Another Perfect Whidbey Island Day!
A good low tide at noon had the clammers out digging today, so folks will definitely be combining some wonderful produce from the farmer's market with clams, mussels and perhaps even a few chanced-upon oysters for a local feast this evening. I'm betting that Georgie from WillowWood Farms had baby greens, spring onions and other delights at her booth today. I was at my little office looking out across Penn Cove to Lovejoy Point and beyond, so didn't get a chance to buy anything today. I was able to pop into the Coupeville Garden Club's Plant sale early, though, to buy some choice tomato plants.
This is a photo of Lovejoy Point, but the tide is still headed out a bit more. Usually clam diggers have their favorite spots to dig, and the stretch of beach directly in front of the old town commercial district isn't among them. Here, more strolling, beachcombing or landing skiffs from anchored sailboats occurs.
One of the things I love best about our beautiful Island is the honor boxes located at local farm stands. Among the ones I frequent are flower stands on HIghway 20, Libbey Road, Westbeach Road, Zylstra Road, and one just north of the Payless Foods shopping center in Freeland. For $3 to 5 dollars a bunch, I can take home fresh seasonal blooms when I can't bear to pick any of my own. For produce, I love stopping by Bell's Farm stand on West Beach, especially when she has bags of early spinach or arugula, green and yellow beans, baby summer squash, sugar snap peas and of course, those amazingly flavorful strawberries. One year, they had a bumper crop of berries right before halloween, which made the best jam ever. I even carted two flats into Seattle to take to the restaurant Dinette and the Columbia City Bakery, who raved about them. I also love popping by the Muscle & Arm farm on Hwy 20, South of Greenbank, to see what they have. While I'm quite addicted to their dahlias in summer, they had the best eating apples tiny tart grapes, among other things, in the fall. The old Darst farm on the corner of Libbey & West Beach has offered net bags of purple and blue potatoes, local honey, and apples along with bouquets that vary with the seasons.
A fascinating stand is located along the highway just before the entry to the Rolling Hills community. Rene is the healthiest senior citizen I've met, and has created a setting for her flowers that features painted wooden shoes (a nod to her Dutch heritage), an enclosed gazebo, a windmill, a nativity scene at Christmas, a little play area, and currently under construction, a small scale church complete with steeple. When peonies, and then a bit later in the season, dahlias are in bloom, it is hard to beat one of her big $4 bunches. They are gorgeous! I find it fascinating that she has supported herself always with flowers, and love her little sign that says from her heart, something like "every flower is an autograph from God". Hope you have a chance to meet her, enjoy her bright blue eyes and ready smile.
One the real estate front, things seem to have picked up a bit after bottoming out a bit over the winter months. Suddenly properties beyond the busy first time homebuyers market have started to go under contract. Sellers are relieved that things are looking up, and Buyers are feeling that selection is huge, prices are attractive, interest rates are at historic lows, and for some, the $8000 tax credit is too good to miss out on. Some people don't know that the tax credit is also available to those who haven't owned a home in 3 years, not only 1st time home buyers. There are short sales, and foreclosures going on, to be sure, and those properties tend to be snapped up quickly if they are in sound condition. I remember an old advertising slogan that promised "quality is remembered long after price is forgotten". While it is important to have an affordable home, when one is going to actually live there, it is equally important to be in a home that is solidly built, and has all systems in good working order. Not many of the people I meet are interesting in dealing with lots of problems in a home. Most all are hoping to move into a home and simply have routine maintenance to contend with.
I'm heading out the door to show a couple of homes on acreage, one for a "hobby farm", the other for an early retirement haven. The first is definitely a fixer, but is a short sale and would most likely be an affordable rental for a couple with contractor or landscaping skills. The second is also well priced, but looks to be in very great condition. Should be fun. I actually love getting out as much as possible to see our "inventory" of Island properties. Much the way my favorite librarians are avid readers who can comment with either hesitancy or enthusiam when they see a book in my hands, I strive to be able to save my clients' time and energy by really having spent time in as many of the homes as possible here, as well as having walked the land a bit, or checked out the beach access or other amenities.
Bye for now,