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.


"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.  


Quito Basilica

It is so tempting to take photographs of all the churches, cathedrals and basilicas from every angle, inside, outside, day and night.  They are so very, very impressive, even for non Catholics, or even for  completely non religious persons.  One cannot ignore the beauty, effort, time and energy that has gone into religion -- all religions -- but perhaps Catholics especially. Their places of worship are awe inspiring in their architecture and splendor.  I recently read a book where the main character had spent a great deal of time studying religions and finally concluded she'd settle on being either a Catholic or an atheist.  As strange as it sounds, I get it.

After visiting Quito Basilica, Ed and I were left wondering about the differences between cathedrals, basilicas and churches, so asked a good friend, schooled from k through college in Catholic schools, to help us out. His definitions were helpful:

Cathedral - church where the bishop's throne (called cathedra) is located, usually the main church of the diocese.  May or may not be a basilica.

Basilica - an "important church" designated by a pope for some special spiritual, historical, or architectural significance.  Once a basilica, always a basilica.

Shrines - anything that attracts pilgrims and holds special significance.  May or may not be a church, cathedral, or basilica.

These photos are just a few of the many we took.  I hope they capture some of the splendor we felt both inside and outside this magnificent building.    If ever you get to Quito, Ecuador, don't miss the Quito Basilica.  

The Kids of Ecuador

As with kids most everywhere, the kids in Ecuador were too cute for words.  

The Panama Hat

When is the Panama Hat not the Panama Hat?

When in Ecuador!

The "Panama Hat" made in Ecuador was worn by Ecuadorian workers when building the Panama Canal.  They were dubbed the Panama Hat, but were from Ecuador and are still made in Ecuador.  We visited a hat factory in Cuenca and saw the palm reeds used to weave the hat to the final product.  The finer the palm reeds used for weaving, the more expensive and exquisite the hat.
Palm Reeds

Hat Mold

First step to Shaping the Hat

Second Step to Shaping the Hat

Hat Forms

Further Shaping of the Hat, including Heat.

Fran & Ed Modeling Hats

The Hat Showroom

Joyful Celebrations!

Everyone loves a parade and we're no exception.  What a treat to just happen across this wonderfully colorful celebration in Cuenca, Ecuador.  The dancing, singing, music and gaiety had everyone's feet tapping, participants and spectators alike.