Juneau ~ Juno ~ Junebug ~ JuJu-B

Meet my little pup, Juno.  Those eyes did it.  When I saw her looking at me I knew I was going to bring her home.  She was eight weeks old and the last one of the litter.

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This little pup is smart, inquisitive, confident, sweet, and definitely a mind of her own.  I’ve read all Siberian Huskies have these traits so when she looks at me and continues to run away from me, I tell myself she’s not only a puppy, but she’s a husky.  And huskies love to run!

IMG_7553She’s growing so fast!

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We’ve got a nice little routine going.  She gets me up early, I let her out, feed her, and then we go back to bed until the sun comes up.  We have tea, let the chickens out, and then at about 10:00 a.m. she cannot take it anymore and begs for me to take her to the dog park.  I call Juno the princess of the park.  When she arrives, her friends greet her at the gate ready to run.  Preferring to play in the “big dog” area of the park (or maybe she thinks she’s a “big dog”), she has no problem taunting the larger dogs to chase her.  The humans all agree that she is one confident girl.  She loves all dogs and will give each one a play pose until they play with her.  There are her favorites playmates and she usually leaves the park tired, happy and muddy.

IMG_7897What’s amazing is that within a hour or two, she is completely white again with no sign of mud.  This little girl’s silky and soft fur is like a non-stick pan and she cleans herself like a cat.  Also a husky trait.

People ask me all the time if she’s a white German Shepard.  You know, I just don’t know. I’m told she’s a purebred white husky and I have pictures of her husky parents, but who really knows?  She could have some German Shepard in her.  She has short hair for a typical husky, but huskies can have short, medium or long hair.  She does sometimes look like a white Shepard.  But she definitely looks like her mom, who is a pure white husky with those beautiful blue eyes.

She’s smart and catches on very quickly, mastering “sit,” “down,” “up,” look at “me,” “bed,” “wait,” “leave it,” “touch,” and about 75% of the time “come.”  Her prey drive is so strong that if there’s a bird to chase or another dog to play with, she will not “come” easily.  We are working on that.

Huskies are happiest when they are working, which means  weights and pulling.  When she’s a little bigger she’ll start wearing a weighted pack and I’d love to buy a Terra Trike so she can pull me on the trails.  We don’t have enough snow for sledding but pulling a three-wheeled bike would be ideal here.  Next commands to learn “Gee” for right, “Haw” for left and “Hike” for get going.

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This five-month-old beauty is quite something.  Warm and loving and my constant companion.


The Beauty of the Olympic Peninsula

This week I want to share the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula.  I’ve traveled a lot throughout this scenic country and have spent time in many communities on our way to explore our state and national parks.  While traveling in an RV caravan on our vacations, I have fond memories of my friend Brenda calling over the CB radio and saying, “Deb, how about here?”  She was, of course, talking about our chatter of finding a beautiful place to retire.  I would have a lavender farm and she would have an animal rescue or farm next door.  Maybe grow some grapes…  These are the planted seeds that gave birth to my desire to live someplace beautiful.  And beautiful to me is no traffic, no tall buildings (except grain silos), a small town, fresh fruits and vegetables are grown within a few miles or my own garden, a small town with community events, no worries of leaving a bicycle outside overnight.  You get the idea.  I have found that place on the Olympic Peninsula.

My little town lies where the majestic Olympic mountains meet the ocean (technically, the Strait of San Juan Fuca) with a big river and many creeks.  I’m told the pioneers diverted the melting snow from the mountains throughout the valley and the reason why we have so many “creeks” every couple of miles.  I have a year-round creek that runs along my property and then there is another creek on the other side of me about an acre over.  The Dungeness River is the larger river here and is located about two miles from me.  I’m inland a couple of miles from the ocean so I can hear the fog horns, but I don’t usually get the fog.  I’m also a couple miles down from the foothills so while they may get a couple of feet of snow, I only get a dusting that lasts a day.

All of the photos shared in this post were taken by me except the photo above of Lavender Mills, which was taken by my neighbor under an incredible sky.  I love our skies.

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The wildlife here is incredible.  Almost every day I see something amazing.

 

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Bald Eagles

 

 

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Elk

 

 

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Swans

 

 

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Pheasant

 

 

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Swans and Elk

 

 

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Happy Cows

 

The many family farms provide everything one could need.  I love that some farms have kiosks out front with produce, eggs, and even trees for sale on the honor system.

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A few more scenic photos because I can’t just leave them out!

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I almost forgot the dynamic skies.  They change from minute to minute.

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It’s a lovely place and I still cannot believe I actually live here.  I used to think as I drove through little towns what the people did for a living and how they liked living there.  As I drive through downtown, especially during the tourist season, I remember that feeling and now I am one of those that live here and I love being here.


The Beginning

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I am often asked the question: “What made you decide to move to Sequim?”

I visited Sequim many years ago on a family vacation and loved it.  Whenever I think about living someplace else other than Southern California, I would think of Sequim and it’s beautiful mountain views and valleys of lavender and farmlands.

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Many things happened in my life at the same time: retirement, the end of a 30-year marriage, my children beginning their own lives with a wedding and both moving out of the house to follow their dreams.  I became an empty nester and I ended up living in a quiet, five-bedroom house by myself.  It became clear that I needed to make a change.  I didn’t have a direction and to be honest, it was a lonely time.  The family home became a burden and felt very heavy.

I was talking with my boyfriend and he said, “What do you want to do?”  I responded, “I don’t know…I always wanted to be a lavender farmer.”  He said, “So do it. Look at flights and let’s go to Sequim and check it out.”  What?  People don’t just book flights and go check out towns, do they?  He prompted me again and I booked a flight to Seattle and made a reservation at a hotel in Sequim.  I thought it would just be a fun vacation.  We spent the week exploring and talking over every detail.  Could I really do this?  Could I really move so far away from my family?  Could I really follow a dream?  After all, it was just a dream.

The more I looked at it, the more it made sense.  The affordability alone should convince one to make such a huge change.  Even if I didn’t make a profit on the farm, I would still come out ahead.  I kept running the numbers over and over.  I researched every detail.  At the same time, the 30-year-old house was making demands that 30-year-old houses do.  It was by far the hardest and scariest decision I’ve ever had to make.  I was on an emotional rollercoaster and I think I cried for weeks.

The next question I get is, “How can you leave your children?”  Yes, this one stings a little.  It reminds me when I was a working mother and my job demanded that I be present and I couldn’t chaperone a field trip and if I took a vacation day or was able to make an activity, the teachers would say to me, “So glad you can finally join us.”  Ouch.  There it is – that feeling of guilt that I should do more or give more.

My kids are grown adults now.  They are busy with their own careers and their own lives and that is as it should be.  I am so overwhelmingly proud of each of them.  They are successful and happy and that is all any parent can want for their child.  It is time for me to focus on my next chapter and that includes something I’ve always dreamed of doing and building a memorable destination for my kids and grandkids to visit.  The key here is FaceTime and quality visits, not quantity visits.

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So, now that I am in Sequim it feels right.  This is where I am supposed to be.  I wake up every morning and look at the mountains and I pinch myself because I cannot believe I live here.  I cannot believe that I am actually doing something I only dreamed of doing.  I feel so fortunate that I put aside all of the reasons why I couldn’t (believe me, I made up a lot of reasons why I couldn’t/shouldn’t) and I tore down the wall.

We really can do whatever we put our minds to do.  My soul is happy that I made a change and I’m chasing a dream.


Wash Day Is Beautiful

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As I was removing a load of laundry from the clothesline, it occurred to me that I haven’t shared with you the awesomeness of the clothesline. We’ve been making homemade laundry detergent for a couple of years and it only seemed right that we should try the clothesline.

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Clothesline with partial shade. Hubby was working on a project and needed temporary shade. The clothespin bag at the end was a Martha Stewart bag that had a Christmas ham inside. Seriously! It was the perfect size and hubby ran a wire hanger through to keep it open to receive clothespins.

We installed a retractable clothesline similar to this one at the top of the fence. The line can then be drawn down the side of the house to a hook near the gate (preferred) or the opposite way to a hook on a patio cover post. What’s really great is that the clothesline is low so our neighbors can’t see it (HOA/complaint avoidance – just in case 😉 ) and it is retractable so we can put it away.

I can honestly say that hanging clothes on the line is just as easy as throwing in the dryer and in fact, the summer sun dries the clothes faster than the dryer. It’s true! Our whites have never looked so white and I haven’t had any trouble with fading brights or darks. We do have a little bit of shade so I do try to hang brights and darks on the shaded part of the line. Hubby thinks the clothes are actually easier to fold. Now, I will admit that towels and sheets are not as “soft,” but we got used to it quickly and I actually prefer the fresh, clean smell over the softness. The towels seem to absorb better without all the chemicals added to make it soft. Not to mention the cost savings of using free sunshine. Did I mention it’s pretty? It reminds me of the streets in Europe where they still hang their clothes across the line and people stop to take a photo.

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Since I didn’t grow up using a clothesline, I did have to look up the proper way to hang items. Yes, there is a proper way: pin at at the hems and not the shoulders, hang pants by the waistband, hang socks by the toes. There are many tutorials on the Internet. Try it out and let me know what you think; skies are clear and warm this week.


Dragon Fruit

Yesterday we went to 99 Ranch Market to buy oysters for the BBQ. As I was browsing through the produce I saw this crazy looking…something…I wasn’t really sure what it was. It was interesting looking: bright, pretty and about the size of a softball. A fruit I imagined, but what kind of fruit? The sign was labeled Dragon Fruit and I remembered that I had recently seen a Dragon Fruit plant for sale at Lowe’s. The tag at Lowe’s said it is a super fruit – antioxidants, vitamin C and low in calories. A cactus-like plant.

Seeing the Dragon Fruit in person peeked my curiosity and I had to purchase it. We brought it home and I looked it up to see how to cut and eat this Dragon Fruit. The whole family gathered around as I cut it open. What a beauty!

I scooped out the inside of the Dragon Fruit and then diced it up and placed it back inside the “bowl” of the fruit like I had seen in articles on the Internet.

The flesh is soft, bland and just slightly sweet. It smells like a plant. The seeds are very crunchy but easy to chew. It reminded us all of kiwi. I think it would make a nice addition to a fruit salad. Definitely a show stopper in the color and contrast. I may buy it again to add to a salad, but I’m not running down to Lowe’s to purchase the plant for the garden.

Project Peppermint Bark

Who doesn’t love peppermint bark?  Peppermint bark snowflakes for my co-workers.  Bottom layer of Wilton dark chocolate and top layer of Wilton candy cane white chocolate.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave, pipe into the snowflake cookie cutters, cooling between layers.  When completely cooled, pop out of form and wrap in bags.  Super simple and tasty!  I love the way they turned out and how about the cute top hat that I found at Michaels to present the treat bags?