Archive for Dec, 2018

Skipanon River

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

27 December 2018: Upstream Over & Under the Skipanon River

The Skipanon River originates in Cullaby Lake, Oregon, and flows under the coastal highway 101 a half a mile south of the big box stores. It then flows through Warrenton, past a marina, a large lumber yard, and then into the Columbia River, not too far from the jetty at the mouth. There are few houses along its length making it a convenient paddle close to but mostly out of sight of civilization. I had recently read about a second free kayak dock just upstream of the Warrenton Marina launch. It was overlooked in my book. The dock is located at the east end of SE 2nd street in Warrenton. I felt it was a pretty big omission from the book as I had recommended that people pay to launch from the marina instead. Still, $5 might buy better…

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Saturday, 15 December 2018

Allan spent the day at the handmade craft fair at the Sou’wester Lodge, where he was pleased a sell a goodly number of his boating book.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

In a continuing quest to get his book into the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center gift shop, Allan made a trip to Cape Disappointment. (Maybe in January, the gift shop will add it; meanwhile, it is available in Ilwaco at Time Enough Books and at Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.)

By the Cape D lighthouse

The north jetty

A local news station was there looking for a good photo spot for waves.  Allan led them to the most popular spot, the low overlook of Waikiki Beach. However, it was low tide.

Folks get awfully close looking for the perfect photo. Last year, a couple were almost swept away and lost their camera equipment.

Our friend Nellie is renowned for her Waikiki Beach wave photos. Here is one of her favorites, on a high storm-driven winter tide.

Waikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, photo by Janelle Hux

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

We’d had some rain.

…and a fair amount of wind, with 60 mph gusts at the headlands.

the salmonberry tunnel

the bogsy wood swale

new stepping stone path under water

south of the fence in the willow wood

looking north


deep rainwater

The compost is slowly sinking.

Frosty had walked with me till the water was too deep.

Skooter did not.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

I feel I am channeling my mother as I cut up milk cartons to make plant tags for the plant sale that I’m planning.

Before spending a couple of hours digging and potting up plant divisions, I chopped up the kelp into the compost bins.

Skooter helped. (Allan’s photo)

Allan put up the spring window box liners, with early narcissi and snowdrops already blooming.


Narcissus ‘Julia Jane’

As day after day of mild weather calls for afternoons of gardening rather than reading, a Builders Tea is well deserved at dark-thirty.

Skooter’s new favourite spot is by or in the bathroom sink.

Allan’s photo

By spending a couple of hours a day potting up plants, I hope to have an amazing plant sale during the World’s Longest Garage Sale weekend at the end of next May.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

After a rather scary storm the night before of wind, thunder, and lightning:

Not only have I been potting up plants, I also cleaned up the greenhouse entryway and made a new potting area.  This had involved some difficult cutting of hops roots that had run into that area.

It needs more gravel. The potting soil will go into the garbage can.

I can take refuge in the greenhouse during squalls.

Having made me a wonderful additional greenhouse lean-to, Allan began rebuilding the work trailer.

Monday, 24 December 2018

While running errands, we did the last bit of 2019 clean up to the Long Beach planters.

We visited The Planter Box to get some more potting soil for my plant sale project, along with some empty pots; I had taken too many of my empties there at the end of the season and needed some back!

at The Planter Box

The Planter Box has a great selection of violas right now:

and skimmia

and a cute cat (Allan’s photo)

Allan bought more lumber and made more progress on the trailer.

Allan’s photo, new plywood on the bottom

Starting on Christmas Day, it will be my mission to not leave my property until Allan’s birthday on January 2nd.



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What have we done this year for the holidays?  Not much.  I did not decorate one little bit, because I did not want to give up reading and gardening time to put up a tree and then take it down again.

Oh, but wait.  I did put out one piece of Christmas decoration, something I have had since 1977:

We have had enough seasonal festivity to make this Season’s Greetings post.  (Soon, I will catch up on the reading and gardening news for December.)

Saturday, 15 December 2018

We had our holiday dinner at the Depot Restaurant early with Our Kathleen, because her schedule would not permit her to join us on Christmas eve.  Our repast was so delicious that I must show you. Even though some people make fun of pictures of dinner, I know for a fact that some of you like that sort of thing.

bubbly, cheesy, flavourful French onion soup

the winter’s best wilted spinach salad

delicately prepared fish for Allan, with a lemony sauce

Kathleen chose the Thai calamari appetizer for her entree.

My favourite winter menu dish, the Cingiale Brasato


sorbet duo


The Depot tree, decorated in a foodie theme, and in the window box, African daisies are still blooming

We decided to forgo our traditional Christmas crackers and exchanged presents without opening them.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

My own personal mission was to not leave my property.  However, we could not miss our holiday tradition of enjoying the Christmas Village display at the Hungry Harbor Grille in Long Beach.

a Christmas crab pot in our post office garden

On the way, we picked up more books from the library, where we found a Christmas carol gathering.

Allan’s photo

We drove to the end of the Bolstad beach approach to see how far up the massive, storm driven tide had come. Quite, far, with driftwood all the way to the picnic shelters.  Allan acquired a bundle of kelp for compost bins, stuffing it into the back of the van.

a feast day for some gulls

in the planter outside, flowers still blooming in our unusually mild winter

even bigger than usual

I imagine myself in the idyllic scene, where the snow is not slippery and where everyone likes each other.

Each building is so detailed, one could spend hours looking in the windows.  Pilgrim Pat, who first took us to see this village, used to take binoculars so that she could see the details of the far away buildings.

Below, I like the triangular building.  It reminds me of Seattle.  Behind it, by the window, it the apartment building with a roof garden which is my choice of where to live, on the top floor and with the garden as part of my domain.

Why I choose that instead of a house can only be explained by my fond memories of the year when I lived in the Gables apartments in Seattle.

The Gables would fit right into the village.  My apartment was on the second floor off the central courtyard.

Allan went outside the restaurant and, through the window, got two side views of my apartment building.

Looks like we somehow got our heavy cement curved bench up to the roof garden!

I now might rather choose to live in the new little float house:

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo; it is rather exciting that the TARDIS is there.

Allan’s photo

The village harbour has a multitude of lighthouses.

Allan’s photo

the ghost ship

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley,
Ding, ding, ding went the bell…as the trolley zoomed by the fish market…

…and the Long Beach Tavern.

The Clamshell Railroad was running, too.

As darkness fell, the carnival lights came on.

one of several lodgings to stay when you visit

If you would like to watch a video that shows the trains and the trolley, click here.  It is rather noisy from other diners; just imagine that you are sitting in a popular café with a view of the village.

We dined on the pasta special and a Reuben sandwich.

Night had come by the time we left the village.

the lights of Long Beach

Allan photographed the Shelburne Hotel on our way home (with our van whiffing of salty kelp):

And he walked to the next block to get a photo of the Christmas lights at Lucy Dagger’s house:

a piratical Christmas

In the evening, I read a book about another village where (despite an alarming number of murders) life is cozy and friends are friends for life.

After that excursion, I did not have to leave the property for five blissful days. Every day is a holiday of reading, gardening, puttering, and projects.  Skooter sleeps in even later than we do….

Monday, 24 December 2018

We had the pleasure of a visit from Mary and Denny, formerly of Klipsan Beach Cottage and now easing into their retirement in their new home in nearby Naselle.  After so many years of being constantly on call at the cottage resort, Mary says she is going to have to figure out what she likes to do in all her free time.  Mary and Denny were on their way to a late afternoon Christmas Eve dinner at the Depot, and our own Dickens Christmas Eve dinner came later at 7:30 PM.

The Depot Restaurant

Dickens dinner

The glory of Yorkshire pudding

Allan tried a new menu item of spice meat balls and hummus.

Window boxes still flowering

Egg nog flan

View from our table

On the tree

We opened our presents late in the evening and now, for us, the celebration is done and we will return to gardening, puttering, reading, and projects—one of which is to catch up with a few blog posts before going on another short blogging hiatus.



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Solstice campfire

Wishing you a bright and joyful year to come.

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A book about Skooter!

Kindle readers: If you click this link, you can read a children’s picture book about Skooter, written by his first guardian, Anne. It is free for the next couple of days.

We are on a blogging break but will return shortly for a few posts.

Meanwhile…weather has allowed half days of garden puttering, and the long evenings are for reading. I wish for a steady stretch of consecutive days of rainy reading weather.

The reading has not all been serious. Some mystery novels were included.

I enjoy spending the staycation days with Skooter and Frosty.

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Monday, 10 December 2018

We’d had this much rain since Saturday evening.

Before and after a visit, I spent my afternoon potting up shasta daisy starts for my plant sale.

Our dear friend Tony came to visit the garden with Maryann and Linda.

Maryann, Linda, Tony, and me

You might remember that MaryAnn is the former owner and the designer of the beautiful garden at Tony and Scott’s beach home.

Maryann, who visits family in England every year, gave me a Gardeners’ World book! I was thrilled!

Thank you, MaryAnn!

By the way, I do intend to get back to watching as many new-to-me episodes that I can find online of Gardeners’ World as soon as I can break away from my reading binge.

Poor Allan had to leave to have a wisdom tooth pulled.

The rest of the photos from today were all taken by Tony Hofer himself as we wandered the garden.

my one and only phormium

plant table in the bogsy wood

SW bogsy wood corner

bridge to the south gate

through the south gate: Linda just bought a house on the peninsula so I look forward to seeing her around.

outside the fence, at the meander line, the south property line that used to be riverbank.

I used to try to control nature out there, but now I let it go and I think the frogs are happier that way.

fortifications on the south fence

Back in the civilized garden again:

the cat bench that Allan made

at the edge of the patio

I gave Tony a great big clump of sarracenia.

the lean-to

lambs ears that I have been potting up

white rhododendron by Allan’s shed

old apple tree in front garden


east wall of house

front path

hellebore by front path

We all talked about how Allan and I could visit Tony and Scott’s Vancouver (Washington) home this spring, before they pack everything up to move to the beach.  MaryAnn would make dinner…I know it would be a wonderful trip and we could combine it with a visit to Cistus and Joy Creek Nurseries.

I love getting to see what someone else notices in our garden.  Thank you, Tony!





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Sunday, 9 December 2019

On an afternoon of lashing rain, we went to Time Enough Books at the Port to hear a book reading.

greeted by our good friend Scout

Robert Pyle, renowned local writer from Grays River, read from his new novel, in which he incorporates a suspenseful plot along with passages of nature writing, his usual forte.

Pyle with bookstore owner Karla

Because a photo of Robert Pyle is on the cover of Allan’s boating book, he gave Robert a copy of it while I perused the shelves.  The photo (at the bottom) is from when Pyle led a trip to Long Island.  You can read about it here.

These birthday cards reminded me of our friend Tony Hofer.

This book…

…reminded me of the book Seasons at Seven Gates Farm, which years ago inspired me to think about how I could write about our gardening life.


introduction (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Pyle’s book begins with a mesmerizing description of a car going off of a mountain road and falling far below.  Oddly, the book I was reading on the same day at home, Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer, begins with a car going off a road and over a cliff.  Her description was good.  Pyle’s was better.

Although it had been a bit of struggle for me to leave the warm and cozy house and venture out to an event, the effort had been worthwhile.




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Thursday, 6 December 2018

Allan had jury duty.  He was able to get my book from the post office before having to arrive at court at 8:45 AM.  (He made it to the pick of 12 jurors but then was sent away after a few answers probably revealed him to be not as hard on crime as the prosecutor wanted.)

Good weather meant I had to work till late afternoon on my honeysuckle pruning project.

Skooter did not help.  I think the crisp cold air did not appeal to him.

Here is the glorious moment when the hat of tangled vines lifted off of its support:

The before from a couple of days ago:


and today:

This left an enormous mess by dusk.

I filled the trash bin and pondered how to get rid of the rest.  It would take an awfully long time to feed it into the trash week by week.  It is too tough and woody to compost.

I widened Willow Loop West by trimming escallonia, partly with The Toy, which was awfully fun.

another big mess

In the garden:

grey white berries on the hymenanthera

tiny rose hips of Paul’s Himalayan Musk

At dusk, I was ever so happy to settle in with my book, the fourth mystery by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling).

Friday, 7 December 2018

My book had to wait till dusk.  Allan and I decided that a dump run was in order.  It would take too long to process the vines through the wheelie bin and the branches through the Pencil Sharpener.

If felt very much like winter with a cold white band at the edge of the sky and a moderate but chilling wind.

It took till three o clock to get the debris loaded, included a large quantity of plain green holly from the willow wood outside the south fence.  The dump fee of $20 would be offset by saving us at least two more days of debris disposal at home.

Allan went off to dump …..

offloading a packed full trailer

…while I happily returned to my book and finished it by 1:30 AM (with a break for dinner and some telly).

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Not many photos today.  Caturday photos of Skooter and Frosty were required, of course, and since I had not downloaded my camera for a week, two phone photos would have to do.

woken from a nap

Allan built me a nice new bench for the greenhouse lean-to, almost all made of driftwood.

The lean-to will be especially useful because I had had a revelation: In 2019, I AM going to have a plant sale during the “World’s Longest [local] Garage Sale” at the end of May.  I had offered a multitude of double Shasta daisy starts to the Peninsula Gardeners group days before, had eight takers, and six days later four of the pots I had filled were still sitting waiting for the takers to pick them up.  No more of this—instead I would start planting starts to sell on that one weekend.  Our friends Ed and Mark have great success with their once a year plant sales. I spent the day potting up some Gladioulus papilio and a wealth of lambs ears that had worked their way into the center of a garden bed.

As for the evening reading, someone had recommended in a Ruth Rendell book group (online) that Belinda Bauer was a worthy successor to Ruth (sometimes my favourite author), so I began reading one of Belinda’s mysteries.  I can tell you that she is very good but that the writing is not as elegant as Ruth’s.


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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

With some colder weather in store, Allan had tried adding some plastic to the sides of the greenhouse lean to:

Allan’s photo

We found out this morning that it was so flappy and noisy in the wind that I worried it would keep our neighbours to the east awake.  Adding weights to the bottom did not help, so down it came.  The lean-to is useful enough without doors as it should keep frost off of tender plants.  Allan may add something stronger, but removable, for the coldest nights, once it gets figured out…

I began a project of cutting back honeysuckle and hops, all tangled with a lot of dead in it, on the arbors to the east of the compost bins.


I was quite enjoying the task when I happened to look at my pineapple sage and realized that the cold had surely damaged plants in the less sheltered Long Beach gardens.

pineapple sage

and Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’

So halfway into the afternoon, we had to switch gears and go to work.

We pulled the last of the Ilwaco cosmos…

….at the boatyard garden…

….and the Ilwaco pavilion garden.

We checked on the window boxes and barrels at the Depot Restaurant in Seaview and found that the annuals were still not ready to pull, even though I wish they were.

Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ still has some yellow daisies….

and the window boxes still have some flowers.

In Long Beach, we cut down chrysanthemums and Salvia leucantha in several planters.  The city crew has had to dig in one of them, probably for electrical Christmas lights reasons.

Oh, dear.

I visited NIVA green for a bit of Christmas shopping.

beautiful new velvet bags, too soft for my lifestyle

There is one photo I cannot show because a Christmas present is front and center.

I was able to tell Heather in person that I was going to remove myself as co-administrator of the NIVA green Facebook page, because her assistant, Wes, is now doing such a great job with it.  It is much better for someone who is on the spot to do it, and my grandmother told me many times that too many cooks spoil the broth.  I have another place to share my photos: the “favourite shops” album on my own Our Long Beach Peninsula page.  For all its flaws, Facebook is a strong connector in our beach communities.

We finished Long Beach by clipping back some frost-limp perennials in Fifth Street Park, where the very last cosmos got pulled.  Allan had covered the gunnera with leaves during an errand run the day before.

Our last work stop was brief.  I finally cut the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen that was STILL blooming in front of the Shelburne.  I no longer wanted to wonder every day if it looked good or was frost blackened.

This one lonely stem had emerged unplanned.

the fig tree

pineapple sage looking better than mine

We rewarded ourselves for our staycation work day with dinner at the pub.

Our drinks:

I had never heard of a Salty Dog drink.  Delicious because I love salt and I love grapefruit juice.  Amazingly, Allan had never before had a hot buttered rum.

view from our favourite table

chopped salad with chicken and a pub burger

and our favourite desserts

My BOOK had arrived at the post office today, per an email notice, but it was closed so I would have to wait till tomorrow.  I read a short book instead, which turned out to be a moderately well written and quite interesting experience of the Hillary Clinton campaign, 2016.

As with Hillary’s memoir, What Happened, I felt by the end that Hillary would be a good and kind person to know (and a much finer president than what we have now).





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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

My breakfast audience:

Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’ has emerged again.

Allan has finished the roof of the greenhouse lean to.

Skooter’s day included a trip to the roof…

….and a sojourn in the sink.

He was a perfect round ball till he heard the camera.

Allan ran errands and covered the gunnera in Long Beach with leaves from our gunnera.



I spent the afternoon weeding.  Because of the rain forecast, I have this week to prepare to get mulch for the garden and then will have to wait for another five day dry spell to be predicted, and hope that mulch (and good health) is available during that time.

I then read an excellent memoir.  I wish I could remember if someone recommended it to me.  If so, thank you.

I adore Vivian Gornick’s honesty and now, of course, I intend to read all her books (through interlibrary loan).

Here are some of my favourite bits.

Regarding her and her closest friend, Leonard:








in which the title is explained:

I hope her next books do not take long to arrive.

Skooter being a neck cat instead of a lap cat.


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