Sadly, our little orange cat, Valene had disappeared while we were living in Ocean Park and we never did find her. I should have had that old trailer removed, but instead I gardened all around it and it became a permanent fixture.
I had divisions of plants which had moved with me to the Sou’wester, then to Shakti Cove, and now to here, and I needed to get them in the ground. As soon as I began planting, I found that with no fences, deer walked right in, so fencing became a high priority.
We were working a bit, for Maxine and her daughter Jo and some odd jobs here and there, but for the first year we could afford to take some time off and just settle in.
(Below) Here’s what the pond looked like in July 1994. We were told that at the site of this pond had been an old dormitory for Chinese men, who worked in the fish processing plants but were not allowed to fish or to bring their families. When former owners Will and Cheri had the pond dredged out, they found Chinese bowls and bottles.
Robert by the pond in August 1994 after we attacked the swamp grass that was taking it over (and still wants to come back to this day).
By autumn 1994, I had started garden beds around the trailer, down the north side, and in the lower lawn, and Robert had made a fence of driftwood and chicken wire which was all we could afford.
(Below) Autumn as Orson explored new garden beds. The idea of two Skyrocket Junipers did not work; they plotzed within a year or two.
(Below) Just outside our front door. Beaky, our VW van, had taken its last trip from Shakti Cove to our new house, and we had bought the Ford pick up from a local gardener. This area is completely private and fenced nowadays.
360 Square feet plus loft was not working for us very well, so Robert, who always seemed to have to build a room when we moved to a new place, remodelled the front porch into an extra space. Bryan came down and helped us build the room, and also took us up to Seattle to see one of our favourite bands, Red Dress, perform on New Year’s Eve.
(We were good citizens and asked at the county building if we needed a permit to enclose the porch and were told no. I am sure it is a different story nowadays.)
While Robert worked on the porch, a stray back lad came by two days in a row with a chewed off leash dangling. He was at Sid’s Market in Seaview a couple of nights later, running in and out to the donut section. We offered him a ride and he jumped right in our truck. Soon we realized he was a crazy escape artist and obsessed car chasing dog, about 9 months old, but we kept him anyway and named him Bertie Woofter. He did nothing over the years to make our life calmer.
Bertie lived to chase cars and to run, swim and fetch.
below: view out kitchen window, January ’95. We had been told our property ran all the way to the burn barrel, but it turned out that area was actually on an undeveloped city street. Bertie was soon to crack the glass of the living room window that faces this view when he could not bear that we were outside while he was inside.
In the winter, we got our new tiny kitchen put together with some old cabinets that had come from that old farm we had cleaned up the spring and summer before.
For the next 14 years, I functioned with a rustic little kitchen, just big enough for one person to stand in….usually Robert, because he liked to cook.
Below: spring 1995, working on new garden beds. Bertie is tied to something or he would have been down the street chasing cars. (Years later, when I read “Marley and Me”, I thought “Those people don’t know what a bad dog is!”)
We had created the bed next to Robert (below) in autumn of ’94.
My idea was to have the stream outflow from the pond run under an arbour in the middle of the lower garden.
We had learned that our pond had not only frogs, but also crawfish.
Below: lower garden 1995, enclosed in driftwood and wire deer fence. I had built most of the beds with soil on top of thickly layered newspaper.
Below: looking down from the house, summer 95. That area across the pond was still wild and roughly unwalkable.
Below: shade garden bed in midsummer. I was learning that well over half of my garden was deeply shady.
Here was how the entry area to our house looked when we bought the place in 1994…
Robert took all sorts of bricks that we found buried in the garden and made a lovely patio.