Dodging a bullet, a reminder to hydrate, and gratitude

It has been hot here, and we’ve been outside and sweating a lot. Apparently I didn’t drink enough water AND electrolytes. I’m so conscious of drinking lots of water, but didn’t pay attention to electrolytes. And I always thought dehydration would be obvious in being thirsty. I had a hard-learned lesson in the middle of the night Wednesday when I woke up with leg cramps (a symptom of dehydration), and when jumping up to walk it off, passed out (another symptom when getting up fast). I happened to fall and slide down the stairs head first. JS handled it amazing well, considering I ended up at the bottom of the stairs, head bleeding, and unresponsive. We ended up going to ER instead of our family doctor, while driving down to our appointment the next morning. In the end, a potential disaster averted. I have staples in my head, and quite the bruises, but nothing broken, and CAT scans showed no scary problems. The followup with our family doctor supported the diagnosis, and he warned me to take it easy. So I am. I guess this is a life lesson. And, when I regained consciousness at the bottom of the stairs, and saw JS’ face telling me what happened, and telling me earnestly that it will be OK, I truly believed him. And trusted, as I had hoped I would always trust, in my future husband. Won’t have long to wait now!

I may be a little bruised, but will be so excited to share our union with you! And yes, I’ll be on the dance floor. Doc says no break dancing, though.


Blue Skies and What to Wear

“If you wear high heels, you will be aerating the soil (and not getting very far).”

OK, there are other suggestions on our wedding web site, but we’ve been asked fashion questions. So here’s a mix of practical and fashion:

Fashion: This is not the cotillion. Theme shorthand is Festive and Sassy. We’ll be wearing crazy stuff, and will enjoy yours. Bring a sweater or other warm clothes for when the sun sets – with clear skies it cools down fast here. Comfy dancing shoes!

Weather forecast:

Practical: It’s been in the 80’s for weeks, with the same in the forecast, and it’s not humid here most of the summer. It cools to the 60’s after sunset. We’ll have a fire pit,  but you’ll want to be comfortable everywhere. Mosquitoes have diminished, but still around. We are fogging the woods Saturday afternoon. Even so, wear light colored clothing; if you wear shorts you may need mosquito repellent; we’ll have herbal and Deep Woods Off!

Comfortable shoes: We have short hiking trails made and marked. If you haven’t been here before, it’s worthwhile walking (level ground) to the Skagit River on the marked River Loop (0.29 miles) or the slightly longer Woods to River Loop. The Skagit River is the second biggest salmon run in the lower 48 states. They don’t run in July, but their habitat is breathtaking.

We are SO excited to see you all!

JS 60th birthday party outfit!

Mosquitoes – we don’t care that you RSVP’d. You will be turned away!

We’ve had no mosquitoes the past two years. But that’s an exception. This year we’re rolling out traps designed by a non-profit in Hawaii:

We actually had the engineers at our company research drones with laser mosquito zappers. A university is doing it with surprisingly low powered lasers. But right now it would probably cost more than a car.

Paint 5 gallon buckets black. Traditional mosquito condo color.


Paint sticks with 1% bifenthrin and dry. Fill buckets with 2 gallons water mixed with compost to mimic pond water. Add 2 T. 0.5% spinosad. While not exactly “natural”, one chemical is allowed to be sprayed on organic crops, the other is used in commercial kitchens. Place sticks partly in water.


Cover tightly with 2″ holes in lids so critters don’t drink the water.

The pretend pond water attracts mosquitoes to lay their eggs. The solution in the water prevents the eggs from ever hatching. When the mosquito lands on the stick, it’s days are numbered. 

Make a map of where the traps are! In a few weeks they will be totally overgrown here.


Just in case: testing professional mosquito fogger, good for 6 hours. Safe for people 15 minutes after application.

We’ll also have natural repellant and OFF! in case any mosquito sneaks in.

Infrastructure is taking shape

Lots of the big projects are well on their way. At the end of each day, we’re excited to imagine our big event.

Reminder: to view on the website, click the link and enter wedding2017

More clearing, raking, unrooting.


Band stage on the left. Grass in the distance. It’s coming together!


Time for a margarita break on our river bank at sunset. We hope you take the path to the river and enjoy the porch swing there.


The garden blue and orange period is here. JS has different color schemes that bloom week by week.


250 feet of underground wiring for the band and coffee!
JS enjoying coffee Sunday morning in the greenhouse, before weeding and trenching.


Timber bamboo happens to be the right age for project use. More than 30 feet tall.


“Planting” timber bamboo in PVC buried in the ground with gravel.


The root sticking up into the path was a little more than we expected. From a cedar cut long before JS was on the land – could be 100 years ago. Amazing that it doesn’t rot in the wet ground. Only one way to deal with it, though it dulls the chainsaw.


300 feet of 1 inch water line – working!

Level playing field

Everyone wants to play on a level playing field. Including the band. The band Jumbled Pie deserves it! We may not get to building the stage shell though.


Some grass and we’re ready for the band! OK, more raking.


The grass is growing already. We don’t need no stinkin’ turf.


Supervising. And ever alert.


The green thumb and the supervising kitty.

Preparations started when the snow finally melted

March 12: We measure the space needed for the dinner table, and prototype how to protect from the elements. Wow. Hard to image the actual space until you put down the mason’s lines!


March 17: A day after we exclaimed that we need more bamboo for construction than what we have growing, our neighbor called and asked if we needed any – which was just cut down.


April 21: Our neighbor Riley and his Kubota clearing blackberries and leveling. Much of the leveling needs to be done by hand with shovels, rakes, hoes.


We found a pickup cap from at least 32 years ago – JS didn’t put it there. Riley enjoyed crushing.


April 23: Pressure washing has begun to remove green stuff that grows on everything here.


April 25: After three prototypes of lighting, we found a “go”.


April 26: Leveling, raking, seeding. How will we stop the birds from eating ALL the seeds?


The fun part – covering the seeds with straw.


Ooops. The phone cable buried 30 years ago burped. Internet became flaky. We learned that the phone company is not responsible for the 350 feet from the green box at the foot of the driveway to the house. Gotta have Internet for live-streaming the wedding!


The trencher worked great – until it hit rocks. Lots of them.


A path less taken, behind the bamboo grove.


When the trencher hit a logging cable from 100 years ago, the backlash made my thighs black-and-blue. Took a while to cut through – shouldn’t it have rusted apart over 100 years?


Flower girl Vija from next door and JS, admiring the sparks. Sawzall was needed, too.


April 30: Underground phone/Internet cable. 24 conductors. In case 20 of them go south. When I mentioned fiber optic to the telcom guy, he laughed. And laughed. And reminded us of where we live.


May 1: We discovered that when it rains, the 18 inch trench fills back up with mud, which becomes dirt. Hand digging required.


The last 10 feet. More hand digging.



And the trench helped get underground power to the wedding site; the greenhouse is halfway there. Power needed for the band, lighting, food service, and – doesn’t everything run off of electricity (besides our neighbor’s antique apple press? And our shovels?)


May 7: Beauty is bursting all around us. More of this joy in the next post.

So much love

We are delighted and humbled and amazed at our wedding RSVP response. We thought we would have several rounds of invitations, to be sure we didn’t “overbook”. We had to put our rental orders in before January, and guessed about 100 guests, plus 10 just in case. The biggest event we’ve ever had here on our land was 50 guests for JS’ 60th birthday. After only one round of invitations, and we are at capacity (though we can accommodate a few more supporters if they are willing to eat from paper plates:) We decided from inception that our wedding will happen here on our land, so we also have considerations of parking and all other event details. Preparation photos to come soon – we’ve been busy!

Our guests hail from these places:

– Washington
– British Columbia
– Oregon
– California
– Colorado
– Texas
– Georgia
– North Carolina
– Massachusetts
– New York
– Hawaii