Home on Whidbey is a family blog revolving around Fran, Ed, Brad, Yessi, plus puppy Benton, and our family, travels, friends, neighbors and community. Thanks for reading.


China, and Thailand too!

We went to China this fall, mostly for Brad and Yessi's Chinese wedding, but for exploration too.  The wedding, well, the wedding was fantastic!!

Plus, we had so many dear friends from America join us, we were overwhelmed with gratitude.

Then we did a bit of travel, but I'll send you to thistle adventure, where I blog about our trip.  See China #1 - #11, which also includes two postings about Thailand and many more wedding photographs.  The wrap-up words are, we were very lucky to have this life's adventure.  


The Inn's Full

Our home has experienced a transformation.  We first thought we'd sell it when we decided to travel, but didn't like the offers we received.   It's just too special to let the square footage vs. price drive the conversation.  So we did a quick switch and advertised it on Airbnb when we returned to the island this summer.  Just to try it out.  Whoa!  It took off.  We've had a rush of guests.

Since mid-July when we ran the ad, we've experienced a full house.  We've been dealt a good poker hand, I'd say.    Our home is enchanting our visitors.  They like how it looks and feels.  They like the philosophy behind it.    Time after time our guests tell us they are here to explore the island, and then they hunker down, cook their meals at home, and luxurate in at-home peace and quiet 

All our guests refer to Brad, our son and designer, as creative and talented.   Well, yes, says his proud mom.   Ed and I are asked how we can possibly share this amazing space with people we don't know.  The answer, now after a month and a half is, it's been easy because our guests have been so appreciative and complimentary.  They've also been exceedingly thoughtful.  We feel like we are finally fulfulling one of the goals we set out to accomplish when we built -- demonstrating that living small does not need to sacrifice living well.

We think it's clear our visitors  feel good about their stay here.  They sleep well.  They mention feeling like they're in a cozy cocoon.  Their connection to the garden pleases them.  Wildlife, so close at hand, delights them.  Largely our guests are young couples wanting to build a small home themselves some day and they are leaving with notebooks full of ideas, cameras full of photographs, and often with Brad's card tucked away as well.

Right now we definitely feel like we've hit the jackpot.  We're lucky to be able to promote living small, keep our home in our ownership, and make a few extra dollars as well. Plus we're meeting wonderful people.

All photographs by Victor, Airbnb photographer.


"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

~ Maya Angelou

Blog Change

I will still post on Home on Whidbey from time-to-time but my primary blogging site is now Thistle Adventure.  Thank you for following this blog.  I appreciate your interest and hope to entertain you with our travels in Thistle.

Here I am enjoying a smoothie made in Thistle's vitamix.  This photo was taken on the Oregon coast.


"Everyone is the age of their heart."

At our ages we've experienced a goodly number of annual celebrations over these many years.    With Christmas just behind us, and the New Year yet before us,  it is a particularly poignant time of reflection.  Sharing love and gifts and meals and conversation with family and friends, and loving it all, reminds us of how dear we are to one another.   

Ed and I strive to live the Guatemalan proverb, "Everyone is the age of their heart."   But, one cannot just feel young at heart without working on young in body, leading to a Jungle Gym for Christmas.  On our travels, we will combine Jungle Gym exercises with biking, walking and yoga, a regiment designed to build strength, flexibility, and endurance.   Add eating well, weight control and brain games and we'll be force marching ourselves into an old age of vigor, if not exhaustion.

Ed trying out our new Jungle Gym
Our year started out with a trip to Ecuador, and a possible relocation to that country.  It ends with visions of North American travel in our van. 

 Our home must sell first.   In the mean time, we are loving living here and are not too anxious to say goodbye to this very special place.  

Fredley Home

 Popping up in our minds this holiday season have been  thoughts of, "will this be our last Christmas here?", motivating us to savor each moment.   We collected sweet holiday memories this year.  

Fran, Benton, Brad and Yessi.   What's that dog doing on the table?

Christmas morning - Ed, Fran, Benton & Brad

Blowing bubbles

Early Christmas dinner with Deb and Greg, Yessi and Brad

Happy Holidays to All our Dear Family and Friends!


"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony."

~ Eva Burrows



We have a fabulous new front gate!


Our beautiful Whidbey Island home is for sale

We considered moving to Ecuador, wanting a big adventure, but changed our minds because of the distance from family and friends and the difficulty and discomfort of flying.  Instead we've purchased a Sprinter Westfalia and plan on exploring our world -- U.S., Canada, Alaska, and as far south as we decide to roam (who knows perhaps as far as Ecuador).

Our new 18'  2005 van, with 35,000 miles and lots of pep and vigor for carrying Ed,
Benton our pup, and me all over the place.   Plus, downsizing has been our lifetime challenge and this
van will definitely test our resolve. 

In the meantime, we have no need for our beautifully designed, artistic, unique and much-loved home.  For a small home we live very big. A 100 plus guest wedding in April proved its expansion capabilities.   Separate buildings offer an abundance of privacy plus the relationship to the outdoors, in all four seasons, expands it both physically and visually in unexpected and charming ways.  With amazing attention to detail, the home was built largely of recycled materials by our son, Brad Hankins (dbBrad), designer and builder 360.920.8280.    If interested, call Shellie Moore at Windermere Real Estate, 206.391.1087, Amy Raymond, 206.396.7016, or search  for more details.  MLS# 657 460

Our home is a short walk to Langley's commercial district, allowing one the opportunity to experience the pleasure of a small friendly town offering theater, restaurants, art galleries, public market, book stores and library, charming shops and an outstanding grocery.  We have a whale museum, marina, and views of Saratoga Passage to knock your socks off. 

Langley's First Street

Langley's Marina

Adventure calls us after 30 years of living in this fabulous community, perhaps the adventure of a "new life" calls you too…

Our new travel blog is:  thistle


Our Spring Garden

Despite many reasons for the garden to be a mess this year, it isn't.  Naturally, we had the incentive of Yessi and Brad's wedding in the garden on the 20th of April, but…

I also have been in the hospital five times, with three surgeries, in the past year.  That's made gardening on my part limited, but then there's Ed, Yessi and Brad, plus a friend or two, helping out from time-to-time.  Bless them.  I had surgery on the 15th of March and then on April 25th I had another hospital stay and another surgery, with the wedding sandwiched in between.  Low energy, pain and discomfort made gardening challenging, but check out our beautiful spring garden despite the hurdles. 

The greenhouse is full of greens and peas.  
The garden has an abundance of good things to eat, including broccoli, spinach, onions, beets, strawberries, asparagus raspberries, blueberries, rhubarb, and more.  Also, the plums, apples and pears bloomed profusely so we're expecting lots of fruit.  And then there are the grapes.  Last year I made raisins and I'm hoping to do the same this year.

View of our home from the second floor of our barn, looking east
Looking east through a small grove of bamboo

This maple is still small and in the territory of the Exbury azaleas, but I'm loving the red and yellow combination.

More color, especially my favorite garden color -- Green!
We do indeed live in a family-created paradise, with a garden designed by Fran, a home designed and built by Brad, and with Ed participating every step of the way, including doing the wiring.