Thursday, August 16, 2012


The next few days here are going to be very warm.  I realize for us that means something far less then the 100˚ plus temps some people have experienced for weeks, but hey - we do have the ocean waters that help cool things down.  Call it the luck of geography.

I was born here, and only managed to move far enough from north Seattle to land on an island.  LUCK!!!

As it turns out.

We have our issues here - lack of nightlife, for instance - but I must say the pros are outweighing the cons these days.  It rained like mad while the rest of the country sweltered... my garden is happy.  It's blazing hot now (haha), and the plants are loving it - we will soon have beans and even more zukes coming out of our ears.  I dug the first small batch of yukon gold potatoes up, and they are quietly aging in the garage.

I swear, I'm going to till up the majority of the yard next year for more garden action.  We could maybe even have a corn maze!  As long as you don't mind walking in a straight line...

Here's some nice cooling water to help you through the hot days.  Enjoy!

Cooling waters...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pig Roast!

Yes folks, it's that time again here in lovely Oak Harbor - the annual block party and pig roast.  We missed the last two, as we were trapped at the Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival running the music stage - but not this year!  Two years was enough.  We wanted our freedom to attend any old local fest and we got it!  So to the pig roast we went...

The pork cooking operation

Mmmmmmm... look at all of that pork!  This was one of many cookers roasting madly away to cook enough pork for the greedy festival attendees.  We were glad to arrive early!  The line wasn't too long and there was still enough food - last year they ran out, apparently.  Added 500 pounds of pork this year.

The good people of Oak Harbor love a free meal.  They solicit donations to cover the costs, with extra going to local charities.  But payment is not required.  We paid, we're not cads.

The best part of the event is the sampling and voting in the BBQ competition.  There weren't as many entries this year as the last time we made it, but they were good.  I'll be curious to see who wins.  We voted for the Oak Harbor Tavern entry, in honor of Syd who could not attend the pig roast due to obvious conflicts between his nose, mouth, and behavior.  They had a damn good vinegar sauce for their pork.  Maybe not the best plain, but the vinegar sauce was soooooooo good!

Two hot dogs - not fun!

On the topic of dogs... why do people bring their dogs to events like this?  They're no doubt overwhelmed by the crowds, hot, and tempted by the tantalizing pork smells.  It's madness!!!  We will never torment Syd in such a way as this.  It doesn't seem fun at all for the dogs.

New this year was a chalk art competition on Pioneer, down the hill from the pig roast.  It looked like a bit of a failure - poor guy sitting at a table with tonnes of chalk and pretty much nobody participating.  There was this though -


Syd approves.  He always approves when there is any mention of food involved.

Can you blame him?

There is still one reminder of the pig roast lingering on downtown... three days later and this poor deflated sap is still stuck littering up downtown.  Typical...

Wither the pig!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


A few days ago we took the dog for a walk on our favorite beach - and we saw this:

I'm pretty sure this guy was stuck

I'm pretty sure he was stuck.  The path down looked pretty treacherous - and in fact there really wasn't a path.  Just a cliff.  Easy enough to climb up, not so easy to get down.  I worried that when we passed by again he would have fallen and snapped his neck.

But no, he was still sitting in the same spot, and talking on his phone.  I wonder what happened to him?

Nice sandy cross beds, by the way...


This is the 4th year for our backyard garden - it gets bigger and better every year.  I have half a mind to rent a tiller and dig up a big chunk so we can really go big next year.

Might have to anyways, what with rising food prices and all.  But I digress, sort of.

What I really wanted to talk about are the volunteer plants coming up this year, all over the garden!  I have a very unruly garden this year.
The unruly garden

Plants of all sorts coming up randomly here and there!  Sunflowers, borage, snapdragons, feverfew, cosmos, potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins (I think), and squash!  IT'S A FREE FOR ALL!
Ahem.  Sorry, got a bit carried away for a minute.  These things happen when you have a sloppy compost pile.  I've threatened to leave a bit of the garden open next year just to see what comes up.  But back to the here and now, especially the squash plants.

Earlier in the season, I noticed several zucchiniesque plants coming up here and there in the garden.  I decided to let them go and see what kind of trouble they got up to.  Turns out, there's two kinds of trouble.  A couple of the plants have very distinct pumpkin characteristics - long snaking vines, tendrils wrapping around anything nearby... and one of the plants now has a small round yellowish fruit.  We'll see where that one goes.  Unfortunately, the other plant gets stepped on and bumped almost daily because of its location - if it can produce even one fruiting body I'll be thrilled.

But the others... they looked just like zucchini plants!  Just like them!  Until they didn't.

Strange squash growing in the garden near the compost pile

And guess what - they tasted just like zucchinis.  We've eaten them twice, and they were just wonderful.  Michael made stuffed zucchini the other day, and tonight we had zucchini parmigiana.  NOM NOM NOM
The unusual squash from the garden

Looking good so far!

Stuffed frankenzuke success!
In other news... Syd!

Syd resting

The weather has been decent, I'm ready for summer reading to be over, and I only work 10 days in September.  

I suppose I can't complain too much.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Woof!  Woof woof!

Syd Barrett

Yesterday the neighbor brought this lovely doggie over to spend the night in our garage - she found him outside of town and he just jumped right into her car!  They have dogs and cats next door, so no place to put a temporary lodger - thus coming over to ask us.

Well....... let's just say that he didn't spend more than the five seconds it took him to pass through the garage in the garage.  The rest of the night he spent here inside, and this morning we bought a collar, leash, bowls, food, etc... looks like he's here to stay!  I checked Craigslist, and there were no postings for a big lost black dog like this.  I also posted a vague "found" ad.  If he has owners that care about him, they'll need to identify him clearly to get him back.

We're tending toward thinking he may have been abandoned - so many military families have to leave the area and can't take their dogs with them, or these days it could be a foreclosure.  He had no collar, and is very emaciated.  It will take a bit of generous feeding to plump him up - but he'll get there!  After spending a day with him, Michael reports that he has never been walked on a leash, and doesn't really get the concept of play.  We gave him a bath tonight and he still smells a bit, poor fellow!  It's going to take two or three more baths to get rid of his funk.

He's been trained some - he knows sit, and stay.  Still a lot of work to do, but he'll get there eventually, even if he is a bit dim.

We've named him Syd, after Syd Barrett.  He gets a bit confused thinking Syd is "sit."  I posted a "found" listing on Craigslist, and noticed that nobody had reported a lost black dog since Christmas Eve.  I suspect nobody will claim him.

The cat is feeling a bit insulted by it all.  But getting used to Syd's presence.

Kitty reacts to the sudden introduction of a dog in our midst...

I'm on holiday for the next six days.  Life is good!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


It looks as if my photo links make the photos too big.  Oh well.  Can't be bothered to change them, life will just have to go on skew-whiff for a bit.

Day off tomorrow - much looking forward to it!  We finally have some decent weather, and will probably get out to hike on the bluff.  A much needed long walk.

Sunrise, sunset...

Where I live, we have water.  We also have massive oak trees, and colorful skies in the morning and evening.  See for yourself - pictures taken at the beginning and end of today.

Penn Cove in the morning

Another good sunset tonight!

Things like this remind me why I love where I live, and love my life.  Today wasn't the best of days (though not the worst either).  Crappy enough to be of note, however.

This morning, it seemed like nearly every library patron was cranky.  Not all of them - the homeless guy greeted me right away and told me he saw something he hadn't seen in eight years - a pheasant!  I saw one not long ago near the library, so it was probably the same cantankerous fellow.  Bird sightings are always good!  After that it all went south for a while.  Nothing was quite right for some of the patrons, and for one of our regulars it was yet another day of bitch bitch bitch.  This would be the patron who's mission in life seems to be pointing out every possible flaw the library has, milking every possible free tidbit from the library (WHY AM I BEING CHARGED FOR MY PRINTING?!!! THERE IS AN INCONSISTENCY  THAT ME AND ONLY I HAVE NOTICED ON YOUR WEBSITE AND YOU'RE CHARGING ME FOR PRINTING!!! WHY CAN'T I CONNECT TO WIFI WITH MY KINDLE?!!"

{insert horrific emphysema cough noise here}

Welcome to just one aspect of my morning today.

Did I mention this is the same woman who proudly announced that she had voted no on the library levy?  Yes.  Charming.  My drive to help her is bordering on non-existent.  But I will anyhow.

Things did get better though.  The meeting room snafu will work out fine.  And an 8th grader that sat through my database presentations recently called today for follow-up help.That was the one big thing that really made my day!

And the sky.  And the hummingbird visiting our feeder that we put up a couple of days ago.  The good far outweighs the bad, always.

Not to mention donuts "comin" to town!

Donut Master

Monday, January 30, 2012

Good stuff!

One great thing about being married to a Brit is my introduction to some very tasty food.  Why people believe British food is bland is beyond me.  We recently began ordering food from the British Food Depot - a great source and not horribly expensive, either.  We could probably find some of these things in shops off the island, but since we rarely leave these days it makes more sense to buy online.  We've made two orders so far...

Lots of tasty treats from England!

I'm ready for the apocalypse!

This all came about because the store we were buying malt vinegar from didn't have any.  They had every other type of vinegar you could imagine.  But no malt vinegar.

Every kind of vinegar except - MALT VINEGAR!

It turned out to be a good thing, because now we're getting all of the other tasty foods too!  Why we didn't do this sooner, I don't know.  As you can see, our first order was a bit timid - but the second time we ordered we meant business!  Ha.  I can only imagine what our next order will look like.  It will have many more boxes of marrowfat peas, that's for sure!

Michael made pea and ham soup for dinner this weekend, and it was scrumptious.  Nothing like split pea and ham soup, I'm told.  I'm not a fan of sp&h, and haven't tasted it since I was a kid - or maybe never!  It could be that I was disgusted by the look of it as a child that I've never let it pass my lips.  I'd probably like it now, especially if Michael made it.  But he won't, because he'll be making mushy peas and ham soup instead!

Mushy peas and ham soup!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goodbye 2011...

Well then.  That wasn't really too bad - in fact, 2011 was a pretty good year.  A few highlights:
  • Another successful garden!
Fourteen jars of pickles, right there baby!

The basil from the garden that will soon become pesto
  • Good health (mostly)
Nolan, the invalid
  • Two fun trips to the Olympic Peninsula
My beloved cracks a beer in the forest, in honor of Darwin Day

Kalaloch sunset

Michael and Nolan looking appropriately uncomfortable in front of the Twilight store
  • Work at the library is very fulfilling and challenging too
Just waiting for it all to start...

Library display case - Picture it @ your library!
  • We ate a lot of good food, both at home and out
Salmon with caper sauce

Hazmat burger
  • Nolan took up mycology, which means everyone else in the family did too, with mixed results
Nolan learned a lot and was happy to see so many varieties in person

No Nietzsche, nooooooo!
  • Clowns
My clown collection takes shape...

So there you have it.  A nice little review of the year, in pictures.  Let's hope 2012 is even better!