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Island Life [Jan. 21st, 2008|12:35 pm]
I know I'm always using the life is busy here excuse for everything I don't seem to get to...like keeping in touch with friends but it's true and has been lately even more true. In the past week or so, we've closed on the property and moved into the main house. This involved what would have been an overwhelming amount of cleaning and reorganizing if not for some fantastic friends who came and helped. There are friends and then....there are friends who will spend their weekend cleaning your new house for fourteen hours a day.

Thanks to the help, the main part of the house is livably clean and well organized. A full truckload went to recycling and another to the thrift store this week. There is still more to go. The house remains pretty well furnished after this purge. I still have plates and mugs and wineglasses to serve more than three dozen. And a linen closet that rivals a grandmother's; including tablecloths and placemats and three colors of linen napkins not to mention more sheets and towels than I can picture ever needing. And a lifetime supply of tape.

I've also cleaned the cob from top to bottom. The tenant is moving in today although he dropped his belongings off on Friday.

The flock of five sheep is now up to ten. There have been two sets of twins and a single with minor complications. The ewes have name, don't know if I've mentioned that: Sushi, Kimchee, Miso, Wasabi and Kibbi. When I'm ready for them, the last two will be moving over to our place. We're still waiting for lambs from Wasabi and Sushi.

Well, that's the news from the island. I will try to get Manu to photograph the lambs at some point. In the meantime, I've got some farm errands to do and will update again when I have a half hour to waste.
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Still here just busy... [Jan. 7th, 2008|09:51 am]
It's been a very long time since I've updated here. Lots has been going on and I've had very little time, not to mention computer availability.

Hope you have all had a lovely holiday season.

In recent news here....

I've acquired a part share in five pregnant sheep. They're currently living at a friend's farm. This also adds to the fascinating list of things with which I am reimbursed for labor: Livestock, meat, yarn, hay, vegetables, fruits, sheepskin, jams, jellies, chutneys, even actually cash sometimes.

I recently helped build a cob composting toilet/shower enclosure. Cobbing in December can be unpleasantly wet and cold. It was still a fun experience as the folks we were working with are lovely and fed us fantastic lunches. Also, we finished the project with a sauna/dip in the pond and wine. There are few things more relaxing.

We're finalizing all the paperwork having to do with homeownership. We're closing on the 8th or 11th. H. is moving to England on the 14th and then we'll be moving into the main house. A priest will be moving into the cob as soon as we've moved.

The horses are doing well as are the dogs and cats.

We've been to many holiday gatherings and eaten tremendous quantities of fantastic foods. The island and its community still seem to be blissfully perfect for us. Nonetheless, I'd like a little bit more quiet time at home.
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Meat Meat Meat [Oct. 26th, 2007|08:46 pm]
Today, the cob was a abattoir. Literally. The kitchen is a bloody mess. Literally. I don't expect tomorrow to be much different.

We still have part of a deer carcass on the back balcony. Fortunately, the weather is cold.

Yesterday afternoon, a local hunter dropped off the meat he told us he was going to. I am not complaining. I am just tired and have been dealing with meat since early this morning. I was not expecting him to drop off an entire large fallow deer carcass. When someone sez, "some meat"...do you expect the whole critter? And an extremely large one at that. It is exciting and unexpected generosity.
It has also changed several days worth of plans and goals.
M. brought me a pressure canner back from town. Tomorrow, I am canning and starting the jerky. Today was all the cutting and trimming and preping for that. I also now have numerous packages of various cuts of venison in two other people's freezers on the island. And a very gory new hacksaw. Fortunately, I'd just sharpened all the knives the preceding night.

And that's life on the islands......
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Island Update [Oct. 15th, 2007|02:53 pm]
There's so much going on I don't know where to start. It's been rather a week. A five island week.
The horses are here. They came over from Saturna yesterday. We had a bit of an issue getting Joey on the trailer but it all worked out. They seem to be settling in. As of Wednesday I'm hoping to start seriously working with them. They're good horses but a bit stubborn and pushy at the moment. Notably Joey.
The cat came back from the vet today. She had a deep puncture wound/massive abscess. Who knows what from--cat? coon?
The car is at the shop. It's awaiting a new alternator. It died on Thursday when M. was taking the cat to the vet. I am very glad it didn't die the previous day when I was in town with Hilde. I am also glad that I'd taken the new (to us) truck to Galiano that day. Thursday was check on the old island day. While I was over there, I spent the afternoon at a friend's place taking down the electric fence that is now up at the new place for the horses.
I've also been double digging the garden for the garlic.
Today I'm farm sitting and sifting compost for the garden. I'd like to get the garlic in tomorrow. I've got Music (soft-neck) and Inchelium Red (hard-neck). I already planted the last two of the garlic we got from M.'s ma. I've also got a dozen Saffron crocus bulbs to plant. And I still have to figure out where to put my currant bush and get that in. I put the crested iris in by the post of the clothesline.

This being part of a community is fun so far. People have been picking and taking apples. The apples are about done. A fella who's been picking some stopped by today to bring us chard and leeks and tuna steaks. Another neighbor stopped by to see something about M.'s new internet setup and brought tomatoes. We see people every day. We can walk to our mailbox. I can run over to J.'s to help with her animals. I'm likely going to be doing some work on another farm on the island. I don't think I'm going to have to worry about not having enough to do.

On that note, I ought to get back to all that stuff to do instead of writing about it.
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This is just to let you know.... [Oct. 2nd, 2007|09:11 am]
We are fully and officially moved in on Mayne Island.

Horses are likely arriving on the 14th. I've got solid leads on some electric fence and a charger. The property is already fenced but I'd like to be able to set up some pasture rotation.

I've been weeding and unpacking.

I think we'll be able to make some cider this year. We have an invite from some neighbors to come over with apples and learn to make hard cider with them.

Now, I've got to go and milk some goats.
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Life on the Islands [Sep. 20th, 2007|03:12 pm]
I called to set up an appointment for a hair trimming and ended up with a dinner invite instead.
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Autumn [Sep. 14th, 2007|06:42 pm]
It feels like fall here. I love autumnal foods. Last night was the first squash soup of the season. Tonight is halfway between seasons: Joyce's lamb (Timbits by name) shishkebabed, Emmy's potatoes and an apple crisp (from B.'s tree). We eat well here. There is also bread on the make. I'm finally really doing well with my sourdough. We've been working together for two years now and the starter's developed a lovely apple cider smell. My only fear is that this loaf is going to try the mad escape from the pan routine. I never measure anything and things vary from batch to batch. This one is a bit small for one pan but not quite enuf for two (since M. likes his bread to be sandwich sized). The last batch developed a strange pattern on the top from the upper rack of the oven.

In other news, we are starting our move in a week. I am packing. I need to talk to folks who've offered to help us move to figure out how to coordinate that. Conveniently, the golf cart has just broken down. I am hoping it will be running again before we have to wheelbarrow all our crap down the hill. There is also an enormous, heavy generator in a box smack in the middle of the stairs nearly blocking the way to the dock. It would be lovely if the fellas came back and dealt with that so that we don't have to pass boxes over and around it.

M.'s neck tension has been better the past few days, since we heard good news from the banker. I, on the other hand, have this eyelid tic thing. In the past you may have heard me complain that my mother makes my eye twitch sometimes. This moving thing, it is making my left lower eyelid twitch just about constantly. It's fascinating to watch in the mirror....sort of flicker-flicker-flicker....Twitch. It's not really noticeable unless you know it's there. Or so M., the world's most unobservant man sez.

I think it's going on a decade since I've done this moving thing while not chain-smoking joints. And I've moved rather a number of times in that span. Perhaps that's the solution to the eyeball tic.
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Adventures in Real Estate cont. [Sep. 10th, 2007|08:07 pm]
We're in town for a few days, staying at M.'s folks place....busy worrying over mortgage stuff and waiting for the boat to be repaired. And the water pump. Now that we're leaving the small island, everything is breaking down. Soon it will no longer be our responsibility. But, two horses will be.

Sometime this fall, we'll be getting two boys, big chestnut ones that come with tack, some grain and a load of hay. All we have to come up with is something toward hauling cost.

I haven't heard any more about the possible fjord horse so I said yes to these two fellas. Hopefully we will end up with just these two horses and not three. Who knew there were so many good horses in the Gulf Islands looking for homes? I'm very excited about this. Now we just need to get the mortgage stuff finalized. And finish packing and move.

In other news, I made a whole lot of crabapple jelly and crabapple butter with Pica. And yesterday M. and I went up to Wye lake. It's an absolutely lovely place with slightly leaky canoes and loads of wild blueberries.

Knitting news...I've got the body of a sweater done out of the yarn M. got me for my birthday. I've got to block it and do the sleeves. I'm almost done with the center section of the Print 'o the Wave stole and I'm a few rows away from having one slipper done for M. I'm up to four scarves finished for B. to sell in his salon this winter....the goal is ten. I may also do up some fingerless mitts for him as well. I also need to sew up three more shopping bags for J.'s store, these in a somewhat smaller size than the ones I've been making.

In eight days, M. and I will have been married for three years. It's been fun so far and seems like it just gets better and better.
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Today on the islands [Aug. 30th, 2007|11:06 am]
Soon, we're off to have lunch and sign the contract for the house!

I have been having dreams about milking goats on the ferry.

This afternoon, I have to finish the first coat of paint on the upper deck. It is one shade off the correct color. I had to check the number on the can to be sure. Hopefully it won't be too noticeable and I can get the right color for the second coat. Also, there is much of the usual to be done before boss-man's weekend visit.

Next week I will be on Mayne milking goats for a few days. September is also going to be a very busy month.
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Updates...what a week! [Aug. 26th, 2007|06:14 pm]
If you're curious about the lawerying and logistics, it went well.

Since the last update, we spent a weekend in town which included Chinese buffet, hanging out at Carl & Pica's house...possibly our last chance see folks soon migrating off to winter locales, talked about our possible future free truck (which is looking more likely.....old Datsun), two breakfasts and a dinner with M.'s family, a lesson in seaweed art from M.'s visiting New Zealand uncle, the usual round of errands......and ended Monday after meeting a lawyer to get the contract drawn up. We've since gotten that and sent it on to the seller(s) and talked about a few small changes. We expect it will be signed and official very soon.

We've also had a dinner party on Wednesday for the hairdresser and his new gentleman friend and two friends of ours who were here to meet the boss-man about possibly taking over our gig here on the small island. It was gentleman friend's birthday and there was fabulous German style blueberry cheesecake in addition to chicken from the farm on Mayne, local potatoes and green beans from M.'s ma's garden.

I have also made blackberry jam and blueberry jam and blueberry preserves and blackberry preserves and have just finished with a batch of lemon-rosehip. It tastes a bit like cough drops to me. Perhaps M. will like it. Not nasty cough drops, the tasty kind. Also, it should be a good scurvy preventative. If you are suffering from scurvy, please let me know.

Figs are next.

Yesterday was local island errands: thrift shop, farmer's market, recycling, a yard sale, the market and the annual Garden Club show and sale. For about twenty dollars, I acquired four lemons, a half gallon of milk, a lovely loaf of bread, a fancy-name long sleeved linen shirt for gardening, many assorted cards and postcards for correspondence, a bag of assorted cotton yarn and embroidery floss, a bag full of assorted fabric, an electric five tray dehydrator (apple chips?), several ounces of local wildflower seed, a pale blue crested iris plant, and a champagne pink currant bush which is supposed to be an abundant producer. I should probably wait until the contract is signed before I start buying plants for the garden, shouldn't I?

I have also started packing. There will be much jam to carry down the hill. If you want to help carry jam when the time comes, you can also carry some home with you.

I will miss our local errand round. Meanwhile, I am attempting to develop my local contacts in a way that will occasionally bring us over to Galiano in fiscally positive ways. I took a few more bags into the shop that's carrying them and talked to the produce fella at the market who suggested that I can sell them some of our possible, abundant, future fruit. So, yay!

We are still anxious about all this coming change but it's feeling and sounding so overwhelmingly positive. One still worries that the proverbial other shoe will drop.... And M.'s still stressed about finalizing the financing and whatnot. Excitement and worry. A friend said that buying property is like a rollercoaster. M. replied that yes....they both make his neck hurt. He's off on an afternoon hike to relax a bit.

At dark o'clock, we have a date to eat the first borscht of the season. Then, tomorrow morning, I think I have to go and have a goat milking lesson two islands over.

And a best of Borscht Season to you!
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