Apple Picking

The orchard is quite old.

tall grass
It sits in a field of tall grass.

few apples
At first we feared there were too few apples …

apple dew
Although they looked lovely covered in morning dew.

Amoeba's apple
Amoeba picked one of the first apples — and part of the tree, too.

tree climbing
Soon we were tree climbing …

apple picking
… and apple picking.

apple beauty contest
An apple beauty contest was organized.

crisp & juicy
And a winner was chosen!

Finally the pick up (and our tummies) were full of apples.

back to the boat
So we headed back to the sailboat.

A Sailing We Went!

My first time ever on a sailboat.  It was an adventure and I had a grand time.

1 The Melibe

The Melibe

We arrived at the Friday Harbor Labs to find The Melibe at the dock waiting for us.

2 The Melibe

The Melibe

I was farsighted enough to get a couple of shots before we started out.

3 no sails

The Melibe -- rigging

There was very little wind, so my first sail boating experience was sans sails. Alas.

4 scenery

small island

The San Juan Islands provide many gorgeous photo opps!

5 fly boy

sea gull

This fly boy raced the boat. He won but The Melibe didn’t try to out run him.

6 on course


Steady as she goes!

7 immature bald eagle

immature eagle

One of the locals (an immature bald eagle) came out to stare at us as we sailed by.

boat house

boat house

This boat house is on the beach where we landed. We headed the opposite direction, to the UW properties and the apple orchard. We transferred from The Melibe to a flat-bottomed boat made for transporting people and cargo to shore.

9 Melibe at anchor

The Melibe

When we landed on the beach, I made certain to turn around and photograph The Melibe at anchor, but I totally spaced out photographing our little shuttle boat.

Retreating: The Long Awaited Photos

The San Juan Island Christian Women’s Network has offered a retreat every Spring for the last 4 years. The retreat is held at Camp Orkila on Orcus Island. Camp Orkila belongs to the YMCA. It is a gorgeous place with all the comforts of home and none of the stress!

Raven Cabin

Raven Cabin

This is Raven Cabin. All of the camp cabins are named after the native wild birds. The cabins are incredibly roomy. There is a big common room with a full kitchen, large round table with 6 matching chairs, dozens of folding chairs (in a huge closet), plus a “living room” setting with lots of comfy easy chairs and a couch. The cabin also has four large bedrooms with two bunk beds in each room, and two bathrooms. Whoever designed the bathrooms was a genius because our cabin was full and there were no hassles. One steps into the sink & vanity area of the bathroom, which is quite spacious. There is a door leading to the shower on one side, and a door leading to the commode on the other, so three different people could use the same bathroom at the same time.

There theme of the retreat was, “You Are God’s Masterpiece” and the message was how very much God loves us. With a theme like “Masterpiece” you know we had a lot of God’s best works around us — from the majestic fir covered hills to the sea, and everything in between — including flowers.





Salmon Berry Blossoms2

Wax Flower Blossoms



Salmon Berry Blossoms

More Wax Flower Blossoms



But not all of God’s best things are trees and flowers. God also provides us with sustenance. The food at the retreat was excellent and abundant. I was too busy eating most of it to take pictures of it, but one of our lunches was “high tea” and I knew you would all want to see the table.


High Tea

Each table had a unique tea service. Each table also had a hostess. Our hostess was a lovely teenager whose name I have forgotten, but I will never forget her sweet smile or spirit of service. She poured out the tea, started the conversation and made certain all of the food was passed and shared. I wish I had had that kind of poise when I was her age.

And, in case you think the food was in the least bit nutritious, think again. There was a bit of green salad. There was also a dish of tuna salad and a dish of chicken salad, with bits of bread to make sandwiches, but there wasn’t enough to go around.



Because I can’t eat sweets without protein, I actually left this meal hungry. As far as I know, this was the only feature of the retreat that drew complaints. And the complaints weren’t so much about the fact that there was too much dessert (there’s no such thing as too much dessert), but that there wasn’t enough nutritious food served before the desserts.

One afternoon was dedicated to ministry crafts.  A group of people went to Nigeria last year and taught a women’s group there how to quilt so they could start their own cottage industry to support themselves.  They had a table set up with photos of their visit, plus they had five sewing machines and taught a bit of quilting as they educated us.  There was also card making, a great way to minister to the ill and shut ins.  And — the one that kept me from taking more photos — prayer shawls, where we were taught how to crochet.  I knew how to crochet as a kid, but it had been years so I wanted a refresher course.  I put the camera down and picked up a crochet hook and a ball of yarn instead.

Tina Marie

Tina Marie quilting.

There were also wonderful worship services and we were ministered to musically as well. In every instance I took the camera with me, but I never took any photos. I was too busy listening to the message or raising my voice in song. It was a wonderful weekend. You can see more photos on the Christian Women’s Network San Juan Island blog.

One last flower:


Would You Eat This?

Would you, could you, should you … eat a Viola?  This plant isn’t at all what it seems. The flowers are artificial. The “potting soil” is crumbled Oreo cookies, and beneath the cookie is rich creamy chocolate mousse and Bavarian cream. This I ate and enjoyed. The meal precedi. This I ate and enjoyed. The meal preceding it was substantial and nutritious.
C because the camp is on a hillside and because traveling from cabin-to-cabin and the lodge required going up and down, I actually lost a couple of pounds while I was there. Or maybe it was all the laughter I enjoyed. Or perhaps it was all the enthusiasm I put into the singing. It was a great retreat. I am looking forward to next year.

Visit Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in Washington State

Of course, I could be prejudice since I live here, but I think Friday Harbor is one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest — and that’s saying something because this is a land of impressive scenery.  Friday Harbor is on San Juan Island, nestled in the middle of Puget Sound between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, BC.  It is part of a chain of lush, green islands that dot the blue-gray sea.

Friday Harbor is home to about 2500 permanent residents, and a rich collection of wildlife including majestic eagles and Orca whales.  We live in an outdoor recreational paradise with an abundance of hiking trials, kayaking opportunities, deep sea fishing, whale watching, camping, etc.  If the opportunities to have fun don’t blow your socks off the island views certainly will!

I don’t know how many of you are aware that both Susan and Thom plan to be here this Summer.  There’s no reason we can’t expand the group to include you, too.  My house is full already, but if you need a vacation rental in Friday Harbor there are plenty to choose from. There are three beautiful bed & breakfast houses within walking distance of our home. San Juan Island also has some great camp grounds. Susan says she and the kids plan to check those out.

The greatest concern you will have in visiting Friday Harbor is transportation. If you wish to bring your car, check with the Washington State ferry system for the round trip fees. Or, for five dollars per day you can leave your car in the long term parking lot at the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. If you are flying into Seattle, rather than renting a car you may wish to just catch a transfer flight on Kenmore Air, they have both land and seaplane service into Friday Harbor. I have flown in both ways and I love the seaplanes the best.