Sunday, November 30, 2014

Augies U-Pick

So for the second year we went and got a Christmas tree on one of the coldest days we could find.
Apparently this is fast becoming our tradition.  Last year I believe it went fine but I think I yelled, "Just choose a fucking tree."  So yeah, I'm that parent sometimes...

Yesterday, at 4:30 we went looking for a Christmas tree on Vashon.  We figured we would just go for an already cut one.  Being 8 months pregnant I am not going to lay on the ground and cut it. After all, I might never get up otherwise.  And, bending over with a saw would be a great way to get me to pass out.

My partner wasn't especially enthused about cutting one down, but as I think he secretly likes really fresh trees, we ended up at Augies U-Cut just off of Bank road.  The place is a bit shabby, and there are no signs indicating what the heck you are supposed to do.  Last year we went there and I felt like and idiot the whole time.

This time someone greeted us warmly and asked if we needed a saw.  As I wrangled the kids into their coats she came back with a saw and we asked about the prices.

$20 for douglas firs.
$40 for everything else.  Even if you want a giant one.

We didn't go far into the farm.  There is, after all a large loop and lots of trees, but the kiddos were cold about 30 seconds into the venture and I know from experience that Sean and I have different taste in Christmas trees!  This was his year to choose!  So I was trying to be interested but also quick!

So we made a quick choice.   My Mister cut the tree town (I did hold it so the saw didn't get smashed under the weight of it- see I was helpful), and then we walked it back to the car.  We had an hilarious mishap on I-405 a couple of years ago with our tree flying we are happy to stay on the Island and toss the beast into the back of the car.

Finally, we bought a $20 wreath.  After, all we went for the douglas fir so we figured we could splurge!  All in all it was a very easy interaction.

This is no the place you go if you want horses and sleigh rides or hot cocoa or fake charm.  There was no Christmas music being streamed, and no one wearing a Santa hat.  There were some men working on putting siding on a shed who were wearing overalls- but that wasn't for show.    This place feels real.  It feels like a small seasonal business.  It feels like a great stop for a trip to Vashon that should then include a trip to a coffee shop, a pastry, and a couple pop in to some local stores.  For locals Augie's U-pick was easy for us.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Vashon IGA

So when I was a daytripper and then a vacationer on Vashon I had no idea there was a second grocery store on the Island.

Thriftway was all I knew of, and frankly was all I needed.
But of course I now know there is and IGA on Island as well. Just one street west of the downtown core.  I have to confess that I am kinda charmed by IGA.

Maybe it is because I spent a summer working at an IGA in Greenville, Illinois and that happened to be a great summer job for me.  Or maybe that the Vashon IGA is not the wierd, artsy, hippy dippy Vashon. It is an ordinary supplemental grocery store...

Sure I once bought day old fried chicken that tasted exactly like the store smelled.
And no one is claiming they have an abundance of any particular food item.
But honestly I have had good luck with everything else I've purchased there.

Sometimes things are delightfully cheaper.  Their bulk nuts are like $5 a pound cheaper! Their clementine oranges are $1 a bundle cheaper (right now). Also, as a Tillamook yogurt die hard they often have Tillamook yogurt on sale!

But really, I love IGA for these reasons:

1. When you forgot something at Thriftway and you just cannot go back there again.
2. You don't want to run into anyone.
3. You are going for a quick in an out- after all IGA is just smaller
4. You can always park close to the door.  This doesn't sound like a big deal but since I am always hauling kids in and out- this matters a lot to me!
5. It is what it is. Nothing fancy. Just a simple store. There is no pretension.

Here is their website if you are looking....

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The dark bus ride.

So tonight was the first bus ride home (after getting off the water taxi) that was in the dark.

When there are not bus stops and you are asking the driver to stop for you it is really hard to see where the bus is on these dark nights!

Oh, and I need to add a flashlight to my work bag so when I get off the bus I can see where I am AND not get hit by a car.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Blackberry Season

My Beloved got home tonight and I needed a break from the kiddos.  I grabbed our berry containers and headed out for some alone time.  After 20 minutes I had 2 pounds of delicious foraged blackberries. Himalayan Blackberries are prolific in the northwest.  They are an invasive and horrible weed.  They posses an uncanny ability to grow everywhere and are hard to kill even if you can find the central root.    But then, one time a year we all set our distain for this invasive plant and we eat some pretty amazing foraged fruit.

I don't know if it is our very warm summer, or the several rainy days we have had this summer but I think the berries are sweeter than any other year we have lived in the PNW.  When we lived in Seattle I had my favorite parks, overpasses, and overgrown lots that I liked to pick berries in. On Vashon I also have my favorite roadside patches (which of course I won't tell you about!).  I do find it pretty charming that at some of the local beaches though the bushes have been clearly munched by many passers by.

What makes the perfect roadside blackberry patch is usually that it gets mowed periodically sow that the first year shoots (that don't produce fruit) are cut back and you can reach a lot of the berries.  Ideally it is situated enough off the road that you don't feel like you are risking your life, and that no one pays any attention to it.
Here's the question though? Blackberry cobbler or pie?

Monday, August 4, 2014

I heart VashonAll

UPDATE: The Vashon All List Serve through Yahoo groups is no longer a functioning Yahoo group. More commonly people use the VashonAll group on Facebook.  The tone of it is a bit dicey, but still a helpful resource.

If you live on Vashon and use the Internet I think that VashonAll is an invaluable service.

In the past 2 weeks we have.

1. Lost our dog and posted it to VashonAll whereby someone from VIPP (Vashon Island Pet Protectors) called to check on if we found her and gave us a suggestions, which happened to be where she was!

2. Needed a handyperson (man) and gotten several recommendations.

3. Solicited childcare from VashonAll and had many qualified candidates contact us with interest.

Now frankly it might sound like overuse.  Except that now our total solicitation on VashonAll equals 5.

So what is it?  It is an online list-serve. Which is a place where  a group of select people (those who live on Vashon) post things and then you either get an email every time someone posts or a daily list of all the posts.

Beyond what it is in a technical sense is that it connects you to other people's lives.  To the reality that rental housing on Vashon is hard, to the road closures, the wierd noises, the missing pets, the need for plumbers, the teenager who will help you move, the 10 year old who wants to babysit for the first time, the estate sale etc.  It is sort of an online pulse of the Island.

It totally dig it.

Here it is:

there is also now a facebook group called VashonALL.  Which is essentially the same thing but via facebook. I haven't posted anything but have nearly bought furniture from it and have looked up information on it. That one is very user friendly for photos of things for sale etc.

Anyway, that's my 411 and review of VashonALL....

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beachcomber: Banana Split Bandits.

Please, reader, allow me to share you one of the hilarious bits of the Beachcomber:

If you cant read it it says this, "In the ##### block of ###the Ave. SW, several 10-to 14 year olds entered an unlocked home and outhouse, stole banana split makings and left."

If there really is a gang of food stealing tween bandits haunting the Island then surely that is worth being a bit nervous about.  But something tells me there is more to this story.

For references sake this is from the Wednesday July 23, 2014 Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber on page 22 under the Vashon-Maury FYI Sheriff Reports.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

No rides at the Vashon strawberry festival.

The Strawberry Festival is this weekend. We are excited about it.

Except now I have to break the news to my 4 year old that there will be no rides.

This sucks. It really sucks. Even though the rides are kinda bad, and overpriced, it's still fun to give your kids $5 and say, "Go for it."

I hope there can be a solution in the future.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shinglemill Creek

I had a rare opportunity to go for a walk by myself.

This quiet stretch of a path- along Shinglemill Creek is so lovely in winter, spring summer or fall!

Cafe Luna's Latte

I love Cafe Luna's Latte.
It is good.
There are places to sit to enjoy them.
They are friendly.

Thank You Cafe Luna.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Home sweet home.

It is an amazing thing to come home.
When you love where you live it is so so so easy.
When it is 80 degrees and sunny it is even easier.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ferry Riding...what's your habit?

When you ride the Ferries a lot you develop habits.

Do you go upstairs?
Do you go upstairs and sit?
Do you go upstairs and do laps?
Do you go to the bathroom, get a coffee and head back to your car?

Do you sit in your car with the radio on?
Do your read a book?
Play on your phone?
Do work?

What's your ferry habit?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Vashon Island: Customer service.

We needed to order some topsoil/compost for our new raised beds.  So with recommendations from an Island friend S called Mr. X.  S played phone tag with this someone for many, many, many voicemails.

It was so frustrating.  We called another topsoil/compost person and were told, "Oh no you gottta call John Doe." No number provided.  Just call him. Hmmm.

So then finally Mr. X and S leave a series of helpful voicemails.

"Oh hi...blah blah blah. . . We need a trillion square feet of soil."

"Oh hi...blah blah blah...That will be more money than you want to pay." (this is an island after all)

"Ummm how about only a million."

"Um okay. That will be 245.34"

"Um since you don't ever answer your phone and i don't ever answer mine. We will leave the check taped to the front door please drop it off anytime this week."

"Okay. I'll bring the soil on Friday afternoon."

Friday morning, while at the grocery store, the dirt guy arrives. Finds us not home because I think that afternoon must meet AFTER noon.  Hey drops it off. Grabs the check and leaves a reciept.

I call and leave a grateful message.

Seriously though, we did an entire interaction with this business person without speaking, without meeting, without actually connecting.  It kind of sucked.  It was a classic Vashon business encounter where it seemed like the person wasn't actually interested in selling us anything.  I guess few competitors sometimes takes the steam out of a business.

But alas. We kept at it (or S did!) and we have some beautiful soil in our raised beds now!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Water Taxi got canceled...again.

The water taxi had a heart attack or something.  So it is out of commission for the evening.  At 5:05 I got a text and discovered that the 5:30 and the 6:30pm runs from downtown would not run.  It already pretty much as a terminal illness- these boats of ours are thinking about hospice and having conversations with palliative care.  Thankfully we haven't pulled the plug yet. I still gotta get to work!

Well when I found out that the boat wasn't going to run I met up with my spouse and we decided to take a cab from downtown to Fauntleroy.  We ended up grabbing a taxi-van with 3 other Vashon folks.  It worked well but really here's the hilarious thing....we kind of chatted...about things like airplane crashes, and teenage boys hitching rides to Hawaii in wheel wells and that kind of thing but, in classic Pacific Northwest fashion we didn't actually introduce ourselves or swap names or share anything personal.  Ha.

So be it. We ban together us islanders...even if we do so anonymously.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rain. Moss. Mildew. Vashon Island Damp.

One of the reasons for moving to Vashon was that we wanted to become more aware of the natural world around us.  We have succeeded in this point, and one of the things I have become more aware of is the rain.

I don't think it rains more on Vashon than it does in Seattle, Tacoma, Federal way etc. Living on the Island though has me much more aware of the rain.Whereas living in Seattle we only had 1 tree and  a grassy back yard and most of the water ended up running down the drains, here on Vashon the rain just settles in.  Things don't dry out as quickly.  To be honest, I find the gloomy rain of the PNW much less gloomy and rainy now that I am more connected to the life and the rain-forest that it creates!

I love the smells of our damp woods. I love the fuzzy moss covered trees.  I think it is funny how mildew grows on everything.  I appreciate how much things are growing and decomposing constantly and so quickly here!

Oh Vashon, You make me so much more aware of my world!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vashon Library

 Something about reading the same children's books again and again and again makes me want to stab my eyes out.  Even if the themes are great it kinda kills me.  Sure, there is the rare book whose lyrical form works for me an I can enjoy it, but generally reading the same story again and again and again and again and again is worse than having to read the word again...again.

So I love that at the King Co. Library their is no limit to the number of books you can check out.  We will often go to the library and get as many books as we can fit into a bag.   They might only get read once for the couple of days that we have them, but I won't be secretly skipping pages so that it ends faster!

I am also a voracious reader, and my partner, as voracious information gatherer.  So we seriously love love love the library.  I will often pick books up from the fiction section and then start reading the jacket flap only to realize I have read that book.  I read a lot of books...

 So anyway the Vashon library is newly remodeled and is great! So much light and a great kids area! Yippee.

Monsters are hidden in the carpet of the kids section.

This is the only time my kids sit in front of a computer. It's great.

 Decor on the ceilings.

Blessed be books!

Doesn't it look cool, modern, and also very PNW...

Oh, there are also places to put all the books your kids pull of the shelves that you can't reshelve because you now have to chase the little bugger.  Thank you Librarians!

I don't know what child sits down and uses a table at the library. But this is cute. Maybe someday I should bring crayons and papers.

Looking around...

Oh, very cool rocking...animals.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Here on Vashon the world has turned green!  The trees without leaves are in the minority of the trees with leaves.  Even though it is pretty much green here year-round there is something totally different about the green leaves and the flowering trees, bushes etc. 

Also, what has changed is that when the sun is out, the sun is warm.  It is so lovely.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

laBoucherie- Vashon Island

We splurged and went to laBoucherie on Moroccan Sausages a couple of weeks ago.
They gave us suggestions on how to cook them.
They were AMAZING!  We did not share them with the children. We selfishly hoarded them.

So flipping good.
If money were no object....this is what I would be doing on Easter:  A farm tour and 9 course meal!

Their website is worth a perusal if you are interested in this restaurant and farm etc.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Washington State Ferry- photos

I am kind of obsessed with taking pictures (choose your preposition) of, around, from the ferry.
It is either because this is a time when I usually have my phone and some free time.

Or, perhaps, it is because their are endless interesting, visually engaging and beautiful things to take pictures of from, on, or around ferry life.

Here are some of my favorites....

I know I might be partial but I do think this is the cutest kid ever (or cutest picture of a cute kid).

Beach walk- Fern Cove

There are days you forget that you live on an island.
Or days that you forget that the benefits of living on an Island is taking a beautiful day that the universe is offering you and going on a low tide walk.
Sometimes that mud is sticky, and if you are 2 years old it can be scary.
But that stream that pours into the water is fun even if cold and even if you are a grown up.

And it makes you want to pick up that perfectly round rock,
or climb over some driftwood.

This is the wonder of a beach walk.