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!

As a mother who believes in the power of Waldorf education, Marli Jenkins––along with a handful of parents, students, educators and community members––is working to create a Waldorf-inspired high school on south Whidbey Island. The Woodhaven High School Initiative was launched last September with seven students and eight teachers. Classes take place in a yurt at the Organic Farm School, in Langley, and a current class is making pottery at a studio in Freeland. Meeting this week at the Whidbey Clay Center in Freeland while students sat at pottery wheels making clay bowls, I sat out in the sun chatting…

Read More

It’s telling about the love for one’s production when Ann M. Johnson, executive director of Whidbey Children’s Theatre, sends an email with the words, “Thanks so much from here at Middle Earth.” Locals can visit Middle Earth as it comes to life in WCT’s The Hobbit, running Friday, Nov. 15 through Saturday, Nov. 23. When it comes to The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved children’s story, I can’t imagine a more well-told tale. It’s our family’s blueprint and has defined my life with my husband the past 45 years. We like to imagine ourselves as hobbits. “I love that you all…

Read More

While driving into Langley at twilight, visitors may see a giant pink snail looking out the window of Whidbey Children’s Theatre. Bumper stickers claim Langley is magic, and the spirited figure adds to our ‘Village by the Sea” mystique. The snail’s last acting role was as Jean-Claude the sea snail in WCT’s production of Dr. Dolittle last summer, where its shell opened to ‘transport’ actors on a magical sea. Engineer, designer and student mentor Robert McElhinny brings the creatures to life with PVC pipe, rebar, foam, pulleys, wheels, paint, patience, and a lot of imagination. “Robert said he’d like to…

Read More

Langley goes all out when celebrating Halloween, Dia de Los Muertos, and All Soul’s Eve each year. One way is a full-on shake your Zombie groove thang at a Halloween kickoff ball and on Halloween in downtown. Another is remembering those who have passed with Dia de Los Muertos altars. And there is a visit to the cemetery at evening time November 1. Langley Main Street Association hosted this year’s Spooktacular, which included costumed rockers playing on the rooftop of Anthes Ferments, a witches’ flashmob, and a Thriller zombie popup dance. Local businesses with the moon and crow sign in…

Read More

Moonraker Books in Langley is a touchstone when one needs real conversation, to buy books, or when looking for a gift with meaning. At its heart is Josh Hauser, Moonraker’s gracious and razor-sharp-witted owner, who dances to the store’s tango music of the moment while chatting about people we know in common. Sometimes she’ll wistfully recollect travels with her handsome, much-loved husband Glenn, who ran the store with her until he died eleven years ago. Their son Barry, who was raised in the bookstore since his middle school years when Josh and Glenn bought the building in 1972 has returned…

Read More

Lucas Etzell, just 22 in April, strolls in to Pickles Deli as comfortable in his skin as anyone I know. He calls out to Finley Thomas, one of his co-workers, joshing that Finley looks like a court jester in his green and black-diamond-patterned shirt. Lucas is wearing a black and white felt crown decorated in colored ‘gems’ and matching Mr. South Whidbey banner, along with a flowing faux fur-trimmed red velvet cloak. The costume on Lucas reflects his inner king as he sits at the table with his mom Kristi Etzell. Lucas is a triple crown winner, his mom says.…

Read More

In order to keep our paid and volunteer fire staff ready to respond to the nearly 2,700 emergency calls they receive each year, South Whidbey Fire/EMS stages controlled burns such as the one they did at the Waterman house on Langley Road last weekend. Terry Welch, pictured above in the first row on the bottom, second from left, and a newly retired Coupeville middle school science teacher, has worked as a volunteer EMT (emergency medical technician) and fire fighter since 2002. “We have always had great, ongoing training,” she says. “I’ve been a part of at least six practice burns…

Read More

Coastal Salish people who once lived here named our island Tschakolecy, or land of abundance. These days Whidbey Island is abundant in fiber artists, along with the alpacas and sheep who grow their wool from sun and grass. Abundant Earth Fiber in Clinton, a small batch spinning mill, retail shop and fiber lab, is a haven for creatives. Lydia and Alan Christiansen, a teacher and a software programmer, built their cottage business five years ago. They chose to do something they love with the people they love, be satisfied by doing simpler things, and work hard to include their family…

Read More

Anne Zontine cut an apple in half, revealing the star shape inside. “We have the universe inside an apple and in us,” she says. “We give thanks and are grateful for the parents, students, teachers who have come before, the seeds that were planted. Indeed, they have made all this possible, for here we are together, now.” Anne represents a generation of women connected to nature, curiosity, belief in their power of creation, and the endurance of friendship. She and her friends imagined the Whidbey Island Waldorf School into being thirty-four years ago. Anne spoke last week at a birthday…

Read More

A free community feast hosted by the Langley Main Street Association September 11 attracted more crowds enjoying the beautiful evening than planners expected. “This year’s turnout was off the charts!” writes Chef Vincent Nattress of Orchard Kitchens, commenting on Orchard Kitchen’s web page (where you will see the some of the same photos as posted in this story). “We were a major contributor to LANGLEY COMMUNITY FEAST this year. We donated our time and product for this event.” Orchard Kitchens donated two giant pans of paella—mussels and shrimp and delicious sauce—expected to feed about 100 or so—along with the staff…

Read More