Spending so much time outside lately, I have been noticing odd and wonderful tidbits of the natural world. We found a ground nest on the farm of these baby baby birds... who knows what kind they are? Unfortunately, a week later they were gone, and surely too small to fly they probably became part of the food chain. Then the other day on top of my mint plant I saw this black grasshopper beetle looking thing with crazy long anteneas- I've never seen anything like it here. I wish Google had a reverse google image tool where you could input a picture and it would tell you what it was. I guess that's sort of what a field guide is, just a little more work. Then the weirdest thing I found lately was in the field at the farm, while digging furrows to plant potatoes. I hacked something in half that I thought was an animal part, because it looked like blood or bone marrow. But upon closer inspection, I thought it must be a rock, sort of shale or fossilized looking. But it was so red, it must be blood. But it looked more like rock than bone. Then a friend LICKED it (which admittedly was my first impulse too) to see what it tasted like, and reported that it had NO FLAVOR. Clearly, the only explanation is that it is a blood rock, left from a nightime landing from alien visitors.
I did my first half marathon last weekend! It was the scenic San Juan island marathon and half, and an early one for the running season. My lovely lady friends Katie of Bellingham and Tegan of Seattle trained separately, and then we all rendezvoused morning of the race. It was a perfect race morning- cool and dry turning into warm and sunny toward the end. I had no aches and pains, no problems at all, except that it was a really hilly course! There was one section with a sign "Flat section starts here". I got excited, thinking I would try to pick up my pace a little, until the sign, "Flat section ends here" only 50 feet ahead. Also, I couldn't help but notice the lack of portapotties along the way, even at support stations. Turns out the portapotties had been ordered and delivered... only a day early, and they had already been accidently picked up! Anyway, it was really fun and the fish and chips afterward felt well-earned.
Tomorrow marks my one-year anniversary of living on Orcas! It's been a fun, full, past year of island life and there is nowhere else I'd rather be again this summer. So I've been back in the yurt for almost 2 months now... which I can't believe. What have I done? Well, the first month was pretty mellow as I moved in, picked up work, and tried to stay warm and dry in the cool spring.
The last few weeks though, have been the opposite- a frenzy of work and movement in these long warm days approaching solstice. Between working on a farm, volunteering in a community garden, having my own garden bed, and doing a container garden, it seems that plants have been determining my every day. Their needs don't wait and so neither does my work, and at this point it is still the big push to get everything in the ground. And it's almost to that point.
Here's a rundown of the recent accomplishments: at the farm, we've planted hundreds and hundreds of corn, beans, squash (winter and summer), cucumbers, tomatillos, onions, lettuces, melons, flowers, and peppers; in my garden, I've planted herbs, hot peppers, sauce and heirloom tomatoes; at the yurt I've been doing yardwork and trying to build kitchen cabinets (my first carpentry project since middle school wood shop); and in my free time I've been playing on boats, training for a half-marathon, making rose bud jewelry, and practicing the ukulele.
I'm a writer and editor in Seattle. I started this blog in 2008 to chronicle my travels in Latin America, and continued writing through jaunts in Europe and Asia.
Now I'm back where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and can't stop hiking to fire lookouts in the Cascade Mountains. My guidebook, Hiking Washington's Fire Lookouts, will be published by Mountaineers Books in May 2018.