Sunday, 3 November 2019

at home

Skooter still sleeping after our breakfast time

We had had just a wee bit of unexpected rain.

I had quite a list of garden projects for today.

First, drag and chop the soft material from the Corridor of Spooky Plants from this pile into the compost bins.

Second, retrieve and crumble up for the compost bins some wood from the old stump next door.

Third, weed and mulch (with some of the root balls from Long Beach hanging baskets) the front driveway bed.

My results:

The soft pile is pretty much dealt with.

The stump is somewhat chopped away.

The bigger chunks went into a pile for little critters.

driveway bed is improved

I have one little stunner of a fall crocus in that bed, with no memory of where I acquired it.

Bob Nold tells me it is the saffron crocus, C. sativus, and adds, “Ever smelled fresh saffron? Give the styles a gentle tug, they’ll come off.”   I will, if they are still there tomorrow (because I am writing this five days later).

Meanwhile, Allan’s project was to run all the woody debris through the Mighty Mac.

the woody pile from the Corridor of Spooky Plants

The Mighty Mac (Allan’s photo0

After awhile, I smelled and saw a cloud of smoke.  Silence reigned as Allan turned the Mighty Mac off and poked about underneath.

Another lesson in how to run the thing: you should clear out underneath now and then.  A belt had broken.  The pile of willow in the background won’t get chopped today.

Allan’s photo

Allan turned to the electric Pencil Sharpener which takes one slim branch at a time.

Allan’s photo

This much of the woody Halloween pile still remained.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I took all the woody lily and helianthus stalks from his pile and hand chopped them into the compost bins.

There is Halloween in two bins:

The shreddings and chippings…

…went back to the bogsy wood as mulch.  The Pencil Sharpener makes finer debris but takes longer.

The Halloween woody debris pile is gone.

At the very end of tidying up, I had an unfortunate encounter with my Mermaid rose….

…adding one more owie to my right hand. I had on a glove, but only a thin exam glove. (Looks worse than it is,  but it sure did hurt.)

Now Allan’s task of sorting and storing the light strings is all that is left of Halloween.

Tomorrow we must seriously apply ourselves to a week of work, so that task will wait.

Standard time has come upon us with the end of Daylight Saving Time.  It felt glorious to close the curtains at 5 PM and look forward to long, dark evenings with more time to read.

After dark, Allan helped Jenna move one last thing, a heavy tool cabinet, to her Mermaid Sandcastle….

with the help of Don and Jim.

…and then ran all her extra cardboard boxes to the recycling bins at the port.

Tomorrow: back to work with another week of clear weather in the forecast.



Our Ilwaco


The 6×6 Art Auction is one of our favourite annuals events. It began years ago with all art pieces that were six by six inches, although now a few of them are a square foot in size. Some local treats other than art are now included in the auction, which benefits the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. All close ups of the art in this post are courtesy of Wendi Peterson.


As you can see from the sign on the door, the auction sold out (several days in advance). Better put it on your calendar for next November!

foyer in the foyer of the museum


Your $20 ticket includes a buffet dinner and two drinks from the wine and beer bar.

“Two Monkeys Catering” provides food for all the museum events. They keep the platters well filled.

2 monkeys.jpgmonkey.jpg

maddy Local chef and baker Madeline Moore partakes.

depotred a nice glass of Depot Red wine

crabcakes crab…

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Saturday, 2 November 2019

Allan had gone off to sell his book at day two of a holiday bazaar.

Frosty watched me eat breakfast…

…and Jazmin enjoyed the sunshine of another summery day.

stewartia’s fine autumn colour

I spent a couple of hours reorganizing plant sale plants so that I could find room for   the 23 gallon pots of alliums I’d planted last night.  My brainstorm was to lay potting soil bags (to keep weeds down) in the aisle between greenhouses and compost bins and put pots of shade plants there….

….thus freeing up more room on the tables and benches.

pots of allium christophii, a plant sale experiment

Look how well that old rose has come back after being cut almost to the ground in late summer.  It had been taller than me.

I managed to get all of the big pots of potting soil (from the Corridor of Spooky Plants along the front driveway) moved to the back garden and (mostly) tipped into the bin of plant sale soil just in time to change into clean clothes for the art auction.  Allan returned promptly from the holiday bazaar.  It not been a great success for the assorted vendors, probably because fine weather kept people outside.  I think it was too early for people to be thinking of Christmas shopping.  Nevertheless, he had had a good time and enjoyed the social aspect of it.

The full (and less personal) story of the evening’s 6×6 art auction at Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum will be our next post.

We sat in front at the four-top Discover Ilwaco table with Marlene and Our Kathleen.

Todd Wiegardt did security for one of the silent auction tables and also provided two big bouquets featuring Panicum ‘Northwind’.

I was well chuffed that I had used the same ornamental grass as the centerpiece for my bouquet.

outside Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum yesterday

The live auction is funny and exciting but hundreds of dollars too rich for my pocket book. I felt a bit addled and out of it at the event because it had come so close after all the thrills and exhaustion of Halloween.  Somehow I missed seeing or even bidding on this piece in the silent auction.

I would have loved to have this painting, showing the flowers of the Depot Restaurant, but it was in the live auction so went for hundreds.

It is not really that flowery; the left side is more green in real life because of an escallonia.  I like the fantasy that it is all flowers.

Here’s a spoiler: I managed to get two of the items I bid on.  They were in the silent auction and so I was not outbid.

To the left is my new tile by Renee O’Connor.  I acquired the other two at previous 6×6 auctions.

I was especially chuffed to get this fused glass piece called Hollyhocks and Afternoon Sun by Christine Kende.  (As you can see, the size of auction submissions has been stretched to include 12×12).

lower right

a book: Dream Hoarders

I finished an adequately interesting book earlier in the week (and have started a much better one since!)  It was a bedtime book, a chapter a day, as I have not had a proper reading day for awhile.

The author’s conceit is that he is speaking directly to other members of the upper middle class, as if working class people would not read his book. I was interested in his idea that it’s inaccurate to blame just the top one percent for huge economic inequality.

The book is mostly about how the practices of the upper middles create a “glass floor” under the feet of their children, who are more likely to go to a top college and be set up for life because of legacy entitlement (their parents went to said top college and have made large contributions), unpaid internships, and access to better pre-college education, partly because of real estate zoning that keeps certain neighbourhoods exclusively wealthy.

Working class and lower middle class young people cannot afford to live on unpaid internships that seem to be the doorway to lucrative careers.

He hopes the upper middle class will give up some of their privileges in favour of more equal opportunities.


I have little hope of that.

The British author feels that the class divide is more rigid in the USA now than in Great Britain.


I have never felt the class divide as strongly as in my years here, after leaving Seattle and moving to the beach.  In Seattle, the sheer size of the city meant that I had more privacy and was not in a smaller society that accentuates class differences.  I could write a whole blog post about it, but have not ….yet.  Someday, perhaps.

Friday, 1 November 2019

I’d had a bad night’s sleep because, while removing the tawdry cobwebs along the front fence at ten o clock last night, I had managed to jab a thorn or sliver under my middle right hand fingernail.  Why would I be so foolish as to not wear gloves while gardening by streetlight? I ask you. I usually wear thin exam gloves that would not have protected me, anyway.  Even though neither Allan nor I could see any sliver, the throbbing kept me awake till I finally wrapped my finger in a cold washcloth.  I thought about friends who have lain awake with the bone pain of chemotherapy or the post-surgery pain of knee replacements and felt rather foolish to be so felled by pain in one finger.

Friday was the first clean up day of the driveway and the garage woodland grotto.  Allan had gone off to flog his book at a holiday bazaar.

photo by bazaar organizer Karen Brownlee

Judy and Larry again drove down from Ocean Park to help out, and again the weather was like a perfect, not too warm summer day.

Before, 11:30 AM:

Last night, we had just managed to get enough shoved into the garage to shut the door, and then I had puttered on my own for a couple of hours retrieving my scary-cover book displays and packing up the small Halloween figurines that Allan inherited from his mother.

Allan agrees with me that painting the inside of the garage door a dark colour (could be green instead of black) will help with the grotto effect for next year.

Larry removed the lower level of Halloween lights and took all my watering cans (part of the spooky plant display) to the back patio.

Larry figuring out what he can take down without a ladder

Judy raked leaves from the sides of the display and dismantled the tomato cage ghosts…

…while I hauled debris into two piles behind the garage, one for the compost bins and one for chipping.

Judy helping to sort things out

Two hours later, I had over half of the plant debris hauled and the sphagnum moss collected into a barrow to be dumped in a pile somewhere in the bogsy wood.

Judy and Larry departed.  What champion friends they were to help set up AND take down Halloween.

the garage at 2 PM

Our Kathleen stopped by to get her ticket from us for tomorrow night’s 6×6 art auction.  She kindly waited while I took apart the Halloween bouquets and put them back together into a bouquet for the auction, then drove me and it down to the museum.

outside Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum

At 3 o’ clock, I got back to work, dragging the last of the debris to piles behind the garage.

Meanwhile, in Long Beach, after the bazaar day ended at 4 PM, Allan had checked on Fifth Street Park and found the gunnera heavily frosted.

gunnera, Allan’s photos

gunnera tucked in for the winter with leaves to protect the crown from frost.

Lilies got cut down.


cosmos in Fifth Street Park

The reward for this work is that we could have Sunday off instead of driving up to Long Beach to check on plants.

By the time Allan arrived home, I had already seen a photo of his work, sent to me by Cathy of Captain Bob’s Chowder from her restaurant doorway.

When he arrived, I had just started chopping leaves on the driveway with the mower.  Such dust it raised!

Allan’s photo, 5 PM

Allan dismantled the pumpkin head ghost and hand-carted the two heavy benches into the back garden. In the dusk, I used the potting soil from the big pots that had held spooky plants to pot up 23 gallon pots of Allium christophii. That’s the epilogue to Bulb Time!

By evening, the driveway looked like this.

I collapsed into my comfy chair, delighted to find that Autumnwatch had appeared on BritBox TV.

How I adore “the watches”.  Along with nature observation in the Scottish Cairngorms, we visited a garden show with a garden designed to attract wildlife.

It is in three parts….

and is a glorious inspiration.

The key is to not be too tidy.

Together, we watched The Biggest Little Farm, a delightful documentary that Allan had happened upon at the library.  You will be glad of it if you can see it.

The week of social events continues tomorrow with more holiday bazaar for Allan and the 6×6 art auction at 5 PM.

Our Ilwaco

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Three Halloween walkabouts in Ilwaco…

photos by Skyler Walker:


DSC05861 The Munsters at the J’s Cottage


DSC05896 Teresa of the Planter Box


DSC05908 Ilwaco Fire Department


DSC05923 animatronic werewolf


DSC05950.JPGLucy Dagger’s Cottage

DSC05959.JPGLucy Dagger’s household won the top Halloween Spirit certificate from the Merchants Association.


photos by Tony Hofer:


photos by Allan Fritz:


DSC08441 River City Playhouse


DSC08457 Heidi’s Inn


DSC08472 Inn at Harbour Village


The Inn at Harbour Village puts on an elaborate display.



DSC08548 Ilwaco Fire Department


DSC08564 Mayor Gary Forner


DSC08552 I spy Ernie, far right, background!


DSC08763 11 from Stranger Things, left

DSC08764.jpegDSC08767.jpegThe tallies were about 700 trick or treaters in the mid blocks of Lake Street and about 800 at the fire station. Next year, Halloween is on a Saturday and we want ONE THOUSAND, so spread the word!

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Thursday, 31 October 2019

4:16 in the afternoon and we were ready.

ghost to the right is a piece of cloth with an apple inside


one of Judy and Larry’s ghosts
not very successful potting soil bag ghost

Note to self: Next year, cover that back garage window with some orange Halloween window film.

in back, one of Judy and Larry’s tomato cage ghosts

Note to self: Hide blue water bin with black landscape fabric.

treasure chest
and another treasure chest

In the woodland grotto (garage):

Must make the back door spookier.  Will paint it black this summer!


Allan’s mom’s Halloween creatures
candy supply table

Our grown up guests loved all the scary books, and I was told that children looked very closely at the treasure chests.

Joey Ramone (Allan’s photo) before he got put in the cat cage

In its own nook sat the Halloween grey cat art that Judy made in memory of my best friend, Smoky, who died and left me heartbroken two years ago at Halloween.

Allan’s photo

Here come the trick or treaters!

Willa and Jessika from next door (Allan’s photo)
Allan’s photo
Tony, Teresa, Patty, and Scott and Rudy arrive! (Allan’s photo)
Patty in our back garden (Tony’s photo)
Maddy, Jacob and Quincy (Tony’s photo)

MaryBeth, Marlene, Matt, Sarah, Larry, Marilyn, Shelly

in the grotto (Tony’s photo)
Tony’s photo
I had peanut M&Ms in abundance, Scott’s favorite (Tony’s photo)
Tony’s photo
Tony’s photo
Sarah brought organic spuds!
me, J9, Teresa, Marlene, Larry, Shelly, Judy, Cathy, Captain Bob
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Patty, right, and Teresa H-L handing out candy
Jeff, Sarah and her dogs, Cathy and Captain Bob (Captain Bob’s Chowder)

In the house, we had a table of sweets…

…and a table of savories, with mini corn dogs made on the spot by Scott and Tony, Halloween popcorn made by Scott (with candy corn in it!), hummus made by J9, and assorted cheeses and crackers, Allan’s pumpkin pie, wine from Shelly and Jeff, and hot cider.

Allan’s photo
me, J9, Marlene, MaryBeth, Teresa
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

When Seaview Sarah and Matt arrived, he took on the main candy post.

To the right, a tally is being kept.

I had the pleasure of hearing a teenager say, “It’s like going into the woods!”  Yes!

far right, Lezlie and Winston!
Allan, back from a long walkabout, and Judy

Harry Potter!

Mark, Joseph, and Bella came down from north Ocean Park.

Tony’s photo


Agent Carter (Tony’s photo)

Tony’s photo

One child delivered this note to every household.

Scott, Teresa, and a young dragon
Matt, Lezlie, Tony (Allan’s photo)
Terran (BeeKissed Gardening) came by with two of her dogs (Tony’s photo)

Terran’s dogs loved drinking from our fountain.

Tony’s photo
Tony’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Marlene and Teresa taking a break (Allan’s photo)
Tony’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Toward the end, Jenna (Queen La De Da) came by with a Halloween Spirit certificate for us.

me, Tony, Patty, Judy, Jenna, Allan, Scott, Rudy

Lucy Dagger, the pirate four doors east, was the winner of the top accolade. You will see why in tomorrow’s post.

As the evening drew to a close, a winged creature whirled by and Allan managed to capture her on film.

By nine o clock, our guests had gone…

…except for Judy and Larry, who stayed till we got enough clean up done to be able to close the garage doors.  A few straggling trick or treaters came by as we dismantled some of Halloween.

Our tally came to 585…

…but our tally sheet had been passed around a lot, and in consulting with neighbours within a block of us, we learned that over 700 was their (more organized and precise) count.  So we are going to say we had at least 600 and surely more like the 700 plus that their household four doors east counted.

Next year, Halloween will be on a Saturday night (with a full moon, or so I hear) and we want to have ONE THOUSAND.  Lucy Dagger and I are already planning how to make that happen.

Allan and I both went on Halloween walkabouts of the town (mine short, his long).  You can see that adventure tomorrow.


Wednesday, 30 October 2019

It had gotten cold enough last night for the ponds to have a skim of ice.

Today’s mission  was to finish the Corridor of Spooky Plants and turn the garage into a forest grotto.  I was so grateful that Judy and Larry drove all the way down from Ocean Park to help out.

They are much craftier than I am.  I had seen some pictures last year of ghosts made from tomato cages.  They figured out how to make it happen.

It wasn’t easy to get the milk jug head (which i would never have thought of!) to stay on.

Larry has skills.

They also figured out how to implement my chipper/shredder idea.

I was worried it was too gory a thought already, so I turned down Larry’s offer of a bottle of ketchup for the finishing touch.

Meanwhile, I was cutting and hauling branches and stalks from back yard to front to turn the garage into a woodland grotto. The weather was like a perfect summer day.

white sanguisorba, before…

and after (too tired to move wheelbarrow)

After Judy and Larry departed, I made one tomato cage ghost from a couple of inside out potting soil bags…

…and only one, as it was not very successful.

A spider who had been disturbed by Allan tying some decor to the fence added herself to the decorations.

He also found what appear to be snail eggs.

A friend, Jan M, stopped by to see our progress.  I got to pet her nice dog.

Allan went out in the afternoon to help Jenna move one last large item.

Jenna’s “wishing arch”

He saw that other households had also been enhancing their decorations.

on Spruce Street

He checked the cosmos at the Port of Ilwaco office; they still looked fine despite the cold night.

Thanks to a wise suggestion from Kilyn, the Steveston Gardener, I had saved several baskets of sphagnum moss to tuck around and in the big pots lining the driveway.

I dumped the baskets out and got to work on that so that Allan could use the baskets to collect more maple leaves from the Ilwaco Community Building parking lot.

nice dry leaves

Allan encountered our friend and neighbour Kevin at the community building.  When Kevin got on Allan’s phone and invited us to join him and his family for dinner, I replied that I normally would say no because of being too busy in the midst of the Halloween frenzy—but because he is being deployed, it was important to say yes.

In the late afternoon, afraid the flowers would get frosted if I waited till tomorrow, I picked bouquets for house and garage.  With two hours till dinnertime, Allan brought two heavy benches from the back garden and got the lights strung along the driveway and inside the garage.

The cat bench will be part of the seating in the grotto.

garage as woodland grotto

A combination of gunnera leaves and landscape fabric hid the buckets from view.

I dumped the leaves throughout the scene.

6 PM

one of Judy and Larry’s ghosts

Last year, just as I had despaired that the would-be grotto looked nothing but tacky, I had the idea of putting the leaves down.  The noise of walking on them makes it magic.

We were far enough along that I had no worries about taking time for dinner.  We met Kevin and Ana and their children at the Lost Roo restaurant in Long Beach.  They had snagged the perfect corner booth, tucked away from the big screen televisions.  (It is a sports viewing restaurant.)

Allan’s new buddy

The dinner and the conversation were the sort that makes good memories.  I was so glad we went.

I am partial to the Roo’s ahi tuna tower.

Allan had steak salad, my second favourite dish.

Across the table, the choice was good old fashioned steak and potatoes.

On the way home, we admired some more Halloween decorations half a block away.

When we got home, Allan made two pumpkin pies for tomorrow’s guests.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

I was glad I had picked flowers yesterday evening; we had frost and ice!

For our final preparation, we thoroughly cleaned the front part of the house where party guests would be.  All the last minute clutter (mostly the boxes Halloween came out of) got stuffed into my room at the back, and some branches put in front of the door so that no one would open it.  We arranged plates and cups and cutlery and flowers.  Finally, after noon, I was able to get outside and string cobwebs.

Allan got the apple ghosts ready to hang up. Each is constructed with an apple and a wire hook.

This year, we hung them above the front fence among the cobwebs.

The cobwebs look so tawdry on any day but Halloween that they will only be up till late this evening.

I had arranged the treasure chests yesterday in the grotto.  With the garage door now open for the event, I moved them into place at the front so that the trick or treaters would see them. We had two little fountains running and the Halloween wreath up on the side of the garage door.

The usual time for the very first trick of treaters is around four.  Judy and Larry had arrived before then to help with any last minute arrangements.  At 3:30, I was in the back yard raking up some more of the leaves I’d stashed on the lawn over a week ago, because I did not feel there were quite enough on the grotto floor.

Finally, all was prepared.  The J’s were ready across the street.

Jodie, Jay, and Doug as the Munsters

I checked on Peggy and Robert, three doors down.

They had been carving pumpkins.

Robert’s costume was a foil wrapped “alien protection device” cap.  Which is more dressing up than I did.  Allan dressed as a garden gnome again.

his outfit last year, when our neighbour, Willa, was dressed the same

And finally, it was show time.  We could see the first trick or treaters coming down the next block.

Tomorrow: Halloween at Tangly Cottage.