Author: Kate Poss | With Photos by David Welton

Kate Poss This Is Whidbey was founded by Kate Poss for readers who are interested in cultivating our island’s quality of life, including its land, sea, and air; its people, plants, and animals; and the bodies, minds, and spirits of its inhabitants. You may know Kate from her work in island libraries through May of 2016. Her background includes a career in newspaper reporting in Los Angeles for various weeklies and dailies, including The Los Angeles Times. She was a frequent contributor to the online Whidbey Life Magazine and still writes for the biannual print magazine. David Welton Stories are highlighted by David Welton’s excellent photography. David is a retired physician who was a staff photographer for Whidbey Life Magazine since its early days. His work has also appeared in museums, art galleries, newspapers, regional and national magazines, books, nonprofit publicity, and on the back of the Whidbey Sea-Tac Shuttle!

Note: all photos taken by Kate Poss, unless otherwise noted. Our Mother’s Day weekend was soul satisfying, visiting the Wings over Whidbey Bird Festival at Pacific Rim Institute in Coupeville on Saturday, and the South Whidbey Tilth Farmer’s Market on Sunday. We were surrounded by people we know and one we just met. We all share a love of Whidbey’s natural beauty and its way of life. Our appreciation for where we live is a reminder of the gifts of simple living, and commitment to caring for our island’s birds, fish, plants, insects, marine world and old forests. Wings Over…

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Note: All photos taken by Kate Poss unless otherwise noted. We spent April 28-May 5 on Maui, where ohana or family are a strong pull. My muttie–German for mommy–Helen, lived there from 1996 until her passing in 2012. It was my mom and dad’s purchase of a timeshare in Kihei at Maui Hill in the 1980’s that began our love affair with Maui. This year, we stayed at a lovely condo at Maui Kamaole, the same complex my mom lived in. We felt her love and presence all around us while we were there. While visiting Maui in late April,…

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Note: Nearly all of the photos were taken by David Welton, unless otherwise noted. South Whidbey’s memorable character Elliott Menashe passed into–what I believe is–spirit on Saturday, April 27, 2024. I learned of the news from Marnie Jackson, ED of the Whidbey Environmental Action Network. After posting the news on my FB page, I received many comments from people who knew and loved him. Almost universally he was described as a sweet man who loved the land. Elliot taught my husband Bill and I about the importance of working with nature rather than against it. An example: using soft shore…

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Note: Bill and I stayed for the second year in a row at Krisann Santiago-Dean and Samuel Dean’s welcoming home on the North Kohala Coast of the Big Island. Last year they mentioned searching for Samuel’s father, Spencer Dean, whom Samuel had not seen since he was eight years old. Fifty years later, Samuel found his father, thanks to determined sleuthing from his wife Krisann, and their son Arden. We sat in the comfortable living room of Krisann’s childhood home on a recent morning, and learned of the remarkable reunion. Samuel said he was named for his grandfather on his…

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Greetings from the Big Island! We feel at home here at our ohana, at Krisann and Samuel’s “Old Hawaii Rustic Charm” rental in Kapaau. A restored plantation home built in 1941, Krisann grew up here, and is a third generation family member of Puerto Rican descent, whose grandparents arrived from their home country to live at the top of the Big Island and work in the sugar cane fields. We stayed last year and felt so at home, we booked four days in 2024. We arrived in Kona on April 21, our 45th anniversary, to be greeted later by our…

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Ever since our trip to the Big Island last year, and learning about the art of Herb Kawainui Kāne, who once lived there, I’ve been wanting to interview his wife Deon Kāne, who lives in Freeland. A swimming friend, Sharon Emerson, is friends with Deon, and connected us about a month ago. Earlier this week, David Welton and I met Deon at her home, which displays Herb’s art, and holds Deon’s memories of him. Herb passed away in 2011, leaving a legacy of art and stories in his wake. Deon Kāne’s home is a gracious space, and her energy and…

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Bill and I took a short road trip, our first travel this year, to Salt Creek Recreation Area, where we camped for three nights with friends Leslie Boies and Rob Harris. Salt Creek is a premier marine life sanctuary, and offers a world class camping experience with views of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. When I write ‘world class,’ I mean camping here fills my top drawers for scenery, flora and fauna, camping sites, clean bathrooms and ambience. We camped in site #36, next door to our friends. On our first full day…

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Freeland Hall, 110 years old this year, is experiencing a renaissance as the center of music for Freeland and Whidbey as a whole. I visited the iconic wooden building on the equinox, March 19, to see the Freeland Hall Music Club, which is part of the Holmes Harbor Activities Club (HHAC).The First Thursday Club has been meeting at this location since 1902, HHAC has managed Freeland Hall since 1999. While the HHAC traditionally booked events and ran potlucks, the HHAC board created a ‘club within a club’ to increase community involvement at the Hall. Members pay a $25 fee to…

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I don’t know about you, but when I sparingly read the news about a certain presidential candidate, the climate crisis, and leaders hellbent on waging war, I feel a power of fear and hopelessness creeping in that makes me numb. Yet, after being in presence with Diné Nation scholar, artist, poet and musician Lyla June March 22, who spoke and performed as a guest of Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series, I was reminded of another outlook, the only one really worth putting our energy toward. Click on this link to watch the presentation. Lyla June’s message has the…

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Our friend and neighbor Andrea Anderson, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western Washington, stopped by for a quick chat, bringing by her sweet canine companion Athena March 16. Andrea was on a mission last weekend to visit as many cookie booths as possible, and meet the budding entrepreneurs who will become our future leaders. During our visit, she raised our awareness about how today’s Girl Scouts’ program empowers young women. “It’s not only cute kids selling cookies, it’s the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in this country,” Andrea said. “We share the proceeds with the local councils, and they get to…

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