The picture to the right, by the way, is a stitched panoramic shot of the view from the deck of the new place. I had one clear day on this trip and took advantage of it to take some good photos – mostly inside for planning bits of work, but a couple of decent view shots as well. Click on the thumbnail here and it’ll open a bit larger. I’ll have the original source shots up on Flickr soon.
The left-most island visible is the northeastern tip of San Juan island itself, with small McNeal Island inside Rocky Bay. If you squint, to the right of that is the small southeastern sliver of Spieden Island, looking dry and brown like normal. Waaay behind that is Saturna Island, one of the Canadian Gulf Islands, to the northwest across the channel and border. The smallish lump hear the eastern edge of Saturna is Flattop Island, on the American side, and then in the center of the photo you can see the southern and western aspects of Waldron Island. Then, to the east, there’s a small sliver of Sucia off the western edge of Orcas (the big island in the background on the right), with Jones Island as the green-landscaped foreground island. The channel right in front of the house is San Juan Channel, and we’re looking (between Waldron and Orcas), more or less NNE up President’s Channel.
I came up Wednesday, since the spring ferry schedule doesn’t have very many boats and we wanted to get an early start on Thursday. My inspector, Mike O’Handley (of YourInspector), came up from Seattle — I trust him from past inspections, and he does more than just inspect — he sees this as a chance to educate the new homeowner and almost build a "todo" list for the first couple of years. Well, the house is in good shape generally. A few things here and there to work on, but the only big thing is replacing the roof on the upper part of the house. I’m going to get a bid on a metal roof for the whole thing, because that’ll last the rest of my life and be robust to all the tree debris, wind, and rain.
While Mike was disassembling all the heaters and poking around in the house’s undercarriage, I measured the kitchen for some upgrades: Wolf dual-fuel stove, a water-conserving dishwasher (I’m thinking about the DishDrawers from Fisher-Paykel, so I can run half a dishwasher to conserve the community’s precious water, and have full capability for dinner parties), perhaps some other little things. I confirmed that the stove can vent upwards, which will help a lot when installing the hood and blower. And I re-confirmed that DSL is available, or so the CenturyTel installer I ran into in Friday Harbor believes, which is good because that’s basically a show-stopper for me.
The geotechnical inspector from Bellingham verified that the house was on good bedrock with no signs of movement, and the deck is pretty well anchored given its close proximity to "The Edge" — the high drop down to the water. I actually don’t know how far down it is, but it looks like somewhere between 75 and 100 feet by eyeball. But the slope is bedrock, not soil, and there seems to be little movement — all the rock is nicely vegetated. And if the deck footings do become a concern down the road, I can add some cantilever supports back to flat bedrock on the top of the hill without much trouble.
My friends Kim and Kris came down from Saltspring yesterday, so we could look at the house together and then hang out before Kris heads off for the summer’s kayak guiding. He’ll largely be over in Barkeley and Clayoquot Sounds (or thereabouts) all summer, leading trips. Pretty sweet job — especially for someone who doesn’t much mind being out of touch with the world. We had another terrific evening at Steps in Friday Harbor. Madden had fresh Copper River sockeye on the menu, done very rare and extremely juicy, excellent halibut with mustard seed spaetzle and cabbage, and my favorite of the evening, fish cakes with green curry sauce, and a Japanese-sounding leafy green whose name I have to Google to remember. We had a glass of Duval-Leroy to celebrate, and then a terrifically expressive bottle of the 1999 Jasmin Cote-Rotie (much more expressive than the bottle two weeks ago). We finished with two desserts — chocolate crepes, which were good, and an amazing twice-baked lime souffle resting on a bed of super-dark molasses. The latter dish was a revelation – something like a deconstructed key lime pie but light and fluffy. Accompanied by 1985 Warres (probably the LBV), and the 1971 PX, it was a terrific evening.
Now it’s back to Seattle to do some work on the old house, and start planning the actual move.