And then.....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Pig War

While on San Juan Island we learned a bit of little known history. Actually the island claims to be the cradle of Northwest history because it was on this island that the US and Britain nearly went to war.

The details: It began in 1859 when a settler, Lyman Cutlar, had a farm in the southeastern part of the island. His farm also happened to be in the middle of a British Hudson Bay Company sheep pasture. One of the Hudson Bay Company's pigs persisted in rooting up Mr. Cutlar's potatoes, an irritant that eventually drove him to shooting pig. This doing in of the pig put Mr. Cutlar in a delicate position. He was threatened with arrested by the British but the question arose as to of jurisdiction promptly arose. Whose territory was this anyway? The US and Britain both claimed the islands as their own.

Troops from both sides were sent to the island where they set up camps on the opposite ends of the island, both in exceptionally beautiful areas along the water. They set up housekeeping building the necessary buildings including schools and churches and wash houses. And they waited. For thirteen years!

Eventually Kaiser Wilhelm ! was called upon to arbitrate. His solution, that the dividing line be down Haro Straight, made the San Juans the property of the US.

In the near war there were never any casualties because no shots were fired. We did, however, come across, on a hike above the British camp, a neat little cemetery bordered by picket fence. The names of the solders were listed as were their causes of death - a fall, illness etc.

The English camp has some remaining buildings from its days of occupancy as well as a well kept formal garden. A huge 300 year old tree overseas the remains.

The American camp has only one remaining building leaving an illustrated sign and one's own imagination to the work of what the camp life must have been.

But first....

The last word was that I would next tell you about The Pig War BUT FIRST - borrowed from Joliejam a glimpse of really o truly o joie de vivre.

The ocean between me and this baby is killing!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

When the Whales Don't Show

We sat for hours in perfect, sunny and warm temps waiting for whales. It was not at all unpleasant despite the whales reluctance to make an appearance.

While waiting we read that the Orcas, named for the island that was named for a Mexican general, attack for food rather than out of simple aggression. They do not attack humans. ( A relief despite the fact I do not intend ever to be in whale friendly waters. )

Seals like the fellow above are, however, some of their prime prey. While we watched and waited, this sleepy fellow carefully turned his sides toward the sun until he was entirely toasty. This took quite a long time. When he finished with his sunning, the tide rolled in and nudged him off the rock. He seemed to know exactly when the tide would ease in and evidently knew - as we did not - that the whales were nowhere near.

Stay tuned to learn about The Pig War when the US and Britain very nearly became embroiled in an all out war over a pig.

Friday Harbor, WA

Tom appears to be in a Folger's ad while having his coffee on the porch of our rented cabin outside Friday Harbor...or contemplating the fate of ML stock options?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

San Juan Island, Washington

We have just returned from San Juan Island where we saw, too briefly, Orca whales. Since, during the siting I was in the passenger seat on the other side of the big bluff holding all of the cars that had stopped there for whale watching, I cannot absolutely swear that I really DID see whales....more a good splash... but T. did and can swear for me.
There will be no whale images and not even good splash images but perhaps the shots included here will give you an idea of the place.

Friday Harbor, the biggest town of the islands in the San Jaun Straights, about eight square blocks, is approached by ferry or air. We flew from Seattle in a single prop plane manned, in both cases, by casual young pilots who jokingly gave out the safety instructions - "don't fool with the shoulder strap. Useless". There were other seriously helpful suggestions but all given in such a state of merriment that one hardly thought of, well, one prop, one pilot, lots of water. Really.
More island to follow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

GNH Book at Valley Books

Oh dear me, few things are better than producing a year's effort and getting acclaim - no matter that it is in my own wee town and the acclaimees were largely friends! We signed and sold 32 books in our allotted 2 hours at Jackson very fine bookstore, Valley Books. We did that and we also had such a lot of fun.
image 1 - Tashi, writer of that wonderful book Gross National Happiness of Bhutan, me and Tom ( in Bhutanese gho)
image 2 - book signing site in front of the bookstore
image 3 - the ever lovely PJ in a Bhutanese kira
image 4 - Tashi and Kelzang arranging the gho on Tom. It really does take 2 people!
image 5 - Tashi's beautiful daughter being readied in her kira by her mother.

What a good time and, after so many long hours of work on the book, very, very sweet!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bedtime Baby

Marlena right after her bath, wrapped in towel and so much love.

Jolie, Owain and Marlena leave tomorrow for Tokyo by way of Seattle (for a bit of necessary shopping). We leave too for a ten day visit to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands of Washington. It is going to be so hard, after five fine weeks together, to say goodbye. At least in leaving at the same time T and I are avoiding the awful holes that will be left in the Davis family absence.

I will resume posting sometime after Sept. 12 so please do check back in!
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