The pleasures of house-sitting on Bainbridge Island turned out to be many and varied. I recently joined a website that lists house-sitting opportunities worldwide. After searching by date and destination–the Puget Sound area–we found the Bainbridge Island opportunity and notified the owners of our interest. On their end of things, they checked out the references posted Online for a number of applicants and, to our delight, chose us. Both parties signed a legal agreement as to responsibilities using the form suggested by the site. No money exchanges hands. They don’t pay us to take care of their house and pets, and we don’t pay them for staying in their home. This was our first house-sit. I should really keep a low profile on it because if very many people knew how much fun housesitting is, the market would be flooded.
Getting to Our House-sit Location
Even getting to Bainbridge Island is a pleasure. After stopping at Mount Rainier National Park for lunch and some sight-seeing, we came out of the forest near Tacoma. From there we drove across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge onto the Kitsap Peninsula, so as to enter Bainbridge Island from the north via #305 and thus avoid the ferry fees. The home itself was located at the end of what seemed to us like an enchanted forest pathway.
We found the owners of the property to be very congenial and their home very comfortable. All in all, we were fascinated with the challenge of entering another family’s life-style for a little while–trying it on. To the owners of the animals and gardens, feeding and watering may have been a routine part of life, but to us they were novel. In fact, the tasks seemed to set us apart from the mundanities of our customary lives back home.
The owners had sent us extensive notes about their pets and gardens. But as they showed us around the property, I took additional notes as to what they considered optimum protocols. For example, we were in charge of the needs for 1 1/2 cats.* Our introduction to the duck-pets involved tossing assorted lettuces along with a highly-coveted slug snack. Much quacking.
Egg hunting was a daily event; an omelette that night was the reward. I’d never eaten duck eggs and expected them to have a stronger flavor. Not so with these — they were delicious. Magnificent Hen knew she was beautiful and laid an egg every day. Grumpy Hen never left her nest because she was incubating three wooden eggs. Poor thing is going to be so disappointed! When I’d lift the external flap to her nest, she’d growl. [Did you know a chicken could growl? I didn’t!]
I suppose caution would suggest that it’s not always wise to stay the night with the owners in their home before they leave or after their return, but in this case, it was lovely. We were guests for a supper of nicely seasoned pork stew served over hand-ground corn bread with fresh salad greens from the garden, finished off with warm home-made berry crumble and ice cream. We hated to see them go the next morning—such interesting, gracious people.
* 1 1/2 cats is an accurate number come rain or shine. Here’s why. The house cat hid from us the first few sunny days and the neighbor’s cat rubbed our legs and purred. We fed both. Then it began to rain and the neighbor cat rarely showed up. But the house cat came out of hiding with all sorts of demands. So you see, whether it was sunny or rainy, 1 1/2 cats needed us.