Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Clam Digging

"Want to go clam digging?" asked Matt, the man I had just met who owns the property I'm currently living on.
Immediately, I gave back a, "Yes!"

How's that for an end to the first afternoon on Lopez?

Matt, Hannah, Davis, and I all piled into the big white truck and drove down to the bay, tools and buckets at the ready.

We were soon taught how to dig holes and tell a fake clam from a real one. The fake ones are the shells just filled full of sand. Both fake and real clams were bountiful.

After we'd filled up a bucket, we all got back in the truck to drive to another body of water with a dock. There, we worked together to clean out as much sand, grime, gunk, and slime as we could. We twisted the shells and used our fingernails between the gap.

It was a refreshing afternoon.
Sandy, dirty, and sea-smelling.

Love that Salish Sea.

Nettle Ceiling

I'm currently living on F.Farm and part of that involves contributing, how I can, to the daily work that it takes to keep things running and produce the food that we consume.

This morning, after breakfast, DaYvis said he had a few bags of freshly gathered nettles to hang up.

I was pretty elated.
I like those nettles.
I like their smell, their taste, and the way they make my legs not do weird things like feel crazy at three o' clock in the morning.

I like them in blanched, dried, in tea, soup, and juice.
As for the health benefits, they're numerous. Just a simple Google search will set you up. This isn't just a folk remedy.

Turns out we have room for more to dry so we might try and gather some today or tomorrow.

Oh man. You guys. This room smells so good now.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hey. Lopez Island.

I'm now in the place that that I plan on investing time and energy into.
I think I want to call this place home for a while.

Idyllically, I'd like Lopez Island be to my Washington to what Haines is to my Alaska.

Ok... that doesn't make complete sense. I'll never have another Haines, but I dream of having something like what I have in Haines. And I think I ought to stop here before this comes a long Ode to Haines, town I adore. (I reallyreallyreally miss Haines)

Greetings, world. Greetings from Lopez Island.
One of 400 island and or rocks in the San Juans - a rad archipelago in Washington state.
It's the seventh largest island in Washington state at 29 square miles (largest is Whidbey to Orcas, San Juan, Fidalgo, Camano, Vashon, and then Lopez) with the 10th largest population of around 2,200 folks.

I'm currently living in Tobbit on a lovely farm in the center of the island. I'm not sure, yet, how long I'll live there. There are a few other housing situations I'm considering and I'm seeing where I can best meet their needs just as well as mine are met. I'm hoping to find a good balance somewhere.

I want to feel as though I am contributing enough to earn a place to be there.
I want to feel as though I am a contributing member of the community.

But maybe what I need right now is solitude. Not a lot, but enough. Maybe I need some time alone. Maybe I need to be surrounded by people. Maybe I just need to breath.

My dear friend Hannah is here and the human who called me over to call this island home. It's wonderful to have her here.

We'll see what happens.
It could be a very, very curious summer.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Back from a weekend in  Olympia and down on the Oregon Coast in Lincoln City.
640 miles of seeing what Tobbit can do.

Turns out he can do a lot.

Crazy curving roads up and down and around with majestic views.

The Giant Wave, Whitney, and her Dog, Stella

Easter weekend was spent on the Oregon coast with Ian, Whitney, Rachel, and Scott - a jaunty crew of folks whom I was altogether, for the most part, unfamiliar with. Amusing humans.

Easter Sunday came and it was time for us to check out of the campground and set out for the back-home-place that some of us had and others of us sort of pretended we had (ok, just me).

Departure coincided with low-tide and we decided to go check out the tide-pool scene of Lincoln City, Oregon.

The ocean is amazing. Mind-blowing. Power and huge and vast until what seems like forever. It goes on and on and there is no safety net to it. If you end up in the wrong place, you're screwed. You're toast. BAM! OCEAN ALWAYS WINS! And in all of that, there's a beauty and a peace.

Waves towered over the world in the distance at a height that I can't even convey through a photograph. Big things. Big waves.

We were hopping from rock to rock, admiring the ocean as it pulled back and form, from shore and way out again.

And then the ocean decided to strike at a strength and power that we were not expecting. Everyone ran..

But if you look behind Scotta dn Ian, in those photographs, you can see one human lingering behind. That's Whitney.

And to the left of her, you can see Stella, her dog.
Stella got stuck on a rock.

After the ocean surged in, it was time for it to pull back. At first, Whitney wanted Stella to come to her, but then realized that the ocean, if Stella started to swim, would pull her out to sea.

"STAY! STAY!" we yelled at the hound dog.

When the water level lowered enough, Stella met her pup in the middle, wading through the still pretty intense foamy sea-water.

Good dog, Stella.

Ian and I took advantage of this moment to take a self portrait.

Hoorah! The ocean!

We then stood on the rocks and laughed and watched as other folks were caught unaware. There is nothing predictable about the ocean. If the waves were coming fast and they were oblivious, we would yell at them.

And then they would.

All ended well... although Tobbit got stuck on the beach. Then five men pushed him a few feet till he could drive on his own.

Camping at Devil's Lake :: Oregon Coast

The invitation came from my brother.

His friend, Whitney, was having a birthday and let Ian invite a few friends to join them in a yurt for the weekend. We would be staying at the Devils Lake campground, just a short walk from the Pacific Ocean. That mighty fierce thing that demands awe.

Ready for this?
Tobbit Montage!

Tobbit drove the 320 miles to Lincoln City, Oregon like a champion. Such a great truck. He hummed along and did wonderfully.

When I got to the campground, I found their yurt and automobiles but no humans. They were at the beach. I drove down and wandered -- the beach is a very large, long thing. They weren't too far off. Maybe a 9 minute walk, or so.

There they were, playing bocci ball. Then Ian drew out a giant mancala board in the sand and we played with stones until the ocean filled up all of our holes.

Back home we went for dinner. Spaghetti-O's. I hadn't had them in years but couldn't resist digging a spoon into the familiar tin can full of red O's.

Satisfied, we ran back to the ocean for the sunset. There, Ian proposed to Whitney and she chased a dollar bill around the beach.

We thought we saw seals, but they turned out to be humans...

I was grateful for the time I got to spend with my brother. He's one of my favourite humans in the entire world.

Morning was very, very.. morning-esque. I'd had an early night and enjoyed having a long time to enjoy waking up in Tobbit.

Happy Easter!

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