Brad, Erin, Ed & Fran do Chilly Hilly 2007 -- in the rain.
I forgot to include pictures of our Chilly Hilly bike adventure in the previous submittal. We must take breaks from "the house" and biking is a big one...
The masses of bikes on the ferry are always an awesome sight. Unfortunately photos never do them justice, but we keep trying.
The challenge will be getting our 100+ weekly miles in this summer, and work on our building project as well. I have a feeling the crew boss is going to be hammering us for more and more work. Of course, he'll be right if we intend to stick to our tight budget.
I'm hoping to learn electrical and Ed plumbing with Brad directing the overall operation. We'll all be busy switching hats and helmets -- parent hat, kid hat, crew boss hat, hard hat, exercise helmet, buddy hat, designer hat, play hat, work hat -- to keep one another in the proper place at the proper time on the proper task.
Living here is a total delight. The inside is so outside I never feel frustrated at the walls between me and the garden. And, the garden! For a first year, it is definitely maturing quickly and providing us, this fall, with delightful colors and views.
With dreams of frogs and turtles and birds, we spent the day yesterday working on pond edges in the hopes that more wildlife will move in. Wouldn't it be fun, although highly unlikely (drat!), to have this Western Turtle move in, or
frogs (just no non-native bull frogs, please)...
Rocks and pea gravel were added to create a beach and to better hide the liner edges. New plants are both in the gravel and on the edges for nesting, cover, beauty, plus to bind the edges with their roots.
Bathing birds will have safer and better choices for their water depth and plant protection needs. Raccoon and deer prints are already frequently spotted at the edges.
It is difficult to believe this studio was once two small bedrooms with almost no light or function other than to house beds for an occasional visitor. New floors, doors and wall removal has resulted in a wide open functional studio space. Most recently it has been outfitted with a new steel table 10' long incorporating reused file cabinets, left over pipe ends from the new porch, and surplus Ikea feet. Remodel costs came from giving up the rental of a studio elsewhere. This Brad guy at dbbrad is a master at reuse.
The peas and beets are in the ground. So is lettuce and spinach. The asparagus is coming up; raspberries are getting lots of new growth; strawberries are showing new leaves; blueberries are strutting both flowers and leaves; and the fruit trees are about ready to bloom.
This past weekend we entered day-light-savings and tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. All over Langley the gardens are full of fully-in-flower daffodils.
Brad not only designs and builds and remodels homes, he sometimes works with recycled materials to add furnishings as well. This remarkable kitchen island is made from steel for the top and the base is an old machine part from Island Recycling.
The first Saturday in May is Hearts & Hammers Day on South Whidbey. Hundreds of volunteers come together to help repair and rehabilitate the homes of their friends and neighbors who are unable to do the work alone. This is an annual event of neighbors helping neighbors with homeowners receiving labor and materials at no cost. Everything is provided by the generosity of the South Whidbey community including hard-working volunteers, churches, service and community organizations and the business community.
Ed and I worked in the kitchen this year helping serve the hundreds of hungry volunteers and then cleaning up the South Whidbey High School cafeteria after the event. The kitchen crew begins first thing in the morning preparing and serving breakfast for the volunteers. Then the mid day kitchen crew prepares dinner. The third shift helps serve dinner and provides clean up services. The entire meal operation, although huge, is small compared to the people in the field repairing homes. The entire operation brings tears to my eyes as you see the enthusiasm, skill, talent, generosity and caring this community pours into helping one another.
dbBrad (Brad and crew) worked on a home putting on a new roof, spending about 16 hours in two days making sure the job got done. Other contractors and individuals did the same. It is an awesome event.
When new people move to Whidbey I always suggest that a great way to meet people and feel a part of the community is to volunteer with Hearts & Hammers.
We enjoyed a white Christmas this year at Deb and Greg's cabin at the Pass. Christmas night it began snowing so the skiing on the 26th was terrific powder. After the driving work of the past few days it was wonderful to be tucked away in a cozy cabin, in the snow, relaxing with friends and family. A perfect way to restore ourselves.