Archive for Nov, 2020

28 Nov: not quite …..

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Ilwaco boatyard garden

It was so foggy when we drove down to the boatyard that one could hardly see half a block away…and that was in midmorning.

I had intended to only have to cut back one plant at the boatyard. But in the course of picking up quite a bit of trash, I found that someone had apparently tried to swipe two of the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’. Tried and failed to get it completely pulled out.

I found several more Stipa gigantea needing to be trimmed and also noted that the soil is low and poor looking in a few areas. Perhaps I will get a big pile of mulch this winter and bucket some down here.

The plant I was on a mission to get cut back was a wind-battered baptisia that will turn black with a hard frost.

View from the south end of the garden:

We moved on to work from east to west along the Howerton Avenue curbside gardens.

The east end garden was especially weedy.

Looking west. Before, but an after did not get taken. Too bad because the result was impressive.

We went back the next day for the after shot!

Looking east

We worked west along CoHo Charters and…

…David Jensen’s office…
Jensen curbside; the Iris looking plants are libertia.

…and along the curbside garden by At the Helm Hotel and pub…

….where I reflected poignantly on wonderful meals we have had there with visiting friends. May those times return again by the autumn of 2021.

We weeded and trimmed my favorite beds by the Ilwaco pavilion, where I was so excited by how much I love the santolinas that I blurred the photo.

You can still see the shapes that I love so much

We used our Do Not Enter cones to give ourselves safe space on the sidewalks. By the restroom, a couple of men just barged through and I asked them (nicely, I swear) if they hadn’t seen them. They apologized and one of them said, “Sorry, I was in my own little world of thinking how bad I have to pee!”

At the Powell Gallery, I stepped way back to give directions to a family seeking a grocery store.

Because it was Small Business Saturday, the middle curbside gardens by the art galleries and bookstore were bustling. We had done a couple of those beds yesterday and today we skipped weeding the Time Enough Books curbside bed, hoping to get back to it before dusk, and went on to the three east beds. I weeded by Salt Hotel, remembering the good old days when we could dine there on delicious tuna melts with a view.

I excel at being a recluse but am starting to have severe Covid fatigue about missing restaurants.

Allan worked on weeding the bed by the Skywater Gallery….

…and I joined him and weeded the curbside by the Freedom Market (pot shop).

It was full dusk when we finished without time enough to get back to the Time Enough Books garden. Not only would we have needed headlamps to weed there, but it was also suddenly very cold.

The moon had risen while we cleaned up our debris.
In the port parking lot (Allan’s photos)
Crab pot stacks waiting for crabbing season to begin

We were so close to being able to erase the port from the work board, but not not quite yet. I hope to have four erasures tomorrow.

At home, teatime and cats on lap. I can blame any typos on these blogging helpers jostling my iPad.

Nickel and Zinc, soft and plush

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Friday, 27 November 2020

Port of Ilwaco

I got to pet Jack, the wonderful dog at Purly Shell, when I picked up some fresh eggs from a friend of the shopkeeper.

A wonderful dog

I miss petting dogs during the pandemic. Jack was irresistible. At the end of the day, I saw our good friend Scout from Time Enough Books who just could not understand why I didn’t walk up and pet her.

We had decided to do some work in Ilwaco first because Long Beach would be too crowded today to work downtown. Allan cut back a giant miscanthus and an elderberry on the north wall of Time Enough Books. We usually cut these right before Halloween to use as decorations and to make it easier for the bookstore folks to put up Christmas lights if they so desire.

Ceanothus still blooming at Time Enough Books
(A full after taken when we returned at almost dusk)

Allan also tidied up around the garden boat, pulling the foliage off of Geranium ‘Rozanne’.

I weeded and trimmed the bed on the south side of the port office.

The plants I left standing look a bit messy here.

The views from across the lawn:

On the north side of the port office, I trimmed lavender in the curbside bed.

Allan helped me gather the debris.

Ilwaco Community Building

Today was a good day to do the final clean up at the community building, because the library was closed for Thanksgiving Friday. While I did some weeding down by the sidewalk, Allan trimmed and weeded the tiered garden. We really need to remember to take wider establishing photos. Lately I’ve been bad at that because I always feel rushed with the short days.


Long Beach

I was still hoping to do the little pop outs AND Third Street Park (just the small garden behind Lewis and Clark Square). We started with the two pop outs on Ocean Beach Boulevard.

The south one is a mess and its only hope is a thorough re-do, a dig out and replanting. That’s not for us to decide to do now. Maybe the city would rather let it rejoin the lawn of the adjoining lot. I’m assuming they would rather wait till next spring for a project like a re-do, but I might (or might not) ask. I don’t think I want to add a day of work!

Trimming some daisies and grasses
Still a horrible mess. We never got a grip on it after the three months of pandemic-related springtime neglect. I think maybe a backhoe would make for a quicker re-do than us digging.

The northern little popout is better.

It was very much better after we went to City Works and filled our buckets with mulch and gave it a large quantity.

The grasses won’t be cut till late winter 2021. I hope someone remembers to cut them. If I know the new gardener (and I have recommended someone who I hope gets the job), I’ll be able to pass on some information about what gets done when. Just in case us having been self-starters and self-directed for over twenty years means that no one but us really knows!

Port of Ilwaco again

Although I was disappointed that we did not get to Third Street Park today, it gave us time to go home and get a bale of Raised Bed Planting Mix from our garage to put on the south wall bed by the port office. Earlier, I had thought the soil looked like it needed a boost.

That looks better.

The view from across the lawn this evening:

The iconic red building in the background, Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Company, is completely closed now. It was at one time the biggest employer in Pacific County and bustled night and day.

I did not get to erase as much from the work board tonight as I had hoped.

That might be only four days of work left, depending on how long the Long Beach trees and planters take. The beach approach part of the list is just pulling some crocosmia, not the two week long clean up that it gets in the springtime.

You may have seen a meme that says something like “Let’s set the clocks back and have it get dark an hour early, said no one ever.” Well, this one loves having the clocks set back. It is a great joy to me to be able to close the curtains at five and spend the evening till our late dinner time blogging and reading.

These two “helped” me with blogging today (which I do on my iPad in my comfy chair).

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Thursday, 26 November 2020

As a self-employed person without a big family, it is not at all unusual for me to work on holidays. I used even to work on Christmas when one of my housecleaning clients, way back when, was part of an exchange where she would substitute work (in nursing) for Christian friends on Christmas and they would return the favor (I hope!) on a Jewish holiday, which meant that I could go to her house on Christmas and make some money! During that part of my life, the most significant thing about a holiday was losing work money. Times are much easier now, but today we worked because we hoped Long Beach would be extra quiet on Thanksgiving day.

I woke very early with the urge to get to work on the Elks and Dennis block before the free Elks Thanksgiving dinner, a take away event this year, would draw a crowd. I couldn’t wake Allan up early, though, because I would not like being woken early if he had the urge to get to work.

We did manage to get out the door about half an hour earlier than usual.

On the way out of town, I pulled a couple of dead cosmos out of our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco post office.

It used to get daily attention when we picked up our daily mail. Because of pandemic people avoidance, it’s lucky now to get some attention on a Sunday or holiday when there are few people coming and going.

We swung by the Depot to give the window boxes a jug of water, only to find they had been cleaned up of annuals and the old wooden barrels replaced with nice metal troughs.

In Long Beach, Allan started on planters on the Dennis Co hardware store block, because the store was closed today. I worked on the Elks block where there might be more people because, due to my not wearing glasses, it is easier for me to wear a mask. I was anxious about being blindsided by people coming around the corner so eventually blocked access with the wheelie cart.

People did start lining up in their vehicles to pick up their dinners shortly after I got the four planters on that block done.

Vehicles lined up to get a Thanksgiving take out dinner

We are cutting the planters back much harder than usual this year. I believe the pandemic will get worse after Thanksgiving get-togethers, and we may not want to have to go back out. Or maybe there will even be another lock down that declares us non-essential.

I even cut back some chrysanthemums that had some flowers just to stay ahead of the game. But I felt bad about it.

Allan had given a good tidy to two planters…

By then, Allan had finished a tidy under the tree outside of the Dennis Co entrance. We just pull out most of the hesperantha at this time of year and it always comes back.

I cut back some of the santolinas in the planters today, a task I would normally save till mid February or even March. It might be risking the plants to cut them down to new growth now if we have a cold winter, but what if the next gardener doesn’t know about trimming them? I will leave alone any that still have a good tight shape, but any floppy ones are for the autumn chop this year.

I barely got done in time to hasten away to avoid oncoming humans.

Below, another hard cut back of way too much golden oregano and a couple of Geranium ‘Rozanne’. This is a planter that I would have in mind to redo next year to make it more interesting.

I love this weirdly tufted Hebe ‘Boughton Dome’ in the tree garden across from Dennis Co. Is it a reversion or an exciting mutation? I wonder.

We drove to city works to dump our debris and to fill all our buckets with mulch and then found a good parking spot to finish where we had left off yesterday in the SW quadrant of Fifth Street Park.

While Allan got started in the park behind our do not enter cones, I weeded and mulched the tree garden in front of Malai Thai restaurant, because it was closed today. Within the next week, I’d like to get all the tree gardens tidied and mulched.

I have no idea how Allan managed to get that photo, even with standing on the bench!

It was a relief to get into the park behind the cones and be able to take off my mask. I always manage to get some dust inside of it and then when I breathe, somehow the dust flies up into my eyes even though I have the top wire pinched down, and then the mask slides up and bangs into my eyeballs. Misery. But nothing compared to what store clerks and restaurant workers deal with having to wear masks all day. Not to mention health care workers (but at least they knew that masks would be part of their daily job).

What a relief to be maskless for awhile.
The sign lets me know I’ve been working in Long Beach for over 20 years, because Robert and I helped with the original planting of this park.
We left the miscanthus standing even though it will get messier and floppier over winter. A far away photo would have shown why it is handsome enough to leave standing, plus it is better for the health of the grass.
I got two far away photos on a drive by the next day.
“Flying bird of the day” (a shout out to Mr Tootlepedal)

Malai Thai restaurant would probably like it if we trimmed the grasses for winter so that the sign on the north wall of their building shows.

While Allan did the final clean up, I trimmed two nearby planters. With mask on. I was so annoyed with three different groups of mostly unmasked ones who walked by within two feet of my work space even though there would be plenty of room to walk around. And astonished again when they intermingled with the other groups like there is no pandemic at all. Even outside, caution and social distancing seem advisable to me.

I had had to retreat onto the lawn with an armload of debris while one of the groups (not shown) took photos of each other while the armload was slipping from my grasp as I stood and stared daggers at them (which they could not see between my cap and my big awkward mask), unable to get back to the planter to retrieve my tools. The mask also hides the things I mutter as I walk away. But we really must finish the work season soon, because I am getting louder as the pandemic gets worse and more dangerous.

Fortunately, one or two more sessions will get the planters done for the year, and for the rest of the jobs we can work safely behind our cones.

We dumped debris again and, after refilling all our buckets with mulch, we returned to the NE quadrant of Fifth Street Park where we weeded its strip of perennial border. It’s infested with the BadAster so it got a good going over and root sifting, although I can guarantee that we left some aster for the new gardener. That’s ok. It has a pretty blue flower in late summer that I am sure is admired by many. It just needs serious control to keep it from taking over. The strip also contains an old blue star juniper at each end, some of the ubiquitous golden oregano, a couple of nice and unusual heathers, a Phygelius, a couple of Gaura ‘Whirling Butterfly’, an excellent rudbeckia and too much blue scabiosa that also got severely thinned. And lots of bulbs: crocus, narcissi, tulips, lilies, Dutch Iris, brodiaea. Befores and afters:

Whirling Butterfly still awhirl and still blooming…but it still got cut down so that we can be done.
In a normal winter, I’d have left the cute round balls of rudbeckia seeds standing. This is not a normal winter.

I got two nearby planters tidied….

….and we were done with the park by 3:50 but needed one more thing to do before dusk. I had a look at the nearest street tree garden and was shocked to see it had turned into a lawn!

I wonder if any of the other street trees are that weedy. The problem is that avoiding people means that we jump around from one block to another and never do a proper steady methodical walk through town. For example, I don’t think we have done one check up on the street tree bed by Long Beach Tavern because there are always humans standing around there or sitting on the bench (which is what it is for). If you can, picture me saying “humans” like Quark did on Deep Space Nine.

We did one last debris dump of the day. It’s easier to make multiple dumps than to deal with a trailer that is a piled up mess. Our pile at City Works from the last few days is substantial.

They’ll shove it to the back with their backhoe eventually.

On the work board tonight, I got to erase Fifth Street Park. I also made a new “optional” list. The police station roses still look handsome with fall colour (as you might see in tomorrow’s post) and we might leave the cutting back for the new gardener to deal with in the late winter, or we might do a work day in mid December. It all depends on how the pandemic risk proceeds.

I realize now that the final check on the Depot could have been today because of the window boxes having been emptied. And I hope that tomorrow’s work day will make a dramatic difference in the work board.

I love the early darkness. In the evening, Faerie and I had time to write this post and to catch up on The Tootlepedal blog.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2020

On a cold, windy, and very rainy day, I finished the interesting book Compromised and then started an even better book. I’ve been on a long waiting list of these books of recent history for months and it seems they are all arriving at once. It’s less stressful reading them while knowing that we will soon see the last of this dangerous buffoon in power (although I am sure he will still be blathering away in the background of the news).

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

I had been looking forward to finishing Rage, the last half of which is mostly about the Covid pandemic in the USA and the government flubbage of the situation. However, good weather greeted me when I managed to wake up after an insomniac sort of night (thanks to loud Skooter serenades at 4 AM and 7:30 AM). It became a work day.

Before work, Allan (who took all the photos today and Monday) noticed that Faerie and one of the Greys was out on the front catwalk. (It has been suggested that the alternate spelling of Fairy fits her mischievous personality best.)

Farie looking up out the north living room window and a Grey looking back down.

I collected a few buckets from the back garden, with an audience from the south Catio.

Long Beach

We drove into town and saw, before finding a parking spot at Fifth Street Park, two too many people there, so instead we drove on to pick up buckets full of mulch at City Works.

We used to have 25 big buckets and yet we seem short of them now. I suppose they are in the home garden somewhere or have been relegated to storage because of broken handles.

Having changed our mind about which area to do first, we parked by the monument garden at Coulter Park and pulled hesperantha and weeds, trimmed catmint, and pruned hebes and a Berberis ‘Helmond Pillar’.

Befores and afters:

The hesperantha and catmint will return, as will Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ on either side of the barberry. The crocosmia must be controlled or it will work its way all around the little monument.

I said to Allan while writing this that it would have been nice to have a photo showing the inscription. He found one online.

Allan had gone to the north side of the park to tidy some orange crocosmia.

His view to the west shows how the park now ends just past the old train depot building. What used to be the back end of the park with lawn, trees, and roses will now be a large garage for the new police station, one way to solve the salmonberry and bindweed problem that the west end of the park used to have. It also used to have two large pieris, a Ribes ‘King Edward VII’ (flowering currant), some hardy fuchsias, an azalea, red roses infested with salmonberry, some Siberian Iris and lady’s mantle and geranium macrorrhizum and three large conifers.

I used to joke (?) that when I die, I wanted a memorial bench in Long Beach, but when I attended a recent zoomed city council meeting, one topic decided on was no more memorial benches! Perhaps I will live long enough to have my twenty plus years of work in Long Beach long forgotten by the time I die.

We dumped our last several buckets of mulch in Fifth Street Park, then, with a surprising amount of debris already, we made a dump run to City Works, where we waited out what Dark Sky accurately promised would be a seven minute torrent.

In olden days, my only clue to the potential of rain stoppage would be….

“It’s light around the edges!”

Guessing from light or dark edges around the sky often sent us home only to have good weather break out again.

We filled all our buckets again and returned to Fifth Street Park’s northwest quadrant, which could absorb a great deal of mulch.

The backdrop to this photo is the yard of a private cottage.

Our Long Beach job would have been a much greater pleasure all along if only we had had the wonderfully endless supply of mulch that we now have. Mulch is being created at City Works now. I used to long to mulch after each weeding but often had none available. I’d occasionally get the crew to acquire a dump truck sized pile of Soil Energy mulch and have it go so fast. I should have agitated hard for the city to get an annual full delivery truck load dumped every spring somewhere in the works yard, where space was always at a premium. The expansion of the works yard has come only in our last year. Having the rich black mulch available now sort of makes me want to keep the job. (Allan’s desire to semi retire at age 68 is more important, though.)

With the northwest quadrant beautifully fluffed up, we turned to trimming and weeding the much smaller southwest quadrant. I knew we would not get it done today.

about halfway done in the larger area
We will leave the tall Miscanthus standing.

The short grasses in the sidewalk end don’t look good enough to leave standing.

Despite another brief downpour, I managed to get the nearest planter trimmed.

That was the planter I had planned to dig out and redo this past year till Covid intervened. It has too much of a pretty blue Veronica that blooms too briefly and way too much golden oregano and a far too vigorous teucrium. And the very old lavender should probably go away.

We have been looking forward to good weather on Thanksgiving day in order to finish some Long Beach projects with fewer people around. Tomorrow, we plan to tidy the planters by Dennis Company, which should be closed for the day, then finish where we left off today and then do the northeast quadrant. And maybe the park on Third Street!

Because I didn’t divide Fifth Street Park by quadrants on the work list, all I got to erase from the work board was Coulter Park!

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Sunday, 22 November 2020

At home

I spent the rainy day finishing a book and starting another. Finished:

I was reminded of the origins of Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment that inspired Trump-loving tweeters to put “deplorable” before their names. In context, it was not what they made it out to be.

Here is some further inspiration to stop getting cable tv. It’s ridiculously expensive but other than our budget, not giving money to Fox would be a good reason to cut the cord. You might agree if you read this book with its story of the true journalists at Fox (there are some!) clashing with infotainment fact-free pundits.

I then started, and got halfway through, a book that begins with the real life spy story that inspired the excellent telly show, The Americans.

Skooter, who has his freedom again after our failure to make him a Catio cat, is triumphant in how his bad behavior won. He has his freedom now to come and go at all hours. His behavior has improved.

Monday, 23 November 2020

We had planned to start work on this nice day with the Ilwaco Community Building garden, but when we drove by, there were too many vehicles there. Perhaps people were sitting in their vehicles using the library WiFi. Anyway, we drove onward to Long Beach instead. I was glad of it by the end of the day; we would not have got (almost) to the end of our project without the extra time.

Long Beach

With Captain Bob’s Chowder taking a holiday break, we did today what we’d been thinking of doing on Thanksgiving day, further tidying of the northwest quadrant of Fifth Street Park, where we had made some progress already some days ago. When the cafe is open, diners use the park benches to eat their delicious take out food.

A tourist outside the door of the closed cafe said he had been told by several sources that Captain Bob has the best clam chowder. He promised to return next year.

We still had the north side of the park quadrant to do, along with the front edges. I need to make some sort of write up of the problems of all the different parks and planters for the next gardener. This one has a bad problem with horsetail and wild allium that need constant vigilance. When we were non-essential workers from mid-March to mid-May, the weeds took over, and they took over even more when we didn’t go back to work in Long Beach till maybe the end of June.


Usually, we would not cut down an ornamental grass at this time of year. They prefer to be cut in late winter. The one above looks messy, though, all by itself. It’s left over from the landscape architect’s choices for this park, almost all of which are gone now. He chose phormiums and tall grasses that blocked sight of the businesses behind the park, a splodgy hideous dwarf annual rudbeckia that clashed in browny-orange with one other plant of his that remains, the mildew-prone Dorothy Perkins rose. Oh, and the supposedly very dwarf mugo pine was also his.

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’, stems too big for The Toy.

Another problem in the park is the BadAster. No one planted it. It blew in from elsewhere and got firmly entrenched in this corner.

During our non-essential weeks, the lattice on the fence was replaced, and when the roses were cut, all the canes were just jammed behind the new lattice. We spent quite some time today cutting the dead stems out from behind lattice in the area that had all grown in by the time we came back to work in early summer. In a normal year, we would have come in behind any project like that and fixed things up right away.

There were many yowls of pain.

We took a heaping load of debris to City Works and then filled our buckets with mulch and returned to the park. Unfortunately, poor planning on my part meant we only had 12 buckets to fill, not quite enough.

I found still more dead canes to clip from behind the lattice.

Next time, which might not be till Thanksgiving day because of a dire weather forecast, we will get more mulch to fill the low spots.

We were pleased when Parks Manager Mike drove by and called out that it looks really good.

I had added today a couple of starts of the excellent perennial, Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’, and had divided a short sanguisorba into three. There is a Melianthus major and two Phlomis fruticosa and a run of santolina along the front, way too much hesperantha (it runs like crazy but flowers beautifully in autumn), two Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’, some good penstemons and a handsome perennial rudbeckia, a stand of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’, Solidago ‘Fireworks’, some tall sanguisorbas and veronicastrum, some white rugosa roses that must be controlled from running forward, a few Verbena bonariensis, and the inferior Dorothy Perkins rose. (The southwest quadrant has the excellent Super Dorothy.) Some old and tired Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ could use replacing. A multitude of seedlings of Cerinthe major purpurascens might come through the winter. There is still plenty of room for the new gardener to add plants that she likes to fill the park in. I used to plant sweet peas on the lattice in front of Captain Bob’s. It is important to remember that nothing should be planted that will get tall enough to block the view to the businesses behind the fence.

It is a difficult park not only because of the perennial weeds but also because for some reason it varies from very wet to very dry.

I’m sorry to leave the horsetail and wild allium problem for posterity. Once in early spring, another gardening couple was helping us with spring clean up and one of them said she was sure she could get the allium dug out if I’d let her just focus on that. I knew it would prove impossible, but I said Sure, go ahead, and she worked and worked at it all day.

The next spring, it came back just as thick as ever, as I knew it would. It’s a horrid weed that starts out looking like a rough lawn is growing in the garden bed. I won’t miss it. But now that Long Beach has an endless source of mulch, I think I could have cosmetically hidden its remnants after spring weeding and made the park look much better all the time. I wish I’d had that replenishing mulch pile all along.

As we had been spreading our mulch, Allan’s phone had cheeped and told us that the Michigan vote had been certified. As we finished the job, it cheeped again with the news that the transition to Biden’s presidency was finally official. What a relief. My current pile of library books, heavy on history of the recent Trump era, has increased my joy that it is just about over, at least for now. Two more recent history books to go and I can turn to some lighter reading.

In the local news, our county now has 197 active cases of Covid with 7 people hospitalized, and based on our population, that is one of the highest rates in the nation. But in the comments section of our local newspaper’s articles, people who think it is a scam and a hoax keep sounding off with resounding stupidity. Those who are completely opposed to wearing masks are so angry with the latest shutdown, which could have been avoided if everyone had been sensible and caring. It is an unfortunate thing for a sense of community when one knows by name who the uncaring and willfully uneducated people are.

I do hope Allan and I safely reach the day soon when we can come home, close the gates, shut the door and be done with work 2020.

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Saturday, 21 November 2020

Long Beach

We were mildly concerned about work interference from an anti-mask anti-temporary-pandemic-shutdown protest that was going to take place in Veterans Field starting at one today. However, Vet Field was on the work list for today and I wanted to be able to erase it from the work board as the remainder was not a very big task! We arrived at 11:30. The yobbos had not yet arrived. Our goal was to trim up the gauras in the corner garden.

I felt kind of bad when I started trimming, because the plants had new floral growth (narrow stalks of small pinky white flowers) coming on. But our goal is to be done and have the trimming hold up into the new year and to have the 2021 spring (and late winter) bulbs show well even if no one comes along for late winter clean up.

So there it is.

When we were two thirds of the way through, a car pulled up in front of ours and two people got out. I said, looking into the sun, that I hoped it wasn’t the yobbos. Allan said, “You mean the people with masks?” When I realized that, I knew they couldn’t be the protestors. They walked to one of the picnic tables to have their lunch.

Vet Field with the city Christmas tree on the left

We headed over to Minnie Culbertson Park to pick up a pile of chopped blackberry canes that we’d left behind the monument last week.

We haven’t weeded behind the monument for years. It’s just not an area that gets our attention. I hope the future gardener makes a better job of it.
Looks better from the front without a background haze of blackberries.

We dumped the debris at city works and picked up three cool items I had noticed in the debris pile last time.

The Red Barn

Even though the Red Barn is next door to Diane’s garden and usually gets done on the same day, we had run out of daylight yesterday. Cosmo the barn cat emerged straight away, read messages from Skooter and left messages in return which I am sure Skooter will enjoy.

He is looking more portly and is very soft to pet.

The garden before:

The Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ in two of the barrels had died and got pulled today. The third barrel had a much bigger one that on close examination looked like it might die over the winter.

Examined closely, it had very strange growth and a lot of dead wood in the middle. I tried to trim it up. Allan and discussed the situation and finally decided it had to just go.

What is the reason for the weird soft growth? It is not unusual, though, for this perennial to be short lived.

Barn manager Amy came out from the barn and I showed her how sad the Erysimum had become.

Her good dog, Bentley, wanted a biscuit and got one, of course.

As always, he hastened off to bury it.

He returned for another, which I had put into my pocket, went off to bury that one and then returned for a third. Since I was not going next door to Diane’s today, he got the biscuit that would have gone to Holly.

Biscuit number three

Amy told us that he will take horse treats and carrots from the barn off to bury in the paddocks. His success went to his head because he soon got yelled at for pestering a horse.

The garden after:

It is best to leave ornamental grasses standing till early spring.

Amy’s spouse was painting buoys in one of the barn bays, getting ready for crabbing season.

Back to Long Beach

We drove past Vet Field where some crudely made signs had been stuck into the ground and taped to the back of a nearby building. Four people stood around. The newspaper reported later that 60 had shown up to sign petitions against the current shutdown. The newspaper photo showed a maskless group crowded together. We had certainly made the correct decision to go elsewhere for that hour. (As this post publishes a few days later, 55 new positive cases in our county have been announced. “Pacific County’s case rate has soared over the past week, and now sits at 998 cases per 100,000 people over a two-week rolling average, among the highest case rates in the country.” !!!!)

At City Works, we picked up some buckets of mulch and then worked on trimming Stipa gigantea and some willows on the north parking lot berm where we could keep on eye on Vet Field.

Hips on a Rosa glauca

When we saw an empty field to the north and two or three folks walking away with their signs to march up and down the main drag, we swooped in to apply our mulch to the flag pavilion garden.

Vet Field is now done!

I wanted to be able to erase the parking lot berms, too, so we turned our attention to the south berm, pulling Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and plain orange crocosmia and trimming one Stipa.

Many weeds remain on the berms. Some are the quaking grass (called doddering dillies in the UK!) which will look good next spring. Some are just true weed grasses and some dandelions. If we feel ambitious in December, we could go over the berms one more time to at least remove the dandelions. I am calling the job done unless we create an “optional” list.

Although the rugosa roses, white ones here, annoy me with their vigorous nature, they have much to offer: fragrant flowers, showy hips that are good for birds to eat and for humans to make vitamin C rich tea, and good autumn color.

The work board tonight:

I took only three of the photos today; this is one of them.

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20 Nov: the last bulbing

Friday, 20 November 2020

We had a hard time getting started because of rainier weather than predicted. I actually texted our client to say we were not coming till tomorrow, only to text a few minutes later saying that Dark Sky had just changed to a more favorable forecast after all! I was relieved, because getting the last of the bulbs planted was weighing so heavily on my mind that I had a nightmare about being at work and having forgotten the box of bulbs.

Diane’s garden

Not only did we have bulbs to plant but the entire fall clean up to do. Our indecisiveness about working made for a late start and some time stress. The front garden befores and durings (almost all photos by Allan today):

Allan dug out all these pitiful grasses.
Trimming the Stipa gigantea
Clipping and weeding the narrow bed along the house

Holly and Whiskey got biscuits.

Always exciting to work along the road
Next spring, we will move the rocks that got piled there (not by us) when the lawn was planted and make another planting area. I don’t like that wood strawberry that is rampant in this bed. Diane says its berries are tasty.

We then turned our attention to the back garden, with both of us trimming up and weeding and mulching the septic vault garden.

There was way too much of the cream colored California poppies this year.

While up on the vault spreading mulch, Allan could see horses in training at the Red Barn next door and got out the telephoto. We had hoped to do the Red Barn garden today, as well, but ran out of time.

I planted some tulips and crocus and Iris reticulata and some tiny narcissi, Baby Bloomer and Xit, in this bed and some more tulips (all pinks and pastels, of course, with names like Pretty Princess and Sweet Sixteen) in the container garden.

Although I did trim back the annuals, we may come back after a hard frost to trim more, especially the Helichrysum ‘Limelight’ that looks too good to cut now but could be blackened by a frost.

Long Beach

We just had time before dark to zip over to downtown Long Beach and plant ten tulips in a planter in front of the tattoo place and the new real estate office. Now the Long Beach bulbing is really done. I’d forgotten that planter yesterday.

Meanwhile, Allan pulled crocosmia (another unfortunate legacy) from the planter across the street which has no room for bulbs. It’s one of the planters with a big metal plate on one side of the lamp post.

I went in after him and trimmed the tallest lavender so it would not block traffic sight lines. I think it would behoove the next gardener to dig out the old and woody lavenders and replace them with new ones or other plants that the new gardener likes.

At home, I rewrote the work board, making it look longer. But it isn’t, really. It’s just that the remaining tasks are broken down so that I will have more opportunities for erasure.

Allan said he needed red pills, not meaning anything to do with red or blue pill and reality, just that he was sore and needed some Advil. Something has to change. This work is too hard for old folks. I cannot heft the bales anymore at all at age 65 and at age 68 next year, it will be too much to have Allan lift them all. I think we must switch to mulching with a product that comes in smaller bags. I hope it makes a difference that we will be not working as much next year (at least, that’s the plan, if we can get by).

Some bad news awaited online from the Pacific County Health Department:

93 Additional Positive COVID-19 Cases in Pacific County

“November 20, 2020- Pacific County Public Health and Human Services has received notice of 94 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Pacific County. These cases are new since November 18 and are in addition to the 246 previously reported cases for a total of 340 cases. There are currently 141 active cases being monitored by public health nurses, 20 of which are confirmed and 121 are probable. Case investigations and contact tracing are on-going. Probable cases include those who tested positive on an rapid test, confirmed cases include individuals who are PCR positive. Two of the cases are currently hospitalized with all other individuals isolating at home. Case investigations and contact tracing are on-going. Active cases are in all parts of the county- north and south.

These cases bring Pacific County to an average case rate of 859 per 100,000 population over the past 14 days. We do not report these numbers to cause alarm, but rather to increase awareness of the surge and to remind people to take recommended safety precautions. We strongly encourage the public to limit social gatherings, maintain social distancing of at least six feet between, and practice personal protective measures to include: correctly wearing a mask/face covering in public, washing hands often with soapy water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face. These safety measures, especially when taken together, can significantly reduce the risk of becoming infected with COVID or for those with COVID, reduce the risk of transmitting it to others.

Finally, due to the recent surge in cases, COVID testing resources have become extremely limited in Pacific County. Because of this, we ask that people access local testing resources only if they are symptomatic or have been identified as a close contact of a positive case. We appreciate your cooperation to help us conserve testing resources in our community!

For up to date information and guidance, please monitor the Pacific County Health and Human Services webpage: www. Pacificcountycovid19 .com”

Argh, and another local social media update…just as I had mentally scheduled tomorrow’s workday to include finishing the Veterans Field gardens, looks like it will be overrun with bozos. Probably not enough bozos to actually overrun it but….rethinking the prospective work day now.

So stupid and annoying.

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Thursday, 19 November 2020

Allan had to dump the grey rain gauge so we could take it to work.

On the way to work, we had a look at our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Fire Department to see how it held up to the wind. Pretty good.

We paused in Seaview to water the window boxes at The Depot Restaurant. They are under a wide eave on the north side so don’t get rain water.

Then, on to Long Beach to plant the last of the city tulips. The Hungry Harbor Grille got ten Gavota, which tones so well with the trim.

Here is Gavota in that planter in 2015.

I squeezed ten of another red and yellow tulip in around the lamp post in front of the carousel, where a metal access plate takes up much room on one side of the planter and reduces planting area.

We trimmed that planter back harder than in a normal year, including cutting back the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, whose dried flower heads I would normally leave up all winter. Allan trimmed it, and took ALL the photos today. I think upon viewing this photo that the sedum is old and tired and should just come out.

We moved north a block. Allan finally pulled the crocosmia out of the planter in front of Wind World Kites. I had cut it back halfway in late summer, not a method I would usually have used but it had to be done in haste because of so many unmasked people.

We did not plant the horror of vinca in that planter. The proprietor of Wind World loves the crocosmia, which has kept us from digging it out because he’s a really nice fellow.

Meanwhile, I planted red and white or red and yellow bulbs in the other three planters in that quadrant. The whole time we were working on that block, we were passed closely by about a dozen people in all without masks on. True, it was outside. True, that makes it safer. But it still seems rude to me to not be more cautious around city workers.

I question why town was so busy when the state advisory, due to our state being red hot with Covid growth, is to avoid recreational travel.

Sign in window of the Funland arcade dates back to July. It has been closed since then.

Meanwhile, for the first time in weeks, Allan was able to get at the tree garden in front of Castaways Bar, which is closed due to the month-long ban on indoor dining. Since we had last weeded it, the tree itself had been cut down to the ground. It had been a dark-leaved and quite sad looking ornamental plum which had been pruned terribly hard for some reason.

We are never in the loop about these things, so we don’t know if a new tree will be planted.

Earlier, when we had parked in the lot next to the police station, I had said to Allan that we could clean up the Veterans Field flag pavilion garden. The city Christmas tree had been put in place next to it. But when we had finished our planter work, the city crew had arrived to hang lights on the tree!

We bided our time by cutting back plants in the big Lewis and Clark Square planter till they left for their two-thirty break. Then we worked as fast as ever we could to get the area near the tree trimmed (mostly Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and some eryngiums and Salvia ‘Hot Lips’) before the crew came back….if they did…which they did not. We were also racing the clock because we had an errand to run before dark.

I have often left these perennials standing till February. This year, we want to leave a cleaner slate for the new gardener. And they were pretty well blown around by last week’s storm.

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ well whirled by wind

The large barberry was labeled as and planted the same day as the two ‘Crimson Pygmy’, part of my interpretation of a red white and blue garden.

The job had been Push Push Push! throughout, like in a favourite Twilight Zone episode, A Stop at Willoughby. See https://youtu.be/cwGFiT7Xgh4

We dumped our full load of debris at city works.

With 45 minutes of daylight remaining, we successfully ran our errand to the Basket Case Greenhouse to pick up some bagged mulch for tomorrow’s job.

At home, Allan was temporarily thwarted by weather from unhooking and parking the work trailer.

Skooter, who has been naughty lately (more on this later) had apparently not come in at all last night, nor did he come in when we got home. Even though we are somewhat annoyed with his behavior, we were glad to see him when he came in an hour later. I suspect he may have a human friend to visit in another household. Where perhaps his behavior is better than at home. His naughtiness did not start with the kittens; in fact, he sometimes plays with them, so I hope eventually they make him a more contented cat.

I was able to erase from the work list the LB planter bulbs, leaving only one more batch to plant at Diane’s, I hope tomorrow.

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18 November: garden walk

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

at home

On another rainy day off, I “attended” the biweekly zoom meeting by the Pacific County Public Health Department. Our county now has 55 new Covid cases to join the 26 from yesterday and the 28 from the end of last week. A medical expert who was their guest speaker invoked Halloween as a possible cause. I felt relieved that I had chosen not to participate; a startling number of the new cases are children “0-10 years old”. (Within two days, 94 more new cases would be added, so many that ages were not even listed.) A post-meeting walk in our garden soothed my nerves.

the tree dahlia that didn’t get to bloom…not unusual and it was still interesting
white echinops half seedhead.
in the middle I see a columnar conifer….Seaside gardener Pam’s suggestion…that has had a growth spurt
I do want to cut back that sodden Siberian Iris soon.
columnar yew has also grown, also inspired by Pam Fleming
hips on Rosa glauca….hips on Rosa moyesii have all been eaten by birds.
I have to pick up this top heavy bamboo after every storm.
My one and only beloved Nicotiana langsdorfii. In a normal year I have many.
looking out the South Gate
On the east side, only one layer of stacked crab pots remains. Fork lifts have been running daily.
cotoneaster berries

I checked out the possibility of a salad. Not quite yet.

Sugar Sprint peas for pea sprouts, could have planted them much much thicker.
for stir fry, but are these unsprouted Brussels sprouts or are they collard greens? Better labeling next year, I swear!
also in the greenhouse: Albucus spiralis ‘Frizzle Sizzle’

The sun came out briefly but then came pouring rain. Good. I wanted to read but churned out four blog posts first, ending with this one. There is a creative urge that made me choose blogging over reading today….Also, we were flat out of scheduled posts. I’ll be glad when we can get our work done and just stay home for the winter.

Now to start reading Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth by Brian Stelter.

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at home

Sunday, 15 November 2020

I had quite a pile of library books waiting.

I read one book from the previous batch which had been recommended to me by an online friend who writes a blog that I like very much, called The Miserable Gardener.

It is a wise book and one that gave me much to think about.
Here is why I want signs that, instead of saying “Please don’t pick the flowers,” say instead “Please leave the flowers for all to enjoy.”

I am going to read the author’s other book about peaceful communication, in which he describes his work helping to resolve conflicts between individuals and even members of warring nations.
In gardening news, we had the last beets for dinner. I’ve never grown them before this year. They are my new favorite veg.

Monday and Tuesday, 16 and 17 November 2020

I spent two days absorbed in the new book by the author of the great book The Warmth of Other Suns.

A few takeaways out of this must read book.

Why the south even had successful farms at all:

The comparisons of the treatment of African-Americans in this country is powerfully compared to the Dalits (once known as Untouchables) in India and to the victims of the Nazi regime, where Hitler and his men studied the American south to learn how best to commit genocide.

Think about that.

The following passage explains why I know that it is because of white, or caste, privilege, that I was able to buy a house at age 25: because my uncle and father benefited from the GI Bill in ways that Black soldiers did not, and that advantage was passed down to me even in my working class family.

If you are a citizen of this country who is a member of the dominant caste, no matter how humble your life might be otherwise, this is a must read book.

On Tuesday, the second day of reading Caste, I read by a battery book light, thinking about finding my warm fingerless gloves, because a big storm took us by surprise. Cape Disappointment near us had 80 mile an hour wind, and our power was out for ten hours. Allan almost had to fire up our new generator to protect our frozen food. He did make some hot tea and chili with the camp stove as the house cooled down. He also moved the wireless greenhouse thermometer from the greenhouse to the freezer. That way, without opening the door again, we could monitor the freezer. Fortunately, the power came back before the thaw. With everything turned off he wasn’t aware that the power had come back on until the freezer started getting colder.

Allan took some post-storm photos in the garden.

Bogsy Wood swale
Hardy fuchsia

When the cattens weren’t chasing madly around the house, they slept in a comfy bundle.

The last of the tulip bulbs finally arrived. I’m eager now to get back to work; however, the weather promises at least one more reading day.

Our county now has 26 new Covid cases reported to join the 28 from the end of last week.

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