Fall Vacation Reflection

What is it about vacations that make being home feel so good? We have been on the road more than usual this fall. A September wedding in Big Sur wrapped up the final 12 days of summer with an epic surf road trip. Less than two week later we were flying across the country for a French Canadian dose of fall color in Quebec. Both trips were amazing, and totally different.

Road trip to Big Sur took us along Hwy 101 and 1: the classic West Coast adventure. Our mini cooper was crammed full of camping gear, food, wetsuits, wedding clothes and our two boards strapped to the roof. It was quite a sight and so much fun to pull off. 2600+ miles took us to some amazing views, great surf, with friends and family along the way. Nik and Nora’s wedding was quite the event as well and we felt like honored guests for the intimate, luxury event.

The week we were home felt the total opposite. Rushed and frantic and too much to do. We harvested tomatoes, made and froze sauce, rebuilt the chicken coop roof and added a new outdoor run. The rain was coming so we battened down the hatches and prepared our little farm for another spell away. I did my best to catch up at work while simultaneously preparing projects for more “out of office” responses in my absence. The house projects received zero attention.

But then the magic of travel happened again and all those unfinished project and work worries were 3000 miles away. On free tickets from last year’s bumped flight, we flew into Montreal and made our home in a little bohemian apartment for the next 4 days. We ate bread and cheese and pate for dinner almost every night, and found pastries for breakfast and lunch. We explored the city through all modes of transit: on foot, by bike share, metro and bus. One night we went out for a fancy dinner. We asked for a recommendation at the trendy butcher shop where we had found excellent terrine. Their sister restaurant was just around the corner and exactly what we wanted for a nice night out.

On Sunday we took a bus to Quebec City on the peak day of fall color. It was incredible, and quite a different experience from fall in the Pacific Northwest. The trees were on fire! How did we like Quebec City? That first afternoon of exploring literally brought me to tears. Multiple times. It was that beautiful and special feeling. The clouds and sky and light were perfect to see the city for the first time.

The rest of our 6 day Canadian adventure took us all around and through Quebec City. We rented a car 2 days to seek out fall colors (and more pastries and coffee). We ate and explored and ate and explored, calling another little Airbnb apartment home. We rarely find places we may want to live (we really do love Vashon) but were totally smitten with Ile d’Orleans. If we ever need to move that is on the list.

Now we are home. It took us a few weeks to really settle back in. We came home to a house swimming in tomatoes salvaged from the late season storms. Picking corn and cuddling our kitties that missed us tons. We dug out the rest of the garden and planted cover crops. We are settling back into the routine. Matt is finding his tools and picking up projects. I am figuring out my daily commute to the city. Life is returning to normal just as the days really settle into fall.

Hooked on Sea Glass

Matt may say “hooked” does not even describe it.  I came back from Kauai with an art project in mind and have spun it up to a whole different level of obsession.

Last weekend, Matt and I collected for an hour in the chilly December rain. Before breakfast. My parents have been assigned the task of bringing back sea glass from their adventures in Curacao. Instagram, Facebook…both are turned into long scrolls of sea glass posts from around the world. I am hooked! (interested? #seaglass has a TON, #pnwseaglass (aka: us cold weather beach walkers, not so many)

In all seriousness, I needed something like this. A hobby that lets me reconnect with my artistic side and is free (well, almost. I did have to buy some storage boxes for my ballooning collection…) I am still trying to find the time (and clean surface) to get starting in making my projects, but the collection of the materials is well underway.

I am learning a lot about sea glass too. Turns out there is quite a community dedicated to it! Books and a newly released color/rarity guide (on my wish list) make this feel pretty “real”.

Can you tell I am a little bit excited about my new hobby? Looking forward to sharing see glass creations and findings!

Sunscreen in November

Who would have guessed it was this hard to track down sunscreen this time of year? I guess since the skies are grey and rainy most people would not be buying any so it makes sense. However, today it threw me for a loop in last minute vacation prep…no sunscreen to be found! (ok, not NONE at all, but none of the brands I prefer)

Finally after lots of investigating (3 stores in person, 3 called) I looked into Amazon Prime (too bad Hawaii is too slow to ship in time) and calling stores on the island. After 3 strikes, I hit gold: Costco has one brand of sunscreen and it is Alba Botanica…my brand of choice! Woohoo!

No packing sunscreen for these beach rats…we are picking it up when we get there.

Mahalo

Anniversary Photo Shoot

A few months back, our friend and epic Spokane based photographer, Amber Glanville, inquired about meeting up for a photo shoot near Vantage, WA. A great opportunity to experiment with a super awesome (and out of the way) location, play with a mix of film and digital equipment, and capture some amazing golden hour summer light. We were in! It was the perfect way to commemorate our third anniversary.

Little did we know that the date we choose would be 107 degrees! We met Amber at the Vantage gas station and then spent 3+ hours driving around to shoot in 4 stunning locations. We had never been to Echo Basin or the Vantage campground, so it was a great opportunity to discover a place we cannot wait to revisit.

And the photos? They are stunning. Amber, thank your for these amazing memories.

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Lake Retreat

Sunday was hot. We rode our bikes to the Vashon strawberry festival, watched a parade in the shade, then biked home to enjoy rootbeer floats in the back yard. Followed by a hike to the beach at the old gravel mine park. More hot and sunny but much needed not-working-on-the-house time.

Sunday was even hotter. Couch couch for breakfast but it was too hot even to drink coffee. I was watering the garden and we were brainstorming indoor projects when it hit me: we should go to the lake! Matt’s parent’s lake property is a 15 minute ferry ride + 15 mile drive west of us. The thought of cool water and shade and jumping off the diving board sounded so good we dropped everything in favor of fun.

I texted Rebecca and she showed up with her son, Eli. Snacks packed, sunscreen and towels in the car, and we were out the door and in line for the next ferry. (I somehow managed to also throw together a cooked ice cream base and get it chilling so we could have fresh ice cream post-swimming!)IMG_5558[1]

Across the water and through the Kitsap Peninsula and we were at Tiger Lake! An afternoon of swimming and sunning was just what we needed.

Homemade ice cream before bed was not too shabby either.

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A Third Summer

This marks our third summer on the island. Our third planting season, our third garden, a third string of dinner and breakfasts outdoors in the yard.

It also means that we are more settled in, and making long term plans when we approach a project. The biggest change in our summer this year is the garden. We replaced the old 20×20 foot garden with a 65×45 foot massive sun filled one! Our summer now includes planning for and cultivating 3000 square feet of growing space! So far we have put in 12 blueberry bushes (5 varieties), 18 tomato starts, rhubarb and are waiting to transplant our strawberry patch. There are 4 fig trees waiting in pots, red currants and a huge pile of seeds just itching to go in. Right now we have two priorities: ripping up sod to make room  for planting and making the fence chicken/cat proof. We used remesh panels for the deer fence because we liked the look and cost, but little critters can still get under the bottom bar and through the 6 inch holes. The old fencing material from the previous garden is small mesh so we are re-purposing it for the lower 2 feet of the new garden and attaching it with tiny zip ties. Perfect!

There is another big project on the summer to-do list: prep and paint the house. I know we keep talking about this, and you are probably tired of hearing about without seeing progress…but it is a big job to tackle! We have scaffolding ready to go, a paint color preliminary picked (but have not settled on a brand yet)…we just need to get started. We finally decided on what paint prep tool we are going to invest in for removing the old paint, and just that decision alone was hours of research and conversation weighing pros and cons. What was the decision? The Speedheater. Factoring in time, safety (ie: lead), effectivness, cleanliness, etc. it won against the other options. So much to do in just 24 hours a day!

Ideally we will also take a few weekends to hike, go surf at the coast, maybe go camping? Hard to say at this point. What we can say: we are thrilled to have another summer in this house!