Given that our team works all the islands in the San Juan archipelago, we are often on the inter-island ferry. Sometimes when showing property on one of the outer islands, we pause to ponder just how extraordinary this commute really is, yet how very typical of island life. We view this commute as a mini road trip – an adventure!
When you live and work in these dreamy green islands, the inter-island ferry really can be a fun thing and especially in the off season. There are many familiar faces and actually, most of us know each other as we often ride this boat for work.
Once boarded and underway, one by one, we make our way upstairs to the passenger deck where groups of islanders are discussing the topic of the day and solo riders are engrossed with their laptops or reading or just staring at the breathtaking scenery that we never quite seem to take for granted. There are jigsaw puzzles for our entertainment pleasure and indeed, many become obsessed with these going back to them over and over to do just one more piece of the puzzle. There are women in the ladies room applying make-up and sometimes even drying their hair. Every so often there are scheduled meetings in progress as this is an efficient manner in which to gather participants from all the islands in one central location.
On a recent trip from Lopez back to Friday Harbor at the end of the day, one of our team members had reason to return a call to a client in southern California while gliding by Flat Point. The client was sitting in traffic on I-5 in Los Angeles grumbling about the congestion. Our team member almost felt guilty when explaining that she was commuting by ferry on a dazzling Winter day…
The secret weapon for living life on an island is a well organized pantry. A planned reserve of foodstuffs and sundries for everyday life, a pantry saves time, money, and stress. Tap the pantry for unexpected meals and reduce trips to the mainland or even the grocery store. Stock it with frugal finds to lower grocery costs. Set aside supplies for unexpected entertaining. This is the place for those fun specialty items to add that festive touch transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary! Properly managed, the pantry is an integral part of island living.
You may be thinking you don’t have a pantry. Sure you do! It may not be what one would traditionally envision as a pantry and it may be a closet, shelving in the garage, or even a large trunk, but a pantry it is! Don’t confuse storage space with the reality of the pantry principle. Certainly it is helpful to have designated cabinet space for pantry goods, but that is not a pantry. Think of the pantry as a reservoir of consumable goods which may be stored most anywhere in your home. The goal of establishing and maintaining a pantry is actually two-fold: convenience and protection against unexpected events. A well-planned pantry means you will never run out of commonly used products. Even the smallest home can include a pantry. A pantry is not a place – it is an attitude!
Disorganized pantries slow an otherwise productive person. They can be a nightmare if not meticulously organized and maintained. Putting away groceries could take twice as long as necessary, not to mention trying to find ingredients to prepare a meal when circumstances may not be ideal.
When stocking your pantry, keep in mind what you use on a regular basis. Efficiency is the issue here and simplicity is key, but organization is critical. Keeping your recipe repertoire in mind, decide which items you really need, then embellish your basics with some homemade treats. You will be glad you did later!
With the holidays fast approaching, you may be expecting guests in your home perhaps just for a meal or a party or – maybe for a lengthy stay. We all know our homes are never cleaner than when we are expecting guests, but you might want to consider taking it to the next level, preparing your home to avoid any annoying disturbances.
Let’s start with the refrigerator. Even if your thermostat is set to under 40°, it may not be cold enough to keep the contents safely chilled if your condenser coils are dirty. Located at the back or bottom of the appliance, unplug the refrigerator and clean the coils with a coil brush (available at hardware stores).
You also might want to prevent clogs by cleaning the P trap under the kitchen sink. Place a bucket under the trap, unscrew the nuts at both ends to remove it, and dump out the contents. Wash out the trap in another sink, then reattach it.
While you are at it, you might want to clean the grinder in the garbage disposal. Dump two cups of ice and one cup of coarse salt down the drain, fill the sink halfway with cold water, and run the disposal until the water is gone. If there is an odor, throw in some lemon peels to freshen it up.
Okay, now for the oven. Get rid of excess grease by mixing water with baking soda to create a paste. Spread it on interior oven surfaces, let it sit overnight, then wipe it clean. This is less toxic than commercial cleaners and as for self-cleaning ovens, you really shouldn’t use the self-cleaning cycle right before doing a lot of cooking.
Are you ready now?
As we ease into November, October and the true Winter months descend, many opt to tackle indoor project with a cozy fire in the fireplace or gear up for some serious skiing in the snow-covered mountains. This is definitely not the case for many Pacific Northwest sailors who have rallied to the islands for over thirty years to participate in one last weekend of racing. Round the County race has established itself as the most successful races in the area. Hosted by the Orcas Island Yacht Club and Friday Harbor Sailing Club, the event invites racers to the islands the second weekend of November for a two-day race around the islands.
November can bring some pretty steady winds, the scenery is amazing, and the Saturday evening festivities at Roche Harbor are not to be missed. Indeed, this race has become one of the most popular events in the Pacific Northwest. With limited moorage at Roche Harbor Marina, the number of entries is limited to the first 100 registered boats. This is not typical and makes the Round the County race special to be sure.
The course essentially goes around San Juan County alternating direction from year to year – even-numbered years the course is clockwise and odd-numbered years are counter-clockwise. The start is always in Rosario Strait at Lydia Shoal.
It is really spectacular to follow the Round the County race from shore and especially this year as they head north Saturday with Lopez and San Juan Island to starboard. Many on Lopez are known to watch as well as on San Juan staring at Cattle Point and up the West Side. Some opt to take their boat out to follow the race and some even fly over!
Obviously there are no guarantees about the weather, but definitely worth bundling up to watch. Don’t forget your binoculars – or, your camera!