Saturday, December 19, 2015

Livin' The Good Life: Summer in the San Juans

Welcome to the third and final blog in my 'quick and dirty, finally get caught up again' series. Hopefully from here on I can actually manage to stay on top of my blogging again, because I've found a surprisingly large number of people actually DO read what I write! This post covers a fairly long period from mid-August all the way to the start of October, so enjoy and stay tuned for more to come.

I don't know why it took me so long to put a basket on my bike, but it's awesome to be able to ride across the meadow and grab veggies for dinner.

The window on my high wall above the door. It wasn't in the original plan, but I figured I ought to do something interesting in terms of framing the window and this is what I came up, the Sun Window.

Downstairs. I swear there is a method to the madness.

In the garden harvesting potatoes.

An overview of the tall wall. The Sun Window is done in fir, the paneling is pine tongue-in-groove and the tree outline on the left is birch.

Seeing orcas from the ferry boat. It doesn't happen often, but it sure is fun.

Harvesting tomatoes. We had so many it was a chore to keep up!

High on the stick during a tree removal.

The farm stand down at the ferry dock.

Nick loading up the boat to go crabbing. The bounty of the ocean is as great as that from our garden.

As we pulled finished plants out of the garden for the season, we ran them all through a chipper/shredder. First to be pulled was the peas, the first thing we planted at the start of the season.

Picking the pear tree, naturally I was climbing in it to reach the high fruit.

My boss Austen pruning a waterfront fir.

Most days I use the ferry to commute to and from work, but sometimes I get rides on other islanders personal boats which is always a nice treat, especially on a sunny day.

Morning fog on the way to work.

A fearless young buck.

Harvesting beans. Another crop we had almost too much of to handle, but one of my favorite veggies.

Nick and Ellen leading a tour of our garden for the local CSA members. It's great to be able to show people exactly where their food comes from.

While waiting for the boat to work one day I happened to catch this rainbow show.

A bard owl in a dead cedar next to my cabin.

Working with Jack. He dropped a big dead tree and here we were using a winch to pull it out of the woods towards the road so we could buck it for firewood.

Silly looking dear on the edge of our meadow. As I was cutting down trees, they literally ran over towards me to eat the fresh leaves.

One of my big projects this summer has been to clean up the treeline around the back meadow. I've been removing all the first to make it a pure big leaf maple stand. The firs are then used for woodchips, firewood and lumber.

Dinner with the Jones family.

With the garlic long out of these beds, it was time to cover crop them. Here Brendan is spreading a rye/vetch seed mix.

During my tree line clearing project I attached my GoPro camera to a chainsaw and dropped a big tree, turned out pretty cool! 

A look at a partly full CSA box, this is what we deliver weekly to members on the island.

Nick using his tractor to move a large log. This is one I removed from the edge of the meadow, and plan on chainsaw milling it to make siding for my cabin.

More tractor work, this time fence building at the monastery.

Obligatory ferry boat picture. (this is the Orcas dock)

Cleaning out the old fire station at drill one Wednesday night.

Don't turn your back on this guy! Here Jack is setting up the electric fence while Isaiah keeps watch.

Squash vines are starting to die off and reveal what they produced.

An island dinner in the community center in support of one of our local residents.

Nick showing his dad our newly completed wood processing area. Not too long ago this was a tree and brush covered slope, now it's great flat work space!

I borrowed a dump truck and chipper from work and with all the brush I've taken down over the summer we made roughly 50 yards of chips to use all over the property.

The 'blood moon' over Blind Bay.

Afternoon light in the back meadow.

Frog friend.

Going for an evening beach walk at the preserve, one of the most beautiful places on the island.

Chillin' with chickens.

My place coming along slowly but surly, at this point all the pine paneling is up and looking great! (the plywood section on the right will all be covered by other material, that is the kitchen area.)

And speaking of the chickens, it was time to clean the coop.

Annnnnnd back in the city for a visit.

I was in Seattle for a good reason though, the 30th birthday party for my friend Jon, and the baby shower for Nick and Ellen.

I stayed at a friends house, and for dinner one evening we cooked using veggtables from their little backyard garden. Yes, it is a slightly different scale than I am used to these days, but it was great fun and the ethic behind it is the same.

A wonderful dinner with friends.

And once again, with a van full of supplies and a wonderful visit with my family and my friends behind me, it was time to drive back onto the boat and head home.

Whew! I'm getting there…. Life right now is pretty busy but satisfying, there is a lot of exciting progress on my place, the new baby has been here for a while and in less than a month I take off for a few weeks in Mexico! As always, more to come.