Archive for Dec, 2018

It is December 11th.  I had no intention of blogging, until suddenly needing to boot up my computer to add the new manager of Klipsan Beach Cottages to the KBC Facebook page….and de administrate myself. It felt odd and poignant to let go of a page I created and have administered and for which I have done all the photos since…2009.  I gardened there for over 20 years.  Soon we will be visiting former managers Mary and Denny in their new home.

Since I booted up, I might as write and schedule a few blog posts before I retreat back into my blogging break.  We began December with a streak of almost summer-like weather.

December 2nd is an already forgotten day…weeding? reading? weather? I have no idea…with no photos other than this one of Skooter in the very late morning:

Monday, 3 December 2018

We had had some rain.  Perhaps this photo tells us that Sunday was a reading day. My Sony camera sometimes does not open all the way, annoying if I don’t see that I need to push it open manually.  (The Lumix thoroughly plotzed with a “system error zoom”, after less than a year, as usual.)

yellow rain gauge, halfway full

The water boxes are full again.

summer-planted extra sweet pea seeds, grew into lots of foliage and an occasional soggy flower.

Helichrysum and bacopa still lush and happy

I spent most of the afternoon digging Ficaria verna (Ranunculus ficaria) from the east fire circle bed.  It runs like crazy through the garden.

Ficaria verna today

It tries to leave as many little brown root nodules behind as possible, which is why this is a battle where the human will not prevail.

At least I can slow it down.

The plain old creeping buttercup, also shown above, is much easier to remove.

In other garden news, I am working on widening the East Willow Loop path, which has become so narrow in summer that is had ceased to be part of the garden tour here.

opened up

At the end, to the left, was the encroaching ficaria patch.

center bed and Rozanne Loop path

I covered my gunnera with its own leaves to protect it from frost….

…and put a few leaves in the van to go to the gunnera in Long Beach.

Fortunately, the short daylight hours give plenty of time for reading in the late afternoon and evening.  I cannot remember who recommended that I read Radio Free Vermont.  Thank you, I loved it.

This is also how we feel on the Long Beach Peninsula:

For comparison, Ilwaco has under 1000 residents.  It might be growing, but it is growing slowly.


This is so true when moving to a small town:



I have read of town meetings elsewhere, possibly in Maine, in the memoirs of Doris Grumbach (whose books I highly recommend).

Radio Free Vermont is not all talk; it has adventure, suspense, and a ski chase, so give it a try.





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We are on a bit of a blogging break…finally got round to writing up the Crab Pot Tree!

Our Ilwaco

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November 2018

The crab pot tree was put into place at the beginning of November.

tree photo by Jenna Lanette Austin

nov5 5 November

Volunteers gathered on three consecutive Tuesdays to decorate it with lights and floats.  We missed the first session, when Artist Don Nisbett hung all the lights by himself. We joined the second session of decorating on November 13th.


pot a delivery from the boatyard for the crab pot snowman

nov13 13 November


v5 Della and Jim from the Coast Guard Auxiliary

cg U.S. Coast Guard National Motor Lifeboat School crab float signed by the staff and students.


volunteers volunteers: Bill, owner of OleBob’s Seafood Market and Café, Jim and Della from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Jenna (our beloved Queen LaDeDa) and Allan of Tangly Cottage Gardening

On November 20th, the same group of volunteers zip tied the lights and hung more floats and the star.


view Allan Fritz took all the photos from on…

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Saturday, 1 December 2018

This is the day leading up to the Crab Pot Tree lighting.

In the mid morning, Allan hurried down to the Crab Pot tree to provide a mallet for anchoring an anchor.

It will be lit to commemorate a crabber who was tragically lost in an accident in Willapa Bay this past summer.

Allan then checked on his book at Time Enough Books.

There it is, lower right.

After trying and failing to get enough sleep (too much crab pot excitement brewing?), I had three hours to weed.

We had had this much rain yesterday.

We still have mild weather and some flowers in bloom.

Salvia ‘Amistad’ and S. elegans (pineapple sage)

pineapple sage

Salvia leucantha




and more fuchsias

Rose ‘Radway Sunrise’

and even an agastache, with annual sweet pea foliage

I worked on a section where creeping buttercup had swamped the base of shasta daisies.


got this far…

It was hard to tear myself away from the garden at ten to three.  I knew, though, that the temperature would start to drop in about half an hour.

Allan had been working on the greenhouse lean-to.  We hurried to put tools away and to get down to the Salt Pub to meet Our Kathleen for a late lunch.

Salt has been remodeling so that the main pub is now downstairs instead of upstairs.   Allan’s photos were taken earlier in the day.  When we got there, we were lucky to get the second to last table.

The new bar downstairs (Allan’s photo)

The old bar upstairs. This room was reserved for an event tonight. (Allan’s photo)

Downstairs window seating. (Allan’s photo)

Salt Pub

Kathleen’s brisket bowl lunch

my delicious tuna melt

Allan’s “breakfast sandwich”

We were joined a half an hour later by Ann Amato, who praised the cranberry cobbler.

Ann is catching up on the past year in her blog, which you can read right here.

Allan left us at four to help test the lights at the tree.  It would be unfortunate if they did not go on properly!  We lingered for another forty five minutes and then walked the two blocks to the crab pot tree….

…….where we hope you will join us as we share the evening on our other blog (as soon as I get around to writing it).

Allan had picked up some library books for me today.  I rather wish the weather forecast was for rain rather than a sunny and temperate week.



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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

We had had this much rain.

A fine day meant I must continue weeding.  I am trying to prepare for getting eight yards of mulch sometime this winter. In the course of weeding, I noticed a plant from Digging Dog Nursery was finally blooming.  I forget the name of the carroty thing.  I expected someone taller.

I consigned a columnar apple tree to the wheelie bin.

before i relegated it to the wheelie bin

It seemed too diseased to put through the Pencil Sharpener shredder.

that cannot be good

and its apples had been miniscule and unripe…

I scavenged more leaves for the leaf bin.

from a maple next door

The wind had caused no serious damage.

The bogsy woods were so soggy that I did not go much farther back.

gunnera leaves down

I decided that tomorrow we must check on the big gunnera in Fifth Street Park.

In the late afternoon, rain returned and I began a mystery series by Robert Galbraith, the Cormoran Strike mystery series.  Steveston Gardener of Canada had given me the first three when she visited this summer.  In looking to see the proper reading order, I found out today that they are actually by JK Rowling.

I was immediately smitten by the book and got halfway through before sleep time.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

I had to leave my book behind and go out to a medical insurance appointment.  On the way, we pulled cosmos at the Ilwaco Fire Station in a light rain.



an annual sunflower still blooming!

The rain stopped as we pulled cosmos at the boatyard garden and trimmed wind-thrashed Stipa gigantea with The Toy.

Some of the cosmos still looked too good to pull.

I thought we might get some final clean ups done in Long Beach after our appointment, but while we were at Shelly Pollock’s office getting my health insurance for 2019 set up, rain returned in earnest.  (Thank you, President Obama, for health care that I can afford.)

In the storm, we drove by Fifth Street Park to check the gunnera.  It was already cut down!

That is the first time the city crew has cut it down without waiting for us; I usually cut it only after frost has laid it flat.  We drove to city works to look for the leaves so that I could lay one over the plant to bring it through the winter.  We were told apologetically that the leaves were gone.  We will bring one from home to lay over the plant later.

All that got done was cutting down one now silly and lonely looking Salvia leucantha in Lewis and Clark Square.

before: very wet

We had parked at Veterans Field for that tiny project.  I pondered whether or not people think the still blooming Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ are just messy.  I like them even now.

backed with the city Christmas tree

Damp, but not so much as to be dripping miserably, we repaired to the Shelburne Pub for a late lunch.  (I was still thinking about my book as the day progressed.)

Shelburne Hotel

one Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ still blooming

looking north

looking south

chopped salad with fried chicken added

that blackberry-topped cheesecake

We checked the window boxes for moisture at the Depot on the way home.

And then …home where I sat right down and read for hours to finish The Cuckoo’s Calling.  I realized I could do nothing much but finish the three books, giving up all idea of blogging so that I could get them done before Crab Pot Tree and friends’ visits on Saturday.  Each book is long, but unlike the later books in the Potter series, they do not drag.  (And I did love the Harry Potter series.)  It has been a long time since I have been this smitten by a fictional book series.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

We had had this much rain since I had last left off weeding.

Annoyingly good weather meant that I had to weed rather than read for at least three hours.

Joseph’s Coat rose


a sad little conifer dug out of a dark corner where it should never have been planted (too sad to rescue)

another rescue replanted, probably still in the wrong place

Once upon a time, I bought some dwarf conifers and have never found a good way to use them.

Weeding in the front garden, I trimmed suckers off of a witch hazel.


almost after

my helper

Another thing to watch for is green branches growing from variegated shrubs…

like this pieris

In good weather, Allan had been working on the greenhouse annex, which is more complicated and harder than I had hoped.  I am sorry I asked for it and yet it will be good in summer for a dry storage area and in the winter I can put plastic on the ends and keep some plants out of the worst weather.

Skooter avoiding the rain under a test roof panel. Allan’s photo

I found that a quite large branch had come down in the bogsy wood.

Finally dusk came and I could get to my book.

With a break for dinner and some telly with Allan, I got within fifty pages of the end by the time I could no longer stay awake.  Silkworm‘s plot was much more disturbing than the first book.  The characters and settings overcame my squeamishness.

Lately Skooter has been more of a lap cat.

Friday, 30 November 2018

We had a perfectly wonderful rainy and windy day.

I finished Silkworm and read the whole of Career of Evil, book three of Cormoran Strike (even more disturbing than book two; what other horrors lurk in JK Rowling’s mind?).  I might have liked less gory detail.  However, the protagonists and the settings had me completely mesmerized.  If I did not finish it before Crab Pot Tree Saturday, I would be frustrated to have to leave the house.  Finish it I did at 1 AM, and immediately ordered the recently released fourth one because I cannot wait for the many folks ahead of me in the hold line at the library.  Now I could join the Crab Pot Tree festivities with an undistracted mind.

Allan’s photo

Speaking of books, I was asked to show the before and after of the cover of Allan’s Southwest Washington Paddle Trips book.

Here is the first version:

Allan’s book

And the more colourful version:

He will be selling it at the Sou’wester’s Handmade Artisan Bazaar on Saturday, December 15th from 10-4, 3728 J Place in Seaview.  It is also available in Ilwaco at Time Enough Books and the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum and at Adelaide’s Books in Ocean Park.



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Saturday, 24 November 2018

We had had this much rain:

With fairly low energy and the need to go card shopping hanging over my head, I managed to get a bit of the front garden tidied up.

before, with tired and floppy Sanguisorba ‘Pink Elephant’




Facebook sent me a memory of a photo of the front garden on November 17, 2010:


Dichroa febrifuga berries

The Toy (Stihl battery trimmers) had made quick work of the smaller clipping in the front so that I had time to take the old spotty leaves off of almost all of the hellebores throughout the garden.

Skooter, who had been on the roof…

…came down and helped.

I felt I must go down to the port and support my favourite businesses on Small Business Saturday.  Allan had gone shopping overseas (across the Columbia River, that is) and so I went on my own, across the field beyond the bogsy wood, as the field was not yet too boggy to navigate.

My primary need was more holiday greeting cards, a need easily fulfilled at the Don Nisbett Art Gallery.

view from Don’s gallery

our bouquet

I visited Scout and Karla at Time Enough Books.

my good friend Scout

in Time Enough

With my card mission accomplished, I was glad to get home, draw the curtains at 4, and return to a new book by a favourite author.

The author refers to another favourite book series of mine.  The first passage about them does not reveal what they are.

Pages later, the reveal thrilled me.

Later, our protagonist rereads Queen Lucia.

As I read of him helping a high school student apply to colleges, I learned about the interesting exam questions that some colleges, in this case the University of Chicago, ask.  (I did not go to college so never went through that process.)

I googled to see if it were true that the U of C asks questions like this.  That lead to some interesting side reading.


In 2015, the city of Melbourne, Australia created a “tree-mail” service, in which all of the trees in the city received an email address so that residents could report any tree-related issues. As an unexpected result, people began to email their favorite trees sweet and occasionally humorous letters. Imagine this has been expanded to any object (tree or otherwise) in the world, and share with us the letter you’d send to your favorite.

This led to some poignant reflections on having not gone to college, due to poverty and to having parents who had no interest; at the time, it was hard to get financial aid if you were under 21 and had parents who could help but would not.  If I could go back in time, I would refuse all distractions in high school and seek the sort of help that I read about in My Ex-Life.  I made myself invisible to teachers and counselors.

I shook off those thoughts and returned to reading.

A description of a small town made me think of Ilwaco:

Why did reading Portrait of a Lady lead to an obsession with outdoor rooms?

Sunday, 25 November 2018

I had a true staycation day with no where to go and no one to see.  Dry weather made it a gardening day, with my usual helper.

He is not helping my comfy tattered old sweater.

after some weeding



Rain interrupted me and I was glad to return to reading before dark.  I would like to have been indoors all day like Frosty…

…in the same chair, but reading instead of sleeping.

Monday, 26 November 2018

A day of rain filled me with joy and made it an all reading day.


I finished a library book that I had begun last night.

The author had many privileges that led to her career as a “leader”, which she does admit.  Although it was interesting and politically pleasing, I have to admit I skimmed some of it.

I learned something about Nancy Pelosi (which I may have been aware of in 2002, so long ago):

Women usually aren’t in [politics] for the glory…but to get things done…..

I still had time for a book of mostly hilarious essays about old age by the author of the glorious Ethel and Ernest.

I would like to say I loved every minute of it.  I almost did, except for the disappointing chapter in which Raymond Briggs, in his 70s, along with his girlfriend of a similar age, enjoy going to town to make fun of fat people and critically watch them eat.  How depressing to read about such a good, funny writer having not learned by then not to be so damn mean.  I can guarantee the people that they thought they were secretly ridiculing were aware of it.

I gave the book five stars (top marks) on GoodReads but the next day I had to go back and drop a star because the fat-bullying chapter bothered me so much.

Other than that, it is such a wonderful book, especially for a Britophile like me, full of delicious descriptions like this one.

I do feel like Raymond does that my childhood now seems so antiquated with party telephone lines (used by more than one household; my grandma had one), black and white telly, and of course no computers.

I had time after that to read a very short book called On Wheels, British, about motor cars, and of interest because it is written by Margaret Drabble’s husband, Michael Holroyd.  (Thanks to MaryBeth, who I believe is the one who passed it on to me.)

At about 1 AM, I looked at the weather and saw that the day had brought over 3 inches of rain.

I was hoping for more of the same all week so that I could just keep reading.


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