I pickled a key…

A friend took me out to a place called Camano Island last week – I’d seen signs for that turnoff on the highway for years and kept on meaning to go but somehow never ever went – time was never right – until my friend said she used to go camping there and it was quite lovely and we should make a day of it. And so we did. The place really is special, and its beaches are wonderful, full of strange driftwood and scuttling crabs and with clear water on the one side and golden sedge grasses, madrona trees, and a bank of blackberries which were at this time ripe and full of fruit (yeah I ate some. I ate berries off the vine when I was a kid and survived. No difference here.)

And when we’d had our fill of scenery… we went into some of the island’s weird little “we sell everything” stores.

In one of them, a calico cat I honestly thought was stuffed lay sprawled over a love-seat, on top of clothes and purses and shawls, but she looked up and purred at me and we made friends and then I left her there quite content to stay where she was in her little nest. But some of the stuff in these shops was damn amazing. They had a double shelf full of cast iron cookware, ranging from massive Dutch ovens I could barely lift with both hands to a dinky little frying pan that looked like it came from a doll’s house and i could see no practical use for at all (I did snag a Le Creuset-type enamel Dutch oven, a smaller one than the cast-iron whale of of a one I mentioned earlier, for a surprisingly reasonable price. And then, on one of the tables in this glory hole of a store, there was a handful of rusty old skeleton keys.

I could not resist. These were stories on display. I bought one.

It was in a terrible shape, and so when I came home I Googled how to remove rust off a vintage key. There were several methods out there, but I tried the simplest first – I pickled a key in white vinegar for a bunch of hours and then briskly scrubbed it.


Underneath the rust the pickled key is a soft gray, with bits of unidentified sparkle on it.It really looks like it unlocks something in fairyland.

Whether it unlocks any stories… we shall see. But it did unlock Camano Island, at last. And I have a feeling I will return…