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MARCH 18, 2016



2016 Home & Garden Expo March 18-20 at fairgrounds





t’s time again for the Kitsap Building Association’s Home & Garden Expo. And with spring right around the corner, it’s also time to plan for improvements to your home and your garden. The show opens March 18 and continuers through March 20 in the Kitsap Pavilion on the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, 1200 Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton. Hours are 2-6 p.m. March 18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 19, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 20. There is plenty of free parking at the fairgrounds and tickets can be purchased at the door. Tickets are $6 for adults, and $5 for teens, active-duty military and seniors. An all-access pass is $10 and will allow entrance all three days. There will be more than 160 exhibitors, showing everything from home remodeling ideas to garden art. There will be daily seminars and Master Gardeners will be on hand to consult on your own garden questions. The schedule for speakers is online at www.kitsaphba.com, or check the free guide given at the door. March 18, there will be three featured events. n 3 p.m.: Bolt It Down! This course is back by popular demand. Presenters Kevin Bourn and Jim Mattison of Simpson Strong-Tie® will explain how to do a home evaluation, navigate the permitting process, and explain how to properly bolt and plate a home. Even a small shake can cause significant damage. Bolt it down and save your home from seismic damage. n 5:30 p.m.: Solar Works in Western Washington. A local, solar professional Keith Hughes of West Seattle Natural Energy, LLC, will explain the brief history of photovoltaic energy, its origins and its growth in use to present day. During the class, you will learn about the history of solar panel manufacturing and the variety of panels and how to identify the right one for your situation. n 6:30 p.m.: Tile Fashion. Tile in your home is a fashion statement and right now the trend is hot. During this seminar, Ray Euzarraga of Great Floors will discuss this trend


Let our experts help with all your project needs. Arborist Dan Field inspects a tall cedar for trimming. See story on page 16. Contributed photo and specifically the best application of popular choices, like the new large 18 by 18-inch and 24 by 24-inch tiles. Bring your photos and come prepared to share the projects you’re working on or considering. March 19, meet Ciscoe Morris of “Gardening with Ciscoe” beginning at 3 p.m. He will be at a booth on the mezzanine level. March 20, there will again be a Lego building challenge. Pre-registered youth will show their skills in home building with LEGO® brand building blocks throughout the day. Building supplies are provided by the Kitsap Building Association (formerly the Kitsap Home Builders Association) in partnership with Air Masters, Inc. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place, and each participant will receive a parting gift. A walkable display of shining crane artwork by Gunter Reimnitz will be available to stroll through all three days of the show. It will be located outside between the pavilion and Presidents Hall. See how this artist’s work can beautify your home and garden. The Peninsula Home & Garden Expo is sponsored by the Kitsap Building Association. For more information and a complete list of exhibitors, go to www.kitsaphba. com or call 360-479-4210.




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MARCH 18, 2016

Hanley Construction adds showroom in Port Orchard

teacher, had a few rental houses and when he couldn’t find anyone good to roof them, he began doing it himself. Soon other homeowners were asking him to roof their rentals, and thus, Hanley’s was begun. Oliver would teach during the school year and roof in the summers. Morgan has helped out since he was 8 years old and during the summers when he was at Washington State University. When he graduated in 2000, he went to work in the family business full time. “Roofs protect your home and are one of your biggest assets,” Hanley said. “That’s why it’s so important to work with a license, bonded and insured company, such as his,”

he added. “Make sure to look at the Washington State L&I (Labor and Industries) website to see that any company you are working with has paid L&I Workman’s comp insurance on all of their workers,” he said. “If they haven’t, and one of their workers falls off your roof, you could be held liable.” He said he pays close to half a million dollars annually in L&I. The company is very safety-oriented and has only had one safety violation in the past three years — someone who hadn’t tied up safety lines correctly. What’s also important when selecting a roofer are warranties. “We have a lifetime workmanship guar-

antee on most residential products,” Hanley said. “And we do quality work. We hand nail everything.” Nail guns are never used, he said. The company does over a 1,000 jobs a year, both residential and commercial. He offers this suggestion: “If your roof’s been on 20 years or more, it’s probably getting time for a replacement,” Hanley said. The company will send an estimator out to walk the roof and find out what’s needed. “They can tell you how much roof is left and the likelihood of when it needs to be replaced,” he said. Roofing jobs are popular in the spring and summer and the company’s calendar is getting filled. So if a roof is in your future, call soon. And Hanley Construction is proud of the fact that it’s added medical benefits for its employees this year. Also, for the fourth year in a row, it has been named to the Top 10 in North America for CertainTeed Materials Corporation, which shows high standards in the quality of the work they do. This year, too, Hanley Construction became a certified Carlisle installer which has allowed them to be able to bid on even more projects, included in new Les Schwab building in Port Orchard. The company does commercial roofing, residential roofing, roof repair and maintenance, skylight installations and Duradek waterproof deck membranes. To find out more, go to www.hanleyroofing.com. Drop by the new showroom location at 250 Bethel, or call 1-800-593-ROOF.

tips, give you cuttings and divisions of their favorite plants, or even share seeds. All of us had to take that first step. It doesn’t take long to learn strategies to grow great food and thwart pest and disease problems. The secret to having a successful garden is in the learning process. The way to a green thumb is through experience. The most important first step is determining what kind of soil you have. Great garden soil is rich in humus. Whether you have sandy soil or clay, you want to improve it. Healthy soil equals great harvests. If you lived in one place for three years and you still have bad soil, it’s because you haven’t begun to improve it. Annually adding soil amendments such as compost and/or planting cover crops is a good garden habit. After three years of amending, you will see a remarkable differ-

ence in the tilth of your soil. Keep up the noble work. There is no need to bring in outside soil that can harbor serious pest weeds that will infest your garden. What type of light do you have? The light you have determines the best crops to grow. If you have a lot of shade, you won’t be able to grow sun-loving crops such as tomatoes. Yet you can grow some leaf crops such as lettuce in shade. Think small. Some crops you can grow in large pots. I grow my lettuce in hanging baskets, where the slugs can’t reach. Instead of a huge edible garden with rows of vegetables and paths between that you have to weed, try intense planting in a few 4 by 4 foot squares. This will help you learn how much time you need to water, fertilize, and keep your plots weeded. Plus, the intense planting helps shade the weeds out.

Fall is the best time to make new garden beds and prepare the older ones for winter. This fall expand and prepare them for next year’s garden. Make a habit of this every year, and you will find your spring planting chores are much easier and the health of your soil continually improves. Ask many questions. Join plant groups online, a quick search will bring up thousands of forums. Find a Pacific Northwestoriented group, which will be the most helpful with plant choices and planting times for our region. Kitsap County has one of the best Master Gardener programs with online resources and diagnostic clinics all over the county. You can find a lot of information at www.wsu.edu/ kitsap/gardening. Debbie Teashon is a local gardening expert. Contact her at debbieteashon@rainyside.com.




fter years of working out of a crowded second-story loft at its operations center on Fircrest Drive, Hanley Construction

has added a brand new showroom and administrative offices in downtown Port Orchard. The 2,200 square-foot building opened Aug. 17, 2015, at 250 Bethel Ave. “It’s just such a wonderful addition for us,” said Morgan Hanley, who along with his father Oliver, run the business. “We have a great showroom here where people can actually see our products and have the opportunity to feel them.” The new location houses eight employees, has a conference room for meetings, training and webinars. It also has a covered back patio where employees can enjoy lunch, complete with a grill. The building has its own back-up generator, which has already been used three times when the power’s gone out. With the additional space, the company has added two employees, an administrative assistant and an accounting assistant. The building had to be completely remodeled. But it now boasts of a peaceful yet functional interior based in shades of brown and tan. And the showroom is always open to walk-in customers. The previous location, the operations center, still is a working headquarters for all on the company’s work crews. A large fleet of trucks are stored there along with the needed roofing materials. In all, the company has 49 employees. The company had humble beginning. In the 1980s, Oliver, who was a full time

Gardening time is here By DEBBIE TEASHON


o you want to start a garden. You just caught spring fever and the only way to cure this affliction is to go out and put your hands in the dirt. You want to grow your own food for the freshest taste and nutrition, yet you may be wondering when to start seeds or what should you plant. Where do you start when you are just beginning to sprout as a gardener? You are in good company. Gardeners are typically generous people, willing to share

A great new showroom is part of the additions at Hanley Construction’s new office in Port Orchard. The company has been roofing since the 1980s. Contributed photo

MARCH 18, 2016




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MARCH 18, 2016



Air Masters: 30 years in business in Kitsap County By LESLIE KELLY



fter 30 years of helping the local community with everything heating and air conditioning, Steve and Susan Krecker are passing the torch to Mark and Rosemarie Timmerman. Just as Air Masters Inc. of Port Orchard celebrates its 30 anniversary, the Kreckers are retiring. “It’s time,” Steve Krecker said. “I’m passing the torch and I know the company is in good hands.” Krecker said his official retirement date is set for April 14. He opened the business in March 1986. “That first day was something,” he said. “We wound up with a lot of refrigeration customers.” Krecker said South Kitsap Mall, at the time owned by Ric Gehring, was the company’s first real commercial customer. “We kept that account for more than 20 years until the mall changed hands,” he said. What he remembers most about all his years in business are the customers. “A lot of these relationships have gone on for years and years,” he said. “The people who came to us in the early years, now their children are adults and we are serving them. So long as we do the right thing, we’ll keep them happy.” Mark Timmerman added, “Our repeat customers are the backbone of the business.” The company services all the heating and air conditioning equipment it installs. They also service all makes and models of heating and cooling equipment. Timmerman joined Air Masters in 2010, after owning his own company for 10 years. He got in to the trade in 1992 and worked for a company in Seattle. His wife, Rosemarie, is the bookkeeper and does payroll for Air Masters, which currently employs 15. It’s this time of year when the company’s leaders want to remind homeowners and business owners that summer is right around the corner. “The last couple of summers have been warm and we’re expecting the same this summer,” Timmerman said. “People are already contacting us now in preparation for the warm summer. “We did a lot of air conditioning calls last year because people got too uncomfortable.” The most popular way to have air conditioning added to a residential home is to install a heat pump, Timmerman said. “A heat pump can give a home the most efficient heating and cooling system around,” he said. “The first step is to call us and we’ll

After 30 years in business, Steve Krecker, left, is passing the torch to Steve Timmerman, who has been a co-owner of Air Masters since 2010. Leslie Kelly photo send someone out to do an estimate at no charge.” The important part is to get the proper size of heat pump. “A heat pump is just a device that moves the heat from one place to another, from outside to inside, or inside to outside,” Timmerman said. “It cools in the summer and warms in the winter.” There’s a big range of variables when choosing an air source heat pump, he said. “We work to get the most efficient heat pump for your budget as possible. But the difficulty of the installation can affect the costs.” And, technology has caught up with heat pumps. Now, a homeowner can control the heat or air conditioning in their home from their smart phone, work computer or laptop. Ductless heat pumps are an option for homes that currently have ductwork. A heat pump pays for itself, the company owners said. There are rebates from utility companies and rebates or specials from the manufacturers, depending on when systems are purchased. There is also financing, at no interest or low interest, available for installation upgrades. The company is already booking air conditioning installations, as homeowners anticipate a warm summer. “When it got hot last summer, people were calling us and we were having to tell them that there was at least a two-week wait to get to them on the schedule,” Timmerman said. “So anyone who wants to avoid that, should be calling now.”

As for Krecker, he’s anticipating a relaxing summer once he retires. An avid car restorer, he has several projects that he’ll be

working on. “I’m sure I’ll keep busy,” he said. He added that he plans to stay in Port Orchard. Air Masters received the 2015 South Kitsap Business Excellence Trade Services Award from the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce; the 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award; and the 2016 Best of the West Sound Award from West Sound Magazine. Air Masters also gives back to the community. “It only makes sense to express our gratitude in ways that are helpful to the most important members of our community — the children,” Timmerman said. “Without a properly supported, educated, and loved generation of young people to come, our own livelihood and the comforts of our community that we so enjoy are at stake.” The company supports the SK Back to School Celebration, Shepherds and Angels holiday event, Fathoms O’ Fun scholarship program, South Kitsap Relay for Life, SK Helpline’s Trunk or Treat Halloween event, North Kitsap Fishline, the Elton Goodwin Foundation, South Kitsap Rotary, Kitsap Builders Association, and others.

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MARCH 18, 2016

Home buying back in full swing in Kitsap County Get ready for a busy summer of people looking to buy a home By LESLIE KELLY



f you’re planning on buying a home this spring or summer, be ready to make decisions quickly. According to Kitsap County real estate professionals, the inventory of homes for sale is low and the demand to buy is high. “Anything H ooutmthere e is getting R e nquickly ovat snapped up if it’s priced right,” said Frank Wilson, broker with John L. Scott in Poulsbo. “We have what you can call a ‘backlog of buying.’ ” Wilson said real estate agents like to see, at best, five to six months’ supply of homes for sale in order to meet demand. H o m e Renovat Currently, there’s only about a two-month supply and. in some places, only a month. “What that means is that a seller may get three or four offers right away after

listing,” he said. “And the seller will take their best offer.” That doesn’t always mean the top-dollar offer, however, he said. Sometimes, financing comes into play. “Cash is king,” he said. “And if there are competing offers [involving] a conventional loan, FHA, VA or bond, the seller’s going to take the conventional because it will close more easily.” In a market like the current one, Wilson said sellers can sometimes get too confident. “They’ll raise the price of their home too much, thinking that they can get more,” he said. “But then the appraisal will come oin ntoos low and the deal won’t go through.” Besides a recovering economy, what’s making the market busy is improving credit on the part of buyers. “Those people who may have gone under and lost a house to a short sale or foreclosure have now had the four or five oyears n sthey needed to improve their credit score.” New construction is also influencing the market. While it takes about two years to get

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a project permitted and built, there are some newly built homes that are now available, Wilson said. “When the economy was bad, we lost a lot of the new construction in Kitsap County,” he said. “The large builders made it through. But the family construction businesses took a hard hit.” In the 1990s, the Growth Management Act also negatively affected small builders, Wilson said. But he has seen a number of those companies come back recently, and he pointed to new residential construction planned in Poulsbo, Silverdale and Gorst. “It’s good to see local business people building homes locally,” he said. As for increase in the value of homes that are on the market, Wilson said he’s seen that at about 5 percent. “My fear is when that number goes to 7 or 8 percent, the average income earner won’t be able to buy the average house that’s on the market.” Coupled with that, condominiums, which can be less expensive, are in short supply in Kitsap County. “There’s just not a lot of condos in Kitsap County,” Wilson said.

Another thing that Wilson is seeing in the local market are those who are flipping houses. As the economy has been on a corrective course, there’s been more people with money to invest in real estate. “There’s clubs out there where people are investing in real estate together,” he said. “And there are hard money lenders, too.” Those, he said, are people who don’t want to have anything to do with renovating a house and flipping it, but will “write a check” to someone else who does that and agree to a percentage of the end profits. Overall, home sales were up 11 percent in Kitsap County in 2015. More than 4,200 purchases closed. The 2015 countywide median sales price was at $258,500, up 8 percent from 2014. As Wilson said, spring time is usually when more homes come on the market and that’s what he’s hoping for. But that is also when buyers are ready to buy. Immediately after schools get out in May or June, the market pops. So, if you’re looking to buy or sell, or both, get ready for a very competitive time.

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MARCH 18, 2016



Blackjack Valley Farm: Family farm is an ‘all-in’ business By LESLIE KELLY



hen the alarm clock goes off at 4 a.m., Karen Marenbach-Olsen wants to hit the snooze button. But she can’t. She’s got lots of critters depending on her, including 40 cows, 21 pigs, and way too many chickens to count — not to mention the dog, Tanner, and the cat, Jazzy. Marenbach-Olsen is a Kitsap County farmer. And like other farmers in the county, she’s dedicated to making sure she provides the best quality milk and meat to her customers. She learned that from her father. “I was raised in Seabeck on a farm,” she said. “My dad grew up on the East Coast in the big city. He wanted his kids to grow up in the country.” Her father was in the Navy and was stationed in Kitsap County. In 1968, he bought 13 acres and began farming. Karen grew to love the farm life. “I think it was because I was so young that I fell in love with it,” she said. “Whatever we were doing, it loved it. I named my first cow Sparky.” Marenbach-Olsen showed her first goat at age 6. She was active in 4-H and showed Holsteins. After high school, she worked several office jobs. She met and married her husband, Loren. “My dad warned him that I’d always have too many animals and that I’d never change,” Marenbach-Olsen said. It only took 10 years for her to convince her husband that she needed to be back farming. “Working in the real world just didn’t work for me,” she said. “I missed being with animals and being outdoors.” They bought 18 acres in the Blackjack Valley and began their farm, with milk and beef cows, laying chickens, hogs, rabbits and goats. They had some row crops, too. Although Blackjack Valley Farm is an operating farm, Loren has a construction and excavating company. Most of the farm operations are handled by Karen. In 2007, they fired up the farm and went full steam. The housing industry had tanked and they needed the income. “We knew it would get us through the hard times,” she said. “There wasn’t any building going on.” At not even 5 feet tall and only about 125 pounds, Karen has responsibilities that someone twice her size couldn’t handle. These days, after getting her husband off to work, she heads to the barn to feed the cows. Then, she feeds the chickens and pigs. Then, it’s time to milk the cows. Her

Karen Marenbach-Olsen and one of her cows, Melaney. Leslie Kelly photo farm is automated with mechanical milking equipment, but it still takes several hours. Following that, she cleans up and heads to the sterile room where she will bottle milk. Then, she’s off to deliver milk to her customers throughout Kitsap County, some as far as Bainbridge Island. When she returns home, there may be time for a short nap, after which she will begin getting dinner ready for her husband and herself, feed all the animals and then, after dinner, milk the cows one more time. Bedtime usually comes sometime after 9 p.m. The daily routine begins again in the morning. “Farming isn’t something that most people can do,” Marenbach-Olsen said. “It takes dedication and not caring if you get dirty.” In the years since, the Olsens have given up on laying hens. “With the eagles and the coyotes, we lost most of them,” she said. “It was getting hard to see them getting wiped out.” They’ve also quit planting row crops. Their focus now is milking cows, and raising cattle, hogs and chickens for meat. The milk cows at the farm produce 50 gallons of milk a day. “We have a 60-gallon holding tank so that means I have to bottle every day,” she said. “And I have to milk twice a day — in the morning and evening.” Blackjack Valley Farm is a USDA-licensed facility, and she sells milk at the farm and delivers it to her customers. The chickens are butchered at the

farm. The hogs and cows are taken to a licensed butcher and are packed for resell. She’s fundraising to get a butchering facility in Kitsap County for local farmers. It will have a storefront at which local beef, pork and chicken will be sold. There are community groups to support farmers in the county. But most of her customers find her. “It’s word of mouth,” she said. “It’s on a small scale. It’s about building relationships. I know all my customers by name and their kids’ names, too.” It’s important to her that her customers are eating meat that is hormone- and antibiotic-free. “And our fields are chemical free,” she said of where her cattle graze. “It’s so different with commercial farms. The animals have no room to roam and they aren’t enjoying their lives.” Just as important to her is that her customers and their children see the farm and how it operates. “Kids think food comes from the grocery store,” she said. “They come here and they see the cows being milked and they see the chickens being fed. They learn where their

food comes from and they begin to think.” As a seasoned farmer, she’s gotten over the sad feelings of raising animals to be butchered, even though she always names each animal. “When you grow up on a farm, you know that’s their purpose,” she said. “You love them when they’re here and you love them on your plate.” Farming isn’t an easy life, but it is rewarding. “I get to do what I enjoy every day,” Marenbach-Olsen said. “There are no vacations because there’s nobody who’ll come and milk the cows or feed the chickens. That’s just the way it is.” That’s one of the reasons why family farms are disappearing, she said. The other reason: development encroaching on rural land. “Kitsap County is doing what it can to protect farm land,” she said. “The ag (agricultural) code is meant to do just that.” But there’s that other thing about farming that doesn’t make it real appealing. “A farmer is always shoveling s - - -,” she said. “You know what they say: 50 pounds in equals a hundred pounds out.”


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MARCH 18, 2016

Pools, spas are becoming more energy efficient By LESLIE KELLY



f Ole Schow were to tell you anything about spas, he’d tell you that the spas of today are far different from those sold back in 1983. Schow is the owner of Ole’s Pool and Spa, with locations in Bremerton and Port Orchard. He began in the pool business doing mostly repairs working for his father, who had a store in Tacoma. In 2004, he struck out on his own and opened Ole’s in Port Orchard. “I’ve seen the hot tub industry go from the very basic fiberglass shell with four or five jets to what it is today,” Schow said. “Hot tubs today are better engineered for therapeutic and health needs, and for recreation.” Ole’s is the authorized dealer for Bullfrog spas in the Kitsap County area. Schow likes to tell how spas first began. “They started in Northern California and were just old wine barrels full of water with one tiny pump, and were electrically heated,” he said. “The advancements in the technology on hot tubs is light years from where we were 25 or 30 years ago.” For example, with Bullfrog spas, there is 90 percent less plumbing than what an average spa has. The plumbing is easier to get to and takes less time and money to make repairs, he added. They are efficient and are much like a Thermos. “And they can be customized, so that each seat has a different JetPak that addresses various locations of the body, such as the neck or the lower back. And those jet packs can be removed easily while the spa is filled with water, if they need maintenance. They can also be exchanged with other jet packs in your pool.” Customers who come in wanting to

Ole Schow has been selling spas and pools for 33 years. Leslie Kelly photo learn about spas are doing so because they are looking for a stress reliever, to address a health concern, or for recreational use. “We sell from 75 to 100 spas in a year and most people are interested in a medium-size spa that will fit four to five people,” he said. That mid-sized spa can range from $6,500 to $11,000, depending on the specifics. Some customers say they have health concerns and they’ve been told that getting a spa would help. For example, Schow said, he’s sold spas to construction workers who use them daily to help with “aches and pains.” “It’s a great way to address issues with arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, or inju-

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ries if you are an athlete.” Schow also said many folks want a spa as a way of relaxing and reducing stress. “I’ve had customers tell me that they start their day by getting in the spa before they go to work, and then they return home and get back in the spa to relax,” he said. He asks customers a lot of questions to try to determine which spa is right for them. “I try to find out which hot tub will best suit their needs,” he said. “I have people call and want to buy over the phone. I try to narrow down the field and then get them to come in and see what we’re talking about.” Some people will actually buy spas over the Internet without seeing what they’re buying, in an attempt to save money. But often that backfires on them, Schow said. With a purchase from a spa dealer, such as Ole’s, the customer gets delivery and installation in the price. The only extras are getting an electrician to hook up the electricity and sometimes the use of a crane. “If it’s an installation on a second-floor deck and the spa has to be lifted into place, we have to use a crane,” he said. “But if the customer wants us to arrange that and the electrical hookup, we will do that for them, too.” Much of Ole’s day-to-day business is working on spas or pools that are already in use. The company will service any brand of spa or pool and does work in residential and commercial locations including city pools, the Navy base pool, hotels and motels, homes and apartments. “That’s our bread and butter,” he said of repair and service work. And sometimes that work has kept them afloat, like in 2008 when during the

recession no one was buying spas but they were having their old ones serviced. Spas today are much more energy efficient and cost the average consumer about $12 to $15 a month in energy costs. And it’s much easier to keep them clean. “There’s been so many advancements as far as taking care of the water and cleaning the spa,” he said. “It only takes a few minutes once a week to check the water, and about 20 minutes once a month to clean the filter. “There is a water chemistry that has to be maintained in order to have a safe environment, but the products on the market now are so easy to use.” The old idea of having a hot tub and being the party place has mostly gone by the wayside, he said, although a few people come in looking for a large hot tub and want to have friends over every weekend. Much of their spa business is replacing existing tubs. “We replace a lot of old hot tubs,” he said. “Their current one has broken and they have gone a few months without one and then realize how much they miss it.” And while there are more expensive spas that have waterfalls and lights, most spa owners don’t want that. “It’s considered ‘bling,’ ” he said. “And that’s always the stuff that breaks.” What Schow wants people to know is the cost of having a spa is reasonable these days. “Spas can be financed and when you look at it, they can be cheaper than athletic club memberships,” he said. “Plus you have the spa all to yourself and you can go in it any time you want.” To find out more, go to www.olespool andspa.com; stop by 5060 Highway 303 in Bremerton or 1521 Piperberry Way in Port Orchard; or call 360-373-8131.

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She’ll help design your dream By LESLIE KELLY



t’s all about the dream. That’s according to Kim McCall, a Bainbridge Island interior designer who also stages homes that are for sale. Whether you want an updated look for your home or help with making your house look good so that it will sell, McCall is there to help. “When someone walks into a home that’s for sale, they’ve got to be able to picture their own furniture in that house,” McCall said. “They have to be able to say ‘Oh, my sofa would look great right there.’ Everyone is looking to fulfill their dream.” Trained as an engineer, who previously worked in the aerospace industry, McCall has been working as an interior designer for 11 years. She’s been staging homes for the past eight years. “I always loved design,” she said. “I studied it on my own. Engineering paid the bills. But it wasn’t what I wanted to do.” So, in 2002, she moved to Bainbridge Island and began working in a furniture store on Winslow Way. With the owner’s permission, she painted walls in the store, added different lighting, helped make inventory purchases of furniture and home decor items and turned the place around. “[The owner] was averaging $22,000 a month in sales before the changes, and after, her monthly sales were averaging about $77,000,” McCall said. McCall’s design work began to get noticed and customers would come in asking if she could come to their homes and make suggestions what to do. She began doing that. “Pretty soon I decided I should be doing this on my own,” she said. So she began Kim McCall Design.

“My engineering degree helped me,” she said. “I understood project management and I was able to understand all the elements and make sure it all folded together.” As she likes to say, “The work is about 10 percent design, and the rest is managing people and products and making sure things get done the right way.” McCall will work with any homeowner because she thinks everyone deserves to live in an environment that they like. “I absolutely love the humble home,” she said. “Sometimes they’ve been in disrepair and just need some love.” She does interior design by consultation and meets with homeowners for about two hours, looking at every room in their house. She will make suggestions for changes and create a “master list.” Sometimes it’s adding new accessories like pillows, lamps, or artwork. Other times, the projects are larger in scope with new furnishings in every room. “If we have to stay in a budget, then the suggestions I make can be done over time,” she said. “Homeowners can chip away at it as they can.” Generally speaking, most places need light, whether it be new paint on the walls, new window treatments, or new light fixtures. “Everyone will say that they want more light,” she said. “We crave light here because of our gray weather.” Popular remodeling items currently includes wide-plank wood floors, lightneutral wall color, including “greige” — a combo of gray and beige that’s asked for often. And sometimes pops of color. “Typically, the goal is to create a calm space,” she said. Two-tone kitchens are in, even in See DREAM, Page 19

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MARCH 18, 2016

Dan Field is often up a tree, but that’s a good thing By LESLIE KELLY



an Field spends his days with trees. He’s the owner of Fields Tree Care LLC of Bainbridge Island. And he’s got some suggestions for homeowners who have concerns about their trees. “You’ve got to look at them,” he said. “Every so often, go outside and walk around your yard. Look up and see if you see anything brown or needles turning yellow.” Another sign of trouble is heavy crops of cones being produced and dropping to the ground. And if you want to check for rot, hit the tree trunk with a rubber mallet. Field regularly gets calls about such issues. As a certified horticulturalist and arborist, he’s able to diagnose problems with trees of all kinds. He graduated from Lake Washington Technical School with a degree in horticulture and is licensed through the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association and International Society

We want to achieve a view but still be in harmony with nature.”— Dan Field, arborist of Arborists. He started his business in Wisconsin, where he grew up. He’s had a tree business in Jefferson and Kitsap County for the past three years. “When I get a call, I go on site with the homeowner and visually inspect whatever the issue is that they are concerned about,” he said. “Then we discuss the next move.” He looks at any trees that may be within the “fall” range of hitting homes or other buildings. Field warns against topping trees to stop growth. “That only makes things worse,” he said. “The trees will sprout from that point and the new tops will grow three to four times faster and will be poorly attached.” Field doesn’t like to see trees cut for no reason and warns against tree trimmers

who tell homeowners a tree needs to go. “Make sure you get two or more opinions,” he said. “I see trees that have come down when they didn’t need to be cut. And make sure you are talking to certified arborists.” He said he always asks the homeowner why he or she wants a tree cut down. “For the view” is not an acceptable answer. “I will talk with them about view option pruning,” he said. “We want to achieve a view but still be in harmony with nature.” Many places have local regulations that have to be met before trees can be removed, such as on Bainbridge Island, specifically on shorelines. The more trees that are removed, the more susceptible the remaining trees are to wind and other things, he said. Generally, when warmer weather comes, or if there’s been a windstorm, Field will get calls. “That’s our busiest times,” he said. But getting out in front of falling trees is best — that means annual inspections and getting an arborist out to see trees about every three to five years. Cost of an onsite inspection depends on the size of the yard,

but ranges from $150 to $400. Other work Field does is helping homeowners make choices of trees to be planted to replace trees that have had to come out. “We look at their specific needs and find something that is spot specific,” he said. Planting trees is something that can easily go wrong, he added. “Planting trees too deep is the No. 1 reason they don’t make it,” he said. “Plant trees so the red flair is above ground. And don’t let soil amendments get up against the tree trunk. That can rot the trunk.” Another thing about his business that many people don’t know: he has groundup mulch to give away. “When we trim, we run everything through the chipper,” he said. “We fill the truck with the chips and we give that away. It’s a great mulch for gardens and pathways and for around trees, because it holds water.” To find out more, or schedule an inspection, call 360-994-0166, or email fieldstree care@gmail.com. (For a photo of Dan Field at work, see page 3)

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Bees are his thing and he loves to share with others By LESLIE KELLY



rank Wilson never planned on becoming a beekeeper. But then, beekeeping caught his eye. “It was about four years ago,” said Wilson, a Poulsbo real estate broker. “I didn’t have a hobby and bees caught my attention. I didn’t know a thing about them. I love jumping into something I don’t know anything about.” The first thing he did was read everything about bees that he could get his hands on. And then he found a local beekeepers club and took a beginning beekeeping class. The club is the West Sound Beekeepers Association and Wilson is currently the president of the nonprofit organization, whose sole purpose is promoting beekeeping. After attending the class, Wilson picked the brand of hives he wanted and then he painted them. He ordered his bees from a local supplier and began with 10,000 bees and one queen. “A queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day,” Wilson said. “If you start in spring with 10,000, you can have 60,000 to 80,000 bees by summer.” And he did. His first year was successful and he was able to have enough honey for himself, his friends and his neighbors, he said. “Two hives can produce about 40 to 60 pounds of honey,” he said. “I’ve never really wanted to produce more. I’m not really wanting to sell honey. I just do this as a hobby.” In winter 2015-16, he lost most of his bees due to too much moisture in the hives. So he’s going to start again with new bees and plan for better ventilation. One of the things beekeepers have to learn is how much honey to remove from the hives, he said. “Bees store food for the future,” he said. “If you take too much honey away, you will starve your bees.” Being a beekeeper is much like being a farmer, Wilson added. “Last summer was long and dry,” he said. “Things tend to not bloom as much in that weather. That means less for the bees and so the bees are not as productive.” As has any beekeeper, Wilson has been stung. He normally only wears face protection when tending to his bees. “It doesn’t happen much because my bees know me,” he said. “But two years ago in the summer, I hadn’t spent as much time with my bees as I could have and when I went out, they were really aggressive.

Suited up, Frank Wilson examines a bee comb in his backyard. Wilson is president of the West Sound Beekeepers and has been raising bees for four years. Contributed photo

Wilson and his daughter, Jessica, prepare bee hives last summer. Contributed photo “So I backed off and just watched them for a while. I went in the garage and suited up. When I got close I could see that the yellow jackets were attacking my bees and that’s why they were upset.” Bees, he said, don’t want to sting because when they do, they die. The best time to check on the hives is midday when the bees are out foraging. Beginning cost to become a beekeeper is about $200 a hive. “But the good news is that the first year is the most expensive,”he said. “After that, you’ve got things established.” For anyone who wants to get into bee-

keeping, Wilson thinks joining the beekeeping association is the way to go. “We offer a six-week apprentice class where you learn about all aspects of beekeeping,” he said. “And we have 20 hives that those in the class can see and use and actually get to touch bees. That’s so much more than you’ll ever get from reading a book.” The association keeps its hives at Stedman’s Bees in Silverdale, which is where most members buy their bee supplies. The apprentice class is on Tuesday evenings. The group also offers two scholarships a year for high school students who want to learn about beekeeping. “They can often use bees as part of their science projects or for the subject of a biology paper,” Wilson said. Part of what’s kept Wilson interested in

bees is that there is so much to learn. “There are so many aspects — biology, chemistry, even woodworking when you’re building the hives,” he said. “There’s all sorts of science and even medical things to learn. Beekeeping can catch your attention no matter what level you are at.” Bees are something that the average person is interested in because they’ve heard that bees are dying out, he said. “There’s a heightened awareness because of the media reports that bees are on the decline,” he said. “Anyone who is concerned doesn’t have to take on beekeeping. They just need to ‘do no harm.’ Don’t use chemicals in your yard and gardening.” Another thing people can do is plant beefriendly plants. The association also has a program where property owners can host a hive. “If you don’t want to raise them yourself, host a hive,” he said. “We have people interested in raising bees but they don’t have a place.” Wilson tells people that keeping bees is less work than having a dog, but more work than having a cat. “In the summer, you may have to get into the hives two times a month,” he said. “In the spring, maybe a bit more because you’re checking on food. But when you go on vacation, you don’t have to get a bee sitter.” And today, there is technology to help. There are temperature gauges that are installed in the hives that can tell the beekeeper the weight and humidity inside the hives. And, if you want to, install a GoPro camera. “Then you can watch your bees all you want,” he said. To learn more, go to www.westsoundbees.org.

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MARCH 18, 2016

Nilsen’s is all about family and customer service Since the 1940s, it’s been the place to go for appliances

Bruce and Lynda Nilsen pose with the store’s mascot, Molly. “Sometimes people just stop by to see Molly,” Bruce said.




t’s much more than washers, dryers and refrigerators. It’s about family. And customers. Nilsen’s Appliance Store in Silverdale has a great history and has been a part of Kitsap County since the early 1900s. Today, their showroom is filled with all the modern-day appliances any home needs. But years ago, the business was “Your General Store,” in Kingston, and included everything from fresh-cut meat to ice-cold bottles of something called “Coca-Cola.” The family’s story begins in Karajok, Norway. In 1898, the Baltos family and other Sami reindeer herders were hired by the U.S. government to come to Alaska and teach Alaska Natives how to raise reindeer for food. Marie Baltos was 8 years old when she passed through the gates of Ellis Island. In 1906, at the age of 16, she met a man from Larvik, Norway, who had come to Alaska to search for gold. That man, Oscar Nilsen, became her husband and, by 1910, they left Alaska for Washington state. By 1920, they settled in Kingston. It was their oldest son, Carl, who began working at the general store and eventually bought out his boss. After World War II, his younger brother, Joe, joined the business. They offered delivery to customers, which was something new in the business at that time. In 1949, in addition to the general store and farm store, the Nilsens opened North Kitsap Appliances in Poulsbo. The name was later changed to The Brothers. Thirdgeneration Nilsens also worked in the business. Joe later moved to Chehalis, where he and his sons ran Nilsen’s Appliance. In the early 1950s, the family sold the general store to concentrate on the appliance business. Carl’s son, Bruce, took over the appliance store in Poulsbo and expanded it to three locations. Today, he and his daughters, Michele Nilsen-Wasson and Lesley Nilsen, operate the store in Silverdale. Through all the changes and many economic challenges, there’s always been just

Contributed photo

one focus, Bruce said. “Customer service,” he said. “Taking care of customers and understanding what they want. Being honest and forthright with them and when they have a problem, taking care of it.” Nilsen’s is part of a $15 billion buying group, which allows the company to sell many brands of appliances at lower prices. Bruce said that’s one of the keys to the business’s success. “That, and we don’t have to talk to a board of directors or call corporate (for decisions),” Bruce said. “We are corporate. We resolve issues fast to the satisfaction of everyone.” Among the brands they sell are Kitchen Aid, Whirlpool, General Electric, and Maytag. Michele, the store’s bookkeeper, said Nilsen’s caters to all, including “the starter family [and] the dream kitchen folks.” She said, “That’s the beauty of having all those brands. We can fit any budget.” The store is low-key with no highpressure sales, the Nilsens said. The showroom is filled with vignettes that cus-

tomers can feel free to wander through and touch anything they want. Nilsen’s still delivers appliances, using its own employees. Right now, the business has nine employees in the store, warehouse and delivery departments. They deliver from Port Angeles to Fox Island and all throughout Kitsap County. The store is also known for its mascot, Molly, a 12-year-old yellow Lab. “Sometimes people just stop by to see

Molly,” Bruce said. They have Molly’s photo on buttons, which are given out to kids, and the store offers “Molly Specials.” “Those are our deep discounts,” Michele said. Throughout the years, the family has been able to also rescue local residents in time of need. When the power’s gone out, they’ve started up a freezer so that folks food didn’t go bad. And they’ve loaned an appliance or two in order to save a Thanksgiving dinner. About 80 percent of their inventory is American-made. “We’re big on ‘Made in America,’ ” Bruce said. Bruce’s wife, Lynda, works in the business from time to time, as does Michele’s son. Lynda is really retired, but when the “All Skate” call goes out, everyone in the family shows up. “That’s when there’s something big is happening,” Michele said. “Either we’re painting the store inside or out, or doing some kind of improvement and we need

everyone to make it happen.” In the years that Bruce has been in the appliance business, he’s seen just about every appliance color come and go. “In the early years, appliances were pink, turquoise or white,” he said. “Then it went to red, yellow and avocado green. Then there was dark copper and burnt orange. Now the real rage is stainless steel. But white’s always been the most popular.” While they feel “really blessed” to have had a family business and loyal customers, the success of the store has always been about family. “The whole idea of having a family business has been to make a better life for our children,” Bruce said. “That’s what the early generations wanted and that’s still what we want today.” To learn more, go to www.nilsensappliance.com, or visit 10715 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale. The phone is 360-6923500.


is published in spring and fall by Sound Publishing. For information about upcoming special publications, call 360-779-4464. Publisher: Lori Maxim Specialty publications editor : Leslie Kelly Advertising director: Donna Etchey Sales representatives: Sharon Allen, Tawna Grisham, Jessica Martindale, Marleen Martinez, Bill McDonald, Ariel Naumann Creative services manager: Bryon Kempf Marketing artists: Mark Gillespie, Kelsey Thomas, John Rodriguez, Vanessa Calverley, Johanna Buxton Sponsors: Air Masters, Hanley Construction, CHS Northwest Copyright 2016 Sound Publishing

MARCH 18, 2016



CHS Northwest adding new inventory for customers By LESLIE KELLY



t’s an older 1950s-era commerciallooking building on the corner of Viking Avenue and Finn Hill Road. Outside, there are fuel pumps, stacks of bagged feed, and a couple of wheelbarrows. Inside the large bay, customers select hay and other equine products. Inside the store, there’s an array of pet foods, sprays, gloves and even new Wrangler jeans. The place is CHS Northwest, a local farm and garden store which has something for everyone. And manager Jesse Morgan, who has been at the Poulsbo store for about four months, is excited about the changes that are being made at the business. “We’ve just brought the Whatcom Farmers Co-op into the company,” he said. “That gives us more buying power and a broader range of products.” The store, which is part of an international network of farmers co-ops, has been at its present location since the 1950s. It began as Western Farmers Co-op prior to that. In the 1990s, it was Cenex Harvest States Co-op, and now is CHS Northwest. CHS is a Fortune 500 company that provides diverse products, including energy, grains and foods. It is owned by farmers and ranchers and is organized into cooperatives from the Great Lakes to the Pacific. In Poulsbo, shopping at CHS Northwest doesn’t require a membership. “Anyone can come here,” Morgan said. “It’s open to anyone who needs what we sell.” The product line includes fuels such as propane, which can be delivered to homes


Continued from page 15 black and white. Upper cabinets can be white, the lower black. Or sometimes adding a wooden island and a contrasting color on the perimeter cabinets is the choice. The “industrial farmhouse” look is trendy, with black fixtures and reclaimed wood. Wood accents in the media room also are a hit. In the bathrooms, people want to make them feel like living spaces, by adding vanity tables that they actually sit at, or comfortable chairs. Gone are the strong earth tones like red, green and brown.

An employee at CHS Northwest in Poulsbo helps load feed into the back of a customer’s truck. Helping customers with special requests is a big part of the business. Leslie Kelly photo and businesses; propane for barbecue grills; and premium diesel and kerosene. CHS Northwest sells lawn and garden products such as seed, feed, and fertilizer. The store has a full line of products for horse owners — from specialized feed to hay for the barn. And they sell highquality pet foods that are made at the co-op’s plant in Oregon and formulated for animals who live in the Northwest. “It’s made to meet the needs of Northwest animals,” Morgan said. “That’s all we carry. We don’t do low-end food.” And, at this time of the year, the store has baby chicks. “We have everything for raising chickens, from baby chicks [to] feed, feeders and chicken houses.”

He said customers who buy baby chicks include 4H-ers and people who want to raise chickens in their backyards. “Right now, the buzz words are ‘organic and free-range,’ ” he said. “Everyone wants to know what they’re eating. People are worried about what’s in their food.” There are no “typical” customers at CHS Northwest, Morgan said. “It’s a broad range,” he said. “Many of our customers are buying fuel to heat their homes. They’ll buy propane for their barbecues and fill up on fuels for their lawn equipment and their boats.” Others come in for animal feed and equine supplies, including hay, which comes from the Othello area in eastern

“The lodge look is not so prevalent anymore,” she said. And people are eco-conscious, using geothermal heated floors and solar paneling, she added. When McCall stages a home, she usually gets a call from a real estate agent. She has a warehouse of furniture and decorative items that she lends for the staging. “I have had 36 homes staged at one time,” she said. “I have just about everything in my warehouse, including Ralph Lauren furniture.” The most important thing is to have a clean house to begin with, even if that means hiring a professional cleaner to come in. “I tell owners to clean the house within an

inch of its life,” she said. “And think about how it smells. Sometimes, new paint and new carpets go along way.” Homeowners may have to rent a storage unit to store some of their things if the house is filled with too much furniture and too many collectables. “Nobody wants to come into a house that they’re considering buying and see a collection of old dusty things,” she said. “They have to be able to see the space.” Taking down personal items and family photos also is important. Those things, she said, say that the home belongs to someone else. Add new towels in the bathroom and a vase of live tulips or cut flowers in the

Washington. But no matter who walks in the door, they’ll get great customer service, he said. “What I like best about this business is the co-op mentality,” Morgan said. “We’re here to provide for our customers’ needs. It’s a relationship, not a transaction.” He said they are able to special-order items for their customers and don’t “just shove products at them.” He added, “Our guys still carry out bags of feed and load you up and make sure you’re ready to go.” That, he said, makes him feel good about being part of CHS, which has 18 employees at its Poulsbo location. With the new inventory, look for an expanded clothing line that will include Wrangler brand clothing, Noble Outfitters, Justin Boots and Carhartt workwear. “We’re even adding a dressing room so people can try things on,” he said. As with all of its inventory, CHS has local buyers who focus on what is needed in this area, and buyers at headquarters who can get special products. CHS Northwest is always getting new inventory, so Morgan advises residents to stop by regularly. As a part of the local community, CHS Northwest takes part in local parades and the Viking Avenue holiday tree lighting ceremony. “We like to do the parades,” he said. “We usually take one of our trucks and then we have employees who ride their horses.” CHS Northwest is located at 20370 Viking Ave. NW, Poulsbo. Call 360-7792527, email CO-PoulsboOrders@chsinc. com. Go to www.chs-propane.com.

kitchen. Curb appeal is important, too. “If you have to, hire a professional to come in and trim up the yard and put down new compost or bark,” she said. “Do it. Make it look super low maintenance even if it’s not.” And make sure the front door is inviting. Paint it or stain it and add a large pot of flowers. “Something that’s eye-catching with different sizes, colors and textures,” she said. “[Something] that says this is a home that’s been loved and cared for.” To contact McCall, go to www.kimmccalldesign.com, email kim@kimmccalldesign. com, or call 206-310-1679.



MARCH 18, 2016

FARM, HOME & GARDEN STORE We have what you need for the tasks at hand.

Pet | Equine | Feed | Soil | Fertilizer | Amendments | Seed CHS Inc.

20370 Viking Ave. NW • Poulsbo, WA • 360-779-2527 • chs-propane.com PROPANE • PREMIUM DIESEL • ETHANOL FREE GAS

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Home and Garden - Spring Home and Garden - 2016  


Home and Garden - Spring Home and Garden - 2016