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

HomeIslandLopez IslandOrcas IslandRoche HarborSan Juan Island January 5, 2021

Dead of Winter? – Listing your Home

January – the month of new beginnings and cherished memories.  It is a fresh start, a new chapter.  A time for reflection and resolution.

The first month of our calendar year was named by the Romans after Janus, the god of change, transitions, and beginnings.  Janus had two faces – one looking forward, the other backward.  He had the ability to watch entrances and exits, but symbolically, it signaled the need to balance our hopes for tomorrow with a keen awareness of what happened yesterday.  Think about it…

Many considering selling their homes in the islands assume they should wait until Spring to list when the tourists arrive.  Some sellers even opt to take their homes off the market for the Winter months.  The thought process includes thinking homes show better in the Spring.  Unfortunately, many assume incorrectly that homes do not sell in the Winter. This school of thought makes for low inventory…

However, low inventory is nothing short of fantastic for sellers.  Basic economics of supply and demand tells us that most things sell for more money when there is less of them available.  It has been proven time and time again this applies to housing. http://www.sanjuansre.com/listfall

Today’s serious buyers look at listings pretty much all day, every day.  They have apps on their phone, get listings texted and emailed to them, and simply don’t care about the time of year.  In fact, many want to purchase prior to Spring to have time to make their new house a home.  Listing in January makes for a captive audience! 

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!

HolidaysHomeLifestyleSan Juan Island December 18, 2019

The Gift of Food – Holiday Traditions

Even for those who shun tradition and ritual the rest of the year, Christmas is one time we often return to the security of its fold.  Holiday traditions resonate with the imprimatur of time; they become a part of our identity, writing out family history and reflecting cultural heritage.

 

As we seek to put our own stamp on tradition and imbue celebrations with our own sense of style, the irresistible variety of both savory and sweet homemade edible gifts one can lovingly prepare becomes a noteworthy concept.  Many in the islands feel that homemade gifts are the best, and edible gifts are the best of all! It is easy to become highly domestic at this time of year as many of the visible tokens of celebration are, in fact, projects that are both relaxing and pleasurable.

 

It may be wonderful jellies or jams, aromatic breads, cookies and candies, special dressings for salads, a seasoned salt, sugar flavored with vanilla beans, or vinegars seasoned with berries or herbs.  There are butters, sauces, condiments, liqueurs, spiced nuts, and cakes. You are limited only by your imagination

 

A good part of just about anything is the presentation.  It is a visual sort of thing. However simple or small the gift, beautiful wrapping makes it just that more special; the packing becomes part of the present.  A velvet sack, a simple box, or basket can be both wrapping and gift. Hard to wrap items can be sheathed in fabric, tucked into baskets, or encased in netting.

 

Why not combine your food gift with another gift?  Offer cookies in a jar or seasoned salt in its own shaker.  Place a loaf of bread on a breadboard or set muffins in a basket lined with a holiday gift towel.  Tie a unique spreader around a crock of apple butter. Give a gift certificate for ice cream with a jar of homemade chocolate sauce!

 

The heart of Christmas is giving.  We may bemoan the commercialism of the holidays, but generosity still underlies the essence of the season.  We recognize the pleasure in choosing a gift we hope will delight the recipient and take joy in bestowing it.  Homemade gifts are invested with thoughtfulness. Perhaps both making and giving is the true spirit of the season…

HomeKitchenOrcas IslandOrganizationSan Juan Island October 1, 2019

Island Life

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!

Orcas IslandRoche HarborSailingSan Juan Island November 18, 2018

Round the County Race

Round the County

Round the County Race from the air.

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!