With some variation, the Christmas staycation week revolved round Olde Towne Cafe. Former Ilwaco resident Patt was in town dogsitting at the hydrangea house and was, as she put it, greedy for as many coffee klatsches as she could get before having to return to her new town of Battleground.
day one: Tuesday, 24 December 2013
I felt a slight regret at going to a midday coffee klatsch on a beautiful day when I could have accomplished some gardening.
We had one delightful errand to run before coffee time: picking up a box of Christmas cookies that I had ordered from Pink Poppy Bakery. Up to Long Beach we drove to Madeline’s new bakery storefront near the Long Beach arch, just west of city hall.
The bakery is located on the side of the building now known as Akari Space.
I love the “Mission Control” sign for Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm. I’m not sure whether or not it’s Pink Poppy that will be offering coffee and tea when they open with regular hours sometime in early 2014.
Madeline did a community fundraising where many locals loaned money for a “square” (or something like that) for $50 to help her get the oven for her bakery. I’m proud to say that Tangly Cottage Gardening was one of the investors. The bakery, whose goods up till now have been by special order or sold at a booth at the Ilwaco Saturday Market from May-September, is so popular that it only took a couple of days to raise the money.
Part of the rest of the building is given over to coworking areas (Akari Space). Since I don’t quite understand what that’s all about, here is an article on the subject provided by the Akari Space Facebook page.
Watch for the interior side of our dull mid 70s manufactured home front door to be transformed with lath like that…I hope.
Then…we went to Olde Towne. Our friends were making noises about too many pictures having been taken of them, so I contented myself with some vintage kitchenware:
At home, I walked into my room just in time to catch this sunset from the back yard of Nora’s house next door.
Pardon me while I add a photo that will be of interest to gardeners:
We opened our presents before dinner. Not being a morning person, I’ve started a Christmas evening gift ritual in our family. One member of the family had opened his present two days early, however! Allan had found, in the middle of the living room floor, this gift tag:
I recognized the handwriting and knew immediately that one of the cats had gotten into the box of presents under the tree from Montana Mary. Sure enough, later that evening I had found Calvin playing with this:
Allan had been into a Kinks website and found me a representation of my two favourite songs by them, Waterloo Sunset (a mug) and, of course, Village Green Preservation Society (a tea towel).
Why o why can’t Ilwaco have a village green on the vacant lot next to the Pharmacy? If I had the money to buy that lot, I would make it so.
I had been looking forward for several weeks to the Christmas Eve Dickens Dinner at the Depot Restaurant; we ended up sitting at the counter next to the Christmas tree where we were able to watch the bustlings about of the staff of personable servers while we dined.
We got the last one of that delicious dessert.
day two: Wednesday, 25 December 2013
With no extended family in the area (and in my case, my family of birth is all gone), we went to the afternoon potluck gathering at Olde Towne, for people who wanted a place to gather with friends on Christmas day.
After our potluck we had a white elephant gift exchange, for which people wrap up something inexpensive or re-gifted and you take your chances with what you get. I was amazed at how well the presents worked out. Captain Phil from Nahcotta got a gardening book that I donated, and I think he was one of the few gardeners there. And Sarah, who loves birds, got a birdhouse kit that Allan had originally bought for his dad.
day three: Thursday, 26 December 2013
Again at Olde Towne: Shortly after bringing us our lunches, Luanne had time to sit and visit with us for a spell.
day four: Friday, 27 December 2013
Of course, I went down to Olde Towne to have coffee with Patt. Just to avoid the tedium of repetition, I took a photo of a different Olde Towne bunch.
After coffee, I stopped by the Antique Gallery, one of two Ilwaco antique shops run by our friends and gardening clients Robert and Larry. Robert’s domain is the big shop on First Avenue.
My mission was twofold: Take some photos for the business’s Facebook page and have a nice long schmooze with Robert. Both missions accomplished.
The danger of taking the photos is I usually see something that haunts me with desire to own, and I might find something irresistible.
Although I am immune to the charms of “milk glass”, if that is indeed what these white pieces are, they remind me in a sentimental way of one of my favourite writers, Glady Taber.
day five: Saturday, 28 December 2013
I had the late morning to kick around the house a bit as our coffee klatsch was not until two. (I’ve switched to my staycation time, the natural rhythm for me of staying up till 3 and sleeping till 11. I often would rather be a morning person for the sake of daylight but I love the quiet velvety hours of the night too much to sleep through them.) Out my window around noonish, I saw this deer in Nora’s backyard.
Before I left for coffee, I could see her bedded down for an early afternoon rest.
On the way to coffee, I stopped at Larry’s branch of the antique shops to take some more photos.
Coffee klatsch lasted from one pm all the way till about 4:30 as we worked very hard on solving some of the world’s problems.
We are all missing the presence of our Judy who has been absent because she and Tom have a busy holiday with lots of family members at their house.
Meanwhile, as I spend my staycation life goofing off, Allan broke down our old rotten work trailer in preparation for a complete rebuild. The evening that the tailgate fell off because of rotten wood around a bolt and dragged behind us by a bungie cord was a catalyst but this had been one of his planned winter projects all along.
I suggested that we go to Pelicano Restaurant for dinner with the gift certificate given to us by Mary and Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages. Allan was not hard to persuade.
We took a little walk along Waterfront Way to enjoy the holiday lights, soon to disappear into the darkness of January. I do wish that such lights were not just associated with Christmas so that they could see us through the whole winter.
I can see the masts of the two boats above from my south window and will miss their lights next week.
coffee klatsch intermission: Sunday, 29 December 2013
On the day when Olde Towne is closed, I accomplished too much sleeping, and a reasonable amount of housecleaning (and the first part of this blog entry). Allan was far more productive with his trailer project. This is the first complete rebuild of the trailer since he moved down here and put it to work gardening in January 2005.
day six: Monday, 30 December 2013
By the time I had breakfast, worked on this blog entry a bit more, and emerged into the daylight, Allan was already being productive with his trailer rebuilding project.
I wandered the garden a bit, saw much that needed doing, and did none of it.
We have had no wind fierce enough to take Danger Tree down; getting something done about it is must be addressed this winter.
I had to do something productive so decided the tree must come down, mainly so that I could more easily admire my new garden bookshelf area.
Down came the ornaments,my favourites viewed with appreciation:
(I’m going to add these to my Christmas tree post, so anyone who happens to read this blog straight through will have found this to be repetitive.)
They are packed into Christmas tins and small boxes, inside big boxes, for extra protection.
Once upon a time at my Grandma’s, such tins were an important part of making and delivering an assortment of cookies to all the neighbours.
I had one last look through a cunning, tiny book that is another favourite ornament:
The book has a strong message about being kind to animals, as “boys who chased the cats and stoned the birds and were unkind to dumb animals…found rods and empty bags, and stockings filled with bran. But in those days as now, to the children who were good, and kind, and true, Old Kriss left rattles and tops and presents for all.” The author also makes a point that the reindeer are well cared for:
Where this little book came from, I do not know. It appeared among my ornaments as if by magic.
My new book corner, revealed in all its glory, will be the subject of a blog post sometime in January.
In the evening, coffee klatsch (Jamie, Pat Moss of Fine Art Investigations, Heather of NIVA green, Luanne of Olde Towne Café, Patt, me, and Jenna of Queen La De Da’s), convened at El Compadre Restaurant in Long Beach for dinner, making this the official sixth day of Patt’s coffee klatsch holiday gatherings. I did not want to pester my friends with photos so concentrated just on the ambience:
Luanne says we need to have a coffee klatsch dinner once a month and I couldn’t agree more.
day seven: Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Coffee klatsch was scheduled for one thirty PM on into the afternoon for any of the informal group who could come for Patt’s last official klatsch before she returns to her new home in Battleground. The quilting group was also there when I arrived. An attempt to do a stealth photo was rewarded by blurriness that I somewhat redeemed by going sepia.
Our group came and went till the four PM closing time. To our utter delight, Judy made it out today. She has been absent because of a busy family Christmas, and she tells me it is ok to reveal that another reason she has been absent is that her Tom is going through chemo again. You may recall many tears shed one night while bulb sorting awhile back; the reason was that after a year of remission, he has had to re-enter the difficult process of chemo. We miss his being able to come to klatsch and wish we were techie enough to have him join us through a computer monitor on a traveling frame like Sheldon did on Big Bang Theory!
We stayed till after hours before bidding adieu to Patt. Her heart is in Ilwaco but her life is now in an inland town. While I might encounter her at midmorning breakfast coffee on Thursday, it will be a poignant farewell instead of a cosy klatsch.
I had had a phone call from our friend and client Jo and I deceived Allan into thinking we needed to go to her Long Beach home in the very late afternoon to pick up some work money. The real reason is that Jo had made him a quilt!
While on the subject of Jo and her glorious quilting skills, here’s the one she made for me a few years ago:
Jo and Bob were divesting themselves of a garden patterned rug which is going to be just perfect for my garden book corner!
(You might wonder if I accomplished anything other than coffee klatsches during this week….The answer is not much other than the final billings of the year, the Astoria blog entry which took a good long while, the reorganizing of my garden books, and the reading a few books and four months worth of excellent older entries in The Miserable Gardener blog.)
We move on now to a New Year and the last view from our south window of the Christmas tree and star at Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Company and of the holiday lights at Time Enough Books.
Mist in the Valley by Edna St Vincent Millary
These hills, to hurt me more,
That am hurt already enough,—
Having left the sea behind,
Having turned suddenly and left the shore
That I had loved beyond all words, even a song’s words, to
And built me a house on upland acres,
Sweet with the pinxter, bright and rough
With the rusty blackbird long before the winter’s done,
But smelling never of bayberry hot in the sun,
Nor ever loud with the pounding of the long white breakers,—
These hills, beneath the October moon,
Sit in the valley white with mist
Like islands in a quiet bay,
Jut out from shore into the mist,
Wooded with poplar dark as pine,
Like points of land into a quiet bay.
(Just in the way
The harbour met the bay)
Stricken too sore for tears,
I stand, remembering the Islands and the sea’s lost sound—
Life at its best no longer than the sand-peep’s cry,
And I two years, two years,
Tilling an upland ground!