Camano Island

It has been a few weekends since I have been to our place at Ocean Shores!  Summer has me busy as ever.  I just spent two fabulous days on Camano Island with Don, Simone, and little Annie, their cairn terrier.

We arrived at Don and Simone’s beach house, put our things away, and since we had such great weather, we went out for a walk along the beach right away!  Here is Annie fetching a stick:

We saw so many herons!  There is a nationally protected heron rookery not far from Don and Simone’s house.  They were both politically and financially involved in helping to make this a safe haven for herons and their young.

Don and Simone and wind-blown sea-smelling Annie:

Back at the house, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this pretty floor mural in the foyer:

We all went off to our own corners of the house or garden to read and take a nap.  This was Simone’s reading/snooze spot in the back yard:

Later in the afternoon, Don made his once-a-year Mississippi never-mind-it’s-deep-fried tasty specialty:  fried chicken.

We sat down to fried chicken, an artichoke black olive salad, and a potato salad with freshly dug up baby red potatoes, carrots, and peas straight out of the garden.  Sitting there at the picnic table, eating in the late summer sun reminded me so much of my childhood summers.  My mom always served dinners outside at the picnic table at the edge of our huge organic garden.  As we ate, she proudly reminded us that the ingredients in the meal before us were wholesome and  freshly picked from our garden or made from her hands (tomato sauce, minestrone, bread, pasta) or my dad’s hands  (wine, sausage).   I felt so happy, sitting with my friends, thinking about those unforgettable dinners outside with mom and dad and my sisters in the heat of the Indiana summers.

While we ate, a bald eagle was perched nearby:

Don and Simone have a cedar hot tub from Sitka, Alaska.  This hot tub rocks!  I have been looking for one to install out at Ocean Shores and this just might be the one I end up purchasing.  What I love most is that as the water heats up, the tub smells of cedar!! and there is no need for nasty chlorine to keep it sanitized because there is an ionizer which does the trick.  Bromide is added later after use for disinfecting the water.  The tub can be heated with natural gas  (as theirs is), as well as with propane gas or wood.

Sunset on Camano Island:

I slept wonderfully with all the windows open and could hear the wind kick up during the night and later, I heard the rain fall.

Don and I are coffee drinking yogis.  I woke  up at 6:30 am to the smell of coffee brewing!  Simone’s cough kept her up all night, so she slept in while Don and I headed out to Marilyn Kennell’s yoga class in Stanwood, WA.  Over the years, I have heard so many wonderful things about Marilyn’s teaching and today I finally experienced firsthand what a fantastically delightful teacher she is.  What a treat!

After yoga class, Don dropped me off at Simone’s favorite breakfast spot, The Duck In Cafe in Stanwood, and he went back to the island to get Simone.  I sat at the counter alone drinking coffee (yes, more), reading War in Val D’Orcia: an Italian War Diary 1943-1944 by Iris Origo (a perfect page-turning companion book to my dad’s diary which covers his experiences during WWII), all the while marveling at the DUCK DECOR all around me!

I was sort of between drinking my coffee, reading my book, admiring the duck art on the walls, and watching the busy waitresses, thinking to myself this place is ONE of a kind, when suddenly instead of ringing, the phone near the cash register starts to QUACK.  The Duck In Cafe  experience was now complete.

Don and Simone came back 20 minutes later, and Simone says to me smiling, “So you got Stuck at the Duck, huh?”  There’s a reason why Simone loves this place: the breakfast was pretty darned good!

After breakfast, we made one more unique stop to a candle shop in the countryside of Stanwood.  The candle shop, Quiet Light Candles, is run by Greek Orthodox nuns!

(www.quietlightcandles.net,sisters@quietlightcandles.net)

I have always been intrigued by the monastic life and seeing a fairly young nun  who greeted us in her full religious habit was impressive.  She told me that there are only 4 nuns in their order in Stanwood.  To my surprise, none of the 4 nuns are Greek or of Greek origin.  They are all Greek Orthodox converts.  Their convent, nestled here in the middle of cow fields, is called The Convent of the Meeting of the Lord.   Like most monastic orders, they have to support themselves and so these nuns make candles from 100% pure beeswax.  They also sell other beautiful gifts and Christmas tree glass ornaments and have an annual Christmas Festival Sale.  I enjoyed talking to the sister and I admired her courage to choose to live a monastic life. I also admired the sisters’ industriousness.

Most important about the visit to the convent/candle shop is that today I learned that beeswax candles actually clean the air and help reduce pollutants and allergens.  “People with allergies, sinus problems, and asthma have reported significant improvement in their symptoms, breathing better and sleeping better after burning the 100% beeswax candles in their bedrooms for thirty minutes or more before bedtime.  Burning beeswax produces negative ions. Negative ions are nature’s air purifiers, cleaning the air of dust, mold, bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants.” Yes, I bought some beeswax candles today.

Back on Camano Island,  Simone invited me to pick pick pick any vegetables I wanted from their garden to take home with me.  Their garden is fenced in to protect the vegetables from deer.  Don is very artistic and decorated the garden with his own unique hand blown glass art:

I came home with a large heavy bagful of vegetables:  dinosaur kale, new red potatoes, peas, raspberries, arugula, and broccoli.  What a wonderful two days on Camano with Don and Simone.

Oh, and off the subject of Camano, but very interesting all the same, my sister Nora sent me an article with a new idea for dealing with slugs!!!  Check this out:

“Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices of CUCUMBER in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive these garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.”

Cucumbers and aluminum pie tins????  I am going to try it and see what happens though we are past the worst of the spring slug damage.  Wouldn’t this be amazing if it actually works?

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