Friday, August 28, 2015

"Close, But No Cigar."

Ed and Fran, Sequim, WA, Fran's B-Day 8/27
Thursday morning Ed and I set out for Sequim for my birthday's chosen feat.  I had decided a couple of months ago to ride 75 miles (1 mile/year) on my birthday.  

Ed, Pt. Angeles

Fran, Pt. Angeles

Our destination, the Olympic Discovery Trail.  With construction beginning in the 90's, there are now 69 miles completed.  The 130 mile dream-trail is to be built from Pt. Townsend to the Pacific Ocean.   Although not yet completed it is nicely underway.  What is completed is the trail between Sequim and Pt. Angeles, which we rode, giving us 55 miles, round trip.

Olympic Discovery Trail, near Pt. Angeles

And then, we ran out of time.  First, we had a time consuming breakdown.  A tangled chain on a tandem can become quite a puzzling mess.  But perhaps even more of a hurdle, a 6:45 p.m. ferry to catch home.  At 5:00 we still had 20 miles to go, plus a drive from Sequim to Pt. Townsend.   Sadly, we could only say:   "Close, But No Cigar" 

We will try again, before the summer is over, but for now, there is no notch on my belt.  Nevertheless, what I am experiencing is a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure.  I simply can't complaint about a day spent with Mr. Ed on our wonderful tandem, and, today feeling muscles spent from yesterday's great outing.

Our Beautiful Beast, Pt. Angeles

My view from the back

"I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be."

~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Strangers' Faces

One of the greatest pleasures of traveling are the people one meets. Traveling is not just seeing the sights and checking them off on the want-to-see-list, its finding the stuff of life -- great people doing engaging things in interesting ways. Way back in March, at Capitol Reef, we met Melanie and Martin. Perhaps it's knowing a vehicle like this must have interesting owners or perhaps it was eating apple pie for breakfast together the next morning? Who knows, but we felt friendship behind these strangers' faces, exchanged contact information, and made promises to meet again.

Then we followed one another's blogs (Our Alaska Aventure). And then, after miles and miles of road, this bad ass jeep (The BAMF), heading south from Alaska to San Francisco, swerved to Langley.  Look who ended up in our driveway.

Melanie & Martin at Fredley Home


An outstandingly fun rendezvous on Whidbey Island, to be followed by a California rendezvous, when next we head south.

Brad, Yessi, Dianne, Ed, Fran & Martin
Yessi, Dianne, Ed, Fran, Martin & Melanie


"A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face."

~ Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

Our Beautiful Guest

We have had the most extraordinary visitor at our home, brought to our attention by Benton. As Benton has done many times in the past, he went charging down to the pond to chase a heron away. This time the heron didn't fly away. Instead, she splashed to the opposite side of the pond. Benton ran at her again; she splashed away again; and again and again. Calling Benton off we went to see why the heron wasn't taking flight. Nothing obvious.

But, here we are three days later and we still have a heron. She's eating -- dragonflies, perhaps goldfish -- but not flying. At night she disappears, hiding in the shrubs we're guessing, but in the morning she's back.  Our Airbnb guests from Bend, Oregon were enthralled. They thought seeing a heron was spectacular and then, when they were resting, doors wide open, the heron strolled into the bedroom peering at them as she circled the bed. They were almost giddy telling me about the experience; and I was giddy listening.

Today our heron, Stick as we call her, is playing "stick" on the edge of the pond, standing oh so quietly. She's looking a bit scruffy, but keeping a watchful eye out for fish or dragonflies to munch on. Benton has apparently now figured out she is a "chicken" and can't be chased, just like Brad and Yessi's chickens. There is curiosity back and forth, but no more chasing or splashing escapades.

My calls to wildlife doctors have resulted in nothing. Between doctor vacations, too-far-to-travel rescue hospitals, and trauma to the bird in capturing and transporting, the messages were simply to watch and wait and hope self-healing would happen.

Healing did not happen. As the day progressed our beautiful great blue heron sank into looking more like a penguin, and then a dying bird.  We had guests for dinner and they all exclaimed about our beautiful bird, and being so close to such a magnificent creature. By late this evening she had slithered into the water and was floating, gasping and dying.  Her death was strangley quiet; strangely beautiful.  She died at about 8:00. Seven of us gathered to honor her, bury her in the garden and say goodbye to our beautiful visitor.


"At sunset the little soul that had come with the dawning went away, leaving heartbreak behind it"

~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

 Posted with BlogsyPosted with Blogsy

Friday, August 14, 2015

We Are Coming AND Going!

Our previous post, Are we coming or going? has now been resolved.  We are doing both -- coming and going!  The anticipated offer on our home arrived a week later than promised.  By the time it was put into our hands it was, as they say,  too little too late.  We turned it down, without even a counter offer. After hours and hours of waiting with the ifs,  new desires and options unfolded.  The what's-next-in-our-lives discussions along with a digging-deep examination of our desires,  twisted our heads a bit.   We simply could not put aside having our cake and eating it too.

So, here we are!  We will stay, in our home, but not.  Yep, the Airbnb venture is turning into a brisk business.  August and September are booked  20+ days each so we can hardly call our home our home.  But, we're liking it, at least for now.  We anticipate our brisk business will  morph into a dull business this winter, giving us back our home's delightful spaces.

Most of our visitors so far have been young couples hoping to one day build their own small green home, and they are delighted to experience living small.  They are also pleased with the ideas they are collecting. This is exactly as we'd hoped our innovative home would work -- modeling living a small, yet good life.  Here are a few of their comments:

"Staying in the Fredley house is like staying in our dream home…This place is like a little slice of heaven to us."

"The home and gardens are so incredibly peaceful and beautiful.  We wish we could stay forever."

"For years, I have loved 'The Not So Big House' and other similar publications….Few possessions, few distractions, togetherness of family.  What a treat…"

"I never dreamed that just two days here at the Fredley Home could restore me so deeply.  I am sad to be leaving…"

"You have really created a work of art."  

In the meantime, Thistle is parked at Brad and Yessi's home, and is our home-away-from-home.  Combined with our barn on Grace Lane, it's quite a comfortable arrangement.   And, come October, it's  China, to be followed by a winter sojourn in Thistle. 


"The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.  As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to mind."

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Monday, August 10, 2015

Worried? Who Me?

My dear friend Anne led me to this poem and it fit me so well I just had to write it down.  In writing it down I just had to share it.  In sharing it I simply had to say something.  Here's that something.

Ed and I are in the throws of "Are we coming or going?"   Are our decisions good ones?  We are aging.   Will we do it well?  Our world is suffering.   Will it recover?

I alone have other worries, like my son.  Oh how he hates me to worry.   I assure him I am not.  But I do.   And, my new daughter, Yessi.  I worry she is missing her family in China too much.  I worry.  I'm a mom.  

I learned to worry from my mom; and she hers.  And, like Mary, I found that worrying led to nothing.  Yet, I worry.

And then, one of my favorite blog's, Bumfuzzle, arrived in the morning post.  Pat writes, after viewing the caves at Gruyas de Cacahuamilpa National Park,  "A place like this can make you realize that your entire life amounts to nothing more than a drop of water on the cave floor."  

Aw, perspective…


I Worried

I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers 
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

~ Mary Oliver

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Are we coming or going?

Yep, Thistle will have a rest and we're planning to take our home off the market.  It has been good to be back in Langley, living in our "best ever" home.  And gardening has been a joy.  Benton is beyond happy to be chasing deer, rabbits and squirrels out of the garden as well as clearing our airspace of birds and small planes.    

We had two offers on our home, both failed.   The first one was too ambitious; the second one not ambitious enough.  A third is in the works.  We'll see.  We had felt pushed to sell earlier than originally planned, by bad, bad, bad  neighbors.  Hallelujah, they are gone and the cloud over our neighborhood is lifted.  A recent Grace Lane & Cork Lane get together.

So, for now, we are two-home owners.  We are not walking away from our Thistle Adventure temporally or permanently.    Our redirect, even with a potential buyer promising an offer any day, was  to rent our home out as a vacation rental providing a perfect platform for showcasing living small and living green.  In  Langley"s slow season off we'd go in Thistle.

Not of the nature to stand around hemming and hawing, we took the idea of vacation rental and ran with it.  In mid July we advertised on Airbnb and have been almost full-up since. The last two weeks of July were busy.   August and September are beyond busy with almost totally full bookings.   And, October?  Off to China we go!

Really!  Are we coming or going?

"We are stubborn on vision.  We are flexible on details…"

~ Jeff Bezos