Lopez IslandOrcas IslandRoche HarborSan Juan IslandWeather January 19, 2021

Barometric Pressure

Barometric pressure is the measure of the weight of the atmosphere above us.  Barometric pressure varies with altitude; a higher elevation will have less atmosphere above it which exerts less pressure.  To keep readings standard across the world, barometric pressure is to be indicated at sea level.

The barometric pressure changes as the weather systems over us change.  The pressure differences have a huge effect on the weather.  If you know the current air pressure at your home, as well as the pressure trend, you are able to predict certain things about the weather.  As a very loose rule, a high-pressure area will be clear, and a low-pressure area will be cloudy and rainy.

Many still opt to have barometers in their homes and monitor them with great regularity.  There is no need to understand the complexities of all this since most barometers are marked Stormy, Rain, Change, Fair, and Very Dry but, essentially a falling barometer typically means clouds and rain and a rising barometer typically means clear and sunny.

Many have learned that a falling barometer, for whatever reason, means a shift in their mood.  Yes, this could be due to weather, or perhaps, they are one in the same.  But, let’s go at this another way.  Maybe the weather has nothing to do with anything.  Grey, cold, and rainy days can be just as susceptible to the warming influence of enthusiasm as are sunny days.

Even lousy days possess hidden wonder.  Days that are expected to be wonderful before they begin turn out to be so much more frequently than days greeted with grumbling.  Sometimes you just need an attitude adjustment to shift your perception of an entire afternoon and move forward into a pleasant evening

HomeIslandLifestyleLopez IslandOrcas IslandRoche HarborSan Juan Island December 10, 2020

A Place in the Islands

Sacred partnerships arrive in our lives in many forms; sometimes consisting of wood and stone, rather than flesh and bone.  There is a deep peace and contentment to be found in the intimate connections with places as well as people.

Every relationship we have – with other people, with our work – reflects in some way our soul’s intimate union with ourselves.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the relationships we have with a home.  We deserve to live in a home that welcomes, embraces, nurtures, delights, and inspires.

When we find ourselves there, we recognize it.  It is a vision of something we have had in our mind and the discovery, quite often, has the characteristics of an epiphany.  We have the feeling of coming home.  It wraps itself around us.

The same is true of a getaway – a haven, a retreat, a refuge – a special place that offers a sense of sanctuary.  Families, couples, and singles – regardless of gender – share an urge that borders on primal to have what can be called a getaway.  Whenever we find this special place, we add a richness to our wondrous, but sometimes hectic, lives by following our vision to create a getaway of our very own.

To live on an island is to experience a life apart.  The island home reflects the owner’s reason for escape.  Island homeowners are individualistic, socially conscious, and creative with every home fulfilling its owner’s dream of privacy, harmony with the surroundings, and more importantly, providing a chance to take a closer look at the world.

Living at the water’s edge is an almost universal desire.  It is different – where two worlds meet; a little piece of infinity.  Magic!

LifestyleLopez IslandOrcas IslandSan Juan IslandTravel December 2, 2019

Our Commute – Island Life Living

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… 

HomeHome repairInterior DesignLifestyleSan Juan Island November 18, 2019

The Barn – Saving a Part of the Past

The word barn derives from combining the word barley with the Old English ern, which meant place of.  For centuries the word was bern; it has been barn since the Late Middle Ages.  Over the centuries a barn’s uses have expanded way beyond barley storage.  Today, a barn can also be a place of tools and seedling, cars and carpentry, hay and animals, play and puttering.  Or, once you clean them up, sheathe them, and add a few comforts for creatures of a very different kind, barns can actually make great houses.

 

Renovating a barn to a living space may not be all that complicated, but creating modern homes from fallow barns involves a lot more than just hauling out the rusty junk, brushing aside some cobwebs and cow manure, and hanging drywall.  Still, despite their often derelict condition, there is truly a romance to these rustic structures that makes one yearn to reinvent them as habitable homes.

 

It is not difficult to see why old barns inspire the imagination.  The high-peaked timber shaped beams and the rich patina of centuries-old boards have a quintessentially American feeling, connecting us to our pioneer roots.  The appeal of soaring spaces.  

 

Whether you plan to use your barn to keep animals, make a work-shop, or just add storage space for the stuff that has been accumulating in your yard, one general-purpose design can fit many of these varied uses.

 

An elaborate and rather rigid system for building structures has evolved in our society.  All of us who would build are almost obliged to adopt this system as our own. The more obedient to the system we become, the less variety is available, the less creativity is expressed, the less we are able to change with changing times.

 

Break from the system — use your brains and not your billfolds to create structures that are affordable, individual, and even safer and more efficient than the mass-produced mundanities of the established construction industry.

 

Take one old barn and call it home!

CommunityHistoryLifestyleLopez Island November 12, 2019

The Friendly Isle – Lopez Island

Lopez Island is truly a magical place, eliciting in many an almost ethereal response to its sheer beauty, its substance, and its peace.  It is a different way of life: the pace is slower, the world quieter, the people approachable. Many from near and far have discovered Lopez and found it irresistible.

 

A rural patchwork quilt of fields and pastures, interrupted by sections of velvety forest rolling down to the edge of the sea, with its quiet pace, reminiscent of days gone by, Lopez boasts a well-developed sense of community.  To understand the present, you need to understand the past – understand the island’s history.

 

In the beginning, Northwest Coastal Indians spent Winters in cedar-planked loghouses and used the warmer months for hunting, fishing, and cultivating/gathering plants.  Later people came to Lopez for a variety of reasons – prospectors returning from various gold rushes and passing through the islands, relatives and friends of residents, respondents to advertising – those hoping for a better life.

 

As people moved to the islands, three main communities formed:  Port Stanley, Richardson, and Lopez Village. These communities all boasted steamer service, a store, and a post office.  A smaller area known as Mud Bay also had a post office and a school. People were, by necessity, self-sufficient. Survival depended upon community; they bartered and shared.  And now, as then, the best way to make a living on Lopez is to wrest it from the land or from the sea.

 

The story of Lopez is the story of community.  Living self-reliant lives while helping friends, neighbors, and newcomers.  Lopezians created a unique community character that abides today. It is this which has shaped the island’s history, far more powerfully and significantly than we may realize.  The island continues to echo those early times.