Archive for Oct, 2021

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

I thought for sure we would have a rainy day off and had planned my reading: finishing 10% Happier, a memoir about meditation, and starting Making More Plants by Ken Druse. When we went to the eye clinic for me to choose frames for more new glasses (just plain ones; bifocals are hellish for dizzy gardening), a cold rain fell during our drive.

Back at home, I hadn’t got far with my reading plan before I sensed the day brightening outside and soon we were on the way to work after all.

Long Beach

We had left the north side city hall garden unfinished on Saturday, with an array of creeping buttercups thriving in damp soil. Our goal was to finish weeding.

We had to walk on the soil to weed it, which was unfortunate because it was so wet. A board to walk on would have been smart.

I pruned the Physocarpus ‘Dart’s Gold’ in order to access the weedy area. It had provided shelter for a bird.

We hoped that a vehicle parked in the fifteen minutes spot would move soon to make our loading of heavy weeds easier. He did.

We were protected from the wind, mostly coming from the south…

…as shown just to the east down the block.

We trimmed along the east end of the north garden. I liked the before better than the after. As usual, fall clean up in a public garden where we feel the next spring clean up might not get done is more severe than we would do at home.

After weeding, we knew there were still bits of creeping buttercup and weed grass roots. A good mulching will loosen the soil to make it easier for the next gardener.

On the way to dump weeds and pick up mulch, Allan pruned a dead tree limb at Minnie Culbertson Park. It had been bugging me every time we drove by there and so we’d brought the chainsaw on a stick today.


….but none of the rampant blackberries have been trimmed at the the back of the garden since we did so last December.

Our choice of mulch is simply what is at city works: the biosolids mulch. It’s in a dry building so easy to scoop into buckets in the rain and is light to carry.

The garden after:

It is chock full of narcissi, mostly white. And some lilies. Catmint will re-emerge along the front.

We had time to tackle Old Man Lavender at the planter by Tinkertown Mall. It’s a much admired old plant but was badly pruned to keep it off the bench, I suppose, exposing its woody innards to northbound traffic.

It could have had another year of bloom if it had been as round on the south side as on the north side.

I replaced it with a lavender seedling…

….and will take Old Man Lavender to the home of one of his greatest admirers, where she can plant him and give him another year or more of life and then can someday have a lavender scented campfire with his remains.

Just as we finished, torrential rain dampened us before we could escape it.

Tinkertown Mall

We headed south to offload the rest of our mulch.

Port of Ilwaco boatyard

Driving by after the storm, I had noticed two boatyard grasses that needed trimming. I did that while Allan dumped the remaining buckets of mulch in a low spot.

Wind blown miscanthus
The Ceanothus is blooming again.
Some words had blown away: “Please leave the”.
A small boat among big ones

I was pleased to erase City Hall from the work board.

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Monday, 25 October 2021

I had assumed this would not be a work day because of an inch or two of predicted rain. Yet when I woke up at seven, after six hours of sleep, all I could think about (after relief that we’d had no tornado) was work. I watched the wind slowly decrease and felt hopeful that we could at least divest ourselves of the Long Beach debris buckets that we got stuck with on Saturday late afternoon, due to being locked out of the work yard.

Allan looked skeptical but slightly willing to give work a try when he got up at 9:30 (our usual time before I seem to have turned into an early waker). My method of protecting the weed buckets from filling with water had worked.

An equal number of weed buckets were in the garage.

Allan had checked on our storm damage. We knew people with downed trees and even part of a tree through a window so we’re glad of the minimal effects. The wind up in Ocean Park had gusted at over 80 mph!

Before going to the works yard, we deposited checks in the bank drive through window. Torrential rain gave us pause about dumping debris. We drove a bit north to deposit our Mike for Mayor vote in the official drop box at the courthouse.

Not looking like work weather

There was no way I was willing to take the full weed buckets home again.

In continuing rain and wind, we dumped the buckets at the work yard. Now my big idea was that we could load thirty buckets with biosolids mulch, because the mulch is kept inside a large, dry pole building. Then “all” we’d have to do in the rain was dump out the buckets on one of the port gardens. (What I had really dreamed of doing was finishing the weeding where we’d left off at City Hall on Saturday. That would have been too windy and miserable today.)

In the House of Mulch

Because the crew was having lunch break, Allan returned the key to the defunct gate padlock. I’m pleased to report that they gave him a new key without him even having to ask for one. It will make work a lot better to not get stuck with debris on our last dumping run of the day.

Although our weather on the drive to the port promised a drenching…

…even before we left the works yard…

…we mostly got a break in the rain while mulching the curbside beds by the David Jensen architecture office at the Port of Ilwaco. We dumped two inches at least of mulch on top of beach strawberry and some creeping sorrel. I’ll worry about the weeds when they poke their heads up. The soil will be nice and loosened and weeding will work the mulch in.
It’s not ideal but we do what we must.

View south across the parking lot

I had told Allan we’d be done with work by 1:30 and yet, without rain, I suggested we do one more run for mulch. On the way to Long Beach again, I though I might have been overly optimistic.

We reloaded in the nice dry mulch house with the trailer right outside the door. I had the driest task of filling buckets.

The rain pelted sideways as we drove back to the port, where this time we targeted the curbside beds by the port office. Again, we had a good dry spell and I even got one little bed thoroughly clipped and weeded. Our buckets filled two small and one medium bed.

I checked on the garden on the south side of the office. Not bad, just one yellowing lily stalk that I broke off.

Allan noticed geese.
And lazier gulls.

Tempting though it was (to me) to do yet another mulch run, the remaining beds need some weeding attention along with mulching, and I couldn’t count on weather good enough for that.

We won’t be trying to mulch the beds which are covered with river or lava rock, leaving six more of various sizes. I rewrote the work list so that I’ll have the satisfaction of erasing items more often than if it just read “mulch port and boatyard”. The At the Helm curbside bed isn’t on the list because I think only a small portion of it will need mulch, as it is not as sunken down as the other beds have become.

The Pavilion area consists of three beds.

I felt good about making progress, especially with a very wet weather forecast for the next few days.

In the afternoon, I caught up on the Tootlepedal blog. Although I do like to read it late because of the repartee in the comment section, how does a whole month pass by so quickly that I managed to get a month behind again? Time moves too swiftly while weeding Long Beach.

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24 October: stormy

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Saturday morning I had zoomed three excellent lectures of a seminar put on by the Rhododendron Society before going to work. I was especially glad that the storm held off so that I could watch another lecture this morning before starting a project.

With a big storm brewing, and lots of rain predicted, I went outside to put some echeverias in the greenhouse. The alder grove was thrashing about and a tiny bit of debris slammed into my eye as I fetched a plant. Much blinking ensued and I decided it was best to spend time indoors. I set up the garage for some potting up of starts of Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ from under a weedy Long Beach tree. The weed mat was so thick that it was hard to even pry some small and clean starts out of it. I got three flats worth. I do love Panicum!

On a walk to the post office, Allan saw the double gale warning flag at the port. We were surprised that the more serious red rectangle with a black square flags weren’t up, because we had a serious storm.

A friend drew a circle to show where we are. This was said to be a storm like no other, and would have caused devastation had it landed on shore. Fortunately, it mostly stayed just out to sea. Here you can see a video of the waves just a mile from us, where later In evening the wind speed was 74 miles an hour.

We were fortunate in Ilwaco to only have the lights flicker. Much of the north end of the peninsula lost power for as much as 18 hours because of this damage to one of the power stations.

Photo by Public Utility Distric #2

I churned out three blog posts. Then, with our power quite remarkably on except for a few ominous flickers, we watched a couple of episodes of Blake’s 7, which is like new to me since I watched it (and went to a convention) forty years ago. I quite like it, and Allan is enjoying it for the first time. Although I was not happy with the tornado warnings…….

….they did not rob me of any sleep.

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23 October: City Hall

Saturday, 23 October 2021

J Crew Cottage

We have been neglecting all gardens other than Long Beach. Allan mowed at the Js and I weeded, and, before we left, we had a chat with once and future mayor Mike.

Long Beach

Once again, the weather forecast was wrong and we had clear and not too windy weather. (The big wind, a powerful “double bomb cyclone” storm “like one never before seen” but off the coastline—we hope— is forecast for Sunday through Monday.)

It is easiest to do city hall when it is closed, so off we went.

The east side was weedy and overgrown, no surprise.

Under the unpruned hydrangea (which was swamping two rhododendrons and hanging out into the parking area), I found more ridiculously planted plants: two dead lithodora (one of my most disliked plants!) crammed in with an established brunnera and a cyclamen that we had planted years ago and which were so happy to see some light.

The miscanthus missed its spring shearing!

Meanwhile, Allan pulled loads of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ (not planted by us) on the west side, as we were trying to get as much debris as possible to take to city works in hopes that it would be open on Saturday….since the lock was changed yesterday without us being given a key.

We hared over there before two thirty. Sometimes we think the gate closes at three on Saturdays. I had the idea of putting the wheelbarrow blocking the open gate with a note saying “Don’t lock us in!”

It would have been nice to get some mulch but I was so nervous about being locked in that we didn’t.

Back at city hall, we worked on the west side.

There is no before photo of where I trimmed Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’ that had flopped forward onto the sidewalk.

On the north side, creeping buttercup had been allowed to take over so badly that it was trailing over the wall onto the sidewalk. I felt simply irked at the neglect of the previous year. We also found some more plants crammed into weeds. (None of this was done or not done by the city crew; the 2021 gardener had been an outside contractor like we had been. But not like we had been, because we were obsessed with achieving perfection.)

If we only had a key to the city works gate, we could have finished city hall and erased it from the work board. Without a key, we would have to take the non compostable buckets of heavy mucky weeds home, unload them from the trailer, and reload them on the next work day and then unload them again at city works. I was annoyed. We simply did not have enough time to get all of the buttercup.

The horrid mess remains
Heavy buckets that will have to be unloaded, reloaded, and unloaded again
When I die, will I get a momument for 20 years of service?

At home, I came up with a solution for keeping the buckets close to the driveway but dry from the coming storm which promises two inches of rain.

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Thursday, 21 October 2021

At home

I woke up fretting about how I would haul the gunnera from the trailer, parked at the curb, back to the compost in strong wind and rain. When I opened my curtain, I saw to my delight that Allan had parked the trailer in Alicia’s driveway near to the bins, making life much easier. I clipped and tore the leaves and layered them with newspaper and with bunny poop from Katie and coffee grounds from Bev (who picked up two buckets full from Great Escape drive through coffee) and with brown debris from bin one.

autumnal garden

The rest of the day was spent reading and churning out a few blog posts.

Friday, 22 October 2021

Long Beach

We put another day of unexpected good weather to good use in Long Beach.

Together, we finished weeding the supremely weedy tree in front of Benson’s restaurant. In a solid nest of creeping sorrel that I doubt had been weeded at all this year, we again found tiny recently planted new plants, just as we had in the welcome sign earlier in the week.

So weedy I needed the root slayer to lift the whole mat of sorrel.

The sorrel was even running along the curb in both directions.

We next moved to the most difficult street tree bed, in which I had planted a division of Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ from my garden years ago, and then the water faucet had broken down so this tree has to be bucket watered from then on, and the Panicum never got enough water to look great. In the last year, the bed was let totally go to weeds. The ornamental grass was so infested with weed grass that it was hopeless to save it. From me it came and to me it will return to be salvaged as much as possible for a better home.

I was utterly baffled to find four little helianthemums stuck in among the Panicum and the weeds with no attempt to make a proper space for it or do any weeding at all.


As with all the weird planting I have been finding, I will take them home, pot them back up (they were planted so recently that they are still pot shaped) and find another spot for them in town once we get the weeding done.

I had salvaged a baby lavender from the Benson tree which we could use to replace a woody old lavender in a planter.

One more street tree remained. It had seen some care this year, unusually compared to the others, so Allan had only to remove a sheet of small weeds.

Meanwhile, I dug solid badasters underlaid with a carpet of weed grass from just part of a nearby strip in Fifth Street Park.

We headed to city works with a huge load of debris only to find that our gate key no longer worked.

I had talked to Mike and the soon to be new department head earlier in the day about how the back of the welcome sign needed to be totally dug out and had hinted that, while Allan wanted to go back to half retirement, I had gotten attached to the job again and might want to figure out a way to work with a new gardener to pass on how to do it, so we won’t have a disaster like the last year. Allan had later reminded me of the many times we were left “out of the loop” as outsiders from the crew, and here we were again, with the ultimate of being left out of the loop, locked out of the yard. Fortunately, city hall was open for ten more minutes so an emergency call got an on-call city guy to come open the gate for us. Our trailer was so heavy there was no way we could have taken it home and been able to unhook it from the van.

After dumping, we picked up fifteen buckets of mulch, rushed and pressured for time now because of the wait at the gate. I couldn’t leave those scalped tree beds unmulched before the weekend.

The two weedy trees and the transplanted lavender were the recipients.

At home, with a big wind due to arrive this weekend, we took down the Wall of China.

Hamamelis autumn color

At long last, we got to erase trees and welcome sign from the work board.

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Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Long Beach

We were surprised by the weather forecast being wrong, with good enough weather to go to work. Strong but not terribly cold wind was the main adversary today.

For the last year, a nearby business has been parking their trucks daily in a way that completely blocks the weekday view of the welcome sign. When I saw a parking spot next to it today, we grabbed it, even though it had not been part of the plan. What a mess it was! I had just caught glimpses over the past year of lots of weeds and unkempt perennials.

I worked on the front side. I did not understand why anyone would make a tiny hole in a mat of birdsfoot trefoil and horsetail, bung in echinacea (recently, they still had pot-shaped roots) and call that good and bill the city for the labor time?? I felt baffled and irked. The rudbeckias at the front are from our plantings in 2020.

Shock and dismay

The birds foot trefoil took considerable effort to loosen but then came off in great sheets. Below, a sheet of it upside down on the ground next to the planter.

Like all the garden repairs we have been doing, it took a long time to fix. The horsetail had run rampant and filled in with solid roots on the back of the planter, where Allan was working.

We headed to city works to dump our debris. The pile below is what we got just from the welcome planter.

Allan spotted my favourite bird, high up in a nearby tree, after hearing its distinctive flicker call.

We loaded up with biosolids mulch in the big mulch barn.

We had intended to dig out a very weedy tree garden next. When we parked there, the skies opened and we went home to change from wet to dry clothes instead.

Never mind tree garden for now.

Zinc and Faerie have taken to napping on the clothes dryer.

When we drove back towards Long Beach, we found a pretty good parking spot for the welcome sign and decided to take the opportunity to mulch it.

I added another bucket along the front edge after this photo was taken.

I removed the red flowered heather, recently planted right next to Geranium ‘Rozanne’, which would have hidden it from view. Our refrain as we work our way through the Long Beach gardens this autumn has been WHY??? I will repot them and maybe put them in the beach approach planters. Even though I’m not a fan of heathers in planters or flat gardens, at least these are summer blooming ones with an upright habit.

I realized it was pointless to mulch the back of the sign. The horsetail roots had made a solid mass there. I despaired of fixing it. It needs to be totally dug out by the city crew. Even the heaviest of landscape fabric put at the bottom won’t keep the horsetail from coming back but would buy them a couple of years of easy weeding.

This had all taken so long that we abandoned the idea of doing a big dig out on the most difficult tree garden. Instead, Allan weeded the bed in front of the Malai Thai Restaurant where he had just pulled the Crocosmia recently.

Meanwhile, I knew it would make Parks Manager Mike happy if we cleaned up around the pond by Benson’s Restaurant so the crew could clean it out. I tackled it, making piles of gunnera and Darmera peltata leaves.

I left some upright leaves standing for now.

Allan started the tree garden in front of Bensons. It was such a shocking mess of weeds that there was no time to finish it and get the park cleaned up. It would have to wait till next time.

Just got this far…

We took our new batch of weeds to city works and got another batch of mulch. On the way back to the park, we paused to mulch the planter in front of The Hungry Harbor, which looked low and hungry. The golden oregano will re-emerge through the mulch all too easily.

More mulch went into the center bed near the pond.

We loaded all the darmera and gunnera clippings to take home for our compost bins.


If you visit Fifth Street Park, you will see this always weedy bed…

….which I abdicated from weeding a few years ago because it is a boggy mess with maybe a sprinkler leak. When I said the weeding was hopeless, Mike talked about taking the healthy stunted maples out and turning it back into lawn. This photo reminds me that in autumn we would at least string trim it to refresh the lady’s mantle. I suppose we might do that once more.

Susie’s Garden

We briefly stopped at Susie’s to pick up some bagged salads that Bill had kindly picked up for us when he shopped across the river. Allan just took two photos of the garden, one of which turned out quite impressionistic.

At home, we left the compost makings in the trailer because we had worked till dusk.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2021

On the road to and from Aberdeen, Washington

We missed a perfect work day to take a drive to see a neurologist. You would think that with the large retirement community in our county, one of the three local hospitals (Ilwaco, Raymond, Astoria) would have a visiting neurologist, but no. Anyway, I wanted to see the same nice chap I’d seen five years ago for the same problem.

When going north, we always take the route through Naselle to avoid the terrifying (to me) Willapa Curves.

I thought you might like to see some of our drive along the Columbia River, windscreen and aerial and all.

A good day for an autumn foliage drive.
Roadwork ahead
Landslide repairs
This curve of the road with no guardrail, coming up, gives me nightmares of going off the road into the river.
I’m always glad to be past this point.
Another temporary landslide fix
The road collapsed and this route was closed most of the winter; people from Naselle had to drive extra miles around the dreaded curves and through Chinook to get to Astoria.

We passed through South Bend, Raymond, and on up 101. We saw a spectacular lone tree near Artic.

Allan wanted to get a photo of a certain boat launch in Cosmopolis.

The bridge was stuck open for a long time. Not really stuck, but the wait was so long we wondered why.

We saw a sad restaurant in Cosmopolis…

….and an attractive one in Aberdeen, after we’d crossed the bridge.

Although we didn’t get any close up photos, we noted that the street planters looked cheerful with an autumn planting of ornamental kale and winter pansies or violas. Those wouldn’t work in Ilwaco or Long Beach because deer would eat them to the base!

We arrived at the neurology office 45 minutes in advance, so there was no anxiety about time. I’m pleased to report that despite the dire words of the radiologist who made notes on my MRI (“chronic ischemic small blood vessel disease of the cerebral white matter”), the neurologist, a tall man with a soothing manner, said my brain is fine, with some tiny scarring probably caused by years of migraines (from age 25 to age 55!), and that the MRI of five years ago looked just the same. He said that a doctor’s suggestion that my vertigo might have been caused by “early dementia from small blood vessel disease” was a bunch of hooey. Not quite in those words. In a reassuring way (“I am sure we won’t find anything but I want to be sure”), he ordered a heart ultrasound and some sort of non invasive artery scan (to make sure I haven’t been having TIAs or tiny strokes) and, rather to my surprise, a blood test for things like lupus. Despite being a hypochondriac of sorts, I don’t mind those sorts of tests. I find them interesting. It’s waiting for the results that no one likes.

Because I wanted to be home in time for a mayor debate zoom, we did not linger. I admired a mural as we drove out of Aberdeen…

…and the same bright tree as before shouted out to us as we drove south.

The posts in this blog are getting too close to real time for comfort, as on Long Beach work days, I sometimes don’t have time to write in the evenings, and I do have that big stack of library books that are due November 6th. So we are taking a very short blogging break. I am toying with the idea of dredging up a few ten or more years old blog posts that I liked and resharing them to fill the gap. I just might.

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Monday, 18 October 2021

Long Beach

My dream was to get the remaining nine street trees and three planters done today.

We started work with two street trees that I knew would be easy, mostly just cutting back. First, the one packed with Lysimachia punctata (looks like the yellow lysimachia that is an invasive weed, but is not, although I find it too vigorous for an uncontained garden setting).

Across the street, the tree has been replaced this year. If I had been working for Long Beach, I’d have taken the opportunity to get the BadAster (Aster douglasii, a short and mildew-prone native aster) out of this bed. As in many places in Long Beach, it blows in from the dunes, I suppose.

A young man, wearing a mask, emerged from the nearest shop and said there were caterpillars in there. I thanked him for letting me know and assured him I would be very careful and would transport any caterpillars to the city works yard, a much more natural and woodsy area with a pond, where they would be happy.

The caterpillars in question were woolly bears, a lot of them!

I told the delightful young man that if he found any leftover woolly bears, please feel free to rehome them in the wild areas one block to the west, and that I had left some plants in the center of the bed for any left behind. I also said that in my own garden, I don’t cut most plants down till later winter or early spring to allow more habitat for insects to winter over, so I don’t even advise the severe fall clean up that we do in some public gardens.

A bucket of woolly bears found a new home in a wild part of city works.

We filled up buckets with mulch to add during the rest of the day.

We moved on to the south end of town to work on one planter and one tree.

The planter was in a right old state.

This planter had a big old lavender that I know some local folks are sentimental about because it blooms so profusely. Since people like it, I didn’t have the heart to replace it when we left the job, and it is getting awfully woody and too tall for traffic sight lines.

One side had been roughly pruned, further exposing the woody interior.

A few years ago, we dug this planter out almost completely because it is infested with a tough little grass. The roots of the grass linger under the gravel in the base of the planters and it tries to come back. Having had a year to romp freely, it had taken over.

The Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ hadn’t been deadheaded!


Green santolina had to be cut to the base, had gotten too woody..

I happened to see the friend who loves that lavender the most, and she agreed that it’s sad to see it go but it might be time next spring.

Meanwhile, Allan tackled a weedy street tree where the main plant is a variegated vinca that I regret planting maybe twenty years ago. It’s a monoculture except that some hesperantha managed to grow there and it has lots of spring bulb flowers in spring, as do all the planters and tree gardens.

We moved on to the two north blocks. Only two more planters to do!

One on the corner had untrimmed santolinas and escallonia that had been sheared way too high. The best thing to do was take the escallonia right down. It will break out just fine…I’ve done it in autumn before, even though spring is best.

Allan mulched a planter on the opposite corner…

…while some pretty horses passed by. This intersection is on the route between the Red Barn Arena and the beach.

Allan turned his attention to a messy and time consuming tree bed in front of Dennis Company.

The second planter in my area had been weeded, thank goodness. It’s only sad sight was a dwarf rhododendron, going way back to when the planters were installed. I personally didn’t think they’d survive and I was right, except for three. Now there are two. I cut its sad stump back to the soil and thought maybe it will come back.

Sad little Rhodie outside the lamp post

A few planters still have chrysanthemums that are half the size they were before this year. I think they did not get enough water and fertilizer to do well this year.

We’d cleaned up some tough areas today and were almost out of daylight. One more tree got done, the one across the street from Dennis. It was a mess.

The dream of getting all the trees done today died. There are four to go! With sunset approaching, we dumped debris, got four more buckets of mulch and Allan topped up the northernmost planter as the sun set.

I wish we’d gotten all the trees done because we will miss a nice work day tomorrow while we go to Aberdeen for my neurology visit. Several days (or more) of rain are predicted to follow, and there is still so much to do. A triumph is finishing the downtown planters, leaving “only” four trees, the beach approach planters, four parks, city hall, the parking lot berms (maybe) and the welcome sign.

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October 16-17: off

Saturday, 16 October 2021

I felt under the weather from working in wind and rain, like I had never warmed up. Thursday, I had acquired sort of bug bites on my left hand that itched like fury and were forming a lump that was not healing, and I worried about that. I finished a book I had been reading all week. The pressure was on because it was an interlibrary loan due today, which is ironic since it was about meditation and awareness.

This week, we will go to see the neurologist in Aberdeen so I can get his reading my brain MRI. My doctor had unhelpfully said to me that my vertigo might be “a sign of early dementia” (apparently not, since I am almost better rather than in a slow decline), which has inspired me to read about brain health, leading me to read about meditation and its healing effect on the brain. She also said that I could cancel the neurology appointment if my vertigo went away. But I want more information.

Despite always describing myself as “not a spiritual person”, my reading had led me to the guided meditations by Tara Brach on YouTube. When I read that she had had to deal with a debilitating illness, I decided to read her book.

I had a hard time with the last guided meditation by her that I listened to one morning over a week ago, with its talk of acceptance, and my annoyed thoughts about how can you accept the world the way it is. I’m pleased to report that the book does delve pretty deep into the issue of not accepting a world of prejudice and oppression. Although I’m not sure I understand the concept, I liked the book enough that I might buy my own copy. Here are some of my favorite bits. I’m leaving out some of the very personal ones for now, the ones that would require writing a lot of words about what they meant to me, and I’m tired.

Allan made tacos for the first time after finding a box of shells about to expire. He wondered how others keep the shells upright to fill them without a proper holder but made do with the drying rack.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

After a night of my hand feeling uncomfortable and keeping me awake, we went to the emergency room at 9AM, where the doctor and nurse took my bug bite problem quite seriously, put a needle in it and put me on antibiotics for a week. They were kind. It felt good to be taken care of.

In the afternoon, Allan helped me pot up some cuttings that just had to be done: Othonna that was floating in a bucket of water. I did not want to get my bandaged and wrapped hand dirty, as I’m not supposed to change the bandage for 24 hours, but was assured by the doctor that I can work tomorrow with a glove and good bandaid on it.

I felt less under the weather than yesterday. I read an excellent suspense novel, The Girl in the Red Coat, chosen because the author, Kate Hamer, is the wife of Marc Hamer and figures large in his gardening and nature memories.

I hope we can get three remaining planters and nine tree gardens done tomorrow, as Tuesday we go to Aberdeen and then it will rain for the rest of the week, and that is a good thing because, before the Long Beach job reappeared, I had checked a lot of books out of the library for autumnal reading weather. They have have reached their renewal limit and are all due on November 6th!

Faerie does not need books about relaxing her brain.

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Friday, 15 October 2021

Long Beach

We continued our clean up project, but with four planters left to do, we started with some tree gardens that would create a lot of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ debris.

Tree in front of Anchor Realty was terribly weedy.

Next was the tree in front of Long Beach Pharmacy.

This gave us some debris to dump at City Works, where we collected buckets of biosolids mulch.

Back at Third Street Park, I decided to pull out some Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ that usually gets pulled way sooner than this.

Weeds and salmonberry had moved in on the hydrangeas.

City Works Manager Mike, who is retiring after 35 hard working years, stopped for a chat while I was taking my before photo. We had a good talk about the state of the Long Beach gardens. Also, Allan had given him a copy of his boating book yesterday and Mike wanted to tell him how impressed with it he was. That made Allan very happy.

After my clean up, I found that the hydrangea closest to the sidewalk was in a sad state so gave it a good pruning. It had just gotten too swamped.

The back corner of the park is a mess of fireweed, something we may address later if this clean up goes long enough.

Meanwhile, Allan had tidied two trees, one of them by Mostly Hats (but wait, I thought Mostly Hats had closed or moved…) which wasn’t too bad…

After a bit of trimming

…and one in front of the Long Beach Tavern that was so weedy I had time to help him finish it, while he picked up the pile of debris I made.

We moved down to a tree on the south block by the credit union. I started by trimming an easy planter. You can see by the flag that the wind was strong and tiresome, and it was cold.

That planter is dull with almost a monoculture of a hardy geranium with a short bloom time, planted by a volunteer years ago. I like more excitement and flowers all summer long…but it sure is easy to take care of.

This is why most of the parks in Long Beach have such a horsetail problem. The town is built in a bed of horsetail.

I helped Allan finish the tree.

I decided to leave three not so bad planters undone in order to finish the little park bed that I’d started weeding on Monday. We had gone past it several times hoping a white truck that had parked in the middle of three parking spots would move so we could park close by. It didn’t happen so we parked on the next block.

Here’s how the little bed, which was our very last new planting project before we resigned in December 2020, looked when I started weeding it (and ran out of time) last Monday. Apparently it had not been weeded all year. I knew it was in trouble by the end of May 2021, when we would drive by on errands and I saw tall weeds among undeadheaded tulips and narcissi.

Here’s how it looked when we started today.

I was trying to get a painful poky thing out of my sock.

Look at the size of that creeping buttercup. There were dozens of them, plus creeping sorrel and weed grass.

I dug up a big lily that was off to one side. Its colors tone perfectly with the Benson’s sign. It was originally offset from a big shrub that filled most of this bed. Now I want it in the center.

Here’s how the lily looked in 2019:

It took us two hours of hard slog in s cold, wintry wind to get this far…and I am sure there are still weed roots in there. I was punchy by the end and had to call for my rollator.

Two hours later!
Darmera peltata and Gunnera which we hope to find time to cut back. Frost will take them down, plus the crew needs access to clean out the pond.

I thought we could finish the day by weeding the tree in front of where we had parked. Just as I looked at it, a heavy rain began.

We gave up and went to dump our debris and then home. The next two days Saturday and Sunday, call for wind and rain. Working in bad weather has made me feel under the weather so I’ll be glad of a weekend off.

We can’t cross a darn thing off the work board because we still have three downtown planters to do, several more tree beds, and the parks, which we have barely begun, and the planters on the two beach approach roads, and the welcome sign which was neglected all summer.

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