one from David Lebovitz . I've got the first part of the first batch simmering on the stove right now. I'm all out of last year's batch so I can't wait.

Hunkered Down
Hunkered Down

Tue, 3 Dec 2013 Almost every winter at some point we get a NE'er. Arctic air from the interior of Canada flows down the Fraser Canyon and swoops down upon us with its icy blast. We rarely every manage to get snow first as this air is very, very dry so without the snow to mulch and protect plants we have been hustling around mulching vulnerable things like the dahlias. In this climate dahlias can't survive unprotectd but a good thick mulch of leaves has brought them through winter after winter and it is much easier than digging them. I will dig them every 3 or 4 years as the plants get so big we can't get between them to harvest the flowers. We also through a mulch of leaves over the last of the potatoes and several layers of Remay floating row covers over some of the carrots, Joel dug about 175 lbs. of beets and about 50 lbs. of our yellow carrots and put them on a pit with a foot or so of dirt over them. That will keep them fine for several months. He harvested a bunch of cabbages and kohlrabi and rutabagas which can be kept just fine in the greenhouse which being unheated just manages to stay above freezing in this sort of weather. We will sell them at market this month. Joel's Mom brought us the last bud of her Graham Thomas rose today before the cold weather killed the flower. Such a pretty thing and it reminds us that spring will be just around the corner.

Orcas Choral Society Presents GLORIA!
Orcas Choral Society Presents GLORIA!

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 Ad: Survive Any Food Crisis - 75% Comm - Survive Any Food Crisis Is A New Crisis Survival Product Offering 75% Commissions And Awesome Conversions. Works Well With Go Green, Solar, Eco, Conspiracy, Survival Websites.

OPALCO Board Enthusiastically Supports Broadband Acceleration
OPALCO Board Enthusiastically Supports Broadband Acceleration

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 Ad: How To Win Any Election (kit - A Complete Guide To Winning Elections - 5 Ebooks And Sample Documents, Including A 178 Page Elections Guide That Shows Everything You Need To Know To Win Your Next Election!

OOLA-la! Dog Pics for Dog Park
OOLA-la! Dog Pics for Dog Park

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 Ad: Last Chance For Liberty Ebook - Many Patriots Have Awakened To Americas Diminished Liberty And Yet Struggle To Know What To Do About It. How Is Your Liberty Doing? Is Liberty Lost Or Is It Just Missing In Action? Taking The Myth Out Of Liberal Progressive Thinking.

Oy, vey
Oy, vey

Sun, 17 Nov 2013 …click to listen: …about the music Eco-friendly. Tweet Well, it’s official: one glance at the photo above, and it’s clear that my car and I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for quite a while now. Going on seven years, in fact. I hang my hoodie in a place where 1. it rains more than it did in my former home base of southern California, and 2. there are no fancy-schmancy events to attend on San Juan Island at which one’s sparkling clean ride is a sought-after status symbol. Yes, back in the day, I tooled around in a sexy teal Porsche 928S for nine of my fifteen years in Malibu, before I switched gears (so to speak) to a convertible 4WD Jeep Wrangler, prior to inexplicably turning into a super-boring-but-reliable compact SUV chick (what my vehicles suggest about my various life phases is worthy of an altogether different blog post). Face palm, otter: “‘Save the rainforest’ doesn’t mean carry it around with you on your SUV. Sheesh!” I suppose I should be embarrassed that not just a touch of green scum, Ok, this is more than, “just a touch.” but an entire bed of forest-worthy MOSS, has taken up residence on my spare tire cover (apparently, moss-sprouting is what the lettering is intended for). And I haven’t even shown you the photo of the lichens growing on the side moulding. Well, okay, I guess I couldn’t resist. My car is rapidly becoming a Chia pet. What can I say: with the promise of rain on a regular basis, very few people up here wash their cars. In fact, all of our vehicles, whether white, silver, red, or blue, share the local distinction of being “island color.” Which is varying, mottled combinations of mostly rainforest slime green and dirt road grey (hey, these could be this year’s new fall fashion colors for the style-conscious country bumpkin). Since my driveway is not a proper driveway at all, but more akin to a stony, rutted dry creek bed kicking up either dust or mud, there’s just never any point in bothering to hose things off. Heck, I probably get a tad less mileage per gallon due to toting around all these natural resources. Face palm, sea lion: “I can’t believe what this neighborhood is turning into.” The car is a lot like me when I’m home composing: basically stationary. When I’m not traveling for work, I instantly morph into a happy hermit in loose fitting pajama-like togs just weird-looking enough to scare the dickens out of anyone who dares to show up unannounced. And, I hole up. For days at a time if possible. Even a simple trip into the tiny stress- and traffic-light-free town of Friday Harbor is a disruptive undertaking to be staved off until supplies are perilously low. The dire need for peanut butter… eggs… wine… cat food (not for me, I promise)… chocolate… becomes so urgent that I have no choice but to put on “decent” clothes worthy of public appearance (an enormous effort right there), and hop behind the wheel to take myself and my volunteer plant life collection on the 15 minute jaunt into civilization. A rolling stone gathers no moss, but a working composer might end up like her car if she isn’t careful. Happily, I’ve just checked and I can proudly report that nope, there is NO MOSS growing in any of my nooks and crannies. Yet. [Phew]. There are, however, a lot of musical notes sprouting up, and I’ve been tending this garden of muses with great care. Which is a lot more than I can say for how I tend to my poor terrarium-on-wheels vehicle. Face palm, house cat: “Over and over… and OVER again. Of all the people out there, I end up being adopted by a composer. How many more times do I have to hear that @#$% passage until she gets it right???”.

Journey's Start - Reykjavik
Journey's Start - Reykjavik

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 Okay, we're back. Jet lag from following the sunset all the way back from Iceland is finally wearing off, our internet is back up after Joel climbed up the tree with the antenna and twisted the broken wire back together. San Juan County isn't so lucky. Last Tuesday an underwater fiber optics cable broke in 280 feet of water cutting off internet, land line phones and most cell phones. It wasn't until Friday that a patched together network returned the internet. Phones are still a bit wonky, I hear. Out here in the outer islands we have had less impact other than not being able to call most numbers in the county. We at least could call the mainland. So I am gathering my wits to start to write a bit about our adventures. We sat in our hotel room looking at each other and not believing that we were really and truly in Iceland. Jet lag definitely added to the sense of unreality. Our hotel, Center Hotel Skjalbreid was sweet. An older building, small charming, pleasant on a great street full of neat little shops. Here's Joel in front of the hotel. The door was obscure enough that in the dark we kept walking right by it. The breakfast room was light and airy and being on the third floor had a view out over the rooftops of Reykjavik. We only had two days and those days are short this time of year so we spent most of the time wandering about the city enjoying the sights, the city pond with it's population of whooper swans, greylag geese and mallards, the stony waterfront, and the beautiful Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral . And shopping for Christmas presents. I love to bring a little piece of our adventure back to the family at home. We did get out of the city the first night on a tour looking for the northern lights. In spite of the fact that it was so cloudy we never saw them we have to admit we had fun driving around the countryside in the total dark while our tour guide regaled us with descriptions of the landscape and sights we couldn't see. We could see a bank of greenhouses heated and lighted by the geothermal energy that Iceland is determined to use to produce 90% of its energy needs. And as we drove by one of the geothermal plants we could definitely smell it. The hot springs the water is coming from are definitely sulphuric. The tour did deposit us at the Vatnsholt bed and breakfast hotel where we wandered around in the dark hoping the clouds would part. The hotel dining room was open to warm us up and were serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate, beer, wine, vodka and waffles. We did see one Icelandic pony looking over a fence wondering what was going on and enjoyed the farm dogs who wandered around visiting with the 200 or so people on the 4 buses who had suddenly appeared in their midst. On the way back to town we were told that since we didn't see the northern lights that nights our tickets were good for 2 more years and we could try again. Enough to entice us to go back. It was neat to wander around listening to everyone speak Icelandic. Most everyone also spoke English any time we had a question. We had dinner at a couple of nice restaurants eating local food, vegetables grown in the greenhouses and whale steaks. And then it was get up at 3:30 AM to catch the plane to London to meet Siri and continue the adventure in England.

Micro-Macramé - New Again - 50 Years Later
Micro-Macramé - New Again - 50 Years Later

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 Macramé If you're around my age, the word "macramé" conjures up a host of crazy, knotted memories from the late 1960s and early 1070s - Although the pieces shown below were not made by me, I certainly did some very similar work. Sadly, it's all gone and I have no pictures of it... It started with one ball of string and a few plant holders, which got bigger and fancier as we got hooked on knotting. Belts and purses were next for me, followed by bottles! We graduated to more and bigger balls of string as we started making whole room dividers and curtains! But after a year or two, we grew tired of wooden beads, plain string and cramping fingers. We moved along to something else, never looking back... until now! Introducing... ta-dah... Micro-macramé! This is a necklace designed and knotted by Joan Babcock, one of today's most talented and prolific macramé artists. I've been smitten with her work ever since a friend gave me a link to her website . This particular piece is an example of a type of macramé called Cavandoli knotting. Needless to say, after seeing Joan's micro-macramé jewelry and sculptural pieces on her website, my interest in knotting was re-kindled! Thus I hounded the program chairman of our local textile guild until she booked Joan to come teach for us. A couple of weeks ago, she arrived, fresh and genuine from Santa Fe, ready to share her techniques, design process, and art with us for two days of class and a slide lecture. The first day, we knotted this bracelet, using diagonal double half hitches and square knots. I found the knotting came back quickly, some sort of kin-esthetic finger memory from 50 years ago surfacing almost immediately! The second day, we learned Cavandoli knotting, a combination of horizontal and vertical double half hitches, and made this pendant. The cord is #18 nylon, sold in bead shops as S-lon or micro-macramé cord, available in more than 50 colors, a long way from plain old white cotton string we used half a century earlier. Cavandoli knotting results in a solid piece, with the colors variable. It reminds me both of fair isle knitting (where the non-active color of yarn is carried behind the work), and of needle point (where each stitch is distinct). The pendant is only an inch square, and there are 680 knots if you count each double half-hitch as two knots. Obviously, you have to like "small" to want to do this work, as the knots are each about as small as a size-15 seed bead, maybe a bit smaller. If you know me, you know I like small. I am so hooked! Fortunately I have a stash of the cord in various colors (because it's what I use for finger weaving ) and a few (LOL) beads. Because Joan's teaching and books are fabulous, clear, step-by-step, and enabling, I had no trouble at all getting started. Here's what I've made in the past two weeks... First I made a couple pair of earrings to go with my corduroy "big shirts." These took about 1.5 hours per earring to make. Then, copying the design idea from a bracelet Joan was wearing while teaching, I started this bracelet to match the second pair of earrings. I ran out of the crystals along the outside two arcs before finishing it, and am waiting now for my order to arrive from Fusion Beads . Three days before departing for this year's quilt camp, where we are supposed to wear name tags, I got the idea of trying my hand at Cavandoli knotting to make a pin with my name done in knots. At 6 AM the next morning, I was still knotting. Yikes, talk about sore shoulders and fingers. But the next day, I finished it! Ta-dah: The knotted part of his one is 1.75 x 1.5 inches, a total of 1,536 knots! I've sewn a piece of Ultrasuede to the back of the knotting, hiding the cord ends, which are folded and stitched to the knotting. The final step was to sew a bar pin to the back, by stitching to the front side between rows of knotting, invisible from the front, but secure. The bar pin is one I had in my stash for a long time. Unfortunately it broke immediately when I put on the pin at quilt camp. I had to temporarily sew a safety pin to the back in order to wear it. Which brings me to the final point of this post.... Where can I find GOOD QUALITY bar pins? They all seem so terribly cheap, all looking like the one I used, all wanting to fall apart at the first touch. Please comment with your recommendations! Thank you, Joan ! Your workshops, slide lecture, and books have inspired and pleased me beyond measure! If you like what you see here, I recommend Joan's books and DVD . You can learn it from her even if you never got hooked in the 60s. Her kits are great too, wonderful for those who don't have a stash of beads/cords, and want to get started, to see if you like doing the knotting! Her kits are listed on her website on the same page as the books and DVD. And, good news, she's working on her next book and more kits!

Mt Rainier as seen from the San Juan Islands
Mt Rainier as seen from the San Juan Islands

Fri, 1 Nov 2013 Photos of Mount Rainier as seen from the San Juan Islands.

Bead Embroidery + Thread Embroidery + Eco-dyed Fabrics
Bead Embroidery + Thread Embroidery + Eco-dyed Fabrics

Tue, 29 Oct 2013 Passing through the slump of divorce and moving, I'm finally starting on a new beaded pathway. Also, I've been taking a bunch of workshops, a pleasure I've postponed while busy with my own teaching career. These workshop experiences will be the subject of a later post, after I get the pictures out of my camera and ready to post. In the meantime, here's a little glimpse of my new work. Back tracking over a year ago, a group of eco-dyers on Lopez Island blessed me with the opportunity to join them in wrapping plant materials and assorted metal objects into bundles of re-purposed silk, cotton and/or linen. After popping the bundles into a plant-material dye bath for a while, then waiting for days to unwrap them, we garnered for ourselves a supply of eco-dyed fabrics. Since the above two sentences are a gross over-simplification of the process, you might want to turn to other sources, such as India Flint or Sweetpea's Path , for more information about eco-dying. At first my own bundles and resulting fabrics, seen above, reminded me of old paint rags or end-of-the-world costume fabrics for a tacky movie. Probably with a lot of experience and patience, one begins to get desired and almost predictable results. I love and respect the idea of eco-dying, the connection it builds between earth and human, the lovely plant memories captured and prolonged in the fabrics, which are also natural materials. But for me, although I'm always intrigued by dyeing and printing with dye, having previously been smitten with Ann Johnston's process and workshops , and a felt-dying workshop by Chad Alice Hagen , I never follow through with preparation of my own dye baths. Finding that I'd rather bead or stitch, dyeing is not quite compelling enough to keep me going. However, I had this pile of eco-dyed fabrics, a pile I almost consigned to rags or took to the thrift store during the move. I also had an idea percolating in the back of my mind, an idea about making fabric collage with thread and bead embroidery, layering the fabrics and embellishing them, framing the results in a narrow, vertical frame. So one day, examining the details in my pile of eco-dyed "rags," I noticed there were small parts of them that appealed to me, such as the prints made by inserting rusty washers in the bundles, visible on the left in the above picture. This piece of linen, taken as a whole was dark, and muddy or dirty looking. But if I were to cut out just the marks made by the washers, I might have something useable. That thought was the beginning of this: And this: And this: This is the final piece (you can click to enlarge), titled Trust : The same wonderful eco-dyers on Lopez later invited me to join them for a day of dying with indigo and lac (red/rose/burgundy dye from an insect, some of which made the narrow pinkish stripes in Trust ). My results that day, combined with some remnants of Kantha stitching on cotton fabrics, provided the materials for my second layered fabric collage. Here's a detail: Here's another detail: Here is the final piece, titled Northern Lights : Since making these two pieces, two more are in progress, one with layered kimono and obi silks and one with my indigo and lac pieces. I'm excited about this new pathway and hopeful about using more of my hand-dyed/hand-painted fabrics. It's feels really good to have recovered a little of my former beading mo-jo. I look forward to the peace and quiet of winter, when traditionally I spend more time beading!

Mandrake
Mandrake

Mon, 7 Oct 2013 the clock o’ one in the beginning stung every little son on red flannel fields the fabled wayward mind gone craquelure unsteadied the view of flowers sprawling on the starry mask― if the inhuman fabric falls away this late in a life shows blackly the back of the remotest odorless lurking not this no not this is a pretty truth in the ancient sense vicarious not hard to disbelieve ‘til the tentacles of it clutch the breast and seethe there pulsing inoculating cool poison wherefore should they not so do now little mandrake at the clock o’ two?

You can’t shut this down
You can’t shut this down

Mon, 7 Oct 2013 …click to listen: …about the music REMEMBRANCE, live premiere, August 2013 by the U.S. Army Strings, Major Tod. A. Addison, conductor, at the Church of the Epiphany, Washington, D.C. Tweet I’m blessed to live in a rural neighborhood that abuts one of the most spectacular gems of the United States National Park Service. As of last week, the entrances to this, and all other such parks in the nation, have been blocked. In response, I submit the following letter. Each point is accompanied by a photograph I’ve taken from, in, or of, the aptly named American Camp National Historical Park. Normally I would provide a link that readers could click to learn more, but alas, the National Park Service website has been taken down. To Those Members of the U.S. Congress who voted to hold hostage the government services you were elected to oversee: As a U.S. citizen and taxpayer, I write to readjust your perspective, by reminding you of how little power a politician actually possesses. You have loaded your ideological weapon with the ammunition of irrationality and meanness, and you have fired it in the direction of the innocent. This dangerous combination of both the ability to aim well, and the lack of wisdom to know better than to do so, is currently preventing countless U.S. government employees from being able to pay their bills. Since the National Park Service is under federal purview, you have also shown that you can punish everyone else, whether from the U.S. or abroad, wishing to commune with our nation’s natural treasures. Unwilling to accept the results from the same democratic process that placed you in your office, you have thrown your tantrum, and have effectively, if temporarily, shut down your own country. But you can’t shut down the sunrises that stir American Camp’s horizon, nor the sunsets that drape the Park’s peninsula with pastel affection. You can’t shut down the navy blue clouds, or the grey ones, or the orange ones, or the geometric ones, whose journey to an unseen future endlessly shifts the light and shadows of American Camp. You can’t shut down the sunshine, nor the fog, nor the kiss of the full moon on the weathered fingertips of ancient trees, nor, for all your presumed power, can you stop the moon’s unfolding tongue from lapping at the Park’s waters: a glorious scene, witnessed by that most American of birds, the Bald Eagle. You can’t shut down the waves barreling toward the Park’s shores, nor the massive logs of driftwood violently thrown upon American Camp’s pebbly beaches. You can’t shut down the rainbows that passionately spear the point, nor can you blockade the storms that remind the cliffs that they cannot step out of the way. You cannot shut down the vistas, or the butterflies, nor can you coax the secrets from these forests, or from the mountains that frame this National Park. You can’t cordon off the Great Blue Heron’s tarmac, or prevent American Camp’s rugged coves from grinning at the Olympic National Park across the Strait. You can neither halt the hypnotic motion of American Camp’s protected grasslands, nor the chill of the snow that tickles them. You cannot shut down the unruly, un-policed, rioting wildflowers, or the unkempt beauty of the Park’s sweet foxes. You can’t even stop the ones who, despite the park closure, defiantly visit the placard for Senator Henry M. Jackson, Conservationist at Large (he happened to be a Democrat). You cannot shut down the killer whales who hug American Camp’s shores, or the peaceable deer who graze its land, and I assure you, Congress members, that though you can barricade my neighbors and me from this abundant acreage, you are powerless to ever, ever block our national bird from his home. I am fortunate that I can publish this pictorial letter so that others may have a tiny, pixelated glimpse of the beauty that Congress, in its shortsighted grab for elusive control, has temporarily wrested from us. And it is most ironic that I type all of this to you, on Monday morning, October 7th, 2013, with the nation’s noble-feathered emblem standing calmly in front of me. We are both gazing out to American Camp. My wish for you, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and for all elected officials, is that you will remember what our beloved Bald Eagle represents, and more importantly, that you will remember who you were sent to Washington to represent. “E Pluribus Unum:” out of many, one. Unity. One nation. One which is a Democracy, in which when the majority of citizens and leaders have voted for something such as affordable health care insurance for everyone, then despite your political or personal preferences, you must uphold the will of the people. This is not about politics, it is about decency. In the best of circumstances, you are stewards and caretakers. Like all of us, you, Congress members, must think of the needs of others, and protect those who cannot take care of themselves. Along with the photographs of the national park I love the most, at the top of this post there is a link to my string orchestra piece, REMEMBRANCE, which was beautifully premiered this summer by another gem of this nation: the U.S. Army Strings, who are among the very best musicians in the country. I am proud to have an association with them and with other ensembles in the U.S. Armed Forces, and it is my hope that these groups will soon be able to return to the exceptional music-making for which they have been hired. Long after history has forgotten the squabbles of politics, it will always remember the culture of a civilization. Please cherish the arts we have nutured in the United States. And finally, members of Congress, I hope that you have enjoyed these photos. Should you ever visit San Juan Island, it would be my pleasure to show you any of these stunning scenes, for they are considerably more remarkable in person than in pixels. But for the moment, these pixels are the only access to this beauty that most people have. Sincerely, Alex Shapiro San Juan Island, WA Our national emblem of freedom, above the Salish Sea.

He's Dead
He's Dead

Wed, 18 Sep 2013 I’m dying to weep for Francis Sweeney, dead in his eighties, a little too young for me, I’m hoping for a longer stint on earth; lot’s to do ‘fore the last dog’s hung. It’s a life of oglemoon and sunsquint into the dark finis ― manufacturing that aesthetic thrill, so long as it doesn’t pay you dim sum at all. It’s only ripe as freedom, a door you open into a deep hill. A drop in the salmon ladder really; what do you reckon in earthly years? O, rare fertile roe in my wake when I rowed the fishful of dreams unweepable tears to your little son over the charred road, which looms ungenteely. Just beyond where the voltage sags the clay, someone holds a picture of your mother. ―This is all that’s left, they say. But smother any concern, for you are well on your way. At my deposition, Fran, you sported a bow tie! Some legal types, suing for you. I never did learn how it all turned out. We went on to live as if this life were new; I put the melancholy ash to rout but it merely loitered between our plots of brain material. There must have been a hole in your fabric the shape of his last moments, a rubric I repeat, now that you’re ethereal. My elegy for the elder binding tie makes glaring the strangeness of my truth, a thing received of each sole emptiness. My breath and selfish ways have gone aloof, so must it be, the very thing you bless― This is the last finding. Somewhere in a library, bowdlerized, because they’re each one’s untouchable quinx, are books printed in invisible inks, weightless tomes, imperfectly realized. Somehow this has to do with Solipsism because the very Greeks of knowledge light up like little planets going round me when I catch them in my sundance flashfright. Which is to cry “I’m buried here, Sweeney, under a head schism." I can wait with dignity forever if it means the non-believer suffers grace as it pours it’s hail on strange, never to know for certain if it will snuff hers.

GMO LABELING - JOBS, FISH, FOOD, AND OUR CHILDREN
GMO LABELING - JOBS, FISH, FOOD, AND OUR CHILDREN

Wed, 18 Sep 2013 Hi Everyone! Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture I-522: Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods Lecture There i s a presentation tonight at the Grange at 7 pm - Anne Mossness worked in the waters of Puget Sound and Alaska as a crewman and then longtime skipper on her own commercial fishing vessel, just like her father before her. Anne is also a parent, and - like her mother, a member of Seattle's legendary Halibut Wives - she is a powerful and articulate advocate for the wild sustainable fisheries of the Pacific Northwest, and for the many sustainable jobs and communities those fisheries support.Anne founded the Go Wild Campaign (email eatwildfish@aol.com) Anne will be at the Friday Harbor Grange building tonight, Wednesday evening, at 7 pm to give a talk on GMO labeling initiative 522 on the November WA state ballot. More from Land & Sea : As parents, many of us hope our children have the chance to grow up in areas with strong local economies and sustainable jobs . In the Pacific Northwest, economies with staying power are built on strong and healthy natural resources. That is why it's crucial our sustainable resources are maintained at healthy levels, with an awareness of the destruction that can result from short term and short-sighted profit making schemes. A company known as Aqua Bounty has taken genes from an eel-like creature called an ocean pout, mixed those with growth hormones of a Chinook (King) salmon and "fired" the mix into the DNA strand of another salmon breed, the Atlantic salmon. These genes have to be fired into the DNA strand - that is, forced into the strand - in a lab, because left alone in nature they could not mix. That's what "genetic modification" is. It differs completely from natural "cross-breeding", where nature will allow certain genes to mix and in a check against harmful variations, derails mixes of incompatible genes. When the genetic modification process is done in a laboratory, it is imprecise. The genes forced into the strand may end up in places on the strand where they can interfere with other functions of the DNA - in ways not always immediately apparent - which can result in long term health problems for those who eat these genetically modified products. That's the health risk of consuming the product itself - known serious risks to stomach, kidneys, and other key organs, severe allergies.... But that is not the only risk posed by this particular product. In this case, the result is a creature that looks like a salmon, but that just eats and eats, through out its life, and grows and grows, reaching maturity in 16-18 months (unlike wild salmon in our fisheries who follow a natural cycle of feeding and growing seasonally and take almost 3 times that to mature). Aqua Bounty already grows eggs from their manufactured "fish". Their plan is to produce millions, and sell them. To someone else. After that, someone else is responsible for making sure these fish don't escape. Aqua Bounty says their eggs are sterile, but even their own documents cannot guarantee that they are 100% sterile . They also can't guarantee that the fish when mature will stay sterile. They have not always been truthful about their facility's proximity to open streams , and cannot guarantee "fish" will not escape from the many millions of fish grown from Panama-produced eggs Aqua Bounty plans to sell to fish farms all over the world. What does this mean to us here in the Pacific Northwest - to Washington, Alaska, Canada, Oregon, and Northern California - where wild runs are a lifeblood of our region? It means that - if all previous history is any indication - if these fish are allowed to be produced, they have a 100% likelihood of escaping into wild waters ; cross-contaminating wild runs, and competing with our sustainable and rebuilding wild salmon stocks. These larger GMO fish are also aggressive breeders, yet their offspring is far weaker than the valuable wild salmon species they would displace. This means allowing production of these lab created creatures would mean risking losing our wild salmon so someone could make some quick money. In this case, it's a trans-national corporation, meaning based in more than one country, a smart move if you'd like to take your profits out of this country and save on taxes, and if you don't want to be subject to US regulations. And what happens if this irreversible harm occurs, when local economies and valuable wild salmon runs are affected, and when serious health risks shown with so many other genetically modified foods also crop up with this "fish"? Who takes the hit? When corporations create and market a dangerous product, even if they are found responsible for damages, they can dissolve the corporation, or sell it off, or file for bankruptcy protection. And move on. As far as taking responsibility, there are a lot of promises, but no guarantees. And with no real say in the deal, the public is left holding the bag. One question is, with what's at risk, is this acceptable? The Aqua Bounty company is now lobbying heavily to have their "fish" approved by the Obama Administration. Of interest is the fact that this "fish" was submitted for approval with the FDA under the classification used for "animal drug" instead of the standard one usually used for human "food". The genes of this "fish" are considered by our government to be a drug. Many of the more stringent requirements used for human "food" safety are bypassed. In addition, the FDA itself admits it does not have the resources to do all the testing that might be needed, so when Aqua Bounty claims that the FDA can find no dangers, Aqua Bounty does not mention the FDA itself admits it may not be equipped to adequately examine all the dangers this drug-class product poses as a food. So who loses when this fast growing eating machine finds its way into Washington waters and the waters of Canada and Alaska? That would be us, and our kids. And who wins? The investors of Aqua Bounty can quietly take their money and move on to another scheme, another corporation. Just business. If the Aqua Bounty drug fish is approved, this will be the first genetically modified animal authorized by the U.S. FDA for human consumption. Contrary to much PR info about GMO products, most if not all genetically modified commercial crops now on the market are not modified to resist drought or for other purely humanitarian uses, they are modified to either resist doses of pesticide, or to actually contain pesticide, herbicide, or both. Some in mainstream agriculture have declared problems resulting from GMO crops a threat, as their use creates a cycle of "superpests" and "superweeds" and a cycle of increased pesticide and herbicide use . The largest of the GMO companies, Monsanto, also produces the pesticides , in addition to controlling companies which produce pharmaceuticals , some of which are to treat serious allergies and problems associated with chemical exposure. In recent years, the Gates Foundation has purchased large numbers of shares (500,000) in Monsanto. The Gates Foundation placed a former Monsanto executive to head foundation programs advocating planting of GMO crops in Africa . Genetically modified crops have had devastating failures in recent years, in many countries, but the use of these crops for "humanitarian purposes" opens up the markets for the lucrative marketingof GMO crops in these same countries. The main motivator for the push for genetic modification of animals for market production is similar - to create a return for investors. Contact Yes on 522 , the Go Wild Campaign/ eatwildfish@aol.com , the FDA and your state senators if you would like a say in this. If you would like to have food being sold to you which is "genetically modified" to be labeled - as it already is in a number of countries - (64)- around the world - you can tell Washington state by voting for 522.

Mountain Bike Tours Chiang Mai Thailand
Mountain Bike Tours Chiang Mai Thailand

Thu, 5 Sep 2013 So it has been awhile since I have been updating my Blog. With Facebook, Google+ and whatever else there is out there I try and maintain for my business Discovery Sea Kayaks , it is hard to do much more. But I decided I wanted to reopen the use of my Blog to inform readers on all kinds of news, events and even some of my business going's on. I would like to start by introducing Discovery Adventure Tours or DAT as we call it around the shop. DAT is a new business name that was developed to start diversifying the types of adventure tours we want to offer. So Discovery Sea Kayak and DAT will be owned and operated by the same good folks, Richard Swanson and Jason Gunter. The new name just made sense to add other types of adventures. The first project DAT is taking on is Downhill Mountain Bike Tours in northern Thailand. We will be there this winter offering 5 day vacation packages for those looking to get out on steep terrain and get loose on their mountain bikes. So how did this all come about? Over the past couple of years I started riding my bike again. I kind of dove in head first and can't get enough of it. A good buddy of mine, Colin Blevins, was the right influence on me when it came to getting on the trails. Colin is a long time island resident that spends a lot of his time on the go traveling around the world. He has been leading trips in Asia for a long time. One day on the trail he mentioned he was going back to Thailand to ride. The gears started turning in my head and told I was down to go if he didn't mind. He was more than happy to have someone tag along. So before I knew I had a plane ticket and excited to ride a new location. Colin has long had a dream of running bike tours around the world. It did not take me long to start seeing how this would be a great thing as well. Though I concentrate my efforts sea kayaking off the coast of Washington state. The recent reemergence of mountain biking in my life gave me the perspective I needed to start DAT. Colin has been brought in as the team leader and is working with me as an integral part of DAT Mountain Bike Project in Chiang Mai. It is a long term project and Colin will be in the foundation and every other step of the way. If you are a mountain biker looking for steep terrain and want to get away from the winter in the US or Canada, this is the cure for you. Check out the DAT site http://discoveryadventuretours.com/

Sunset Kayak Tour with Discovery Sea Kayaks
Sunset Kayak Tour with Discovery Sea Kayaks

Thu, 5 Sep 2013 Earlier in the season I was able to spend some time on the water with videographer Chris West. Today he sent me the video he developed from his time on the water with Discovery Sea Kayaks. If you have never been to San Juan Island or have been here but not on a kayak tour. You might want to check out the video. Some really great footage and images of town. Here is a fun still shot from the evening paddle.

Mountain Bike Chiang Mai Thailand
Mountain Bike Chiang Mai Thailand

Mon, 29 Jul 2013 Last year I traveled with my good friend Colin Blevins to Chiang Mai Thailand. We had one goal in mind, find fast and fun single track. What we found was a thriving local bike community, great food and the single track we were hoping for. Early in the year Colin and I started riding together frequently and Colin would mention the idea of heading back to Thailand to find more single track to ride. Colin has been traveling in Thailand for the last several years and had a bit of experience with some of the trails. On many of our rides I would just toss out that I was in for the adventure myself. Not sure if either one of us was taking me seriously. Well my kayak season was nearing its end and it was time to make it happen or not. I figured it out and bought a plane ticket. It felt a little head first since I have never flow anywhere with my bike before. But Colin had a good plan and I was confident. So we both purchased flights via Korean Air and we decided we wanted to try and take our bikes apart and pack them in our luggage and simply check them on the plane. With Korean Air we were allowed 2 checked bags and 2 carry on bags. I opted for The North Face Rolling Thunder (Large) and Colin picked up a Dakine bag. Both bags looked up to the challenge. Our second checked parcel was a cardboard wheel box. We completely disassembled our bikes and had no problem packing the frames in our bags. The wheel boxes tuned into the holding tank for what ever parts we could pack into them without exceeding 50 pounds. Lots of Gorilla Tape was used to secure the closure of the boxes. Our bags with our frames were then packed with whatever clothing we thought we would need. The bags actually had plenty of room. Weight was the limiting factor. After checking over the shared google doc spreadsheet we agreed we had everything we should need and maybe a bit more. Once at the airport things went really smooth. Bags were pretty much right on the dot for weight and they were check in and ready to go. It was nice to get that over with and know/hope they were on their way to Thailand. All in all the travel to Chiang Mai went great. We had great flights and no delays and arrive right on time. On the ground we were happy to see our bags pop up on the conveyor belt. Colin's girlfriend was already in Chiang Mai, as she was there working on new clothing designs for her business back in Friday Harbor, Wa. She met us at the airport and had secured a room in the apartment building on the same floor as the room she and Colin were sharing. This was the start of a month long trip to seek out fast single track. The first morning we built our bikes and went out for a bite to eat. Then it was time to hit the streets on bikes to ride out of town to Doi Suthep. Rising to around 1,676 meters (5498 feet), it was not hard to located where we needed to go. We actually have a great view of the mountain from our apartment. The street riding is an adventure in its own. At first I was skeptical about jumping into what seemed a chaotic push of traffic with cars, trucks and motorbikes. But once you make the move into the traffic it is amazingly less chaotic than it seems. There is an unseen rhythm that you notice once you join the flow. Finally we reached the base of the mountain and given the objective of the trip, finding steep single track, the plan was to hire a Song Tao (taxi truck) to drive us to the upper parts of the mountain. This process in itself has some excitement. But dealing with the drives day after day becomes a bit tiresome. There never seems to be much of a consistent rate and wait times are variable. The first trail we rode was the Bamboo Trail. Yea I will admit I had no idea what I was in for and honestly the Bamboo Trail on day one kind of beat me down. But it was a super fun single track ride though dense jungle to thick strands of bamboo. The trail, looking back, is more all mountain style riding, which is right up my alley. I was riding a 2010 Specialized Enduro Expert and Colin was on his Transition TR 250. I have to say the TR 250 was more up to the challenge than the Enduro. So Day One was short and eye opening. The days that followed we continued the routine of traffic ride out to the mountain. Then the Song Tao hustle to get a ride up the mountain. Along the way we met some other riders traveling the area. Then one day on the way out a guy pulls over ahead of us and asked if we were headed to the mountain. We stopped and told him what we were up to and he was on his way to do the same. He told us to ride to the park and his buddies were there and have their own shuttle setup for getting to the mountain. We said sure and pedaled on. Arriving at the park we were a bit surprised to see the rigs these guys were riding. Everyone one had big bikes with dual crown forks. We sat around and made some introductions and for a small fee for gas that everyone pitches in, we were on our way up the mountain. First stop the Bamboo Trail and I was a bit intimidated by all the DH bikes and the amount of body armor everyone was putting on. I remember asking Colin if we were all riding the same trails. Well these guys are local and know the trails very well. So they were riding with speed I could only visualize and not achieve at the moment. Plus the Bamboo Trail was just the mellow warm up for what was to come for the day. The day was good and lots of new trails discovered thanks to our local hosts. All the guys were great. Jay was the one who stopped us and the rest of the guys were super nice too. Note was another great guy we met in the group and given I speak no Thai and he could speak English. Well it was easy to get to know him. He is a super friendly guy and we stay in touch today. Actually we are going to be doing some work with Note in 2013, but more on that later. So what does a day of riding looking like? After reaching the top of the mountain we take steep descents through the jungle and end at small little village areas where there is always time for Thai Tea or some other yummy treat. Then back to the shuttle and to the top of the mountain. Another crazy fun and challenging run down the mountain and another village and time for lunch. The process repeats till you cannot hold on to the bars anymore. Trails are steep and some long. Some of the longer trails were a good solid hour and a half of down. Trails are a mix of steep rock gardens, deep ruts that create plenty of hazards and the occasional slippery jungle mud. Every second on the trail is exhilarating and challenging. Ending the day walking the city streets and finding amazing places to eat. Then back to the apartment for late night beer on the balcony listening to the bustle of the city. From exploring steeps in the jungle to traversing the city on foot. This is a trip of a lifetime. Great people and great riding. I was there for a month and was not ready to leave when my time was up. Though I had good reason to get home and take care of some personal events. I was still sad to leave the city. Yea I was leaving a bit beat up from one of many crashes on the trail, but yet a bit wiser and faster on the bike. The trade off seems worth it. The news today. Spending a decade operating a successful kayak guiding service on San Juan Island in Washington state, Discovery Sea Kayaks. I have decided to give mountain biking a try. Its a perfect complement to the kayak season. My summers spent operating Discovery Sea Kayaks and winter in Thailand. So I launched Discovery Adventure Tours (DAT). My business partner Richard was super excited and supportive of the concept so its officially moving forward. Colin Blevins is being brought in at the ground building level of DAT. Colin brings his savvy travel knowledge of Southeast Asia, expert bike skills and over all great attitude to the team. We are very excited about the project and hope that we can generate a small amount of energy and get people on the trails. We are working closely with our local friend Note. Note will be a big part of making things come together and we are excited to all be working together. The new DAT site will launch in the next couple of weeks. So if your interested give me a call at my Discovery Sea Kayaks office, 360.378.2559. We have dates starting early as November.

Waterview Acreage with Barn
Waterview Acreage with Barn

Thu, 25 Jul 2013 This is a special property. Views from the building site go from east to west, taking in Whidbey Island, the Olympics and Victoria BC. Four bedroom septic system installed (2005) and a 35 gpm private well. Stocked trout pond with automatic feeder and windmill to aerate the pond. 1728 square foot barn with unfinished 576 sq ft loft. For more information click here and then click on the MLS#

High Haro-Westside San Juan Island
High Haro-Westside San Juan Island

Tue, 23 Jul 2013 West side water view acreage in exclusive neighborhood. Sunny and private, 4.64 acre parcel ready to build. Beautiful foliage and wildlife, western views across the Haro Straits. Watch the shipping and boating activity by day and the lights of Vancouver Island by night. Driveway to building site. Close to Whale Watch Park and County Park (boat launch). For more information, click here

Once more unto the breach
Once more unto the breach

Thu, 4 Jul 2013 …click to listen: …about the music Music with a splash. Tweet The only thing cuter than an Orca breaching, Is a baby orca breaching, trying to keep up with mom! At least, I think so.

Mt Baker as seen from the San Juan Islands
Mt Baker as seen from the San Juan Islands

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 A growing collection of images of Mt. Baker as seen from the San Juan Islands. Enjoy.

Sketching around the Island
Sketching around the Island

Tue, 25 Jun 2013

Reception Only Invitations
Reception Only Invitations

Tue, 11 Jun 2013

Still heading north, Arizona to Utah to Idaho
Still heading north, Arizona to Utah to Idaho

Sat, 25 May 2013 We are still heading North but taking our time and trying to remember that we are still professional tourists not just travelers. After our last blog we spent one night at Chinle Arizona and then to Goosenecks State Park in Southern Utah where we spent 3 nights 1000' above the San Juan river. Dick was not able to to get the coach and the river in one frame. He did get a picture from inside the coach looking down where you can see the river on the right and left of this shot. Looking over the edge we saw a lot of trash that, let us say, blew over the edge. Dick got out our ladder to go over the edge with garbage bags and cleaned up most of the area that he could safely do. He needed to take a break and view the boats on the river. If you go back to the first picture you can see where he went over the edge. Or not. Taking a ride one day in Glenns Canyon National Recreation Area near Goosenecks we got to a point where we were sure there was not a road. Can you find our Jeep in the lower right corner? We did make it to the end of the road about 15 miles to a beautiful small spring and valley. A view of Monument Valley Arizona/Utah off in the distance. From Goosenecks State Park we headed to Horsethief Campground on BLM property just outside of Canyonlands National Park. We spent 3 nights there dry camping, rockhounding, visiting friends in the area and playing tourist. A view looking down into the canyon. A little away from the edge to get a shot of us for our kids. From Moab area we headed to southern Salt Lake City because we had electrical problems with the Coach. We contacted GENERAL RV CENTER Draper Utah and they told us they would would find a way to check out our problem the next morning (Friday). We figured that they would have to order parts and we would be stuck there for a week or more. They did a great job finding and fixing our problem in a little over an hour and it cost us less than $150. Great job General RV center. We got out of there in time to travel over 200 miles to find our favorate camp site empty and waiting for us. We stayed 5 nights at Angel Creek campground in the Ruby Mountains. Just a beautiful place to sit and relax before heading North again.  From there we needed to dump tanks and do laundry so we headed to Hagerman Idaho where we spent two nights and did a little sightseeing. We decided to take a ride at this park that was just being completed. Dick on the horse... And Jackie decided to ride one of the sheep. To be continued...

Working from the Model
Working from the Model

Tue, 14 May 2013 Ink & Watercolor on navigation charts.Working from life at the Arts Student League of New York.

Sunset Crater N.M., Wupatki N.M. and Walnut Canyon N.M.
Sunset Crater N.M., Wupatki N.M. and Walnut Canyon N.M.

Fri, 10 May 2013 It was finally time to start our trek North to spend the summer in Washington State with our family. We plan a slow trip with lots of sight-seeing on the way. Our first stop was Williams Arizona at an RV park. Nothing exciting there so only one night. Looking over the maps of the area Jackie found 3 National Monuments that we have not visited and with a little more research we found Bonito Campground just outside of Sunset Crater N.M. It was a forest service campground with only dry camping but paved roads and lots of trees. We backed into site 10 figuring this would give us the most sun (solar) during the day and then spent three days hiking all three of the N.M. Our first stop was Sunset Crater N.M. where it had erupted sometime between 1040 and 1100. The side of the mountain and the surrounding areas for miles is now all cinders. But there is also the remains of lava flow. Nasty, nasty with all sharp edges, don't want to fall here. Jackie peaking around a large flow of lava. Wupatki N.M. consists of several areas of ruins dating back to around 1100 AD. Our first stop was at Wukoki Pueblo. Then it was off to the Visitor Center and a tour of Wupatki Pueblo with over 100 rooms and thousands of people living in the area at one time. Our last stop was Walnut Canyon N.M. where the dwellings were located both on the upper surface and also along the cliff. It was over 200 steps down to the Island Trail--we were just a little sore the next day! A lot of the canyon walls had very unique erosion that just had to be photographed. These were three great National Monuments, not to be missed. To be continued...

Spring Newsletter & Teacher Appreciation Week!
Spring Newsletter & Teacher Appreciation Week!

Mon, 22 Apr 2013 Well our school year is slowly coming to an end but there is still so much to look forward to! Coming up in May we have Teacher Appreciation Week from May 6-10. There is a lot of opportunities to help out this week! We are looking for volunteers to donate food for the Teachers Breakfast on May 10th and the Teachers Lunch on May 7th . If you are interested please email Ryan @ ryanmccullough@me.com. We also have Bring Your Teacher a Flower Day on May 8th . The FHES PTA is accepting orders for Carnations for your child to give to the teacher. The flowers are $2 a piece and we just need the child's name, teachers name and money turned in with your kid by Monday April 29th .There is a slip you can cut off at the bottom of the newsletter that went home last week! Also coming up at the end of May is an assembly and workshops sponsored by the PTA called VIOLIN ROCKS . This will be held on May 31st and June 1st. There will be 2 evening performances and a portion of the proceeds with go to the Arts program. Keep your eyes peeled for our next month Newsletter with plenty of more information on this exciting event. And here is our most recent newsletter with more detailed information on Teacher Appreciation Week and other upcoming events. Thank you for all of your support!

FHES Principal Candidate Interviews
FHES Principal Candidate Interviews

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 A parent/community presentation opportunity for each finalist will take place at 6:00 in the FHES Library. We will have finalists come to the district individually (one day per finalist) and spend their time getting to know us and for us to get to know them better. Each leader brings a great deal of insight and leadership to the role of principal and to public education. Here are the finalists and their interview dates: * Jerry Bauer: Monday, March 25. Mr. Bauer has served in the role of elementary school principal in Montana and in Wisconsin. He is currently working in the Education Department at Montana State University. * Diane Ball: Thursday, March 28. Mrs. Ball served nearly 20 years at an elementary teacher in the Conway School District in Skagit County. She is currently in her ninth year as an Assistant Principal in the Marysville School District. * Matthew Holshouser : Friday March 29. Mr. Holshouser is an experienced elementary school teacher and is currently serving as an Assistant Principal in Livingston, Montana.

Please post new questions to www.NorthwestAnswers.com
Please post new questions to www.NorthwestAnswers.com

Thu, 24 Jan 2013 Notice, this message board is officially closed.. please post your questions to the new ( and easier to use ) message board at www.NorthwestAnswers.com

Re: Wheelchair access
Re: Wheelchair access

Wed, 9 Jan 2013 Sorry to reply to this question so late.... here is a list of things to do and businesses that wheelchair accessible in the San Juan Islands: http://www.sanjuandirectory.com/about_the_islands/short-list-of-ada-complianthandicapwheelchair-acce.shtml

More Hurricane Sandy Info
More Hurricane Sandy Info

Sat, 3 Nov 2012 OK, you are downright sick and tired of no electricity or gas by now. You are cold, have thrown food away, can't get gas for your generators and are downright pissed because you see several hundred power company trucks from all over the country parked in your local Walmart or Kmart. They are playing cards, barbecuing and drinking beer. Why the hell are they not out there making my power go on? Here's the deal: These folks arrived from some other state. Someone has to coordinate efforts to tell them where to go, what to fix and when to fix it. Because you are a union state, they can only work so many hours in any 24. You are not allowing non union companies from out of state to volunteer. They drove a long way for nothing. Anyway, some poor SOB has to communicate with all of them, give them driving directions to somewhere in a city they have never been in, work with equipment they have never seen with folks they do not know. And their workers have to work together. They can't just walk up to some pole and rewire it. We know you are pissed. We Katrina survivors went through it. We watched the guys try to work as fast as they could with live wires. Please try to understand. I know it's hard. But they are doing their best.

Surviving Hurricane Sandy
Surviving Hurricane Sandy

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 I survived Hurricane Katrina. I know it was 7 years ago that Katrina hit, but when a storm runs away with your house and all its contents, you remember. Trust me, you remember. Now many of you are trying to survive after the biggest storm so far this decade. I learned a few things 7 years ago. I would like to share them and just maybe they could help you. First call FEMA. Program in it your phone. 1- 800-621- FEMA (3362) When you finally get through and it will take many tries and hours on hold. They will give you a case number. Do not ever forget it. Have your homeowners insurance declarations page . Never put it down. Have it with you at all times. This dictates what you can collect. Same with your flood insurance. Anyway, give that info to FEMA. The 'decs' page determines how you will make it through the next few months. You will become as familiar with 'decs' as I am. In fact, you will learn an entirely new language. Get a small spiral bound notebook or use whatever you have to start making notes. Every phone call you make, write down what time it was, who you spoke with and what happened. You will not remember even if you think you will. Write it down. Take pictures. Lots of photos. And then take more. Write down what they are and when they were taken. You will need them when dealing with your claims adjuster. Go to your insurance agent's office. They do not have a claims adjustor there. That guy comes later. But often the insurance agency will give you an advance based on your future claim. FEMA may also deposit money in your checking account, no questions asked. They did after Katrina. You can use that money and the advance from your insurance company to pay immediate needs. Even though you may not be able to work, all those bills still need to be paid. You may not have a phone or electric or gas, but all those companies want to be paid. Chances are your cell phone company will give you a few free months. Ask. It's also possible your mortgage company will suspend payment for a couple of months. You still have to make payments to catch up. They won't just tack the lost payments onto the end of the mortgage, but at least you can catch your breath for a month or so. Your insurance company will send a claims adjustor to your home. This man or woman is NOT your friend. His job is to NOT pay your claim or to pay the very least possible. Be strong, be adamant and do not accept his first offer to pay damages. Do accept an advance if you have to pay for something immediately, like tree removal perhaps. If you are not familiar with current constructions costs, find someone who is. Even if you have to pay someone who does professional estimating. Find a person who has been an estimator, not someone who became one a day or so and after the storm. Churches and local helping agencies may help you meet your immediate needs. They will give you food, water and ice. They also have mops and buckets on hand. They may even volunteer to help you clean up at your house, but if you are homosexual, butch up and do not mention that. You will lose that mop or bucket if they find out or suspect. Or they may run out of water and ice when you drive up. Do not hire anyone who knocks on your door and tells you they can fix your roof or driveway or walls or anything else. Chances are they will overcharge you and possibly just take your money are run. Use trusted companies you know. Or check the company at the BBB or even online review can help. Do not use an out of state contractor for anything. They only came to get a piece of your insurance money. They really don't care if they do any work or not. Watch out for price gougers at gasoline stations, grocery stores or hardware stores. If prices seem outrageous, call your state attorney general and report it. It does and will happen. I could write dozens more pages here. If you have specific questions, I will be glad to answer them here. Good luck and write everything down. I survived

My Class work
My Class work

Thu, 18 Oct 2012

Lynn Perrella and Anne Bagby in Friday Harbor.
Lynn Perrella and Anne Bagby in Friday Harbor.

Thu, 18 Oct 2012 This class was a dream come true.  A four day workshop with two of my favorite artists in the Mixed Media world.  Anne's art was published in one of the first issues of Somerset Magazine about 17 years ago.  My mom use to sent me the new issues because you could not get it on the island or on the surrounding towns off island.  Her art work was breath taking.   I managed to take her class at Artfest in 2004 and learned so much from her then.  Lynnes teaching the next year at Artfest rocked me to the core.  I wanted to create art like Lynn when I went into the class but by the time the class was over I emerged wanting to do art like Rhonda! This time around, 8 years later, I learned just as much from both of them and they were here.  I met great people in class and will have some new friendships because of the love of mixed media art collage.   If you have the oppurtunity to teach or to take any workshops here check out Jan Murphys Wild at Heart Studio Workshops.  She does an excellant job of putting it all together.  

Once on the Motor bike
Once on the Motor bike

Mon, 1 Oct 2012 Paramedics make flight as the disc sails over storage past mini malls I ride to the top of Franc Street where she, continuing her ascent-- makes a mistep in not telling you how nice it is to sleep next to you not because you're warm but that you don't mind being close sirens singing during the harvest moon's climb to glory

Pond Design, Continued
Pond Design, Continued

Sun, 16 Sep 2012 Let's keep showing pond design solutions. I know it seems simple just to dig a hole and fill it with water and in many ways it is, but making that pond fit where it's dug is as different as the people who will live with the pond in the garden. This client had a long, narrow back yard. He wanted to hear waterfall noise. In fact, he installed a baby monitor outside the bedroom window so he could hear the sounds inside while going to sleep. This pond is 22' long and about 8' wide. I built a hill in the yard, so we could put a path behind the pond and it could be viewed from 'behind the set'. Of course, that meant there was no 'behind the set', so I used plants on both sides of the path to cover the back of the waterfall where the tubes and hoses are and against the wall that formed the back of his yard. You can see both waterfalls. For some reason two waterfalls worked better than one long one. This pond was mainly in the shade so the plant palette had to be specific to shade plants. Notice the ferns and even a croton in back of the waterfall. Putting plants behind a waterfall and in front of a fence solves two problems: Covers the back of the waterfall and separates the pond from the fence. One of the biggest mistakes DIY pond builders make is to back the pond right up against the fence. Water does not come out of fences and we can't figure out why we don't like the way it looks. Put plants in between and you will suddenly like your waterfall more. Visit my website at pondlady.com . Visit us with your pond questions or just to show off your pond. To learn more about pond design read my book. A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond, available here http:// ow.ly/btFJQ Learn to build your own pond.

George and Martha: Lake Steven’s Resident Eagles
George and Martha: Lake Steven’s Resident Eagles

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 George and Martha Lake Stevens, Washington August 19th, 2012 Last month I was deeply saddened when I found out that one of our Lake Stevens resident eagles, affectionately known as George and Martha, was killed by a lightning strike in a 125ft tree near the lake.  The news reports had said that a bald eagle was found in the rubble of a tree that was struck by lightning at about 9am July 13th and that a juvenile eagle was spotted in a tree close by.  They believe that the juvenile was the offspring of the adult eagle which made the news even more heartbreaking. For years I (and many other Lake Stevens residents) have become quite attached to George and Martha. They can be seen everyday flying around the lake, sitting near their nests and flying with their babies. I have been photographing them whenever the opportunity arises for the past few years, but this pair of bald eagles have lived in the Lake Stevens community since around 1991. Every year they have babies and every year they can be seen teaching their babies to fly. They have become beloved residents of Lake Stevens. My mother recently moved into a home across the street from the lake and is lucky enough to see them daily flying over the lake and right over her house. Everytime I’m there we watch them soar above sometimes diving into the water with their babies or hunting. In 1996 a group of lake Stevens citizens formed a non profit group and purchased  the land  just below their massive nest on Lundeen Drive to protect the area from development. Funds were raised by various individuals including a ‘Save the Eagle Land’ penny drive by students in the Lake Stevens School District. A 15 acre “Eagle Ridge Park” was then created with special lookout points to observe George and Martha and an area for motorists to pull over so they can view the eagles when they are perched in their cottonwood tree. To honor our longtime eagle residents the city commisioned an artist in 2010 to create an art piece to be  displayed in the newest roundabout on Lundeen Parkway which is very close to their nest. George and Martha are now immortalized in a beautiful sculpture which was made of metal and stainless steel. The two eagles are soaring together over a mountain peak. As you can see these two long time resident bald eagles have made a great impact on the city of Lake Stevens and the news of the dead eagle quickly spread around the community. Facebook was exploding with posts about it and people were talking about wherever I went. I really hope the city does something special to memoralize our eagle. We still don’t know whether it was George or Martha who perished and probably won’t know for a long while. According to Doug Zimmer of the Western Washington Fish and Wildlife office,  “When an eagle dies, the carcass is sent to The National Eagle Repository, northeast of Denver, Colo. The eagle is examined to confirm the cause of its death and then parts of the bird are shipped to Native Americans”. (Everett Herald) The most heartbreaking part for me is knowing that eagles mate for life. What will happen to the eagle that was left behind?  *There is an Eagle Hotline in Lake Stevens which is used to report eagle sightings or unusual activities. Eagle Hotline (Marlene Sweet) 425-335-3400 KING 5 News Report   http://www.king5.com/news/local/Lightning-near-Lake-Stevens-destroys-tree-kills-bald-eagle-162375946.html

Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive
Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive

Sat, 16 Jun 2012 Another National Park to check off our list the other day. Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive was a beautiful trip. It follows the crest of the Blue Ridge mountains for 105 miles but we only traveled about 2/3 of it before dropping off the the 3500 foot elevation and heading back home. We will let you enjoy the pictures. Mountain Laural and other beautiful flowers were in full bloom all through the Park. We are now in Seffner Florida making another change in our lives so maybe next week we will share some pictures of our new home. Looks like we will start our move next Tuesday. To be continued...

Finlayson Peak
Finlayson Peak

Sun, 10 Jun 2012 New favorite Island ride, about 10 miles from our home. Beaches and Hilltops!

Red Rhodys
Red Rhodys

Mon, 21 May 2012 Short but sweet blooming season

Big Moon
Big Moon

Mon, 7 May 2012

Turn N Burn
Turn N Burn

Sat, 5 May 2012 Kenzie wants to Race Barrels

Open House and Plant Sale
Open House and Plant Sale

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 Come out this Saturday the 21st of April and the following Saturday the 28th for our annual open house and plant sale. We have a ton of great garden ready starts and we'll have the wood oven fired up cranking out some great pizza. Jp and the OK rythym Boys will be playing at noon. Come on out and see what your farmers are up to. Farmer John

Rabbit Rabbit
Rabbit Rabbit

Sun, 1 Apr 2012 Happy April! Sheesh is it wet. We have not been able to do as much as we would like to be but we are making progress. This spring appears to be even more wet/cold than last however I think we are doing better job dealing with it than we did last year. We've maxed out our greenhouses with both crops in the ground and newly sown flats. We've been able to get a few things in the ground outside such as leeks, onions, lettuce and Asian salad greens greens. we did get a few potatoes in however not in a traditional manner. Since it's been so wet we took to planting spuds above ground and are covering them in hay mulch. We'll see how well it works. I had a nice chat with a fellow farmer the other day. So great to bounce ideas back and forth. She's doing no-till which is something I've been thinking about. The above mentioned potato plot is a start. We have one field in particular that is very wet that could be a good candidate for further exploration of this idea. My computer acting up, gotta go. Farmer John

It Could Happen
It Could Happen

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 What a nice sunny day we had yesterday. Earlier in the week it stayed fairly dry and was quite windy. Things actually dried out quite a bit. If we could link a few days like this together we'd be able to get into the field and prep some ground. Fortunately we have a couple of dry areas that we have been able to plant into. We're also thankful for our greenhouse space. It's kept us in salad greens during this difficult time of year we commonly refer to as the dirth. Over-wintered crops are done and new crops are struggling with the cold wet ground. It is officially spring though and things will begin to change fast. We'll still be spending most of our time in the greenhouse houses but hopefully by this weekend we'll have our dry field completely planted out. We have a few beds of leeks in there now and we'll be adding peas, favas, greens and onions, maybe a bed of radishes and beets if we have room. It's going to be a slow start again, pretty much what we've become accustomed to. We're actually using row cover (agribon) again after many years of not. I hate it but this time of year it can really make a big difference. It's practically impossible to keep on in the spring winds though. I'll keep it short today. More to come as we progress. Farmer John

***RACHEL’S CHALLENGE***
***RACHEL’S CHALLENGE***

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 You are invited… Wednesday - 2/8/12 We are excited to bring Rachel’s Challenge to Friday Harbor on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Sponsored by the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition with generous donations from the San Juan Island Community Foundation, Minor Reinforcement, FHES PTA, FHMS PTSA and FHHS PTSA. In kind donation by FH Presbyterian Church/Lighthouse Preschool. These Rachel’s Challenge programs will be free to our community! Please thank our sponsors for their contribution . A full day of age appropriate school assemblies start at 9:45am at FHES (Elementary) K-5 th grades and 12 noon at FHMS (Middle School) Commons 6 th -8 th grades (Our local private schools are invited to attend each age appropriate assembly at the public school assemblies and have a team training session, please contact Debbi at 378-9479 for details.) Peer-to-peer training session, 1:25pm at FHMS Commons (100 6 th -8 th grade students and teachers/parents) 1 ½ hours long Food for Thought Program prepares a “Family Friendly” Dinner starts 5:15pm in FHHS (High School) Commons, donation suggested at the door. More information to come… Childcare at Lighthouse Preschool/FH Presbyterian Church, drop off starts at 5:30pm, pick up by 7:45pm. Age limit: 3 years and older. Light snacks offered on location. Space is limited. Please note, the evening presentation is not appropriate for children under 7 years of age. Rachel’s Challenge Community Evening Presentation, starts at 6:15pm in FHMS-Middle School Commons. This powerful hour will be geared for adults and teens of our community. During the presentation, riveting audio/video footage of Rachel’s Challenge will help to capture the power one act of kindness can have and the chain reaction it can cause! Come hear Rachel’s story like millions of others have… And, learn how we, as a community, can help support our youth. BE THE ONE! www.rachelschallenge.org for more information. If you have questions or would like to volunteer with the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition, please call our office at 378-9683 or email prevention@centurytel.net

Top 10 places to picnic in the San Juan Islands
Top 10 places to picnic in the San Juan Islands

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 Load up your picnic basket with the finest cheese, breads, fruits and wines and proceed to these fantastic places to picnic right here in the San Juan Islands.

Painting the Figure, Long Pose, Class
Painting the Figure, Long Pose, Class

Sat, 14 Jan 2012 Our winter painting class is off to a GREAT start! We have 2 sessions going, a Thursday night session and a Sunday morning group. Our models are holding the same pose for 2 weeks, giving us an opportunity to develop a painting, but mostly to increase our ability to LOOK. The first week we drew with pencil to get a feel for the pose then we switched into simple painting with burnt umber. By the end of the night we had the figure established on the canvas with the light and dark areas blocked in. This first look at form made our job the second week a lot easier when we started to apply color. The first thing we did was make corrections by looking at our paintings backwards with a small hand mirror. Next we laid out a simple palette of colors, cad yellow medium, cad red light, french blue, cobalt blue ,burnt umber and white. I would have liked to have had yellow ochre as well but didn't. I started in the shadows, cooling off my flesh tones with a mild mix of cobalt blue into my flesh colors of white, cad yellow and a pinch of cad red light. After I laid in shadow colors, I started to address the flesh colors in light, which was most of this portrait, I had flat lighting being set up beind the light. As the night went on, the models face became a touch redder in color, I liked to be able to add as much red and other colors as possible to the face. Demo in the sunday morning class, setting up the palette and starting by premixing some colors.

Seed Saving Workshop!
Seed Saving Workshop!

Wed, 7 Dec 2011 Seed Saving Workshop! December 12th at Skagit Valley College Friday Harbor Campus on San Juan Island, you can learn the basic skills to start saving seed on your farm. Seed can be a valuable crop for sale or on-farm use. It also holds important implications for crop conservation and food security, but growing seed successfully requires a basic understanding of seed biology and production techniques. Micaela Colley from the Port Townsend-based Organic Seed Alliance will combine a class lecture with hands-on demonstrations with topics including selecting crops, harvest techniques, and seed cleaning skills. Thanks to a grant from the USDA this class is offered for a low cost of $10. Pre-registration is not required, but is available. To save a spot, contact Candace Jagel at 360-370-7664 or candace_jagel@wsu.edu . Thanks Candace and WSU Extension Office for putting together this learning opportunity! We are so lucky! Organic Seed Alliance is wonderful. Anyone who has seen "Food Inc" or read or or experienced what is happening to our seed supplies and our nation's small farmers knows how important it is to protect and nurture the earth's seed supply - please take a look and see even just a little of what they do. You can support or become a part of the Alliance by going by going Here. You can also find some really great holiday gifts at this spot, believe it or not!

CHECK OUT HOBBES' NEW BLOG!!
CHECK OUT HOBBES' NEW BLOG!!

Sun, 4 Dec 2011 San Juan Island vegetable farmer and cook Hobbes Buchanan Check out this new blog (click here) from great cook and SJ Island vegetable farmer Hobbes Buchanan. Part of Mr. Buchanan's bio: "Trained in the art of cooking for 22 years by Chef Jacquelyn Buchanan, N.E. (nutrition expert). I've gained experience at the following restaurants in the San Francisco/Bay Area: Post Street Bar & Cafe, Hayes Street Grill, and General's Daughter (Sonoma County). I sold my vegetables to many of the most successful restaurants in San Francisco and Sonoma and Napa Valleys..." Check our sidebar for other great island blogs from other local producers. including Thousand Flowers Farm . Matt's Fresh Fish , and the adventures of hunter-gatherer Eleanor, manager Anna, and many others in Eleanor's Letters from the San Juan Island Community Co Op .