Recently in Local Events Category

The eagles were out in force - could hear them all over. This is a place to visit in the morning for a better light angle - two snapshots:

20200806-english01.jpgNest on the left with Mom in the crotch of the branch and Dad on the right.


Big tidal flats. The clouds really washed out the light - I will definitely be back though. Morning should have better light. The view is towards the Northeast.

Quite the bust - from the Everett, WA  Herald:

Officers find $19 million worth of fentanyl in Lynnwood home
Officers discovered about 1,900 grams of fentanyl worth an estimated $19 million when they arrested a Lynnwood couple Saturday morning, according to documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Investigators also reportedly found around 808 grams of heroin, 12 grams of methamphetamine, $14,000 in cash, and equipment that suggested the couple had planned to package and sell the drugs. The man and woman were arrested by the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force.

A judge set bail for both suspects Monday afternoon — $1.5 million for him and $750,000 for her. Neither appeared in front of the judge because of medical reasons. The Daily Herald does not typically name suspects unless they have been charged with a crime.

Good - nasty stuff. A very small dose is fatal. It is what killed George Floyd - that and his heart attack. Of course, the media will never tell you that and yes, being held down for so long while in obvious distress was a very bad move on the part of Officer Chauvin.

Yet another reason to distance ourselves from China - the Fentanyl comes from there. Dark web - shipped to anyone with bitcoin.

Showing some stones - Seattle Mayor

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Wonderful news - from The Seattle Times:

Durkan asks Seattle City Council to investigate Sawant for ‘contemptuous’ behavior
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is asking the Seattle City Council to investigate Councilmember Kshama Sawant, noting the council may “punish or expel a member for disorderly or otherwise contemptuous behavior.”

Good - Sawant is an ideologue and a socialist tool. She is simply not that bright and has been seriously overstepping her bounds as a member of the City Council. It would be wonderful to see her fired. The liberals would be running around with their hair on fire. Fun to see...

And back home for a bit

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A salad with some tuna for protein - quick simple dinner. Nice and warm out so eating on the back deck. Photo shoot has been pushed back to 6:30

News item about this morning's crash at our local paper: Stanwood Camano News

3 injured in 3-car crash Thursday morning between Stanwood and Camano
Three people were injured in a morning crash on Highway 532 between Stanwood and Camano Island.

The three-car crash blocked both lanes and slowed traffic to a crawl for about three hours before the road reopened fully at about noon, according to the Washington State Patrol. On Camano, the backup reached to the IGA. In Stanwood, the backup reached past Pioneer Highway.

The crash happened at about 8:40 a.m. Thursday when the driver of a white Toyota Tundra traveling east crossed into the oncoming lane, striking a white Ford F-150 pickup truck and a white Chevy Impala, according to troopers.


The causing driver was called in as driving erratically just prior to the crash

No mention as to the cause of the erratic driving.

Life one island to the west

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From the Whidbey Island police blotter:

Tuesday, June 9
At 4:02 p.m., a driver reported that a man with a shaved head and a mask was holding a red poppy in his mouth and staring at cars on Fish Road near the highway.

Yes, there is something in the water over there.

And out for an hour or so

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Heading over to the Crow's Nest - get a bite to eat and a beer or two.

Local stuff

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Interesting - got two notifications that traffic on Interstate 5 has been closed to traffic Northbound and Southbound. This is the major corridor for the west coast and runs through the heart of Seattle. What makes this interesting is that there is very little mention of this in the media. A search will turn up other instances from 2017 and 2018 and various major crashes and suicides but nothing about protestors "occupying" the freeway - from today:

And yesterday:

And Sunday:

Looks like the police and the State Patrol are being very safe but these useful idiots need to be taken off the freeway.

Some good local news

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The town of Snohomish is famous for its historic old-town, specifically First Street which borders the Snohomish river. Lots of art and antiques and good restaurants. A place to avoid on a nice weekend as parking can be unreal but during the week? A lot of fun. It is also about 30 minutes from Seattle - close. This tweet from a Snohomish resident:

Robert Sutherland is the State Representative for the area - from his website:

We are facing some challenging times in Washington state. The Legislature must return to fiscal responsibility and sustainable budgets. I am focused on cutting through government bureaucracy, reducing state property taxes, making our communities and schools safer, and dramatically improving our transportation system, especially along the I-5 corridor, WA-9, US Route 2, SR-522 and WA-20. Finally, with our economic downturn we must encourage small business growth to strengthen our local economy and bring jobs back to our communities.

We need more people like him in office - WA State is beholden to the Seattle money interests but it has a lot more people than just those few. Our governor is a moron.

The Snohomish area is also home to this curious antenna array

Local History

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We have a really wonderful little museum and historical society in this area. They have several buildings and this is the sign they have posted - cute:


Fun fun fun - zoom meeting tonight

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A group I am involved with has a zoom meeting tonight. No webcam so I will be connecting with my phone. Need to find a place with good reception as it is bad at the house.

Short notice otherwise it would be fun to use a greenscreen with a background like this:


What? Doesn't everyone have a secret lair?

Some common sense in WA State

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Great news from Seattle station KOMO:

Court denies Seattle's bid for wealthy household income tax
Washington's Supreme Court has denied Seattle's bid to reinstate an income tax on wealthy households.

The Seattle Times reports in a majority decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday declined to review the city's request to overturn rulings against the tax by a King County Superior Court judge and the state Court of Appeals.

The ruling means Washington and its cities will remain blocked from enacting graduated income taxes, with different rates based on wealth.

Good - some common sense. The WA State constituency made a conscious decision to go with a high sales tax and not have a state income tax. Either/Or. The money-grabbing socialists in Seattle want to throw this decision under the bus and have their cake and eat it too. Court says no. They will just have to live within their means.

They are calling it a tax on "just the wealthy" but that just means that it will not become an income tax for everyone for the next five or six years. They will wait until the complaints die down and people become complacent.

And now we know - choir practice

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These were educated people and still did not follow the rules. Paying the price. The rules simply did not apply to them.

I had posted this on March 22nd:

Skagit Co. investigates cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to group meeting
Health officials in Skagit County are investigating a cluster of coronavirus cases traced to a group meeting of approximately 60 people in early March.

Testing has found that more than half of the attendees who were at this gathering are now confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19.

"This situation clearly illustrates the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and emphasizes the importance of following social distancing guidelines in order to control the spread of the virus," Skagit County health officials said in a prepared statement.

Today, from the Los Angeles Times:

A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead
Everybody came with their own sheet music and avoided direct physical contact. Some members helped set up or remove folding chairs. A few helped themselves to mandarins that had been put out on a table in back.

Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer.

The World Health Organization has downplayed the possibility of transmission in aerosols, stressing that the virus is spread through much larger “respiratory droplets,” which are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and quickly fall to a surface.

But a study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.

The World Health Organization is a political organization and has zero use in today's society - they need to be defunded and disbanded. They have failed to accomplish their primary charter. How many billions of dollars wasted for nothing except some fancy dinners in exotic locales.

And this nugget of information:

With three-quarters of the choir members testing positive for the virus or showing symptoms of infection, the outbreak would be considered a “super-spreading event,” he said.

Three quarters getting infected? That is huge.

The choir practice was on March 10th. The first person got sick three days later. Finally:

On March 17, a choir member alerted Skagit County Public Health about the outbreak.

Working from the choir’s membership roster, a dozen health officers scrambled for three days to contain the outbreak. They called every member, determining who had attended the rehearsal.

They asked each person with symptoms to list their close contacts during the 24 hours before illness set in. Then they called those people, telling anyone who felt sick to quarantine themselves.

“We think it was just a really super-unfortunate, high-risk occurrence,” said Dubbel, the county health official.

Unfortunate? No. It was a blatant disregard of common safety practices when dealing with an unknown pathogen. Words fail.

Another casualty of COVID-19

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Our roads - from the WA State Dept. of Transportation:

SR 20 - North Cascades Highway
On March 26, Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar suspended most maintenance work due to COVID-19 safety concerns, and implemented an “Essential Maintenance” approach to further comply with the state’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to safeguard public health. Under these guidelines, we have paused most maintenance across the state, including work to reopen the North Cascades Highway. Similar work pauses are occurring on Cayuse and Chinook Passes.

This highway remains a valuable route for the movement of goods as an alternative evacuation route in the case of natural disaster. A date to return to normal maintenance work has not yet been determined.

With the cooling climate, it will be a lot longer until the passes open. There is still I-90 which is kept open year-around but, SR20 is much closer and a much nicer drive.

Another casualty of COVID-19

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Whatcom County just cancelled the annual Ski to Sea race - from the website:

Ski to Sea Canceled
Updated 3/23/2020:
The 2020 Ski to Sea Race is officially canceled. Making the decision to interrupt the tradition of 46 years was difficult and painful but is the only responsible choice given the circumstances associated with COVID19.

I participated in it for six years doing amateur radio (road bike to canoe hand-off) - a lot of fun and some really great people. Makes sense to be safe - the insurance companies will be breathing a sigh of relief. Lots of sweaty people panting and rushing through a timing gate is not exactly a good quarantine procedure.

Unexpected consequences - China Flu

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People are told to stay away from work / community activities / 3rd places. People are getting cabin fever. Hey - let's head to the coast.

Not a good idea - from Seattle station KOMO:

PNW coastal cities take matters into their own hands after thousands arrive on beaches
The Oregon Coast saw an influx visitors this past weekend, as people attempted to get out of their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, Warrenton, Manzanita, Astoria, Tillamook and Seaside have a message for visitors and tourists: vacate the area within 24 hours.

Towns up and down the Oregon coast, and the highways leading to them, were clogged with people and cars Saturday. The crowds stunned many coastal residents, who were angry that so many people seemed to defy social distancing guidelines by gathering together in parking lots and on beaches.

Warrenton has declared a state of emergency, that closes campgrounds and says that all tourists beyond those already booked to stay long term must leave. All hotels will be closed to new reservations and rental properties will be prohibited from accepting visitors during the public health emergency.

The City of Seaside has since also enacted a shutdown on all short-term lodging and city recreational areas which will be effective Monday, March 23.

Makes a lot of sense. It is not only bringing contagious people into isolated communities, these morons are also indulging in unbridled hamsterkauf and stripping the grocery stores. These stores do not have the same supply chains as stores in larger urban areas so the residents are being seriously hurt.

Every couple of years I go down to the Sea-Pac amateur radio conference in Seaside Oregon. Gorgeous little town - love it and some really great people once you get off the main drag.

From Seattle station KOMO:

Skagit Co. investigates cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to group meeting
Health officials in Skagit County are investigating a cluster of coronavirus cases traced to a group meeting of approximately 60 people in early March.

Testing has found that more than half of the attendees who were at this gathering are now confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19.

"This situation clearly illustrates the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and emphasizes the importance of following social distancing guidelines in order to control the spread of the virus," Skagit County health officials said in a prepared statement.

Skagit County Public Health is now contacting everyone who was at the meeting, as well as the close contacts of those who were infected, and warning them to self-isolate.

The virus is not as lethal as the early estimates thought but it is highly contageous and you can be asymptomatic and still be infective. Practice common sense...

Kudos to Costco

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When I was there this morning getting the dog food, I noticed this:


Talk about a short supply chain

This box came off their assembly line on the 11th. It went to their shipping department, was palletized, loaded on a truck and sent to the Costco distribution center, trucked to this warehouse and put up for sale all in six days. That is fast.

Travel to Canada

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For three months in winter, the Washington State Ferry system closes its routes to Canada. Not enough traffic and the weather is usually too crappy for safety. They are delaying the reopening. From the Department of Transportation:

Start of state ferry service to Canada suspended until April 28 due to COVID-19 situation
Resumption of Washington State Ferries’ service between the U.S. and Canada has been pushed back to at least April 28.

The suspension of the route serving Anacortes, and Sidney, British Columbia, comes as a result of the recent closure of the Canadian border to help slow the spread of COVID-19. International service was originally scheduled to restart March 29, following its annual three-month shut down during the slower winter months.

I am very glad that my island has a bridge to the mainland...

From the Washington State Department of Transportation:

SR 20 - North Cascades Highway
On Tuesday, March 10, the avalanche control team traveled to Washington Pass to evaluate the condition of the snow pack and review the extended forecast to determine a safe time to begin the spring clearing.

This work is now scheduled to start Monday, March 23 at Early Winters Campground on the east side, followed by a March 30 start near Diablo on the west side. This work takes about six weeks. Progress updates will be shared here, on social media, and through email.

I miss Tootsie and her Cinnamon Rolls - never made it to the opening day but she is legend. Passed away in 2017.

Now that was fun - amateur radio drill

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Spent the last couple of hours participating in an emergency radio drill.  We were hours before a large flood and had to prepare for it. Sent over 30 messages back and forth between several emergency operations centers throughout the Western part of WA State.

Good rehearsal for when it really happens. Good to be trained.

There is recycling and then...

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There is epic recycling - from Seattle station KING-5:

Old trees at Deception Pass State Park get new life as picnic tables
Deception Pass State Park is helping old-growth trees find new life after they fall or have to be removed.

The park is in the process of replacing 375 deteriorating picnic tables, many of which have spent season after season weathering the elements. The park is replacing the outdoor ones with a design that honors an original Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) plan from when the park was founded. These are assembled by volunteers and park staff.

A bit more (quoting the Park Manager):

“This tree is actually older than the state of Washington. So, this tree was here before 1889,” he said. “Just to think about that whole process and who was wandering the woods, the critters and creatures here, this tree has touched probably many of those people.”

Very cool. Deception Pass leads from the mainland to the North end of Whidbey Island - a gorgeous park and spectacular bridge between the two landmasses. Here are two photos from a June 2015 trip.

A deluge

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Not as much rain as a couple of days ago but repetitive small amounts add up quickly when the ground is already saturated. Got an email from the County warning of a flood watch for our area.

We were up in Bellingham earler today and there was a lot of standing water in roadways - that sort of stuff.

The fun never stops...

An early bedtime

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Been working hard the last two weeks and it is starting to manifest in my body saying: "Sleep now dammit"

Going to force myself to stay awake until 9:30 or so but bedtime soon after that. Been waking up at 5-6AM naturally.

Have the state-wide emergency radio drill tomorrow morning - should be simple, no extended drills or exercises. A good thing to practice. It is not IF, it is WHEN.

Someone received a lesson

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This is from a private email list so I do not want to give out much - public release in a day or so. A local kid (under 18 years old) posted a threat on social media. The TLA determined the house from where the message was sent and some local federales showed up and took the boy into custody. It was a "joke" a "prank" he said.

Some notes:

TLA = Three Letter Agency (ie: NSA (also known as no such agency), TSA, FBI, CIA, ABC, DEF, etc...

Every item connected to a network has a unique MAC address - this is set in hardware and cannot be changed. It can be spoofed but this is something beyond the scope of a kid living in his mama's basement (for specific reasons). Know the MAC address, you know the computer. Know the computer, it is a simple matter to find the computer on the network. Find the computer on the network, you know the physical location down to the network tap.

Rock 'n roll - Mag 6 in BC

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Fortunately, it was a good ways offshore but still - from the Vancouver Sun:

Earthquakes rattle the north coast of Vancouver Island
A trio of earthquakes rattled northern Vancouver Island on Monday morning but no damage was reported.

The first quake, which was centred off the northwest coast of the Island about 162 kilometres west of Port Hardy, struck at 8:44 a.m. and measured 5.1.

It was followed by two larger quakes — a 5.6 tremor at 11:13 a.m. and a 5.8 shaker at 11:49 a.m. — in the same area.

Earthquakes Canada received no reports of damage from the quakes, and none was expected.

The earthquakes were not felt on land and a tsunami was not expected, the agency said.

A bit of excitement

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Was driving yesterday and noticed a whole lot of SAR (Search and Rescue) vehicles from various administrations gathered on the new salt marsh. Because there were rigs from about five or six different jurisdictions, I thought it was a training exercise. Turns out it was a rescue. From Seattle station KOMO:

Stranded duck hunters near Stanwood, Stillaguamish River get rescued from rising water
Two stranded duck hunters are back on dry ground again after fast rising river water near Highway 532 caught them off guard.

“The water came up a lot faster than expected," said Spencer Cynkar of Yelm.

He and his brother-in-law didn’t realize that the hunting trip would end the way it did Friday with a dozen people making sure they could safely get back on land.

“It’s definitely, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Cynkar said.

They were on the new salt-marsh area - Leque Island - here (drone overflight) and here

With the pineapple express, the river was near flood stage so this close to the ocean, it amplified the tidal effect. Water came up a lot faster than usual.

Finally - Mt. Baker to open this Sunday

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From their website:

It's official: Mt. Baker opening day is SUNDAY DEC. 15th!
We're doing it in classic Baker style, with over 30" of new snow since Wednesday night! The crew has been out on the hill since dawn, assessing conditions and preparing the mountain and facilities for opening. And things are looking good - check out the video and photos below!

We will be open Sunday from 9:00 - 3:30 out of the Heather Meadows Base Area with Chairs 1, 2, 3 & 4 operating. We hope to also open Chair 5 and more of the mountain as the day progresses. Heather Meadows Day Lodge will be open, and Raven Hut will be open with Grab-and-Go service only.

Looking further out, the weather is expected to go cold and clear-ish starting around Sunday, then snow is expected to return towards the middle-to-end of next week. This could set us up with a nice refresh for the weekend and Santa Photos on the 21st and 22nd!

Sweet news! It has been cold enough up there but the jet stream kept all the moisture down South.

North Cascades Highway

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The snow here is variable - the North Cascades Highway is a good "barometer" as it closes whenever enough snow accumulates to make transit dangerous (avalanche hazard). The record going back to 1972 can be found here.

The current statement is that this is the latest that the pass has stayed open in the last decade - climate change.

Actually, if you look at the numbers, you can see that it closed on January 3rd, 1990 with December 8th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 18th and many other dates past today. This is the effect of weather, not climate.

In other news: the Department of Transportation blog has a nice interview with Mazama the Avalanche Rescue Goat

A star is born on our mountain passes


Bursting onto the scene last winter season, Mazama the Avalanche Rescue Goat has become the furry face of our northern snow and ice program. She may pop up on SR 20 North Cascades Highway helping assess conditions at Washington Pass, or could appear on US 2 Stevens Pass keeping an eye on avalanche danger for crews clearing the highway. And wherever she shows up, fans follow.

Can a goat really have fans? Oh yes, Mazama's debut last year was nothing short of a fan frenzy. "Mazama is the hero we all need," one person said on social media, where she regularly racks up among our most likes, comments and questions of any of our content.

"All the attention I've gotten, it's humbling," Mazama said during a recent exclusive interview. "It's nice that I can bring attention to the great work our avalanche teams do, because they're the true stars. The fans, I love them, but it's not something I ever expected."

It's been a long road to our agency for Mazama. Born in the deserts of Patagonia, her wanderlust led her to Mount Hood in Oregon, where a chance meeting with a ski area worker brought her to WSDOT. That worker was the son of Mike Stanford, our North Central Region Avalanche Forecast and Control Supervisor. Knowing we're always on the lookout for great employees, Stanford recruited Mazama on the spot and she made her way to our neck of the woods.

"And the rest is history," she said. "It was really meant to be."

More at the site - too cute!!!

And back home

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Great meeting - six people so nice size to get real work done. This was three people from the local community center and three people from the Camano Arts Association. We have always worked together well but we are getting around to forming a Memorandum of Understanding about what each of us will do for the other. Common goals, etc... I loathe unnecessary bureaucracy with a passion but it is good to codify relationships between two groups of people. Members of each group can refer to this memorandum to clear up questions that may arise in the future. This document is not set in stone and can be modified as needed. The corporate DNA so to speak. Management 101

Part of the mission for the CAA recently has been to get more involved in community events and to promote Camano Island as a center for the arts. This is actually happening.

Interactive dam map

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Tried the Interactive Dam Map again in Brave - still hangs indefinitely. For a lark, tried it in Internet Explorer and it pops right up. Ditto for Chrome. Something must be triggering in Brave but it does not alert me to a security issue, it just partly loads and then hangs. Will file a bug report.

No dangerous dams in my area - either the farm or the island. There are three just South of Everett - half-way between Everett and Redmond. Might be a fun road trip to take a look.

Washington State Parks - a new website

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Looks wonderful - lots of photographs and a handy locator. Check out the Washington State Parks Foundation

No farm this week

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Plans change.

Got invited to a party in Mt. Vernon (15 miles to the North) tomorrow night. This should be a lot of fun.

The CAA is having a private soirée on Friday (a Patron's party) and a public arts sale on Saturday so hanging out down here for those two events.

Leque Island

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I had visited there last Thursday and posted about its reversion from 250 acres of agricultural land back into the original salt-marsh. Here are two photos from that day. It was overcast so the images are not that photogenic. I keep track of extreme tides (which these were) and will take some more photos when I get better light.

Low tide:


And High Tide:


Quite the difference. Every time I drive over the bridge, there are more and more birds. It will be interesting to see what it is like in about a year when the ecology stabilizes. I was very much into salt marshes when living in Boston and majoring in marine biology. Fascinating systems - so much going on. So many interlinked cycles.

Leque Island

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What was once a salt marsh was diked and turned into 250 acres of agricultural land for 140 years. A group of people purchased the land and have removed the dikes turning it into what will become a salt marsh again. This is on the main road coming west out of Stanwood and heading on to Camano Island. From the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Estuary restoration at Leque Island
It’s not something you see every day — tidal water rushing onto dry land for the first time in 140 years, the pressure of it finally pushing over the flimsy bridge of earth separating salt water from the fresh water inside.

Leque Island, in the city of Stanwood, was returned to the estuary on Monday evening, Oct. 14, 2019. This was the third dike breach I’ve experienced. The first was in 2016 at Fir Island Farm in Skagit County, three months after I started working at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The second was in 2018, Snohomish County’s Smith Island project. Massive in scale, many years in the making, such a great accomplishment, and an honor to be there to watch it.

And here is a 1:28 annotated drone video (no sound) of the area in question (flying south to north):

It is fascinating to drive over the bridge and see the changes happening on a daily basis. This will be a major gain for the juvenile Chinook salmon as they transition from fresh to salt water, as well as shorebirds, waterfowl, and a host of other species in the area. Because Puget Sound's southern resident killer whales rely upon Chinook salmon for food, the project is also closely aligned with orca recovery efforts.

Corn maze

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A popular thing up here is a corn maze - a field of corn with a maze cut into it. I love this sign:


A fun afternoon

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The Pumpkin fest was small but a lot of fun - four pictures:


I would guess maybe 150 people in attendance. It was their third year running this and Sunday is an off day for public events on the island. Most things are on Saturday and yesterday was crappy weather for the first part of the day.


Recognized this - some friends of mine have quite the collection of military vehicles. Five-ton towing a commissary trailer.


Some good music - a local blues band


The obligatory pumpkin carving. Really good work.

All in all, a fun couple of hours. Looking forward to this growing over the next year or so. The trebuchet was a bit of a bust - small arm and not that much distance.

Never got to the minnestrone

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Went to the Farmer's Market, had a nice conversation with some of the people. Really good music this time - their music varies in style and quality but it is a lot of fun. Last market of the season for this location. The Friday market still has two more sessions to run. Not as many vendors but a lot of customers - the people who have my favorite farm were pretty much sold out after one hour. They are doing the last farm supper next Saturday so staying down here for that.

Meeting tomorrow. This is the group that voted me Vice President (boy are they in for a surprise). There is an issue that the board voted on two weeks ago that is contentious to a few parties and they are raising a stink. Fortunately, the bylaws provide for a general quorum vote to decide and I think it will go in our favor. This association has been in operation for a long time - 20th anniversary in fact and from what I gather, people let things slide from time to time. The President and I are looking at putting an end to this. If it is not covered in the bylaws, either amend the bylaws or don't do it.

Finished with the market and decided I wanted Chinese food so went out for that. The beans will keep until tomorrow.

A Seattle landmark - Macy's

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From The Seattle Times:

Macy’s is closing its landmark downtown Seattle store in February
Macy’s landmark store at Third Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle will close in February of next year, the company confirmed Saturday, ending a long history of retail and holiday tradition as its online rival Amazon has continued to grow under its own roof.

The announcement of the store’s upcoming closure came one day after employees were told of the decision by the longtime retailer, which took over the block-long building at 300 Pine Street from The Bon Marché in 2003. The closure ends a 90-year run of retail in that space.

“After careful consideration, Macy’s, Inc. has decided to sell the Downtown Seattle Macy’s building,” Blair Rosenberg, Macy’s director of corporate communications, said in a statement. Rosenberg’s statement did not detail the reasons behind the decision to sell.

Buried in paragraphs 13-15 is one possible reason:

Said Laura Heydrich: “My first thought is, is it closing for the same reason Bartell’s is closing?” she asked. “The crime?”

Last week, the locally owned drugstore chain announced it was closing its Third Avenue and Union Street location early next year because of the neighborhood’s crime rates and the city’s regulations on businesses.

“I come in (to Macy’s) when I get prompted, like when there’s a gift with purchasing makeup,” Laura Heydrich said. “The homeless people outside deter you from coming in. I feel safer at home (shopping online).”

Seattle's last Republican mayor left office in 1969. Used to be a wonderful city as cities go.

Apple festival

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Cider and apple donuts. Mmmmmmm... Got my sugar fix for the next month or so but really tasty.

A few photos:



A sampling of the varieties they are growing - about 80 in all, some of the trees did not fruit this year as many of the plantings are only 2-3 years old. Lots of heirloom varietals - these are often much more delicious but to not respond well to cold storage or mechanical harvesting so they are not available for sale in stores.


These apples (and pears) have been sweated - picked and then stored for a week or two until they get just a little mushy. This is a standard procedure and makes them yield a lot more cider.


Making cider - William on the left is feeding cut apple pieces into the grinder. The pommace falls into a bag in the press basket and is then slid to the right. I forget the guy's name on the right but he is turning the screw to apply pressure and squeeze out the cider. The people in back are cutting the whole apples and pears into quarters so they grind more efficiently. The spent pommace in the wheelbarrow to the far right will be fed to their chickens, goats and alpacas.

They did a big pot of chili and one of the farm crew is an incredible baker - she did a bunch of doughnuts as well as pies and various other treats. Really good people there. I talked to their leader and he is definitely interested in my own commercial cider equipment as well as a bunch of my culinary bits and bobs - downsizing and it will be nice for these things to find a good home.

From local television station KIRO:

Bartell Drugs closing downtown Seattle location over crime concerns
Local drugstore chain Bartell Drugs says it’s closing a downtown location over crime concerns.

In March, surveillance video obtained by KIRO 7 showed a group of people who wandered in from the street, knocking items over and harassing employees inside the 3rd and Union location.

On Friday, Bartell Drugs confirmed the location will shut down before the lease ends. 

Bartell Drugs' CEO Kathi Lentzsch told KIRO 7 the cost of stolen items is too high. 

Lentzsch previously told KIRO 7 Barell Drugs would not be opening any new stores in downtown Seattle due to the crime. 

“It’s a concern. I think we’re sweeping it under the rug. The city council, the mayor, the state, the judicial system, the community -- we all have to come together to figure this out,” Lentzsch said. 

KIRO has done a couple other stories about the shithole that is downtown Seattle:

Used to be a really nice city - lived there for many years.

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