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Archive for January, 2010

One More Day

Ready or not, here comes February…please.  It’s not the weather; I’m actually enjoying my first winter immensely.  Today is a great grey day where land and see are one, it just seems that there’s 90 minutes in an hour and 8 or 9 days in a week.  Maybe it’s because the town is so quiet, which renders the shops quieter still.   That makes for a long no-retail day.  But there’s hope just around the bend.   The first poster of the season went up yesterday.  The annual Mussel Fest will be held March 5-7, and I understand it draws quite the crowd; some say as many as 2,500 last year, and they had a torrential downpour, hail and snow.  Now that’s a true winter in Coupeville I’m told.

To help get through the long January, my friend Dawn (DZ) and her sister, Fabienne, who lives in France outside Toulouse in a town that translates to “castrate,” endearing the townspeople as “castraters,” had me over for a lovely afternoon of wild salmon, Persian rice, swiss chard, and a delicious lemon tart.  More days like that, please.   The last I heard, they made a quick exit the next day to San Diego for the birth of their nephew Nicolo, who arrived that night.

That wonderful afternoon of fine food and friendship was just the break I needed before tackling the garage floor.  Happy to say that project is now finished and I’m no longer high from the fumes.  Today I’m staring longingly at the property again.  February finds me with more time on my hands (not down at the shops as much) so I’ll be back to my hoeing routine.  Picked up a new iron rake down at ACE last week and I’m dying to try it out.  I’m also doing my best to sit down and write.  I’m about 200 pages into The Last Supper Catering Company, and I’m hoping this is the year I finish it.  Once that happens, I have to start working on all the recipes I’m including.  So don’t be surprised if I call upon you to try them out to let me know what you think.

Oh, I’m including a photo from the local newspaper.  I told you how big the slugs were here on the island and, you know, I don’t exaggerate.  The photo, taken from a Seattle news helicopter that just happened to be flying over while covering another story up north, shared it with the local rag.  I’m pretty sure it was out by the Three Sisters Ranch (they sell locally raised beef).    These two look like they’re about ready to lock horns.  My money’s on the slug.  And yours?

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Will January Ever End?

I don’t know about you, but January feels like a shadow (or a mini Darth Vader – left) that keeps following me with no end in sight.  To my friends in California – how about that rain?  I understand El Nino is slamming the state.  Stay safe.  It’s pretty dry up here in Coupeville; blue skies with marshmallow puff clouds the last couple of days, and it seems more of the same for the rest of the week.   Perfect weather for hoeing, but, alas, I have been busy with an indoor project that has been calling to me.  Since my guests must go through the garage to get to the bedroom at that level, I decided to spiffy it up.  It’s been primed, ceiling double coated and the walls have their first coat of paint.  Tomorrow, I hope to finish the walls and then it’s on to the floor, and that project is finished – then I’ll get back to hoeing.

My dear friend, Dawn, brought her truck down to the property so that I won’t have to make as many trips to the back of the property with debris.  And talk about debris…last week while clearing an area, I pulled out a Mr. Potato Head, a pillow, saw blades, beer cans and bottles, spent shotgun shells and under a fallen tree that has Ralph’s chainsaw’s name on it, a tire!   I must say a number of expletives spilled from my mouth as I came across these items.  Try as I might, I can’t wrap my brain around that kind of ignorance.  The best I can do is apologize to the earth as I tidy her up.

Big night last Sunday.   Bev Heising – local fiddler that I’ve mentioned in past posts, put together a concert with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haus.  They performed at the Fort Casey Auditorium (more like an elementary school auditorium, but we squeezed in over 200 people); the culmination of a four-day fiddlers workshop.  Alasdair lives in Nevada City, but travels the world creating fiddle camps; Natalie Haus plays cello, and the two of them together created a foot stomping evening of music – from Scottish, Celtic to Spanish.  If you ever hear of him playing near you, don’t miss him.   The Pacific Northwest Fiddlers’ Society helped sponsor the concert and folks that took part in the workshop opened the show.  Then at the end of the program, in addition to the PNFS folks, a number of people in the audience who had rehearsed at night with the rest got up on stage to play.  I would guess there were 50-60 fiddlers, cellists and guitarists on a very small stage.  The energy was abundant and what a sight to see all those bows moving in harmony with one another.  And no one lost an eye!

That same day was the start of fishing season, so talk down at the coffee shop will be one lie after another about the one that got away.

Shop Talk – Quiet days down at the shops, but that gives me even more time to listen to the stories customers set on the counter.  Last Monday two women came in and were browsing the aisles.  One of the women started to discuss the  face lifts she noticed on the Golden Globes.  Without access to TV, I depend on the kindness of strangers to keep me abreast (non silicone) of what’s happening in the world of Hollywood.  Well, this conversation led to her own dismay with the way her face was taking a down hill slide.  I mentioned that I thought it was a gift that our eyesight faded about the same time rendering a Doris Day gauzed out effect when we looked in the mirror.  She felt I was right – in her mind, it was a gift from God.  From my left – and I’m happy to say I still have my peripheral vision in my left eye despite the floater that has taken up residence there – her friend, a woman with hair and makeup à la Betty Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and an attitude to match interjected the following – without pause, full boom:  “My mother-in-law can’t wipe her own ass.  Fortunately, she’s lost her memory so I guess that’s a gift.”   I wasn’t sure how to turn that into a sales pitch for scarves, lotion or jewelry so I just smiled my shop girl smile.

Police Report –  New Year’s resolution gone bad:  1/7 – Caller advising male/female were just seen walking at city beach.  Male said he told friends around 4-5 this morning that he “couldn’t stay sober anymore and stole beer.”

5:44 p.m.  Caller is advising that she has just arrived home and cannot get inside.  Doors are locked.  Her 2007 Lexus is missing and there’s a Mercedes Benz in the driveway, her dog is in the woods, and she has to “take a piss,” and isn’t happy.

6:47 p.m. State Route 20 – Reporting male in a wheelchair in the turn lane of the highway in front of Liberty Market.  Caller was just a passerby; saw no reflective tape or anything – just the guy sitting in his wheelchair in the turn lane.

1/10 – 10:49 a.m. – There is a loose bull in her front yard – caller advising that there are no bulls in her neighborhood at all, so unknown as to where it came from.

Little Shit Siting – Walking down North Quail Trail Lane after fetching my mail, Little Shit darted out in front of me and ran into the woods.  He looks good.

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Greetings from Coupeville!  Somehow I misplaced January 2 through January 11.  Not sure, but I think it had something to do with that New Year’s Day party at the Heisings.  Or maybe it was the arrival of Jessica and Nate on January 2.  It was so good to see them, and our visit was made even more tender by the fact I completely kicked their butts at Bananagrams!  That’s the kind of visit I look forward to.  Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been busy out on the property as well as down at the shops.   But when there’s big news to report, well hell’s bells, a girl’s gotta take a break and shout it out:  My Turbo Snake arrived today!

Those who read my blog regularly know I had a “situation” when the weather turned to below freezing for over a week.  Was it a clog, or was it a frozen pipe?  Well, we’ll never know, but the next time that bathtub backs up, I’ll be ready!

A little back story now.  Sitting in Toby’s with Nate and Jessica was the place where the potential for a clogged drain miracle took place.  First, I don’t have TV so even with the sound down, I’ll pretty much stare at anything that moves across the screen. Somewhere between the news of the latest disaster, two pounds of  steamed mussels and dear Matt (I’ve told you about Matt who’s one of Coupeville’s special folks – Matt’s the guy who will offer to pump your gas or paint your toenails) taking a shine to Jessica’s boots to the point of kneeling down to try to remove that boot, came the commercial that I’m hoping will change my life.  I could totally relate to the poor woman standing ankle-deep in tub water as she showered; although she had nice legs.  Should she use chemicals to remove the clog?  One of those universal circles with the slash through it, told me NO.  What she needed was the Turbo Snake.  In a matter of seconds she pulled out some really gnarly hair clogs from her bathtub drain and, frankly,  I was embarrassed for her.  I’d sell my home before I’d let anyone see a glop of hair that size come out of my pipes.  But I must say, I was hooked.  The clincher for making the sale was not only did  you get both the Turbo Snake for the tub AND the Turbo Snake for the sink, you got a second set FREE.  All for only $10.00!  $10.00!  I couldn’t wait to get home, get online and get my Turbo Snake.  Unfortunately, it was three days later before I remembered I saw the commercial, but once I remembered, I had my credit card ready to buy my Turbo Snake.

I’ll admit I was tempted when, once at the site, they tried to get me to buy the industrial strength Turbo Snake, but I hit “no thanks,” and when they asked a second and third time if I was sure I didn’t need the Professional Turbo Snake recommended by plumbers, I just said “no thanks, no thanks, no thanks.”  How about rush delivery? “NO THANKS!”  As badly as I wanted to get my Turbo Snake sooner than later, I’m on a fixed income.   If need be, I’d just stop washing my hair until it arrived.  By the time I signed off, the $10.00 Turbo Snake turned out to cost me $23.95.  They must have some highly professional shipping and handling people for an extra $13.95 to be added on, but I was committed.  By that point, I was jonesin’ for my Turbo Snake.

I haven’t opened the box yet because I wanted to share that event with you.  Are you as excited as I am?  I knew you would be.  Here goes.  Wow, the packages are pretty small, about the size of a 4×6 photo.  A picture of Anthony Sullivan, the Turbo Snake Host, is giving me the thumbs up sign.  That’s good, isn’t it?  Oh, my.  Hmmmm.  I guess I should have realized I was watching a big screen TV and the product would naturally look much larger.  I thought for sure the Turbo Snake was at least a good three to four feet long.  Maybe when I stretch them out…no, not even close.   Stretched to the max, they’re less than a foot long.    Okay, I’m going upstairs to try out my Turbo Snake; maybe size really doesn’t matter.

There’s a pointy brush on one and a flat velcro pad about 1×1/2 inch on the other.   Since they neglected to instruct me as to which one serves tub or sink, I will have to make a plumbing decision on my own.  I inserted the Turbo Snake (velcro pad) in the drain and it felt as if it was trying to go around the bend in the pipe.  I gave it a good push because I learned from the guys down at the coffee shop, when in doubt,  just force it.  Boy, I’m pretty sure I would have been able to pull the Turbo Snake out of the pipe if it had a larger tip at the other end – something to grip instead of that silly little red Turbo Snake logo cap.   Hmmm.  I’ll come back to the tub drain after I try the Turbo Snake for the sink.  I probably should have started there.  It seems more like a beginner’s level.  Insert, twist, remove.  Easy enough.   Inserted, twisted, twisted, twisted…can’t remove.

Okay, I’m going out to the shed to get my pliers, and by God there better be some hair at the end of those Turbo Snakes when I finally dislodge them from my drains or Anthony Sullivan is going to get a picture of me with one of my fingers in the air, too.  But first, I’m going to pour a glass of wine, get online and order a TV.  Obviously, this wouldn’t have happened if I had watched TV all along.

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Day One – 2010

 Day one of 2010 turned out to be a good hoe day.  I finished up pulling out all the bracken ferns from the slope yesterday.  Get ready, Ralph, I’m creating new piles to burn.  I think it’s too cold for snakes, slugs and the like because it was just me out there.  All of the wonderful wild ferns that come into town for the summer have all died and are waiting to be uprooted.  I love the winter on the property.  It’s green and lush and I can see the bones of its makeup.  However, it’s ever changing and requires attention in every season.  In other words, it’s keeping me busy.  Today I wandered from the area I had planned on cleaning and found myself clearing away debris that exposed a wonderfully large trunk that had its own little forest growing from the jagged top. 

The area went from this:                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                 To this:                                                                               

I know it looks easy enough, but the hard part is fighting with all of the blackberry runners and stinging nettles that are hidden under the debris.  The entire time I was raking and hoeing, I was laughing…because you know it’s all going to grow back.  But still, seven months into my adventure, even when my shoulders ache and the blister that formed in the crook of my thumb splits open, my hair is full of twigs, and I’ve unearthed beer cans, gallon sized plastic bottles and pipes and one of the Mario Brothers, I see only paradise.   But don’t think I’ve missed that area to the right where a few pesky bracken fern remains are waiting their turn on the burn pile.

And what would the first day of the year be without a potluck at the Heisings’ home?  They’ve got a great project in the works, too.  They’ve purchased twelve acres and are creating Whidbey Island Distillery on the property (the first of its kind on the island).  Can I pick great friends, or what?

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