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Archive for February, 2017

Saturday, 25 February 2017

After peering over the fence on Thursday at a fascinating property that Our Kathleen had told me about, we got a comment on our blog from Charlene that made me feel compelled to see inside.

“I was on that property, for a gathering, and it’s more than incredible. I walked around for a couple hours and still didn’t see everything. You would come upon a garden item, and stand and look, to see what he had repurposed to make it. He would go to Boeing surplus and buy all these ordinary things and come back and make magician garden areas and displays. He is a pure inventor. I just did not want to leave! If you get a chance to visit it, go.”

So I called the realty company today and said I don’t want to buy it (even if I sort of do) but that I would love to blog about it…and the listing agent was happy to show us around. Here is the  Artist garden link and the description:

“This is so much more than 4 vacant land parcels. Enter the gates and you enter a private garden like no other. 100s of plants in containers, a grove of bamboo, mature trees and beautiful one-off gazebos and garden features. All of this is anchored by a grand pavilion made from steel and found materials in the grand style of The Rural Studio and Samuel Mockbee. The site features a private well, 2 RV cleanouts, 100 amp power, sleeping area, kitchen and bathroom, and 40′ steel storage container.”  The agent is Mark Magee at 503-860-5596.

Samuel Mockbee’s goal was providing “shelter for the soul.”  I feel that here on this property.

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On Thursday, the two big gates were closed.

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Today, one was open.

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the road in

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Meeting Mark’s dog, Ajax.

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sweet Ajax

The owner collected salvage and turned it into art. Mark told us that some viewers wonder what they would do with all that “junk”.  The sort of people I know would be thrilled to have it.

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Allan’s photo

 

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English ivy was the only horticultural problem that I saw.

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Allan’s photo

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and moles…  The construction to the left had fallen apart this past winter.

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now (Allan’s photo)

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Here it was in happier times.

At the center of the property is a large pavilion.

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south end of the pavilion

 

Here are three photos of the pavilion from the real estate listing:

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a party from the past

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This maybe went back to before the pavilion was covered.

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In the pavilion today. The glowing end walls are made of automative floor mats.

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

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north of the pavilion

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Allan’s photo

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the north end of the pavilion

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Allan’s photo

On the south back side of the property is the large storage container and all sorts of ingredients for more projects.  The entire property is fenced, tall enough to keep out deer.

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Allan’s photo

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storage unit and potential extra living space (Allan’s photo)

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

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lights (Allan’s photo)

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Allan’s photo

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fence (Allan’s photo)

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

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east end of the property

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At the east end of the large property are two joined sheds.

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a breezeway in between the sheds

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center breezeway

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woodsy view, close to the back edge of the property

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One side has a working kitchen and bathroom.

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bathroom (Allan’s photo); also has a shower

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and a door to the outside

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The other could be the sleeping space.

If I were, say, 40, I would still have the energy to say I could so easily live in this space.  We could convert the 40 foot storage container into more housing, or bring in an RV to one of the two RV sites.  To add an actual house, manufactured or stick built, one would have to have a new septic system installed. Earlier in my life, I’d have found it easy to live with what’s there now.

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the view back out to the pavilion

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built on a grand and massive scale

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more ingredients by the sheds (Allan’s photo)

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You might have to make a few dump runs if you couldn’t figure out how to use every last thing.

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Clearly, many plans were unrealized here.

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Allan’s photo

I can easily imagine a delightful alternative life here.  I can’t leave my home and garden to take it on….but maybe you can?

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I asked realtor Mark Magee to please let me know if he has any more listings that are amazing secret soul nurturing hideaways like this. I would love to see them and blog about them.  After all, it was my blog posts about it that brought the perfect new owner to the original Tangly Cottage.

 

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

We had the pleasure of lunching at Salt Pub with two regular blog readers and Facebook friends, Lizanne and Gina.

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Allan’s photo

Over lunch, one topic of conversation was real estate, as I had been haunted by the idea of looking at the dreamy four-lot property up north.  Just before we ate, I arranged to do so.

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view from Salt Pub


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nachos


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pub burger

After lunch, I returned the excellent advance copy of Radium Girls to Karla at Time Enough Books…

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and after a quick stop at home to grab our postcard making kit, we joined Lizanne and Gina to prowl around the exterior of a darling house for sale in Seaview.

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Lizanne, me, Gina


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dreamy Seaview

Gina is of Snooter-Doots fame and is a favourite afar of our cats because she made their catnip Kitty Karrots.

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tiny Seaview cottage called Shoebox Inn


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We cared for the garden once a year, several years ago.

Since Allan and I were heading north to look at the enticing property for sale, we decided to join the last half hour of a post card party in progress at Naquaiya Studio in Ocean Park.

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narcissi at the art studio (Allan’s photo)

  This blog is a faithful retelling of the quotidian lives of two working class gardeners, including the non gardening bits.  Some days are focused on non gardening activities, moreso lately. 

The postcard event is an offshoot of Indivisible.  Its main focus is a mass mailing of protest postcards to Preznit DT in mid March.  It may have no effect but to strengthen our resistance, and that is enough to make it worthwhile.  And the conversation among a group of fierce old woman is satisfying.  Like Lawrence O’ Donnell, we hope for impeachment, or perhaps resignation, and that he’ll take white nationalist Steve Bannon with him when he goes home to his luxurious life as a citizen.

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The creative party had been going strong for 2 1/2 hours before we got there with impressive results.  I may have blurred out a word or two for those with the most delicate of sensibilities:

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Good job, postcard artists.

I concentrated in my brief half hour on my own little idea: To send a postcard of thanks to the Associated Press, Time Magazine, and USA today for refusing to attend a press conference in which the NY Times, CNN, and other news outfits were denied entrance. Allan made three postcards, as well.

I do hope that someone at a office desk will get some pleasure and amusement from them.

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Allan’s and mine

Our friend and artist Joe Patina had been leaving as we arrived.  He’d left behind a pile of vintage postcards which are much to lovely to go to DT.  I am in the process of photographing them to share on my Grandma’s Scrapbooks blog.

Now it was time to drive north and get a look inside the tall gates we had peered over on Friday.  That will be tomorrow’s post.

Afterwards, on the way home in the late afternoon, we saw swans on Black Lake.

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Allan’s photo

I noticed Lake Street looking colorful.

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While I blogged, Allan string trimmed the garden bed edges and gathered up and cut to firewood size the fallen branches of the winter.

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hellebore, dogwood, alder fall


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an animal path going into the south end of Nora’s garden next door.

Tomorrow: an artist’s haven for sale

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25 Feb: snow day

Friday, 25 February 2017

I woke and looked out the screened south window to this:

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And went back to sleep, secure in having a day off.

Meanwhile, our friend and former client Ann had taken some photos when the snow was at its best:

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photo by Ann Saari

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photo by Ann Saari

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Ann’s back garden.

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photo by Ann Saari; high school stadium in background

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photo by Ann Saari

By the time I got up, Allan had taken a few snow photos.

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Smokey had been outside already.

I finally got up, after getting a solid sleep, and found there was still a bit of snow left.

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Smokey and Frosty being unusually brotherly.

I was pleased to have a reading day.  I’d been lent an advance copy of an excellent book:

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fascinating and remarkable

This passage is exactly why I think it is so important to remember people:

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Its release date is early May.

By two thirty, the snow had melted.  But nothing could tear me from my book except for the need to write two blog posts (yesterday and today).

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I have only 75 pages of 400 left to go and am sure that after watching Rachel Maddow and Grimm, I will finish it tonight.

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

I had complete faith, when I saw the fairly decent weather, that we could complete three more spring clean ups today.

The Red Barn

Red Barn

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our good friend Rosie (Allan’s photo)

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at The Red Barn Arena

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the farrier and our client, Diane

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Rosie loves eating hoof trimmings

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Farrier’s truck (Allan’s photo)

We care for five containers and a narrow garden bed at the barn.

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Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ had not made it well through winter.

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removal project; now the narcissi will show up.

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sad Erysimum

We unhooked the trailer in order to go next door to Diane’s garden; her driveway was too full to turn around with our full rig.

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Ice on water nearby shows how cold the air still felt.

Diane’s garden

At the barn, we had learned from Diane that the new septic still has not been installed.  That means that re-doing her roadside garden won’t happen till perhaps the end of March.

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Stipa gigantea, driveway entry (Allan’s photos)

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after

The trees have been cut down along the roadside garden and the stumps will be removed.  The county mowing truck mowed down the heathers and rosemary, the only plants we left behind when we dismantled the garden last fall….probably because it no longer looked like a garden (and it is part of the roadside verge).

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hydrangea, before pruning

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after

Diane reminded me that I had spoken of pruning her old blueberries.  We removed 1/3 of the old growth, hoping to encourage better berrying.

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before

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after

Allan had a long walk, twice, back to the debris pile at the barn.

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My dear friend Mistie, aged 10, who is doing much better than she was last fall, got a good belly rub and hugging.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We made our second spring clean up trip to KBC to cut back the ferns.

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Denny, Mary, and Bella

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darling Bella

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view in fenced garden, east gate

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crocuses and Iris reticulata

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crocuses

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and more crocuses

 

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clean up of the driveway garden, before

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during

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and after talking to Mary about how she wants room to plant some dwarf conifers here.

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east end of pond island bed, before and after trimming ferns

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the pond, before

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Allan’s brave crossing

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before (Allan’s photo)

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after

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after (Allan’s photo)

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The pond island has many ferns, most of them awkward to reach.

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before

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after

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by cottage eight, before and after (Allan’s photos)

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near cottage one (Allan’s photos).  Those ferns probably got missed in last year’s pruning.

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Allan rescued St. Francis.

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the dog memorial garden for Misty, Debbie, and Raven

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the first narcissi in the A Frame garden

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Allan noticed them, too.

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Pieris

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rhododendrons

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primroses

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hamamelis (witch hazel) and the cottages on the ridge

I never did get to KBC over the winter to read more cottage journals.  I got too entrenched in my reading chair at home.  Maybe next winter.

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by the clam cleaning shed

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the last fern of the day

The temperature had dropped drastically.  We were glad to be done.

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The crocuses had closed up.  (Allan’s photo)

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Allan’s photo

a dreamy garden

In the van, just before leaving, I checked my messages and saw that Our Kathleen had sent me a real estate link.  Although we are not house hunting, she knows we like to see interesting properties.

Here is the link.

“This is so much more than 4 vacant land parcels. Enter the gates and you enter a private garden like no other. 100s of plants in containers, a grove of bamboo, mature trees and beautiful one-off gazebos and garden features. All of this is anchored by a grand pavilion made from steel and found materials in the grand style of The Rural Studio and Samuel Mockbee. The site features a private well, 2 RV cleanouts, 100amp power, sleeping area, kitchen and bathroom, and 40′ steel storage container.”

I swiped these three photos, because I suppose at some time the real estate listing will go away.

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amazing pavilion

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a party from the past

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a paradise!

I had to see, so we drove about fifty blocks north, only to find another aspect of the property’s perfection:

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It has two big gated driveways and you cannot see in, at all—complete privacy.

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The other gate

Allan stood on a bucket and said no one was there. He took some photos over the gate…because I was desperate to see inside and I was too sore from work to stand on a bucket.

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It is glorious.

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Even though there is no house in there, the description included a sleeping area, kitchen, and bathroom.  Oh, if I were even five years younger…I feel too old to uproot my Ilwaco garden.

While fantasizing about living in the 40 foot storage container, I had to firmly remind myself of the advantages of living near a bookstore, post office, library, hospital, and Salt Pub.  And yet…this one will haunt me for awhile.  It had 4000 more square feet than our property does.  I did some online snooping and found the owners are just a bit more than a decade older than us.  That increased my feeling of being too old to move.

Maybe you can buy it and invite us over.

Salt Pub

Tonight, Our Kathleen was in town for our weekly North Beach Garden Gang meeting.  Sadly, Dave and Melissa were unable to attend.

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the view

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Our Kathleen (Allan’s photo)

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pub burger

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tacos

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smoked tuna melt

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vanilla creme brulee

We stayed till after closing time, as I figured we would, and that is why I skipped a blogging day.  I was so tired that I forgot to erase three more jobs from the workboard until the following morning.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

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out the kitchen window, moss in old dogwood

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Smokey admiring the garden from the front steps.

When we started work today, I got the big idea we might get FOUR jobs done: Norwood, Mayor Mike, Diane’s and Red Barn.  We got a late start because of a storm passing through at mid morning.  When we did begin, the air felt icy despite sunshine. The commute to our first job, just two doors down, was even shorter than yesterday’s commute to the J’s cottage across the street.

Norwood garden

Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) take care of the biggest job here, the annual pruning of the hedge.  Today, we weeded and clipped in the narrow beds around the house.

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before, on the cold and shady side

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after

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Allan’s photos

I think those three barberries are planned for removal.  Not to pass the buck, but I do think Sea Star Dave would be just the fellow to do it!

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the easiest part,  in the sun…before

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and after (with weeds and montbretia leaves pulled)

This bed especially could benefit from some mulch.  I think with such narrow beds, the most economical method (for labor) would be bales of Gardner and Bloome rather than a trip to get a yard of mulch.  Shall we?

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before, lavender

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after.  The fuchsias may leaf out or may have to be cut all the way back.

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I wondered if this, with the black berries, was privet, and later got it confirmed to be so.  Maybe usually it is pruned so hard one doesn’t see the berries.  I want one.

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We got done just in time for rain.

We took a break at home to wait out the rain, then headed out to Mike’s garden a few blocks to the east.

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Frosty and Skooter

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our neighbour Yarrow (Allan’s photo)

Mike’s garden

Allan clipped part of the pampas grass.  We’ll leave the moderately good looking uprights for now.

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before and after

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forgot a before, so this is a during.

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Decided to prune the hardy fuchsia down this year.

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trying not to step on any tulip foliage

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before (Allan’s photos)

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after

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after

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after

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This time I pruned down the buddleia.

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Pieris in bloom

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front corner

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Iris siberica ‘Eye Catcher’

Because the temperature kept dropping, we almost bailed out on work at 3 PM.  I had remembered that Diane’s garden has a big hydrangea to prune (that in previous years has taken me by surprise), so I did not want to squeeze that and the Red Barn garden onto the end of the day.  Deluded by a bit of sunshine, we decided to go on to

Coulter Park.

Coulter Park is just north of Dennis Company in Long Beach

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back entrance from Ocean Beach Boulevard

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west side with hardy fuchsias, before

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after

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northwest corner, before (Allan’s photos).  Something oily had been dumped in the corner, maybe killing an old siberian iris.

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after.  What bad thing happened here?

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the north side rose bed, horribly infested with salmonberry from under the fence

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pruning out some big old canes

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later, slightly pruned.  Refining this area is now on the “projects” list.

I still would like to talk to Parks Manager Mike about removing these roses and replacing them with non-thorny single trunked shrubs, to make it easier to control the dratted salmonberry invaders.

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two pieris and a flowering currant against bright sunshine

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north side (behind the old train depot) with siberian iris, before

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after

By four thirty, my hands were too cold to feel what I was doing.

At home, I erased Coulter, Norwood, and Mike’s:

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While the spring clean up list dwindles, the project list grows.

Tomorrow may not allow any blogging time.

 

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Jay and Jodie’s

We had unexpectedly workable weather and began across the street at the J’s cottage.  I’d been itching to cut back the sword ferns.  We’d begun this job last year in mid summer and so had not been able to clip them thoroughly.

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before, looking west

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lots of little shotweeds coming up (lower right)

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gathering clipped fern fronds

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after

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before, looking east

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after

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really need to get some mulch for shrubs that were planted too high

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crocuses

In the back garden, Allan found pots needing drainage.

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After popping home for a drill, he fixed the problem.

Partway through the job, I took a 20 minute break to walk down to the nearby fire station with a local firefighter who is planning to beautify the landscape there.

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me and John

I said that with proper notice, I’d volunteer to help weed and also to help select plants. It was a volunteer project I’d been planning to do myself…someday…so am glad someone else has taken it in hand.

Long Beach

In the early afternoon, we tackled the Heron Pond, at the corner of Bolstad and Pacific.  You can look at it any time on the Heroncam.

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before

Oh, how I loathe the salal in this garden, obviously not planted by us.  Last year I pulled and pulled and clipped it along the front here.  Of course, the dastardly stuff is back.

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salal all up in the armeria (sea thrift) along the edge of the pond.

This is a case where the human does not win.  I didn’t even try to fight the damn stuff this year, just clipped some of it back.  That and aegepodium (variegated bishops weed) are my two most loathed plants.  Just don’t fall for them!

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after

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before

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after (silver santolina trimmed)

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fish hiding place (Allan’s photo)

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Another pale fish that has eluded the heron.

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photos, before

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after.  Allan climbed out to the waterfall to trim the ferns.

We then weeded and sheared grasses in three little pop outs on Ocean Beach Boulevard.  We found to our surprise that the cold wind that we’d felt at the pond garden was much less annoying here at the first two pop outs. We had almost quit for the day after the pond; I was glad we had persisted.

Allan’s photos:

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before.  Second pop out is on the other side of the crosswalk.

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after

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before

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after

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from the back

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after

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Barbara from the Planter Box drove by and stopped to catch up.

The second little pop out was not especially photogenic before OR after.  For the last two years, someone has adopted it and planted annuals toward the front, so we simply weeded it and will wait to see what happens.

Half a block north, a citizen has been experimenting in his front yard with escallonia topiary.

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a chair

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a critter in progress

Someone has already cut back the dwarf pampas grass in the BIG pop out so we drove right by it to the third and fourth little ones, a block north of city hall.

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third little pop out, before

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after

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fourth, before (such a sad mugo pine, that had to be trimmed last year for traffic sightlines)

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after

The wind had gotten deathly cold and so every little weed did not get pulled today.

I think that mugo pine has to totally go away…sometime.  These tiny garden beds get no supplemental water and are probably browsed by deer so I’ll have to ponder on it.

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A citizen stopped for veg gardening advice.  I referred her to The Planter Box.

Brrr.

After dumping our debris, we were so glad to get home.  Before enjoying the warmth of the house, we had a little chat with our new neighbour, Devery, who was looking spiffing as always in, today in a checked jacket with a matching hat.  I’m so looking forward to sitting in the garden with her this summer when warm weather returns.  At present, it’s hard to picture summer because I have done almost no spring clean up on my own garden.

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I was able to erase three spring clean up jobs from the work board.

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

We had a rainy day off. While I continued to read Bad Feminist and got caught up on the Tootlepedal blog, Allan went to Time Enough Books to get some photos of Karla and the signs she had made for a Town Hall (Tuesday) with Representative Jaime Beutler, who is a Republican politician well known for opposing the Affordable Health Care Act and for not showing up to vote.  In fact, she has one of the worst voting absentee records of all.

The Tuesday event is an hour and a half away, so we won’t be going.

However, Allan and I did go to a demonstration in Astoria on President’s Day…

Monday, 20 February 2017

“Not My President Day”

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approaching the busy intersection where cars come from both the coast highway and the Astoria bridge and turn onto the main highway through town (Commercial Street), heading east to Portland.

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It was a good turn out despite a chilly rain, with a group on each of three corners of the intersection.  At its lunch hour peak, 60-70 folks were in attendance.

Many vehicles honked in approval.  We got a few one finger salutes, which surely meant “You folks are number one for turning out in such bad weather!”

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Northwest corner


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Southwest corner

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a real sweetheart


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view from southeast corner.  That is Allan in yellow.

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They drove all the way from South Bend.

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“Support Families Not Deportation”

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very good dog

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my favourite sign


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our friend Carol from Ilwaco

We all followed instruction number two, being friendly to the passersby no matter what their attitude.

1. BE SAFE: Do not block cross-walks, intersections, and leave sidewalks accessible to pedestrians.
2. BE POSITIVE: Be nice to each other, drivers, and pedestrians. Ignore hecklers. Do not engage!
3. MAKE FRIENDS: Please–talk to as many people as you can. Network, exchange ideas, and feel free to engage with Indivisible co-organizers about any ideas you have.

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me and Allan (Carol’s photo)


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the youngest protestor

Allan’s photos of the demonstration:

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I have to admit that by the last half hour of the two hour long demo, we were checking our watches for how much longer.

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For the last fifteen minutes, when many folks had had to go back to work after their lunch break, those of us remaining consolidated ourselves on one corner.

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Allan collected the last sign.


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He was the last protestor because he had helped put signs away.

We had parked by the lovely Flavel House Museum.

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Flavel House back yard

Afterwards, glad to be out of the dreary weather, Allan and I had lunch at the Blue Scorcher Bakery.

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got the last slice of my favourite treat


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In the Blue Scorcher

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yummy breakfast burritos

We shopped for Dr Bronner’s Soap at the charming little Astoria Co-op.

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If you bring a bag, the co op gives one nickel to local causes of your choice.

A shopping for big items at Costco resulted in a bulb purchase.

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because we are still a gardening blog, most of the time

Then back across the Columbia River to home.

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