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!

 

Make Way for the Fence: Plowing with a Broadfork

Current project: a massive garden expansion. Our property came with a garden. It was laid out in a very unusable pattern, so last year we dismantled it and put in real rows. This year we are expanding it…from 20×20 to 65×45! Holy smokes are we growing to be growing stuff!!

Deer a a huge pest on Vashon, so the first order of business is a sturdy/attractive/affordable deer fence. Now selecting a fence was a quite a task. We debated materials, wood/metal/plastic/7 foot/8 foot/metal posts/cedar posts…as you can see the list goes on. We ended up with this: 10’ cedar posts (buried 2 feet) with 8’ x 20’ remesh panels (as used in pouring concrete slabs). These were not as fancy as the galvanized stock panels but WAY cheaper and MUCH taller. Perfect! They will rust and I was unsure what I thought about that look but we checked out some fences on the island in person and they actually look great. Across the top of the panels will be a narrower cedar pole to keep tension on the metal.

I cannot wait to have the project done! Of course there were some delays…posts were not in stock last weekend, but we did get the remesh panels. Our first step was measuring out the garden edges and then plowing up grass to make way for the fence and baseboards. We are using rough cedar 4×4 to edge the garden for a clean line through the grass. The chickens loved helping with this project. With each pull of the broadfork (proudly made here on the island!) they were delivered a feast of worms and grubs. Yum! The boys (Matt and Rooster Dude) liked checking out their ladies at work 😉

Timing was excellent to tackle another random yard project this weekend. At the base of our deck there were (we thought) 8 stepping stones grown over with moss and grass. We got to work removing them and found 22! Perfect use for our grass removed for the garden. We just rolled it over the empty space like sod. It is such a satisfying feeling to pull out grass to make room for food producing plants that will also stabilize and diversify our soils. It was a beautiful work weekend with the family…well, most of us worked. The cats are above that layman’s work and decided they were better suited to be supervisors.

New Year

We rang in 2015 with a bottle of champagne from our 2012 wedding, crab rose pasta and a moonlit beach walk in matchng brown overalls right from our front door. And love, lots of love.

It was a good start, but clouded too. Depression is part of our household and it is in a down point right now. Things are still good, just not as cheery or fun as they sometimes are. New Year’s seems like one big party, but I know that there are others dealing with hard times too. For all of you, I hope your 2015 becomes more beautiful as they year goes on.

We also lost one of our new adopted hens. Holly never acted total normal, but we were not sure if it was the stress from moving or something worse. By Wednesday I knew something was seriously wrong when she would not come investigate food, but instead just huddled in a corner of the coop with her eyes closed. Thursday was no better, so Matt and I brought her up to the house to check her out further. After reading TONS about chicken illness online I still did not have the slightest clue what was wrong, but then she passed away in my arms. We buried her this morning. Rest in peace sweet Holly.

It has been a rough start, but we will press on. Tonight we are having fresh cabbage, kale sausage soup and tomorrow trying out chocolate croissants from Trader Joes (recommended by a dear friend, Cassie). We are also headed to Belize soon and looking forward to some sunshine and beach time.

Happy New Year

Island History Connections

Ever since moving to Vashon Island we have been obsessed with learning about this place’s history and culture. In particular, the history of Wingehaven Park…home to what Matt calls our “sunrise beach”. It is a beautiful waterfront park that is a 20 minute walk from our house. Facing East with a dramatic view of Mt. Rainer it is the perfect place to watch a spectacular Pacific Northwest sunrise.

Wingehaven was not always a park. There are old abandoned cement pools and remnants of fountains…and a cool balustrade overlooking the water. Clearly whatever used to be here was epic and glamorous, but we could not find anything on it’s history.

As luck would have it we made friends with Mr. Vashon History himself, a sweet old guy named Mike. He is 3rd generation Vashonian and his grandparents owned the local paper way back in the day. He is constantly bombarding facebook with posts of old scanned articles with interesting island tid-bits, and so we mentioned our interest in Wingehaven. He investigated and found a ton of cool stuff that he posted this week:

April 9, 1931 (Vashon Island News-Record)

Island Concerned Publishes Catalog – An industry, much out of the ordinary, is being developed on the North End of the Island at the Twickenham Estate. It is the commercial rearing of gold fish, the outgrowth of a beginning made four years ago in the lily ponds developed by Mr. E.H. Moy for his own pleasure. His success along these lines caused his friends to urge him to go into raising gold fish on a larger scale, and now the plant that has been developed consists of twenty-five ponds, varying in size from 500 gallon concrete ponds to natural pools of about two acres, also concrete pools under glass, aquariums and other up-to-date equipment for handling gold fish and supplies. Recently a catalog was published which is supposedly the only exclusive gold fish catalog ever published. It not only contains lists and prices of the many varieties of fish for sale, but it contains also many illustrations, both in color and in black and white, as well as information concerning water plants, aquariums, ornaments and supplies which the Twickenham Estate Water Gardens offer for sale. Twickenham Estate, since becoming the property of Mr. Moy has been developed until it is one of the beauty spots of the Island. Since coming to the Island he has made an investment of about $100,000 in his various branches which embrace fox pens, pigeon lofts, fish ponds, etc., on a large scale, as well as a well equipped printing plant which takes care of the large business of the Reliance Printing Company.

and

November 3, 1932 •        Receives Mammoth Goldfish Shipment – On Tuesday, of this week, the largest shipment of goldfish ever to arrive on the Pacific Coast was received from Japan by E.J. Moy, of the Twickenham Estate Water Gardens at Vashon Heights. It required five trucks to haul the 1,653 tubs of fish to the Island. It is estimated that there were at least a million fish in the shipment, ranging is size from 1-2 inch to 18 inches in length, and in value from a few cents to 10 or 15 dollars each in value. Twickenham Estate Water Gardens has grown from an experiment started by Mr. Moy about four years ago. From a few private pools his plant has grown until it is the largest of its kind within several thousand miles. It now consists of more than forty pools and ponds and 100 large storage tanks. Mr. Moy has an office in Kobe, and a representative who buys from the largest hatcheries in Japan.

So cool! We as if this were not interesting enough, Mike passed along a detailed history report that someone wrote on the estate that detailed more about it and the island community it operated in. More coolness! I was curious about this statement:

One of the neighbors at Dolphin Point was the author, Betty MacDonald, who wrote The Egg and I, which was made into a popular movie and translated into more than a dozen languages. Another of her popular books, Onions in the Stew, was written about life on Vashon while she was living at Dolphin Point in the 1940‘s.

Curious about this book (because I of course immediately wanted to buy a copy and read it) I looked it up on Amazon. Guess who Betty MacDonald was? The author of some of my most beloved children’s books: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! And those were written while she lived on Vashon!

I was elated. Glowing. Dancing around the house. This small fact, and uncovering the story of Wingehaven made my day. We are so in love with our island home.

And yes, I ordered a copy of Onions in the Stew, The Egg and I and the DVD of the film. Reviews to come.

Happy Monday

The sun is shining. Our house is clean. Fridge stocked for the week. It feels good to be home!

Our weekend was spent tying up loose ends, and planning for the spring/summer projects ahead. We tackled everything from the mundane dishes and laundry to exciting things like getting contractor quotes for living room drywall repair. The weather was fairer than expected, and we celebrated with chocolate cake from the farmer’s market.

On Sunday we also took an adventure to run errands and visit with Grandpo for dinner. We dug some starts of Matt’s Grandma’s raspberry and red currant plants, and inherited an old dutch oven that was her go-to red sauce making pot. Many more kitchen memories to come for that piece!

We are also in major plan-making mode. Planning for house projects. Dinners to come – crock pot focus. Planning for a work transition for Matt. Planning for grad school to be over. Planning a Baja retirement dream. Planning, planning, planning.

For planning, doing it with laughter and fun and sunshine sure helps. The week is off to a good start.

The “Cutest Island Community Couple”

Yes, that is what we were told at the farmers market today. Perusing for winter squash, chard and chestnuts in our rain boots on a foggy market morning, the gal selling chestnuts walked up and gave Matt and I this super sweet compliment. We adore out island. After reading blogs and anecdotes online that people have had cool welcomes to the island, we have to say that we have had the 180 degree opposite experience. Everyone we have met has been friendly and welcoming, willing to chat and share their lives with us newcomers.

It is a cozy fall day with the island totally fogged in. Jenny was here for a quick visit, so we took a foggy trip to the lighthouse. The afternoon is supposed to be sunny and warm, but honestly, the fog is so comforting and relaxing that I won’t mind if it doesn’t burn off. Homework, snuggly kitties, and the promise of a hot, local fall supper tonight…life does not get much better.

Our morning started with a dozen eggs catapulting out of the fridge at 5:30. We could have let this set a pretty lame mood for the day, but instead embraced it, and ate some super quick fried eggs and toast for breakfast before waiting for the bus under a sky FULL of stars.

Life is busy right now, and getting busier. I am so thankful I have someone to laugh with through the long days and chaos of balancing life, work, grad school and a graduate internship. Matt is the best rock I could ask for!

As we step into our first fall on the island we are excited to see it unfold. Our heating system is keeping us cozy in the cold, and we love watching a huge variety of mushrooms pop up in our driveway and lawn. We are being welcomed into this chapter with abundance and love and more community than we dreamed of.

Another highlight: I got my hair cut. I wanted some style, a “do” if you will, that kept up with my the professional side of my life. I had never found the “right” stylist in Seattle, but was so happy to stumble across reviews for Shain at the Skyn Spa right on my walk to the water taxi. I booked an appointment, went boldly with bangs, and could not be happier. Stylist found, new “do”, new outlook, new season. Boom! Life is grand!