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!

Here on Whidbey Island many have reconnected to their creative selves and found the key to a full life.  In the play Shirley Valentine, on stage at Outcast Productions’ Black Box Theater this weekend through September 29, a British middle-aged married woman who has lost her way rediscovers herself by taking a leap out of her routine life. Based on a hit play that ran in New York and London, and later made into an Oscar-nominated film in1989, the story appealed to a local author and playwright who saw herself in the role of Shirley Valentine. “I have wanted to…

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Motorheads gather at the Wi-Fire parking lot at 9 a.m. the first Saturday of the month. Hoods raised, hands in pockets, caps, a lotta goatees. Joshing and ribbing aplenty. Come here with your wheels, long as they’re interesting or fun. Have a question about your engine? Expect to get two or three or a dozen pieces of advice. “One way or the other, we’re eccentric,” says Ed Halloran, wearing a Whidbey Island Car Show cap. The first annual car show was held last month at the fairgrounds. Meanwhile, Ed drove up this morning in his 1995 Jaguar XJS. “I drive…

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When This is Whidbey debuted last year, we published Peter Lawlor’s Last Ride—Perhaps. New Zealander Peter Lawlor, a beloved poet laureate of Langley, was nearly 97 when he competed in last year’s Soup Box Derby, racing his red hot chili pepper in a grudge match against his rival, Realtor Gary Piper, driving a surprisingly fast outhouse on wheels. The two had competed for more than a dozen years. Peter thought it might be his last race. “Hello Pipa,” Peter called in his New Zealand accent, as Gary Piper, dressed in red overalls and flame-patterned socks, walked by as his outhouse,…

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One reason I love living on Whidbey Island is her people whose stories perk my writer’s antennae. Kevin Fristad, a professional woodworker, helped create Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild several years ago, which led to the emergence of Woodpalooza, and its 16th annual gala August 30 at Zech Hall in Langley. Kevin has evolved to become a poet, writer and singer-songwriter. His poem/song Valentine Boy touched me and led to this story. “I’ve always enjoyed writing,” Kevin says while we chatted outside at Useless Bay Coffee in Langley, a while ago. “I co-authored a book on cabinet-making, Cabinetmaking Procedures for the…

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I’ve always wondered about the power of dance. During our days of uncertainty in the big world, it’s a comfort to know we can recharge our batteries by dancing in our little world of Whidbey Island. So, on Wednesday August 7 I was lucky to get a story and dance with people I care about and just let go to the music of the Nick Mardon Trio. During the summer, Goosefoot, whose mission is to “Bring neighbors together to nurture a sense of place and community, preserve rural character and enhance local commerce,” hosts seven free concerts at Bayview Corner.…

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The crabbing culture is deeply embedded in the Pacific Northwest psyche. Cancer magister, also known as Dungeness crab, are found in murky saltwater and eelgrass beds from Alaska to Mexico. They can regrow lost appendages and are four to five years old before growing large enough to harvest. Only the polygamous males are harvested in Washington State. Fisherman’s News reports on commercial crabbing trends and notes that Native Americans and commercial fisheries split the crab harvest. Nearly 3 million pounds of crab were harvested in the 2018 Puget Sound commercial fishery, it reports  Puget Sound is home to commercial and…

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A welcoming and gracious space with soul-satisfying locally-made food, South Whidbey Tilth  Farmers’ Market each Sunday from 11 till 2 recharges one’s battery for the week ahead. The Skagit people, once called our island Tschakolecy, ‘Land of Abundance.’ Nearly 170 years later, members of South Whidbey Tilth honor the giving land and the abundance it provides.  Nowadays the 11-acre site at the corner of Hwy 525 and Thompson Road, hosts community gardens, a sustainable agriculture center, farmers’ market buildings, and a hobbit-shaped structure built with help from Eli Adadow of Ancient Earth School of Natural Building. On his web page,…

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What would summer be without the Island County Fair? This marked the 95th year celebrated on Whidbey running from July 18-21. It attracted thousands of visitors who thronged the fairgrounds each day. Booths with henna tattoos, psychics, hippie clothes, mini doughnuts, funnel cakes, elephant ears, cotton candy, curly fries, Free Gideon Bibles, kettle corn, Republican ice cream bars and Democrat hot dogs. Also at the fair to see: a dunk tank to benefit Ryan’s House, rides, animals, baked goods, flowers, kid art, photos; 4H exhibits, Bunyon Busters log rolling, pie eating contests, dog agility contests, and a darned good Elvis…

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If you were one of the lucky kids to take Leonard Good’s model rocket mini camp, you have met a man who enjoys sharing his love of things that fly. For the first two weeks in July Good taught the Model Rocket Mini-Camp through South Whidbey Parks and Recreation. “It’s a full class and a little bit crazy,” Good said from home last Tuesday following a day of teaching. “I’ve always been interested in model planes and model building. I wanted to do something that involves building something out of nothing.” During the year Good went around to various doctors’…

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Whidbey Island non-profits such as Civility First…So We Can Work Together aim toward cultivating an exchange of ideas and dialogue without exploding at one another. Following July 4th and our country’s celebration of its independence, the focus this week explores using one tool we can use to maintain our precious freedom. Ironically being civil means: being courteous, polite, and gracious. Yet our country engaged in a civil war in which civil meant: “A war between citizens of the same country.” Based on the former definition and solely on reading the news these days, it seems our country is engaged in…

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