After today, our blog will be on an irregular rather than a daily schedule during staycation.

Our Ilwaco

December 7, 2019

Ilwaco, Washington


Walking toward the west end of the port….

DSC09601 Stacked crab pots await crabbing season.

DSC09605 our favorite garden bed

DSC09606 3 Luisa Mack putting out some last minute lights


No time to stop at Salt Pub…


…even though some bar stools were available.


DSC03523 More crab pots await…the season won’t open till the end of December this year.

Before our annual tree lighting, community photos were taken in front of the tree.

The Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary are beloved here.


Other photos had a crabby theme.

DSC03506 volunteer firefighters

DSC03494 She made her crab pot hat!

A decorated fire truck blocked traffic.


At five o clock sharp…


…the tree comes alight.


To the right, Jenna, MC, event organizer and president of the Ilwaco Merchants Association is smiling in delight because the lights worked like a dream.

The high school choir led the crowd in crabby Christmas carols.


A solo…

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Tuesday, 3 December 2019

We returned to the port in the morning to help Jenna and Don with the decorating of the crab pot tree. I almost didn’t go. Am glad I did because Allan and I were the only ones who were able to help out for the entire session today…although we did have some extra entertainment from a darling dog who joined us. For her, it was all about the ball.

Allan tied garlands to the fence…

Meanwhile, Darrel of the port crew hung crab lights all down Howerton Avenue.

Don mounted the star at the top of the tree. (Jenna’s photos)

I finally trimmed the big baptisia in the nearby boatyard garden.

Here is the difference between plants we will leave up all winter and those we cut down. The baptisia has biggish leaves that looked sad and would get worse over the winter till it was a brown dead blob.

Next to it, the Solidago ‘Fireworks’, a well-behaved clumping goldenrod, had tiny foliage and interesting seed heads.

Note that on the left, the Euphorbia characias wulfenii is blooming its chartreusy head off.

Being not very crafty about decorating, I picked up a bag of trash from the field where people will stand for the tree lighting. With all the wind we get, lots of paper trash swirls around the open areas of the port.

Our good friend Bill Clearman drove by and stopped for a chat.

Returning to the tree, I was directed to some organizing of supplies (and also directed to some ball throwing.)

Ball in a box was a favourite game.

I later talked to the dog’s human and learned her name, which I may have forgotten. Was it LoLo? I told him that she had been an absolutely joy to have around. I would love to have a nice dog like her.

Amy from the Port Office came to help on her lunch break.

Don and Allan hung the floats and blue lights for two beloved local men who lost their lives crab fishing.

The Dungeness crab hunt off of our coast is one of the most dangerous, possibly the most dangerous, commercial fisheries. This gives a deep poignancy to our crab pot tree that only locals fully understand.

Allan, Don and Jenna finished putting up the tent for the high school choir’s performance.

After all the lights were tested and found to be working (and may they continue to work for the official lighting four days later!), Allan dug a trench to bury the cords.

At the end of today’s session, we got clean up help from Lanie of the port crew.

People taking pictures of each other:

Two boat haul outs took place while we were working.

With everything done that we could do today, Don carried the last of the supplies away.

postscript: Friday, 6 December 2019

Allan went across the river to a special event at the Maritime Museum. On the way home, he got a call from Jenna asking for a bit more help. By the port office, after sunset and in the rain, he dug one more little trench for the cords running to the cod pot tree.

We will share all about the tree lighting event soon.

Returning to now: Saturday, 7 December 2019

Allan helped with last minute set up at the tree. Tomorrow, you can read all about the event if you like.

Afterwards, I booted up my seven year old MacBook to download my photos…and got a boot up screen that shut itself down on this screen.

At least it’s not the sad Mac face of death.

I processed my photos on Allan’s computer and will churn out the tree lighting blog post from there. The Mac will go to a local repair guy of good repute. Meanwhile, an angel offered me a MacBook that is about the same age as mine but functional. “Better for the environment than buying a new one,” she said, and better for my winter budget, too.

I could maybe work myself through a couple of fix it yourself videos that involve safe modes and OX reinstall whatnots. But it is staycation and I have a library book situation going on.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

After a windy night, I looked out my bedroom window to a different view, shrouded in the branches of the blue potato vine.

Because the day was cold and windy, I did not want to take my ears outside. In the afternoon, Allan had a look and realized that the internet cable was about to be pulled right off of the house by the weight of the vine (which, by its proper name of Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’, is more like a tall and thick-trunked shrub than a vine).

Regretfully, I looked back on my summer thoughts that the plant needed pruning because of its entanglement with the cable.

Allan got busy, trying his very best to not cut the wire.

His photos:

So carefully….


A call to the internet company ensued. To our amazement, the dispatcher offered to send someone immediately, even though by then it was completely dark and pouring rain. We declined and set a time for Monday afternoon.

Monday, 2 December 2019

We loaded the trailer with debris and pruned like mad before the afternoon repair appointment….

…including rambling roses along the arbor, in case the cable needed to go there.

The clever repair person did not run the new line into the arbor but instead straight across in the open air to the utility box behind the garage.

All three of us wondered why it had been installed the other way years ago.


Tuesday, 3 December 2019

When I went out the back garage door in the morning, the light felt completely different because of all the pruning.

Because we are monitoring Frosty closely (as he has had some more episodes where he needs an emergency dose of corn syrup to stop the Wobblies), Allan followed him over to the Norwood garden to make sure he was fine. (He was.)

The arborvitae doesn’t look entirely fine, though.

After three hours of volunteering for crab pot tree decorating (tomorrow’s post), Allan ran smaller branches through the Mighty Mac….

….while I took the opportunity to prune a hops and honeysuckle tangle and add it to the trailered debris.

I will prune harder later.

The obligatory compost bin visual update:

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

The hops, the honeysuckle, and the rambling rose clippings went off with Allan to the dump.

While Allan was out on his dump run, he added other errands: a visit to The Planter Box for potting soil…

Planter Box has Christmas trees.

….and, finally, the trimming of the yellow chrysanthemums in Long Beach.

They were done enough.

On the way home, he photographed some holiday lights in the evening fog, in Long Beach…

..and Ilwaco.

Although all that pruning and hauling that was not the way we had intended to spend our first days of staycation, the pruning project left us with a good feeling of accomplishment. I had perhaps been supposed to be taking it easy, but I did not feel any the worse for my efforts.

The work board now:

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Haunting my mind were the leaves we had seen along the curbs in Ilwaco while helping with the crab pot tree. The trailer had been too full of debris to collect them. Today, Allan agreed to help me get some.

Sadly, we found that the street sweeper had been by….but even so, in one block downtown and then at Black Lake and behind the library, we gathered a trailer load. These will not be mowed because they are much too wet.


The Griffin Gallery window has its holiday decorations.

At Black Lake, the parking lot was empty except for one other vehicle.

It wasn’t till I was scooping leaves right next to the red car that I realized some folks were inside quietly enjoying the view. I think I might have driven them away with my peculiar leaf scooping activity.

Black Lake

Behind the library

Library entrance

At the library, I got a pile of new books to read. Other than the crab pot tree lighting and a doctor appointment, I hope nothing interferes with some reading days.

In the afternoon, Allan fixed the trellis panel that had been torn apart by the potato vine. I wouldn’t choose the clunky-looking diamond lattice; the two matching panels had been given to us for free by a client some years ago. Free is good.

Tomorrow: back to Tuesday at the crab pot tree.

Real Time Alert

Tonight at five PM sharp is the crab pot tree lighting, preceded by some introductory festivities.

Saturday, 30 Nov 2019

our starting temperature at 11 AM

Small Business Saturday at the Port of Ilwaco

After a cold weather reading day on Friday, we did a tad bit of holiday shopping, beginning with Christmas cards at the Don Nisbett Art Gallery….

Allan’s photo

Don signing cards

…and more at Time Enough Books.

shop owner Karla, to the right
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
a sign of the holidays outside

Then, because I had had to leave my property to support some local business, we went on to finish the work year, so or we hoped.

At The Depot Restaurant, we found that the window box annuals are still green and blooming despite temperatures below 30F at night.

Allan’s photo

We will have to check them again next week.  Tidying them when and if the plants do freeze will be a matter of ten minutes.

At the Red Barn, we trimmed up one last plant, the pineapple sage in the south facing planter.

Our good friend Cosmo supervised.

Oops, the big flower needed turning around.

going out in the sunshine for the day (Allan’s photo)

At Diane’s garden next door, we trimmed the pots of (mostly) annuals.

Even though more annuals may die back later, that was our last visit of the year to both of those places.  Allan was pleased to find some clippers that he had lost in Diane’s  roadside garden two visits ago.

Diane’s septic vault garden

Driving back through the Red Barn lot, I decided to get myself four buckets of horse manure for my four compost bins.

that wonderful horse manure smell!

Monty Don praises horse manure and, in an older book of his, states that he thinks that cow manure is too weedy.  I think the opposite is true…but I am desperate for some manure for my bins.  I have tried to get rabbit, I would love to get cow or goat, but will try horse again and see if it makes less pasture grass when composted.

In Long Beach, we drove to the end of the Bolstad beach approach on the off chance that  could find a pile of kelp.  No luck.  But I did see a big clump of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ that we had neglected to pull.  Trying to keep my ears out of the icy cold wind, I delegated Allan to decide if it looked good enough to leave till February.

After a careful examination…

…he gave it a pass,

but he did find some sticky-outie roses to clip.

Those Chrysanthemums That Will Not Die at Bolstad and Pacific are still bright and beautiful.  We drove right by them.

I do hope they are done by next Thursday when we go to Long Beach to pick up our cheque!

Happily, the pineapple sage in Fifth Street Park was done.

Melianthus major, left, still good, and pineapple sage, right

I already knew the pineapple sage was over.  I’d asked Cathy of Captain Bob’s Chowder (right behind the park) to check on it for me yesterday!

Primroses are blooming under a nearby street tree.

With the sage cut back, we declared that staycation had begun, even though we will have to emerge for maybe half an hour more trimming, maybe less, sometime in December.  We celebrated with crab rolls at Captain Bob’s.

Cathy even had a gift bag for me, which I will (or may) save until Christmas eve to make it a more festive occasion.

At home, we unloaded all but a few hand tools and a small shovel out of the van!

a sure sign of staycation!

The tall side came off of the trailer so that it is ready for winter maintenance.

I added debris and horse manure to the compost bins.

the red weather gauge

The entire day, we’d been in windy temperatures not much above the 30s.

After finishing the monthly billing (last billing of 2019!), I adjusted the work board, sorry to not be able to make the business side of it completely blank.

Still, that’s close enough to declare that Staycation has begun.





Thursday, 28 November 2019

In cold weather, I stayed in all day except for a very quick check on the cold frame.

The great wall of china has remained up longer than usual.  I can see I have lost one, though…

…somewhere down behind the plant shelves.

The ponds were still icy at noon.

The cold frame was not too warm inside.

paperwhites in the kitchen

On the Heron Cam, the chrysanthemums are still yellow.

I spent the day working on billing and on writing a whole week’s worth of blog posts.

the view from my daytime desk

I wish those leaves would blow over here.

Jazmin helped.

Our neighbour Scott (my canine friends Bentley and Cotah’s dad) brought us a sweet potato pie!

In the evening, we joined Our Kathleen at the Depot Restaurant for a Thanksgiving feast, which Allan photographed for your delectation.

Turkey dinner

Our Kathleen

Caramel pumpkin cheesecake with pecan crust. Mary Berry would approve.

After every delicious meal at my grandma’s house, she would say, “Is your sufficiency fancified and all your wants seronsified?” The answer was always yes. And after tonight’s meal, we would all say a resounding yes to that question.



Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Of course, at this time of year, a full outdoor work day for not-morning-people is only five hours long.  And a good thing, too.  I had every intention of just doing a few short tasks and keeping my problematic ear out of the cold wind.  It did not work out that way.  Surely fresh air is good for any ailment??


We pulled the last of the cosmos at the boatyard garden.

Allan’s photo

Solidago ‘Fireworks’ starting to bloom again low down.

the last sweet pea (Allan’s photo)

pink achillea still blooming

Mot of what is left is structural and will look fine all winter—although I may have to cut down this baptisia if it goes all black.

baptisia (false indigo)

We next worked at Mike’s garden, three blocks east of our house, just to rake the front path and apply another bag of mulch.

What a shock to arrive and find that the lilac on the north side had been removed, as planned, but also the Escallonia ‘Iveyi’.

this past September


Escallonia iveyi in Mike’s garden in summer


It is an empty slate that will need shallow rooted plants because of the plumbing lines—something to do in 2020 after I find out what Mike and Mel want there.

We added some more mulch to the front corner.

The Depot Restaurant

All I meant to do was to to pull yellow agyranthemums out of the whiskey barrel planter.  We found an hour’s work instead.

after cutting down some more perennials

Some raking called out to us.

A bit of work needed doing next door.

some crocosmia to pull

Allan’s photos

Next door’s lawn landscape (around the Depot office) gets some attention from us maybe thrice a year, including today.

Long Beach

The main reason that we were working today was that Parks Manager Mike had asked us to tag any plants at the back end of Coulter Park that could be moved when that area is  cleared to make way for a parking garage for the new police station.  (I am so happy that the west end of the park with its blackberry and salmonberry problem is going away.)

On the way, we did a drive-by look of the Bolstad beach approach while I pondered whether or not to pull the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ or leave it till early 2020.

What to do?

At Coulter Park, all I could think of that could be moved (to where though? maybe the middle parking lot berm) were a cluster of hardy fuchsias and a sword fern.

We made a cash donation to Shoeboxes of Joy, which is setting up its annual operation in the old train depot at the front of the park.

Shoeboxes of Joy in the old train depot

The shoeboxes will be packed with small gifts and goodies for local elders in need.

I got to pet two dogs….

…and to visit with our friend Yudy, who we met when we toured her “Little Tyke” garden ages ago.  I apologized for being so anti-social.  We agreed that we think kindly of each other often.

Yudi, to the left

I like it when people don’t take it personally that I don’t pursue socializing.  I would love to see Little Tyke garden again next summer.

The beach approach crocosmia weighed heavily on my mind.  I decided some clumps had to be pulled, and some clumps just had to be thinned, today.  Surely even with that, we’d be done by two o’ clock.

We worked our way from one end of the long narrow garden to the other….

looking east

looking west

…ignoring the weeds, pulling crocosmia, and finding that we also had to clip some rugosa roses that were sticking out too far into the sidewalk.

Allan’s photos:

I got to pet this dog.

A detectorist was working his way along the other side of the approach.

He occasionally found something, probably not Roman coins.

I longed to tell him about The Detectorists show but restrained myself.

Another small task was calling to me. We moved over to the main street.  I did a wee bit of holiday gift shopping at NIVA green….

inside NIVA green

while Allan cut down chrysanthemums in two of the planters.

But the bright yellow chrysanthemums at the main intersection will stay, despite the cold forecast for tonight.  I read an article that said a touch of frost intensifies their colour.  And I have figured out that I can check on that clump of flowers from home via the Heron Cam!

See that spot of yellow to the left of the planter?

I look every day now to see if the chrysanths are still blooming.

The last Long Beach task was to see if I could cut down the pineapple sage in Fifth Street Park.  I could not.  It will still be feeding the hummingbirds.

Super Dorothy rose is still blooming.

milkweed seeds

Ilwaco again

By now it was an hour till dark and I wanted so badly to erase the port gardens from the work list that we weeded the two remaining weediest areas in 45 degree weather, just for the half an hour required to call the job done.

some very cold weeding

coreopsis tinctoria still blooming (Allan’s photo)

At home, I was able to re-write the work list by just simply dropping a couple of tasks that can now wait till late winter, and rewriting the others in a way that, reassuringly, shows that they are small things…surely.


Tuesday, 26 November 2019

While Allan helped with the crab pot tree decorating, I delved into a memoir.


Some years ago, I read the author’s memoir, Look Me in the Eye. Recently I read his brother Augusten Burroughs’ childhood memoir, A Wolf at the Table.  I want to reread Look Me in the Eye but have had to make an interlibrary loan request, during which I discovered two other books by him, including the one above.

I love this guy, and here are a few reasons why.










I 100% relate to that, and to this:


And to this…


Which seems a sad ending to my takeways.  I might not have entirely believed that people are often malicious till I was caught in a situation of being shunned in 2014.  A friend who was the other shunned one said to me, “They are picking on the aspies!” and it all of a sudden made complete sense to me, along with a lot of other factors about my life.  Still, I do prefer to think that maliciousness happens sometimes but not often.

I look forward the arrival of Look Me in the Eye, which I will then follow with Robison’s memoir about life with his aspergian son, Raising Cubby.

I had time to read another book.

The China Bayles mysteries are always good.  I love the ritual introduction of the setting in each book.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Today was a work day.  With darkness falling so early, I was able to read the next China Bayles book in the evening (along with watching Survivor and an episode of the Great British BakeOff!)

Again, I do love the description of Thyme and Seasons.

…so soothing to my soul.

Both mysteries are set mostly in the fictional Texas Hills town of Pecan Springs, and both feature lots of plant lore, including orchids in the most recent book.  (Vanilla is an orchid.)  And now I am all caught up with the series again and waiting for the next one.