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Archive for Feb, 2014

Sunday, 16 February 2014

I woke to disconcerting bright sun much much too early on Sunday and fretted for a couple of hours, in a sleepy daze, about whether or not it was a work day. By the time I could fully open my eyes, a drizzle began. Whew, I really had not been in the work mood.

During breakfast, I perused a new library book:

Gardening in Miniature

Gardening in Miniature

Oh, the word MINIATURE always brings back the pain of when I was the last of two contestants in the sixth grade spelling bee, and my opponent, a supercilious young fellow, became the winner when I spelled MINITURE.

But back to the book. It’s full of charming photos, of which these are but a small sampling:

mini

mini

mini

mini

 

 

I felt deeply inspired by the realization that a miniature landscape could be so nicely incorporated into a grouping of medium and large containers. The author has an online shop with all sorts of miniature gardening supplies and plants, and a Facebook page.

The sun showed itself again and I wondered if I had to go to work after all. A walk into my own garden would be a good test of the weather.

hellebore outside our front door

hellebore outside our front door

Fatsia 'Spider's Web' in Allan's garden

Fatsia ‘Spider’s Web’ in Allan’s garden

Glumicalyx goseloides

Glumicalyx goseloides

I am so pleased that the Glumicalyx (nodding chocolate flower) that I got from Back Alley Gardens has proved to be so very hardy!

Saturday’s wind had brought down lots of small branches.

storm fall

storm fall

Ah, joy. The sky grew darker and the wind picked up considerably as I rounded the corner into the back yard, so no work today.

noisy crows gathered in the bogsy wood

Noisy crows gathered in the bogsy wood.
crocuses in the back garden

crocuses in the back garden

Watering in the green house, I was happily reminded that I have several small plants just waiting to be planted that would be excellent in a miniature landscape.

littles

littles

Later in the day, we were surprised to not lose power as the wind gusted up to 63 mph just southwest of us at Cape Disappointment. I failed to have a complete reading day as I had to boot up the computer to do the work spreadsheet and a mid-month email billing. I then chose to work on my blog (“before we lose power’), and the usual electronic addiction set in and I had to mess about with iPhoto, “work” on my Facebook pages, pin some images from my blog to Pinterest, recover from a maddening “kernel panic” crash of the computer, etc. After another six hour episode of time-frittering, I finally got back to my pop culture book (Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman)…just until Downtown Abbey.

(Just as Klosterman advised non football fans to not read the chapter about football, I advise that garden blog readers might want to stop here! When work season kicks in, the books reports will peter out.)

I enjoyed the chapter about time travel, skipped another sports chapter about baseball, or was it basketball? except for an interesting thought about the large amount of money made by sports players…and Britney Spears: “A person like Britney Spears surrenders her privacy and her integrity and the rights to her own person, and in exchange we give her huge sums of money. But she still doesn’t earn a fraction of what she warrants in a free-trade cultural economy. If Britney Spears were paid $1 for every time a self-loathing stranger used her as a surrogate for his own failure, she would outearn Warren Buffet in three months.” While I am sure we all feel that’s debatable, it reminded me of something I had recently read of and had not watched: Celebrities reading insulting tweets from fans. One of the first things I learned on the internet was how scary it can be, when in a seemingly innocuous garden group on Onelist (now Yahoogroups) I came under attack by name for saying (in a thread proposing that all women should use pink tools because women are incompetent at building things) that I wish girls had been allowed to take shop when I attended high school, and that I hoped younger generations of girls had learned the useful skills that were kept away from us. A string of vociferous “Feminazi” and worse insults in a new thread titled with MY OWN NAME persuaded me that it would be better to not use my real name online. On the blessedly rare occasions that I’ve been a target for online wrath, it helps when it’s under a pseudonym.

Back to Eating the Dinosaur. I recommend the chapter called ‘Through a Glass, Blindly’ with its references to Hitchcock’s Rear Window. And oh, how I love this: “Since the end of WWII, every generation of American children has been endlessly conditioned to believe that their lives are supposed to be great–a meaningful life is just not possible but required. …A compelling life is supposed to be spontaneous and unpredictable–any artistic depiction of someone who does the same thing every day portrays that character as tragically imprisoned (January Jones on Mad Men, Ron Livingston in Office Space, the lyrics to ‘Eleanor Rigby’… Well…here, here is the whole page.

photo

On page 104, Klosterman refers to Rob (“Love is a Mix Tape”) Sheffield as “supernaturally brilliant”. This ties together the books I’ve read recently, and I like that. It makes life seem more meaningful.

 

 

 

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Valentine’s Day was an event we pretty much forgot about till the end of the day when I saw all the flutter about it on Facebook.  I got a text in the evening from our friend Jenna (Queen La De Da) asking if we had found the gift on our front porch.  We had come in the back door so had not!  We were touched to find two roses and some chocolates.

flowers

charming first bouquet of 2014

Saturday, 15 February 2014

That storm, the one we had been waiting for through three work days, finally arrived.  I did not set foot outdoors all day, although I did observe from the windows.

looking south

looking south

looking west

looking west from my room

Above, from the only west facing window in the house, you can see the top of the tarped water pump trailer that we don’t use because bucket watering the Ilwaco planters is twice as fast.  And you can see how close the house of my loved and now gone neighbour Nora is, and the security light which plagues my insomniac nights.  This view is a concern to me because I am so aware of the impact a future neighbour will have.  What if someone puts up a basketball hoop?  Or plays loud music in the garage?  (Classic rock would be the worst, or country!)  I would have to somehow redesign the whole house to sleep at the other end.

The best design solution I have come up with is to build a shed.  Its west wall would have to start about halfway back in the debris pile (which would not be there if I had a neighbour right now).  Perhaps it could be tall enough to block the light.  But what if we could buy the house, or a friend could buy it, then it might be fun to have a garden in between?  It’s a dilemma, and one I don’t think has to be resolved for at least another year.

The northwest window shows the deep puddle that forms on Lake Street right outside our little driveway.

"Lake" Street

“Lake” Street, as our utility trailer waits for brighter days

the northeast window....Only a few crocuses are showing colour yet.

the northeast window…I’ll cut that cardoon down soon!

the east living room window, a pretty picture with Hamamelis in bloom.

the east living room window, a pretty picture with Hamamelis in bloom. (yellow, center, with a raindrop!)

kitchen window with dogwood, one of the few original plants in our garden

kitchen window with dogwood, one of the few original plants in our garden

from Allan's window, looking east

from Allan’s window, looking east

Robins pecked around in the moss.

Robins pecked around in the moss.

We are promised several days now of wind followed by rain…perfect reading weather.

51wEEzoBQDL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

Saturday, I finished Imperfect Harmony by Stacy Horn.  Her memoir, Waiting for My Cats To Die: A Morbid Memoir is my favourite memoir ever.  I read it in 2008, I believe.  Perhaps my favourite theme is her realization that she is not likely to travel and have adventures away from home because she does not want to leave her cats!  I also love her memoir Cyberville: Clicks, Culter, and the Creation of an Online Town.  She created a social internet haven long before Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook, and dealt in microcosm with the same situations that we find in any online community.  I realize I must own both of these books so I just ordered them.

Ms. Horn is sort of obsessed with death.  I can relate.  In Imperfect Harmony, I found some comfort in her words.

quote

song

I also love the way that even in this book about choral singing, she includes her own inner pain.

pain

(Her two greatest pleasures are researching and writing books and singing.)

While I feel she is my angsty soul sister in “doubt, self-loathing, and fear”, I can’t put all my own similar angst into this blog.  I would feel too uncomfortable, working in Long Beach, to have passersby honking or calling hello while knowing they had read about some inner trauma from the day before.  ( My life usually potters along fairly placidly, but sometimes…not so much.)

The memoir reminded me of how much I used to love to sing.  I was in Glee Club in Junior High and a briefly little folk group in high school, and plagued my friend Mary by singing and singing when we spent time together.  Mary and I started a little duet of singing and guitar strumming.  I think we were ahead of our time with a couple of exuberantly shouted songs.  If the punk era had arrived by then, we might have been a hit!  One fateful day, though, my dad, who had been a nightclub crooner in his youth, overheard us and said “You are REALLY FLAT!”  Instantly I felt self conscious about singing and I think I gave it up shortly thereafter.  I’m not that easily discouraged, but he was right, and I couldn’t figure out how not to be flat.

After finishing Horn’s deeply beautiful and educational memoir, I turned to a new favourite author, Rob (Love is a Mix Tape) Sheffield.

sheffield

This second of his three memoirs goes back to his teenage years and informed me that my taste was more “what boys liked” since I prefer the Clash to Duran Duran.

duran

Hmm, who knew?

I enjoyed every chapter and I do hope he is working on a fourth memoir or a novel.

I then turned to another favourite author, Nick Hornby (who wrote the novel High Fidelity on which a great movie is based), and read the second-to-latest book in his series about what he has read.

baths-350x520

Since I have resolved to do more reading and less talking, I especially liked the title.

I found in his review of Austerity Britain this excellent passage about the NHS in Britain:

Hornby

and to further complicate finding enough reading time, I ended up with a list of many more books to read, all reviewed and recommended by Mr. Hornby.

to read...

to read…

I thought maybe Patti Smith had written a sequel to Just Kids, but apparently not.  I loved that Hornby bought (but did not review) one of my favourite novels of my 20s, The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble, and that he reviewed Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer, reminding me to check whether or not she has written anything I have not already read.  I have tried and failed to enjoy Muriel Spark’s writing and am inspired now to try again.  Dodie Smith wrote I Capture the Castle, one of my favourite novels of all time.  I have read it at least four times.  Please Kill Me is about punk rock.  I’ve had The Psychopath Test on another list of books to read for quite some time…and so on.  So I had better get back to my comfy chair and the book I started at bath time last night (Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman, recommended by Rob Sheffield).

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Friday, 14 February 2014

Where is the storm? We have been expecting it for the past three days. I’m in the middle of a good book and looking forward to a couple of windy, rainy reading days, and yet here came another work day. The up side? I think we got ALL the public gardens checked on before the three day weekend! We started at Andersen’s RV Park, pruning hydrangeas and cutting back perennials. I tackled the garden on the east side of the house.

hydrangeas on east side of house, before

hydrangeas on east side of house, before

after...

after…

Inside the hydrangeas some clumps of moss adhered to the trunks.

nest

and were more than just mysterious mossy growths:

precious bird nest!

precious bird nest!

nest

nest

The picket fence garden had held up well after its end of season weeding and mulching except for one messy section by the birdbath.

picket fence garden...Wait, what's wrong with the birdbath?

picket fence garden…Wait, what’s wrong with the birdbath?

The birdbath had cracked some years ago and I had planted sedums in it. Now it is truly a goner. We could put a big terra cotta saucer on the base, perhaps.

tidied up a bit

tidied up a bit

I was so pleased that owner Lorna’s one patch of Hellebore is about to bloom…

fat hellebore buds

fat hellebore buds (left and right)

Yesterday at Anchorage Cottages and the day before at Klipsan Beach Cottages I found Hellebores turned to mush by the freeze.

In the raised bed on the east wall, those tall…snowdroppy things are blooming. They are not Galanthus. Are they Leucojum?

Too tall to be Galanthus....

Too tall to be Galanthus….

If Leucojum blooms in February, why the heck is its common name “Summer Snowflake”??

Meanwhile, Allan worked on the west side garden, clipping Sedum ‘Autumn Joy. and ornamental grasses.

west side garden

west side garden

After seeing how quiet the park is and learning there is no big club due in until March, we decided not to do a deep weeding yet. The weeds would be back by mid March and we feel that would just waste our client’s money when few are there to see it. So a light tidying up was the order of the day.

after...still a bit weedy with the so accursed couch grass!

after…still a bit weedy with the so accursed couch grass!

One of the staff had been looking for a project and was happy to take on the cutting back of the rugosa roses!

Rob pitches in to the rose patch!

A helper pitches in to the rose patch!

He got a lot done while we were there, including digging some roses out from the sidewalk edge…and he learned how easy it is to crack an old shovel on those darn roses.

partway through.  Why must rugosa roses be such runners!!?

partway through. Why must rugosa roses be such runners!!?

There is little in bloom yet here, mainly because I can’t grow crocus well in this garden due to pesky voles. The Narcissi are impervious to voles and are coming on strong with a few about to bloom.

one freakishly early anemone in the Payson Hall planters...

one freakishly early anemone in the Payson Hall planters…

and many narcissi by Payson Hall

and narcissi getting started by Payson Hall

Astounded to get done at Andersen’s by mid afternoon, we decided to go do some clean up at Long Beach City Hall. First, I remembered two tatty looking escallonias to cut down in a planter by Scooper’s ice cream shop.

before and after

before and after

Back when the planters were done by volunteers, several of them were planted with full sized escallonia ‘Pink Princess’! (WHY?) They would like to be 18 feet tall and I am tired of the constant clipping, so am hoping by cutting them down HARD they will give me a year’s respite. I believe they will come back nice and low, even though ultimately they will still want to be huge.

Before we started on city hall, I was irresistably drawn to Pink Poppy Bakery, now located just across the street.

bakery

inside the bakery

inside the bakery

Then Allan tackled the west side of City Hall and I went to trim plants in a street planter and on the other side of City Hall.

before

before (one escallonia, to the right, was cut hard last fall)

I have no one but myself to blame for the two escallonias there that want to get too big. At least they will have space, after being cut down, to grow for about three years before they need cutting again! Both looked severely frost and wind blasted..and the ornamental grasses needed a trim.

after

after

Allan said that while he was working on the west side, someone introduced herself as a “secret admirer” and reader of this blog. She gave him a cookie from Pink Poppy Bakery asked for a plant ID! If you are reading this, I can tell you that the plant you asked about is Echinops (blue globe thistle).

On the north side of city hall bloomed two sets of flowers:

a Hellebore, looking almost artificial

a Hellebore, looking almost artificial…I wish there were three of these!

and a dusky pale rose double primrose

and a dusky pale rose double primrose

We also cleaned up “Peggy’s Park”, a small memorial garden on the east side of the building.

Peggy's Park

Peggy’s Park

Amazingly, we got our load of Long Beach debris dumped and still had more than an hour of daylight. What to do? I had to look at my list of jobs to refresh my memory. Ah…The Boreas Inn could use a cleanup, especially since I knew that the Inn was full for the three day weekend. It still looked quite good from last fall and just needed some frost-dead lavenders pulled (those Spanish lavenders are not very hardy) and of course the Autumn Joy cut.

Boreas, looking west from next to the hot tub hut.

Boreas, looking west from next to the hot tub hut.

Oh, that Phormium! It looks awful close up…

Every single blade looks awful!

Every single blade looks awful!

Gah!

Gah!

Have I ever mentioned how leathery and hard to cut each blade of Phormium is? The peninsula dump does not even want it mixed with yard waste because it binds up their giant chipper-shredder. I do hope this is the year I can convince Susie to get rid of this plant, and that she can find someone young and strong to pull it out.

Boreas Inn, looking east from the beach path

Boreas Inn, looking east from the beach path

Again, where is the storm? The Port flagpole has two storm flags flying, the forecast calls for strong wind, and has called for rain and wind for the past three days, and yet it has been pleasant and almost windless working weather.

gale warning...but when??

gale warning…but when??

I missed the sunset. Allan saw it while unhooking the utility trailer and took this photo looking west on Lake Street.

photo (3)_2

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Thursday, 13 February 2014

The predicted storm held off.   We were able to get three more public garden projects accomplished before the big Presidents Day weekend tourist crowd.

Before we left home, I admired a whole new set of crocus that had opened up in the front garden.

crocus

crocus in the shade

and nearby, in the sun!

and nearby, wide open in the sun!

We got to the Depot Restaurant and Allan plunged right in to cutting down ornamental grasses.

before

before

after

after

Although the bright sun washed out the photo, I am pleased to report that the rosemary in the kitchen garden has greened up over the winter.  Last fall, I was having trouble with them turning brown, and I treated them with lime, iron-safe and magnesium sulfate…so not sure which worked.

nice and green

nice and green

Meanwhile, I thinned the Leycesteria (Himalayan Honeysuckle) of thick old trunks with dead on the ends.

before and after

before and after, north side of deck

I kept on weeding and clipping while Allan dug out a Phormium that had gotten all rotten and easy to remove.  Yay, one more gone!  Years ago, someone had planted it by the walkway to the kitchen where its sharp blades poked passersby. We had shoved it into the corner of the north side garden.   Now it is gone for good.

before

before

after and good riddance!

after and good riddance!

I was sorry to see another large plant go.  The Cistus on the east dining room window was so battered by cold that we removed it.  The future benefit will be more room to plant cosmos (or something else that will bloom all summer under the window).  I am a broken record when it comes to using cosmos everywhere.  The advantage of having an annual there is that the window wall will be able to air out in the winter and spring!

one sad Cistus (to the left is Lonicera nitida 'Baggeson's Gold')

one sad Cistus (to the left is Lonicera nitida ‘Baggeson’s Gold’)

and it's gone....

and it’s gone….

I had to seriously chop the Dierama (Angel’s Fishing Rod) to the left of this area.  Sometimes it comes through the winter nice and green but not the cold snaps that we had this winter.

Dierama:  I hope it comes back.

Dierama: I hope it comes back.

While we were working, our friend and brilliant carpenter Bill Clearman stopped for a brief chat.  (Hello to his wife, Carol!)

 

We stashed the debris under a tree in the Depot office’s back yard for picking up later.  Just before we left, I thought of checking the window boxes by the entrance.  The willow twigs I stuck in there for winter interest are starting to flower!

pussy willows!

pussy willows! (with gold and redtwig dogwood and with bulb foliage)

Next, we tackled several spots in Long Beach town.

The hydrangeas needed pruning in the park kitty corner from the police station.  While Allan started on them, I walked a block south to avail myself of the Fifth Street restroom.  (I look forward to the public restroom next to the police station re-opening; it was driven into by a car last fall, fortunately with no one inside the stalls at the time!)  While at the Fifth Street park, I got some photos featuring Captain Bob’s Chowder.  It will be the featured restaurant on the next Peninsula Cash Mob (February 22nd).

Captain Bob's Chowder

Captain Bob’s Chowder

While I was taking the above photo, Charlene (a regular reader of this blog) drove up and we had a chat about gardening.  It astounds me the blog does not bore these regulars as it goes through the same rounds or work year after year!  Thanks, Charlene!  She noticed the crocuses.  I am so glad we got this park cleaned up of last year’s leftovers in order to show off these tiny flowers.

lots of crocuses in Fifth Street Park are enjoying the  sun.

lots of crocuses in Fifth Street Park are enjoying the sun.

crocuses

There are also some nice little displays of crocuses in the street planters, but not as many snowdrops as I would like to see…just one here and there.  Have they come and gone while we were staycationing?

crocuses in a planter

crocuses in a planter

Back in the next park to the north, I helped Allan finish the hydrangeas.  The job was enlivened by a visit from an adorable, soft, and friendly springer spaniel (too wiggly and happy to photograph).  “She’s friendly,” said her person, as the dog leaned against me for a chest rub.

before and after

before and after

We cleaned up the narrow garden bed at Veterans Field.  I am expecting many red, white and blue bulbs to bloom here soon.  I do hope passing deer do not devour the tulips.

Veterans Field, almost dormant

Veterans Field, almost dormant

I optimistically cut back rather than pulled the Salvias from last year; I really do not think they will come back, except for ‘May Night’, which has good basal leaves.

My real mission for the day had been to cut ferns at the pond by Pacific Realty.  I was starting to wonder if we would even get there, as we also needed to check on The Anchorage Cottages.  On the way to dump our very full load of debris, I got further distracted by the pocket garden kitty corner from the Chinook Observer office at the east end of Bolstadt.  Oh, how I wanted to cut back the horrid Lithodora.  (I didn’t plant it; it dates back to before I started doing the Long Beach job.)

before

before

during

during

after

after

The lithodora is still in there and WILL come back…unfortunately. In the center is a tatty Iberis (evergreen candytuft) that is going to get sternly chopped after it blooms.

and after

and after

I pulled the santolinas from the center front; they had gotten so old and woody, despite being clipped each year, that they came right out.

a very old plant of one of my favourite perennials...yanked

a very old plant of one of my favourite perennials…yanked (mixed with Sedum deadheads)

While we were working on this bed, taxi driver Theresa stopped by to chat about plants.  She wants Scilla (the rampant bluebell) so she will be the recipient of Scilla bulbs we thin in gardens that are over run with them!

After divesting ourself of debris at the city works yard, we finally got to the pond.

The pond is just south of our favourite shop, NIVA green.

The pond is just south of our favourite shop, NIVA green.

While Allan chopped the ferns, I clipped some Autumn Joy in the planters to the north, and our friend J9 showed up and chatted with me while I worked.  If Allan had not remembered to take before and after photos of the pond project, I would have had none.

before

before

after

after

We are missing the photo I always take of Allan poised over the pond…so here is last year’s.

Heron Pond

Heron Pond

Every year it’s the same, and so far he has never fallen in.  He must have been feeling older this year, as he did bring a change of clothes, just in case!   If you timed it right, you could see all the excitement on the Heron Cam.

Amazingly, we had accomplished so much and still had time to do one more job.  We made another quick run to the city works dump spot and then made our first appearance of the year at Anchorage Cottages.  There was not much going on in early bloom.

a viola

a viola here and there

ranunculus

ranunculus

The first hint of Pulmonaria flowers (aka "spotted dog" or lungwort)

The first hint of Pulmonaria flowers (aka “spotted dog” or lungwort)

I expect more from spring, and then have to remind myself it is only February,  Clearly, I need to plant more crocuses here.  And where are the snow drops?

courtyard garden before

courtyard garden before

and after

and after

The Dianthus in the office courtyard garden looks beaten by the weather.  I could not figure out how hard to cut it back, so I left it alone for now.

what a sight!

what a sight!

When we got home from work just before dark, I could see there was some sort of wind warning flag up at the Port Office…without any wind to display its shape! (Triangular is medium wind, and square is ominously big wind.)  The wind and rain was due six hours ago as I finish writing this at 9:00 PM.  It would certainly be a surprise if tomorrow is nice, as well, and we could work at Andersen’s RV Park and thus get all our public gardens checked on before the three day weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We went from this on Saturday, 8 February….(which is my excuse to stick in this photo I forgot, sent to me by Garden Tour Nancy)…

Nancy and Phil's garden and home in snow

Nancy and Phil’s garden and home in snow

…to warmer temperatures and rain, then 60 mph winds on the evening and into the night of 11 February.   We got an email confirmation that we are officially IN the Garden Bloggers Fling!

pdx fling logo revised

During the rainy days of Sunday and Monday, I did much reading, including a small book called “Living By Water.”  The same author wrote I Want to be Left Behind, a memoir I read not long ago and would have given ten Goodreads stars if I could!

water

from Living by Water

from Living by Water

On rainy Tuesday, 11 February,  I frittered away hours of valuable daylight reading time doing accounting and then helping a friend sort out some Facebook intricacies. In the evening,  Allan and I went out to a birthday party at the Lightship Restaurant.  Inside, because of its stout thick walls, we could not even hear the wind slashing though the parking lot.  Patricia Moss, art historian, was the guest of honour.

Patricia's 65th...with the birthday girl hidden from view.

Patricia’s 65th…with the birthday girl hidden from view.

left side:  Pat, and Eugene and Barbara, who have a wonderful garden at the north end of the Peninsula what Allan and I saw in its beginning stages.    To the right, Allan, then Joe Chasse, local artist and entertaining eccentric, and Heather, owner of my favourite gift shop ever, NIVA green in Long Beach.

Here’s the birthday girl!

Patricia's cake arrives

Patricia’s cake arrives

applause, and a big hello to Ann, to Patricia's right, who reads this blog.  Thanks, Ann!

applause, and a big hello to Ann, to Patricia’s right, who also reads this blog. Thanks, Ann!

cake

The elegant and delicious cranberry carrot cake was by Pink Poppy Bakery!

The folks who had to drive to the north end left a little early to avoid potentially falling trees.  Wind roared around our house later in the evening as we cozily watched an excellent episode of Midsomer Murders (“A Rare Bird”), and the power stayed on.  We both stayed up quite late reading, as we were sure the next day would live up to its prediction of much rain.

But….NO!

The sun peeking in the curtains woke me at eight thirty on Wednesday, 12 February, after not nearly enough sleep. I fretted for awhile as I tried to adjust to a completely different plan from a day of reading.  I had been so sure we would have several more bad weather days in a row.  I can’t say I was displeased, though, as had been itching to get to the Wiegardt Gallery in Ocean Park to clean up the messy ornamental grasses.  By eleven o clock, we were there.

Wiegardt Gallery before

Wiegardt Gallery before

after

an early rhododenron

an early rhododendron

grassy beds...during clean up

grassy beds…during clean up

after

and after

sword ferns by the gallery, before...

sword ferns by the gallery, before…

and after

and after

Thus begins the ritual trimming of sword ferns in many gardens.  I was actually too hot trimming ferns against the house and traded jobs with Allan.  I was wishing I had my summer shirt with me.  It was 52 degrees!  Might as well have been midsummer!

Next, at the Oman Builders Supply Ocean Park store, we trimmed the dead flower stalks off of Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and cut down some small ornamental grasses.

I picked a new angle for the weekly photos...looking north!

I picked a new angle for the weekly photos…looking north!

We had over two hours of daylight left so we decided we could start on the spring clean up at Klipsan Beach Cottages; at least we would get part of it done before Presidents Day Weekend, a big three day holiday coming up fast on the 15th-17th.

At KBC:  Allan talks to Mary-mom with Bella in the foreground.

At KBC: Allan talks to Mary-mom with Bella in the foreground.
Luis had also come for his first work day, pruning the raspberry patch.

Luis had also come for his first work day, pruning the raspberry patch.

Allan begins the mission of cutting grasses, Sedum 'Autumn Joy', and some sword ferns

Allan begins the mission of cutting grasses, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, and some sword ferns

after

after

warm tones of Sedum 'Autumn Joy' dead flowers...before the chop.

warm tones of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ dead flowers…before the chop.

Outside the deer fence in the big lawn garden area, I found several harbingers of spring.

outside the deer fence: Euphorbia characias wulfenii

outside the deer fence: Euphorbia characias wulfenii

Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata

Hamamelis..winter witch hazel

Hamamelis..winter witch hazel

Its little spidery flowers smell like apricots.

Its little spidery flowers smell like apricots.

a curve of white heather

a curve of white heather

But o! sadness:  A Hellebore has lost its blooms, perhaps to the hard freeze we had last week, or perhaps to a blight.  The leaves looked pretty clean so I think it was just the cold that hurt the flowers.

that is sad!

that is sad!

I plan on a quest very soon to get more hellebores.

I went over the the big, woodsy A Frame garden to see if the vast sweeps of Narcissi are up yet.

There are hundreds of bulbs planted in this area...

There are hundreds of bulbs planted in this area…

and dozens along the deck

and dozens along the deck

a few narcissi and crocus...

a few narcissi and crocus…

some Muscari (grape hyacinth)

some Muscari (grape hyacinth)

the new bed we dug out at the end of the 2013 work season

the new bed we dug out at the end of the 2013 work season

with some Narcissi foliage emerging

with some Narcissi foliage emerging

The ivy behind that bed is, unfortunately, on the neighbour’s property.  Or perhaps fortunately, because otherwise I would surely be pulling it out.

We focused mostly on tidying up inside the deer fence garden.  We like to leave the ferns in the woodsier areas untrimmed until after the busy Presidents Day Weekend as they go through an awkward stage till the new fronds begin to charmingly unfurl.

looking into the tidied fenced garden

looking into the tidied fenced garden

deer

I hope the Meliathus major returns next to the greenhouse...

I hope the Meliathus major returns next to the greenhouse…

I limbed up the bay tree...as seen on TV (maybe The Victory Garden show).

I limbed up the bay tree…as seen on TV (maybe The Victory Garden show).

Fingers crossed that Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant' still has some life in it.

Fingers crossed that Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’ still has some life in it.

On impulse, we stopped at The Depot Restaurant for dinner (burger night, including portobello mushroom burgers) and on our way out, who should we see but Denny, Mary, and her mom (also Mary) at the window table.  Mary-mom celebrated her 95th birthday last fall!

the cast of KBC

the cast of KBC

Now as I finish this blog entry, I can hear the spring peepers (little frogs) outside in the ditch behind the bogsy woods.  More rain is due and another spate of 60 mph wind.  I am just hoping for another surprise nice day tomorrow so we can do some more clean up at the Depot garden, Long Beach, and The Anchorage Cottages before the big tourist weekend.

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Monday, 10 February 2014

I had expected a day of wind and rain. By noon, I realized we actually had a window of working weather, so off we went, but not before a last minute kerfuffle. I happened to look at the Garden Bloggers Fling page on Facebook and saw a notice that only ten spaces remained for the event! We had been putting off deciding whether or not to go. I had hesitated because of an attack of the “shys” and we had both hesitated because of money, as we had already signed up for the Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend in Seattle, just two weeks before the fling. The idea of missing out was a quick decider and we registered. We’re still not sure if we are IN or on the waiting list.

With that taken care of, we made our usual post office stop and I suddenly decided to dig up the sad lavender on the front corner of our volunteer garden there and, just as suddenly, to put an edge on the small patch of lawn.

before

before

after, with room for something quite special on the corner...not sure what it will be

after, with room for something quite special on the corner…not sure what it will be

I think that little triangle of lawn needs to go and be replaced with packed gravel. It can’t be garden because post office patrons WILL cut across there.

Our work goal, to get something done down at the Howerton Way gardens at the port, was easily accomplished, and we were close to home in case the weather changed.

We started at the Powell Gallery.

We started at the Powell Gallery.

during...

during…

after

after

cutting back Sedum 'Autumn Joy' by the Port Office

cutting back Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ by the Port Office

the south side of the Port Office

the south side of the Port Office

One red triangle flag flew on the flagpole, denoting a wind warning of 20 to 38 mph. The breeze kicked up while I weeded along the wall of the garden above, and the sky darkened enough to wash out my attempt to photograph a sweet patch of Iris ‘Katharine Hodgekin’.

Iris histroides 'Katherine Hodgekin'

Iris histroides ‘Katherine Hodgekin’

You can see a much better photo here.

Eryngium 'Jade Frost' for once (so far) not reverting to green.

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ for once (so far) not reverting to green.

We moved on to the garden by Time Enough Books. Once upon a time, we moved (with difficulty) the two big Phormiums from the parking strip to either side of the shop door. Now, owner Karla as well as Allan and I have completely gone off them. She wants them GONE and I am hoping she can get the port crew to dig them out with equipment as we are too old to tackle plants of this size with our hand tools.

Time Enough Books

Time Enough Books with two unwanted Phormiums

time to cut back or comb out the ornamental grasses

time to cut back or comb out the ornamental grasses

I'm waiting to see if the semi-prostrate Ceanothus leafs out again...

I’m waiting to see if the semi-prostrate Ceanothus leafs out again…

In a drizzle that rapidly increased toward driving rain, we tidied up and weeded the gardens by Queen La De Da’s Art Castle and then swung by the boatyard to chop the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ that, last week, I decided to leave standing till after the cold snap. One more plant in town had been plaguing me even though I had not even looked at it yet, so after we dumped our debris out in the field east of the marina, we stopped briefly at Mayor Mike’s garden. As I had known it would, the Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ in the front garden looked ghastly. With it clipped back, I took one last photo of the day of the newly restored to its formal garden look.

Mike's garden

Mike’s garden

When we got home, just ahead of a big rain squall, I saw from my desk window that two flags now flew at the Port Office. Perhaps we’ll have more days off because of rain and wind. I’m awfully glad we got the Fifth Street Park in Long Beach done last week.

warning flags flown at the port office

warning flags flown at the port office

I am happy to report that after being laid almost flat by the recent cold, my Hellebores are standing up again! I was not sure they would, and am very pleased and relieved because I so enjoy the long show they put on in the late winter garden.

revived

revived

 

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Thursday, 6 February 2014

We went officially back to staycation with temperatures in the 20s.  I felt pretty happy for unworkable weather as I still had a stack of books to read;  the early Narcissi did not share my pleasure.

laying low

laying low

More disturbingly, the Hellebores did not like the cold.

bowed down

bowed down

another hellebore laid low

another hellebore laid low

The tiniest of the early flowers did not seem bothered at all.

Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata

crocus

crocus

The chilly sunset drew me out to take a couple of photos from behind the house…but no further afield.

sunset

sunset

sunset

We had had plans to go to dinner and had almost cancelled when snow began to fall.  After a brief attempt at sticking, the snow pretty much disappeared so off we went, after all, to The Pickled Fish in Long Beach to join Susie and Bill of the Boreas Inn.

Pickled Fish

Pickled Fish

The restaurant is in the eco-boutique hotel known as Adrift.

looking into the attractive lobby of The Adrift Hotel

looking into the attractive lobby of The Adrift Hotel

We made it to our view table in time for the end of the sunset.

We made it to our view table in time for the end of the sunset.

The executive chef of Pickled Fish is our as yet unmet new neighbour, kitty corner from Our Judy and Tom’s house.  To add to the neighbourly feeling, Allan and I had jewel-like drinks made from cranberry juice provided by our neighbours to the east, the owners of Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm (organic!)

Starvation Alley Negroni (gin, vermouth, cranberry juice)

Starvation Alley Negroni (gin, vermouth, cranberry juice)

and a Starvation Alley cranberry lemonade

and a Starvation Alley cranberry lemonade

We enjoyed our dinner with Susie and Bill so much I forgot to take any photos of our delicious kale salad and calamari and crab mac or their margherita pizza.  We like it when clients become friends; it is a pleasant aspect of our business that would make it hard to retire.  Our dinner ended with an enormously generous helping of “ice cream sandwich” (deconstructed: a big cookie and ice cream).

Friday, 7 February 2014

The night had been unseasonably cold and the day continued in the mid 20s.  The cats had no interest in going outdoors and took over the bed the moment it was vacated.

Calvin, Mary, Frosty

Calvin, Mary, Frosty

I did not go any further into the garden that the patio; I have my head in the sand right now about what plants did and did not survive the freeze.

patio water feature

patio water feature (fancy term for old tub)

icy water boxes

icy water boxes

birdbath frozen solid

birdbath frozen solid

Inside the unheated greenhouse, some of the tougher little shrubs still looked green.  I have a feeling the scented geraniums are goners.

not entirely promising

not entirely promising

Down the block in the crisp air, primroses looked remarkably unfazed…

Larry and Robert's garden

Larry and Robert’s garden

At dusk came another snowfall.  It did not get very deep.  To the east and south, the town of Chinook and Astoria got much more snow than we did.

back garden looking south

back garden looking south

and south east

and south east

a thin coating of snow in the front garden

a thin coating of snow in the front garden

a thin coating of snow

shed

The trailer waits for work time to return.

The trailer waits for work time to return.

In the evening, we watched Midsomer Murders.  What could be cozier?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

By midmorning, the snow had disappeared (and moved on up toward Seattle where it fell more heavily).  One of the reasons I moved here in December ’92 was that even Seattle had too much snow for me.  Our friends there were able to enjoy their snow fall as it came on a weekend rather than during a work commute.

the last hint of snow

the last hint of snow

In the afternoon, we drove out for a snack at Olde Towne.  At our post office stop (we don’t get mail delivery in our little town), I eyed the lavender at the front of our volunteer post office garden.  The weather had not been kind to it.

Some editing would soon ensue...

Some editing would soon ensue…on that lavender to the right

I then settled in at home for a good long read, and did not set foot out of the house till Monday.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Allan had finished the front door wood-cladding and I think it looks splendid.

front door and garden bookshelves

front door and garden bookshelves

photo

Mounted on the door is a photograph of sunflowers by local artist Bonnie Lou Cozby of Beach Home Old and New in Ocean Park.

I was on a mission to catch up on recent novels by Ian McEwan; I had fallen behind.  In Sweet Tooth, a line from a poem sent me on a search to find something extraordinarily beautiful, Adlestrop by Edward Thomas.

Yes, I remember Adlestrop — 
The name, because one afternoon 
Of heat the express-train drew up there 
Unwontedly. It was late June. 

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. 
No one left and no one came 
On the bare platform. What I saw 
Was Adlestrop — only the name 

And willows, willow-herb, and grass, 
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, 
No whit less still and lonely fair 
Than the high cloudlets in the sky. 

And for that minute a blackbird sang 
Close by, and round him, mistier, 
Farther and farther, all the birds 
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. 

Sweet Tooth by Ian McKewan

Sweet Tooth by Ian McKewan

I reflected that the most contented memories of my assorted staycations were of days when it was too cold to go outside (especially in our old, quite freezing cold, shaded cottage behind the boatyard) and I just stayed in reading for days on end.  I may have lost touch with this in succumbing to a certain restlessness that has taken me out of the house more.  Now that our two month staycation is almost over, I think that the 25 or so books I read were not enough!  I could have made it 60!  The internet is a lure, especially Facebook, to the point where I keep my iPhone next to me while reading as my attention span has become ludicrously short.  It is certainly handy for looking up a poem, and distressingly enticing for taking a break from reading to look at something unrelated.

A good book that I read on this very topic last autumn is The Shallows:  What The Internet is Doing to Our Brain by Nicholas G. Carr.  I adore the internet and the connections it has enabled with gardeners around the world.  I wouldn’t give it up, but I am glad I grew up without it and had so many years of uninterrupted reading through my teens, twenties, thirties, and forties.  I need to focus on connections with friends real and imaginary, and less on reading fluffy news stories and aimlessly clicking for more.

By the afternoon of February 9th, the weather had begun to warm, and outside the window, a varied thrush pecked around the debris pile.

varied thrush

varied thrush

Hellebores had begun to recover.

starting to stand up again

starting to stand up again

Ok, I did set two feet out of the house on Sunday, just briefly, to take that photo.

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Cranberry Museum

  • After our visit to Oysterville, the trolley took us south to the Cranberry Museum at the Cranberry Research Center.  Confusingly, it is on Pioneer Road instead of Cranberry Road.  Allan still feels bad about the time he accidentally sent a tourist to Cranberry Road to find it.  The museum was closed for the day.  Somehow my friend who had done the trolley tour three weeks before had managed to score some cranberry ice cream at this stop, but we were not so lucky.  If you visit during summer hours, perhaps you can taste some.  We just pulled up by the museum for a moment to get a feel of the place.  We might have taken a self guided tour of the bogs had it not been an unusually freezing cold day.
photo courtesy Cranberry Museum

photo courtesy Cranberry Museum

In the bog (below), photographed from the trolley (which, although unheated, did protect us from the wind chill factor that made the day feel like 8 degrees), the research scientists are testing out an assortment of different cranberry cultivars.

a winter bog

a test bog

The self guided tour goes along the green paths.  Heather is planted next to the bogs to attract the very earliest bees, so necessary for pollenating the cranberry plants.

bog paths

bog paths

I’ve been in the Cranberry Museum before and blogged some years ago about the cranberry harvest, here.

World Kite Museum

Our next stop was The World Kite Museum on Sid Snyder Drive beach approach in Long Beach.  Even though Allan and I take care of a pocket garden by the front door, we rarely take time to go in to the museum.  This stop allowed enough time to explore two floors of displays of kites from around the world and even to make a little kite for ourselves!

photo courtesy World Kite Musem

photo courtesy World Kite Museum

I was relieved that our pocket garden, which we had not checked on since the beginning of staycation, looked okay.

kite garden with some bulbs coming up

kite garden with some bulbs coming up

inside the museum

inside the museum
World War II kite collection

World War II kite collection

The big windows set kite colours aglow.

The big windows set kite colours aglow.

From the west windows, we could see Back Country Horse Rides.  Three representatives of that company were on the tourism tour with us, along with the manager of Driftwood RV Park, the mayor and first lady of Long Beach, one of the workers from The Cottage Bakery (which the mayor and his wife own), a worker from Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Company, Jayne Bailey of Bailey’s Café, a few people from Astoria, and more…  This led to exuberant cheering each time the trolley passed one of the businesses whose people were on the tour that day.

Back Country Horse Rides and, further west,  the Adrift Hotel

Back Country Horse Rides and, further west, the Adrift Hotel

more kites

more kites

horse

kites

I'm fond of the face kites.

I’m fond of the face kites.

Patty Rolfe, manager of the Kite Museum gift shop, led a brief workshop in making a small kite.

patty

making kites

making kites

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum

The trolley took us south to our town, Ilwaco, and to the museum on our street, Lake Street.  I made sure that Olde Towne Café, my favourite business, got a cheer from the riders as we passed by it.  We arrived at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum and trooped in for a guided tour from the museum docents.

Rosemary, Ellen, and museum director Betsy Millard ready to take us on tour

Rosemary, Ellen, and museum director Betsy Millard ready to take us on tour

our tour group

part of our tour group

We split into two groups; the one Allan and I joined first toured the Clamshell Railroad annex of the museum, passing the historic train car on the way.  You can read up on the railroad here.  If I could go back in time and do one thing, it would be to ride on that train.

historic train car

historic train car

In the annex building, the Peninsula Model Railroad Club has built a model of the Peninsula towns; for a quarter, you can make a little train run from Ilwaco to Oysterville (not to scale).  Some tour goers could not resist making train noises to go along with the experiences…sort of like Sheldon on Big Bang Theory.  Chugchugchugchug WOOOO WOOOO!

model of Ilwaco

model of Ilwaco

Black Lake, just north of Ilwaco

Black Lake, just north of Ilwaco

model train car inside the annex

train

oceanpark

The train made it all the way to Nahcotta without derailing.  Once Allan and I gave it a run and it derailed halfway up the track.  We quietly snuck into the other part of the museum (but did confess to someone there that the derailment had happened).

railway artifacts

railway artifacts

rrphotos

one of the beautiful seats from a railway car

one of the beautiful seats from a railway car

op

ilwacorr

Ilwaco train dock

Ilwaco train dock

We followed our tour guide into a back door of the museum; I did not even know that door existed.

into the easternmost room of the museum building

into the easternmost room of the museum building

lifeboat

lifejackets hang over an old lifeboat

lifejackets hang over an old lifeboat

crab pot

crab pot

a life ring for Allan

a life ring for Allan

Betsy Millard, museum director

Betsy Millard, museum director

a cool old boat

a cool old boat

The next room has a model of horses seine fishing on the Columbia River.  Here’s a fascinating video on the history of horse seining, a practice which ended in 1948.

horses

This part of the museum also has my favourite exhibit, a street of shops, each housing a different display of artifacts.

model street

model street

The next room has a Lewis and Clark display.  As the docents themselves said, it is nothing on the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, our next destination.

trolley tour folks in the Lewis and Clark room

trolley tour folks in the Lewis and Clark room

Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark

The final room, which is usually the first one I enter but we were going back to front, has nature displays and a basket collection and some history of the Chinook Indians.

baskets

nature

We exited by the charming little gift shop.

gift shop

gift shop

back aboard the trolley!

back aboard the trolley!

For those who might wonder, the trim on the outside of the trolley and the interior woodwork is all oak.

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

The trolley took us up the loop road to the hills of Cape Disappointment, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.  This glorious park is just a mile or so from where we live.

view from the trolley, looking south over the river marshes

view from the trolley, looking south over the river marshes at low tide

on a bluff overlooking the ocean, the museum

on a bluff overlooking the ocean, the museum

Despite the chill east wind (straight out of the Columbia Gorge) whipping fiercely up here, some of us went to the railing to enjoy the view.

the north jetty

the north jetty

interpretive sign about cormorants

interpretive sign about cormorants

cormorants

cormorants

west side of the interpretive center

west side of the interpretive center

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Just for fun, here’s a view from the Cape D lighthouse looking back, taken last spring.

view from the base of the lighthouse

view from the base of the lighthouse

Inside the interpretive center, one goes down a long ramp lined with Lewis and Clark information, with switchbacks and small plateaus with larger displays.

inside

down we go...

down we go…

A history buff could spend hours here.  I have a small confession:  I am not one for reading all the history a museum has to offer (unless its about the Clamshell Railroad, of which I never tire).  Allan, however, is someone who would read every word.

ramps

museum

Jane of Bailey's Café

Jane of Bailey’s Café

This is a captivating display.

This is a captivating display.

as is this

as is this

and this

and this

There is one spot on the downward ramp where a turn takes you to a flight of stairs that leads up into the light of the view room that is the breathtaking heart of the museum.

entering a room of light

entering a room of light

windows

from the center to the lighthouse

from the center to the lighthouse (south)

why we have two lighthouses

why we have two lighthouses

view to the jetty (north)

view to the jetty (north)

A park ranger was there to answer any questions.  I learned something new:  The entire North Jetty was originally free standing and over decades has filled in on the north side with sand, grass and trees so that only the westernmost end of it juts out into the ocean.

park ranger

park ranger

part of a lighthouse beacon in display

part of a lighthouse beacon in display

boat signs

a display about shipwrecks

I almost did not look up to see the collection of glass floats

I almost did not look up to see the collection of glass floats

Amazingly it was not quite three o clock when the trolley took us back north to the Long Beach train depot building where our vehicles were parked.  I never would have thought one could make it from Long Beach to Oysterville and back to Long Beach and Ilwaco and see so much in less than six hours.  Come be a tourist here, where the locals care enough to train in the art of hospitality.  There are two more of these trolley tours being offered, on March 6th and March 25th.  If any of you locals are interested, call Sue at Our Place at the Beach Hotel to save your spot.

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Allan and I got up at eight AM, a truly shocking hour for us, in order to be at the Long Beach Depot by 9 AM to join a Hospitality Training event.  We started with the famous video about work ethics and practices and, most importantly for our beach towns, how to make tourists happy,  by the Pike Place Market Fish Co.   I found a neat video of them throwing fish around (preceded by an exciting sequence of approaching Seattle on the ferry).  I don’t get to the city much; when I lived there, the market was my favourite place to be.

fam

Sue from Our Place at the Beach hotel led the FISH portion of the day.

The Fish Work/Play book

The Fish Work/Play book

We all got a bit of swag: brochures and toy fish.   Friends of mine who are in the corporate world all said “Oh, yeah, the Fish video, seen it repeatedly!”.  We never had and we found it quite fun.  One of the questions in the workbook was “If your company had a theme song, what would it be?”  I can tell you right now it would be this one.

The local Subway shop contributed lunch for the event and Sweet Celebrations bakery provided the dessert.

lunch

lunch

Outside the Long Beach Depot building (formerly a station for the Clamshell Railroad) the Long Beach trolley awaited us.  The plan for the day including a “familiarization tour” of the Long Beach Peninsula so that we would know what to recommend to our happy tourists.  Even though I’d already been to all these places, all are worth another visit and I thought it would nice for Allan to be a non driver for a change.

trolley

all aboard!

all aboard!

Ragan Myers, LB tourism and events coordinator, spoke during the trolley tour.

Ragan Myers, LB tourism and events coordinator, spoke during the trolley tour.

We headed straight up the Peninsula to Ocean Park, and then jogged over on Bay Avenue to Sandridge Road, passing one of our jobs, The Wiegardt Gallery.

I could see from the trolley that the garden needs work.

I could see from the trolley that the garden needs work!  It will be next on our agenda.

I knew we were going to Oysterville first.  This had been one of my incentives for going as I knew I’d get a look at winter in the Huson garden there.  I wasn’t sure we were going to stop so I took some photos from the trolley windows as we passed by.

Huson garden, Oysterville

Huson garden, Oysterville

huson

huson

from the trolley

from the trolley

Joy!  We stopped at the famous Oysterville Church, one lot north of the garden.

tourgoers going into the Oysterville Church

tourgoers going into the Oysterville Church

While the others went into the church, I strolled down to the garden.  Another tour-goer, Jayne Bailey from Bailey’s Café in Nahcotta had already done the same.

Huson garden

Huson garden

This garden holds a great fascination for me because the owners’ garden in Ruston is one of my favourites of all the Hardy Plant Study Weekend tours.

peering over the fence

peering over the fence

husongarden

more gawking over the fence

more gawking over the fence

boxwoods

urn

narcissi

driveway on south side of house

driveway on south side of house

I then walked into the churchyard to get a look at the garden from the north side.

Allan took this photo from the church of me on a garden spying mission.

Allan took this photo from the church of me on a garden spying mission.

looking south from the church lawn

looking south from the church lawn

Hamamelis in bloom, probably 'Diane'

Hamamelis in bloom, probably ‘Diane’

At the back of the church, looking into the Huson garden, clipped sword ferns

At the back of the church, looking into the Huson garden, clipped sword ferns

Allan's photo from the church window (looking south)

Allan’s photo from the church window (looking south)

Allan's photo...he was on a garden spy mission of his own.

Allan’s photo…he was on a garden spy mission of his own.

Allan's photo from inside the church, looking south

Allan’s photo from inside the church, looking south

Huson and his partner have also done some gardening around the church itself.

snowdrops behind the Oysterville Church

snowdrops behind the Oysterville Church

from in front of the church, looking east

from in front of the church, looking east

Many of the Oysterville houses are fenced with iconic white pickets, often coated with lichen.  According to a plaque on one fence, the rose that grows throughout town is ‘Dorothy Perkins’.  I wonder if it gets milder like the ones in Long Beach’s Fifth Street Park?  The cultivar known as ‘Super Dorothy’ is much better…

Meanwhile, Allan was inside the church with the rest of the tour group.

Meanwhile, Allan was inside the church with the rest of the tour group.

inside the church

inside the church

Allan's photo of the trolley

Allan’s photo of the trolley

the path to the bay from where we parked the trolley

the path to the bay from where the trolley parked

We then drove the north loop of town that passes Oysterville Sea Farms, right on the bay.  The business owner was out of town so we didn’t get a tour of the building.

next:  Cranberry Research Station and The World Kite Museum

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

very cold at about ten AM

very cold at about ten AM

very cold!

very cold!

And yet there are flowers...a ranunculus...

And yet there are flowers…a ranunculus…

and grape hyacinth...this batch bloomed early last year, also.

and grape hyacinth…this batch bloomed early last year, also.

I walked down to Olde Towne Café on this chilly mid morning because I wanted to see the rearranging that owner Luanne had done during her days “off”, Sunday and Monday.

a new chess table sit spot

a new chess table sit spot

She wants to encourage patrons to play chess.  I cannot help because I don’t know how.

all the red vintage kitchen things gathered together

all the red vintage kitchen things gathered together

A wheel instead of stained glass in the window makes for a better view.

A wheel instead of stained glass in the window makes for a better view.

treasures

After a breakfast panini, I walked briskly home and considered doing something outdoors, like perhaps edging a bit of lawn.  The sweet neighbour cat, Onyx, clearly hoped I would stay outside.

Onyx

Onyx

Onyx often visits our garden.

Onyx often visits our garden.

This cat will not scratch and bite when his belly is rubbed.

This cat will not scratch and bite when his belly is rubbed.

He got very sawdusty because of a project Allan was working on.

He got very sawdusty because of a project Allan was working on.

onyx5

When I went into the house to consider getting garden gloves and tools, I noticed the way that our cat Calvin was approaching the day.

Calvin still in bed

Calvin still in bed

And I changed my mind and sat down with a book for the rest of daylight (feeling guilty) and then into the evening (feeling relieved that daylight was over and I could stop feeling guilty about being indoors on a sunny day).  I was reading Rob Sheffield’s Love is a Mix Tape for the second time because I wanted to segue directly into its sequel.  This music writer’s memoir tells the story of the love between two young rockers and then the story of grief when Rob’s wife dies suddenly of a pulmonary embolism at age 31.  The sadness I felt during the last half of the book was intensified this time because I now follow a blog of a gardener whose wife died suddenly in a similar way.   Here are a few quotations that especially moved me, courtesy of Goodreads making them easy to find:

From Love is a Mix Tape: “It’s the same with people who say, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Even people who say this must realize that the exact opposite is true. What doesn’t kill you maims you, cripples you, leaves you weak, makes you whiny and full of yourself at the same time. The more pain, the more pompous you get. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you incredibly annoying.” 

“When we die, we will turn into songs, and we will hear each other and remember each other.” 

“I had no voice to talk with because she was my whole language.” 

“I was helpless in trying to return people’s kindness, but also helpless to resist it. Kindness is a scarier force than cruelty, that’s for sure. Cruelty isn’t that hard to understand. I had no trouble comprehending why the phone company wanted to screw me over; they just wanted to steal some money, it was nothing personal. That’s the way of the world. It made me mad, but it didn’t make me feel stupid. If anything, it flattered my intelligence. Accepting all that kindness, though, made me feel stupid.

Human benevolence is totally unfair. We don’t live in a kind or generous world, yet we are kind and generous. We know the universe is out to burn us, and it gets us all the way it got Renee, but we don’t burn each other, not always. We are kind people in an unkind world, to paraphrase Wallace Stevens. How do you pretend you don’t know about it, after you see it? How do you go back to acting like you don’t need it? How do you even the score and walk off a free man? You can’t. I found myself forced to let go of all sorts of independence I thought I had, independence I had spent years trying to cultivate. That world was all gone, and now I was a supplicant, dependent on the mercy of other people’s psychic hearts.” 

If you love alternative rock music, or if you have experienced such loss of a loved one, or both, this is a beautiful and moving book, and it is often funny and endearing about the music.  I wanted to know Renee and agreed with the author that the whole world had been robbed of her; he felt that he was luckier than most because he had gotten to spend the most time with her.

I shake myself out of the pensive mood brought on by thinking about that book to tell you that Allan was working on a project, one he had been preparing for by doing this for the past couple of days:

wood

recently, in the garage

thin strips of wood all made from scrap wood from other projects

thin strips of wood all made from scrap wood from other projects

Today he began to glue them onto the ugly 1970s front door.

indoor project for a cold day

indoor project for a cold day

What can I say?  I was very lazy and photographed this with my phone from where I sat in my reading chair.  You can see the pretty green glass that Suzy Q’s Magical Glass cut for us the other day.  It replaced a hideously ugly plastic orange strip.

door

door

You can see that he stained the strips of wood in different natural colours.

That’s about all that happened!  I finished Love is a Mix Tape and moved on to Turn Around Bright Eyes, a sequel memoir by the same author.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 (part one)

Here's how the door looks now...almost done!

Here’s how the door looks now…almost done!

I have much to write about for today as we took a tourism hospitality tour; in this entry, I’m sticking to what happened at home and Olde Towne.

After the tour (which will be my next entry) we went to Olde Towne at 3:15 for a very late lunch.  Allan helped our neighbour (two blocks down) Chris hang a vintage surfboard for decoration.

board

At four o clock (closing time), Luanne put out the closed sign and declared “Now it’s a private party!” and sat with us for awhile.  A fellow who is here from Peru and who loves to surf had a good long talk with Chris on the topic.  Chris had actually been out surfing in yesterday’s cold weather.  (People wear wetsuits for winter surfing here.)

two surfin' dudes

two surfin’ dudes

This is more my kind of winter entertainment:

food

Olde Towne treats

At home, I caught up on my two favourite blogs (as I’ve been reading books more than turning on the computer), The Miserable Gardener and the Tootlepedal blog.  And now a late dinner and a couple of episodes of Treme, season three, then some late night reading.  Hey…we’re back on staycation!

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