A local treasure nestled on the outskirts of Everson by the name of Stoney Ridge Farms closed for the fall harvest season this past weekend. We discovered this wonderful family focused destination ten years ago when a school field trip took the class of our older boy out to explore their great pumpkin patch. Since then, it has become our family tradition year after year.
So many things bring us back each year, but I feel that the main reason is the overall joy of being together as a family. When the boys were young, the mini animal farm amazed them with cuddly little creatures from lop-eared bunnies to baby goats. The resident donkey always brings a smile to their faces. The king of the show each year is the goat that walks along high rising planks to reach a platform overlooking the farm where patrons deliver yummy treats to him via a can/rope system. He will stand up on that small platform high in the sky for hours it seems, or at least as long as the snacks continue arriving.
Then as the boys got older it was for the tasty homemade treats that called to us – warm pumpkin donuts, piping hot apple pie and the flavorful apple cider. But at the end of the day, they really do have some terrific pumpkins and gourds to choose from. You can either stroll through the pumpkin fields yourself with a wheel barrel that is provided or stop in their market on the way out to pick out a polished pumpkin. Either way these pumpkins have been adorning our doorstep for the past ten years.
Although it is too late this season for the pumpkin patch, they do open again for the Christmas season. They offer Christmas trees, homemade wreaths, local crafts and again their famous pies. Watch their website for opening day and begin making this YOUR family tradition. http://stoneyridgefarm.com/index.html
One of the great highlights of our family's summer is heading out on Bellingham Bay in our boat. There are so many wonderful sights to see from the beautifully undisturbed scenery to the active marine life – dolphins, jellyfish, seabirds and jumping fish. But the best sight of all is that of the creature that dwells at the depths of the Bay – the NW Dungeness crab! We anxiously wait for the opening day of crabbing on July 1st and reluctantly say goodbye on September 30th. But not this year! After checking with the www.wdfw.wa.gov website, I see that Dungeness crab harvesting has been extended until the end of the year – December 31st – and is now seven days a week!
The crabbing ritual is quite a production. The first thing is to make sure that the weather, wind and waves are going to cooperate. I check the Bellingham Bay cam and weather station information on the internet multiple time while getting ready. As we have found out the hard way, Bellingham Bay can be very unpredictable and downright scary at times. While the husband is busy getting the boat and gear ready for our excursion, I am responsible for snacks (everyone's favorites must be on board), layers (make sure everyone has a jacket even if it is 80 degrees outside because you never know…), crab bait (do they want turkey legs this time or salmon chum) and crab transportation devices (what will we carry our bounty home in?). There is one last stop on our way to the marina launch – yes, there must be enough gas to get us to the hunting grounds and back. We stop at our favorite gas station to fill up. Now we're ready to go!
Time to launch. This can be a bit tense at times. I've mastered the backup technique by now, but still have a difficult time reading the minds of those also launching or coming back in. Patience is the key. Once in the water, it's time to head out to our favorite spot – Eliza Island. During the 17 minute ride out to the island, I am busy stuffing the bait boxes in the crab traps (got to make it irresistible) so that we are ready for action the minute we arrive. Upon arrival we drop the pots and pray for success.
What keeps our focus is the amazing taste of a fresh Dungeness crab that you yourself have caught that very day. Catch it at noon and dinner is served. Yummy! All summer long there is an on-going competition between ourselves and the commercial fisherman. Have they already harvested all of the crab? Can we max out on the daily quota? Seems like only the small ones are left… (Did you know that it takes 11 years for a Dungeness crab to reach it's adult harvesting size – we have more respect for these creatures now that we know this.) One more drop will surely put us over the top. If not, it's because the commercials have taken all of our beloved crab… Oh well. We'll still enjoy our day's spoils tonight.
The last day of crabbing, September 30, is always a sad day for us. It marks the end of summer and the end of our fun-filled excursions out onto the Bay. But not this year – we have more time. We aren't sure how many more times we will make it out for the remainder of this season, but it is great to know that if the day is a wonderful weather day we can head out and catch one of our beloved crabs for dinner which is really only earmarked for summer. Enjoy!
Okay. So I confess that I haven’t been the most tech savvy Realtor so far. My career in real estate started back in 1990 (the olden days) when there weren’t any cellular phone, and fax machines (if you had one) used thermal paper. Does anybody remember that? And how thermal paper faded over time? Not great for keeping records of contracts and supporting documents. I am now taking this very first proactive step of writing a blog with the goal of reaching out to more people via the WWW. Sounds like fun eh? I ask that you please bear with me as I learn and grow on your time. Maybe we can grow together.
Although I have always had some interest in real estate thanks to my auntie Sharon, it was never my intention to end up as a Realtor. After graduation from Cal Berkeley in International Political Economies, I had my sights set on being a top paid executive of an international company such as P & G or General Electric. Traveling to and fro – jet setting. Instead I ended up meeting Adrian while in Hawaii (yeah), and this changed my master plan forever. Love does that to you, you know? My Canadian sweetie drew me up to the Pacific Northwest in 1989, and I have been here ever since and never regretted it.
Since there was no demand for a top paid executive in Blaine (without any experience I must add), I began to explore the idea of what the heck else I could do with my education, sales and marketing experience. How about sell real estate! I set about getting the education for my license in Lynnwood where I happened to be in the class with the future managing broker for Resort Properties of Resort Semiahmoo Bob Nott. Yes, you can put two and two together to figure that I began at Semiahmoo at the same time as Broker Bob. He had loads of experience and I did not. Which brings me to my first blog subject of whether agent experience is the most important thing when seeking a real estate professional to work with. After all, buying and/or selling real estate is one of the most important transactions you will ever engage in.
Experience is a good thing – a very good thing. But experience on it’s own does not make for a better real estate agent. Experience must be met with passion, determination and people skills. Fortunately for real estate agents, there are many places to seek council regarding rules, regulations, etiquette and ethics. And the internet creates an immediate source of information that wasn’t available in years past. Then there is always the age old practice of “boots on the ground” – going to the source for information in person.
Consider it a great use of your time to do some research on the real estate agents that you are thinking of hiring before you do. Again, the web is a terrific place to start. But don’t just stop there. Interview the agents to see if there is chemistry. Also, call on past clients to see if they would use that agent again and recommend them to you. This little bit of foot work can save you many sleepless nights and much anxiety. In the end, you need someone that you can confide and trust in during this journey. What do you think is most important? I’d like to hear from you.
Let’s make it happen – Leslie