Endings and Beginnings

"Is he here yet?"

You may have noticed I haven't been around here for a while.  I bought a house in Anacortes.  For those unfamiliar with the geography, I currently live on the south shore of Fidalgo Island, on Skagit Bay.  Anacortes occupies the northern end of the island.  It's about five miles away as the crow flies.

With retirement approaching, I have had this move in the back of my mind for a while.  Occupying three floors, my current house is large, much larger than I need.  The yard is very large.  I have enjoyed the 30 years I've lived here, but the advantages of a smaller place have become obvious.  Primarily, the new house will be easier to take care of and easier to clean.  There will be more time for hiking, picture taking, and just watching the goings-on in the garden.

I will be moving in the next couple of weeks.  Most of my clothes, pots, pans, dishes, patio furniture, tools, and these frogs are already there.  I spent this morning over there putting new computer furniture together.  I'll finish that tomorrow.

For the last several weeks, I have been getting rid of more than 40 years of accumulated stuff.  There won't be room for it all.  This included 43 years of National Geographic magazines.  They took up 13.5 feet/4.1 meters of shelf space.  Kiwanis, Goodwill, Northwest Center, a few of my friends, and the county recycling dumpsters have made out like bandits.  I can't tell you how good it feels to lighten the load.  I have also been getting this house ready to sell.  I am finding dust in places I didn't know I had.

Meanwhile, those frogs keep checking to see if I have moved in yet.

Sunset on Skagit Bay, June, 2017

The move will also bring on the end of the South Fidalgo weather station.  It will be reborn as Creekside Station, Anacortes, once the hardware is installed at the new house.  All the registrations and affiliations (CWOP, Weather Underground, etc.) will need to be re-established.  The website will be reconfigured for the new location.  When I take the system down, I will post a notice here and at Twitter.

Pacific Rhododendron, Deception Pass State Park
Pacific Rhododendron, Deception Pass State Park

I have been watching Anacortes real estate for the last three years or so.  When I found exactly what I was looking for, I knew I had to act.  I proceeded with the lengthy and exhaustive process of purchasing a house.  It happened right in the middle of this year's wild rhododendron season at Deception Pass State Park.  My annual hikes to the rhododendron groves were interrupted, and ultimately came to an end.  I did manage to get a few shots in the early part of the season.  These will have to do for this year.

Mourning Dove, Deception Pass State Park

Just like last year, I encountered Mourning Doves during one of my rhody hikes.  They were in the same spot on the south flank of Goose Rock.  They probably nest somewhere nearby.  There are always more than just rhododendrons to see during these hikes.

The future site of the Creekside Weather Station, Anacortes, WA

The new house is a one story townhouse on a cul-de-sac filled with mature Douglas Firs.  The understory is planted with native shrubs, including Salal, Kinnikinnick, and Vine Maples.  In terms of wildlife gardening, the new place will have almost everything I have now in a smaller, more urban package.  So far I have spotted a Douglas Squirrel on the roof and Northwestern Crows in my little strip of woods.  I also found blooming Orange Honeysuckle in the woods.  The neighbors tell me that deer make regular visits.  I hear bird calls I don't recognize, so there will be new discoveries as well.  I am sure if I put out peanuts, the Steller's Jays will find me.  Of course, Cottontail Rabbits and Eastern Gray Squirrels, interlopers extraordinaire, also appear to be at home here.

Another change will be the views.  Whereas I now have expansive, big sky panoramas of Skagit Bay, the new house will offer intimate, close-up views of the woods.  I am looking forward to this.  When I put up feeders, I will be able to see them from the living areas of the house.  I can't do that now, unless I'm in the basement or out in the upper gardens.

I will miss the daily visits of Bald Eagles, but who knows, perhaps they'll stop by here as well.  They are common sights on light poles in downtown Anacortes.  Once I've moved in, it will be a whole new adventure discovering what experiences this new home has in store.