Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Start of Summer and the Fourth of July

So it's October now and I'm only now posting about... June. It's fair to say I'm a long ways behind. As such, I'm going to do a few 'quick and dirty' posts to play catch-up. I'll have the same photos, but will be writing much less about what is going on up here, making observations and telling stories. Once I am caught up. I'll return to my usual style.

Anyways, this post is about the start of June to the start of July. Like all seasons of life here it has a certain magic to it and it's own unique character. The primary characteristic of this time of year in the islands is how much the pace of life picks up. With the sun comes more people, more work, more socializing and more usable hours in the day. It's a time to push hard, to be productive and to have fun.

A very short while ago this was still grassy meadow and here we are planting tomatoes. I love seeing progress like that.

My boss on a small tree removal. I've said it many times, but my work sure takes me beautiful places.

At this time, two baby bard owls were born and hanging around the property. It was a ton of fun watching them grow up and fly away.

Looking down from a tree I was working in.

Wednesday fire drill.  Here we are experimenting with a portable dump tank, an important piece of equipment in rural areas like ours due to a lack of fire hydrants.

Watching the garden grow and everything is looking wonderful.

Scenery on the Shaw – San Juan ferry route.

The open space on San Juan Island is very different from Shaw, but is a beautiful change in scenery.

Lighthouse Point.

And here is an overview of the lower part of the garden as everything is just getting started. In this area are pumpkins, squash (summer and winter), zucchini, eggplant, peppers, basil, tomatoes, sun flowers and much more.

Blind Bay as I drive to work.

The summer boat schedule has two boats arriving at Shaw very close to each other. Here I'm looking at the inter-island boat as I'm on the boat from the mainland which stops at Shaw before bringing me to Orcas for work.

The Jones clan all working on projects in the woodshop area.

The new batch of chickens has grown up fast, and is starting to look like mature birds now.

And here is a deer actually getting it's front half INSIDE the chickens mobile coop to eat veggies we had given to the chickens. The deer here are shameless!

Ah yes, when working on a building project, this is where all your money goes....

In the last post I showed the barn swallow eggs in the pump house, here they are all hatched!

Weeding the garlic. Our biggest problem weeds in this area have been Canadian thistle, clover, and grass, but it hasn't been that bad really.

An explosion of growth in the lower garden.

The evening sunshine through the peas, the first thing planted in the garden months ago.

Nick mowing the back meadow with the PTO driven mower.

A little tree pruning on a shore tree.

This time of year has such beautiful lighting, this is the setting sun shining over Blind Bay as we refill the fire trucks after drill.

Mount Baker and the Washington State Ferries, what a view we have from our little island.

Hanging out on the beach at the Preserve, some of the most stunning nights of the year.

A ferry headed to Friday Harbor with the Olympic Mountains in the background.

And for something a little different, my current chainsaw collection, ranging from 14” bars up to 36”, 35cc to 88cc! Left to right: Husky 335 XPT, Sthih 201T, Stihl 017, Stihl 361, Stihl 046 and a Husky 288XP. A good little collection that allows me to tackle just about aything we have in the area.

Doing some layout visualizing on the tree silhouette I'll be making in m y cabin. The blue line on the left is the stairs from the main level to the sleeping loft.

Time to harvest the garlic!

The growing corn, our first year doing this crop and curious to see how it turns out.

The swallows are now old enough to fly! It's been great fun to watch, and it's wonderful being in the garden as the parents encourage their babies to leave the nest.

Curing the garlic in the hoop house.

I just thought this looked cool, I was hanging out at North Beach on Orcas and watching planes land at the air field. Talk about a scenic take off and landing!

And a work photo, using a tow-behind lift for some tree pruning. Talk about a sweet tool!

Preparing for the woodstove, here I am attaching cement board to the wall where the chimney will be running.

It's now the start of July and with that comes the biggest event of the year on Shaw, Independence Day. Liks usual, a ton of our friends from Seattle (and elsewhere) came up to enjoy the festivities, here they are headed out for a bike tour.

At the beach.

This was a big moment: getting the farms new rooster. Our friends in Seattle had a rooster they couldn't keep (city noise laws) and brought it up for us to have take over our flock. This was the official hand-off, from Megan to Ellen.

Night time bean-bag toss.

It may have been a holiday weekend, but there was still work to do! Here are some beets I pulled to sell at the farm stand that same day.

Lining up for the parade. Being on the fire department, I was driving one of the trucks and like the year before, I had the 1958 Chevy.

We led the parade, so after parking at the community center got to see the rest of it go by. That said, it's a small island and the parade only lasts a few minutes, haha.

Inside the community center.

The farm stand.

The weather couldn't have been any better that weekend, so returning to the beach after the parade was the obvious choice.

Once we had all gotten our share of sun for the day, it was off to the 4th of July softball game.

A feast was had.

As it got dark, everyone climbed in my van and we drove to Cedar Rock Preserve. This is where many islanders go to watch fireworks and for obvious reasons; as you look west you get to watch the show from Friday Harbor, and as soon as that is done you turn southeast and watch the fireworks show from Lopez Island, which this year was very good.

After fireworks, it was home for a quiet campfire.

The next day it was time for most people to return to their respective homes, so again my friends climbed in the back of my van and I shuttled them to the ferry dock. The 4th is a truly wonderful time here on Shaw, and it was wonderful to have so many friends come up to share it with.

Well, I think that qualifies as 'quick and dirty'. I am currently watching the fall color blow from the trees and onto the lush green meadow out my window, so I'll probably make another quick post or two like this, then be caught back up to the current season. Check back soon for the next installment!