Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

This weekend we went south of the border to Port Townsend for the Wooden Boat Festival.


This is the Lorraine, a folkboat, and one of my favorites.

Highlights included:

1. Research for a new writing project


This is Alison, teaching us how to attach sliders to the edge of the sail.


One of the many sewing machines in the sail loft.

2. Renewed enthusiasm for building the Navigator


This is Ellie, a Navigator designed by John Welsford of New Zealand. We have one of these on the back deck and we’re hoping it will look like this one day. While we were admiring her, we met another couple who are also building one.

3. Meeting John Welsford

Yes! Really!

4. Coffee from the lovely Heidi, aka Java Gypsy



When Patrick was at boat school, Heidi used to visit every day at morning tea time. She has an unbelievable memory for faces and names, and coffee orders, and her husband makes the best coffee in PT.

5. Thank goodness for ferry reservations


Back in Port Angeles, the ferries were completely chocka, so we were glad we had a reservation. There was just time for a short walk along the waterfront to admire these guys. Aren’t they cool!


Chocolate Coconut Balls

Since I’m in the middle of marking madness, I found it necessary to make a chocolatey treat. This one happened to arrive in my Facebook news feed today, thanks to Wellness Mama. You should check out her blog for all sorts of goodies!


  • 5 oz shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil + 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Mix coconut, 2/3 cup melted coconut oil, vanilla, and almond butter in a medium bowl.
  2. Place the bowl in the fridge until the mixture has firmed up enough to handle.
  3. Form the mixture in balls.
  4. Place the balls in the freezer until they harden completely.
  5. Once the balls have hardened, melt the chocolate with 1 tbsp coconut oil  in a double boiler, stirring until smooth.
  6. Dip the balls into the chocolate and put on a tray covered in baking paper. We used two forks to dip the balls and let them drip off before putting them on the tray.
  7. Put the balls into fridge or freezer until the chocolate sets.

You’ll probably want to store these in the fridge to keep the chocolate from melting.

And now I’d better get back to the marking!

Wolves, birds, and a good cup of coffee

Today was one of those days that remind me why I love holidays!

We started with a great cup of coffee from a coffee shack (coffee shacks in Washington State are like Tim Hortons in Ontario – on every second corner – or so Patrick tells me). This one was called Olympia Coffee Roasting Company. We’ll be going back there tomorrow!


Next we headed for the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, where we strolled along a boardwalk listening to the birds, spotting a few, and just generally having a lovely mellow time. What an awesome place, and at $3 for the two of us, we’ll definitely be coming back here next time we’re in Olympia.

Then we headed down the highway to the Wolf Haven, where we learned about red and gray wolves.


We finished the day off with a stroll through the park in downtown Olympia.


Tumwater Falls

It’s Canada Day for us tomorrow (July 1st), which means a long weekend and a chance to get away. This time we decided to spend a few days in Olympia, south of Seattle. We booked the Coho ferry across to Port Angeles and drove down last night.

This morning a misty rain had moved in and the clouds looked dark and ominous, so we decided to start with a trip to Trader Joes for breakfast supplies (pastrami and sugar snap peas), then shoot into town for coffee. We tried a local roaster, Batdorf & Bronson. The coffee was drinkable, but not as good as the Americanos we’re used to in Victoria.

Next we walked along the waterfront towards the farmers’ market. Looking back, you can see the domed State Capitol building.


Next we tried another coffee shop Sizizis. The coffee was definitely more meaty, but the coffee shop itself was strangely funky, dark wood panels, painted red, with red light bulbs. It looks brighter in the photo than it really was.


Even though it rained all day, late in the afternoon the weather cleared, and we ended up at the Tumwater Falls park just in time to see hundreds of violet-green swallows and waxwings (10 points if you can spot the waxwings in the photo). This was definitely the highlight of the day, with the sound of water rushing under our feet (we were standing on a grate over a fish ladder), and all these birds skimming the surface of the water for bugs. Patrick did his best with the camera, but we obviously need a bigger lens!


Salade Niçoise

It’s salad weather here, so I thought I’d share some of our favourites.

Often our salads are a kitchen-sink affair, made with whatever vegetables we have in the fridge. But sometimes it’s nice to follow a recipe and have something a bit more distinctive.

Here’s our paleo ode to Salade Niçoise:

Salad Nicoise

lettuce (shredded) – we tend to use Romaine or Butter lettuce
asparagas or green beans (lightly steamed and cooled)
tomatoes (quartered)
olives (we prefer kalamata)
tuna (canned or fresh) – when we use fresh tuna, we pan fry it
eggs (hardboiled and quartered)

  1. Arrange in a bowl for each person.
  2. Lightly salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar.