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Archive for Nov, 2017

Sunday, 26 November 2017

an…interesting…shot of Frosty.

Skooter cuteness

We visited Melanie and Mike, three blocks east, to see Mel’s new foster dog, a gentle and timid chihuahua.

Later, Allan tried to build some window boxes outside.  He got driven in by rain.

I procrastinated on unloading the trailer load of debris from our last two jobs (Anchorage and Depot gardens on Friday).  When I finally got started, I first emptied the grey rain gauge.

the rain since Saturday afternoon

Compost bins before adding debris, looks like Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ cuttings want to live, and I should do something to save them.

I regretted my procrastination. By the time I got a heaping, overflowing, tippy grey wheelbarrow back to the compost pile, a serious downpour began.  I became drenched as I piled the debris up on the towering pile.

I did not make it back to the porch at first, taking shelter in Allan’s workshop halfway there.

the workshop view, not one I usually see

Allan’s garden, with Acanthus ‘Spider’s Web’

In the early evening, we made the long drive to north of Oysterville for a belated Thanksgiving feast with Melissa and Dave at their Sea Star Acres.  On the way, we detoured through Oysterville and saw the seasonal ponds.

north of the Oysterville church (Allan’s photos)

Sandridge Road and Oysterville Road (Allan’s photo)

At Sea Star Acres, Dave and Melissa had prepared a traditional feast.

Under foil is our contribution, Allan’s pumpkin pie “like mom used to make”.

roasted brussel sprouts and grapes

centerpiece, with late blooming rose buds and little Sea Star grown squash

While the squash did not grow big this year, they did make good decorations.

me and Coulee, the handsome Hovawart.  Barely showing in the foreground is the other Hovawart, Anna.

We feasted, perhaps to excess, talked about our gardening work, and made plans to meet again for next weekend’s Crab Pot Christmas Tree Festival in Ilwaco.

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 25 November 2017

Frosty playing with his Snooter-doots Kitty Karrot

We did some shopping at the port for Shop Small Saturday.  You can read about that here, on our Ilwaco blog.  Before shopping, Allan helped Jenna finish putting up the holiday lights at the Don Nisbett Art Gallery.

The Howerton Avenue side of the shop; you enter on the Waterfront Way side.

I walked down, after Allan responded to Jenna’s call for assistance, with a fresh picked bouquet of autumnal flowers.

It’s only a two and a half block walk, so I didn’t bother with the knee brace.

I was so happy to see Jenna out and about after her recent surgery. Isn’t she adorable?

me and Jenna, who was not getting poked with the red twig dogwood stick.

The view from Waterfront Way:

double gale flag indicates more wind coming

In Don’s art gallery:

Don Nisbett (Allan’s photo)

After shopping, we noticed a couple of summer flowers in winter:

a white mallow (Allan’s photo)

I’ve noticed two different Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ throwing out short, pale, not especially blue late autumn flowers.  I have never seen them do this before.

At home, I settled down to read the past year’s worth of Fine Gardening magazines from the library.

The editor’s column is amusing.

According to this reader’s tip, you can stick carrots in the ground (?!?) and get beautiful umbel flowers the same year.  I am amazed this would work.  I am going to try it.

From an article about garden photography by David E. Perry:

I want this stream.  Could I get it together to create such a thing?

An idea if the suspected verticillium wilt reappears in my garden:

My list of plants to acquire is growing from the monthly plant picks:

Andropogon gerardii ‘Blackhawks’ (Blackhawks little blue stem)—a must have dark burgundy ornamental grass

It would be fun to grow “Windsor’ fava bean, said to germinate well in cool soils.

Carpinis fangiana (“Fang’s Hornbeam’) with long white tassel flowers.  I like tassels almost as much as I like spikes.

Arisaema consanguineum (Himalayan cobra lily), said to be easy to grow.

With the magazines read, I will still have time to catch up on the Tootlepedal blog and perhaps to get back to Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck.

Later: from Fine Gardening, I learned that kelp fertilizer is gleaned by “strip mining kelp forests”. And that it’s sort of a woo woo product, not backed up by scientific studies.

Now I’ve added so many plants to my must have list that I cannot possibly find them all or find space for them all.

For those who are interested in such lists, I’ve pasted it here (don’t know why some names got underlined).

Clematis chiisanensis ‘Lemon Bells’

Apios Americana (groundnut, edible tubers and beans)

Panicum virgatum ‘Hot Rod’

Sedum ‘T Rex’. Serrated leaves

Amoracia rusticana ‘Variegata‘. Variegated horse radish. Said to not be invasive.

Epimedium ‘Washunense’

Salvia ‘Madeline’ and Salvia ‘Wesuwe’ (Piet Oudolf likes the latter)

Lonicera ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’ Must have, think it’s the one I saw at Deerly Missed.

Clematis tangutica ‘Helios’

Aralia ”Sun King’

Jerusalem artichoke. Deer resistant and likes drought. Might be good outside fence. Used to grow it in Seattle.

Plectranthus effusus var longitubus (trumpet spurflower, shade)

Boltonia asteroides ‘Nally’s Lime Dots’

Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’ (can grow in shade and cut back)

Eupatorium hyssopifolium

Polyganatum odoratum ‘Angel Wing’

Athyrium ‘Godzilla’ (Plant Delights has it)

 

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Friday, 24 November 2017

I was determined to polish off the work list no matter what the weather.

First, we walked out into our garden to collect some red twig dogwood stems for decorating.

Damp and faded hardy fuchsias are still hanging on.

autumn colour on cotinus (smokebush)

another big branch down

Next door, the tarp had blown off the gear shed crab pot stack.

lots of little branch pieces lying about

As we departed, rain fell heavily.  My Dark Sky app said it would last for 15 minutes, and then we’d have forty minutes before it returned.

The Depot Restaurant

We sat in the parking lot, waiting out the squall.

The building in view is Oceanside Animal Clinic.

Our mission was, in part, to remove the annuals from the north side window boxes and barrels (expertly planted by Roxanne of The Basket Case Greenhouse).  They are still blooming. It is fully autumn now, and I am tired of summer annuals.  The roof overhang keeps them dry even when it rains, so they have be checked on at least once a week.  I want something spare and seasonal and no maintenance for the winter.

before

before; note the wide roof overhang

after

Just a bit of red twig dogwood decor. It would be even better if I had some pine cones.

Allan pruned the Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ and the escallonia.

before

after (escallonia not shown here)

autumnal garden, north side of dining deck

We did some general tidying and some pruning around the house next door that serves as the Depot office (a tree with branches that were hitting the side of the building, and some pulling of an old patch of crocosmia).  We recommended that Chef Michael hire Sea Star Gardening for a more extensive pruning of the tree.

Even though we’d had more non-rainy time than Dark Sky had predicted, the weather looked damp again as we headed to…

The Anchorage Cottages.

A windy rain squall greeted us there, and made the first fifteen minutes of work challenging.  I had thought it would be time to cut back the chrysanthemums by the office window.  No, they had barely begun to bloom, so this will not be our last visit of the year.

office window

Allan had begun by pulling some cosmos in the south courtyard.

before, valiant cosmos still trying to bloom

after. (Allan’s photos). Next year, a pool of some sort of bright and well behaved ground cover (hakonechloa maybe?) might look better around that Japanese maple.

I almost gave up on finishing the garden tidying because of the cold windy rain.  A brightening sky gave me hope, and the weather cleared.

Allan trimmed the lady’s mantle and geraniums along the front of the bed near the office.

before

after (Allan’s photos)

Even though I was trying to be merciless, some annuals still looked too good to pull.

center courtyard after today’s big tidy[/caption
Anchorage window reflection:

Captain Bob’s Chowder
At almost dusk, we rewarded ourselves and celebrated the start of staycation with a late lunch at Captain Bob’s, behind Fifth Street Park.

[caption id="attachment_132999" align="aligncenter" width="500"] a Renee O’Connor crab sidewalk tile in the park (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Cathy of Captain Bob’s was down to just one crab roll.  Allan kindly let me have the crab roll and ordered fish and chips instead.  Cathy thought that the last of the crab salad did not make for a big enough crab roll, so she gave me a piece of delicious fish on the side.

crab roll

Allan’s fish and chips

Fifth and Pacific intersection after our meal

Half a block south, we admired the lights of the Herb ‘n Legend Smoke Shop, complementing the city’s decorations.

At home, It was too dark to offload the trailer load of compostable debris that we’d acquired at today’s jobs. I was able to erase The Depot from the post frost clean up.  There’s nothing left there that frost would make look bad.  All that is left on the work list is the post-frost go-round…if frost arrives.  Or a pre-Christmas go-round if we don’t get frost.  That won’t take more than two days, probably only one and a half.  Unless some special request from a client arrives, and unless Long Beach gets a pile of mulch that needs applying, we are now off work till the end of January, giving me plenty of time for my list of home garden projects.

I stopped counting the weeks to staycation when my best cat, Smoky, got sick.  I’m not as ecstatic at having this time at home as I usually am.  The other three cats will enjoy the company … not as much as Smoky did, and I will miss him during my reading days.  I have a blog post memorial to him planned, with photos through the years…when I can manage it.  Meanwhile, our first week of staycation should be busy enough to provide some blog fodder, a week that culminates in Ilwaco’s Crab Pot Tree Festival.

event poster by Don Nisbett

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Thursday, 23 November 2017

 I woke up to find that Allan had made a workday breakfast (more nutritious than cold cereal).  The weather showed signs of unexpectedly clearing, belying a forecast of constant rain.  So off we went to work.  I was willing to work in drizzle to get a couple more tasks erased from the work board.

First, even though we had no mail to pick up on this holiday, we did some clipping at the Ilwaco post office garden.

in the post office window (Allan’s photo)

Before: The Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ had been blown about by wind.

after

rain on the post office wall

big raindrops falling

Long Beach

I am weak on just pulling the annuals out once and for all.  At the welcome sign, we stopped to pull the yellow bidens.  We ended up leaving most of them, after all.

On the edge, bidens still showing a bit of yellow. (And some bulb foliage has emerged.)

In Long Beach, I had noticed when driving through on an errand that wind had battered the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in the police station planter.  I steeled myself to cut it back so that I wouldn’t have to wonder every day at home whether or not it still looked good.

I find it hard to cut when the flowers are still so blue.

Allan’s photo

But we did it!

It looks like the wind took away the “orman” part of the Stormin’ Norman’s sign.

I also made a special stop to cut this knautia back hard:

another plant I am tired of thinking about

With very little wind and increasingly clear weather, we drove out to the Bolstad beach approach to tidy the planters and to pull the stands of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.

Bolstad Avenue, also known as the beach approach, is named after a young Washington State patrolman who died trying to save two young swimmers in 1957.  I often think about his valor when I type the name of the avenue. You can read about him here.

The weather turned fine and almost summerlike as we began tidying the westernmost planters.

The crocosmia in the long garden bed has beauty still to offer.

We pull it now anyway because soon it will be all brown and tattered, and we’d rather not be out pulling it on a stormy winter day.

I tidy for the passersby who would not understand the beauty of a fall and winter garden with perennials left standing.  In my own garden, I leave plants up for the birds.  I wish I could assign a couple of books to anyone who doesn’t understand the splendor of a wilder garden.

And pretty much any book by Piet Oudolf shows fall and winter landscapes with plants left standing.

I’m sad to see how weedy the long garden has gotten with the autumn rains.  There will be much to do when work starts up again in February.  The city budget doesn’t run to a late fall/early winter seven day long weeding of this narrow but enormous garden.

looking west

It will be a carpet of grass by late winter.

looking east

crocosmia intertwined with thorny rugosa roses (Allan’s photo)

before

after (Allan’s photo)

The weather could not have been better for this job.

a glorious day

tourists taking the classic Long Beach arch photo

one last rose hip

I swear someone has been picking the rose hips to produce tea.  It is too suspicious that someone asked to pick them several weeks ago, and we said no, and yet a week afterwards there were very few rose hips left.  Perhaps I am being paranoid and suspicious.  Usually they would still be clinging to the roses all the way along the approach, although most would be brown by now.

shiny new buds

In the easternmost section, I decided that the roses had to be clipped from along the sidewalk.

before

after

In next year’s spring or late winter clean up, we must dig out the roses from along this inner edge.  Some members of the Peninsula Gardeners Facebook group want starts, so the diggings won’t go to waste.  I have warned them of the vigor of this rose.

As I tidied the easternmost planter, I suddenly felt like a hot wind was on my face.  I looked up, and it was the reflection of the sun in the hotel across the road.

reflecting on me like a heat lamp!

a coppery golden willow in the hotel landscape

At city hall, we’d had a request for the Lavatera outside the west office window to be trimmed back for a good view.  I had decided that we should remove the whole shrub.  When it came to doing so, I changed my mind…for now.  We just clipped it hard, and will think about it over the winter.  It probably should be replaced with something that will stay below the windowsill.

We did not plant it.  We used to have Lavatera ‘Barnsley’ in the city gardens, until one year they seemed to lose their vigor, and even newly planted ones seemed to get diseased and peter out all around town.  This one, in a place where it has to have its flowering stems trimmed, is vigorous and happy…of course.

before

after (Allan’s photos)

My nice variegated hellebore on the north side, that had gotten all lanky, had its stems broken off.

Phooey.

We clipped and weeded in the big pop out a block south of city hall.

after weeding a sheet of little grasses

dwarf pampas grass and rugosa rose

We pulled some tatty evening primrose (the tall scraggly yellow one) from the little popouts a block north of city hall.  When I walked up, a flock of little birds burst into the air.

before

Zooming in on my before photo, I can see the little birds were there, by the pole.

Allan said we took their dinner, and we sort of did.

We left a big stand of evening primrose on the other side of the sidewalk for them.

As soon as we were done, they returned to feasting.

We should have/could have weeded the grass better out of those two little beds. But we did not.

We took our substantial load of debris to City Works.

eating what I thought might be our last workday sandwich of 2017 at City Works

We then finished Long Beach by trimming a few planters out on the Sid Snyder beach approach.

still amazing weather at the west end of Sid Snyder Drive

the westernmost planter (Allan’s photo)

I was thrilled that we were going to reach my goal and have time to do the last thing on the pre-frost clean up work list:

Norwood garden

I’ve had on the list for weeks the moving some shade plants to the north side of Mary N’s garden, where earlier this year we replaced mean and thorny barberries with hydrangeas. Allan started weeding the north garden bed while I dug up some plants at home.

I think Allan had reset my red rain gauge and that this is last night’s rain:

Out of this bed, I got some Geranium macrorrhizum and some epimidium.

I looked for some of my best silvery foliaged pulmonarias in Allan’s garden area and could not find them.  I hope they are there, and just dormant.  I managed to find a not so silvery one in another part of the garden, and some hellebore seedlings.

at Mary N’s, a wheelbarrow of some plant starts.

Oh dear, the north bed had gotten so weedy.  I did not mean to neglect it so!

Allan’s before photos, mostly creeping sorrel weed

Yikes.

I took over the weeding while Allan trimmed lavenders in the side garden.

Allan gets credit for weeding the bricks.

lavender, before…

after

before

after

My after picture of the north bed was at dusk.

I am going to have to keep a closer eye on this to keep the sorrel from coming back.

At home, the work list is down to the post-frost clean up and my winter projects at home.

I had planned to declare the beginning pre-frost staycation.  Instead, I consulted with Depot Restaurant co owner Nancy Gorshe and decided that tomorrow, we will pull the old annuals out of the window boxes there, combined with a check up on the Anchorage Cottages garden, which has been on my mind and probably should not be left unattended till frost.  I hope we can accomplish this rain or shine, perhaps with the reward of a late lunch out.

The following morning, Allan got a daytime “after” shot at the Norwood garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Calvin went in for a vet appointment for his cough. and I am happy to tell you that Dr. Raela confirms that it is probably just hairball issues.  He got an anti itch shot and some new anti-hairball medicine and is now hiding out somewhere here at home.  I think Calvin is feeling poorly emotionally because he must miss his good friend Smoky.

Calvin and Smokey

Calvin and Smokey in happy past days

In picking up our Long Beach cheque, Allan and I added one more thing to the work list, for a day that does not have today’s pouring rain and 50 mph wind gusts: removing a lavatera that blocks the office staff’s view to the west.

While waiting for an afternoon social visit from our good friend Jan Bono, I wrote up this blog post.

I have begun a John Steinbeck book that will be more cheerful, surely, than Of Mice and Men.  It’s a sequel to Cannery Row, set years later in the 1950s.

sweetthurs

Allan is hard at work on his new blog project, with the help of this illustrious tome:

wp

Jan brought a gift from a holiday bazaars (where she sells her books):

For now, this heart cat, whose fluffy face reminds me of our good old cat Maddy, will grace a big potted clivia by my desk.

Maddy:

Calvin returned from his afternoon retreat and a book arrived for me at the library. John Steinbeck has been set aside for now.

Life goal: To live long enough to read Z is for

I am entertained by these words from Grafton’s protagonist, Kinsey Milhone: “I can do a few things well enough. Everything else, I try to avoid. Once in awhile, I learn something new in spite of myself, but that’s about it in the way of my accomplishments.”

In the late evening, we watched the Dust Bowl short documentary The Plow That Broke the Plains. You can watch it on youtube right here.

110056-the-plow-that-broke-the-plains-0-230-0-345-crop

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

IMG_5393

The red rain gauge was empty yesterday.

I look forward to doing some fall clean up at home.

I finished Y is for Yesterday and spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening reading a book that came today from the library, on the topic that has been of great interest to me lately.  My reading tastes have changed radically, I realized yesterday.  I used to avoid all books about history, and now, on certain topics, I devour them.

dirtyplate

How very much times have changed, and how very much they are the same.

dp1

igrants

Class differences expressed in bathtubs:

bathtubs

Voter suppression, 1930s style:

voting

Big growers vs. small farmers who want to pay a living wage:

farmers

This speaks to me of what it is like in modern day tourists economies, where in many tourists towns, the workers cannot afford the rent:

tourists.jpg

We finished the day on another serious note. After the enojoyable fluff of Survivor, we watched The River, an old documentary (in a DVD set with The Plow That Broke the Plains) about how clear cut logging resulted in massive flooding on the lower Mississippi River.

94657-the-river-0-230-0-345-crop.jpg

Right here is a brief and interesting article about the two films.

 

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Monday, 20 November 2017

We have a guest photo today from Steve of the Bayside Garden.

“The “Lion’s Head” maple (Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’) putting on quite a (late) show”

Today’s work photos were all taken by Allan except for one puppy picture.  My mind was completely obsessed with getting as many tasks erased from the work board as possible.

Allan loaded a second wheelbarrow for today’s first job.

I think our yellow rain gauge is broken.

fallen willow leaves in our garden on Willows Loop East.

We intended to start today by applying six large bales of Gardner and Bloome mulch to the Ilwaco Community Building garden.  Usually, parking has been good there on Sundays and Mondays (when the library is closed).  Today, the lot was all parked up so we drove on to our next job.  This made for extra heavy work for Allan, who had to shift the heavy bales around to make room for loading and later offloading debris.

It wasn’t till a library visit the next day that we were reminded that the alternative high school is now housed in the community building, so it will likely be a full parking lot on all school days.

Diane’s garden

We were so pleased to have a good weather day to get Diane’s garden clean up done before Thanksgiving.

raised septic bed before

after clipping Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Next year, the sedum won’t be as leggy because we will prune it halfway down in late spring to make it more compact.  I also transplanted three potted chrysanthemums and a couple of white California poppies into the raised bed.  While I tidied up all the potted plants, Allan clipped the Stipa gigantea and some perennials in the roadside garden and pulled the cosmos.

before

after

We left this handsome stand of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ till spring clean up

clipping perennials in the side garden

after

We had perfect weather except for one heavy rain squall that we sat out in the van.

At that moment, Diane came walking over from the barn with Holly.

Puppy Holly is dog sized now.

The Red Barn

Next door at the Red Barn, we did just a bit of tidying and clipping in our very small garden there.

in the pasture

The Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ in the barrels just might bloom all winter.

World Kite Museum

We had just a bit of clipping and cosmos pulling to do in the little garden.  Recently, we had recommended Sea Star Gardening to prune the long escallonia hedge, and it looked spiffing.  Patty emerged for a chat; we told her we will be back after a heavy frost to tidy up the six new blue containers.

after

I am pleased with how well the big purple penstemon is doing in two of the blue pots.   I figured the penstemon would have only a short period of bloom and then get moved into the garden.  Instead, it has been a do-er.

Penstemon Admiration Society

Even though I was getting concerned about time, we next went to

Coulter Park, Long Beach

to trim around the monument and to pull Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ next to the ramp to the old train depot building.  The ramp remodel has made that garden hard to get at.

before

after

We dumped our almost overflowing load of debris at City Works.  Allan had to shift the bales  again to do so.  With one hour to go before dusk, we started mulching at the

Ilwaco Community Building.

We used the Mary-of-Klipsan-Beach-Cottages method of dumping each bag into a wheelbarrow and breaking up the clods, then wheelbarrowing to our destinations.

The ICB parking lot is a steep one with weird angles.  The story is that the engineering was wrong by some inches, so the pitch is awkward for driving and walking.

The little red wheelbarrow was also in play.

the tiered garden, before

This garden got the old fashioned dump the bag and cut it open method.

after mulching

In previous years, we have used bulk mulch from Peninsula Landscape Supply.  However, this autumn, that business is closed Sunday and Mondays, the days that we are able to do this job.  We decided to go with the bagged mulch, which is easier to use and also a little bit richer (and costlier).  It fluffs out a lot from a big compact compressed brick, and covered enough ground to make a difference.  Because it takes less time to acquire it and to apply it than applying loose mulch, it saves on labour costs and might factor out about the same as bulk mulch for a smallish job.

Soil Energy has “composted wood products, aged screened sawdust, screened sand, composted chicken manure, lime, fertilizer and iron. (pH 6.2, brown tan in color, 38.9% organic matter).”

Gardner and Bloome Soil Building Compost is “Recycled forest products, arbor fines, composted chicken manure, gypsum, oyster shell & dolomite limes (as pH adjusters), vermicompost, bat guano, kelp meal”.

We buried some maple leaves in with the mulch.

shade garden at the entry to the library

We got done just as the street lights came on.

home

I had the satisfaction of erasing much from the work board.  I even put a question mark after the beach approach task; it is not that importan,t although we will do it if we have a nice day before the end of the month.  Most of what’s left has to wait for a heavy enough frost to make another go-round necessary.  That might not happen till mid December, if at all (and if it does not, the go- round will happen anyway).

In the evening, I read the brief and harrowing novella, Of Mice and Men.  When I added it to my Goodreads list, I found this perfect review:

We finished watching Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl documentary, including all the special features.  I recommend it highly.

I wish we could have one more nice day before the end of the month to polish off the pre-frost work list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

I caight up by writing the three latest blog posts. I begin this one with a poem that blog reader Lavinia of Salmon Brook Farms recommended.  It is from a book called A Visit to William Blake’s Inn:

The King of Cats Sends a Postcard to His Wife

by Nancy Willard

Keep your whiskers crisp and clean.
Do not let the mice grow lean.
Do not let yourself grow fat
like a common kitchen cat.Have you set the kittens free?
Do they sometimes ask for me?
Is our catnip growing tall?
Did you patch the garden wall?

Clouds are gentle walls that hide
gardens on the other side.
Tell the tabby cats I take
all my meals with William Blake,

lunch at noon and tea at four,
served in splendor on the shore
at the tinkling of a bell.
Tell them I am sleeping well.

Tell them I have come so far,
brought by Blake’s celestial car,
buffeted by wind and rain,
I may not get home again.

Take this message to my friends.
Say the King of Catnip sends
to the cat who winds his clocks
a thousand sunsets in a box,

to the cat who brings the ice
the shadows of a dozen mice
(serve them with assorted dips
and eat them like potato chips),

and to the cat who guards his door
a net for catching stars, and more
(if with patience he abide):
catnip from the other side.

Of course, the poem reminded my of Smoky, and I found it most comforting to think of “catnip on the other side”.
Calvin enjoyed cereal milk this morning.
I am going to call tomorrow for a veterinary appointment for him.  He is almost 13 and has a nagging little cough, which I hope is just a hairball thing.  He is a compulsive groomer who has sometimes groomed himself into bare patches.  Since he and Smoky had become best friends, he had been grooming Smoky instead.  Now he is back to licking his ownself.

Snoozy Calvin

Frosty chose to nap near my living room desk, on the floor, even though there are four comfy chairs nearby.

Skooter helped me blog.

The wind gusted at 45 mph, as predicted.  We need a dry-ish, calm-ish Sunday or Monday for mulching the Ilwaco Community Building garden while the library is closed.

In the evening, I settled in to read a little book sent me by an imaginary bookish friend–that is, someone I know online but have never met. It came with this card:

The wee book was published in 1925.

What an affirming message to read today.

This illustration spoke to me of my grandmother (who would have treasured a little book like this):

In her Scrapbooks, she had several photos of stone edged ponds much like that one.

And she had pasted in an illustration with a similar path.

A pretty postcard that was in the book:

I’m feeling especially fortunate in my friends lately.

I finished Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Here are four favourite passages.

On someone who converses by asking questions:

On being a beloved person:

On why not to finish a boat:

A perfect river:

Now on to Of Mice and Men.

Sweet Thursday is a sequel to Cannery Row, but I need a little break from that setting.

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

At the post office, we got an extra special sympathy card about my extra good cat, Smoky.  This one came from all the way from Montana.  Look at the cute envelope, addressed to us and to the remaining cats by name, and at how the PO Box is left blank yet it still got to us.  I looked at the return address (a town an hour an a quarter from where my pal Montana Mary lives) and was mystified.

Inside, I was touched and amazed to find the sender is a blog reader.

Thank you, Penny, so much.  And Mrs. Purrsnickitty (I love your name, Mrs. P.) It means the world to me that my dear kitty touched your hearts.  (I am reminded of how I wept when I learned that Chess, then the dog-voice of The Miserable Gardener blog, had passed. He was as real to me as any friend of mine.)  I also appreciate having all the other kitties’ names on the card.  They all got extra pets from you, Penny and Mrs. P.

This is the kind of card that you put under your pillow for comfort.

I managed to refocus my mind on work.  Work is the time I cope best with losing my best little friend, because he did not come to work with me so I have no work memories of him.

Port of Ilwaco

We started by applying a bale of Gardner and Bloome mulch to the port office garden.  Water seems to pool on the deck above the garden and drip through in a way that batters down the soil.

Cars were parked in the port office parking spots.  We dared to park in a Nisbett Gallery spot.

Gardner and Bloome Soil Conditioner (Allan’s photo)

mulching (Allan’s photo)

nicely mulched

Allan agreed that next spring, we will remove the old lavenders, which have gone woody in the centers, and replace with new ones.

high tide and summery weather

There was some excitement as the port manager and another man set off in a hurry from the office because “a boat is sinking on D dock.”

the bridge to D Dock

We then clipped and tidied two blocks worth of Ilwaco planters and street trees, starting at the north end of the boatyard.

an abandoned jack o lantern across from the boatyard

same in Waterlogue

First and Eagle planters before (with garbage)

and after

in the boatyard (Allan’s photo)

shiny (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

before and after, annoying patch of badaster that has taken over this tree garden (Allan’s photo)

schlepping a bucket full of clippings

My big plan was to finish the Ilwaco trees and planters—which we did—and then do another intersection of Long Beach planters and one little park, and then get on to the fall clean up at Diane’s garden and the Red Barn.  I very much wanted to get those last two done by Thanksgiving, and this could be the last good weather day for a week.

Long Beach

We parked at the police station and were pleased to see our friends Judy and Larry, out for some lunch and Christmas shopping in town.  We chatted while I started clipping in the big Lewis and Clark Square planter and Allan started cleaning up the little park behind the square.

After our friends went on their way, I suddenly decided to not break the day into three parts and to just plain finish the Long Beach parks and planters.  It always feels intrusive to me to show up at a private garden on a weekend, although I am sure Diane would not mind.  I hope now for just one more decent weather day, even just three hours of dry not too windy weather before Thanksgiving.

clipping curly teucrium

It was the right decision, because of course it took way longer to do that intersection of five planters than I had thought it would.  I walked one block north and back and found that the two planters by the stoplight created a lot of debris once I was done with them.

There are now two empty storefronts for rent (or sale?) by the stoplight. 

Plants like the bright yellow chrysanthemum, above, that are left standing for now, will require a post-frost clean up later on.  At the police station planter, below, I could not bring myself to cut the Geranium ‘Rozanne’.  It was vandalized twice earlier this summer, and thus got cut all the way back then, so it now still looks fresh and new.

I like the “British Bobby” Christmas decoration. “Well, well, well, what do we have here?”

Meanwhile, Allan found some fungi behind the Lewis and Clark Square wall.

Despite having taken a mushroom lecture, I have no idea what these are.

Allan’s project in L&C Square park, before

after

Lewis and Clark Square, lower right

He also clipped back the rugosa roses along the south side of the police station.  They look too pretty with their fall colour to chop down all the way yet.  Next weekend, folks will be walking by here for a Christmas tree lighting event in Veterans Field.

before

just a light chop

after

We went down to Fifth Street Park to clean up two messy planters there, and to plant the very last two little batches of tulips.  I’ve been holding on to those tulips in case the city crew got four escallonias dug out of two planters.  I woke up today deciding to put them in the ground instead, as the crew’s focus right now is on Christmas decorations and frequent storm clean up.

I asked Allan to trim back mildewy, weak old Dorothy Perkins rose from in front of Captain Bob’s Chowder.

before

after (Allan’s photos)

Two hours before, I thought for sure we would be done with the planters in time to pull Crocosmia at Coulter Park.  Nope.  We were stressfully racing daylight by the time we got to the two northernmost blocks.

Allan tidied under a messy street tree (catmint and a stand of the BadAster, which likes to appear everywhere).  I also asked him to clip a double stand of purple chrysanthemum that was on its last gasp.

chrysanthemum, before

Allan’s photo (They look deceptively good, but most of the flowers are browning off when you look close.)

Chrysanths are very tough to clip. (Allan’s photo)

I had gone down to the planter by NIVA green to chop more mums and tatty old lambs ears.  Heather was putting up her holiday garland and icicle lights.  I took just about three minutes to pop into the shop and snap some photos for the NIVA green Facebook page.

new lamps by Heather Ramsay

a flock of fairies

pencils for my black cat, Calvin

As the sun set, Allan got a telephoto from next to the Dennis Company building.

And another telephoto of me hauling back the last bucket of debris, with Heather in the background working on her lights:

We had time to dump our heaping load of debris at City Works before it was too dark to see. And Heather finished her project:

our favourite shop, photo courtesy NIVA green

At home, I was able to erase three things from the work board and rewrite the remaining list in a more legible fashion.

I later remembered to add Mike’s garden to the post-frost clean up.

I sat myself down and had a good long phone conversation with a local friend who just broke her arm in a fall.

Tomorrow does not look like it will be a work day.

45 mph? That’s nothin’ around here.  It will be a good day to catch up on blog posts and finish Cannery Row.  I have also been saving a vintage garden gift book for the perfect rainy day.

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Friday, 17 November 201

At the post office, I got another meaningful and tender card about my Smoky cat, from our friend Jan Bono (author of the excellent local Sylvia Avery mystery series).

My main goal today was to get to Klipsan Beach Cottages, because I had promised Mary that we’d be there on the next workable day.  I couldn’t resist working on some Long Beach planters on the way.  I had made a list of block by block work on my iPhone notes that I would take pleasure in erasing as each task was done.

Long Beach

We finished the “Shelly block”, as I had called the southernmost block that we had not completed in yesterday’s storm.

I found two very worn rocks hidden in one of the planters.

Moving on, I cleaned up the planter by the Herb N’ Legend Smoke Shop, cutting back the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ even though it still had flowers.  I want the work to be done rather than going back and dealing with mushy, icy cold plants later on.  If the winter is mild, Rozanne might even throw out some more foliage and flowers.  However, forecasters are predicting a cold and even snowy winter.

before

after; I do feel bad about cutting perennials that are still flowering.

navigating puddles

I wanted to do two more planter intersections.  Fortunately, I realized that if we did, we would run out of time up at KBC.

I still have not been sleeping well, averaging six hours a night.  I needed coffee, and we found our favourite Great Escape barista on duty.

Great Escape espresso drive through

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We vigorously attacked the fall clean up.

honeysuckle arbor at 2:15

Before cutting the honeysuckle and rose way way back so that Denny can repair the fence panels, Allan chopped two big patches of shasta daisies.

before

after (Allan’s photos)

I think of a passage I read about Christopher Lloyd in which that great gardener would criticize any worker who left stubs on a plant like daisies, stubs that would be sharp and painful the next year when one weeded among the new growth.  Christo would approve of Allan’s work.

I also remember reading that leaving stubs of woody hollow stemmed plants, like Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed), encourages beneficial little pollinators to nest.

Allan then turned his attention to the arbor.

before

He also tidied up a bit out by the road sign, an area that we don’t often work on.

before

after (Allan’s photos, and he thinks the vacancy sign should be raised up higher).

At three o clock, I became deeply worried that we should not have done any Long Beach work today, and that we were going to run out of daylight before the job was done.  Fortunately, by working at a maniacal pace for three hours and a bit, we got ‘er done by the time the twinkling garden lights came on at dusk.

clipping perennials (a mushy agapanthus)

An hour before dusk, the sky darkened and it felt like we were going to get squalled on.  All we had was a rainbow without rain.

rainbow over Mary and Denny’s house (Allan’s photo)

5:24 PM

I took some final garden photos for the album on the KBC Facebook page. (I may get more in December when we deliver holiday gifts.)

Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’

Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’ flower buds

Frost or nights too cold will probably come before the white tetrapanax flowers come out.   I have never seen them fully open here.  Here is a photo of what the flowers would look like.

black currant

autumn colour on blueberries (right)

Iris foetidissima

birdbath view

Mary had come out to work with us and had laid down a couple of bales of Gardner and Bloome Soil Conditioner mulch.

looking in the east gate

east gate

pink snowberry

south of the fenced garden

the pond

the fenced garden

Mary showed us a photo she had taken while walking her dog, Bella, to the beach.  This is a bear print, next to the paw of a very large Great Pyrenees dog.

bear paw print and Great Pyrenees paw, photo by Mary Caldwell

Mary had to answer an important phone call in the house just as we were finishing up, so we did not get to put out the winter garden signs.  (We don’t know where she keeps them.)  Here they are from a previous year.

Earlier in the day, while dumping debris at Long Beach City Works, one of the crew had told us they would be turning on the holiday lights in town tonight to test that all are working.  As we drove home, we saw that almost all are (except for a few of the lamp post garland lights that did not go on).

Long Beach town; I love the banner over the street.

At home, I was able to erase just one thing off the work board.

Tomorrow, good weather should continue and I hope to erase several things.

We have been binge watching This Is Us all week, after Allan suggested we get season one from the library.  I had thought I would find it schlocky and unlikeable.  How wrong I was.  Tonight, we streamed five episodes and are now caught up to the present in season two.  And I finished The Grapes of Wrath and embarked upon Cannery Row.

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Thursday, 16 November 2017, part two

When we returned from work, we just had time before dark to do a garden walkabout.  We had not been into the garden since the recent two days of rain and wind.

standing water where it usually does not collect

three days worth of rain in the big yellow rain gauge

lots of little twigs down

Frosty wanted to follow. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

the center path of the Bogsy Woods Loop

Allan’s photo

east Bogsy Woods Loop

from the center: the new sit spot

overflowing swale

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking east from the west side

hardy fuchsia

Allan’s photo

future firewood

forlorn hope for a winter campfire

In the house, Allan’s gloves after washing and drying:

We had time for an hour of sitting down (me reading The Grapes of Wrath) before going out to  meet Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) for dinner at Salt Pub at the port, followed by a Salty Talk.

Allan’s photo

Melissa showed us a photo of one of a couple of trees that had fallen at Sea Star Acres.

photo courtesy Sea Star Gardening

For dinner, Allan and I had “chicken pot pie poutine”, a deconstructed chicken pot pie with fries, gravy, and fried cheese curd.  It was amazing comfort food.

chicken pot pie poutine

and a salad for something healthy

Betsy Millard, director of Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. introduces the season’s first Salty Talk.

Park Ranger Dane Osis and a cauliflower mushroom (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo: the deadly amanita on the left

amanita (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo of some mushrooms brought in by an audience member.

My lecture notes follow.  Although I have no intention of collecting mushrooms or of eating wild mushrooms that anyone but the most expert person has harvested (and even then I would think twice), I am interested in all plant life.

Salty Talk about wild mushrooms, what I learned:

Mycelium mushrooms are like the apples on an apple tree.  You cannot hurt the main organism by picking them.

Saprophytic mushrooms can be mass produced.  So-called “Wild oyster mushrooms” are most likely produced on a farm.

Mycorrhizal fungi are symbiotic with plants and will transfer moisture from one part of a forest to another.

Knowing your trees will help you to identify mushrooms (based on where the mushrooms like to grow).

The “chicken of the woods” fungi used to rot the hulls of wooden ships.

Ranger Osis says there are fancy mushroom collecting knives with a brush on one end, for brushing off the mushroom to get a closer ID.  He made one by duct taping a brush to a knife.

His favourite mushroom book is All That the Rain Promises and More.  The one with the trombone on the cover.

Cauliflower mushrooms look like a pile of egg noodles.  The one he showed in the lecture, he picked on Monday while elk hunting.  His pick up bed filled with rain water, and yet the mushroom is still good, whereas a chanterelle would have rotted.  He has found one that was 24 pounds.  Another elk hunter found a 55 pound one and thought it was a bedded down elk at first.  If you pick this mushroom, it will grow back the following year.

This strange mushroom can get up to 50 lbs and is delicious, Dane Osis said.

There are more common names for a king bolete than there are languages.  Porcini is just one name.  They are beloved of deer and elk…and can have maggots, as a friend of ours discovered when she brought some home and left them in a bag for a short while.

Jack of Lantern mushrooms, which glow in the dark and can be mistaken for chanterelles, will make you violently ill.

Survivors say the death cap mushroom is the most delicious mushroom they ever ate.  Liver failure will follow in 48 hours.  The deadly death cap is changing hosts from oak to spruce and Douglas fir and can now be more commonly found in the Pacific Northwest (unfortunately).

The effects of amanita mushrooms, which are more toxic here than in Europe, are associated with berserker Vikings, Santa Claus (flying, maybe?), and Lewis Carroll supposedly tripped on amanita before writing Alice in Wonderland.  (Don’t try this.)

Candy cap mushrooms taste like maple syrup and are used in desserts, and will even make your sweat smell like maple syrup.  There is a toxic mushroom that tends to grow with the rare candy cap and looks almost exactly like it.

Since I knew almost nothing of mushrooms before the lecture, I feel that it was successfully jam packed with information.  I look forward to the once a month Salty Talk season which will continue once a month through the winter and into early spring.

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