Archive for Aug, 2020

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

On the way to work, we passed more good signage in Seaview.

The Depot Restaurant

Patti’s garden

Patti had gotten a nice big work t shirt for me. The label obscures the message a bit. Washing will solve that.

I might have to put a “1” before the “6” as 16 feet is more my comfort zone.

The Red Barn

Diane’s garden

The roadside is just not what it usually is. Just a few sweet peas are coming on. We still think, and Diane agrees, that it was set back by weed and feed drift from the lawn. The Stipa gigantea and perovskia at the corner are still fabulous, and the colors overall are pretty. But last year, that fence had sweet peas all over it.

The septic vault is supposed to be all pinks and blues and whites. The nasturtiums, which were supposed to be all Caribbean Cocktail like this…

…which also comes in solid maroon, came out much brighter. But Diane does not mind.

This colored calla has come back now in a pot for a third year…

And I love this reseeded viola by the garage.

Diane offered us some of her scrumptious blueberries, which we were happy to pick.

The Boreas Inn

Allan string trimmed all around the inn and garden beds while I weeded.

Tigridia on the deck:

The lawn beds:

Long Beach

We worked in Coulter Park for awhile.

I had a chat with Parks Manager Mike.

The new police station garage has solved the whole salmonberry problem in the back side of the park.

No more backside of park.

We drove to the welcome sign next; it looks excellent.

We weeded in Veterans Field.

And watered the seven planters on Sid Snyder Drive where it is very easy to avoid people.

And then at six PM, into the scary maw of watering the downtown planters.

As people without masks approach, we scuttle off to the side when possible. Sometimes, we get taken by surprise.

We water the busiest two blocks just before dusk when there are fewer pedestrians.


I saw that one tree garden in particular had horribly dried up. This is the one we used to carry buckets of water to because the faucet is broken. I was hoping the water truck would give it enough water.

I trimmed dead foliage to the ground and Allan helped clean up.

This planter that had everything on the “wings” removed by who knows who (and then replaced by me with baby plants)…

…was once a match for this one.

By Fifth Street Park, a couple of curry plants needed a major cutback, which is why I have kind of gone off this plant despite its wonderful foliage fragrance.

Allan has a harder time with the mask than I do because his glasses fog up, so I should have swept up there.

We had time for a tidy in Fifth Street Park…

…but I took no photos of the main bed. In fact, Allan took all the photos except one of him working because I was too frazzled to get a camera out.

We tidied the city hall garden in the dusk.

…and as the fog and dark drew in we headed home before nine thirty.

I was able to erase another number from the number of weeks left till Labor Day and the official, but probably not actual, end of tourist season.

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Sunday, 2 August 2020

I finally finished planting my new plants, including a flat of Nicotiana sylvestris that I had grown from seed.

In the front garden along the low brick wall:

By the Wall of Boat(shapes):

I misplaced the tag on this one….

But it’s a golden leaved Phlomis, from Xera, and should be great.

I moved this poor bupleurum three times and it finally ended up here…

…in my attempt to space the plants in the Wall of Boats garden so that they grow up to make a pretty picture for Alicia next door and the Norwoods two doors down.

In the Bogsy Wood:

From Secret Garden Growers, Dicentra ‘Silversmith’, “unusual bleeding heart with pewter foliage and white fragrant flowers..”

A couple of new Impatiens omieana cultivars:

And from Secret Garden Growers, Woodwardia unigemmata: “CHINESE CHAIN FERN) The 3’ fronds on this beauty emerge in glowing hues of copper, pink or red slowly aging to a rich shade of green. Arching fronds are semi-evergreen and when mature can grow baby ferns at their tips. Plants are about 2’high and eventually 5-6’wide and specimen quality. Light to moderate shade, rich, well drained, moist soils produce the best looking plants. Mulch crowns for winter in colder areas. Deer resistant.”

I also planted this very cool plant which wasn’t all that exciting to look at yet:

A couple of revelations: While planting in the front garden, I thought about how my big round rebar thingie can go into the front garden to hold up my white veronicastrum from flopping.

I also had a revelation, that part of all of the front arbor could easily be enclosed to make an extension of the north Catio, perhaps just the top half because cats like to sit up high.

The strip of paper blocks from my view inside the house of the security lights across the street. Allan liked my Catio idea and pointed out that part of a Catio frame could hide the lights and then the paper could come off the windows.

Skooter helped me pretty much all day long.

Monday, 3 August 2020

View from the east double gate:

With no plants to plant, I puttered and pruned, starting with the floppy fig tree…

…and ending with the West Willows Loop path.

I sort of retrieved the path, resulting in three barrows of debris.

Yet all I had really intended to do when I started out was to dig a large colony of a aconitum (monkshood) out of the garden.

It has an unpleasant association for me, having to come from a former job from whose garden I had removed it because it is highly poisonous and not the sort of plant one should have in a resort garden where a staff member might pick it for a bouquet…and especially not in a container in an outdoor dining area! So I had removed it all (although I bet some have grown back since then…no longer my problem as I did warn the owners about it) and brought it home, as it is a handsome plant, especially for someone like me who finds delphiniums hard to grow. Today I kept just one. There are many plants that are poisonous to cats, and it turns out both aconitum and delphinium, said to be not tasty thus not tempting, made this list!

Allan did some work on his boat, which perhaps he will explain to us.

Yesterday: Redrilled the hole for the rudder after plugging up the first attempt.  

Today: Epoxied down the curved rear deck, used lots of tape instead of the kit’s nails. The boat was then turned upside down to prevent runs. I thought I had ordered nylon tape but this worked. It will be pretty later.

A couple of cool plants…

White Persicaria…

And the fabulously moody Echinacea pallida.

The thought of tomorrow, the long work day ending in Long Beach watering, is causing me a certain sense of dread. I did manage to put it out of my mind for most of the day.

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Saturday, 1 August 2020

Here are the photos that Allan took from the roof yesterday evening.

The back garden is designed with the three large beds that make everything pretty much visible all at once because when I made this garden, we were still working six to seven days a week in spring and summer, and I wanted to be able to enjoy it all with one long look, since I would not often have time to walk through it.

Allan said today that we could have an ocean view property with a second story (telephoto example below)…

…which is not possible atop a double wide, but a remodel of the garage with a second story would certainly be possible. He pointed out that he is the one who still does stairs with no problem, and I suggested perhaps he could pay for such a remodel and have his office up there. It would also block our view from the fire circle of the horrible glaring white streetlight! It is amazing to think how we found such an affordable property so close to the water.

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Saturday, 1 August 2020

at home

Local plant fancier Janis, her spouse, Richard, and their little dog, Pooh, came over to get a couple of plants from me and to take a very socially distanced tour of our garden.

It was exciting to find out that Richard is a surveyor. Usually people ask me, “Can I pick your brain?” Today, I was able to ask someone else that, and got an unofficial and very welcome opinion that I did indeed find a survey stake in the front garden and that it appears to date back to the 1960s!

I’m very pleased that it is appears to be the real deal. It is what I based the edge of my front garden (the concrete vault “troughs”) on.

An hour later, Marlene and her three Japanese Chin dogs came over by invitation to see “Lily Time” before it’s gone. We completely social distanced, of course, but I did put on a clean glove so I could pet the adorable little dogs.

I planted some of my new plants in the late afternoon and into the evening. I forgot to mention yesterday that when I looked up information on my new acacia, I had a flash of anxiety over a Plant Lust review saying it “tolerates summer planting”. Would some of my new plants not “tolerate” summer planting?! Then I remembered that the Portland, Oregon, area, has summers with days in the 90s. Conditions are quite different here.

No pic of the actual plant of this one…just strappy leaves now, in a pot:

Another jasmine went in the front garden in some difficult rooty soil.

A new mahonia went back in the Bogsy Wood.

You can now see the Bogsy Wood sitspot, where I never sit, from the fire circle.

I have this many plants left to plant.

In the garden this evening:

White echinops…


Lily time slowly fading away….

Salvia ‘Amistad’…

Persicaria ‘Fat Domino’…

Some water lilies trying to bloom…

…A white Joe Pye Weed…

Allan took some wonderful photos from the roof, which I will share in a shorter post tomorrow since this one has already gone on so long.

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31 July: planting

But first, a real time kitten update as of August 6th. Not good news. Fairy has tested positive for ringworm so has to go through treatment, and it could take up to a month before she and Nickel can come home now; I suppose he is in the same boat because they are quarantined together. I was advised to call next week for an update. After I got off the phone, I wept over missing a whole five weeks of their kittenhood.

Friday, 31 July 2020

At home

I picked my first big tomato, an Oregon Spring…

…and then buckled down to planting new plants. I got much fewer planted than I had hoped for because it is hard to fit them in.

A new jasmine in the cat memorial garden, for Jazmin…

From Cistus nursery

The Cestrum went into a big pot on the patio.

I used to have this acacia in a big pot by my previous Ilwaco house, till one winter a slide of snow off the steep roof smashed it:

This time, I put it in the ground outside the fence to the west, after confirming that deer don’t like it.

Along that fence, I admired my sweet pea success…

…and marveled at how my Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose is popping up everywhere all of a sudden. I might pot them up for next year’s plant sale.

I used to have a wonderful Azara lanceolata with yellow powderpuff flowers at my old house:

It died one year and I have never been able find another.

So now I have this little baby shrub from Cistus…

…planted in the front garden in a sheltered spot near but not too near my Azara microphylla that is doing well, and probably much too near my disappointingly slow growing Acer campestre ‘Carnival’…

…and I will have to make sure the Melianthus does not overgrow it. I do not really have room for everything I want. Or as Steven Wright said, “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

I planted another climbing jasmine from Cistus in the Jazmin Memorial Catio.

Meanwhile, Allan mowed the Norwood lawn two doors down.

And Skooter basked, not knowing that a kitten storm will be arriving next week [or so we thought].

The garden will still be mostly his for awhile, till the kittens are cattens and big enough to not lose easily.

I went on planting into the evening. In the front garden, I squoze another and different febrifuga from Cistus into in a bed that has two dark blue ones, in front of a Japanese maple that maybe I can limb up a bit.

I realize now that there is almost no likelihood of enough room there, so the poor febrifuga might have to move, a typical fate for new plants, but to where??

I turned then to some smaller and easier to place plants.

I love that campanula and used to have it. It is so easy for little plants to get swamped in my garden. This one went in the west side back garden next to a Cistus ‘Mickie’ that is bright gold. I hope that half retirement (four months!) will enable me to keep better track of my plants.

I found room for some small plants along the expanded brick wall in the front garden.

From Secret Garden Growers:

Pink Octopus: Another plant I used to have that got overgrown and disappeared.

And (forgot to photograph the plant):

I hope they all grow happily here, and there is room for a few more:

In the northeast Catio, a dark place, I planted two plants from Cistus that might thrive.

I noticed something exciting in there. My Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’ once had beautiful branches down low that I had to cut because they got diseased, turning it into a high canopied tree. Now it is putting out new growth from the trunk. As the trunk is still in deep shade AND is being used as a scratching post, it will be interesting to see what happens.

I planted just one more moon carrot in the northwest corner gravel garden, still hoping one of the three or four in there will bloom. We may not have enough heat. Or the soil there is not rich enough; all this time I thought it liked rather poor soil.

I will add some richness to where it is growing. Here it is in Riz Reyes’s garden at the McMenamin Anderson School in Bothell (near Seattle).

I can but dream.

I still have this many unplanted plants to go.

In the later evening, we had a campfire dinner.

I noticed that that the Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ and sylvestris (flowering tobacco) were disappointingly fragrance-free at dusk.

But later, in the dark, they smelled delicious up close; we may not have warm enough nights for the scent to linger in the air.

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Thursday, 30 July 2020

As usual, the first day off even after just two (long) days of work was unproductive. For one thing, the weather was warmer than I like. For another, I didn’t mean to but I watched the whole hour long zoom meeting from Pacific County Department of Public Health. And because it was Lily Time, I invited MaryBeth over to see our garden, which is well designed for social distancing. We sat far apart to chat, and then she toured the garden while I continued to sit.

I later took my own walk around the garden in the bright sunshine.

Around the fire circle, I have made progress on getting more matchy with silver pulmonaria…

..two divisions of which have survived being planted here.

Impatiens omeiana, two kinds, are thriving.

Despite having had little rain lately, this area is still slightly damp.

I hung up the sign that our friend Wendy had brought us last week.

It’s fairly close to the front fence, so passersby could pause to read it, but those who don’t like it would not be able to just yank it down.

In his own garden, Allan found a dandelion taller than himself.

As for the health department zoom meeting, it had a disturbing warning about being prepared for a fourteen day quarantine in case of getting a call saying that you have been exposed. We have community spread now, the most dangerous and random kind. I don’t think either Allan or I would get that call, as have not had close enough contact with anyone. But still….

Further Covid news:

Locally, our cases are rising with alarming rapidity. One day after our local paper posted this article about 34 local cases, the count had risen to 40! (By the time I published this post, it was up to 49.)

This article comparing the threat of Covid to cancer treatment was a well written and thought-provoking piece.

And this BBC article with evocative photos of the lockdown made me nostalgic for those days, which felt much safer and more peaceful despite money worries, the shock of the news and concern about how many people outside our household were suffering. I should reread my blog from those times and see how much time I spend complaining vs how much time I just appreciated being home.

I will end on a happier note, with photos of our kittens in quarantine, taken tonight by a friend whose job at the shelter was to care for the kittens tonight.

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Wednesday , 29 July 2020

We had a peaceful, all Ilwaco day with no weird encounters with humans.

J Crew Cottage

Weeding and mowing…

Mike’s garden

Arbor Care Tree Specialists were taking down a tree on the next door property. I admired their work. Because they don’t top trees, they are the ones I recommend when someone asks for skilled tree pruning.

An entire tree truck fit into the maw of the chipper.

Mike drove up and we talked about the latest news re the community spread of Covid on the peninsula. Between that and the tree, the only photo we took of his garden was of a Cup and Saucer cosmos.

Weeding the boatyard

We accomplished a more serious weeding than usual at the boatyard, although not as many poppies or California poppies needed pulling as I had expected. Allan string trimmed the inside of the fence well enough to get definition at the back of the garden.

The usual boatyard work went on around him at a safe distance.

While we both worked along the sidewalk, we used sawhorses and our wheelbarrow and weed eater to define our space but did not bother to attach caution tape. Not one person barged through.

Watering the port

Today we skipped the difficult three hose hookups for the western and easternmost curbside gardens and just watered from Dave Jensen Architecture down to Time Enough Books. You can tell which gardens get a lot of wind across parking lots (Powell Gallery, Dave Jensen’s) because they are more stressed….

…compared to gardens which are protected a bit from wind by the position of nearby buildings (At the Helm, the pavilion, Port office and Time Enough Books).

To me the most beautiful view was the almost empty sidewalks, meaning we could work without playing dodgem and most of the time without masks. Turns out Wednesday are an excellent day to water, better than Thursday because on Wednesday both Salt and At the Helm restaurants are closed.

I love this Coreopsis tinctoria that I grew from direct seeding.

The rest of the watering

We watered our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Fire Department…

I like that grass and and going to let it grow along the cement lower wall.

We returned to the boatyard to do the watering of the garden in the evening and then watered and tidied our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office, where I decided I must thin out the fronds of Stipa gigantea so that the word Ilwaco showed up better.

Allan dumped our debris and then watered at the Ilwaco Community Building…

…while I went home and did the monthly billing. While I did not weep over the difficulty of itemizing every Long Beach work task this time, it did take an hour of struggling to do their bill compared to less than an hour for everyone else. (The port bill is detailed but not that detailed because it does not have as many different areas.) I will be glad when I don’t have to do the new style Long Beach bill anymore. Three and a half to four months till staycation and five weeks till the end of tourist season.

We now embark upon a five day weekend. Can that even be called a weekend? I think so.

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Tuesday, 28 July 2020

We tried to do all of the usual Wednesday rounds plus Long Beach to get to a five day weekend. The gardens are not laborious at this time of year, and of all our non-Long Beach jobs today, the Red Barn is the only one where we have to take time to water.

The Depot Restaurant

Last year, the Depot had a sprinkler system installed by Grant Langeberg of Basket Case Greenhouse, which has cut way down on our weekly work there and has made the plants much happier.

Someone had picked the center out of the Eryngium.

We dropped off our primary ballots at the courthouse on Sandridge Road.

Diane’s garden

The septic vault…

The roadside...

….with perovskia and Stipa gigantea.

The Red Barn

Barn manager Amy (Diane’s sister, who also has a house next door to the barn) was mowing.

Oops, Allan’s photos did not include the garden.

Patti’s garden

Stella enjoyed her biscuit.

Patti told us that a Pacific County resident had died of Covid. She had bought me a present that was not roomy enough to work in comfort, and having realized that, she ordered me another and will wear this one herself.

Once again, other interesting things took attention from photographing the garden, although we did do our weekly deadheading.

Long Beach

We got a start on Long Beach by deadheading the welcome sign…

…and weeded the Veterans Field garden beds, where my feature elephant garlic had been picked and dropped into the garden….

….and we deadheaded daisies in the rather sad dry bed at Culbertson field.

The Boreas Inn

I was already tired! It seems we only have one unexciting garden photo…

…and a visitor.

Long Beach planter watering

From five thirty to nine, we watered all of the planters. We are not watering the tree gardens, having made it clear that we are not going to water the tree gardens, so we hope the crew finds time to do it. They can do it with a water truck whereas we would have to spend way too much hose wrestling around people.

As we worked our way through town, we trimmed the alchemilla (Lady’s mantle) in Fifth Street Park and later by the Heron Pond. It is so unattractive once the flowers are done, but if cut back hard will soon produce fresh new leaves. The Heron Pond was oddly soapy.

Before watering the two busiest blocks,we dumped debris at city works, where another water vault was in the debris area, as if waiting for me, which perhaps it was because the crew must know I want them. I dragged it to our trailer so that Allan could lift it in.

For the watering job, we watered the planters on Sid Snyder beach approach first, then the two south blocks which are the quietest, followed by the two north blocks after Dennis Company closes at six, then the two middle blocks. This time we saved the busiest evening block, which we have found to be the one with the Hungry Harbor Grill, for the very last, after eight PM when that restaurant closes. This week was less stressful than last week because of that plan. The sidewalks were pretty quiet except for the busiest two blocks. I remember the simple days when we could wend our way through the crowds, carrying our buckets and watering kit, with our only concern being to not bump into anyone.

Allan took most of the photos of our Long Beach evening.

Arriving home at dusk, we were happy to have potato and leek soup to heat up. The purple potatoes make it look odd, but it tastes good.

Tonight, provolone cheese on top gave it a new flavor (after the photo above) and made it look prettier, too.

I found one of Allan’s Long Beach photos so evocative of current reality that I made it my Facebook profile photo. It is in front of the big Funland arcade, which I think has to shutdown at the end of the week as our county was rolled back to a modified Phase 2 of Covid protocols.

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Sunday, 26 July 2020

This was going to be another day of planting new plants until I walked out onto the porch and hit a wall of heat. I disagree with the assessment that it was,”warm”!

81 degrees is too much for me. After watering in the greenhouse, I frittered the day away inside until being suddenly inspired to to reorganize the front porch to make it nicer for Skooter, as it is part of his Catio set up.

Before, all a-clutter.

As part of the transformation, I needed a cardboard box of the type cats enjoy. To get one, I needed to harvest a box full of cerinthe stems and got over 300 seeds.

Skooter took an interest.

Some catnip lured him into the box, in which he has shown no interest since.

Still, the porch is more comfortable for me now.

Allan did something to his boat involving pouring resin and strengthening the bow….

Monday, 27 July 2020

Something inspired me to look at the South Pacific County Humane Society page, and there were two soft plush grey two and a half month old kittens, sister and brother. This is Margo, the sister.

I showed Allan and we put in an application to adopt, soon getting a call that Margo has already been spoken for. Her brother Nickel was still available, and I had my heart set on a plush grey cat. The shelter agreed that we could pick out a companion for him when we went to pick him up on Wednesday. I did feel sad to not have siblings, but friends told me (via Facebook) that two kittens brought up together are much like siblings.

The next morning, we got a call that ten kittens have been exposed to ringworm and would be quarantined for ten days. Nickel is one of them, so did I want to choose another kitten instead? No, I did not. I had my heart set on him and would wait. I was just sorry I had not saved the photo of Nickel, which had been removed from the website since he was in quarantine. (Perhaps he will be released early if he tests negative.) I wanted a quarantined kitten as his life companion so that they come to our house together. Being unable to pick one in person because of the quarantine protocols, I picked one by the shelter staff’s verbal description out of the available little girls, and later found that I had saved a photo of her yesterday because she looks so darling.

I immediately began to get anxious about how many different kinds of trouble kittens can get into, so the ten days will give me more time to try to kitten-proof areas of the house and to get more of my new plants planted before I am completely distracted by new feline friends.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be an experiment in whether we can get all of our paid work done in two days. Because we would be home late, I dug some Yukon Gold and some purple potatoes and some leeks and greens for a big three day soup, which Allan made.

Meanwhile in Ocean Park….

Terran Bruinier of BeeKissed Gardening posted some photo of her beautiful, new this year, kitchen garden.

I have a bag of fur brushing from one of her beautiful dogs in my compost pile!

And Christine Balcom, who recently visited our garden, sent me this photo of our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco post office earlier in the year.

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25 July: planting day

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Today was day one of planting the many plants that Ann Amato brought me.

In the Catio went two jasmine vines. I had not even thought when I ordered them of the connection with our lost and much lamented cat, Jazmin. Now I realize this makes it the Jazmin Memorial Catio.

Inverlieth is in a barrel, to the left above, where I hope it can compete with a clematis montana. The pea vine is on its way out but still producing a few peas.

To the west of the West Wall of Boat(shapes), I planted some drought tolerant and deer resistant plants. First, Allan helped me move the rebar thing under which I had tried to grow strawberries protected by bird netting. It had proved hard to weed and harvest. I will use it instead to support a tall floppy plant but must wait till winter dormancy to install it.

That was an interesting find from the Port of Ilwaco free wood pile.

The plants:

From Cistus…

I also have ‘Oregon Mist’ from Xera, with beautiful pale blue flowers but have it in too much shade, and it is too big to transplant.

Also from Cistus…

I like having a plant with the name Anzac, after recently rewatching the excellent anti-war film, Gallipoli.

Not long ago, I moved a California wax myrtle over to Alicia’s garden to replace a tree. It is not doing well but had to be moved because I had wanted to put something more interesting in that space. And here is the interesting replacement, a plant that I used to have in my old garden. This one is from Secret Garden Growers.

I got two new pittosporums from Cistus with dark foliage to go in the front garden. One will replace the big lemon cypress that has to come down because it’s too close to the house and is not healthy. The other went into my hopeful line of security-light-blocking shrubs, only one of which is doing the job so far.

This required some digging out of sanguisorbas and will require careful monitoring for it not to get overgrown. I hope it fills in the space between a grevillea, right, and a variegated pittosporum, left.

Somehow, planting just those shrubs took all afternoon and evening. I still have two wheelbarrels of the cool plants to plant, most of them smaller and easier to place. I hope that by cutting back to two days a week work for a while, I can actually keep an eye on all the new plants and not let any of them die.

Meanwhile, Allan mowed next door, a job that has gotten much bigger with the big back yard added. We have had so much rain that the grass is still green even in the front areas that usually would be dormant by now.

Around the garden in the early evening….It’s Lily Time!

And sanguisorba time.

A nice hydrangea…

And these Verbena bonariensis and Rudbeckia maxima remind me of walking under an arch of swords.

…as in a wedding or other ceremony.

I had harvested a pot of leeks, mainly because I am scavenging for soil to fill in where I moved a front garden brick wall. I did (most of) the prep and Allan the skilled cooking of a potato leek soup, inspired by the Tootlepedal blog. (Mr T often makes a potato leek soup for lunch.) With some turkey bacon and some orach, chard, and collard greens and some spices from Penzey’s, it was one of the most delicious soups I have ever had.

…followed by some pumpkin bread that Allan baked today.

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