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.


Looking Back

During the very early years of my childhood we lived in Ojai, California and these were indeed formative years.  I was shaped and changed and influenced by this powerful community.  A community of art, history, beauty and people of note.  When Ed and I visited Ojai in about 1985, we were in luck to  be able to attend Philosopher Krishnamaurti's last lecture, where Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895/1896 - February 17, 1986), made his U.S. home.  My parents, George and Wilma Abel, attended his lectures in the Oak Grove often, when I was a small child. 

On that same Ojai visit, Ed and I were fortunate to be able to visit Beatrice Wood's studio where she was holding court.  A world famous potter, Beatrice Wood (March 3, 1893 - March 12, 1998), had just purchased a computer, and that day she was only interested in Ed, a computer programer. Her curiosity was intense, even as a very elderly woman.  She had selected Ojai as her home to be close to Jiddu Krisnamurti and was a life long member of the Theological Society.

Beatrice Wood.  When asked the secret to her incredible longevity,
she would respond, "I owe it all to chocolate and young men." 

On a walk one day, with my sister and parents, we stopped at Beatrice Wood's studio where my parents purchased tiny pots for my sister and me.  I still have my little pot.

A Beatrice Wood pot 

The famous "B" on the bottom of the pot

Georgia & Frances
Sisters in Ojai 1946

Beautiful majestic Oak trees dominate the landscape

My school, San Antonio School

Ojai Post Office
Historic Spanish architecture molds Ojai's charm.

Not being shaped just by powerful people, but powerful events too, one summer Ojai burned.  My mother, sister and I evacuated our home for the neighboring town of Oxnard as a wild fire raged.  Our father stayed behind to protect our home.   On hearing on the radio a man had suffered a heart attach protecting his home, we returned to the valley and our home to find out if our father was ok.  He was, but the fire was very close.  Being surrounded by orange orchards, we moved all our possessions into the orchard, where we slept  that night (determined by my parents to be safer than the house).  During the night the fire was controlled, just a few miles from our home.  We woke up freezing cold, with no fire to heat the night, but safe, although shivering.

Ojai wildfire (later fire but looks exactly the one of my childhood)


Song of the Open Road.

Everything is changing!  Adventure is in this family's blood it seems and we're all tuning up for big changes.


Security is mostly a superstition.  It  does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
 Helen Keller 

Early in 2014, Ed and I plan to put our Whidbey Island home on the vacation home circuit; pack a few items; get our shots and passports updated; buy our airline tickets; crate up our dog and bicycles; and take off for Cuenca, Ecuador.  Now, of course, there could still be a kink in our plans, like health issues, but barring problems we are looking for a new living adventure early next year.

Cuenca, Ecuador
Population - 350,000,  Elevation ~ 8,500 ft.

Cuenca, Ecuador
Average day temperature - 75 degrees
Average night temperature - 50 degrees
Hours of light per day 12 - 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Yessi and Brad are also making life-changing plans that include the complicated details of how to hurdle their respective country's barriers to be together.  Neither China nor the United States of America are easy to negotiate for Green Cards, Work Visas, and meeting all the legal details of living together in one or the other's country.  Nothing is cemented for  them yet either but they're in the crazy Skype  mode daily as they talk about a million logistical details.

Yessi & Brad 

Brad, Fran Yessi & Ed

Stay tuned for how this all plays out.  Right now I'm just hitting the surface in this blog because we're all still skimming on the surface of what these big changes mean and how they'll play out.  

It's all very exciting, albeit a little scary, but adventure is what we all want and adventure is what we're getting.

Song of the Open Road
Henceforth I ask not good fortune—I myself am good fortune;

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.

Strong and content, I travel the open road.

Walt Whitman


Above the Storm

As it was storming here along the edge of the Puget Sound, high above in Glacier Peak Wilderness, Brad was looking down on the wild weather hitting the Puget Sound Region.  I thought he'd be drenching wet, miserable without sun or views. I was also a bit concerned for his safety with so much lightning and him high above tree line.  Gratefully, how wrong I was as the storm was low and Brad was high above it.  He watched the lightning from his mountain perch.  Each night his little blue tarp protected him from rain but each day the sun came out to warm and dry him. 

Home Sweet Home

Looking down on the storm

Beautiful lakes tucked into the snow covered mountains

Enough clouds for beauty and interest, but not so many as to block the views

Beautiful meadows, rugged mountains, and drifting clouds 

And, after thinking nothing could be more beautiful than the Olympic Mountains, Glacier Peak Wilderness has leaped ahead on Brad's favorite list.  What's abundantly clear is the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, from sea shore to mountain top.  


Amazing Lightning!

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain.
Vician Greene

Photo: Had a wicked lightning storm tonight! Been here 20 years and have never seen lightning like this here!
Eddy Murdock Photography, Anacortes, WA 9/5/13
Storms in the US's northwest rarely result in lightning like this.  Fortunately, Brad arrived home before this broke, so I knew he wasn't still in the mountains.  Or on his cycle on the highway, but tucked away safe and sound  and dry in his cabin.  Our power went out but before that happened our DVD was so sensitive to the lightning activity it repeatedly shut down, making watching a movie out of the question.  A storm outside and good books were better options anyway.  

Eddie Murdock Photography
Anacortes, WA 9/5/13


Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Come Again Another Day!

Today, Thursday, 80% chance of Rain

Brad is still hiking for Green Trails Maps in the Glacier Peak Wilderness area.  There have been sun breaks, but mostly rain since he left  on Monday.  He is expected home later today or tomorrow and will no doubt look like one wet puppy.    He travels light so packs  a tarp, not a tent, and with so many miles on his tarp it is no longer without holes.  Plus, his mode of transportation is a motorcycle, so once he gets back to his bike, he will have a long wet ride home.  Yessi is back in China, and much missed by us all, but especially Brad who loved hiking with her.

Brad and Yessi on the bike earlier in the summer.
So much more fun with good company and blue skies.

I'm pleased Brad is such an expert outdoors person, so I don't much worry, but I do always want for him happiness and I know being soaking wet will not make him especially happy.  Wet spells:

 U N C O M F O R T A B L E !

and uncomfortable means unpleasant and unpleasant means unhappy.  So there you have it.    I can only hope my assessment is totally wrong and by some strange coincidence it is dry in the mountains while it rains here on Whidbey Island.  What are the chances of that?

Yet, while hiking is unpleasant in the rain, my garden smiles.  The rain was much needed after a very dry summer.  The garden has been thirsty.  I watered, but there is no way I can water the way Mother Nature waters.  For conservation reasons I let the lawn brown out and all well-established plants are left  to make it on their own.  But, new plantings, and I still have quite a few this year, must be watered the first two years or they will die.  So water I must, from time-to-time.

Watering the vegetable garden is always a necessity, but also has high payback.  This month we are eating beets, onions, beans, potatoes, kale, cucumbers and carrots from the garden.  Plus the apples have been prolific -- Mr. Ed has packed our freezer with apple sauce he's made and passed it out to the neighbors as well.  Earlier in the year we harvested raspberries, and more raspberries, along with lots of strawberries and blueberries.   We ate fresh asparagus for two months and the peas were abundant.  It's been a very good vegetable garden season!

Yessi watering the vegetable garden and delighting in the rainbow. 

Back to Brad's adventure in the mountains, I hear thunder off in the distance.