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We’re heading to the Olympic National Park for a few days. Tim planned it out for us, the weather should be terrific although there have been gale winds all day today. So I finally looked at the details of the trip. Weather, check, reservation dates, check, then I looked up the details. Our friends had such good luck with Airbnb that Tim booked his first reservation. I went to the photos.

I know tiny houses are all the rage, we have one at home. And love it. Our first reservation describes itself as a micro cabin. Not tiny house, micro cabin! The photo reveals it all, the structure is only large enough to shelter one bed! The cooking and other necessary facilities are outside! There’s a Coleman camp stove to cook, no running water or lights. The listing says bring a flashlight! Living in the lap of luxury, that’s me. It looks like the bed may turn into a seesaw if I’m not careful. One of us will have roll to the middle when the other gets out of bed.

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I can’t wait to see what the next night will bring. It’s a good thing I signed up for a travel rewards credit card for the trips I book.

This morning this family ran in front of the truck on my back from the marina.

A nice break from the seagulls.

IMG_1621where about 80 mule deer, or black tail deer, are reported to roam. We’ve seen 2 fawns and the males are sprouting fuzzy antlers. Happily there are NO deer ticks on the island. I’m so used to avoiding tall grass at home where Lyme disease runs rampant. Yesterday I combed through chest high grass for a few hours to highlight a path for a tractor that will thrash it down, without a care in the world.

The fog rolled in and we are on our own.

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In contrast to Saturday.

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Seagull shenanigans have slowed down a bit but they remain ever present.

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IMG_1608And the eagles keep a sharp lookout.

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All’s well on our home front.

I’m an eternal optimist, perhaps bordering on pollyanna-ish. But in my experience if you expect good things, good things happen. Perhaps it’s just about being open. What follows is a very small example, but I assure you I have had bigger examples as well, it happens all the time.

We received some food, including a jar of apricot jam, when our research neighbor completed his work and left the island. Then I received an email,  with a recipe for Almond Puff Loaf, that needed jam(!) and sliced almonds, which I just happened to have on hand. Today I whipped up a loaf to have with coffee. It was simple, delicious and photogenic.

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And now for the birds. I saw this eagle join its buddy at the water’s edge. I’m not sure what they were investigating.

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We spotted these two eagles feeding on a seal when we went out in the boat the other day. A young eagle was off to the side and a third adult was waiting in the “wings”,

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This group seems pretty content. Who wouldn’t be with that view?

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This heron had a surprise visitor with ruffled feathers.

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The house that formerly stood here may have been a little too close to the bluff. This fence now stands at the edge of a 200 foot cliff.

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I liked this vanishing point.

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And that loon we saw the other day is no Common Loon. It’s a Yellow-Billed Loon, identified by people other than me who know. It’s relatively rare with less than 10,000 left in the world. And one is here in our little marina. Ah, the universe.

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Weaving memories

Well I’ve done it – made a silk purse from a sow’s ear- and I’m delighted with it. Years ago, when we lived on Fire Island during the winter, I found an already broken down boat bag on the beach, buried in the sand. It’s small, has lots of pockets and has served me well over the years but is slowly disintegrating. The straps were frayed and there was a hole in it. So I decided to dress it up.

I wove two bands using pebble weave with a backstrap loom. There’s a clear progression from one strap to the next as I improved my technique. It’s all about the tension. Now I can even draft my own patterns.

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I even used my little 2″ pin loom to weave a square of fabric with the same cotton in the weaving to patch a hole.IMG_1563

OK that was over the top but it makes me smile. Now this bag will remind me of my time weaving on the porch, looking out over the water with gulls flying overhead, and make me smile.

Then I got into some marlinspike seamanship. Except I used a pencil instead of a marlinspike. We needed to replace a fender on the boat. They are used to reduce the impact when the captain doesn’t dock as well as, ahem, (s)he would have liked and as a result the fender “popped”, or sacrificed itself for the boat. No harm done, except for my bruised ego. I found another fender on the boat and wove an eye splice into a line to permanently attach it.

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I use the app, Grog’s Knots, for boating knots and mats. Another outlet for weaving using ropes as the substrate.

My favorite birds to date are the Pigeon Guillemots. Just look at these two with their red legs. They are not at all graceful and land on the water or land with a distinct plop. But so cute.

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The Northern Harriers are not my favorite because I think they have it out for me. They fly overhead, chirp and buzz me.  They must have a nest near the cabin. Of course as I write this, an eagle just dove into the seagull colony causing them all, hundreds, to circle in a tizzy, so I shouldn’t feel too bad.

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It flies so close to me I should get good photos, although I may have a hardhat in my future.

I haven’t seen the great horned owls yet but they leave us presents most days. They feast on Rhinoceros auklets then leave the the heads and cleaned bones on our wood chopping stump. You can see why it’s called Rhinoceros.

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I used a different block to chop this kindling.

We find evidence all over the island of birds eating birds with scattered feathers and remains.  Earlier on, we saw some broken eggs but haven’t seen that recently.

As Tim likes to say, “It’s a jungle out there”.

After the rain

IMG_0384IMG_0385Comes a rainbow. Something else to look at other than seagulls copulating on the front lawn. It rained for about a day and a half. I got to work weaving a replacement straps for my little boat bag, which is gradually disintegrating.

That jumble of sticks and strap combined with my body makes up the loom.  I control tension by leaning forward or back. It’s been a process learning this super portable way to weave.

I can understand why people who live where the weather is always nice grow bored with it. The clouds and sky were dramatic before and after the front passed through. We had hoped to get out to watch the Race to Alaska go by but it was raining and foggy. Check it out at here. It is a boat (loosely defined) race from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska, 750 miles. The main requirement is the boat cannot have a motor. There were canoes, kayaks, lots of trimarans and stand up paddle boards!! That’s right, SUP 750 miles, sometimes in open water.  Oh my. They left the harbor with large oars for power. The first day didn’t have much wind and the rowers did very well.  My favorite boat name is, “What the Fuca”. First prize $10,000, second prize, a set of steak knives! Gotta love it.

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And then the beautiful full moon rose. It was still light out at 10 pm. The whole gang was out to enjoy it. They took a break from their primary activity.

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But they are at it again this morning!

 

We get around

IMG_1463Protection Island is only about 380 acres and the beaches are off limits during the summer due to nesting birds and seals. We try to walk as much as possible but sometimes we have too much to carry.  We mostly use a little S10 pickup truck that gets the job done.

Today we harvested 8 five gallon buckets of daffodil bulbs.  I may be broken but I took an aspirin and can’t tell.

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Yesterday I got to drive the Ranger to meet US Fish and Wildlife visitors at the marina.

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This morning we got to troubleshoot, and looks like we fixed, the 25 hp secondary motor on the boat.  We need it as a backup and it wasn’t running well. We checked and cleaned the spark plugs. A very useful tip I learned a few years ago is a credit card is 0.030 inches, which can be used to roughly check the gap on most spark plugs when you are on an island without an auto parts store nearby.  We checked the compression (look at us!) and tested to see if the motor was getting enough fuel by squeezing the bulb to see if it made a difference. Either the spark plugs were dirty or there was something that had to pass through the carburetor because we ran it at throttle and it purred. We’re back in business.

Rainy weather is coming so we may have to play indoors for a few days.

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Island rhythm

A pair of caretakers we met in Tasmania said every day they tried to do something for themselves, something for the island and something physical.  They had a cute acronym I can’t remember, PIG (physical, island, growth); CrEW (create, exercise, work); CARE (create, activity, read, enhance; or caretake, activity, read, exercise).  You get the idea, something like that. We’ve found a pretty nice balance.

We have to clean the dock and boat every day, not as bad as it sounds.  It uses water pressure mostly and is fairly gratifying.  I proposed we sit and spray the seagulls before they even soil the dock instead but it’s probably frowned upon on at a bird refuge.

We keep the cabin tidy and mow the grass around buildings.

We worked as migrant labor for a few days and dug up 15 gallons of daffodil bulbs. No easy task in chest high grass. I’m only mildly broken.  Hope the sale goes well.

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Tim practices piano a couple of hours a day.  I knit, weave, bake, and read. I’ve completed two sweaters, one was basically done before we got here and has come in very handy.  We either wear long sleeve wool shirts or sleeveless shirts.  There doesn’t seem to be an in between.

I bake bread, pizza, pies and crisps.  Have to keep my partner happy.

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I usually weave a bit in the morning. I finished a belt, am trying to learn Andean pebble weave on a backstrap loom, and have some card weaving projects in mind.

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I knit up a bag to use on our bikes when we go shopping from leftover scraps.

IMG_1457Now I’m trying to finish a lace shawl I started in 2015 for my dear daughter. It may happen.

And I take pictures.

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The island and its inhabitants are very photogenic.

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