Snow Day

It is not often that we get snow on our little Pacific Northwest island. In the past few weeks, Matt has been quite vocal about that fact, beamoaning that we will NEVER get the snow that he always hoped to have in the place he grew up to live. Then, Sunday morning, we got a winter storm advisory. It promised 3-6 inches of glorious snow. Skeptical, but optimistic, I went to the grocery store to stock up on staples.

About 30 minutes after getting home the snow started. First very wet and more rain than snow. Then around 6pm the flakes started. They did not stop until nearly noon the next day! We woke up to 6 inches covering our little island world!

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The silence is my favorite part of snowfall. No cars on the road. It was magical. Matt and I walked around the property then retreated indoors for hot oatmeal and cocoa. I worked from home for the day, and he played in the snow. All was pretty great, and then the power went out. Typically we have backup heat with our natural gas fireplace…but it is still disconnected due to the remodel. Thankfully we had cranked out heat pump that AM and things coasted pretty well for most of the day.

By noon we had over 7 inches, and we could tell it was going to start warming up. Every branch was coated and drooping. It was stunning outside! Limbs were snapping all across the island, and we were lucky that the big on that broke in our yard missed the chicken coop by a few feet. Took out some of the fence but that is easily fixable.

By evening it was pretty chilly. We layered up and lit some candles. Played a few games. Watched the daylight fade from the sky. I cooked up a romantic dinner for two: salads and tuna mac&cheese with sweet pickles (one of our weird favorites). Comfort food at it’s best, eaten in a 46 degree house.

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The snow was such a treat!

Vashon Island Wedding Recap    

Turning an idea into reality is really quite an inspiring activity. We took our lovely house with a too-small kitchen, came up with a plan, and knocked out some walls. Better location for a fireplace? Underway. Bigger garden? Check. Matt and I are feeling like an unstoppable duo, even if it means our plate is pretty darn full.

Full, but could handle more…so comes yet another off the cuff idea: event planning! We have always talked about how well our skill sets aligned to run events. Matt has killer kitchen skills, catering experience and an eye for detail and logistics. I love dealing with ideas and vision and people. Perfect combo for a wedding planning team. It was always a hypothetical idea until this spring when the opportunity to help a couple plan and execute their Vashon island wedding. They were in LA and needed some local contacts to run and help source things…and so our trial event was born!

For months now we have been their go-to contacts. Receiving shipments, sourcing products, and also expanding our scope to be event producers, caterers and designers. Matt took on appetizers for 200 guests, building a chuppah for their ceremony and designed a beautiful theme around vintage silver platters.

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Finally the event was here. Last weekend we worked our tails off, found 4 amazing helpers and pulled off a wonderfully perfect wedding. Lights and bunting ran above two long banquet tables and the party went well into the night. It was beyond rewarding to execute every last detail above and beyond the expectations of the bride and groom, have ideal weather, friendly helpful guests and make some great island contacts. We are still riding the high from how great it was!

So yes, this trial event was a success, and we are moving forward with making it part of our already busy repertoire as a side gig with the goal of doing 5-7 events each year. We have a website ready to launch as soon as we come up with the right name. Suggestions welcome!

 

The Good Season

As time passes, we find ourselves moving through seasons. Season with weather, seasons with the garden, and with family and friends. When we decided to move from the mainland out to Vashon Island friends and family were one of the hardest aspects of the change. We knew that there would be some relationships that would continue to grow even with a ferry separating us, but others we knew would fade and disappear. It was hard to predict which would be which, but we knew that they would not all last.

It has been a challenge these nearly three years to not have a community on the island. Now, we do have a great community that we feel a part of, but we did not have OUR tribe. Our little collection of friends that would stop by for dinner or just call on a whim. It has been lonely. I get a good dose of my girlfriends because we make a point to meet for lunch or coffee in the city during our working lives, but home was just me and Matt. Thank goodness we like that! But something was still missing.

This spring has been the start of a new season though. All of a sudden we are in the middle of three couples, making plans, hanging out, cooking, sharing and inspiring each other. All of us are young, no kids, passionate about the island, growing things and being real. It is so refreshing. No competition, no negativity, just honest to goodness enjoyment of life. Best part? We are all only 10 minutes apart at the most. Perk of island life!

On Saturday evening Dennis and Ali came over for a BBQ and backyard fire. We gave them bean seeds and they brought us soil. Matt and Dennis made plans to play Magic. Ali and I talked about living out of boxes. Sunday morning Justin and Hannah stopped by just to see how our projects were going, and invited us to the beach. We spent an hour laying in the sun, chatting about plants and gardens and went for a quick swim.

It feels so good. SO GOOD. This feeling of finding our tribe has been a long time coming.

We are riding this wave. It gives us more energy to work on the house and garden, both of which are coming along well. Hardwood floors are wrapping up. Next is finishing the cove ceiling. Then building cabinets and a tile entry mat. The garden is growing. 50+ tomatoes starts from seed, cabbage, kale, chard, beans, potatoes, flowers and a collection of new fruit trees are all starting to show signs of life. I am selling seaglass mobiles like crazy leading up to Mother’s Day.

Lots and lots of abundance, we are feeling so thankful.

Frosted New Year

The end of 2015 was full for us. Even with our house mid-construction, we had a very Christmasy season with 5 days of family celebration and cheer. Matt got me the most thoughtful surprise gift: a Griswold cast iron muffin pan…one that I had been coveting for ages and then totally forgot about! We have made epic cornbread muffin 4 times in the new pan and let me tell you, oy! They are good!

I spent the week leading up to Christmas making mobile after mobile as gifts. I am refining my technique and cannot wait to make more! Next up is settling on a name for my little company and selling these beauties locally and maybe on Etsy.

Matt and I collected seaglass a few times but with winter tides it is hard to fit them in during daylight up here. Then on New Year’s, he and his brother explored a new beach and found my new favorite hunting grounds: perfectly tumbled and abundant seaglass!!! I have completely overhauled my previous collection in favor of these gems. We have collected three times now and it has been so fun to sort these beauties. Lots of pretty pastels, including my first pink!

In addition to frosted glass, 2016 has been filled with frost of the cold winter variety as well. The ground has been frozen for the past few mornings and we were treated to a snowfall Sunday afternoon. It did not stick around (much to Matt’s dismay) but it was beautiful to watch.

Happy 2016!

All in Fall

How did we get to the end of October so quickly? We spent the weekend filling ourselves with fallness so that we did not miss this season (something we seem to have happened this summer!) Friday night was early birthday dinner at Matt’s parents, complete with 8mm baby movies.

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Saturday we headed for the mountains and had a glorious hike 8.6 mile hike on Mt. Washington. This not so well known trail was exactly what we hoped it would be: a good workout, beautiful views and not crowded! Mt. Rainer cooperated and made for a perfect lunchtime view.

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We had dinner with good friends on our way back through town and finally collapsed into bed around 10:30 back on the island.

Sunday morning I made a quick trip to the grocery store for fresh coffee while Matt rallied an 11:00 breakfast plan. Grey skies and sore muscles made for a slow morning. We played with the idea of going on another on-island adventure but opted for a garden winter-prep session instead. It felt good to be back in the dirt. We have been ignoring weeds and plants past their prime in favor of harvesting and other projects. The garden needed some attention. I weeded and removed old plants to make room for winter cover crop (part of our soil enrichment plan) while Matt removed more sod to expand planting space for next year. After about an hour we decided to invite the chickens in to help with cleanup. Since they do not free range anymore we missed their company. It was wonderful to have them in the garden with us.IMG_8382[1]

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After a fabulous vegetarian dinner (kale-veggie curry, chanterelles and broccoli) I headed off for another fall festivity: ladies night pumpkin carving! It was a fun island event to carve pumpkins for the Roasterie’s pumpkin tradition. I am looking forward to seeing them all lit up on Friday.

How was our weekend? Fall fabulous.

Growing

Planting has slowed and the garden is in growing stage. Matt waters each morning and checks for signs of new sprouting veggies. The tomatoes produced their first phase of flowers which have since been plucked to conserve energy for roots and height. A final bed was formed on the southern side of the garden for pumpkins, squash, cucumbers and broccoli. Now we wait.

Well, not quite. Now we focus attention on finishing the cedar edge to the garden and removing paint in preparation for a new house color. We never seem to get as much done as we expect to in a day or week.The list continues to loom.

Our homestead is a bit more fun with the addition of two new young hens. Dee Dee (or if you ask Matt, Didi) and Baja are our two newbies from another island farm. Baja is some sort of Easter egger and Dee Dee a barred rock. Both are very sweet, but too small to add into the “big girl” flock. They are content to be in a playpen eating treats while the big girls roam the yard. Little Baja was obviously picked on in her old flock…she has some injured tail feathers (they should replace just fine in a molt) and some crooked toes. We are splinting the toes to (we hope) straighten them out, but she may already be too old. She sure is cute! In two more weeks we adopt 2 more young hens from a friend of a friend and those 4 can grow bigger together. It is fun to add more hens, but also stressful. There are always fears of health issues and conflict, but that is also just part of the reality. Our older hens are laying less often so we need some young birds to pick up the slack.

Life on the island. Busy, busy busy, and good. We are going to take one day this long Memorial Day weekend to step back from projects and just have fun.

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