HoneyOla! The bees are working it

capped honeyI look through my studio window and it’s a joy to see so many happy bees buzzing about. Last year they didn’t do so good. But it seems this year they’re thriving. Because of the cold, damp spring they got a late start, but the blackberry blossoms seem to be full of nectar (unlike last year) and the bees are making up for lost time. Soon @beegeek will pull some of the capped honey. It should be a good harvest for HoneyOla.

Christmas sunshine at the Indianola dock

Indianola dock

What wonderful weather we’ve enjoyed this Holiday season. I’ve been venturing out of the woods to see the sun. It’s so low in the sky it slices through the trees, but we don’t get too much of the direct stuff where we live. It’s an invigorating walk down to water, there the sun shines directly in your face. The Indianola beach faces south, it’s a wonderful place to absorb some light and, if it’s clear, gaze at Mt. Rainier and the Olympic mountains. The long dock, once a stop for the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet ferry to Seattle (1919-1951), is the ultimate platform for maximum light exposure. Well, the forecast is calling for rain, we didn’t get any today, but it’s coming.

The Amazing Blackberry, stray cat no more

Amazing BlackberryThe cat we thought was so wild, so feral, wasn’t after all. Turns out, he’s a lover cat, a drooler who will hop up on your lap at the slightest invitation.

These woods are dangerous for cats. Coyotes, raccoons and plenty of free range dogs are threats. We know he had survived on his own for at least five months.

How did he do it? Well on day two of our time together, I had just let him out for the night, he ran behind the building then quickly reappeared with a precious, native Douglas squirrel in his mouth. He paused then gobbled it up in front of me. I was horrified. I couldn’t really be mad at him, that’s his nature, he’s a killer. That’s how he survived, his needle sharp claws would capture anything he could swipe and he was a perpetually hungry cat. I wondered how many birds and squirrels he had taken out over the Summer, and why hadn’t I seen my bunny friend for awhile? That evening I went out and got a belled, breakaway collar and nail clippers.

The next morning I walked from the house to the studio calling his name and he appeared. He knows food and companionship are being offered and he’s going to gladly take it. Within a half hour of coming inside I have the collar on him and his nails clipped! I was floored. He is so docile — the collar hasn’t come off since.

After counsel from a cat-loving, bird-loving friend I decided he had to become a 24/7 indoor cat, like our other cats in the house and for the sake of the wildlife. So we got a big dog cage to keep him in inside the studio overnight. He spent several nights in the cage, then after he proved he knew what the cat box was for I let him roam the studio 24/7. Ta-da! he truly is the Amazing Blackberry! He’s caused no damage, except for the copious amounts of drool he leaves on your lap. He loves people, uses a scratching post and leaves the house plants alone. We took him to the vet, he’s healthy, except for the freaky tick that was on his ear, and he wasn’t chipped. The vet was impressed he didn’t have any scars, that tells us he’s smart and cautious, likely to get along with our other cats in the “big house”. His big issue is his food obsession, he instantly gobbles every morsel put before him, then cries for more. If we’re not careful he’ll be a huge fat cat in no time. That will be our big challenge when we try to integrate him into our house with our two slow-eating, pampered Abysinnians. Stay tuned.

Blackberry, my new cat friend

blackberry_insideA few weeks ago the spouse and I agree’d we’d try to feed the feral cat we’ve been seeing around the property since April.

We hadn’t had much luck, the cat is very skittish and usually runs away if you take a step toward him. We haven’t seen him too much lately, but last Sunday there he was near my studio. He was intently looking into some grass, surely hunting. I went back to the house to get the can of Fancy Feast. I calmly went back and let him watch me open the can. I carefully stepped toward him and set the can down and stepped away. It didn’t take long for him to figure it out and he chowed down the food. Obviously he was ravenous. I carefully approached and gave him a pet. He didn’t flinch or run away, in fact he liked it. After he was sure all the food was gone, he was very affectionate, you know the leg rubbing, give me more pets kind of behavior. He even let me pick him up and was happy about it. I was blown away.

So I went back to the house and got some dry food, he didn’t follow me. But was there when I returned with kibbles, he was very happy to eat some more. I opened the studio door and had no problem getting him to come inside (I left the door open while he was there.) He was so needy, I sat in a chair and he jumped in my lap! Our fancy cats rarely do that. So there you go, obviously this cat misses people and was someone’s cat at some time (he’s been neutered). He’s very passionate, a drooler and would give some love bites, which I was very wary of. I’d say “No” in a stern voice and he’s calm down. I really didn’t want to get a cat bite from a free range cat (or any cat). Blackberry has a gorgeous jet-black coat and green eyes, he is thin but not too skinny.

He got very comfortable with me and fell asleep on my lap, I couldn’t believe it. When I went home and left him outside. I removed the black hair covered clothing and washed up so our fancy indoor cats wouldn’t get suspicious. I better not have brought any fleas home.

I think this is a start of a long relationship.

Persephone Farm CSA Bouquet

persephone_bouquet
This was our first year as CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscribers. Every Wednesday we walk down the street to Persephone Farm and pickup our split-share of veggies, and every other week we get to also pick out a bouquet of colorful, fresh flowers. What a treat to have fresh flowers in the house. At Persephone they grow a wide variety of flowers, and do arrangements for weddings and special occasions, but the flowers planted among the rows of veggies serve another purpose, they attract pollinators and beneficial insects, and add diversity to the farm. The CSA is almost over for the year, I’ll miss our weekly visit to the farm, all the super fresh veggies, and our bouquets.

Creative Kids — Sleuths Want a Mystery to Solve

sleuths want a mystery

As seen on the Indianola Post Office bulletin board. (Phone numbers blurred for privacy.) These 12 & 11 year old sleuths will “handle your case with care”. Persuasive copywriting, I love it, it’s so Indianola.
The bulletin board is the place to get the latest scoop. Need a handyman? Pilates at Wise Acres? Community meetings, fundraisers and kayaks for sale, it’s all on the Post Office, IBIC Kiosk and Country Store bulletin boards.
So for a mystery… a neighbor is dying to know whose dog is pooping in her yard. (She didn’t say pooping.) But I think these clever detectives are looking for a bigger challenge. Any ideas?

As seen on the Indianola Post Office bulletin board. (Phone numbers blurred for privacy.) These 12 & 11 year old sleuths will “handle your case with care”. Persuasive copywriting, I love it, it’s so Indianola.

The bulletin board is the place to get the latest scoop. Need a handyman? Pilates at Wise Acres? Community meetings, fundraisers and kayaks for sale, it’s all on the Post Office, IBIC Kiosk and Country Store bulletin boards.

So for a mystery… a neighbor is dying to know whose dog is pooping in her yard. (She didn’t say pooping.) But I think these clever detectives are looking for a bigger challenge. Any ideas?

Ivy Pull at Indianola Waterfront Preserve

Indianola Waterfront Preserve

I spent a couple hours this damp morning pulling invasive English ivy. The Great Peninsula Conservancy, owns and manages the Indianola Waterfront Preserve and organizes the Ivy Pulls (Kate makes great cookies for the ivy pullers). It’s satisfying tugging and rolling up long ivy vines and roots, freeing ferns and cedars of the smothering ivy. Ivy grows too well in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, it crowds out native plants, and climbs up trees. If left unchecked the forest floor becomes a ivy monoculture. Volunteers have cleared much of the Preserve of ivy and native plants are flourishing, its a beautiful spot for all to enjoy. Still there’s plenty of ivy left to pull, I’ll try to be at the next pull scheduled for Nov. 28.

P.S. What a beautiful sign! It’s a fairly new addition to the Preserve. Jay Zischke and his son Karl found the wood on the beach and constructed the sign and kiosk. That’s a beach rock in the center. A sign painter added wonderful lettering.

What a day at Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge

Trees Hurricane Ridge

Today was a beautiful day for a top-down drive to the Olympic Peninsula and up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. It was so clear we could see Victoria B.C. across the Strait.  The elevation at the Visitor Center is about 5200 ft, but feels much higher as you look out along mountain ridge tops. We bought a year park pass ($30) and look forward to exploring more of this amazing park. It’s a national treasure.

Sedge on Hurricane Ridge

Not a cougar, but our wild cat

blackieThe forest is a dangerous place for domestic cats, I believe cats should remain indoors, for their safety and for birds sake. This sleek black cat has been visiting Fernwoods regularly since April. He’s gorgeous, but very wary, we can’t get close to him. He’s comfortable enough here that occasionally we’ll see him rolling around basking in the sun, or taking a little dirt bath in a warm and dusty spot. We wonder what his story is, none of our neighbors know. We’re sure he has a diet of mice and sadly, birds among other little critters. We haven’t fed him. But who knows, as the weather turns and we witness him getting skinnier, likely we’ll break down and aim to make friends with “Blackie” or will it be “Smudge”.

New site for Fernwoodsy

A good way to spend a rainy windy day in Indianola. This is my first use of WordPress. Pretty cool, I like this theme for now, but the images in the top right slide show are too compressed. I hope this can be improved.