Free “Naturescaping” Class, Thursday November 20

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The WSU Extension Native Plant Salvage Project and Stream Team Program are sponsoring a free “Naturescaping for Water & Wildlife” class this Thursday, 6 PM to 9 PM at the Tumwater Fire Hall.

Topics in this class include:

  • Planting for four-season interest
  • How to attract birds, butterflies, & amphibians
  • Landscaping for tricky areas, including slopes
  • Easy ways to minimize lawn area
  • Water-wise ideas for your landscape
  • How simple changes can save time and money

“Naturescaping for Water & Wildlife”
Thursday, November 20
6 PM to 9 PM
Tumwater Fire Hall
311 Israel Rd. SW, Tumwater

Register online at

Questions? Contact or (360) 867-2167.

Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool’s 3rd Annual Dinner & Silent Auction, December 6

Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool’s 3rd Annual Dinner & Silent Auction

Saturday, December 6
6:00 PM
Griffin School Cafeteria

Featuring a 50/50 Raffle, Silent & Live Auction, Kids Music Feature, Photo Booth, Arts & Crafts, Face Painting, Ice Cream.

General Admission: $15
Members, Alumni, and Children under 12: $10

For more information, call (360) 866-1819 or

Building Earth Farm Announces “An Apple Affair” and Winter CSA Subscriptions

Building Earth Farm and the folks from the old Madrona Grove Summer Fruit Truck are announcing the Return of “An Apple Affair”. After a one-year hiatus, ‘An Apple Affair’ is back!

“For those of you who aren’t familiar with this event,” writes Jeannine Anderson, “‘An Apple Affair’ is a once-a-year opportunity to sample and purchase some of the finest apple varieties in Washington State.” Inspired by Feil Orchard in Wenatchee, An Apple Affair brings together varieties that have been grown for over a century by the Feil family, as well as some varieties grafted by the ever-curious Jack Feil. Feil is an octogenarian who continues to experiment with grafting unique varieties onto old orchard standards. Many of the apples featured will come from this farm, but there are several farms’ hard work represented at the Affair. Each apple variety and farm gets full credit on the table-talkers found next to each sample plate.

Apples specific for baking, drying, preserving, storing and eating out of hand are featured at this local food fair. If you are someone who thinks you wouldn’t know the difference between the sweets, tarts, juicy and old-fashioneds, there is a community apple potluck table where local residents prepare their favorite varieties in traditional and new recipes. Everyone is encouraged to taste for them selves why one type is suggested over another. Bring your own favorite recipe to share, or just come and sip coffee, tea or local cider while learning about the apples.

Apple inventory will be limited and you should bring a box or other container to carry some apples home with you. The Building Earth Farm will provide paper bags and pens for labeling so you don’t forget the names of your newfound favorites.

An Apple Affair
Sunday, October 19
12 noon to 4 PM
Rignal Hall
8131 Urquhart Rd NW, Olympia, WA 98502

For more detailed information visit or email Jeannine at

“Join us for An Apple Affair to taste old favorites, discover new ones, meet the neighbors and remind your self why autumn isn’t so bad after all.”

The Building Earth Farm is also announcing it’s 2014 – 2015 Winter Box Subscription.
According to Jeannine, “We will offer the highest quality, locally sourced, mostly organic, winter fruits and vegetables, along with a selection of specialty items such as cheese, eggs, baked goods and nuts.”
The winter box features produce such as winter squash, carrots, onions, potatoes and the like from local farms, including ours, and Washington-grown fruit such as apples and pears. “As long as the chickens cooperate, we’ll supply our own eggs and add other wonderful items to fill in the box from the Pacific Northwest such as cheese and nuts and baked goods from The Bread Peddler (classic French baked goods) and 8 Arms Bakery (traditional and gluten-free available), both in Olympia.  We will get citrus assistance from our friends in sunny California.” That’s right, this box of food is relatively local but we aren’t afraid to source lovely avocados, dates, tangelos and other tropicals to beat the rainy day blues.
Building Earth Farm’s Winter Food Box Subscription
Pick Up Time and Location:  10:00 – 12:00 at the Farm, 9140 Steamboat Island Rd. NW.
Pick Up Dates:  November 22, 2014, December 20, 2014, January 17, 2015, February 21, 2015, March 21, 2015.
How Much: $625 – Full Shares only (but you can share with friends and family).
Deposit Amount: $325.00 due by October 19th. $300 Balance due by January 17, 2015.
How many does this feed?  Just about anyone can use a monthly infusion of wonderful food that is designed to last. Apples, pears, nuts, roots, garlic, etc. can last at least several weeks. According to Jeannine, “We have busy, single folks as well as larger families who devour this box every month.”
“We only have space for 16 boxes so let us know as soon as possible if you are interested.” Contact Jen at
Happy Fall from the crew at Building Earth Farm!

Rignall Hall, Local History Site Open House Saturday, September 20

Have you ever driven by and wondered, what is Rignall Hall and why does it sit where it is? Well, there is a story behind that. In May of 1920, the town of Rignall, Washington was established.

There was no power, no phones and no road to the island. What road they did have was a dirt road. It was a very important town for the upper part of the Steamboat Island area. There was a store/service station, a second store, a school, boat docks, a Post Office, and Rignall Civic Improvement Club. The club had monthly meetings in the store owned by l.M. Noble. The members paid a yearly due and the meetings were for the betterment of the community.

The docks at the town of Rignall, just down the road from the hall, is where all the supplies for the local farmers were shipped. Boats were the only way they had of getting their supplies. Farmers would drive their horse-drawn wagons to the docks, pick up their supplies and take them back to the farms.

In 1923, Rignall Hall was built with the labor of the members on a piece of land donated by Mr. Noble. The Hall became the center of all community activity. There were dances, box socials, dinners, and holiday parties. Fundraisers and meetings of the ladies of the club and even St. Christopher’s Mission had its beginning there on Sundays.

The problems of the community were discussed, if a solution was one they could handle amongst themselves a committee was appointed and volunteers were asked for help and the problem was solved.

There were letters written to the county asking for a road to the island and that the road be oiled and have trash service brought to the area. There were talks at the meetings from the power company about bringing power to the area in 1931 and there was a lot of discussion at this same time about bringing in a phone line.

As a historical part of this area, it is important to keep Rignall Hall here. There is a small group of us trying to maintain the building and keep it in operating order so that it can be rented by anyone in the neighborhood. The building has seen many weddings, parties, dances, anniversary parties, and celebrations of life. In 1990 the band Nirvana played a concert there.

If you are interested in renting this building you can call Ms. Faye Olson at (360)  534-0456. Contact Faye Olson, too, if you would like to make a donation to help maintain the building.

Come and see a piece of Steamboat Island history!
Rignall Hall Open House
Saturday, September 20
11 AM to 4 PM
Rignall Hall is located at the corner of Urquart and Steamboat Island Rd. NW, across the street from Griffin Fire Station #2

Here is a small list of the last names of some of the members dating back to the 1920’s, many who are still in the neighborhood. Their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are still here. Some of them may be your neighbors. If you recognize a name, ask them about the Town of Rignall.

Ash     Barnum     Benson     Bigelow     Bray
Brown     Camus     Carpenter     Carr     Cassell
Collier     Dana     Degler     Dekker     Dunkelberger
Hacker     Hanson     Hunter     Jackson     Jones
Juhl     Longmire     Lull     Mason     McGaughy
Noble     Patterson     Popple     Post     Prehm
Ronne     Rose     Sawtell     Schirm     Schmidt
Sinclair     Skellenger     Taylor     Thornton     Thurlow
Van Gilder     Watson     Whitt     Wilson     Woodhouse

— text from a brochure produced by Rignall Hall

Rignall Hall contact information updated March 21, 2016.

Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool Open House is Saturday, August 9

Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool is having an Open House for prospective parents for our Otter Class (ages 3-4 years old) on Saturday, August 9th from 10:00 AM until Noon. Stop by and meet our teacher, take a tour of the school, and talk to current members to learn more about SICP!

For more information and our address, visit our website at:

Get Ready for the Blueberry Bash – August 17

It’s almost time for an annual tradition: St. Christopher’s Blueberry Bash is Sunday, August 17, from 12 noon to 4 PM.

Blueberry Bash
Sunday, August 17
12 noon to 4 PM
St. Christopher’s Community Church
7902 Steamboat Island Rd. NW, Olympia, WA 98502

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This year’s musical guest is The Pine Hearts. They will be playing from 12 noon to 3:45 PM.

Come enjoy the food, the fun, the silent auction and bingo garden. There are games for folks of all ages.

A portion of this year’s proceeds will benefit a local charity. In 2012, 20% of the net proceeds were donated to the Olympia Free Clinic. In 2013, 20% went to SideWalk. See the St. Christopher’s web site soon for information regarding which organization has been selected to benefit this year.

More about St. Christopher’s Community Church: “St. Christopher’s is a community dedicated to living, sharing, celebrating, and growing in the transformative and inclusive love of God through Christ. We are a congregation of the Episcopal Church and the Lutheran Church (ELCA). All are welcome: That means you.”

Griffin/Steamboat Peninsula Joins Nextdoor


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Local residents have created an online “neighborhood” for the Griffin area on the web site Over 37,000 other communities use Nextdoor across the U.S. to provide a way for neighbors to communicate online in a safe environment. There are a number of Nextdoor neighborhoods right here in Thurston County, including Boston Harbor, McLane Point, and across the city of Olympia. Nextdoor is described as “the private social network for your neighborhood.”

More than a year ago, members of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association discussed the book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. In this book, author Robert D. Putnam wrote about “how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures – and how we may reconnect.” GNA Board members asked what they could do to foster a greater sense of community among residents of an area as large as the Griffin School District. One of the projects undertaken because of this discussion was to create a unique logo for the Steamboat Neighborhood logo and to distribute that logo on free stickers now seen on cars around the peninsula (these stickers are often available at the Island Market, on its post office counter). Nextdoor, too, was created in part to address the challenges presented in Putnam’s book. The folks who created Nextdoor found that although 65% of all online adults use a social networking site such as Facebook, only 28% know their neighbors by name and only 26% speak to their neighbors. However, 79% of people who use an online neighborhood forum talk with neighbors in-person.

How does Nextdoor differ from other social networking sites? One important way is how Nextdoor “verifies” its members are actually residents in the area. In addition, members have to use their real names and they cannot join as a couple. Folks who join Nextdoor can invite their own neighbors, either by word of mouth, by email, or even by requesting that a postcard invitation be mailed to the neighbor.

Neighbors use Nextdoor to share recommendations, post classifieds, and discuss suspicious activities. They can create groups and organize local events. Mobile apps are available for Apple and Android devices and alerts can be sent by SMS, if needed and your profile includes a cell phone number.

The boundaries for our Nextdoor neighborhood run up Madrona Beach Road and from roughly Summit Lake north to Steamboat Island, more or less along the boundaries of the Griffin School District. The size of this area exceeds what Nextdoor normally allows for a single neighborhood. The area was originally broken in two, to complete what Nextdoor calls the “pilot” stage for the neighborhood network. This is when networks are allowed to prove there is support in the community sufficient to draw enough members to the network. Our two networks quickly acquired enough members to leave the pilot. Organizers appealed to have the two networks merged into one and Nextdoor agreed to do so. We’re now in one, big, long network covering the whole peninsula.

Are you interested in Nextdoor, but want to learn more, first? Click here for their About Us page, which links to lots of frequently asked questions.

Are you ready to join our Nextdoor neighborhood? Just click here.