25 December 2018

The Christmas present exchange between me and Our Kathleen had a touch of O’Henry about it.

from Kathleen (Cream Earl Grey is delicious)

To Kathleen (from NIVA green gift shop)

I would love to have sent the same Liquid Wisdom teapot to Montana Mary but have a long and sad history of fragile things getting broken by the time they reach her.

We had already celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve, so I spent the afternoon potting up plants for my Memorial Day plant sale.

rain gauge

In hazy winter light, the lawn sparkled but I could not catch that in a photo.

new greenhouse lean to already full

Skooter helped with digging and dividing.

A terrible disappointment: The Eryngium, grown from seed from a reputable big name seed company, that was supposed to be Miss Willmott’s Ghost, have all turned out to be just an ordinary eryngium (and this one is blooming in winter).

I am sad.  I still desperately want Miss Willmott’s Ghost.  If anyone can bring me a real one, I will take that person out to dinner at the Shelburne Pub!

I have had a potting soil situation.  I bought the same brand from two different local stores.  One shipment is normal looking and dark.  One is extremely red and barky.

This kind, spray painted to mark the barky batch.

So I bought some from each source and mixed them, two parts good to one bad (at least, I think it is bad).

I think the red and barky soil is not as good (left).

Look at the difference, same brand!

The barky bags also had a lot of this.

What do you think about that, fellow gardeners?

26 December 2018

rain gauge and Frosty getting ready to help

Along with potting up starts, I did a little project.  The patio I made in January of 2011 had pavers at the edge, with the water boxes that were later installed.  I suddenly realized those pavers no longer served any purpose and took them out.

I crammed in some sod so that it can be string trimmed right to the edge of the boxes and will no longer be a weedy mess.

From the free wood pile by Jessie’s Fish Co, Allan brought home an armload of plastic venetian blinds.  He had asked me months ago if I wanted them for plant tags.  At that time, I was tired from work, had no intention of having a plant sale, and said no.  I had been regretting that no and was thrilled the slats were still there.

now chopped into plant tag length, four per slat

The potting continued with hellebore seedlings and divisions of golden oregano.

I am keeping track of the time I spend on this project, and the soil, and will divide that by any profit I make to see if this is a worthwhile thing to do after we retire.  (I have dreams of a plant stand at the Saturday market.)

Allan got round to photographing a gnome (made by Wendi Peterson at a Basket Case Greenhouse winter workshop) in a downtown window.

27 December 2018

I continued on a doomed mission to remove as much Ficaria verna (lesser celandine) as possible from areas of the garden where it is taking over.  It no doubt came from plants I brought from my mother’s garden.  It goes dormant in summer, so during the time when I was taking plants while we had her house for sale, its tiny corms hitched a ride.

little round leaves on the run

I am unlikely to win this battle.  I do love the bright yellow spring flowers.

I debated cutting down more dead perennial growth with The Toy, but what is left still looks beautiful to me.

Chelone (pink turtlehead)

We had made a trip to The Planter Box to get some pots back; I have been donating all my extras back to them before I decided on having a plant sale.

potted up some hens and chicks in these cute tiny pots

The only hen that has made no chicks is my favourite one that I bought for about $8 last spring:

Sempervivum ‘Gold Nugget’ is, so far, ungenerous.

After dark, I took a break from daily reading to watch just one episode of Gardeners’ World.  I know if I go down that rabbit hole, my reading plans will end for the winter so I must resist.  But…just one…

I trusted my memory so can not tell you the location of a garden right by the sea…

with a wonderful greenhouse…

…where the gardeners mulched with seaweed.

They said it helped to repel slugs and snails.

I wept with the tenderness of the visit between Carol Klein and Beth Chatto, one of my all time favourite inspirational gardeners.

30 December 2018

We’d had more rain. and now I had a semi-squally winter afternoon for more potting up of plants.

This time, I worked partly in the greenhouse making cuttings.  Wish me luck; it would be wonderful if these take. I was advised in a workshop of yore and by my friend Ann to use perlite.  I had one small bag of the stuff, but found it hard to stuck the cuttings in so I made a mix of half perlite and half seed starting mix.

I used santolina (green and silver), escallonia, rosemary, hardy fuchsia, red and gold twig dogwood, and a few other plants.

Maybe the ones in the lower right should have fewer leaves (olearia, just an experiment).

Skooter chose to not help out in the iffy weather.

sound asleep by the bathroom sink, the warmest room in the house

31 December 2018

We had ice!  Definitely a reading day.

My sarracenia did not mind the ice.

My plant sale stash is growing, but no more will be added till the weather warms up again. We did not dip down into the 20s so I did not have to cover these.

I learned this month that while planting in the ground is not a task I enjoy, I love potting up starts and making cuttings.  I found myself wishing that I had kept my previous home, which was zoned commercial, so that I could have had a weekend nursery.

Wishing you a belated happy new year as I finally got around to writing this on January 17th!

Next: some of the reading of late December.


Allan further explored a river near Astoria. If you click here, and read just the part about January 11th, you can catch up on his latest boating excursion. It can’t be “reblogged” because, in making his blog a handy reference for local boaters, he stacks the adventures on each waterway all into one post per location. We are having some discussions about the navigation of his Southwest Washington Paddle Trips blog. I find it confusing to land on the table of contents each time, and I find it hard to track down the most recent post. He has the orderly mind of an engineer and my mind is rather…tangly.

I promise to write a blog post tomorrow. I hope to keep that promise….It has been awhile. I do have to boot up my computer for book-keeping reasons, after many days of reading and garden puttering. During the quiet days, I access the internet through iPhone and iPad which are much clunkier for blog writing.

Do check out the link to Allan’s day. He took some lovely river photos.

Meanwhile, at home:

Skooter, me, and Monty Don.

Skipanon River

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

27 December 2018: Upstream Over & Under the Skipanon River

The Skipanon River originates in Cullaby Lake, Oregon, and flows under the coastal highway 101 a half a mile south of the big box stores. It then flows through Warrenton, past a marina, a large lumber yard, and then into the Columbia River, not too far from the jetty at the mouth. There are few houses along its length making it a convenient paddle close to but mostly out of sight of civilization. I had recently read about a second free kayak dock just upstream of the Warrenton Marina launch. It was overlooked in my book. The dock is located at the east end of SE 2nd street in Warrenton. I felt it was a pretty big omission from the book as I had recommended that people pay to launch from the marina instead. Still, $5 might buy better…

View original post 1,346 more words

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Allan spent the day at the handmade craft fair at the Sou’wester Lodge, where he was pleased a sell a goodly number of his boating book.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

In a continuing quest to get his book into the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center gift shop, Allan made a trip to Cape Disappointment. (Maybe in January, the gift shop will add it; meanwhile, it is available in Ilwaco at Time Enough Books and at Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.)

By the Cape D lighthouse

The north jetty

A local news station was there looking for a good photo spot for waves.  Allan led them to the most popular spot, the low overlook of Waikiki Beach. However, it was low tide.

Folks get awfully close looking for the perfect photo. Last year, a couple were almost swept away and lost their camera equipment.

Our friend Nellie is renowned for her Waikiki Beach wave photos. Here is one of her favorites, on a high storm-driven winter tide.

Waikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, photo by Janelle Hux

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

We’d had some rain.

…and a fair amount of wind, with 60 mph gusts at the headlands.

the salmonberry tunnel

the bogsy wood swale

new stepping stone path under water

south of the fence in the willow wood

looking north


deep rainwater

The compost is slowly sinking.

Frosty had walked with me till the water was too deep.

Skooter did not.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

I feel I am channeling my mother as I cut up milk cartons to make plant tags for the plant sale that I’m planning.

Before spending a couple of hours digging and potting up plant divisions, I chopped up the kelp into the compost bins.

Skooter helped. (Allan’s photo)

Allan put up the spring window box liners, with early narcissi and snowdrops already blooming.


Narcissus ‘Julia Jane’

As day after day of mild weather calls for afternoons of gardening rather than reading, a Builders Tea is well deserved at dark-thirty.

Skooter’s new favourite spot is by or in the bathroom sink.

Allan’s photo

By spending a couple of hours a day potting up plants, I hope to have an amazing plant sale during the World’s Longest Garage Sale weekend at the end of next May.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

After a rather scary storm the night before of wind, thunder, and lightning:

Not only have I been potting up plants, I also cleaned up the greenhouse entryway and made a new potting area.  This had involved some difficult cutting of hops roots that had run into that area.

It needs more gravel. The potting soil will go into the garbage can.

I can take refuge in the greenhouse during squalls.

Having made me a wonderful additional greenhouse lean-to, Allan began rebuilding the work trailer.

Monday, 24 December 2018

While running errands, we did the last bit of 2019 clean up to the Long Beach planters.

We visited The Planter Box to get some more potting soil for my plant sale project, along with some empty pots; I had taken too many of my empties there at the end of the season and needed some back!

at The Planter Box

The Planter Box has a great selection of violas right now:

and skimmia

and a cute cat (Allan’s photo)

Allan bought more lumber and made more progress on the trailer.

Allan’s photo, new plywood on the bottom

Starting on Christmas Day, it will be my mission to not leave my property until Allan’s birthday on January 2nd.



What have we done this year for the holidays?  Not much.  I did not decorate one little bit, because I did not want to give up reading and gardening time to put up a tree and then take it down again.

Oh, but wait.  I did put out one piece of Christmas decoration, something I have had since 1977:

We have had enough seasonal festivity to make this Season’s Greetings post.  (Soon, I will catch up on the reading and gardening news for December.)

Saturday, 15 December 2018

We had our holiday dinner at the Depot Restaurant early with Our Kathleen, because her schedule would not permit her to join us on Christmas eve.  Our repast was so delicious that I must show you. Even though some people make fun of pictures of dinner, I know for a fact that some of you like that sort of thing.

bubbly, cheesy, flavourful French onion soup

the winter’s best wilted spinach salad

delicately prepared fish for Allan, with a lemony sauce

Kathleen chose the Thai calamari appetizer for her entree.

My favourite winter menu dish, the Cingiale Brasato


sorbet duo


The Depot tree, decorated in a foodie theme, and in the window box, African daisies are still blooming

We decided to forgo our traditional Christmas crackers and exchanged presents without opening them.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

My own personal mission was to not leave my property.  However, we could not miss our holiday tradition of enjoying the Christmas Village display at the Hungry Harbor Grille in Long Beach.

a Christmas crab pot in our post office garden

On the way, we picked up more books from the library, where we found a Christmas carol gathering.

Allan’s photo

We drove to the end of the Bolstad beach approach to see how far up the massive, storm driven tide had come. Quite, far, with driftwood all the way to the picnic shelters.  Allan acquired a bundle of kelp for compost bins, stuffing it into the back of the van.

a feast day for some gulls

in the planter outside, flowers still blooming in our unusually mild winter

even bigger than usual

I imagine myself in the idyllic scene, where the snow is not slippery and where everyone likes each other.

Each building is so detailed, one could spend hours looking in the windows.  Pilgrim Pat, who first took us to see this village, used to take binoculars so that she could see the details of the far away buildings.

Below, I like the triangular building.  It reminds me of Seattle.  Behind it, by the window, it the apartment building with a roof garden which is my choice of where to live, on the top floor and with the garden as part of my domain.

Why I choose that instead of a house can only be explained by my fond memories of the year when I lived in the Gables apartments in Seattle.

The Gables would fit right into the village.  My apartment was on the second floor off the central courtyard.

Allan went outside the restaurant and, through the window, got two side views of my apartment building.

Looks like we somehow got our heavy cement curved bench up to the roof garden!

I now might rather choose to live in the new little float house:

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo; it is rather exciting that the TARDIS is there.

Allan’s photo

The village harbour has a multitude of lighthouses.

Allan’s photo

the ghost ship

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley,
Ding, ding, ding went the bell…as the trolley zoomed by the fish market…

…and the Long Beach Tavern.

The Clamshell Railroad was running, too.

As darkness fell, the carnival lights came on.

one of several lodgings to stay when you visit

If you would like to watch a video that shows the trains and the trolley, click here.  It is rather noisy from other diners; just imagine that you are sitting in a popular café with a view of the village.

We dined on the pasta special and a Reuben sandwich.

Night had come by the time we left the village.

the lights of Long Beach

Allan photographed the Shelburne Hotel on our way home (with our van whiffing of salty kelp):

And he walked to the next block to get a photo of the Christmas lights at Lucy Dagger’s house:

a piratical Christmas

In the evening, I read a book about another village where (despite an alarming number of murders) life is cozy and friends are friends for life.

After that excursion, I did not have to leave the property for five blissful days. Every day is a holiday of reading, gardening, puttering, and projects.  Skooter sleeps in even later than we do….

Monday, 24 December 2018

We had the pleasure of a visit from Mary and Denny, formerly of Klipsan Beach Cottage and now easing into their retirement in their new home in nearby Naselle.  After so many years of being constantly on call at the cottage resort, Mary says she is going to have to figure out what she likes to do in all her free time.  Mary and Denny were on their way to a late afternoon Christmas Eve dinner at the Depot, and our own Dickens Christmas Eve dinner came later at 7:30 PM.

The Depot Restaurant

Dickens dinner

The glory of Yorkshire pudding

Allan tried a new menu item of spice meat balls and hummus.

Window boxes still flowering

Egg nog flan

View from our table

On the tree

We opened our presents late in the evening and now, for us, the celebration is done and we will return to gardening, puttering, reading, and projects—one of which is to catch up with a few blog posts before going on another short blogging hiatus.



Wishing you a bright and joyful year to come.

Kindle readers: If you click this link, you can read a children’s picture book about Skooter, written by his first guardian, Anne. It is free for the next couple of days.

We are on a blogging break but will return shortly for a few posts.

Meanwhile…weather has allowed half days of garden puttering, and the long evenings are for reading. I wish for a steady stretch of consecutive days of rainy reading weather.

The reading has not all been serious. Some mystery novels were included.

I enjoy spending the staycation days with Skooter and Frosty.