Just because some of our readers (all 20 0f you!) might have trouble seeing the slide show (one did!), here’s a little post of the wonderful photos Allan took on the day we had Danger Tree cut down.
Friday, 24 January 2014
On Thursday, while doing some weeding in the afternoon, I had an anxious eye on Danger Tree as enough wind was blowing to make me worry that one of the dead branches would fall. I’d had enough of the worry, so into the house I went and called Wooly’s Tree Service. (Their ad did not promote TOPPING, which is why I chose them over the other outfit. Even though it did not matter how Danger Tree was treated, I don’t want to encourage a business that pushes the topping of trees.)
We missed the return phone call that afternoon and the next morning (at 7:30 AM when the phone was turned off), so I called back as soon as I woke up (midmorning). The foreman came right over and said the crew would come that very afternoon and take Danger Tree down.
I photographed the exciting event mostly from the north end of the back yard, and Allan photographed it from the south end. The climber’s bravery and skill boggled my mind. Even the day’s light wind had the dry and brittle tree swaying slightly, but he went up to the top and back down again with no hesitation, just the occasional brief stop to rest from the heavy saw.
As soon as the branches quit falling, the climber’s helpers chopped the trunk into large but manageable rounds. We had an agreement that we would do all the clean up other than that. The price of the job was reasonable and we tipped well. Our new neighbour, New Judy, planned to come the very next day with her son and gather all the larger wood, and some kindling, because she heats her cottage with a wood stove.
I decided to have the cutter leave a tall snag. I suggested to the foreman that the stump be cut at an angle so that it looked natural. He said, rather endearingly, “I think you want it flat for that thing you are going to find at a garage sale and want to put on top.” Maybe so, so pretty much flat is how it came out.
The slideshow has my view first, followed by Allan’s. I will follow this post with a “best of danger tree” as some people might have trouble seeing the slide show (or, like me, not have the time to watch a slideshow because they have a blog entry to make or a book to read).
New Judy told us that her son uses the flat top of a tree at his home to put out bird food. That would be a good idea but ours is too tall for that….so I’ll use it for “that thing I’m going to find at a garage sale”. Two other friends suggested we have it carved into a sculpture, and one was sure Allan could do it. That’s not one of his skills…yet.
I woke up this morning to the sad news that Pete Seeger, America’s folk singer and man of peace, has died.
He was 94 years old, so we should be grateful that we had him with us for so long. He was a man whose presence was timeless and inspiring, and the truth is, we needed him. We need him still.
He was more than a singer/songwriter, although in his case that would have been enough. He was a man of courage, unafraid to face down fancy fools and demagogues. In the 1950s he was hauled before Joe McCarthy’s Red-scare witch-hunters and branded a communist–a brand he neither confirmed nor denied until much later, when he said he had been a communist for a time but dropped out. He never failed to remind those who asked that it was never illegal in this country to be a communist. …
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Reading time is over for now because of excellent weather and much gardening that needs to be done here before we go back to work in early February.
Monday, 20 January 2014
The tallest plants other than a couple of fruit trees are the hardy Fuchsia magellanicas. I’m not sure how far up they will leaf out this spring after our hard frost in December. For now, I’m taking out horizontally-inclined side branches to keep them from completely taking over the center of the west bed. I’m not even sure I want as many of them there; I originally planted them when shade was cast by a huge rhododendron that we’ve since removed. Perhaps more variety would be better, and yet I love the fuchsias and would hate to kill any by moving them (and to where?) Ideally, I could replace the salmonberry groves in the bogsy wood with fuchsia groves but think that is too much work for me. Maybe I will cut some of the fuchsias to the ground and let them come back shorter. But I love the flakey bark on the old trunks. What a dilemma.
I still have the goal to “stop the eye” on the sides of the garden. I remember how in my former garden, I felt so enclosed, and it was so private, and that sense of enclosure made me feel more like my garden was an extension of my very self.
How much do I want to stop the eye at the border? Do I want to see through or do I want the secret garden effect of a wall of solid green? I think so. If I change my mind…there’s always pruning.
I had a neighbour drop in via the open gate…a welcome guest who got great enjoyment from the garden.
The cats were not as pleased to see her as I was. They like dogs, having grown up (with their previous human) with two large dogs, but Gracie is a bit rambunctious for their tastes.
By the end of the day, I had made a big mess on the grass.
At the beginning to the work session, I had started trying to move a big water container on the patio.
I got one of the plants out (heavy!) and dipped many buckets of water out but then I was stuck. Allan had gone off to buy some supplies for his winter projects (something to do with a little boat, not a garden boat!) and when he returned, he helped me reposition the big container so that it will take up less room on the patio.
On Tuesday the 21st, I was thrilled at weather cold and windy enough to sit inside all the day long reading A Question of Identity by Susan Hill. No gardening necessary!
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Good weather again, so no daytime reading. Darn it! I was amused to run across an article in the Coast Business Journal that said:
Main also touches on a hard truth of life in a tourism economy (or any seasonal business): getting through the winter can be hard. It was years before I got to the point where I had enough money to take several weeks off in the winter and not be scrambling for odd jobs or working in all weather to survive financially.
Of course, Tuesday through Friday, my staycation day includes a stop at Olde Towne Café (usually a late breakfast) and Wednesday was no different. Then Allan and I delivered our B&O tax form to Long Beach City Hall. I should stay out of our work gardens if I don’t want to feel the urge to get back to the job.
That Narcissi is quite possibly ‘February Gold’. Oh dear, the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ needs to be cut so it does not distract from the spring flowers. Architectural winter foliage….I’m tired of it now. And the Jerusalem sage needs to be chopped to the ground, having got seriously blasted by the December cold.
I resisted and all we did was remove some tatty Hellebore leaves at city hall.
We found the city crew clearing the garden by the public restroom, the area that got destroyed by an errant car driving into it last fall.
Before, it had these Chamaecyparis pisifera shrubs. They looked awful after pruning (not by us!) and then were driven over by the car!
I think we will put Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’ in there. If I had access to something columnar and way cooler, I’d do something more exciting here. but Sky Pencils will be just fine, after the fence and the restroom walls are repaired.
Let me share how awful the Phormiums look in the park between Funland and the restroom. This area is NOT MY PROBLEM as it actually belongs to Funland, but we do some cleanup in here over the summer as it does LOOK like it should be a city park. Mike, parks manager, agreed that he’d love to see the Phormiums gone so I’ve asked the city administrator to talk to the owner of Funland and if he agrees, out they go, with the help of city equipment.
On the way out of town, I did see two planters with Lithodora that we stopped and dealt with. It’s one of my least favourite plants, but a few linger on in formerly volunteer planters. I dislike the way it turns grey in the middle, so chopped it back severely.
I let four, or maybe six, of them remain in town because some people do love them for their all to brief season of bright blue flowers.
At home, I continued the winter garden clean up. A repetitive hollow thunking sound led me to look way up in a tree to see some sort of woodpecker.
The garden beds are starting to look more ready for spring.
I do hope I get some actual clumps of snowdrops and not just onesies. I’ve planted Galanthus nivalis and ikarae and surely some of them, on their third year in this garden, will have started to make clumps like the crocuses do.
Sunday, 19 January 2014
I woke to the sound of foghorns and the sight of fog hanging low over the port. The temperature outside was in the low forties, giving me enough excuse to stay indoors reading a Simon Serrailler mystery for most of the day. I ventured out in the late afternoon just to work on picking up some storm-fallen wood for New Judy’s woodstove.
The cats all seem to enjoy using the fallen branches as balance beams and claw sharpeners.
At four thirty, I decided the incoming fog warranted a photo from the south end of Nora’s lawn. Here, between our two houses, is one of two big debris piles that I’ve got going. If Nora were still alive, I wouldn’t have something so unsightly in this spot. The original purpose of this garden bed was to grow bright flowers for her to see from her back porch…
I am going to feel discombobulated when Nora’s house is sold someday, as I am so used to walking on her property; she was a kind and generous and friendly neighbour.
The fogbank looked so spectacular that I went out to the port parking lot to take my photos.
The fog lured me down to the marina.
The Iris reticulata at the port office garden is out more than last week; I do hope someone has noticed other than me!
A little way further east on Waterfront Way, I walked past Pelicano Restaurant and started thinking about their food.
By the time I got to CoHo Charters, I’d given Allan a call on my mobile to suggest that tonight be our monthly dinner at Pelicano and he had readily agreed. Meanwhile, I walked up Elizabeth Avenue along the east side of the marina.
I walked home along Advent Avenue to collect Allan for our dinner date. Looking west I could just make out local fisherman John G. taking his daily bike ride, followed by his faithful dog Ernie.
Home looked so inviting with the warm lights on in house and shed.
We drove down to Pelicano Restaurant because the evening would be cold, and Ilwaco has some dark stretches of pavement with no street lights to help one avoid potholes when walking home! We had the place to ourselves because of some big football game that meant nothing to us but apparently quite a lot to other people. Fortunately, there is no big screen telly at Pelicano. (A television in a restaurant is a sure way to make me NOT want to eat there.)
We had “Planter’s Punch” cocktails…delicious. (“Myers’ dark rum, fresh squeezed pineapple and lime juice and grapefruit simple syrup”)
The salad was particularly outstanding. (“Green papaya salad with shrimp, mint, cilantro, peanuts and crispy shallots”)
After a delectable dinner of rockfish (Allan) and scallops (mine)…
(“Rockfish with Quinoa, Tuscan Kale, Shiitake Mushrooms and Salmoriglio Sauce” and “Sea Scallops and Pacific Cod Baked with Tomatoes, Black Olives and Salsa Verde”)
…we both closed with the freshly made apple tart. Look at how finely those apples are sliced and how beautifully it is put together. Each one take 12 minutes to make from scratch.
I love staycation.
Posted in journal, narcissi, plants, tagged Golden Sands garden, Grassroots Garbage Gang, Ilwaco Timberland Library, Narcissus bulbicodium, Olde Towne Café, Seaview Washington, volunteer beach clean up on January 19, 2014| 7 Comments »
Saturday, 18 January 2014
Beach Clean Up
We decided to park at 30th Street in Seaview for the January GrassRoots Garbage Gang volunteer beach clean up and walk west along the (dead end) block of 30th. This street was part of the loop I used to walk the year I lived at the Sou’wester Lodge: Out to the beach on the Seaview approach, down the sand to where Holman Creek emerges, back in on 30th to town and along scenic, historic K Place to return to the resort.
This house on the SW corner of Willows and 30th has always greatly appealed to me because of its location by Holman Creek and the privacy of its yard. It’s not as private now because flooding a few years back required some clearing along the creek.
When I started looking to buy a house in 1993, I had my eye on this tiny cottage (below); it was not for sale at exactly the right time.
At the west end of 30th, the road ends and a wide trail to the beach begins.
Swamps lie on the north side of the beach trail, changing into dunes. On the south side is Holman Creek.
I remember the dune banks bloomed in summer with vetch, wild beach pea, and birds-foot trefoil.
We found our first pile of garbage along the creek halfway to the beach.
Walking down the 30th Street trail gave us the opportunity to get started on the clean up on the south side of Holman Creek without having to wade across it by the tideline.
The clean up officially started at 9:30 AM; in our usual “not morning people” fashion, we arrived at this point at 10:30, with only 6 hours of sleep as our staycation schedule has altered to pure night owl time.
t was nice to start on the south side of creek for a change! There is usually a lot of debris along here because of the tide washing far in.
We were late to the party and most of the trash where we first reached the beach had been picked up and piled for volunteer drivers to gather.
I didn’t feel too guilty about our tardiness because we also do work behind the scenes on the GrassRoots Garbage Gang Facebook page!
Beach clean up day is the only time I don’t mind seeing tire tracks on the beach…which unfortunately is a state highway.
When I used to walk on the beach more regularly, I found it challenging to get a photo without tire tracks in it. Walking at high tide would do the trick but then the sand is soft and shifting.
The beach scape changing constantly here, sometimes swept clean, sometimes with little bits of driftwood as above, occasionally with not very exotic shells.
Allan and I found lots of trash midway down the beach between the creek and Beards Hollow, in an area that people coming from each direction had perhaps turned back before reaching.
That sweet spaniel came running right up to me!
Later the dog’s person told me the spaniel loves to have her chest petted and will take her paw and move your hand back if you try to stop!
At noon, we turned back toward 30th. Some volunteers with a car had left some heavy bags behind; we could not schlep them so we fervently hoped one of the vehicle volunteers would get them. The folks with the car could have driven them back to the beach approach and delivered them to the big clean-up day dumpster there, but perhaps they did not know that. We had to leave our very heavy bag there as well rather than haul it for half a mile. There’s an RV park back behind the dunes so we hope someone got those bags and they did not go back out to sea!
On the way back, I snapped some birds for Mr. Tootlepedal.
The birds are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of the clean up, especially when people pick up the tiny pieces of plastic that take a long time to fill a bag. Birds eat them, mistaking them for food, and can die from a belly-full of plastic pieces.
Along the bit of the Discovery Trail next to the creek grew ferns in the dune sand.
The volunteer soup feed was halfway up the Peninsula at the Senior Center, next to Golden Sands Assisted Living. We were among the last to arrive; Allan got the last bowl of chili and I was content with a delicious bowl of split pea soup.
Golden Sands check up
Bear with me while I post some dull winter photos, for my own blog record, of the Golden Sands garden. Of course, I simply had to check on it because it is right next door to the Senior Center where we went for the soup feed.
In the enclosed courtyard, the four garden quadrants are sleeping in their lovely blanket of dairy manure.
This year I hope to finally get the area outside the SE quadrant looking better. It is terribly infested with horsetail and creeping sorrel. Now that the quadrants themselves are nicely mulched and the sprinkler system is functional, they should take less care and leave time for other areas.
What is to be the fate of those rhodos if the goal is to always keep them below the window? In my opinion, they should not be there at all if that is the plan.
But enough thoughts about work….All this is probably going to have to wait till March.
We drove back to Ilwaco and stopped at the Timberland Regional Library where a white Narcissus bulbicodium had two very early blooms.
Before going home for some late afternoon gardening, we stopped at Olde Towne Café for a couple of treats.
Now, back to staycation for six days before the next local event that will draw us out into the world again. I am sort of planning on staycation lasting till February 10th, depending on the weather and on potential jury duty.
Posted in journal, our garden, public gardens, spring clean up, tagged Clatsop Weavers and Spinners Guild, Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, Galanthus, gardening, gardens, Ilwaco boatyard garden, Iris reticulata, meander line, Olde Towne Trading Post Café, our gardens, Port of Ilwaco, Threads to New Worlds on January 17, 2014| 7 Comments »
Thursday, 16 January 2014
Another staycation day began midmorning at Olde Towne Café, where I had a latte and a bagel and admired the bouquet of pussy willows that had been brought in by Cat, one of the regulars.
This willow from Long Beach is strangely early as the ones by my bogsy wood have barely begun to bud out.
During the afternoon at home, I tackled a bit more of the clean up in the back garden. Spring clean up comes early here because once we start work, I won’t have the time.
The weather has been particular hard on the garden this past winter, with a week of unusually cold night temperatures. This should provide me with plenty of space to add new plants…or to make more room for established ones that are already crowded.
Allan has been implementing an idea of mine: that in the space behind the garage, storage would be improved by shelves that actually fit and utilize the entire space.
Friday, 17 January 2014
A belated birthday to my dear old friend Roberta (since I am writing this a week later and setting back the publishing date).
I went to Olde Towne for lunch rather than breakfast, as I had the desire to check out some gardens and perhaps see the sunset. After a Chai latte and a bleu cheese steak salad (my vegan friend Patt says a steak salad is an oxymoron!), I took a bit of a work stroll, resulting in a very tiny bit of work and a great deal of thinking about work.
I had brought a pair of garden clippers but no bucket; as I walked down toward the port, I clipped some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and pulled a large handful of weeds from under the street trees and offloaded the bundle in the long grass near the boatyard.
I had no intention of working on the boatyard garden during staycation. The long stretch to the north of the boatyard gate looked pretty good, as we had weeded it well before our winter break. The stretch to the south was another story.
All along the three block-or-so garden, plants that were left up for winter interest are looking tired and ready to be cut back. The southern stretch has far more weeds than I’d like to see…which was no surprise.
Turning the corner, I walked east along Howerton.
My camera failed me by Queen La De Da’s Art Castle by going all blurry. I include a thumbnail of the photo here for my own reference; this garden at the west end of the street looks interesting and good and the weeding job, one of the last we did, has held up well. And there was a snowdrop!
Further east, I felt a slight urge to cut back Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ behind the port office. I resisted, wanting to stay fixed in staycation mode.
However, I did have a mission. Last time I had taken a sunset walk, I’d been thoroughly bothered by the dead leaves on the Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’ and a few other plants. I took pleasure in clipping them back and carrying an armful of clipped material over to the big wheelie bin by the dock.
I resisted going after the small weeds. In this garden, I saw this year’s first blooms of Iris reticulata and I hope I’m not the only one who notices this precious little set of blossoms.
I’d hoped to time the conclusion of my small work project to the sunset, but I was early by almost half an hour and did not want to wait around in the chilly air.
On the way home via Pearl Street, I could see fairly high water along the meander line (a ditch dividing the town property from the port).
The tree covered with ivy is at the back of my late neighbor Nora’s property. I think I’ll get back there and clip the ivy stems sometime soon.
This wide ditch will be filled with frog songs in early spring.
I had timed the sunset walk so very wrong that I still had daylight enough to gather up some firewood into a wheelbarrow and take it down to drop over the fence at New Judy’s. I hope it is not too mossy and lichen-y to make good firewood for her. Something about gathering firewood is so satisfying; I used to gather it all up to take to my mom’s house as she was happy for any small branches to dry and use as wood stove kindling.
Right after dark, Allan and I strolled down to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, three blocks away, for the opening reception of a show called Threads to New Worlds, A Collection of Fiber Art.
The food was, as always for museum events, delicious, and Allan and I sat for a spell while I sorely neglected to take very many photos.
The very next day would be the first volunteer beach clean up of 2014, necessitating the rising at an hour much too early for night owl staycationers. That and jury duty had been looming over my lazy head. Fortunately, every trial I might have been called for had been cancelled except for one that may (but I hope will not) happen on January 30th.