Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Cavalcade of Chickens

The rain was beginning to turn into snow as my dog, Tucker, and I were finishing up our walk through the neighborhood. "Not such a great day to go see the Chicken Parade in Edison," I thought as I glanced up at the heavy, grey sky. Still how could I pass up the chance to see a Chicken Parade?!?!?!! A coworker had attended the event last year and spoke about it enthusiastically. I "googled" Edison Chicken Parade and found out its actually part of an event called the Edison Bird Festival. According to the Festival's Facebook page, the Edison Bird Festival was established by a pair of locals as a way to honor the "unique birding culture of the Skagit Valley." But what really sold me, were the photos of chickens on horseback. There was no doubt about it, rain or shine, Paul (who is willing to endure my eccentricities) and I were going. So, I explained to Paul that we "had" to make a Costco run anyway and Edison just happened to be, sort of, on the way.

As we drove north off of Whidbey Island, the sky began to lighten. When we pulled into Edison (population 133), a short time later, the sun was peeking through the clouds. We arrived at 11:45am and were told the parade would start promptly at noon. While waiting, we wandered through a local gallery featuring a show displaying beautiful bird art. Paul tried to get into the Breadfarm Bakery (a must visit if you ever find yourself in Edison) to get us a snack but it was too crowded. This was just as well because the parade was about to begin!  

Parade attendees looking forward to an exciting event.

The Grand Chicken Marshals start the parade.

Every parade needs a float and people dressed as chickens handing out candy.

Even canines got into the poultry spirit!
The giant eyeballs and beak are great, but what really transforms
this golf cart into a chicken is the comb on top.

Some good looking girls (hens) on the left but that chicken on the right is just plain scary.

What better way to end a Chicken Parade then with a pedal bar!

All in all, it was a very satisfactory Chicken Parade that lasted a whole ten minutes. Well worth the visit to Edison (well, I thought so, not so sure about Paul). Although, I was a bit disappointed at the lack of chickens on horseback. Hey wait a second.... I have a horse AND chickens! Maybe next year........

Scratch and Peck
10x8 inches, oil on linen canvas, 2016
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Scratch and Peck - auction ends on Sunday, April 2nd at 9:00am PST. 
These two girls are out doing what they love best: scratching and pecking. This image captures them in mid-scratch. They scratch the ground, head up, with one foot, then they dip their heads and peck at any morsels they unearth.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Lucky Toss

"Hi Dad, I'm headed to the grocery store, can I pick up anything for you and mom?" I asked my father over the phone. He and my mom had purchased a second home on Whidbey not long after we relocated to the island. They were looking for a reason to avoid the hot summers in Arizona and be closer to the grandkids. They killed two birds with one stone and purchased a compact one story home in Coupeville and we got to visit with them all summer long.

"Thanks, but we don't need anything from the store. I could use Spencer though," my dad replied. "I need him to go out in the boat with me and pull the crab pots." My dad loves boats and the water. This was another factor in their decision to purchase a house on Whidbey. Their little home was just two blocks from the town boat ramp on Penn Cove. Very soon after their real estate acquisition, dad bought a little boat. Okay, it was more of a dinghy. It was a 10 foot fiberglass Walker Bay with a 2 horse power motor. The Walker Bay was a cool little boat. Not only could it function as a motorized run-about, but if you purchased the "sail kit" it could transition into a sailboat. The "sail kit" included, among other things: a mast, a sail, a rudder and a daggerboard, which when inserted into a slot in the middle bench seat protruded out the bottom of the boat to act as the keel. The keel provides stability to the boat when you are sailing.

Dad didn't need a sailboat though, at least not a 10 foot one (he had his sights set on a larger boat, but that's another story.) What he did need was something small that could fit two people and a couple of crab pots. It also fit in the back of his van. It didn't fit all of the way into the van, about half of it hung out the back. But dad, being a thrifty engineer, designed a boat rack of sorts out of a couple of two by fours and a small piece of plywood. It's legality was questionable and the back door of the van had to be left open but he only had to drive a few blocks. He tied the remnants of red towel to the motor propeller in an effort to appease any sheriff who might pull him over.

So on my way to the store, I stopped by and dropped off Spencer (who was 10 at the time) to help his Pop Pop pull the crab pots. Spencer enjoyed spending time with my dad and going out crabbing was always an adventure. They loaded the boat into the van and drove down to the boat ramp. They got lucky and were first in line to use the ramp. During crabbing season, traffic at the town boat ramp can be fierce. As dad backed the van down the ramp, other trucks pulling boat trailers were lining up to wait their turn. Dad stopped the van, turned off the engine and he and Spencer hopped out to slide the boat off its wooden rack. He handed his car keys to Spencer to better grip the boat to pull it out of the van. Standing on either side, they slid the little boat into the water. My dad and Spencer were now facing each other shin deep in the water (Spencer, in sandals and shorts and my dad in tall rubber boots) with the boat bobbing gently between them.

Knowing they were holding up traffic and the van needed to be moved, my dad said, "Spencer, hand me the keys." Spencer, standing there holding onto the boat lest it float away, heard, "Spencer, toss me the keys." Which he did. He threw the keys in a beautiful underhand toss towards my Dad. The keys rose up into the air and at the apex of their arc the sun glinted off them before they descended back towards earth. The toss was a bit short because their destination was into the boat rather than my dad's outstretched hand. Which would have been okay, excepted they landed exactly into the slot meant for a daggerboard. (As you recall, a daggerboard protrudes out the bottom of the boat.) Both Dad and Spencer paused for the barest of moments as the consequences of this unfortunate turn of events dawned on them. But then they sprang into action, pushing the boat aside to frantically search the water for the keys.
The keys rose up into the air and at the apex of their arc the sun glinted off them before they descended back towards earth.

The area they were searching, although not deep, soon clouded over with silt. More trucks with boats arrived. Sighing, my dad went to the van, retrieved the hidden spare key and moved it off of the ramp. When he returned, he and Spencer boarded the little boat and motored out into Penn Cove to pull the crab pots. Spencer apologized over and over and my dad assured him not to worry, that it didn't matter, the keys could be replaced. But Spencer know how important they were, he had seen how many keys were on that ring and felt their heft. After twenty minutes or so, they reached the crab pots,  pulled their catch (six crabs - not a bad haul), re-baited the traps, and headed back towards the dock. The fun had gone out of the trip as the specter of the lost keys hung in the air. Hopes of continuing the search upon their return were dashed as the tide was coming in and the water was now quite a bit deeper than when they set out.

They loaded the boat into the van and drove back to the house. Once there, Dad removed the motor and he and Spencer slid the little boat out, leaned it on its side against the garage, and then hosed it down with fresh water. They had both just gone into the house, when I arrived to retrieve Spencer. They must have seen me pull up, because Spencer reappeared through the door and came towards the car to get in. "Did you have a good time crabbing with Pop Pop?" I asked as he climbed in the car. "It was okay," he mumbled as he settled into his seat and closed the door. I put the car into reverse and began to back out of the driveway. Spencer, who was staring intently at the little boat leaning against the house, suddenly shouted "Mom, stop!" I braked quickly and Spencer jumped from the car. He ran to the little boat and reached his hand into the bottom and plucked something out. Then he dashed into the house. I heard him call "Pop Pop, I found your keys!" just before the door closed behind him.  As it turned out, the keys got stuck sideways in the bottom of the slot but miraculously never fell all of the way through and into the Cove. Spencer came bounding out of the house and flopped back in the van, his spirits lifted by a lucky toss.  

8x10 inches, oil on linen canvas, 2016
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Big Bonnie Lass - auction ends on Sunday, February 26th at 9:00am PST. 
Such a beautiful bovine lady. She lives on a farm in my hometown of Coupeville, Washington.

Monday, January 2, 2017

This Place is Lousy with Eagles

The first time I heard a saying which began with "This place is lousy with..." was a number of years ago when Paul and I were visiting Boston. We were in the oldest bar in America and we asked the barkeep about the history. He replied "This place is lousy with history." We were intrigued by the origin of that phrase and the barkeep told us (and I have since confirmed with my friend Google) "Lousy comes from the English word louse, as in lice. (Yikes!!!) To be lousy with means “to have lots of something.”

When we first moved to Whidbey island, I had no idea it was lousy with bald eagles. I knew they were around, but I thought they were infrequent visitors. So, when we heard about the Skagit Eagle Festival with activities in Concrete, Marblemount and Rockport, Washington during the month of January, we decided a family outing was in order. We packed up the boys in the minivan and  headed off to
 beautiful Skagit County. 

Our first stop was the Eagle Festival Information Station, where we wandered through a lovely arts and crafts show with all manner of artwork inspired by our national bird. Next, we visited the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center. There we learned about the Skagit River ecosystem, the winter migration of bald eagles, salmon, and the vital role each play in the environment. And we learned a new word - "kettle." Now you're thinking "I know what the word kettle means, as in the pot calling the kettle black." That's the noun kettle. The verb kettle means "when a group of birds (hawks or eagles) uses a thermal (rising pocket of air) to gain elevation." Cool, huh? Okay maybe "nerdy" cool. Which is what my boys thought at the time as they rolled their eyes. So, we moved on to the whole reason for our trip, checking out some bald eagles.

We all clambered back into the minivan to head over to the Eagle Watching Stations located along the Skagit River in Marblemount. Each station was manned with volunteers armed with binoculars and spotting scopes for us to use. And we did see a few eagles. By peering through the scopes, we could see their tiny forms as they perched on branches in tall trees on the far side of the river. The volunteers were very nice and definitely knew their "stuff" as far as eagles were concerned. But the boys, were a bit underwhelmed. I have a feeling they thought the eagles would be swooping all around us, occasionally diving down to snatch a salmon from the river. The volunteers explained, that to lessen the disruption of the eagles, we had to view them from afar. We also learned that the eagle festival was held two months later than the actual peak of the eagle season in order to minimize the "tourist impact" on the eagles.  Makes perfect sense, unless you're an eight or eleven year old boy who would rather have an eagle land on your shoulder. We ended the day by visiting the fish hatchery in Marblemount, which the boys enjoyed, although I still think they were hoping and eagle would drop down and pull a fish out of one of the hatchery pools.

"Wow, Earl, look there's more of them. This place is really lousy with people."

We drove back to Whidbey Island, tired after our long day. After we pulled into our driveway and began to unload, Christopher, our oldest, yelled "Mom, look!" My gaze followed his pointing finger upward towards the top of a Douglas Fir tree that grew about twenty feet from where our van was parked and there sat a pair of bald eagles! They looked enormous from our close vantage point. The boys were thrilled. They were getting to see eagles up close and personal after all.

In the fifteen plus years since that day, we have seen lots of eagles. In fact, they are a common occurrence on our island. We're lucky enough to have nesting pairs in our backyard. The most I've seen at one time happened on Father's Day a few year's back. We went on a family picnic at a lake in the state park within a mile of our home. We had taken our canoe and Paul and the boys were paddling around the small lake in the bright, early, summer sunshine. I was on the shore, with our two dogs, and counted 12 mature and juvenile bald eagles as they kettled overhead. Who's nerdy now?

10x8 inches, oil on linen canvas, 2016
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My horse Mac and and his friend Buddy (the other horse hind parts) out in their pasture on Whidbey island. This was from a few years ago during the full bloom of summer. Something to look forward to during these dark, cold days of winter.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Relaxing Ride

When autumn arrives in the Pacific Northwest it usually means my horseback riding days are numbered. The season often brings rain and mud making outdoor riding unpleasant and dangerous when the ground becomes too slick to negotiate safely. So when the day dawned bright and clear with the ground still relatively unsaturated, I drove happily out to the barn looking forward to my ride on my horse Mac. The trees still held onto their leaves, now gold and scarlet, as I led Mac from his paddock to the barn to groom and tack him up (put on his saddle and bridle.) "This is the perfect day for a trail ride", I thought. My work week had been busy and there's nothing quite like communing with your pal (horse) while enjoying some amazing outdoor scenery to lower your blood pressure and make you forget the stresses in your life.

Mac stepped out jauntily, as we headed up the grassy hill on our ride. His ears were pricked (pointing forward, standing at attention) as he gazed at his surroundings. We rode toward a nearby farm where horses grazed in the middle of a large pasture enjoying the warm sun. Mac became more animated and pranced a bit as he eyed the other horses. I made a conscious effort to relax my seat, back and shoulders in order to communicate that everything was just fine. Mac responded to my "softening" techniques and we continued past the farm. Then I heard a thundering behind me and Mac jumped forward. I turned to see that the horses that were recently peacefully grazing had just galloped up to their fence in an effort to "see us off." I believe Mac thought that the horses had turned into a herd of elephants that were now bearing down on us and he had better get out of there as fast as possible. Once again, I tried to relax my body and transmit calm to my edgy mount.

Let me pause here and say that this was not Mac's first rodeo (pun very much intended). We had been riding in this field and past these very same horses all summer - many times! And he barely twitched an ear.

Never the less, we continued on with me practicing my relaxation methods while cooing "Easy boy" and "You're fine." Mac marched along warily. We rode this way for some time and then Mac planted his feet, stopped and stared straight ahead. I encouraged him to go forward but he was having none of it. I looked to see what brought him up short and I noticed the feathers and the remains of a large bird. Some predator had chosen that spot in the field to enjoy their supper last night and we had come upon the scraps. Mac would not go near it. I'm pretty sure he thought that the elephants had something to do with it. To move forward we had to go sideways, and we cut a twenty foot circle around the carcass before heading on.

By this point, Mac was walking just about as fast as a horse can without actually trotting. I was going into overdrive with my relaxation routine (can you use overdrive and relaxation in the same sentence?) with little effect. Then I saw the tarp. Now, as with the other horses, we (meaning Mac too!) had seen this tarp many times over the summer.

Another pause for some background about Mac. He is no spring chicken. I would expect this behavior from a young (like a six year old), inexperienced horse. But Mac is 24 (the equivalent of 75 years old in human age!) and he has had plenty of experience. You would think he would have mellowed a bit.

Just as he was about to put his nose on the tarp, a gunshot cracked off in the distance.

Anyway, back to the tarp in the field, Mac once again stopped and refused to move. With his neck outstretched and his head lowered he stared at the menacing tarp. "That's it," I said to him. "You're going to put your nose on that tarp." Now lest you think I'm being cruel, all I wanted him to do was sniff and touch the tarp with his nose so he would realize it wouldn't hurt him. I had done this several times before with this very same tarp and been successful. In fact, usually after he sniffed it he would be willing take a step forward and put a front hoof on it just to emphasize that he had "conquered" the tarp. We began the exercise again with me urging him on and and Mac very slowly inching (and I mean inching) forward. Just as he was about to put his nose on the tarp, a gunshot cracked off in the distance. The cool, crisp air and the open landscape accentuated the sound. The reaction from Mac was electric. He leapt sideways and for an instant I felt as if my horse had disappeared out from under me. Fortunately, I hung on and briefly considered turning Mac back for another go at the tarp, but thought better of it in case there were more gunshots to follow.

So back to the barn we pranced. That's right, I had given up on trying to unwind Mac. I figured if we got back in one piece the ride would be a success. After all, I had completely forgotten about the stresses in my life. Next time, we'll work on the shooting tarp.

8x10 inches, oil on linen canvas, 2016
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Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy chickens! And chickens lay eggs and eggs can be made into breakfast and breakfast makes you happy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Halloween Prank

My husband, Paul, and I have always been fans of Halloween. Even as a young, married couple before our two boys came along with their cute costumes, we would celebrate All Hallows' Eve. Sometimes we'd dress in costume and head out to a party or other times we would just gather with our friends to carve pumpkins, toast the seeds and enjoy a hearty, soup supper (yeah, I know, we're party animals). But one Halloween, we decided to take it a step further and delve into the "spirit" of the holiday. We decided to pull a good, old-fashioned Halloween prank.

Halloween Trivia - Back in Anna Mary Robertson Moses's (A.K.A. Grandma Moses, the great American Folk artist) day Halloween pranks consisted of tricksters stuffing pumpkins down your chimney or dismantling your horse buggy and reassembling it on your roof.
Halloween by Grandma Moses, 1955
Our prank would not be nearly as sophisticated as all of that. But we did choose to pull a caper for all to see. At the time, we were living in Oakland, California just across the bay from San Francisco. Our townhouse was located in the hills near Joaquin Miller Park. Joaquin Miller was an early California writer and poet who bought the land, which makes up the park, in the 1880s. There is a large statue depicting Joaquin Miller mounted on his horse which can be seen from the road as you drive along side the park toward its entrance. We thought it would be a fun "Halloween Prank" to place a Jack O' Lantern over the head of Joaquin Miller. Sort of our own spin on the Headless Horseman.  

We enlisted the help of our friends, Dix and Anne. They offered to shop around and find a pumpkin big enough for the job. On Halloween night they arrived on our doorstep with an impressively large pumpkin. After supper, we set about carving the classic Jack O' Lantern grimace into the big orange orb. When we were finished, we dressed in dark clothing then loaded our masterpiece into the car along with several flashlights and headed toward the park. We parked the car several hundred feet from where the statue stood and snuck up on foot using our flashlights. Once at the base of the statue, we realized our miscalculation. The statue was huge! It was at least 15 feet tall. It didn't look nearly that big from the road. Never the less we soldiered on. While Anne and I held the flashlights, Paul helped Dix clamber up the statue. With lots of pushing and grunting, Dix made it to a spot where he could place the pumpkin on top of the statue. Which is exactly what he did. There it sat like a gourd beret on top of Joaquin Miller's head. I would like to think that Grandma Moses would have approved.  

10x8 inches, oil on linen canvas, 2016
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These pigs are owned by my friend farmer Fran and live on a farm on Whidbey island. They are taking a break from foraging for food and are enjoying a bask in the warm sun.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Coyote Visit (Disclaimer - a hen met its demise in the making of this story)

If you have chickens, at some point, you're going to have critters that want to eat them for supper. Before we acquired our first flock of "girls," we fortified the little shed in our backyard to make it the equivalent of a poultry "Fort Knox." Knowing our "neighbors" included coyotes, raccoon, owls and eagles, we wanted to make sure our chickens would be protected. So, we completely enclosed a little hen yard (including a roof) adjacent to the sturdy little shed. When that was complete, we told our boys, who were 9 and 11 at the time, that it was time to order our chicks.

We went online (yes, you can even order chickens online) and each of us chose two chicks, for a total of a variety of eight breeds. The order was placed and a few days later, we received a call from the post office telling us to come and pick up our peeping package.

CHICKEN FUN FACT: Newly hatched chicks have a three day supply of yolk still in their system to sustain them while being shipped. How cool is that?

We loved our new girls, raising them first in a box in our home, then graduating to a dog crate in the garage, before moving them out to the newly secured coop. There they grew and thrived. But, it always bothered me that they were stuck to the confines of their shed and hen yard, and much to Paul's dismay, I insisted they be able to run "free range" while we were home. Even though Paul had warned me of the possible predator attacks, it came as a shock when one day I went outside to see a coyote carrying off one of our beloved hens. Even though I was within 10 feet, I gave chase, but to no avail. I watched as that coyote stole off with the limp chicken body into the woods.

You would think that I had learned my lesson, but that was not the case. I still let the girls out, but only when I was out in the backyard as well. This worked for a few weeks, until one day when I had to make a quick trip to the store.

It was a Sunday and Paul had just gotten back from mountain bike riding.  He was about to take his post workout shower, when I hollered up to him, "I'm heading to the store, I'll be back in a bit." He had just finished with his shower when he heard a tremendous squawking coming from the backyard. He ran into our bedroom and looked out the second floor window. In the backyard below, he saw our chickens running to and fro, wings flapping, feathers flying. That's when he spotted a coyote circling along the back line of trees.

That's when he realized that he was standing in the middle of our back pasture naked,
as in butt nekkid.

He quickly dashed out of the bedroom, down the stairs and out the back door into the yard. With waving arms, he ran at the startled coyote. He yelled and chased it off of the property.  Uhh, remember how I mentioned that Paul has finished his shower?  Well, he had just finished his shower.  That's when he realized that he was standing in the middle of our back pasture naked, as in butt nekkid.  He rounded up the chickens and ushered them safely into their pen and then promptly retired to the house to get dressed. 

Fortunately, we didn't have any deliveries that day.

10x8 inches, oil on linen canvas, 2016
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Pasture Pals - auction ends on Sunday, October 2nd at 9:00am PST. 
These horses lived in Napa, California on a farm that has since been turned into a winery. The setting is typical of California with the golden fields with Live Oaks and purple mountains in the distance. This painting is the first of a series I’m calling “Horse and a half.” I particularly like the “photo bomb” position of the horse peeking in on the right hand side of the canvas.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Crabbing Whidbey island style

We were surrounded by a pod of orca whales!

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, summer time often means crabbing.  On Penn Cove on Whidbey Island, our crab season opens Fourth of July weekend. Sometime toward the end of June, my husband Paul and I head over to our local hardware store to purchase our shellfish licenses. Then Paul makes sure our crab traps or "pots" are in good working order. A crab pot is an enclosed framework of wire with four one-way openings. The openings are constructed so that when the crab enters to eat the bait, it cannot escape and becomes trapped. The bait is held within a small wire basket inside the trap. We use chicken legs from the grocery store as bait.

Each crab pot is equipped with a 100 foot weighted line with a red and white Styrofoam float at the end. The float needs to have your name, address and phone number on it so that, should the pot become lost, there is a way to identify it and get it returned to its owner. In Washington, you are allowed to crab Thursday through Monday. Each person with a license is allowed to keep five legal-sized male crabs a day. So, Paul and I could get up to ten crab a day as long as they find their way into our pots.

A few years ago our luck was less than stellar when it came to catching crab. Either we would pull up the pots to find them empty or they would contain only females. One time Paul hauled up a trap, encouraged by the heaviness he felt in the line, only to discover an enormous sea star taking up residence inside the wire cage.

When we mentioned our lack of crabbing success to our friends they told us, "You have to go out by the green buoy to drop your pots." The green buoy is a marker out in the mouth of Penn Cove designating the channel for boats. We figured we didn't have anything to lose and decided to go ahead and try the new "crab spot." On a Saturday afternoon, we motored our boat out to the green buoy and threw each pot overboard. It was deeper out in the channel and quite a bit of line was let out before the pots hit bottom. We headed back to the boat launch with our fingers crossed as the red and white floats marking our pots bobbed gently behind us.

It just so happened that Paul's mom Berna and her friend Les came up to visit us that weekend. Les wanted to join us when we pulled the pots on Sunday afternoon. The weather was fine as Paul backed our boat down the ramp at the launch. Berna, sitting on a bench under a tree, waved to us as we motored out into the cove. The water was relatively calm as we cruised toward the green buoy. We could see it in the distance along with other crab boats picking up their pots. As we approached the buoy, occasionally a white foamy splash could be seen rising from the water. "Wow," I said, "it looks like it's getting rough out there. Check out those white caps." Paul and Les followed my gaze and suddenly a "Y" shaped gleaming black and white tail appeared out of the water about fifty feet from our boat. To our right, two slim triangular dorsal fins broke the water's surface. Beyond the bow of the boat, an enormous black and white, rocket-shaped form with black fins on either side rose out of the water and fell backwards with a tremendous splash. We were surrounded by a pod of orca whales!

By this time, we had reached the floats marking our crab pots. As Paul began to pull up the first of our pots, the orcas continued to cavort all around us. When I finally took my eyes off of the marine show going on around us, I realized Paul was having a heck of a time pulling the first trap into the boat. He lifted the trap from the water and it was absolutely stuffed with huge crab!  Paul was a bit frantic as he tried to remove the "keeper" crabs (A.K.A. the legal sized males) from the trap. Not an easy task, when you're trying to disentangle large, angry, snapping crabs and retain possession of all of your fingers. Paul tried to get our attention to give him a hand. "Hey, a little help here!" he cried. I refocused my attention to keeping count of our catch as Paul threw the crabs into a five gallon bucket for storage. We got seven "keepers" from the first pot and we had two more crab pots to go. When we pulled the second pot and found it jammed with crab we knew we were going to easily reach our limit and have to throw back some lucky crab. Through it all, the orcas continued to leap and frolic around us.

Finally, with all of the crab pots pulled and the keeper crabs stored in our buckets, we headed back to the launch. Les looked delighted. Not only did he have a fresh crab supper to look forward to, he had just witnessed an amazing "whale show" the likes of which few people ever get to experience. In fact, in our 15 years of living and crabbing on Whidbey island, it was the first time we had seen orcas in Penn Cove. He turned to us and asked, "Wow, is it always like this when you go out crabbing?" Paul and I looked at each other thinking of all of the times we pulled up our traps to find them empty with nary a whale in sight and answered "Yep! All of the time"

10x8 inches, oil on linen canvas, 2016
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These cows live on my friend farmer Fran’s Whidbey island farm. Cows are quirky creatures. They’re very timid yet very curious. If you walk up to the fence of a pasture containing cows and wait patiently and quietly you will soon become the object of a bovine inspection. If its a beautiful day and you have the time its a lovely experience to slow down and observe these gentle souls.