American Life in Poetry

American Life in Poetry

  • Feb 17th, 2009

Book Beat: Cape Disappointment: a Novel

I picked this book up while waiting for the ferry in the way that you take a sandwich that a friend has offered you; you didn’t pick the sandwich. You didn’t make the sandwich. Really, the sandwich would not be your first choice. But surprisingly, the sandwich, you find, is tasty and interesting.

  • Feb 17th, 2009

Grafting Fruit Trees: Why Not?

If you’re spending some of these winter days pouring over fruit tree catalogs, imagining new plums and cherries, pears and apples, maybe you should add grafting to your studies. Learning what it is, how it’s done and why people do it may inspire you to graft some new varieties onto your existing trees or start some new trees that strike your fancy.

The old oak prairie

When Smithsonian naturalist C.B.R. Kennerly visited San Juan Island in 1860, his hosts at Camp Pickett insisted that he visit the “Oak Prairie”, five bone-rattling horseback miles into the interior through swampy wetlands and meadows overgrown with ferns. At the headwaters of False Bay, Kennerly found several square miles of scattered oaks. Where and what exactly was the Oak Prairie? Was it the principal, or perhaps the only oak-dominated landscape in San Juan County 150 years ago?

  • Feb 6th, 2009

Over the River and Onto the Island

A new play is coming to the Lopez Community Center this March and audiences will “laugh until they cry and cry until they laugh,” said Carol Steckler, producer and mind behind the production of Joe Di Pietro’s “Over The River and Through the Woods”.

  • Feb 6th, 2009

Fat, Plagiarism, and Global Warming

Our national health care system is in a sorry state because we have a lack of rational leadership, but I have a plan to fix it. It’s new, it’s amazing, and it’s called “Cap and Trade”. What is Cap and Trade? Well first of all, like everything else that I write about, it is pure, shameless plagiarism. Plagiarism is the best thing ever. No creative effort required. I slump at my computer, with a heart rate of 2, semi comatose, drooling, and disgorge prose already written by someone else. This month I am gleefully ripping off Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund who popularized the phrase Cap and Trade in his address of the global warming problem. The idea, in essence, is that everything that consumes fossil fuel, each car, tanker ship, business, factory, etc., is allotted a certain amount of carbon emissions above which they are required to pay a tax. The tax monies are used to develop green industries. On the other hand, Cap and Trade also allows for “carbon credits” which are awarded if your factory, or whatever, sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Such a factory could sell its carbon credits to others who are not so green.

Fisherman Bay Road Project Fisherman Bay Road Project

The San Juan County Public Works Department reports that design work and permitting have been completed on the $2.5 million Fisherman Bay Road improvement project on Lopez Island, and right of way preparation work will begin shortly. Major construction is scheduled to begin in April and completed by the end of August. Federal and State grants totaling approximately $1.50 million will cover nearly 60% of the total project cost.

  • Feb 3rd, 2009

Music from the homelands of America

Now in its third season, Home on the Grange is a brew of bluesy music and vocal crooning that can thrum the heart strings of any islander.

  • Jan 31st, 2009

San Juan Photographers Win

Six photographers from the San Juan Islands won a personal portfolio review with Jeanne Falk Adams, CEO of The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park and daughter-in-law of the late environmentalist and photographer.

  • Jan 24th, 2009

Marine Naturalist Training Program This Spring

Friday Harbor, WA – Registration for the Spring Marine Naturalist Training Program, presented by The Whale Museum, is available now. The programs dates are April 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 24. The object of this program is to provide a learning experience that assists adult graduates in becoming qualified regionally as professional or volunteer naturalists.

  • Jan 18th, 2009

News from your local libraries

The Year Ahead

  • Jan 18th, 2009


by Neil Gaiman

  • Jan 18th, 2009

Encouraging Children Without Praise | Column

These days everywhere I go I hear parents, caregivers, and others crying out “Good Job!” to children of all ages. Tiny babies are praised for reaching for a toy or clapping their hands; preschoolers are told “Good Job” when they put on their own shoes or jackets; elementary aged kids are praised for reading aloud or solving a problem; and teens are told “Good Job!” when they do their homework or get themselves off to the school bus on time. Just as books and articles have convinced parents not to spank children or isolate them in “time out” for problematic behavior, the downside of praise is now being examined. Alfie Kohn, author of eight books on the education of children, wrote an interesting article titled FIVE REASONS TO STOP SAYING GOOD JOB! which was published in the journal Young Children. Of course, it’s important to support and encourage children, to love them and show them affection, and to be excited about what they are learning. Let’s think about Kohn’s five reasons not to praise.

Worship Services in the Islands

LOPEZ Island

  • Jan 9th, 2009

Art in View

Lopez Island

  • Jan 9th, 2009

Understanding the financial crisis…past, present and future realities

Learn about the origins of the crisis…how the credit crunch led to increasing losses and general panic…what we learned or thought we learned from our experiences during the great depression…if our conventional policy tools will even stem this tide...and then participate in the discussion of these topics and in considering potential solutions.

  • Jan 9th, 2009

New Year’s Eve in Rome: A Food Lover’s Journey Abroad

We had just arrived in Milan, on a 12 day trip to Italy.

  • Dec 30th, 2008

Bee Callahan | Remembering life on Lopez Island

Bee Callahan lives in a bucolic setting in the Shark Reef area of Lopez Island, amidst ponds, fruit trees, gardens, and chickens. There are plants in every room of her house; especially hoyas which grow up the walls and across the ceiling. Like many Lopezians, she loves to garden and has had a particular passion for tomato plants her whole life. Bee says her first memory is of planting tomato plants with her mother when she was 3 ½ years old.

  • Dec 22nd, 2008


  • Dec 16th, 2008

Ancient Agriculture

Farming has been a way of life in the San Juan Islands for a long time: perhaps as long as 2,500 years! Like peasant communities in Europe, native Coast Salish peoples of the islands not only fished, but also raised crops and livestock. Early European explorers observed cultivated fields and flocks of “woolly dogs,” but by the late 19th century, when serious study of Coast Salish languages and cultures began, native peoples had lost most of their land, and exchanged their traditional crops and dogs for potatoes and sheep.

  • Dec 13th, 2008

The science of love and attraction | Column

How do we choose who we love? Do we choose? Why are we so often attracted to those who are not suitable partners for us? What is the secret of finding stable and fulfilling intimacy?

Tasting apples

Bite into a slice of apple and ask yourself: crisp or soft; sweet or tart; juicy or dry; fresh or in pie, sauce, juice, or cider? That’s what small groups of Lopezians have been doing at November evening apple tastings hosted by Elf Fay and Eric Hall at their Crowfoot Farm.

Biologist Kim Middleton’s art shown at “Birds in Art” exhibit

Local artist Kim Middleton of Orcas Island was jury-selected to exhibit her work, “Harpy Eagle,” in the prestigious 2008 Birds in Art exhibition at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisc. The show ran from Sept. 6 through Nov. 9.

  • Dec 2nd, 2008

Special holiday hours at The Whale Museum

The Whale Museum will be open extended hours for shopping and kids’ activities on Thursday, Dec. 4 and Friday, Dec. 5 until 8 p.m. Hosted kids’ activities will take place between the hours of 5 and 8. For more information, contact the museum at (360) 378-4710, ext. 30.

  • Nov 28th, 2008

Art in View

Lopez Island

  • Nov 28th, 2008

Look Skyward!

Look Skyward!

North takes second place in film competition

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, contractor Steve Orcutt was at a client’s home performing clean up at the work site, and he and a co-worker were getting ready to toss a few odds and ends into the back of their vehicle when, on a whim, one of the men unscrewed the caps on the end of a PVC pipe.

  • Nov 28th, 2008

Lopez Sound to share Christmas Memories

Lopez Sound a cappella octet will present their annual holiday concert series at Center Church on December 11, 12, and 13, 7:30 p.m., plus a Saturday matinee at 3 p.m. Admission is by donation, with a portion of proceeds going to the Lopez Community Food Bank. Non-perishable food items will also be collected. Seating is limited; free tickets are available at Islehaven Books, Blossom, and Paper Scissors on the Rock.

  • Nov 28th, 2008

Art, food, and music in the name of land preservation

Odlin South is getting a little help from some island friends.

  • Nov 28th, 2008

Lopez radio show focuses on island’s history

Lopez Island Community Radio – KLOI 102.9 FM and – has a new show called Once Upon an Island: Tales From Lopez. It is hosted by Alie Smaalders and Lorrie Harrison and is broadcast on the last Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. with a rebroadcast the following Sunday at 4 p.m.

Dem bones, dem bones

No excitement or helicopter rides to report, just back-to-basics articles,– although I may let it slip that Dr. Bob has been dumpster diving at the pharmacy. I had a Vitamin D and calcium article written and ready for the November Health Matters column. Boy was I surprised when I saw his article on Vitamin D in the October issue! However, Vitamin D is still a hot topic; so I’ll try to build on Dr. Bob’s excellent article.

Seattle author to speak about his book “Emperors of the Ice”

It’s a compelling premise: three men on the search for a scientific discovery in the Antarctic at the turn of the century. What makes it even better: it’s a true story.

  • Nov 11th, 2008

Local cider: a perfect summer drink

Why am I writing about cider in May? Because, as Rich Anderson of Westcott Bay Cider explained to me, “It’s a perfect summer drink. It’s a little lighter than beer and has less alcohol than wine.”


Aries (March 21- April 19): This week you feel an energetic burst, and at work you will gain a lot of ground. Your sector of intimacy/things shared is also very active now, so you have plenty of distractions to keep you from going crazy! Polish your sense of humor, keep that sparkle in your eye, and when you’re sufficiently worn out, flop down and pull up the blankies, hot cocoa in hand. While you’re doing that, think of innovative ways to have fun with your favorite people.

Art in View

Lopez Island

  • Nov 3rd, 2008

Artist Profile: Heather Malone, Orcas Island

When asked what her greatest personal accomplishment has been as an artist, Heather Malone of Orcas Island, who is known by many as “July,” answered, “When I look back at a creation and say ‘wow, that is a really great piece.’” Going on, she explains that her art has always been a part of her, whether it has been in the building of her home or drawing and creating art as a child, and every piece, even one that doesn’t turn out so well, is a personal accomplishment.

  • Nov 3rd, 2008

Beavers begin cropping up again in San Juans

Buried in some of San Juan County’s wet woodlands are remnants of hundreds of beaver dams. Inconspicuous shallow berms of humus rich silt are all that remains of our original wetland engineers, who did not survive the establishment of fur trading posts at Fort Langley and San Juan Island in the 1820s to 1850s.

Money and marriage

In these days of financial uncertainty, many couples are thinking about and disagreeing about money and financial management.