Archive for Apr, 2017

17 April: day off projects

Monday, 17 April 2017

We were happy that the weather cooperated with a good relaxing day off.  Our relaxation would have been perfect had we not each made a mistake in a project.

I thought I would start to assemble a collage sign for an upcoming Earth Day event.


materials: poster board, glue stick, seed catalogs, scissors, and gardening magazines.

Five hours later:





The centerpiece of the back side is a poster I bought after seeing it on Facebook.  (I agree with everything it proposes except for “abolish prison”…I think prison has to be fair, and not indentured servitude, and not racially biased, and not include minor drug offenders, but I can”t quite imagine abolishing prison completely.  For more on how the prison system must be changed, I recommend reading The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander).  When I googled the abolish prison movement, I found that some thoughtful and reasonable solutions were proposed.

The artist is Ricardo Levins Morales.

But anyway…I was well chuffed with what I had come up with to represent the sky.  Sunflowers!


.I was just admiring my posters when I realized I had made a terrible mistake.  I had used one piece of poster board!  Nooooo!  There was no way to insert the stick to turn it into a proper sign!

Even Allan could not think of a solution.  Fortunately, I had just tacked down the pictures (because Allan would be covering them with a clear plastic adhesive sheet) so I was able to peel them off and re-do the backside on another board.  I only lost part of one picture. So, two hours later:


I had forgotten how much I enjoy gardening magazines.  Just perusing a couple of old Garden Designs, I found inspiration:


could be done with columnar evergreens


saw this waterfall running off a wall, and another running down a concrete grooved railing


love this beachy look

I think I need to look at more magazines on paper, not just online sources.

Meanwhile, Allan had gone out to buy a piece of outdoor grade plywood ($59!) to make new sides for the trailer.  He dumped yesterday’s rose debris at city works and acquired buckets of lava rock to add to a tricky spot in Veterans Field.

I am not a fan of lava rock.  However, it was used around the stage in Vet Field and so it will match, and besides, there is a pile of it in the works yard—a pile that shows that it is not popular for use anywhere but Vet Field.  I do not think the color of lava rock looks beachy at all.  It reminds me of gas station landscaping in Eastern Washington.


The rain that was giving us an almost day off got much heavier while Allan did this small project.  His target area, a garden end of the flag pavilion arc that always gets walked across, was a lake.


I had suggested he get ” a couple of buckets” of rock.


That was nowhere near enough so he had to go back for more.



That’s more like it.

He then drove out to the beach approach to see what was up with the missing banners.  New banners were already up, thanks to quick work by the city crew.  They do not take days off because of bad weather.




Allan purchased his plywood at Oman & Son Builders Supply, brought it home, unloaded it (heavy!), prepared to cut it…and realized that it was the wrong width…5/8, instead of 3/4 of an inch.  Just 1/8 of an inch too thin.  If he had installed it, it would have rattled.  It will be exchanged tomorrow.

He spent the next hour or two carefully putting the clear shelf paper over the new posters and inserting a proper carrying stick in between them.

In the evening, I saw online this darling photo which is now a guest photo:


No need for an umbrella!  Photo by Todd Wiegardt

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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter brunch at Salt pub was not on our schedule. We have too much work to do after too few nice days. I was pleased to see our flower bouquet in their announcement.

We figured that a clam tide in the late morning would have the beach approach very crowded, so it was a good day to begin with a bit of shopping at The Basket Case.

Basket Case Greenhouse

Oops, they open at noon on Sundays and we got there at 11:20.  Three other vehicles arrived at the same time so Darrell and Roxanne put the open sign out!


Beautiful new sign


garden art


Darrell putting out a pelican


Gardener Ed Strange (Strange Landscaping) and Jackson


the annuals house


meeting shop dog Buddy


the perennials house


and so it begins

We won’t buy annuals till around Mother’s Day, but perennials and tender perennials are good to go now.


diascias, erysimum, agastache, nicotiana

Long Beach

On the way to the beach approach, we checked out Veterans Field for signs of an easter egg hunt.


All ready!



Allan’s photo


The hunt would begin in an hour.  We did not take time to wait and see it.

Then back to the beach approach, where we began with the last of the somewhat open of the 13 sections.  All the remaining sections after this are rugosa rose thickets.


Allan attacks the roses with a pick to get them pushed back from the edge.


today’s section, before


today’s section, before, looking east


Cat stopped for a chat.


picking some crocus bulbs out of a weed clump




an old dog and a puppy (Allan’s photo)



With the section done, and the time being not quite four o clock, I had the bright idea that we could do just one more section, the 45 foot long one (instead of the usual 55 footers) that we had skipped when it had had a big puddle on the street side.




two hours and forty five minutes later

Even though we finished it, I was sorry we had started it because I was so very tired and sore by the end.





Allan does the hardest part, swinging the pick to remove rose canes and wheelbarrowing the heavy barrow of weeds off to the long grass.  While I used to just lazily dump right at the far edge of the lawn, he insists on humping the loads up and over the little hill so the piles of weeds don’t show.

As we drove away, we saw yet one more banner had been stolen…probably on the same night as the three missing banners that I noticed yesterday.


further west than the other three

We were too tired to dump the rose debris at city works so we just took it home.  Then the plants from Basket Case needed to be unloaded and watered and that is when I learned that Allan had since yesterday been feeling tired to the point of being queasy.

At age 64 and 62, are we pushing ourselves too hard? But the work needs to be done (and trust me, over the years I’ve tried finding helpers, and no one works in the way that we do except for folks who have set up their own successful gardening businesses).

While weeding that last section today, I had contemplated how I will find it hard to retire from our public gardening jobs (Long Beach and Ilwaco) unless I knew that someone who cared as much as we do would be taking over.  Someone who is bothered by every weedy spot and every deadhead.  When I give up a private garden, its condition doesn’t bother me because I don’t have to see it again.

What to do?

The short term solution is that rain and 30 mph wind is due tomorrow, and we will take the day off whether or not that forecast comes true.

An even shorter term solution is that Allan took an hour long nap and felt much better.

We will make our next work day something easier than the remaining sections of the beach approach garden (a project that will take us at least three more days, possibly four or five).

Erasing the work board to show that we are over halfway through the approach garden was not as satisfying when I realized I had been pushing both of us too hard.


work board tonight

Some check-ups on jobs, involving deadheading and tidying, would be easier than anything that is on that work board right now.

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Saturday, 15 April 2017

We planned to return to the beach approach, but first we took Jaime to Time Enough Books.


Allan and Jaime


With Karla.  Jaime wants to explore some new ways of thinking so she bought some educational books.

Yesterday’s town hall bouquet went to a new home at Salt Hotel.



Julez was pleased.

He told me a story the other night, when we left after the Salty Talk, that has been a comfort to me.  From the Salt Pub, I have to go down the stairs backwards because of my knee and balance problems.  Julez told me about a mountain climber who had “blown out his knees” climbing so whenever descending a mountain slope, the climber had to go down backwards.  That story made me feel less old and decrepit.

Long Beach

We weeded the Veterans Field gardens first, in preparation for an easter egg hunt that will happen there tomorrow.


vet field corner garden


our version of red, white and blue


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

Then the continued weeding of the beach approach took the rest of the day.


Lots of passersby on this nice weather Saturday.


I got to meet some nice dogs.

Allan started with the end cap by the driveway to the restroom parking lot.




after thinning and weeding


Our big section today, looking west, before





sidewalk tile by Renee O’Connor


planting poppy seeds

We ended by finishing up a section we had not completed the day before (due to jumping ahead to clear some traffic sightlines).


weeding a challenging thicket of roses

It was not until Allan found a round metal object in the garden that we looked up and realized that three of the prettiest Long Beach banners had been stolen overnight.  I checked, and yesterday’s photos show the banners.



Today…nothing on three posts, and on one the expensive brackets are missing (bottom) and bent (top).



I picture some yobbos standing in the bed of a pick up truck in the dark, stealing banners but not quite able to reach so the brackets got bent and broken.


missing banner with brackets intact (Allan’s photo)


no banner to enjoy (Allan’s photo); The little round piece is what he found in the garden.


Allan’s photo

It is irksome and will make for extra work for the city crew.  (It also demonstrates why placing security cameras on the lamp posts would likely end up with the cameras stolen.)

When we dumped our debris at city works, we loaded eight buckets of soil and mulched the flag pavilion bed at Vet Field.


all fluffed up

We were both very tired.  (Allan was even tireder than he let me know till the end of the next day.)  The work board shows 7 beach approach sections of 13 still to go.  Tomorrow we hope to reach the halfway point.




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Friday, 14 April 2017

I woke early to sunshine and a sense of urgency about picking flowers and going to work, then heard pounding rain and rested awhile longer.  At the usual time, I got up and then went out to gather a bouquet.


Skooter on the front steps (Allan’s photo)


Skooter helping


I did not pick from here…


and I did not pick from here…

I picked a few narcissi from the outer beds and then went for a big batch of yellow and red tulips that were in a rather hidden spot…


I wouldn’t miss these so much!

Another pouring rain drove me to take shelter in the greenhouse.  I did nothing productive like tidying up, just stared at the weather in disgruntlement.


rainy greenhouse view

I thought that I had better take both my raincoats to work in case intermittent soaking rains happened all day long.


Frosty and Calvin as the sun emerges again


a very special gold leafed Eryngium (Allan’s photo)

At the Ilwaco post office:


I love the white tiny cupped narcissus, and lots of lily foliage


I planted this little white star and now I did not know what it is.  Looked it up: Ipheion or Triteleia uniflorum.

We delivered our flowers to the Chautaqua Lodge meeting room in north Long Beach, feeling a bit guilty that the setting up of all the chairs had been too early in the morning for us night owls.  Below is artist Michele with the cut-out of our congresswoman, Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who had been invited to tonight’s town hall but had instead decided to do a telephone town hall the night before (during which, I heard later, she only took ten questions from constituents).


Jaime will be at our town hall one way or another.


our bouquet for the town hall….our only contribution to making it all happen.


Long Beach

We settled in to the beach approach weeding.  As soon as rain began, I realized I had completely forgotten my rain coats!  I took shelter in the van for a bit.  Fortunately, the rain stopped.  A strong and cold and miserable wind intermittently annoyed me.

Because of puddles next to two of the 13 beach approach sections, we are weeding all out of order, depriving me of the pleasure of seeing the end of the garden get closer bit by bit each day.  The project is all cattywampus this year.


looking west


looking east; we started on a sort of middle section today



Allan used the pick to remove as many roses as possible from right on the edges.


It is always cheering to get to pet a dog.




one section done



another angle of admiration


We skipped this section; the hardest of all because of rushes interspersed with everything.  We need to start it fresh some day instead of when we are tired.


Allan has to detour around puddles to dump the wheelbarrow.

We can dump weeds in the tall grass but the rugosa rose roots go to the city dump.


yellow hoop petticoat narcissi replanted  by the long grass (Allan’s photo)

There is always an interesting assortment of people and dogs walking by (all Allan’s photos):




This woman was looking for places to put out some painted rocks.


this beauty


and this one all studded with tiny shells

The purpose of these artistic rocks by her and her daughter is a simple one: to bring people joy.


our second target of the day


mostly done


section two, after

We did not quite finish the second section; instead, we jumped ahead to the end cap by the arch.  I felt the roses there needed to be cut down for the sake of good traffic sightlines.


end cape, before


and after: the sign asks people to not pick the flowers because they are for everyone to enjoy.


Some had dug two plants out of the planter right by the do not pick sign.

I had planned to work till six and then go straight to the town hall.  I simply could not go on so we quit work at about five.

Town Hall

We were so pleased and relieved that an impressive number of local folks came to hear the nine speakers (none of whom was named Jaime Beutler).


I borrowed this photo from Joe Chasse.

The first speaker was on video: Brian Baird, who after his retirement was replaced by Jaime.  Blake spoke of how during his years in office he held over 350 town halls to communicate with and listen to his constituents.  He said, “In order to represent your constituents, you have to listen to them.” Rep Jaime Beutler is known for very few in person town halls.


We also heard from local Rep. Brian Blake, from the mayor of Long Beach, from the county sheriff, from a county commissioner, from a concerned citizen, from the chairman of the local Chinook tribe, from a long time school board member, and from David McDevitt, who is running against Jaime in 2017.  As the concerned citizen who gave a rousing speech said about Jaime, “If you don’t want to listen to us, we’ll find someone who will.”  (Sorry, I have forgotten the citizen’s name; she was speaking on behalf of local business luminary Karyn Zigler who had been unable to attend.)


Rep Blake, Mayor Phillips, Sheriff Johnson, County Commissioner Wolfe



I think Mr McD also looks like a good candidate to play Doctor Who!

At the end of the evening, Allan and I were asked to take Jaime home because no one else had room for her in their vehicles.


We have an idea for some shopping that she might like to do tomorrow.

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Long Beach

Despite forecast of a rainy and windy day, the weather looked workable so we went back to the Bolstad beach approach garden.



I like to do the beds in consecutive order.  It gives me a sense of progress.  Today, though, we skipped over the ones that had puddles at the curb.


looking west; we skipped ahead.


On the other side, deep water picnicking



before (Allan’s photo)

Allan cut down a volunteer wax myrtle that was encroaching on an escallonia.





I found a new infuriating thing: All along the two sections in which we worked today, someone has been digging up narcissi and crocus bulbs, leaving holes and broken foliage as evidence.  I suspect the same person who is thieving from the planters.


Holes and broken foliage tell the tale.


my enraged finger pointing at theft evidence

Allan dug up rugosa roses along the edges.



Our friend Cat rode by and showed off her bicycled bins made of cat litter buckets.


Allan removed most of the hard to weed patch of tatty kinnikinnick.






after (Allan’s photo)

I planted some of that Bee seed mix.


The strong wind brought two big rain squalls over us, during which we took shelter in the van.  The squalls passed quickly, so that we were able to get our target section done and move on to a second one.


second section, before (Allan’s photo)


rain and lots of it! (Allan’s photo)

Before we got very far with the dream of getting two sections done, a serious squall appeared with no bright sky behind it, so we gave up for the day.  So much for being as tough as the crab fishers on Deadliest Catch!





not much got done in the second section


Allan’s photo


heavy rain


puddles forming quickly


We got drenched just packing up.

In the works yard, we found a green bucket that we had feared lost!


found and rescued!

Maddeningly, as we got to city works to dump our debris, we could see blue sky….


…and by the time we drove out of the city works yard, the squall had passed.


We had gotten too wet and cold to go back to the approach garden.  Instead, we went home and I turned most of a compost bin.


compost bliss


Allan’s photo

Allan worked in his garden…


floppy hellebore, before



I got to erase just one section of beach approach from the work board…


Our goal is to get the beach approach and the two parking lot berms weeded by the Clam Festival on April 29th…

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A storm was due, with two gale flags flying at the port.  After breakfast, I thought I just might have time to turn a compost bin.


I got this far before the rain came in earnest.


We’d had this much rain overnight.


a wistful look in the west gate before giving up


No one had gone outside with me.

I did not much mind staying in because I could get back to an excellent book, one I had set aside in order to read two interlibrary loans.  I was very much taken by today’s book and intend to read more by this author.


The premise of Solnit’s book is that most humans behave well and for the collective good after disasters, rather than descending into violence and greed.

I adored the story of the kitchens and camps set up after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.




Solnit said it is “elite panic” that causes death after disasters, like the martial law that was declared after the 1906 earthquake and that resulted in a shocking number of deaths of citizens who were shot while trying to rescue others.  The same sort of horrific law and order and elite property protection violence happened in New Orleans after Katrina.  The powers that be seem to fear the way that the citizens gathered to make soup kitchens and shelters and to care for themselves.  Heaven forfend that anarchy might ensue.


More about elite panic:


There is also a lack of faith that the citizens will resist panic.  In fact, Solnitz presents evidence that in an emergency, people do not generally panic.  The British proved that to be true during the Blitz even though, beforehand, the government had little faith in them:


Charles Fritz wrote this after visiting Britain during WWII:

IMG_1529.JPGWhile Solnit writes about several different international disasters, she focuses most in depth on the ones she could get the most information about: California earthquakes, the Halifax explosion of 1917 (which I had never heard of!), 9-11, and Katrina.  The way people took care of each other and found community makes me less afraid of the always dreaded tsunami (of which we might be survivors, since we live close to a big hill).

You probably know that I have an emotional response to the story of the little ships of Dunkirk, so this 9-11 story had enough tears falling that I had to move the book out of the way.





In another disaster story, I learned about a real life superhero, Super Barrio, who emerged after the Mexico City earthquake.

And about the Musician’s Village, a post Katrina housing project that reminds me of the Rural Studio.


so beautiful, makes me weepy

And finally, a political concept that deeply spoke to me.


If you like to read non-escapist literature, a day spent with A Paradise Built in Hell will give you a renewed faith in the power and good nature of the most ordinary of citizens.  It was just exactly what I needed to hear.

I finished the book just in time to go to a Salty Talk at Salt Pub…but not in time to get there early enough to get a seat. 

 I had intended to pick some flowers.  Instead, I only had time to look at the garden briefly before leaving.


I’m not selfless enough to pick tulips out of my boat…


or in the center bed…

I have some hidden tulips I’d have shared with Salt if I’d left enough time.


“Ever wonder how fast crabs move? Or how fast your crab pot can fill up? Join Curtis Roegner, a NOAA Research Fishery Biologist, as he discusses his group’s work with acoustic telemetry and benthic video to track Dungeness crab migrations and movements in the Columbia River estuary.”

As it was, we could not get a table with Dave and Melissa, who had arrived just before us to find seating only at the bar. Kind owner Julez found me and Allan a little table in the back corner.

Tasty Mac and Cheese


a full house (Allan’s photo)


view from our table (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


park rangers listening to the talk


crabby slide reflection


swooping down on a deadhead on our way home


tulips in the garden boat at Time Enough Books


in the curbside garden (Allan’s photo)

We must try to get back to weeding the beach approach tomorrow.  I am inspired to brave the weather because the new season of Deadliest Catch has begun.  It helps me to work harder.



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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Today, after eleven days inside, Skooter could go back out.  He was befuddled by the cat door, just like when he first moved in with us.  The sequence, as it happened:



The green jug of water helps keep the door secure at night.


He growled at the door, perhaps remembering his bad experience when a little dog chased and bit him at 1 AM, 11 days ago.








Erythronium (dog tooth violet) at home.  I won’t tell Skooter it’s called dog tooth.

Long Beach

We had good enough weather to start the first beach approach weeding of the year.  Of course, I had big dreams that maybe we could get three of thirteen sections done, or at least two, even though past experience does not support that dream.  We started at the west end this year.


before, looking east


before, looking west


Allan using the pick to hack out rugosa roses along the edge.


It is hard work.  (Allan’s photo)

I did post on Facebook that anyone who wanted could come get some of the rugosa rose starts.  Our only taker was a random passerby (and I did warn her how thuggish they are).


the occasional poppy seeding from last year!

Dave and Melissa dropped by so that I could share some poppy seeds for a former job of ours, Erin’s garden.



Dave and Allan


southwest of us, still lots of standing water in the dunes



As I weeded, I thought about how long I’ve been doing this garden and remembered years ago, talking with my then partner Robert about the latest plot developments in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (my all time favourite show).  Just then a family walked by and a boy, about ten, said to his parents, “Into every generation a slayer is born.”  I exclaimed, “I was just thinking about Buffy!” and the mother said that the dad had recently introduced their son to the show.

Another family walked by and the young children complimented our work.  The mother said “They know it’s hard work because they weed our own garden.”  When Allan commented that he had not been able to get his daughter to weed, the mom said “Well, they want to eat!”

Four hours later:


One section done!


Allan’s photo


I love this prostrate juniper…

“Juniperus conferta is a species of juniper, native to Japan, where it grows on sand dunes.”  When I read that years ago, I decided to try it out, and it does love to grow on sand.

I did figure out one thing that amazed me for not having realized it before.  Allan paced off this westernmost section and said it is 70 feet long.  The next section is 45 feet, and the ones east of that are 55 feet long.  No wonder the first section takes awhile!

I was way too sore from the repetitive posture of working here to go on with another section.  While Allan swept up, I walked to the westernmost planters to sow some poppy seeds.


For once, the Lisa Bonney memorial planter had NOT had plants stolen out of it.


Discovery Trail entrance, on the way to the westernmost planter

The planters at the west end had had all the new Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, along with a very nice variagated sea thrift from last year, stolen, leaving blatant holes.


maddening theft holes


more maddening theft holes and the remaining sea thrift (Ameria martima ‘Nifty Thrifty’, not an easily replaceable plant).


where once was a matching sea thrift

I fumed while planting poppy seeds.  I cannot put any more plants in these planters because they will just get stolen, so poppy seeds are my only hope.  There is nowhere to mount a security camera that would prevent the camera itself from being stolen (plus the city budget doesn’t run to security cams on the beach approaches).  These planters would look much better if I could actually plant successfully in them without forays by the thievin’ varmint who apparently just waits for new plants to appear.

It cheered me when our client Diane walked by with a friend of hers.




At City Hall, the red rhododendron had opened its flowers.


Long Beach City Hall


narcissi and aruncus (goats beard)


more narcissi, and I spy finger blight


Someone’s been pickin’.

.We weeded the tiny popout bed north of city hall; it was so weedy with quack grass that it took almost an hour.








I planted these seeds.


sad little mugo pine should probably be cut to the ground….

We finished by deadheading planters in the two north blocks.


heavy double narcissi (planted by a volunteer years ago) (Allan’s photo)


fringed tulip in bud despite deer having chomped the leaves


another fringed tulip


Tulip ‘Green Star’, across the street from NIVA green


On the way to dump debris” Minnie Culbertson Park


Rain arrived while we dumped.


We did the tiniest bit of deadheading and weeding at the Ilwaco Community Building on our way home, just because we saw deadheads when dropping off some library books.


tiered garden at Ilwaco Community Building




above the bus stop


tulips and heather


Allan’s photo: my cheesy little camera


Narcissus ‘Thalia’, one of my favourites


one beach approach section erased from the work board

I was concerned after we arrived at home and Skooter did not show up when I called him.  Later, I saw him from my window, sitting by the water boxes.  Allan fetched him in.  The new rule is the cats must stay in after dark.  Skooter did NOT want to come inside.  (Allan’s photos:)




herding a cat



Tomorrow, we expect yet another storm.

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Monday, 10 April 2017

We had a meeting at Long Beach City Hall, about trying to increase the artistry of the decorative banners downtown.


a glimpse of city hall, including Parks Manager Mike


The office staff adds pretty and welcoming touches.

Although the weather was exceedingly windy, we deadheaded the planters downtown.



Re the blue and silver whirligigs: We do not know who or why.

Later, we heard that the whirligigs are part of a campaign to help abused children.

Allan’s photo

A newspaper article the next day explained the pinwheels.

Halfway through our deadheading, we took time to try out the new Abbracci’s Coffee Bar, just south of the Fun Rides.



clever menu board


I like the art.


Proprietors Bernardo and Tony produced a delicious mocha and had light and flaky palmiers on offer.

We enjoyed Tony and Bernardo’s company and will find this a great place to duck in out of the rain while working in Long Beach.

An ice cream and coffee drink for Allan

An affogato

Allan’s photo

We deadheaded two more blocks of planters in the wind.

Fifth Street Park

The. classic frying pan photo


Double narcissi can’t take the wind.

The single ones hold up just fine.

Allan’s photos of downtown flowers:

Windblown Tulip acuminata

Tulips in Fifth Street Park

Darling succulent whose name I’ve forgotten yet again.

Tulips and grape hyacinth.

Dutch Iris

On the way home, we checked on the boatyard and port gardens for wind damage.  All were fine.


At the boatyard

At home 

I did not feel much like weeding in the wind at home and forced myself to work in the front garden, hoping to get it done.

I wouldn’t have had this many deadheads from Long Beach but for the wind.

Smokey thought I should stay in and read.

Frosty thought it was belly rub time.

I did weed along the front of the house and the difficult north east corner which is full of an unpleasant smelling mint like weed.

After awhile, I realized the wind had stopped and that we were having a perfect evening.

After, unable to avoid my shadow.

Allan had recently weeded his garden.

A hellebore (Allan’s photo)

River of blue muscari in back garden

Narcissi in the bogsy wood

Dreaming of campfires

Now that I have the front garden weeded, my reward will be to turn the compost if I desire to do so before weeding in the back garden.

The joy of compost bins awaits.

Allan had weeded most of the patio whilst I was weeding in front.



Tomorrow, after ten days indoors, Skooter will be allowed outdoors again.

Skooter looking forward to freedom.

We hope for non windy weather so that we can start the beach approach weeding.

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Skooter is on day 9 of 10 inside and has to spend part of every day in the bathroom so that the other cats can go out for awhile.


Allan’s photo

I noticed to my delight that Allan had bought us a new box of Builders Tea.


When I commented on this, he said that enough work had to be done to deserve it.


Smokey outdoors

I embarked upon more front garden weeding to earn some Builders Tea and another reward that I promised myself: When I get the front garden done, I can turn the compost bins before weeding the back garden.


The jar is for collecting snails.

Allan took it upon himself to weed a difficult corner by the back patio.




hard to access






I am impressed.  This area requires crawling underneath a thorny rose.  (The big trunk is the blue potato vine, Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’.)

My accomplishments:


east front garden, before




middle front garden, before








north east front corner, before…


and when I quit because of rain.

Oh well!  You can see I did not get to erase “front garden” from the work list.


The garden was scented with the tiny flowers of Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’.


grape hyancinth with a top knot


Builders Tea has been earned.  (Allan’s photo)

I was tired and sore and pleased to be indoors with time to read an entire book (one with lots of photos) about The Rural Studio.

How very cosmic is was that I discovered the fascinating topic of Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio.

First, Our Kathleen sent me a link to a fascinating piece of real estate.

The listing mentioned Mockbee and the Rural Studio: “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.”  

We went to see it and were thrilled with the use of recycled materials to make structures and garden art.

At about the same time, at Kathleen’s recommendation, I had read the book Deep South by Paul Theroux.  It had mentioned the Rural Studio in a way that piqued my interest.

I read online about Samuel Mockbee and then watched a video about his work.


Now, through interlibrary loan, I had the book to read.


Just look:



I love him, and it breaks my heart that he died of leukemia at age 57.

Fill your eyes with these homes, and get the book to see much more.




The three little popouts are for three grandchildren.  Brilliant!

Living “pods” under a big roof.

A wall of light made of old car windshields….


…reminded me of the gazebo at the place for sale here on the peninsula that had one end made of clear floor mats from cars!

At the artist’s retreat for sale north of Ocean Park:



wall of light made from car floor mats

I have ordered one more book to read on the subject.


I wish that in an alternate timeline, I could have been a student there during the Mockbee years.  They have a Rural Studio blog, which I will try to find time to follow.

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

With some workable weather, I was determined to get some at home gardening done, and doing the five assorted sizes of driveway beds seemed the best choice to finish in a day. (And the weather felt too windy and variable and rather cold to endure weeding on the beach approach in Long Beach.)


before, little bed by the front fence


I was sad that the wind had broken my Fritillaria imperialis.




square bed right next to driveway, before




snails congregate on the bamboo poles for some reason! (Allan’s photo)

I was able to collect many snails in a jar for re-homing.


Pieris at east end of front garden (Allan’s photo)

Allan walked to the post office and back:


fern unfurling across the street at the J’s

He took with him an doll house that he built from a kit when his child was young.  Now it has gone to Thandi, Mike, and baby Celestine’s home two blocks west of us.


If it were yellow with twin dormers, it would look like their house.


a baby gift for Celestine


post office planter

When some serious rain came, I retreated inside, thinking the rest of the afternoon would be reading time.


I knew I could read this in an afternoon.

A foray into Facebook resulted in seeing a photo that satisfied some curiosity I’d been having about our old garden at a local assisted living place.  This photo shows a friend, whose identity I have masked, filling a bird feeder outside her mum’s room, in what used to be one of our four garden beds.


Two of the beds show in the photos, and as you can see, they have gone to weeds, with just a couple of tulips struggling through.

Here was the same area last April under our care.


just poised to bloom with lilies, irises, and more

We never did get to see the lilies and iris bloom there last spring as we had been ousted by then.  I can tell by this week’s photo that tall horsetail has been allowed to take over that garden bed.  REALLY INFURIATING to see the state it is in. We did it for the lowest price possible, too.  We were laid off from the job so that the new manager could hire a “young man” because “it is hard for young men to find jobs here at the beach.”  You can see what a fine job has resulted.

The rain had stopped and in order to keep my head from exploding, I put down my book and returned to my weeding.  As always, it was therapeutic enough so that I stopped fuming.


long middle driveway bed, before

That long bed was a tiring one because of mats of grass that don’t show in the before photo.


after photo from the different angle

Not shown: some weeding around the edges of the former debris pile and some tidying of the tiny triangle shaped bed at the very south end of the driveway (which belongs to Nora/Alycia’s house next door where a friend now resides).

As I weeded, we had two sets of visitors.


The J’s!


One of the J’s, Junior


Carol and her daughter Julia.

Carol, Julia, and I walked all through the garden.


tulips in the garden boat


grape hyacinth


plant table


center bed


branch from the storm


more branches


a speared branch (Allan’s photo)


tarp blown off the crab pot stack next door

Our walk through the garden inspired Allan to trim a sword fern that was obscuring one of the fairy doors.


Although it was difficult to tear myself away from the garden at 6:40, we had a social engagement for which we were about ten minutes later.  Since three days after my birthday party, four out of five members of our North Beach Garden Gang have been sick with colds.  Dave had it worst of all of us.  We’ve been missing out on our weekly meetings till now.

The Cove Restaurant

The Cove is open for dinners again on Fridays and Saturdays.  Chef Indus, formerly the sous chef, produced scrumptious food.


Cove entry garden (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


North Beach Garden Gang


refreshing Caesar salad


Allan had Sondra’s lasagne.


ahi tuna steak

My only error with dinner was accidentally eating almost the whole ball of wasabi at once.  Oops.  Lynn, our truly great server, said “I thought you were more experienced than that!”


Melissa’s delicious pasta.

Back at home, I was able to erase “driveway” from the at home gardening list.


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