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Archive for Dec, 2014

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

I had every intention of finishing Perks of Being a Wallflower and moving on to another book.  (Perks seems much more simplistic than the movie treatment; the protagonist is supposed to be 15 but it seems to me he writes more like a 10 year old.)

At least I have no trouble sleeping in on staycation days…with a little help from Valerian or ZZZquil.  However, waking up to sunny weather made me feel restless.

view from south window

view from south window

"Twas tempting to clean up the river of Geranium 'Rozanne'.  Frozen ground would have made it a chilly task.

“Twas tempting to clean up the river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’. Frozen ground would have made it a chilly task.

view to the southwest

view to the southwest

mermaids in ice

mermaids in ice

I could not help feel the urge to do the project at our volunteer Post Office garden.  This meant I robbed Allan of his staycation day, as the project involved fetching gravel.

(When I went back to our greenhouse to get our tamping tool, I saw the special  buddliea that Todd gave us is thriving despite the cold.)

(When I went back to our greenhouse to get our tamping tool, I saw the special buddliea that Todd gave us is thriving despite the cold.  With some reseeded mustard and arugula.)

so cold the ice was not melting by our parking spot

so cold the ice was not melting by our parking spot

Ilwaco Post Office garden

before

before

The grassy corner has been bugging me since we created this garden a few years back from a rectangle of lawn.  The previous postmistress worried that gravel would get tracked into the post office.  (Not if it’s tamped! But I used her concern as an excuse to do nothing.)  The current postmistress thought it would be fine to bring the garden all the way to the bench, but I worried that the plants would get walked on.  Humans MUST cut corners, you know.  For the past year, all that has been stopping me from fixing the corner was my own stinginess about buying gravel.  When I found out that the Port would let us use some from a pile of theirs, I became obsessed with the idea of getting this little project done.  I had thought of waiting till a Sunday, when we would have fewer passersby.  (Locals do not get home delivery, so the post office is a place where you might see everyone in a day.)  I couldn’t wait!

buckets, hand tools, half moon edger

buckets, ho-mi, double tool, half moon edger, and warm enough in the sun to not need a jacket.

We also used the big pick as the sidewalk edge of the lawn was frozen solid.

sod dug out, garden slightly expanded, brown sandy dirt used to build of garden edge.

sod dug out, garden slightly expanded, brown sandy dirt used to build of garden edge.

sod ready to be hauled away

sod ready to be hauled away

At the port, sod is tossed into our dump spot.

At the port, sod is tossed into our dump spot.  (Looks like it’s going into the marsh but it is really going into a debris pile.)

view to the southeast without distractions

view to the southeast without distractions

view to the northwest, low tide

view to the northwest, low tide

and a gull

and a gull

back to the post office with gravel and all our leftover scraps of landscape fabric

back to the post office with gravel and all our leftover scraps of landscape fabric

We had dug out more of the brown sandy soil to make the gravel nice and thick.  Thus we had to make another trip to the port for more gravel.

tamping

tamping (For a bigger project, we would use our big roller filled with water.)

Testing out how it feels to sit with a nice gravel spot for feet.

Testing out how it feels to sit with a nice gravel spot for one’s feet.

finishing touches, so so Allan thinks.

finishing touches, or so we thought.

I tossed the brown sand toward the back, too, so the soil colour would more or less match.

I am not quite satisfied as I take what I thought would be the "after" photo.

I am not quite satisfied as I take what I thought would be the “after” photo.

Dang blang it!  In the dark, someone could trip on that corner piece of driftwood.

Dang blang it! In the dark, someone could trip on that corner piece of driftwood.

NOW it is done, with white rocks moved to the edge for better visibility, driftwood moved back, and edge much lower.

NOW it is done, with white rocks moved to the edge for better visibility, driftwood moved back, and edge much lower.

officially after

a two and a half hour project:  officially after

more…

We took a little side trip to the Ilwaco Timberland Library, where I hoped I’d get the book I’d been waiting for.

entrance to library...and my book was there!

entrance to library…and my book was there!

I had one more project in mind, one I figured I could accomplish alone.  Having used up the yearly budget for a garden five doors down, I had decided to pull out the dead cosmos as a Christmas present.  I walked down the block and started pulling, sure I could do it all…

before

before

However, I ended up with such a big pile of cosmos that I had to call Allan for help.  There was too much cosmos for the garbage can; it had grown lavishly.

He came with the trailer, to haul the cosmos away to our debris pile.

He came with the trailer, to haul the cosmos away to our debris pile.

Neither one of the tasks we did today was even on my to do list, so there was no crossing-off satisfaction.  The satisfaction was pretty big even without that ritual.

There are still two tiny jobs on the work board:  cleaning up the window boxes at the Depot and cutting back two chrysanthemums in Long Beach.  SURELY this latest cold spell has finished off those plants.

And one bigger project remains: adding some mulch to the post office garden.  I hope to get my own garden cleaned up enough to have some mulch delivered in a nice big pile, some of which could be bucketed down to the post office.

Now, though, I hope I can take a rest, because look what I’ve got: the rest of the Seaside Knitters series, in order.  I’ll be doing a blog post exploring the fictional town of Sea Harbor when I’m done with these.

books

Two days of rain would be helpful for reading.

lights

at dusk, our seasonal lights…

and the moon with our old lighted apple tree

and the moon with our old lighted apple tree

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, 1 December 2014

I was sure I was going to read all day and shock all three of my regular followers with no blog post at all.  However, it ended up being a tiny little workday during which leaving the house resulted in a number of photos.

Allan went out in the mid morning to find much ice still around, after a night that got down to 26 degrees:

in the bogsy wood....

in the bogsy wood….

in the water boxes...

in the water boxes…

with the house reflected...

with the house reflected…

in the li'l red wheelbarrow...

in the li’l red wheelbarrow…

by the kerb under the wheelbarrow (note the UK spelling because yes, I am a UK-o-phile)

by the kerb under the wheelbarrow (note the UK spelling because yes, I am a UK-o-phile), although I would rather be able to be an independent-Scotland-o-phile and an Anglophile)

In his shop, the thermometer said 20 ...

In Allan’s shop, the thermometer said less than 20 degrees..

The front garden is in heavy shadow all day now; even our very low house blocks the winter sunlight.

The front garden is in heavy shadow all day now; even our very low house blocks the winter sunlight.

Staycation got put on hold as we had gotten a call for gardening help from the owner of the Red Barn.  We would not have gone out to help just anyone; she’s awfully nice.  Next year, I told Allan as we loaded some gardening tools back into the van, I will put out a bulletin to all clients three weeks before staycation seems likely, saying to get in all requests NOW because after Thanksgiving we will be unavailable.  Not everyone knows that.

When Allan hooked up the work trailer, he found a wealth of potato bugs on the log that supports the trailer hitch…and is that a fungus?  It is certainly not as photogenic as the ones Mr. Tootlepedal finds.

Is that a fungus on the log that supports the trailer hitch?

Is that a fungus?

A whole clan of bugs had taken shelter in the cold night.

A whole clan of bugs had taken shelter in the cold night.

I am grateful that we are able take time off through January.  We used to be able to take only about a month off, and in earlier gardening years, Robert and I did odd jobs to get through the winter.  I figured out that up until this past year, even with six weeks off, we had two weeks less time off than an office worker with weekends and holidays and a two week vacation.

Hard work is not what is putting us in the gravy of taking a longer staycation and being able to support yummy restaurants; it is because we both have small inheritances as a cushion.  I say this because it is important to me not to promote the hard work and bootstraps equal success theory.

But enough of waxing almost political.  Back to our little bit of work:

The beautiful house by which we worked.

The beautiful house by which we worked.

a whiskey barrel that has seen better days

by the garage: a whiskey barrel that has seen better days

The top crust of soil was frozen.  We were able to lift it off and then get to the Stargazer lily and narcissi bulbs that needed to be replanted into the new container, by someone who knows which side of the bulb goes up.  While we waited for Amy to bring the new container, I walked next door to Diane’s garden.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' putting on a good winter show in Diane and Larry's roadside bed.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ putting on a good winter show in Diane and Larry’s roadside bed.

Every time we drive down Sandridge Road lately, I have been bothered by three white broken off stems sticking out the front of the Stipa gigantea.

Even at 45 mph, I would fret about this.

Even at 45 mph, I would fret about this.

After some trimming, I knew I would feel better next time we drive by.  I don’t mind about the bits sticking out the back…till February.

after....I can tell the difference.

after….I can tell the difference.

a bit later...the planter is done.

a bit later…the planter is done.

In the reloading of tools, I forgot bulb food so sometime when driving Sandridge Road we must pull over and add some.

Because we recently purchased a bright red toaster oven (my desire, for making easy staycation toasted tunafish and cheese sandwiches!), we were on a mission to find a piece of kitchen furniture to hold it.  We went a bit further on up Sandridge to poke around the offerings at the Bay Trader.

The Bay Trader

The Bay Trader

I knew what I wanted and did not see it there.  Of course, it was a fun place to browse anyway.

bright display of dishes

bright display of dishes

an old photo of downtown Ilwaco

an old photo of downtown Ilwaco

and some other beachy pictures

and some other beachy pictures

After dropping off a gardening invoice at Oman & Sons Builders Supply Long Beach store, we next had a look around the big antique store in Seaview.

diving in

diving in

After going round the whole inside of the store’s many booths, I found the perfect thing…sort of.

thing

At least I was able to show Allan that what I sought was a painted wood cabinet.  This one would have been perfect if it did not come with a hutch on top.  And it cost over $400.  I then found a white dresser that might do for $65 and realized I had made the rookie mistake of not measuring the two appliances that we wanted to sit on top.

On the way home to measure, I saw that the Ilwaco Antique Gallery was open.

Antique Gallery

Antique Gallery

I also saw that one of the Ilwaco planters was mysteriously missing a largeish chunk of soil!

Blimey, what happened here?

Blimey, what happened here?

While Allan added some soil to that, I cruised around the antique shop to no avail.  Lots of charming objects, but no piece of painted kitchen furniture.

a cute table just like the one my grandma had.

a cute table just like the one my grandma had.

Would this fainting couch keep me home reading?

Would this fainting couch keep me home reading?

sparkling bright winter sunshine on seasonal decor

sparkling bright winter sunshine on seasonal decor

After three large antique stores had provided no perfect piece of furniture, we gave up and went home.  And, darn it, only one hour left of daylight made it too late to do the other away-from-home project that has been nagging at me, replacing a bit of grass at the edge of the volunteer post office garden with gravel.  (On the way home, I noted that the grassy bit is larger than I had remembered.  Uh oh.)

As we measured the microwave and toaster oven, I had a sudden brainstorm.  Could I perhaps have a useable piece of furniture outside?  Allan said “I didn’t think you keep furniture outside.”

But…of course, there was the perfect piece, proving there is no place like home.

The old wooden potting bench!!!

The old wooden potting bench!!!

With a lick of paint and some metal or a tile piece laid on the top, it will work just fine and dandy in the kitchen.  Shabby chic was my style before it even became a style.  While Allan got the piece moved into his shop to dry out for painting, I dumped all the old tomato growing soil from greenhouse pots into the garden boat.

Not willing to rest yet, Allan put the trailer, dry from our cold clear weather, into the garage to get a coat of sealant.

before

before

after3

after

 

Allan wants you to know that yesterday, he made a pie crust from scratch with the rolling pin that used to belong to our neighbour Nora, given us by her dear granddaughter.

pies

The pie crusts became pumpkin pies.

The pie crusts became pumpkin pies.

The pies provided our late afternoon snack.

The pies provided our late afternoon snack.

Thus ends a sort of workday.  Back to staycation now with the hope that tomorrow might be a reading day.  I just finished a funny and also emotionally wrenching novel by Liane Moriarty,  Three Wishes, and am reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower and anxiously waiting for the fifth Seaside Knitters cosy mystery to arrive at the library as I can’t proceed with books six and seven till it comes.

(Along with Grimm, we’ve seen two awfully good movies in the evening recently:  Short Term 12 and Samsara.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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