Life

Above:  Eric Boyle with one of his works

Artist Profile: Eric Boyle, Shaw Island

Tucked away on the west facing point of Neck Point Coves, with a waterline view of Yellow and San Juan Island, lies the home and studio of oil painter Eric Boyles. A nine-year resident of the San Juans, he is known to many on Shaw Island as their local gardener and landscape artist. But to those of you who have happened upon his work at the Lopez or Orcas Island Farmers markets, he is known for his three dimensional landscapes, inspired by the style and technique of the late Bob Ross.

  • Apr 4th, 2009
Above:  Eric Boyle with one of his works

Horoscope for March 30-April 5, 2009

Aries (March 21- April 19): Venus still retrograde in your sign isn’t doing you any favors…some of your efforts are frustrated but you can’t take that personally. As we move into April, Friday will be the day to watch as Venus squares up with transformative Pluto. This is in effect now but will be exact on Friday. Sometimes it’s difficult to maintain optimism when your head is bruised from running into walls. If you feel the need, just have a good tantrum and try not to wreck property or people.

Taarka: gypsy balladeers

Taarka: gypsy balladeers

Emerging from a long tradition of gypsy circus troubadours come the solar- powered travelers: carriers of a new musical light; Taarka. This merry band is the culmination of the new millennia, sonic adventures of David Tiller (mandolin, tenor guitar, vocals), Enion Pelta-Tiller (five string violin, vocals), Daniel Plane (cello, vocals), and Troy Robey (bass, vocals) - a cadre of performers who have roamed the freeways and backroads of the new and old acoustic caravan trail in search of a revolutionary ancient sound for modern times. While the four musicians have individually been spreading song and tune over the aural superhighway since the last century, their collaborative intersection marks a new era of Taarkan tunesmithing. Taarka has released their 4th CD, Seed Gathering for a Winter Garden, in March 2009; a collection of beautifully written and arranged songs and original instrumentals running the gamut of indie-gypsy chamber folk.

  • Mar 30th, 2009
Taarka: gypsy balladeers
Photo caption: Volunteers line up with their treasures for the April 11 Antiques Evaluation Fair. Left to right

Hold the date for April 11 antiques evaluation fair!

What’s YOUR treasure? The Orcas Island Historical Museum is having an antiques “road show” on the Horseshoe Highway! Do you have heirlooms in your attic? Bucks in your basement? Come to the Orcas Grange Saturday April 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. to find out from the experts.

  • Mar 30th, 2009
Photo caption: Volunteers line up with their treasures for the April 11 Antiques Evaluation Fair. Left to right

K.I.C.K. Spring Break Camp

Do something fun this spring break. Island Rec is offering a three day afternoon mini day camp for elementary age youth. Games, arts and crafts and trips around the island are planned to keep everyone entertained all afternoon. On Thursday we will be headed to Orcas Island to play at the fun house. Camp will run April 7-9th. Register before April 1st to guarantee space. For more information contact Abby at the Island Rec office 378-4953 or drop by 580 Guard St.

  • Mar 28th, 2009
Learn a little, hike a little, eat a little: Join us for the Ethnobotany and Edibles Workshop

Learn a little, hike a little, eat a little: Join us for the Ethnobotany and Edibles Workshop

Join leading ethnobotanist Mac Smith, Fiona Norris from the San Juan Nature Institute, and Kathleen Foley from the San Juan Preservation Trust for an informative hike on an amazing parcel of SJPT-protected land on the west side of San Juan Island. After a brief introductory session at the San Juan Preservation Trust office in Friday Harbor, we will head out for our hike where Mr. Smith will be discussing the traditional uses of native plants. Laurie Paul from Friday Harbor’s Market Chef restaurant will finish out the day with some wild edibles for us to sample.

  • Mar 28th, 2009
Learn a little, hike a little, eat a little: Join us for the Ethnobotany and Edibles Workshop

The British are coming!

As the number of soccer players in the USA nears 20 million, the number one soccer company in the United States, Canada and Australia, Challenger Sports, has been invited to hold one of their nationwide program of British Soccer training camps right here in the growing soccer community of Orcas Island.

  • Mar 28th, 2009
Lopez Lions Trout Program big hit with kids

Lopez Lions Trout Program big hit with kids

Judging from the feedback, the Lopez Lions trophy trout program at Hummel Lake is becoming increasingly popular with Lopez kids. The word is out. Kids as young as four have landed these special rainbows, which can approach 20-inch length and can exceed three pounds. Several larger fish have been caught as well.

  • Mar 28th, 2009
Lopez Lions Trout Program big hit with kids
A rough skinned newt

Newt trails

Over the past two months, hundreds of rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa) tried to cross San Juan County roads on the way from summer breeding ponds to forested winter foraging areas. Far too many were squashed by careless motorists, leaving telltale ribbons of newt-shaped stains on the asphalt.

  • Mar 28th, 2009
A rough skinned newt
Blake and one of the roosters on the farm.

Invest in Your food, invest in your farmer

Lopez Community Farm has begun registration for their 2009 CSA season! What is CSA? Community Supported Agriculture is a way in which community members become farm members. By “investing” at the beginning of the growing season, members provide the farm with the “seed” money (literally and figuratively) needed to keep the farm running for the rest of the year. At Lopez Community Farm, shares range from small, standard, and large ($400, $500, and $600 for the six month season from June through November). The intended return is a generally greater value of the freshest vegetables, herbs, and flowers cultivated and harvested specifically for you. Each week members drop by the farm on a designated day to pick up their produce. This year’s harvest will include upwards of 100 favorite, heirloom and new varieties of vegetables whose arrival will reflect the changing seasons. “What makes a CSA unique is that it allows the farm organism to live and breathe more naturally. We don’t force the soil to produce large amounts of particular crops that happen to make the most money in the market. Our work is to create balance on the farm,” said Julie Bottjen, one of the new managers of the farm.

  • Mar 21st, 2009
Blake and one of the roosters on the farm.

Orcas Choral Society to present Fauré’s “Requiem”

The Orcas Choral Society will present the “Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré on Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, March 15 at 3 p.m. at the Orcas Island Community Church.

  • Mar 14th, 2009
An adult Island Marble on flowering Brassica rapa.

Fragile and rare: the Island Marble butterfly

Several rare butterflies have been seen in the San Juan Islands. Only the Island Marble butterfly is found only in the islands and nowhere else!

  • Mar 7th, 2009
An adult Island Marble on flowering Brassica rapa.

Health Matters Sausages, Salt, and Stockings

Have you noticed how your legs tend to swell when the weather is extra hot, or if you are standing for long periods of time, or if you eat a lot of salty food? You haven’t? I’m sad, because now you can’t fully enjoy this article about edema. Edema is the condition of excess fluid in the body and results in swelling. It is a very common problem, more common the older one gets, until you actually die, after which it is extremely uncommon, virtually unheard of. Edema is bad. It can cause pain, skin breakdown, infection, and is the leading cause of kankles.

  • Mar 7th, 2009
Maxine Bronstein skirts a just-sheared Lopez fleece.

Island Fibers: A Slow Fiber Experience

Ever wonder what happens to all the wool from Lopez sheep? For the past year and a half, a lot of it has ended up with Maxine Bronstein and Debbie Hayward at their Lopez business Island Fibers.

Maxine Bronstein skirts a just-sheared Lopez fleece.
Work by Iverson called Profile.

Artist Profile: Stephanie Iverson, Orcas Island

Substantial, thoughtful, real: three words used to describe any number of potential possibilities. But in the case of Stephanie Iverson, a local painter and visual artist known for pushing the boundaries of her chosen art form, I am certain that these words offer perhaps the most succinct depiction of her relationship to her work, her artwork’s relationship to her community, and to artistic expression itself.

  • Feb 28th, 2009
Work by Iverson called Profile.
Could recession cause uptick in men's domestic duties? | Ellen Goodman

Could recession cause uptick in men’s domestic duties? | Ellen Goodman

BOSTON — I suppose this falls under the general heading: “Be Careful What You Wish For.”

Could recession cause uptick in men's domestic duties? | Ellen Goodman

American Life in Poetry

American Life in Poetry

  • Feb 17th, 2009
Book Beat:  Cape Disappointment: a Novel

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
Book Beat:  Cape Disappointment: a Novel

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.

Ripe green acorns in a spray of Garry oak (Quercus garryana) leaves on Waldron

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
Ripe green acorns in a spray of Garry oak (Quercus garryana) leaves on Waldron
Over the River and Onto the Island

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
Over the River and Onto the Island

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
Above: vocalist Danny Schmidt and his acoustic guitar. Right: Signage on a summer day for sizzling sounds

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
Above: vocalist Danny Schmidt and his acoustic guitar. Right: Signage on a summer day for sizzling sounds
Left: male hooded merganser. Center: an Arctic Tern. Right: a Golden Eagle.

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
Left: male hooded merganser. Center: an Arctic Tern. Right: a Golden Eagle.
Marine Naturalist Training Program This Spring

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
Marine Naturalist Training Program This Spring

News from your local libraries

The Year Ahead

  • Jan 18th, 2009

BookBeat

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.

Rare black swan visits Lopez Island
Rare black swan visits Lopez Island

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
BookBeat

BookBeat

  • Dec 16th, 2008
BookBeat
Camas (C. leichtlinii) in bloom at Iceberg Point

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
Camas (C. leichtlinii) in bloom at Iceberg Point

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.

Kim Middleton with “Harpy Eagle.”

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
Kim Middleton with “Harpy Eagle.”