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Archive for Nov, 2019

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Skooter
Frosty
Jazmin

Allan kindly agreed to help me get more maple leaves from the Ilwaco fire station.

We went to the post office first (which all the local townspeople must do for mail delivery as we do not have home delivery here—and how I miss home delivery, 27 years after leaving Seattle!).

Every leaf lying on local pavement or lawns calls out to me.

leaves on the post office lawn (Allan’s photos)

I sometimes cast my thoughts to that lawn and think how lovely it would be to expand our volunteer garden…  Perhaps when we semi retire….

At the fire station, we raked some leaves off of grassy area but not off of the narrow garden beds at the south side of the parking lot.

The house to the southwest of the station is empty.  I think it is available to buy from the city for a few dollars…but it must be moved, a complicated matter as it has asbestos siding (or asbestos inside, or something like that).

after
before

after
our leaf harvest

The weather was quite chilly.

on the way home 

Home is so close to the station that I could fetch leaves in a wheelbarrow, on foot…if that did not make me feel too eccentrically conspicuous.

We spread out the leaves on the Nora House back lawn for chopping.

Meanwhile, Allan blew alder leaves off the rougher lawn of the Nora House back yard.

He mowed them up for me.

He then did the last lawn mowing job of the season at the J’s Cottage across the street.

before
after

Still not out of energy, Allan decided to do a nice thing for our good friend and neighbour Alicia, Nora’s granddaughter.

That Lady With a Tractor had recently chopped down a big barberry on the front lawn whose thorny stems stuck out over the sidewalk.

today, before

Even though I valued the privacy from the street in my own front garden that the barberry had given me, we don’t want it to grow back.  It had probably just volunteered there.  Once upon a time, Nora had had a rose garden running along the side of the driveway.

at it with pick and electric chain saw

One hour later:

My bounty of leaves has filled three receptables.

A basket waits to be added when the piles sink down….as do the leaves stored in a tarp.

Rather to my surprise, I had found the oomph to drag and chop the big pile of waiting compost from the back driveway bed….

before, looking east

…into compost bin three.

after, looking west

I have an exciting new batch of books from the library.

Because I cannot read the Susan Wittig Albert mystery until the one before it in sequence arrives, I picked this one to read tonight.

 I wish that era would end already.

While it had many takeaways too gloomy for this blog, here are a few.

About classism and racism:

…men.

About the plight of farmers:

I found this interesting article which states that the book has been reissued with a new forward, pertinent to current events.

If the weather forecast is right, tomorrow should be a full reading day.

 

 

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Friday, 22 November 2019

my day at home

Frosty

I had big compost sifting plans for today.

Frosty accompanying me to the project

When I tackled bin three, as planned, I found the compost almost unbearably cold to sift.

ice on the canoe pond
before: bin four is tarped in blue

I got this far with some rough sifting…

…before my hands ached too much to continue.

Giving up, I decided to shift some plants into my new cold frame and pot up a few cuttings and then, just as I was about to return to the house and a book, the weather warmed enough to get on with the sifting.

Jazmin supervised.

second load
third load
fourth load
the last batch
bin three empty!

I used the rough mulch along some edges by the fire circle, where I had expanded garden beds in the late summer.

Bin three is now ready to receive a batch of fall clippings.

 Allan’s day at the port

Allan got a midmorning call for help from Jenna.  Going to the rescue with our garden loppers, he found her at a gear shed near the boatyard, battling to undo a vine-entangled net.

Our Jenna

Jessie’s Fish Company had donated the net for some sort of Crab Pot Christmas decorations.  After some of the ivy had been clipped off, a Jessie’s fork lift driver helped to drag the net open.

A nice large piece was then cut off for decorating purposes.

Because neither Jenna nor Allan felt hungry enough for a lavish reward, they split a burger at Salt Pub.

When Allan returned from his day, he positioned a new plant table for me, one that we had found in the free wood pile near the boatyard.

My reward for my unexpectedly productive afternoon:

I had an evening of reading an enjoyable novel about an aspergian man.  It is the first of a trilogy.  The library only has the first, so interlibrary loans will ensue.

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Thursday, 21 November 2019

At home

The old apple tree and a tall mahonia

The yellow rain gauge

Jazmin

Allan kindly took on my leaf mowing mission of more that had fallen next door at the Nora House and two doors down on the Norwood driveway.

He fired up the Mighty Mac and vanquished the most recent pile of woody debris. The machine works fine again with its new belt.

All got chopped except the bamboo.

While all that went on, I planted the last of my newly arrived bulbs, 100 narcissi and 50 Iris reticula, most of the narcissi on either side of the new path shown below. .

I also decided that the cosmos across the street at the J’s Cottage simply had to be pulled.

After that great burst of accomplishment, all between one and three forty five PM, I quickly picked a simple bouquet…

…and we left home to make a long overdue visit to our friend Patti’s new house.

In Seaview

Patti has downsized to a darling one story cottage around the corner from her old house and its beautiful garden. She will have room for a simpler new garden at her new place. We had much to catch up on as we had not seen each other for a year. How in the world does that happen with such a valued friend? We have had some connection every day by playing Words with Friends!

View from Patti’s living room

With Patti’s dog, Stella

After our excellent visit, Allan I could not resist dinner at The Depot Restaurant on our way home.

 

I had dragged all the unclipped bamboo into the garage before we left so that I was able to clip it inside after dark. All missions accomplished!

While I wish it were actual official staycation, almost staycation is almost as good.

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Frosty greeted me when I awoke (after not enough sleep, again).

I am appreciating my time with him after coming home one evening last week and finding him all wobbly and confused again.  I had googled how much honey to give him and learned from reputable vet sites that it should be a tablespoon, not just the touch of honey I had given him the first time.  Getting a tablespoon of honey into a cat’s mouth was not easy.  He ended up with honey dripping from his whiskers and sticky honey on his ears and plenty of honey on my shirt sleeves.

Dr Google for cats informed me that he could die from one of these spells and that if he were to be found in a coma, we must try to administer honey or corn syrup.  I was glad that soon we will be home more.  I hope to have at least one more reading winter with him.  He is 15, maybe even 15 going on 16.

On the way to work, we pulled the last cosmos from the post office garden.  The light is so low now that even at midmorning, the River City Playhouse across the street casts a big shadow on the garden.

Port of Ilwaco

We began with a continuation of yesterday’s fall clean up along Howerton Avenue, from RiversZen Yoga to Salt Hotel.

the Time Enough Books garden boat

Long Beach

I tidied up Fifth Street Park’s west side some more while Allan worked on the east side and a street tree garden.  I’d got a last small shipment of bulbs and added some more narcissi (a cyclamineous mix and a miniature mix), hoping for a better spring show in 2020.

A handsome horse and carriage passed by going south….

Allan’s photo

…then west…

…and then to the north.

I had thought someone was calling out “Jeeves! Jeeves!” but it had been “Gee! Gee!”

The pineapple sage in the west garden continues to bloom.

Although it is the only one for blocks around, a hummingbird had found it and worked at every flower.

This particular pineapple sage has come back for several years in a row.  I must plant more in 2020.

The final street tree bed (of eighteen in all), before and after:

Allan’s photos

It will be chock-a-block with narcissi come springtime.

We then pulled the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ foliage out of all three parking lot berms on the east side of downtown.

before
after
before
after (Allan’s photos)
south berm
middle berm

I have always wanted to do something better on the middle berm than the few clumps of crocosmia and rugosa roses.  We have never found the time.  (And they do get walked upon by owners of parked cars.)  In the spring, the quaking grass takes over and is attractive.

blackberries on the north berm (Allan’s photo)

After we dumped a trailer load of debris at City Works, a beautiful cat appeared and inspected our work.

Allan’s photos

I did not have time to make friends.  We were racing sunset.

We cleaned up the welcome sign, pulling the agyranthemum, bottoming out the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and trimming the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ so that the lights will shine on the sign without deep shadows (I hope).

I had to stand back a quarter of a block to not have my long shadow in the photo…and still had my head in the frame.

before
It was a warm day with no jackets needed!
after
before
after (I left some still blooming bidens along the edge.)
north side, before
and after (Allan’s photos)

The grape hyacinth foliage is already up, which is perfectly normal.

Port of Ilwaco

With less than an hour till sunset, we returned to the Howerton Avenue gardens, planted some narcissi in the east and the At the Helm Hotel curbside beds.

east bed (Allan’s photo)

Allan sheared down the pearly everlasting by the hotel.

before
after, with red twig dogwood looking grand

I did not have time to gather the precious leaves!  We had just time to get home, offload debris, catch our breath, and go back out to a meeting.  Additionally, there was the anxiety of Frosty having one of his bad spells.  We managed to get him to take a half tablespoon of corn syrup (a tablespoon being the goal), which proved to be sticky, but not half as sticky as tablespoon of honey.

Ilwaco Community Building

I was surprised how few people showed up other than the mayor, Jenna (president of the merchants association) and the members of the commission.  The seven? citizens who attended, including us and Marlene, enjoyed an excellent presentation.  That is Mayor Gary Forner speaking, in blue, below.

We now have a five day break before next Tuesday’s volunteer crab pot tree decorating session, after which I hope the weather allows us to do one last brief weeding of the Howerton Avenue gardens before Thanksgiving weekend’s tourists arrive.  If it doesn’t get done, that will be sort of ok, as they are not terribly weedy.

What is left on the work board looks much more daunting than it actually is.  (I was so mad that I had not written down “LB berms”, because I robbed myself of the joy of erasing it.)

Most of those locations on the “final check” list will take no more than an hour of work, and in some cases less than an hour.  I estimate that less than eight hours of work, some of it dependent on having a hard frost, stands between us and full staycation and a hiatus (not quite yet) from daily blog posts.

 

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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

I’d had two night of insomnia and simply could not get up early (well, early for us) and go down to volunteer with Allan at the crab pot tree.

On the way, he saw the Ilwaco city crew putting up lights.

Fortunately, I woke up and was breakfasting when he came home to get some tools and so I was able to join him and take some photos.  (That and making an album for Discover Ilwaco was the extent of my volunteering, though.  I did not even tie one zip tie for the lights.)

Port of Ilwaco

Lola (left) and a friend decorating the crab pot snowman

We have known Lynette (Lola) for years, since way back when she was the manager of the Anchorage Cottages.  Now she writes for a living and will read her Coastal Christmas poem at the Crab Pot event.

Don Nisbett (left) stringing lights

Allan to the far left

Allan’s photo

A feast of donuts and maple bars (and coffee!) was on hand for the volunteers. Charity had a mishap with her maple bar.

Allan’s photos

Fortunately, there were still some replacement pastries.

view from the crab pot tree (Allan’s photo)

Something new this year is a “black cod pot” tree to the south of the port office.

Mark from the port crew (boatyard manager) testing the electrics by the port office

Our Jenna to the left of the black cod pot tree

I think some more height is going to be added with more pots.

I had to check the nearby port office garden and the cosmos that refuse to die.

The port office staff don’t want me to pull them, not even if they are still blooming at crab pot tree time, which is…..I walked with Jenna back down to the big tree, where light stringing was still going on.

Jenna and a gal from the Ilwaco Freedom Market repaired to bay 3 of the boatyard to spray paint some floats for decoration.  I followed and found a couple of weeds to pull on the way.

Allan’s telephoto

in Bay 3

a smart way to keep spray paint in its place

local Girls Scouts had decorated the floats

Jenna asked me if I wanted to paint a float (“for Tangly Cottage”).  Feeling exhausted from insomnia, I demurred.

Earlier, walking by the westernmost garden bed on the way to the port office, I had been appalled at its sheets of creeping sorrel in a bed whose soil level was unattractively low.  I thought then, “If only I had some more mulch.”

While Allan kept volunteering, I dragged myself and a bucket and tools to that bed with the intention of weeding…but just as I began, I saw a text from Julez of Salt Hotel offering us part of a pile of “bark mulch”.  I envisioned hideous red bark…and then saw the pile on the parking lot of Skywater Gallery, next to Salt.

lovely black gold!

I accepted the offer with alacrity and, after calling Allan to come help, started weeding in hasty preparation.

a mess of weeds

sorrel and pink flowering strawberries (the latter is ok here)

As Allan got ready, two other trucks showed up.  Would there be a battle for the mulch?  No…We’d been offered half of it, and Kirk took about a third, and Todd, one of the Salt staffers, helped wheelbarrow loads over to our garden beds.

Allan’s photo

Todd and Allan

 

after

Although we got many buckets of weeds, some weedy sins are buried under that mulch.  I hope they stay buried till early 2020.

With the soil level raised, the bed looks so much better.

We went home for more buckets.  Upon our return to do more fall clean up at the port, the dark sky to the east turned into a light rain.

While I did not mind going back home as it was past three, the weather did fool us and got nice again shortly.  We were not about to go back out.

Allan picked up many windfall apples, just to go in the compost.

If only it were not such a long journey to Lezlie’s house, her crows could have them.  In our garden, I want to avoid attracting raccoons.  I’ll save them for awhile in case she gets out the old mule and buckboard and comes to town.

On the porch, I had seen a pretty be-ribboned gift bag. In today’s rushing about, I had not had time to open it.  When I did, I found a Hello Kitty wind chime made from a tin and cutlery.

It wasn’t from Jenna…it wasn’t from MaryBeth…so who?  Who knows I like Hello Kitty?  I know that Montana Mary isn’t in town, so who?  I love it, so thank you to whoever it was, and please confess.

When I sat down to write blog posts, I churned ’em out, six in a row, which leaves my next week of evenings open for reading.

 

 

 

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There will be a book with gardening lore after two books about life on the internet!

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Last week and this week, I read two books by Siva Vaidhyanathan.

The first, about Google, was written almost a decade ago and still pertinent.

I had no idea that Google owns Blogger (home of blogspot.com blogs).

I find the author’s politics most agreeable:

Fascinating technology:

I followed the book about Google with one about Facebook.

Anti-Social Media is only a couple of years old and thoroughly gripping.

Mr. Vaidyanathan writes at the end that he has no intention of leaving Facebook—or Instagram, where he has an account for his dog (which I long to find but have failed to do so thus far).

One of my favourite non fiction authors has this blurb on the back cover.

During an airplane flight:

I can’t judge anyone for a Facebook addiction, because my own addiction to it runs deep.

I finished Anti-Social Media on the evening of November 16th.  It delves deep into the influence Facebook has on news, journalism, and politics.  I recommend it.



Sunday, 17 November 2019

Today we had reading weather all day long.  What bliss!

from the kitchen window

from the front porch

paperwhites on the kitchen window sill

I sped through the brief (disappointingly brief) newest book by a favourite author.

The repartee between a couple who have entered marriage counseling is miles wittier than any I have ever had in any relationship.

Here comes the book with gardening lore. One of the joys of Facebook is that I have gotten to be Facebook friends with a couple of my favourite mystery writers, Susan Conant (The Dog Lovers’ Mysteries) and

 

Somehow I had fallen behind on the latest two books of the China Bayles series, one of my favourite cozy mysteries.

Every chapter starts with some horticultural lore:

Because I am a stick in the mud, I always like to have all the action in the China Bayles series take place in the fictional Texas town of Pecan Springs.  Each book re-introduces us to China’s herbal shop.

That is where I want to stay.  But the author takes us away to a different location every few books, thus avoiding falling into the Inspector Morse/Midsomer Murders trap of having far too many crimes take place in a small area.

So we left Pecan Springs.  I had never been at all interested in Texas till reading (especially in her memoirs) Susan Wittig Albert’s descriptions of the hill country.

Mama is the big van that China and her friend Ruby use for their business.  As they drove to give a seminar at an olive ranch, I learned that our raccoons, deer, and bears crossing the road are not bad in comparison to…

Pretty much every locaton that Wittig Albert creates makes me wish I could visit.  I don’t mean the hogs, I mean the café at the olive ranch.

Their host at the olive ranch…

If you like a good cozy that is not too safe and confined and that has herbal lore (and some recipes at the end), I’d advise reading the China Bayles series, in order and from the beginning.

Frosty loves reading weather.

After my mystery, I started a young adult novel that I had come upon while ordering Rachel Maddow’s latest book.

I do love a good YA novel as I find they often go deep into issues that people my age could barely touch on when we were in high school. When in my 20s, I noticed this phenomenon, and a lovely librarian at my local branch would find me the best YA novels to read.

The author really does know her Rachel.

By bedtime, I was so involved with the story that I stayed up till three AM to finish it.  (The joys of reading weather!)



Monday, 18 November 2019

With torrential rain (1.15 inch in all) for the entire day, I read another high school book.  It was coincidence that they were back to back.  I’d read a good review of High School by Sara and Tegan Quinn.  I must confess I had never heard of the sisterly musical duo Tegan and Sara. Nowadays I like listening to silence best of all so am out of touch with popular music. Even though once upon a time I would have said my life was saved by rock and roll.

Both the high school books, first the novel and now this memoir, had so much drug use (which most of the characters real and imagined eventually moved past).  I was such a goodie goodie in high school.  A reclusive goodie goodie, much less social than Brynn, Tegan, or Sara.  Sometimes when I think of reincarnation, I realize that even for another chance at life, I would not want to go through high school again.

………….

I remembered at age 25, I wanted to go to my first punk rock show.  But I was so worried because I had heard that the audience jumped up and down and hit each other on the head.

I went to many many shows after my first one and never once did anyone hit me on the head, not even in the mosh pit.

on the cusp of punkdom

I remember seeing the Ramones in LA when I was 26. (Montana Mary drove us there; she had other sights to see there than the Ramones.)  I had my fingers hooked over the plywood barrier right in the front of the standing audience.  When the band came on stage I put my arms up (I loved Joey ever so much) and the surge of the audience behind me slammed the plywood into the metal frame behind it.  I sometimes remember that moment and think that in an alternate timeline I could have lost my fingers.  The crowd was so tight that I could not get my arms down for the rest of the show and by the end, my clothes were drenched to the skin.  I was so thirsty that I walked straight back to our motel (at night, in LA, in the Hollywood district) and got a can of pop from the machine and drank it straight down. What a remarkable event it was.

I enjoyed every bit of Tegan and Sara’s journey to their adult musical career…

…and I have gotten around to listening to three songs of theirs, all of which impressed me.  I intend to listen to them all.

Finally, I closed my three day reading session with two books by David Sedaris.  I feel almost sure that I have read both before and forgotten to note them down.

I loathed the truly mean stories in Barrel Fever and read less than half of the stories.  It is his first (?) book.  If it were the first I had ever read, I’d have skipped all of his subsequent memoirs.  (The essays at the end were better.)

I did enjoy a passage in the Santa Land essay about how people say the same thing and think they are witty and original.

In my world, the most common saying is “You can come to my garden next!”

Fortunately for my reading day, Dress Your Family … is one of his almost completely delightful memoirs.

My favourite line, about his mother at the beach:

I had been aching and longing for reading weather.  Two days had been satiating enough that I felt fine about getting back to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 16 November 2019

Skooter’s new favourite spot is the bathroom counter.

Ilwaco Fire Station

I had two missions at our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco fire station (a block and a half from home).  First, I mulched with bagged Harvest Supreme mulch mixed with chopped leaves that I brought from home.

before

I wish I had more mulch.

It is pricey and so I did not buy enough to go around the corners.

I then joined Allan in gathering a wealth of leaves from the parking lot.

Allan’s photo, before

after

I forgot to tell him to leave the leaves on the garden beds as they will be good for the soil.

However, many more will fall.

still to come

My rich bounty to take home:

at home

I spread the leaves out on the lawn next door and mowed them, heavy work because they were wet.

Allan carried some of the mower bags to the former kitchen compost bin, which is now a designated leaf mulch bin.  What a fool I was to have given away one of my plastic compost bins, especially since it was to That Job I Quit.  Darn it.

A large pile of clean debris has accumulated along the driveway, waiting to be shifted to the four pallet bins.

former kitchen compost bin almost full of leaves

Allan went off to a meeting 3 blocks west at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum:

I would like to have seen the new short film about the nature reserve but could not tear myself away from three buckets of plant starts that I wanted to get potted up.

(I have seen the nature film now, because it has since gone up on youtube.  You can watch it right here, birds and all.)

Home again after the meeting, Allan helped me cut some leycesteria for a high school project—not ours! A teacher friend asked us for help getting some hollow stemmed material so that a class can make some bee houses.  Other than the leycesteria and some bamboo which I steeled myself to part with, I couldn’t come up with any more hard but hollow stemmed branches.

a pile for a project

Allan mowed our lawn.  I kindly did not ask him to bag the alder leaves.

Allan’s photo

primrose (Allan’s photo)

Nicotiana sylvestris (Allan’s photo)

By the time I had gone in to read, I heard the hum of the pencil sharpener chipper-shredder as Allan chopped some thin willow branches that were not worth a test of the newly repaired Might Mac.  I could not stir myself from my reading chair to have a look.

Allan’s photo

He told me he did not get the pile dealt with before dark so I imagine the Mighty Mac will emerge from its lair soon.

Skooter as I closed the curtains for an evening of reading:



Sunday, 17 November 2019

Just a tad bit more gardening work got done by Allan during a late afternoon break in the rain.

Ilwaco Community Building

A tatty salal got bottomed out…

…revealing a self-seeded wax myrtle.

The last clump of three Sanguisorba ‘Pink Elephant’ got clipped to the ground.

before

after

Despite the glimpse of blue sky, most of Sunday was reading weather, as you will see in tomorrow’s post.

 

 

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