The light begins- January

The light remains a little longer each day and it feels good. In my early days on Orcas Island, the dark lingered longer but in a good way. It was a time to rest and regenerate. Winter in times past truly began for us after the holidays. The last of the tourists and part time residents fled the rainy, cold dark and save for a scattered showing in the spring, they didn’t return until Memorial Day. Without internet like it is today, the dark was filled learning and reading off the screen, creating, sharing food. Potlucks were popular as was craft night, “stitch and bitch”. We spent guilt free time binge watching Northern Exposure on VCR tapes recorded by friends and did I mention the crafts. I learned to spin wool (not very well), knit and bought a 4 harness cherry wood loom. It’s something I’m still holding onto.  The weaving went well enough that I made and sold chenille scarves at our still thriving, local art cooperative, Olga Artworks. Keeping the wood stove going and the pipes warm was also a priority. Early garden planning was always a joy as it still is. But now we don’t mark up catalogs, call in and verbalize each item number. And we don’t wait patiently for seeds (or anything) to arrive 10-14 days later. And so it was.

Twenty five years later looks different for us and the island as a whole.  We are just short of five months at Wild Island.  Many restaurants still close in the winter for a few weeks and as long as ten weeks. A shift has slowly occurred and people are much more active than the times mentioned above. Locals are out and about. Busy. Folks are visiting more in the off season to avoid the crowds. Our local Chamber of Commerce has done a bang up job creating festivals and parades and putting Orcas Island on the map.  Businesses like Girl Meets Dirt are doing promotions like this one  that share the bounty of our island. We’re even in NYTimes top 52 places to visit in 2019. This change of pace requires an adjustment. It means attempting a steady pace year round versus the summer blow out and winter restoration theory. It might require a few more morning baths!

We enjoyed a  few days off over the holidays and we now are staying open through the winter. Winter to me primarily being January and February.  We’ve seen smiling faces walk through Wild Island’s door these first two weeks of 2019. People come for a quick stop on their lunch break, or they’ll call in an order for pickup. I love too, when customers, a majority at this time of our community and friends, come have some food then stay and feel the comfort of our dining room. It’s intimate and conversations jump between tables. One of my favorite dishes we’ve had on special that I hope to get on the daily menu is a warm kale salad.

I finely cut kale- a variety is nice but you use can use any single variety. Give it a little massage with a dash of olive oil, lemon and salt. I top the kale with warm quinoa, roasted squash (insert any root veggie), mushrooms and chickpeas, It’s seasoned with salt, olive oil and lemon and topped here with red kraut, avocado and cilantro. I’m thinking a nice tahini, green goddess like dressing could be nice here too.

Happy January!

Wendy


A morning bath

It was a long week. Yesterday I was on the couch for two hours dozing on and off with my husband and plain spacing out. I had to tear myself off the couch to go to a lovely, monthly workshop where I cut images from magazines and paste them to a card. I also get to spend time with good people there. Yet it felt overwhelming. I walked away from that not sure it was the place for me to be yesterday afternoon except that I read the magazines as much as I cut and pasted. And I may take a break on Oprah and subscribe to Vanity Fair.  I took away Bianca Jagger’s morning ritual of a hot bath and warm lemon water and threw in a dry body brush. It’s not going to happen everyday. But it hit me that taking that time to care for myself, when I feel most overwhelmed and unable to accomplish all that needs to be done may be the highest priority to be effective. Taking a brush to my skin and moving it in long sweeping strokes from the extremities towards the heart while drawing a bath, boiling water and squeezing lemon into it and then just sitting there in hot water, just sitting there and taking a few breaths and feeling grateful, that was important.

Joy, appreciation and abundance. That’s what I’m thinking about today. I’m at least trying to roll that in with picking up the produce, prepping at the restaurant, shopping for dad, picking out a wet christmas tree, decorating enough to remind us it’s the holidays, working on the logo and business plan, re-evaluating our health insurance, making time for friends and so on, etc etc. Far more tasks than time available so I pull out the time sensitive priorities and do the best I can. Don’t get me wrong – many of these things I love doing – they just require time.  I’m also simultaneously working on delegating, giving myself a pat on the back for what does get done and realizing/ recognizing this day will have a beginning, middle and end, no matter what I do or don’t do.

That’s all for today! No pictures even… imagine that.

wendy

ps… changed my mind. This is the card I made at Soul Collage yesterday afternoon.

Wild Island Wild Life

It’s been a year of food no doubt. Recipes and menus galore. Cooking everyday for home and business. The year began with Star Route Kitchen and is ending with Wild Island Restaurant. Photos were taken on a regular basis and posted on FB, Instagram and sometimes tweeted but sitting down to write a blog post obviously didn’t happen. I came to peace with it. For the most part. Though I missed/miss the writing time, it never made the cut.  This led me to reflect on the presence of my blog and others. How the platform has shifted. How we have even less time to read  posts or less attention span. Am I speaking only for myself? There is just so much information available to us 24/7. Wonderful and exhausting at the same time.

I’ve made promises to myself to write regularly and they stuck about as long as a New Year’s diet. I also turned 50 this year which I have a couple draft posts about. I even thought about “catching up” and filling in this last 8 month gap. Why? Because I think in five years “people” would be reading the history wondering well what did she do from March-Dec 2018? Yeah- I let that one go.

So that brings me to now. What do I want to write? What do I have time to write? What’s relevant to a reader here and/or what moves me to write despite who reads it. Does it keep a personal edge, does it stay strictly business, do I shut it down, do I change the name… etc.  As of  this date, I’ve cycled through a few life chapters since starting this blog in the fall of 2011 in Hamburg, Germany. And it’s all here to peruse. How bizarre is that?

Have I already lost everyone but my family? There’s no enticing pictures yet:)

I’m going to stop here. I might write again soon and start the Wild Island story. I’d tell you about it being my favorite restaurant since it opened in January 2017.  And how several years prior I started plans for an organic juice bar. I’d tell you that on August 8th 2018, it was on the front porch you see here that we were presented with the possibility of buying the business.

cheers, wendy

 

The Broad Museum LA

Exploring under the sun and feeling its warmth was, I must say, overdue. The first day however, was pouring, which in Los Angelos led to bus accidents and road closures. We had the good fortune of holding reservations for the Jasper Johns exhibit at The Broad.

The paintings below struck me enough to take photos. Can one honestly articulate why in an abstract? I might say the vibrancy of the colors drew me in. The first photo here was the last that I sat with. Really sat with and looked at while waiting for Ollie and Chloe. It was a good reminder as to how many details can be seen when one sits, gets still and, observes.

And my favorite- the hanging NO

One large, simple NO.

LA to be continued… x wendy

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Welcome 2018

Happy New Year! 

Within the chaos of the world we are living, I am striving to move forward with love, compassion, high vibes and knowledge. I am striving as well, to stay informed, conscious and aware. On the east side of our wet, green, island, stands our slice of land where we can grow food, breath clean, fresh air, and drink safe water. I am grateful each day to be here with someone I love creating a space where people can come enjoy nourishment, nature and the love of animals.

This time of the year we are feeding the critters just after daybreak and just before dusk.  I’m noticing the light of  day is expanding now, no longer contracting. And I feel the same in myself. 2017 brought various joys & challenges and led us into 2018 with a lot of strength, relief, encouragement and determination. I’m setting big goals and this year and I’m working on breaking them down into bitesize tasks. I’m also scheduling in free days, social days and appointments when possible. And I’m working on my feelings along side those tasks and goals.  My truth, alignment, following my gut. Yes that. It works for me and it might for you. I feel fortunate and grateful to have the choices I do. I’ve always been a planner and a list maker but I’m taking it up a notch. At least that’s my New Year’s intention:) I’m on board with the idea of how do I want, or how do I expect, to feel when I have accomplished xxyy and zz. And to support these efforts,  I am using this Soul Planner.

I’m reading  from things like this-  NYTimes,  Gabby Bernstein, and Danielle Laporte. As well as Mind Body Green, Modern Farmer and Chalkboard Magazine. I love podcasts from Radio Cherry Bombe and Beautiful Writer’s  And another online publication I’m really inspired by is Fine Line Mag. In these and others I sift, collect and process. And last thing… I AM GOING TO BE 50 YEARS OLD IN APRIL. I’m going to not just embrace but celebrate!

JANUARY 14,2018

SUNRISE: 8:00 AM  SUNSET: 4:42 PM
Length of Day
8 h 42 m

Tomorrow will be 2 minutes 4 seconds longer

  • FORECAST High 52 °F Low 44 °F 
  • AVERAGE High  43 °F Low 36 °F 
  • Rain  0.00 in

 

New gardens

We’ve had a busy summer- what’s new? That’s a rhetorical question! Along with completing the new barn which I’ll detail in a future post, we did massive amounts of clearing including the east and south side of our house.

We’ve got a pretty sweet landscape set up in the front (north side) and a back patio on the east but there were areas that we just basically never got to in the last twenty years. It’s been really amazing getting so much light on the south side. duh. Having built our home twenty years ago, I think partly the trees have grown a lot and partly I didn’t know better when siting the house.

Here’s our back porch on the east side- above the stonewall is a cover crop of buckwheat.

Our plan is to do raised beds and bring the kitchen garden, well, closer to the kitchen! Like out the back door. I’d love to see this happen next year but it will depend on the soil condition. We may have to ‘grow” soil the first year.

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Summer salads

It’s so summer. I could almost say the hottest, driest summer I can remember. It’s been roughly 6 weeks that have reminded me of  growing up in Florida where virtually everyday the sun rises and stays out shining hot. Except here it’s about 70 degrees instead of 90. I’ll take it.

We earned it here in the PNW. I didn’t get the garden in till the third week of May because it was so wet. The four leggers and 2 leggers were slopping around in mud pretty much till the end of May.

Our four goat mama’s  cranked out three sets of triplets and one set of twins. We had a full house with 11 kids and 4 moms. And so we are building a new BARN. Ollie is so supportive of this venture- it also gives his farming roots a chance to grow and thrive…  The boat and/or sports car has been bumped to the next decade:)

We (well they) will be moving in by September and we’ll be ready to bring on the winter.

wendyellenthomas.com

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goat kids on the move!

It’s a sweet time on the farm when the kids are due. Anticipation, nervousness, excitement join to form a feeling that sort of keeps you on edge, and a little bit holding your breath and not realizing it. I actually start looking at photos of baby goats from the previous year. I’m constantly in the barn monitoring (but not sleeping there like some with many, many goats) I check the kidding kit and track down missing parts or say pull the same snot sucker, (baby nasal aspirator) thing from the bathroom drawer that I had used for my kids 20 years ago. This is still only our third year and I’ve not needed it previously but maybe this time. Our does have mostly done it all themselves with only a little assistance for a couple and they’ve all been born healthy.

Especially with social media, I see I’m not alone in this just post empty nest time. I love being a mom and in some little way I get to help “mother” the kids:) They can’t help but fill your heart. Their trust, vulnerability and curiosity are powerful. And it’s just plain fun and so amusing. Holding a baby goat brings you very much into the present and just gives you a moment to step outside of a sometimes crazy world.  I’m grateful we have the opportunity to experience this process and share it with others. We’ve so enjoyed all the visitors the last two weeks.  We are grateful for another successful kidding season with 11 out of 11 strong, healthy kids. And we will be looking for new homes in the near future!

So let’s get to it…There’s a lot of goat kid cuteness all over the web- here is what we have to add.

First to give birth on April 3rd was Dinah our Lagerian (they don’t have their own wikipedia link). She’s a cross between a La Mancha who have the elf or gopher ear trait(we call them all nubby ears) and a Nigerian Dwarf. You hope for the butterfat of the Nigerian with a little larger size/milk capacity of the La Mancha who also have very sweet personalities.  She kidded, cleaned them and they were nursing by the time we saw them. She’s like that.

With her buckling Duffy.

goat kids

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White Kimchi with Pear & Fennel

Inspired by the fermenting demo at 610 Magnolia with Chef Edward Lee, I made this white kimchi with pear and fennel within days of returning home from the IACP conference in Louisville. It’s loosly based on the recipe from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee.

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UCLA extension writers’ program

I spent Feb 9-12th in LA for a craft and courage writing class taught by Barbara Abercombrie at the UCLA extension Writers Program. She and the twelve people in the class took me and “my writing” I will say with confidence,  to another level. I am not shy to say it was for me more about the courage than the craft. Which I might think for many is a major hurdle. We often, undeservedly, call it a hobby.

writer-studio-signBarbara hit the nail on the head for me.”Coin or stamp collecting is a hobby, writing is a calling” And this isn’t to get all dramatic but writing can be almost this secret that you keep to yourself.  I’m not sure where it falls in the realm of passions such as gardening or cooking. Do we call those hobbies? Is meditation a hobby? Do we choose not to validate writing if it doesn’t earn money? Maybe it’s because writing is something we (I) can spend a fair amount of time on and there is no basket of greens and strawberries or a meal on the table as proof of my labors. Writing doesn’t often produce a tangible thing- at least not something you want to share. Maybe writing along with the meditation is increasing my gray matter!

Cue blog. I’m bumping up its priority in my life once again.

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