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Archive for February, 2015

Monday, 23 February 2015

Today I thought I would paddle the upper Naselle River. I had looked at it and its current several times. I wondered if I could successfully paddle back to the launch or whether I would be walking back from downstream. Because we’ve haven’t had a day off for a while, I had a bunch of chores but finally arrived at the launch about 3:30 with two hours before sunset. The tide was still rising from 6  to 7 feet and would drop to 5 before I left.

9k=

map to Naselle

From here, Naselle is over there…

Last time I boated the Naselle River, I started at the Willapa Wildlife Refuge, went around Stanley Peninsula and had to turn around a little past the 101 bridge.

flowers

Flowers that return yearly for all of us to enjoy planted years ago at the north end of the  Astoria Megler Bridge

google map

Naselle is lower right. O’Conner Creek at the upper right was my upstream limit today. Downstream limit was the bend at the upper left.

launch

The boat’s little wheels (and my boots) were a mucky mess

I fortunately didn’t need to back up a boat trailer but this stuff was sticky. Trying to keep mud out of the boat, I discovered that the water near that bank was indeed deeper than my 15 inch boots. After tying the muddy wheels on the boat in case they were needed, I headed upstream.  If I couldn’t make headway I planned to go ashore at the bridge and walk back. The GPS later said the current was 1.4 mph which is slower than the 3-5 mph I can paddle.

heron

heron

The first heron I actually got a picture of. They are usually very still while they watch me, then sound like what the movies think is a pterodactyl sound as they fly off.

a flying bird, though not up to Mr. Tootlepedal's photographic standards

The heron flying upstream, though not quite up to Mr. Tootlepedal’s photographic standards

Heard lots of little birds but very little other noise. Only the occasional car as there was a small road paralleling the river for part of the way.

still water

still water

The water was very calm and made for great reflections.

current

The light current shows on these logs

tow

Multitasking as I clean my boots and walk the boat

 After a little over a mile there was shallow gravel all the way across. After a tow there was deeper water upstream.

upstream

Last view upstream.

 Our gardening and blogger friend, Ann, had shared pictures of her father’s place on the river up here somewhere. I remember it had a monkey puzzle tree near the river and it was also near a fish counting station with a cable & basket over the water. At this point. the current seemed to get faster and I would need to get out and tow again. Cars were visible ahead on Highway 4 but I wasn’t getting to any of these goals today. I turned around.

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heron

Hmmm, you’re back

  This could be the same heron I interrupted earlier.

heron

sorry I disturbed you again…

reflections

More trees

launch

The launch at plus 7 feet

Back to the launch. I remembered the van getting stuck in soft grass on a job last week and knew I would not have been able to pull out a boat trailer through the mud today. Fortunately, my boat is light enough to not need a trailer.

The GPS told me I had gone 1.5 miles upstream and that the boat had reached a speed of 5.6 mph going downstream. With an hour of sunlight to go I was able to go one more mile downstream.

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 Heading under the  Lewis and Clark highway that comes north from the Columbia river.

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Can’t get the boat very close to the ducks before…

ducks

….off they go, even though I try to  drift up quietly.

ferns

Ferns and a dock; well, maybe it’s just part of a dock now.

On January 4, a major rain storm washed out part of Highway 4 nearby and parts of this riverbank still looked de-vegetated.

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This was the closest point to highway 4 for a while so I got out for a look.

ashore

Muddy wheels and a wet mess of clothes in the back of the boat.

The water was over 15″ deep here too.

field

No road in sight.

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floats

Washed up fishing floats.

tree

More reflections.

tree

Different tree, really

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Cows outstanding in their field

Reminds me that my dad once boated down the Cedar River through Kent, which is south of Seattle, into Lake Washington. He mentioned that the parking lots, stores and malls are hardly visible at all from the river and the car noises are much quieter. The deep trench of this river didn’t allow me to find Ann’s monkey puzzle tree that I mentioned earlier or to see much of this pasture.

dog

Not wildlife.

I could be seen though.

bridge

Almost back to the launch

landing

Just grab a tuft of grass, grab the rope and commit.

Now it was five miles and two hours later. There is a house on the right of the photo that overlooks the launch and further safety is provided by…

Zombie

Naselle is prepared for what we know can happen to small towns in the woods .

I spotted the zombie response vehicle at the local grocery when I arrived and later photographed it on the way out. It’s clearly owned by a worker, on their shift, there to protect us all.

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Columbia River sunset over the Astoria Megler Bridge on the drive home

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Monday, 23 February 2015

After nine hours of exhausted sleep, I still found it rather hard to get going on my day-off garden projects.  Allan headed off in the early afternoon to float his boat around somewhere.

What to do?  The back patio certainly could use a good weeding:

Ruching out the weedy grass and leaving just the poppies would be a good patio project.

Ruching out the weedy grass and leaving just the poppies would be a good patio project.

In the spirit of procrastination, I was propping up the front fence telling a passing friend, landscaper Steve Clarke, how I planned to pull many the shotweed out of the front garden today, when my neighbours Jared and Jessika (of Starvation Alley Farm organic cranberry fame) appeared.  I asked them if they would mind if I made a half moon edger line down their side of my east fence and they said it would be fine.  So there was my day’s project, even though I had originally meant to spend the time removing fiddly little weeds.  Because Jared and Jessika were bundling their dogs into their vehicle, it would be a good time for me to dig the edge on their side of the fence without making the dogs feel trespassed upon.

I had a walkabout while questing for the red wheelbarrow.

crocuses in the back garden

crocuses in the back garden

a bad sight: hardy fuchsia with annoying orange montbretia popping up at the base.

a bad sight: hardy fuchsia with annoying orange montbretia popping up at the base.

Allan is lucky he went boating or I would have asked him to totally remove that fuchsia/montbretia combo for me.  I found the red wheelbarrow (just the right size so I don’t overfill it) in the bogsy woods with some river rock that Allan had been gathering for the swale.

By the gate into the neighbouring yard, I saw another project that needs doing: In several areas of the garden, I need to remove the rampant seedlings of “touch me not”, AKA jewelweed, policeman’s helmet, or wild impatiens, before it smothers good things.

a field of touch me not

a mess of touch me not

The project began at 1:30.

before, the east side of our fence

before, the east side of our fence

an hour and a half later, after removing two strips of sod

an hour and a half later, after removing two strips of sod

Jared and Jessika plan to till out a bed here for planting beans to grow on the fence.  Digging out the strip along the edge will benefit them, and it also greatly benefits me as the grass grows under the fence and makes the narrow garden bed on my side very hard to weed.  I did the same sort of edging outside the west fence (Nora’s back yard) earlier this year.  I have hope that the edging will help the maintenance with or without a bean bed.  Last summer, I edged along the fence down by the gear shed and the line has held up well since then.

This was a mess  last midsummer.

This was a mess last midsummer.

When the edging was done, my big plans for the day went awry as I went into the house, sat down, and did not manage to get up again for an hour or more.  By then, the sun’s angle was blinding for seeing little weeds.  I did remove some shotweed from the front garden, since I’d said I would, and then tried to return to the mission of weeding my side of the east fence.  By then, I’d missed the warm and balmy afternoon and the soil was cold and I was mad at myself for losing so much time to sitting (not even reading, just goofing around looking at Facebook on my iPhone!)

I was reminded of this poem:

Timothy Took His Time

by Frieda Wolfe

Timothy took his time to school and plenty of time he took

but some he lost at the tadpole pool and more at the stickleback brook

ever so much at the linnet’s nest and more at the five bar gate.

Timothy took his time to school but he lost it all and was late.

Timothy has a lot to do, how can it all be done?

He didn’t get home ’til close on 2 when he might have been home by 1.

There’s sums & writing & spelling too and an apple tree to climb.

Timothy has a lot to do, how shall he find the time?

Timothy sought it high and low, he looked in the tadpole pool

To see if they’d taken the time to grow, that he’d lost on the way to school.

He found the nest and he found the tree and he found the gate he’d crossed

But Timothy never shall find (ah me!) the time that Timothy lost!

I dawdled a bit more by walking around admiring plants.

Lonicera standishii has been blooming for weeks.

Lonicera standishii has been blooming with small ultra fragrant white flowers for weeks.

Sedum 'Xenox'

Sedum ‘Xenox’

narcissi backed with hellebore

narcissi backed with hellebore

another hellebore

another hellebore

Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem, given to me by Sheila.

Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem, given to me by Sheila.

It's supposed to be a runner, which is why it's back by the bogsy woods.  There it is, running, with a kazillion baby touch me nots.

It’s supposed to be a runner, which is why it’s back by the bogsy woods. There it is, running, with a kazillion baby touch me nots that need pulling.

I further procrastinated by looking for growth on the plants given us by Todd.

I further procrastinated by looking for growth on the plants given us by Todd.

I am embarrassed to say that when watering in the greenhouse, I found a dried up little Garnet Wiegela from Todd, in a little pot in which I had planted it to give it time to grow on, and which had gotten shoved behind another plant and dried up.  Sorry, Todd!  Very careless.

Hellebore 'Golden Sunrise', still a baby

Hellebore ‘Golden Sunrise’, still a baby

I pondered whether to cut the hardy fuchsia, below, all the way to the ground, or just trim the ends off since the branches are putting out new growth.  I like fuchsias to be tall. But the new basal growth looks lush. Such musings can use a lot of time.

hardy fuchsia

hardy fuchsia

The ribes (flowering currants) are starting to show some colour.

The ribes (flowering currants) are starting to show some colour.

I returned to crocus admiration, after noticing that the Corylopsis pauciflora is in bloom.

I returned to crocus admiration, after noticing that the pale yellow Corylopsis pauciflora is in bloom right above this patch.

crocus

You may note a lot of twiggy debris on the soil.  I’m influenced by two gardeners in that regard.  Ann Lovejoy recommended the “chop and drop” method of garden clean up.  And Anne Wareham’s book The Bad-Tempered Gardener firmly makes the point that it is senseless to haul debris to a compost heap, let it break down, and then haul it back into the garden.  Unfortunately, I cannot use this brilliant method of gardening at work because most of our gardens are public and people expect to see neat and tidy soil in winter.

To the obnoxious former neighbour who cried "Why PURPLE?" when we painted our house:  This is just one of many reasons.

To the obnoxious former neighbour who cried “Why PURPLE?” when we painted our house: This is just one of many reasons.

Pulmonaria in Allan's garden

Pulmonaria in Allan’s garden

Impatiens omeiana already popping up among the black mondo grass in Allan's garden

Impatiens omeiana already popping up among the black mondo grass in Allan’s garden

a handsome hellebore

a handsome hellebore

In the front garden, a potted, struggling daphne had put out some incredibly fragrant flowers.

In the front garden, a potted, lopsided, struggling daphne had put out some incredibly fragrant flowers.

It looked to me like deer have been putting their heads over the low front fence and tasting these tulips.

It looked to me like deer have been putting their heads over the low front fence and tasting these tulips.

I searched the garden for an old piece of birdcage to protect the tulips.

I searched the garden for an old piece of birdcage to protect the tulips.

a line of early species tulips coming up in the front garden

a line of early species tulips coming up in the front garden

Oh dear, one of TWO big clumps of epimidium that I have not cut back to let the flowers show.

Oh dear, one of TWO big clumps of epimidium in Allan’s garden that I have not cut back to let the flowers show.

Hamamelis mollis in front garden, smells like apricots

Hamamelis mollis in front garden, smells like apricots

haze of yellow Hamamelis mollis flowers

haze of yellow Hamamelis mollis flowers

Ribes speciosum in the front garden

Ribes speciosum in the front garden

grass path toward back garden, where I SHOULD be, weeding the east edge

grass path toward back garden, where I SHOULD be weeding the east edge

I ponder how I could get more garden space by narrowing the lawn, but there is something comfortable and expansive about the wide swathe of green.

By now, you can just imagine how much of the time that I took out into the garden today has been lost without much getting done.  At five o clock, I entered the fray of weeding the narrow east bed.

It was a mess.

It was a mess.

The first bit I tackled had that horrible grass, not couch or quack grass but another one with tiny, tightly meshed roots.  It is tightly matted around the base of an old lilac, and the soil feels tight, too.

It's a tight mess.

It’s a tight mess.

Adding some mulch would help loosen this soil so that the roots slip out easier.  Right now, it’s a misery to weed in cold, damp soil.

My beautiful Drymis winteri cheered me up.

My beautiful Drymis winteri cheered me up.

It's blooming!

It’s blooming!

Seems early for such fat buds on Clematis 'Crystal Fountain', whose tag says "blooms June through September".

Seems early for such fat buds on Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’, whose tag says “blooms June through September”.

By dusk, I had the narrow bed looking not perfect, but much better.

By dusk, I had the narrow bed looking not perfect, but much better.

Allan said last night that he wondered why gardeners back east, when reading Pacific Northwest gardening blogs, don’t all move here when they see how mild our winters are.

 Because I got so much less accomplished today than I had wished, I long for tomorrow off, as well.  It cannot be, because there are still gardens where we have not even begun spring clean up.  I swear that next year I will have more time to spend at home where I am happiest.  I swore that last year, too, and the year before.  Life is short and I simply must figure out how to make it happen.

 Next:  Allan’s day off on the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, 22 February 2015

I was sure we were going to have a windy day off, a perfect day to sit indoors and read.  But no, when I woke the predicted windstorm had not arrived.  It became instead be the perfect day to finish weeding at the port (which is a hellish job in rain or wind).   The forecast for later in the week is for “chances of rain”. So, a bit after noon, we went to work.

Port of Ilwaco

We had two curbside gardens left to weed at the port, after getting the others done earlier this month.  Today we started at the east end, just in case wind from the east arrived in the afternoon to make the job unbearable.  It became a hard slog by the end of this section, which was the weediest.  (We had abandoned it to procrastination at the end of last year’s work season and now paid the price.)  We filled all 17 of our five gallon buckets  with weeds and clippings twice from this garden bed alone.  This bed had very few poppy seedling so I will sow some later.

Before, looking west from Howerton Way and Elizabeth Ave.

Before, looking west from Howerton Way and Elizabeth Ave.

three and a half hours later

three and a half hours later

before

before

after

after, with santolinas trimmed

Unfortunately, an unhappy amount of damp soil went away with the weeds.  When we get some mulch for Mayor Mike’s garden soon, we’ll split the load between his nearby garden and this bed, which has long needed a good mulching.  By the way, it is best when weeding to not disturb the soil and expose weed seeds to light. This soil got well disturbed because the tiny weeds (grass, shotweed, dandelions) were so thick.  All too soon the thin scrimmy horsetail will appear and mess up the clean appearance.

intermission

When we part way through weeding that garden bed, and time still seemed on our side, Allan’s boating friend Chris drove by with his new trimaran, heading for the boat launch.  Allan looked so wistful that I said he should go have a look at the boat, and I would keep weeding.  So he did, and brought back these photos to enliven the blog.

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Chris at the boat launch

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Windrider Rave trimaran

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Just after this, Chris handed the rope to Allan and boarded the trimaran.

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surefooted Chris. He is a member of the local surf rescue group.

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Chris lowering the hydrofoil

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telephoto as Chris sails past the Ilwaco landing

telephoto as Chris sails past the Ilwaco landing

Back to gardening:

Looking east, after three and a half hours of work (me) and forty minutes less  for Allan.

Looking east, after three and a half hours of work (me) and forty minutes less for Allan.

I had run out of steam before combing out the three blue oat grass in the foreground, above.  I have kind of gone off that grass as it gets so tatty looking and am going to try a new one this year that I saw at Rhone Street Gardens:  Schizachyrium ‘Blue Heaven‘.

Here is the “Map My Walk” for the easternmost curbside garden.

The scenic view

The scenic view

The boat launch where Allan went to see the trimaran is in the lower right of this satellite view.

The boat launch where Allan went to see the trimaran is in the lower right of this satellite view.

You can see how exposed that garden is to marine weather and why we prefer to do it on nice days.   I walked 1.71 miles back and forth and round and round a garden bed that is perhaps half a block long.

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As we left the east end garden bed, the sun was low in the sky, the clouds were dramatic, and I was experiencing anxiety over whether or not I would get the huge satisfaction of crossing Port of Ilwaco off of the February work list.

late afternoon sky over CoHo Charters

late afternoon sky over CoHo Charters

At 4:15, I was horrified when we arrived at the westernmost two curbside beds to see how weedy they were.  I had hoped they’d have held up better from having been weeded in late November just before staycation began.

before....YIKES

looking west before….YIKES

Closer inspection showed that some of the blanket of green is from reseeded poppies.  This particular bed also has the scourge of creeping sorrel.  (The leaves of that common weed are delicious and lemony…for what it’s worth.)   I can’t explain why it means so much to me to erase a job from a work list…but it does, and I felt some despair that I was not going to be able to do the erasure.

midway, showing there were two sections to weed

midway, showing there were two sections to weed

I was so punchy by now that I often over-threw weeds, missing the buckets entirely, and requiring more sweeping up at the end.  Just before dark, Allan made another run to the dump site as all buckets were full again but for three.  I kept weeding and clipping santolinas.

sweeping up at the end

sweeping up at the end

The results were not up to my usual standards but will do for February, when passersby seem to be surprised to see us out gardening at all.  They think it is because of the weather, not realizing that an early weeding will save a lot of work later on.

not wonderful....better...

not wonderful….better…

after

after, from the middle to the end

the last, most western bed, after

the last, most western bed, after: Don’t look too closely!

Map My Walk.  Just below the words "Map Options" is the boatyard where we gardened yesterday.

Map My Walk. Just below the words “Map Options” is the boatyard where we gardened yesterday.

west end gardens: .47 miles in an hour and a half

west end gardens: .47 miles in an hour and a half

As we got in the van to drive on, the sun was setting over the Peninsula Sanitation building (the garbage collection company).

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We weren’t done yet, though.  I wanted to cross Ilwaco off, as well, which meant checking three planters at First Avenue and Spruce.  We parked on First by the old Doupé Hardware building, now empty.  Its windows showed a fantastical double image of the sunset.

in an old window

in an old window

Allan tidies two out of the three planters we checked.

Allan tidies two out of the three planters we checked.

The building behind Allan has been derelict for a few years, and has recently been acquired by an enthusiastic couple who have plans to restore it.  From the article:  You can see how much more interesting the building used to look.

article

As we returned to our van, and went to the debris dump spot for one last small offload, the spectacular sky kept my attention all the way.

at the intersection of Spruce and First

at the intersection of Spruce and First  (The buildiing to the right is being renovated and will be a gourmet sandwich shop, opening in May)

even more colour in the Doupé building window

even more colour in the Doupé building window

looking west from First Avenue

looking west from First Avenue

from the east end of the marina

from the east end of the marina

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iPhone panorama

Next: a day off, and I really mean it this time!  We need it.  I was so tired last night that I sat down and couldn’t find it in me to get up and close the curtains.  Allan did, and then lay down and went to sleep for awhile in the early evening.  Tonight, it took me an hour to find the strength to open the computer.  A day off will set things right. And I got to erase two jobs from the work board (and added “March” so I won’t feel bad if we don’t get the list done by Saturday).

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Saturday, 21 February 2015

As I left four work, the cat family of mother and two brothers was hanging out by the south window.

Frosty, Smokey, and Mary

Frosty, Smokey, and Mary

Ilwaco planters

The Ilwaco boatyard garden was today’s target.  Allan got started on it straightaway.  I digressed to one block of planters and street trees that had not had their first check up of the year yet.  The planters looked good with narcissi blooming, and some chickweed and little grasses needing to be pulled.

trailing rosemary, as I look east down Main Street

trailing rosemary, as I look east down Main Street

looking southwest at the Portside Café

looking southwest at the Portside Café

Ornamental pear street tree in bloom

Ornamental pear street tree in bloom

The Portside Café recently acquired new new owners.  One of our neighbours was leaving there with two family members while I weeded under a street tree.  and told me that the food was so wonderful that she gave the chef himself an extra tip.  I’ve always loved the exterior; now I need to find time to give the food a try.

I put some of the pale orange and purple violas in the container closest to the café.

I put some of the pale orange and purple violas in the container closest to the café.

Map My Walk of working the First and Main intersection

Map My Walk of working the First and Main intersection

Closer to the boatyard, at First and Eagle, passing deer have nipped the tulips in the planter.  There are certain deer crossroads, like one intersection in Long Beach, where they eat more than they do elsewhere in town.

tulip neatly nipped off

tulip neatly nipped off

Here they reached underneath other plants and chomped away specifically on the yummy tulips.

Here they reached underneath other plants and chomped away specifically on the yummy tulips.

I won’t be planting tulips in those planters next fall.

At the corner of First and Eagle, I’ve been watching one street tree slowly lean.  There is nowhere to stake it, as it is in a small square surrounded by concrete (and is too big to stake anyway).

first

a sunken hole at the base of the trunk

a sunken hole at the base of the trunk

Allan pointed out that it is solidly in position and does not budge at all when pushed.

In the course of the one block of planters, I picked up this much trash in the grass next to the sidewalks:

trash

Does this mean no other walkers pick up trash on their journeys?  (My noble plan to do trash walks this past winter was thwarted by my overwhelming desire to just stay home.)

Finally, after an hour and a half, I was done with the six trees and eight planters that had been on my agenda and joined Allan at the boatyard garden.  As I got down to work, the Life Flight helicopter flew over the oil tanks kitty corner from the boatyard and I wished the best to whoever was having a scary awful day.

oil

Meanwhile, I was fortunate enough to be having a pleasant day at work next to a boatyard full of interesting sights.  A radio played country music, which I at least  find preferable to classic rock.

boat

Steel Breeze

Fear Naught

Fear Naught

Ankeny Street (named after a street in Portland, Oregon)

Ankeny Street (named after a street in Portland, Oregon)

Steve, who lives on a sailboat in the marina came by with his dog Aleutia (a certified search and rescue dog).

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan had already made some progress.

before:  Allan's photo when he started

before: Allan’s photo when he started

boatyard

An hour and a half later, I join the boatyard weeding at 0ne PM.  

 

spot

I came along behind, clipping santolinas and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’:

half an hour later

half an hour later

Allan's photo, looking south, before

Allan’s photo, looking south, before

after

after, Allan’s photo

 

Santolina and Artemisa, before clipping

Santolina and Artemisa, before clipping

after: clipped so they will be roundish and not splay open in late summer

after: clipped so they will be roundish and not splay open in late summer

See that stem of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ on the ground toward the bottom of the photo?  If I clipped it short and stuck it in the ground, it would probably root and make a nice new plant.  Same with the clippings from the Santolina.  I get overwhelmed with armloads of clippings and don’t have time to make a santolina cutting nursery.  I have started a lot of them right in the ground, though, over time.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

What have we here?

What have we here?

We’d noticed earlier, on drive-bys, that the center (slightly wider) section of the garden had a smashed down rosemary and flattened Stipa gigantea.  I tried to imagine what had caused it.  I forgot to take an after photo, although this one, looking back, shows it looking tidier:

The center point is where the fence goes in to a gentle V.

The center point is where the fence goes in to a gentle V.

By now, it was 3 PM and I was concerned that we would not get to the end of the boatyard before dark.

4:35 PM:  Had finally crossed the gate to the south section of the garden.  Here, looking north.

3:35 PM: Had finally crossed the gate to the south section of the garden. Here, looking north.

I had many, many more santolinas to clip.  I lost count.  I have two different kinds of silver ones, and green ones, and “Lemon Fizz’, the gold one that loves to revert to green.

looking south: still lots of creeping sorrel and shotweed to remove

looking south: still lots of creeping sorrel and shotweed to remove (and, happily, lots of poppy seedlings): 3:30 PM, still at least two hours till dusk.

Moving right along at 4:30 PM

Moving right along at 4:30 PM.  That’s Euphorbia characias wulfenii in bloom

By now, Allan had already made one trip to dump a full cart of debris.  I had removed, with a pick, some goldenrod that someone had planted during the dark years when the garden was not mine.  (The other thing that got planted then was a long row of pampas grass, which soon blocked half the sidewalk!  It got removed, by backhoe, when I got the garden back.)  I’d left the goldenrod for years and it had stayed somewhat well behaved; now it is running and had to go. The goldenrod roots I bagged up to throw in the trash, because I don’t want it to get started elsewhere.  (I still use Solidago ‘Fireworks’ because it stays in a polite and well-behaved clump.)

Brief history of the boatyard garden:  I started it as a volunteer in 1997 when I had a shady garden behind the boatyard; I wanted to improve the town and also to have a place for sunloving plants.  In 2003, a new electrical line was laid, which required the digging up of the whole garden.  I had many gardening jobs by then and the garden had become a burden to me, so I did not mind letting it go.  Also, there was a scary man who had a boat in the yard at that time.  He was known to be…disturbed…and he would mutter, from  behind the fence,  the most horrible things to me like “They knew what to do with people like you in Nazi Germany.”  It made me not want to go there to work on the garden.  (The demented fellow is gone now…thank goodness.)  In 2011, the port hired me to bring it back the garden back thing of beauty, and here we are.

5 PM: the end is in sight.

5 PM: the end is in sight.  Allan is clipping the ornamental grass at the very end.

looking back

looking back

I am sure the weeding was less thorough as we rushed to get to the end before dark.  Allan made another run to the debris field while I did the last of the weeding.

5:45 PM: at last, the end!

5:45 PM: at last, the end!  The rest is lawn, running to the viewing bench.

done!

done!

Unfortunately, big old horsetail lurks under the garden and will start popping up soon and then we will have to deal with that.

the viewing bench at the south end of the boatyard

the viewing bench at the south end of the boatyard

As we finished up, boats were coming in and out of the harbour.

boat

rocky

The Rocky B going out

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo (compressed via telephoto)

I used Map My Walk again today and the app says I walked 3.83 miles on this job.  The visible route, as usual, does not quite line up with reality, as all of it took place outside the boatyard fence:

satellite view of the workday

satellite view of the workday

map2

See the trees in the lower left, above?  That’s where our old house is, the original Tangly Cottage Garden.

Around the curve of the road, where it turns into Howerton, just past the lower right corner, we have a curbside garden yet to weed.

 

At home, even though dusk was softening up the outlines, I took a photo of our pink tree to show its form.  Tomorrow, we are said to be due for 40 mph east wind and we may lose some blossoms.

home

I thought I was going to get the deep satisfaction of erasing Ilwaco from the February work list…till I remembered there are still two planters unchecked over on Spruce Street.  Drat!  And the Port of Ilwaco remains on the list till we get the last two garden sections cleaned up along Howerton Way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday, 20 February 2015

We’ve only had one day off since we started back to work on February 10th.  I’d like to think the cats miss me.

Smokey and his mom, Mary

Smokey and his mom, Mary

They seem perfectly content just to have my chair.  (It was naughty Calvin who clawed on the chair arm, not these two angels.)

They seem perfectly content just to have my chair. (It was naughty Calvin who clawed on the chair arm, not these two angels.)

I wanted the satisfaction of crossing two jobs off of the work list.  And we go to private gardens only on weekdays, so today we did The Red Barn and the private garden next door to it.

On the way, we fluffed up a couple of the Ilwaco planters with a bit of new potting soil and then made a side trip to the Depot Restaurant garden to dig up some hops roots for Chef Michael.  He wants to grow some in containers on his deck at home.  It took the big loppers to cut the roots.

Cascade Hops roots, thick and fibrous; gave him some with nice sprouts on them

Cascade Hops roots, thick and fibrous; gave him some with nice sprouts on them

The Red Barn Arena

At the barn, Red, a horsewoman’s handsome and friendly dog, came to greet me.

Red, a little camera shy

Red, a little camera shy

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

All we had to do was weed along the fence.  This was one of our last jobs last November, and I had looked at all the grassy weeds and thought “I’ll just wait till February”, so here we are.

before

before

after

after

Our parking space, on the lawn next to the hedge behind which was our next job, had turned into part of a completely fenced pasture.

pasture

Barn owner Amy told us the horse is hers, a brood mare who will be having a baby in about 40 days.

We look forward to seeing the foal in the springtime.

We look forward to seeing the foal in the springtime.

Diane’s garden

My solution was for Allan to unhook the trailer and just drive the van into Diane and Larry’s parking area, which is hard to turn around in.

Diane's front garden, before

Diane’s front garden, before, looking north

almost after, with Allan pulling a last weed or two

almost after, with Allan pulling a last weed or two

looking south, before...

looking south, before…

and after, including the planting of some pink and white California poppies ('Dusky Rose' and 'White Linen' seeds)

and after, including the planting of some pink and white California poppies (‘Dusky Rose’ and ‘White Linen’ seeds)

I will probably put a crisp edge on the lawn side of the garden next time.

west side of house, before

 side of house, before

and after

and after  (we did not make the house tilt….)

Iris reticulata in Diane's garden

Iris reticulata in Diane’s garden

We both Mapped Our Walk today:

mine

mine

Allan's

Allan’s working walk

Red Barn

Red Barn

Diane's: mine in red, Allan in blue

Diane’s garden: mine in red, Allan in blue

Allan tucked in to a few areas thoroughly while I was all over the place.  His milage for both jobs was 2.31 and mine was 3.15 miles, which just amazes me because the areas we worked in were rather small.  The map tends to put some odd loops out to the sides that I swear did not happen, so … I am assuming the GPS milage is somewhat accurate, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

Long Beach

We had a couple of hours of daylight left.  The temperature had dropped, a cold breeze had kicked up, and my original idea of finishing the day at the Port of Ilwaco no longer appealed.  We had a check to collect in Long Beach so we finished the day out there (still breezy and cold but with tasks that seemed less daunting than the entire Ilwaco boatyard garden).

Long Beach City Hall had a head start on St Patrick’s Day (which happens to be my birthday):

lb

We decided to check on the few main street planters that hadn’t had a once over yet.

The northernmost planter on the west side of Pacific Way (looking south)

The northernmost planter on the west side of Pacific Way (looking south) had some chickweed, as always

Back in volunteer days, some of the planters had lots of chickweed, and to this day, now that we are in charge, those three or four planters STILL have chickweed trying to come back.

under a street tree

under a street tree

Dennis Company’s garden department had pansies and violas on sale for a dollar.  I could not resist getting some of the orange and purple violas for planters in Long Beach and Ilwaco.

violas

violas

We next weeded and clipped trees and planters on the southernmost block of downtown planters:

looking south

looking south

I remember, when we first were caring for the planters, being asked to add primroses to brighten them up for spring break in March.  Now, with all the assorted spring bulbs that we’ve added over the years, they brighten up in a succession of flowers without having to add extra plants till annuals time in May.

I’ll close with a word of advice.  In all of our gardens, the Schizostylis (river lily) that bloomed so prettily in the fall now looks beat up and tired.

old schizostylis leaves)

old schizostylis leaves in a planter

I just grab the leaves and pull; chunks of old plant come out but enough little sprouts are left to size up for next fall’s flowers.  If the plant won’t pull out easily, I cut it back as far as I can.

Schizostylis and a little bun of a Dianthus at Wiegardts

Schizostylis flowers in autumn

We were cold and moderately miserable by the end of the day.  I was surprised that we did manage to work till five.  At home, I was able to remove two jobs from the work board and amend the task “planters” to just the ones on the Sid Snyder Drive beach approach, as all the others have had their first wake up call.

winnowing down the February work list

winnowing down the February work list

Tomorrow, if the weather permits, we might be able to erase Ilwaco and Port of Ilwaco from the list.

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Thursday, 19 February 2015

We got up with the best of intentions of going to work and then we were rather thrilled when rain began.  Our glee at a day off did not last long, as the sun came out so we were off, just a few blocks to the east to two gardens that are kitty corner from each other.

Just a remnant of rain as we leave for work

Just a remnant of rain as we leave for work

Mike’s garden

The first of the two gardens that we “woke up” for the season belongs to Ilwaco’ mayor.  This mainly green, white, pink and blue garden was created by a gardening business called “The Elves Did It”, Carol and William Jones.  (They now live inland.)  We pretty much just maintain it as is, although I’ve added some white narcissi and white lilies, some white snowdrops and crocuses.  Mike takes care of the watering so we only have to check on it once or twice a month in season.

a couple of befores, looking south down the front garden path

a couple of befores, looking south down the front garden path

a corner of the front garden with hardy fuchsia needing pruning

a corner of the front garden with hardy fuchsia needing pruning

a pretty pieris.  (My grandma called Pieris "Andromeda".)

a pretty pieris. (My grandma called Pieris “Andromeda”.)

before, looking north from by the front porch

before, looking north from by the front porch; the red house to the left is our second job of the day.

after

after

after, looking in from the street

after, looking in from the street

The soil is heavy clay and I’ve decided next time we will add some mulch.

after from the northwest corner of the garden

after from the northwest corner of the garden

Cheri’s garden

We then went kitty corner to Cheri and Charlie’s house.  At first, we thought we might skip it as the two boxers were out in the yard…but then a human friend took the dogs to the beach so we could get in.  The boxers, Porsche and Beamer, are friends of ours, but it’s a lot easier to work if they aren’t there.

Cheri's before, looking south.  You can see Mike's garden in the upper left.

Cheri’s before, looking south. You can see Mike’s garden in the upper left.

after

after

I must do something about the camera unfondly known as “Spot”, like as Allan to find me another Canon Powershot.  It is a satisfactory blogging pocketcam and next time I would be more careful to not let the lens get scratched….difficult though that is, keeping a camera clean while recording gardening days.

Allan tackled the back garden.

Allan tackled the back garden.  To the left is the cat cage where they can hang out in the fresh air.

Allan took some photos of the cats, who were a revolving feline audience to his work.

IMG_7036

IMG_7037

Gabby

 

the handsome Frank

the handsome Frank

Julie

Julie

after

the garden, after

Before, the east garden bed

Before, the east garden bed

after

after

We used to make the garden beds a lot more luscious, pre-boxer.  Now it’s more of a dog playground.

striking stems on the redtwig dogwood

striking stems on the redtwig dogwood

south side, Penstemon 'Burgundy Brew' came through the winter well.

south side, Penstemon ‘Burgundy Brew’ came through the winter well.

I planted ‘Burgundy Brew’ Penstemon because Cheri and Charlie are oenophiles.  That was back when the house was yellow.  I don’t think the purple flowers go well with the new orange red paint job, or maybe they do, because orange and purple could be kicky together.

I did a Map My Walk of the two jobs together:

two jobs

two jobs: total walking 2.37 miles

first job

first job

second job

second job

 

Cove Restaurant

In the evening, we met our friend Michele at the Cove, our favourite weekly tradition being their Fish Taco Thursday.

Parking Lot Cat greeted us at the door.

Parking Lot Cat greeted us at the door.

PLC has a cushy life; he just got his name from having been found as a stray in the parking lot.

Chef Jason Lancaster made us his new delicious item, a Ba’hn Mi sandwich, to try out.

Chef Jason

Chef Jason

menu

bahnmi

Ba’hn Mi sandwich, a Vietnamese specialty

my delicious plate of ahi tuna and salad

my delicious plate of ahi tuna and salad

Michele is a dog lover, so I found myself taking a lot about Chess, the Purebred Border Collie, and how I will miss his blogging, and showing her pictures of him on my phone, and saying how much I look forward to The Guy He Lived With getting a puppy.

At home, even though I was able to cross off both Mike’s and Cheri’s garden, I added Golden Sands, so the list for February remains just as long (and “mulch Mike’s garden” was added to a sidebar of projects).

board

Book Stuff 

Now that I am working full time and blogging regularly again, my reading pace has slowed considerably.  Late at night, I did finish a most informative and drolly written book:

2Q==

I had first been alerted to the fact that many of the authors of the “Golden Age of Comics” were Jewish when I read The Talented Miss Highsmith in early January.  This was fascinating news to me, and none of the friends I’ve asked had this knowledge.

“It may not be true in all cases, but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb.  If the word ‘man’ appears at the end of someone’s name you can draw one of two conclusions:  a) they’re Jewish, as in Goldman, Feldman, or Lipman; or b) they’re a superhero, as in Superman, Batman, or Spider-man.”  -Zeddy Lawrence

Brod’s book covers not only the famous classic comics like Superman and the Hulk but also modern graphic novels, especially Maus, and the final chapter is about The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which happens to be next in my pile of books to read.  It will possibly take me two weeks to read unless we get some rainy days.

Like all good books about books, Superman is Jewish? added to my list of books to read:

She, He and It by Marge Piercy (has some basis in the traditional golem story).  Her book Small Changes was a huge influence on me in my early 20s.

Awkward, Definition, Potential, and Likewise, graphic novels by Ariel Schrag about high school life

Escape from Special and A Mess of Everything, graphic novels by Miss Lasko-Gross

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, a graphic novel by Sarah Glidden

Meta Maus by Art Spiegelman (a sort of sequel to the Maus series, which I have read)

Next: back to gardening at two more jobs

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Ilwaco

We had a big surprise when we got to the post office (three blocks west of us, where we pick up our mail weekdays and Saturdays).

How about that?!?

How about that?!?

The postmistress had made the sign.  We admired her flower drawings and insisted she pose for a picture:

post

the flower artist

Then she wanted to take a picture of us.

Then she wanted to take a picture of us.

 

She said our garden at the post office has been getting lots of admiration.  It might be because we made the nice gravel edge, it might be because we added the cow manure mulch two days ago.  Or it might be because the spring bulbs are coming out.  I did not think to take a photo of the garden this morning so here is one from the other evening:

after...

after adding dairy manure mulch

I had one double blue primrose to put in the planter next to the Azure salon.  We found the planter moved, and slightly lacking in soil.

It used to sit where the round circle is.

It used to sit where the round circle is.

I think the new spot is better as it will not be hit by rogue vehicles.

one special little primrose added

one special little primrose added

While Allan checked a few other nearby planters and tree gardens, I clipped a trailing rosemary that was crisped by wind.

trimming

Allan noticed our former vehicle, the little green Saturn in the background, arriving and parking on the block.  He was so excited he had to take a picture of it.  (We had sold it to an acquaintance last fall.)

Hard to believe we once worked out of such a small vehicle.  It was difficult.  Life is so much better now.

Hard to believe we once worked out of such a small vehicle. It was difficult. Life is so much better now.

enough cars: back to the flowers!

enough cars: back to the flowers!

The ornamental pear street trees are in bloom, and for once there has been no coinciding windstorm to knock the flowers off!

The ornamental pear street trees are in bloom, and for once there has been no coinciding windstorm to knock the flowers off!

flowers

I noticed that the new garbage cans are designed with a lock so that householders and tourists cannot shove whole bags of personal garbage down there.  That is a great idea that should keep them from overflowing.

new garbage can

new garbage can

Now if only there were some further south down the street so that people would stop using our planters as garbage cans for beer bottles and food wrappers.  (There are two blocks to the south with no garbage cans at all.)

It annoyed me all to bits to see that someone had dropped a bazillion cigarette butts in the street right next to the garbage can.  Why?  Maybe they think their butts will light the garbage on fire?   (I don’t know who it is but have been told it is probably people waiting for appointments at the DMV office on this block.)  I pick up trash as a community service and yet I balk at sweeping up someone’s nasty old butts.

annoying!

annoying as all get out!

Then we were off to the main feature of the day, the Boreas Inn in Long Beach.

As we drove up, we saw our friend Ed Strange’s truck and trailer.  He had come to mow the lawn at exactly the same time.

Ed at work

Ed at work

looking west, mowing east

looking west, mowing east

befores and afters of the work day:

before, south side picket fence garden

before, south side picket fence garden

After Allan cleaned it up...a hard one, because he had to crawl under bird netting that is there to keep deer off the escallonias.

After Allan cleaned it up…a hard one, because he had to crawl under bird netting that is there to keep deer off the escallonias.

Allan's before and after of the end bed with and without chickweed

Allan’s before and after of the end bed with and without chickweed

I had been basing my thoughts about ferns on the ones at Klipsan Beach Cottages that still looked so good last week.  Had I known how bad the sword ferns looked at the Boreas, I would have clipped them before President’s Day Weekend!

by the walkway on east side of the inn

by the walkway on east side of the inn

Innkeeper Bill told me they had been hit hard by east winds.

Innkeeper Bill told me they had been hit hard by east winds.

my project, before

my project, before

after

and after  (the hardy fuchsia also trimmed down)

lots of narcissi in pots on the entry porch

lots of narcissi in pots on the entry porch

vignette by the front door

vignette by the front door

My other project by the garden suite porch...before

My other project by the garden suite porch…before

and after

and after

and a detail

and a detail

We both tackled the western lawn beds.   One of them is becoming infested with creeping Jenny that is creeping madly out from the corner where it got planted (not by me!!).  Next time, we will take a pick to this area, and get out most of the lady’s mantle, too, as it is one of my least favourite perennials because of the way it reseeds so prolifically and because of how bad it looks right after flowering.

pick

I am becoming more stern about taking a running plant right out when someone plants one, before it becomes a pest, and putting it in a pot to be contained.  I had gotten all soft about this creeping Jenny and now she has gone all over this entire area and is up in everyone else’s business.

While it sounds like I went through the day all unrelentingly crabby (Cigarette butts! Damn creeping jenny!) I didn’t, and in fact spent most of the day thinking about missing Chess the purebred border collie.  Further annoyance did occur when I saw that deer had eaten the alliums in the west garden.  This is unheard of, until now.

allium...chomped!

allium…chomped!

sad indeed

sad indeed

looking west at the end of the day

looking west at the end of the day

and the view I always take, looking east

and the view I always take, looking east

I had planned to do some slide shows of different gardens through the year, during staycation, but I read books instead.  I might still do them some rainy day and postdate the publication.

What Map My Walk had to show for the Boreas job:

CCR's smokehouse restuarant is no longer there.

CCR’s smokehouse restaurant is no longer there.

Lots of walking; that spur to the north never happened, nor did I ever cross Ocean Beach Boulevard to the east.

Lots of walking; that spur to the north never happened, nor did I ever cross Ocean Beach Boulevard to the east.

Long Beach

We did one more little thing: planted two of those double blue primroses in a planter near the Long Beach police station.  Allan photographed the species tulips (“Ice Stick’).

garden

ice

Tulip ‘Ice Stick’ and crocuses

ice

In the sun, these would be wide open.

tulips

At home, the size of the work board stayed static.  I crossed out Boreas but added Jo.

The original work list for February just had the public jobs.  Weather has permitted so much work that we are probably going to get to some private gardens, as well.

work list tonight

work list tonight

I still need to walk around and check every one of the Long Beach planters for weeds.

We “lost” a job.  Flowering Hedge Design, our friends Shelly and Terran, are taking over Erin’s, including the boat garden, with my blessing.  There is one more job other than that one from which we have resigned, and I hope that we will therefore have a little more time in our own garden this year.

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