Archive for Jan, 2022

Saturday, January 2022

At home

I moved the cyperus (papyrus) to its new home. Allan helped get it in place. I’ll trim it later. It is conveniently located next to rainwater barrels.

I still have not weeded much this winter. It’s not all this bad.

I love glossy leaves. Sunshine makes the escallonia look glittery green and silver.

I found another area that needs soil and dismantled two of my soil stash pots in order to fill it.

The pots are second hand. I didn’t pay $79 for a Japanese maple.

The soil went to this bed where we dug out my suddenly dying cutleaf elderberry last year.

Allan put purple toppers on the front fence and four leftovers on the south fence.

He happened to appear in the willow grove just in time to pickaxe out a batch of salmonberries for me. I had decided I’d like to use the space for some starts of red twig dogwood and for the black pussy willow that will arrive at the beginning of March from Forest Farm. (I wish I had chosen an earlier shipping date for that order.)

I got into the bridged swale and dug all afternoon, the most fun I’ve had all winter. It was most satisfying. I got down to river sand and the water table, and I think the results are interesting. I very much wanted to get a low spot dug before rain comes again (tomorrow I hope) so I can see what happens, if there is enough rain to fill the swale.

Used to be riverfront; there is the old beach sand. And the water.
I added some Siberian iris along the side. Would love a start of a white one. Maybe someone I know around here has ‘Butter and Sugar’ and would share?

Allan was deep into tidying his fern garden when I returned to the front. He discovered Halloween candy wrappers the bears had dropped (from their) behind after breaking down the fence, twice, to feast on our apple trees.

He had also made two garbage can lids into planters with the stool frames that I used to top with the table tops that are now decorating the south east gate. (You don’t have to follow all that.)

Planters inspired by Danger Garden

Finally, we took six new outdoor combination locks and put them on the six gates in the south garden. I’ve been hopping mad ever since surveyors came in and chopped and dropped branches on our property and left such a big mess. Anyone who tries that again will have to go in from the front yard and walk over 225 feet to even get to the south garden, and then they will know damn well they are trespassing.

So there!

Some cats for the lowering of blood pressure (they all got some fresh catnip except for Faerie, who was napping indoors):

I do hope it rains tomorrow as I would love a reading day. Do other gardeners manage to take reading days even when the weather is gardenable? I just feel guilty then, like I should be outside.

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Friday, 28 January 2022

At home

This morning, I called Seaside 7 Dees nursery, the nearest “big(gish)” nursery to us, to ask if they ever carried hemlocks. Not often, I was told, because it’s hard for growers to grow them to size, and many tree farms were affected by fire, and if I did find one, it would $175 to $300. So I finally decided to go ahead and order one of each that Forest Farm had available. I have always gotten great mail order plants from them.
My hemlocks will be small but…hey, by the time I am 80, they should be big enough to have an impact. I also believe that many times, a small new plant will catch up to a bigger new plant because of less transplant shock.

They were out of diversifolia.

I had figured out where to plant one of my new hemlocks already, and another could go in the salmonberry tunnel, where today I prepared a place for it. (‘Gentsch White’ is a shorter one so wont be part of the privacy plan. It is so pretty, I had to have it.)

But first I needed the Slayer to get out a little holly tree, and while fetching it from the bridged swale, I found myself doing some digging to deepen the west end.

Turns out it is possible to dig pretty deep there.

That was so exciting I could have done it all day, had I not wanted to get the rest of the mulch moved from the driveway today before rain returns.

But I then got distracted by the swale pavers needing a redesign. Before:

Looking one way

I got them set in a better pattern….after removing chunks of brick and rubble from underneath, which made them a bit wonky….

…and then Allan showed up with a new air pump device, looking for any wheelbarrow with a flat tire. Soon he was leveling out the pavers.

Looking the other way

He also used the pick to get out some salmonberries.

The salmonberry tunnel grove is declining, I think because of our hot summers, since the other grove in the Bogsy Wood all died in one hot droughty summer several years ago. They are one of the first native flowers for hummingbirds, and birds also like the berries. After Allan showed how well the pick worked, I hoiked out three more. I feel bad (because of birds) when I remove salmonberries, even though I don’t love them. They are prickly, run aggressively and their leaves get mildew in mid summer. But I still have at least eight small groves of them, probably the last property on the block to have any at all, so I won’t feel too badly.

Finally I got to my soil moving project. I hadn’t done any soil moving yesterday because of an upsetting situation of a person with tent and sleeping bag standing on the sidewalk next door staring into nothingness for three hours, then starting to move bit by bit onto my neighbor’s property. I thought he might collapse because of the staring, hunching, staggering and swaying so I kept a watch out, which meant I kept having to leave my project and check on the situation. Four hours later, a police car came by (we are not the ones who called) and he had apparently hidden somewhere but left the tent and sleeping bag, and five hours later, at dusk, he and tent and sleeping bag all departed as mysteriously as they had arrived. I will say the Long Beach officer was kindly and left the tent and sleeping bag for the person (who has a warrant out, I was told) to retrieve. (Also, he said “If the tent and bag are gone, he will be looking all over for it and be even further into your yards.” But the whole time, I did not want to move mulch under the person’s gaze and felt somewhat afraid, so had spent the day in anxiety and frustration that I didn’t feel like writing about last night.

Today was much better for me….but probably just as bad for the sad staggering person with only a tent and sleeping bag. I now knew the person’s name and looked up an arrest record that made me feel that my avoidance had been the right decision. I’ve helped homeless people before. And I once married a self-described hobo (not Allan!). But I had a bad feeling about yesterday’s staggering man. And the previous day, all the time I’d been the back garden, from noon to dusk, a woman had been shouting and yelling from one end of the port to the other for five hours non stop. Times are hard.

So! Today I started moving soil.

I had a pleasant and not scary audience this time…

…and a companion.

I found that the future hemlock home absorbed one load after another, at least six, maybe more, and then finally the last of the eight yards was used up.(I still have some stashed in big stacked pots.)

I did a tiny bit of decorating…

…and went indoors at dusk after admiring the driveway that Allan had swept.

Allan saw the sunset.

Allan showed me his photos of how ice had been in the canoe water all day long. I had not felt that cold.

Other than helping me on pavers and salmonberries, he had been working on reassembling and painting the toppers for the front fence. They used to be on the original low fence posts that had partly rotted away.

On a winter evening, Skooter likes to have a shirt or towel put over him to be extra cozy.

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Thursday, 27 January 2022

An errand

I admired part of the Ilwaco Community Building garden while picking up books at the library.

We went to Patti’s to pick up a pile of pavers that she wanted to give us. Her patio was redone with nicer stones than these and she does not need the old ones.

Stella got her biscuit.

Please, may I have another?

At home

My energy today being low, I accomplished little else. Picking up fallen sticks and branches took about everything I had left after helping to move the many pavers.

The stack of pavers had included one round one that I added to the swale path.

The square pavers will be put on the floors of the two greenhouses to help reflect heat…but will have to wait till the plants come out in springtime.

I spent some time enlarging the bridged swale and putting in more posts to keep me from falling into it from the willow grove path.

Swale with the recently transplanted Thuja ‘Forever Goldy’
..and the recently transplanted Escallonia ‘Iveyi’…

Expanding the swale was fun and interesting, and I’d have felt more accomplished had I started it earlier in the day and gotten more done.

Even though I feel that the end of staycation is so close that I must keep at my own garden projects, I would love some rainy days to just read.

I walked around the willow grove and Bogsy Wood admiring the results of having picked up some of the sticks.

Looking west
Looking east
The salmonberry tunnel in the Bogsy Wood
The metal path in the Bogsy Wood

I am still thinking about joining two swales in the Bogsy Wood, shown more clearly below. It would run from the metal path swale, which would be at the lower right, below, and then cross the lawn, deep and narrow, to the deep path that I dug out last year. But I see the difficulty in that Allan would have to build a bridge in order to get the mower across. And I might fall in while weeding. So I think I will forget about this idea until we see if a huge building built to our south A) really happens and B) makes our flooding worse. I still love the idea of joined swales, though.

The metal path swale and the bridged swales are already connected. It would be grand to connect them both to the deep path swale in a vast circle around the entire Bogsy Wood. Which would create even more hazards for me to fall into, so maybe not.

Speaking of water, Allan postponed his boating till next week when the tides are better.

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26 January: almost done

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

At home

Allan finished up his projects by putting the latch and some crosspieces on the new door gate…

View into the gear shed yard

He was pleased with his salvaging of some wood from the rotten old door.

He did the first mowing of the year in the drier front lawn at Alicia’s next door and the J Crew Cottage tiny lawn across the street. Ours is far to wet to mow.

We found a purple tub to put the extra papyrus in, and I put it in a too-shady nook by the south Catio till I find a better spot.

I wheelbarrowed many the load of mulch out to the willow grove to finish a bed at the east end, where till yesterday lots of branches had been piled.

I planted a few plants in the new area.

Licorice fern

I tried another licorice fern tucked into a willow trunk. They like to grow on the trunks of a conifer but maybe not a willow. I’ll keep an eye on it for signs of distress.

I’m waiting on planting shrubs till the next cold snap is over and until I know whether or not the frog bog will be spared from being turned into a road. If not, I must completely block my view to the south to hide the sadness. If the bog remains, I won’t need as much of a screen. I have plants in my ladies in waiting areas for either occasion: evergreen or deciduous.

Skooter helped.

We have crocuses.

At the end of the afternoon I made the new edge on the bridged swale.

Allan helped me put up another tall pole at the Frog Bog gate.

I admired the look of the willow grove in late afternoon. Removing that pile of branches, mid left, will finish the creation of the garden beds, other than planting and decorating.

We had another campfire dinner to use up the dry wood that I had moved out of the willow grove, mostly alder branches.

Allan’s next plan is a midwinter boating day and mine is to use the rest of the mulch on the front garden.

Almost done!

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I accidentally published yesterday’s post in the PM instead of the AM, so apologies to the three of you who read it with your morning coffee! Because it was breathing down my neck to be so close to real time, I waited another day to publish this one.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

At home

Allan got much done today. He finished refurbishing the door and hung it by the gear shed back yard in place of an old broken down door. We will probably get ten years out of it. He is going to put some wire in the middle section just to slow raccoons down a little.

The latch still needs installing. But I only use this door a couple of times a year to pull bindweed off the other side of the fence.

He also made a gate to the junk, I mean upcycle hoard (I mean collection). Before, the barrier (to neighbor dogs) was just an extra pallet and board, wodged in and heavy to maneuver.

The new gate used to be the front of a little parakeet bay window in our previous house. The parakeets were given to a new home (I didn’t really want birds but was given them) and the door will now be useful for giving biscuits to dogs. It is still a lift out rather than hinged gate.

The hoard has been diminished.

Finally, he hauled a papyrus out of the bigger pond. It had outgrown its planting basket and was blocking most of the pond view. I was going to put it in the grey tub…till I realized that idea would move the azolla, a floating invasive, down to the Bogsy end. So I’ll put it in another tub that I have, after it dries out just enough to be liftable.

It’s out!

Meanwhile, except for when a friend came over and we walked through the garden and around the block via the easement road, I spent all day accomplishing very little. I fluffed some beds in the willow grove with the bucketed mulch that was stashed out there, and wheelbarrowed some more soil back.

I decided to move Forever Goldy to the Bogsy Wood…

…because it did not look right in the driveway garden.

It is behind a potted agave that also does not look right. I forgot to take it in during the snow and ice and its leaves got blasted.

Thuja ‘Forever Goldy’ is hard to place, for me. I think more than one would have been more attractive. The group of three at the Bayside Garden look much better. It just looks artificial somehow on its own. I made it a punctuation point at the end of a bed by the bridged swale. Below, on the other side of the tree from Goldy, it took me a ridiculous amount of time to add soil and an Escallonia ‘Iveyi’ to the west end of that bed. My accomplishments today were small.

I also realized I could remove a strip of lawn along the bridged swale, below, and use it to fill a low spot in the path. Exciting but won’t have time till tomorrow.

I added a couple of rocks and a piece of wood to the grey tub surround.

We celebrated the day of varied degrees of accomplishment with a campfire dinner.

Note the horizon of lights from the port businesses, a winter view that we cherish.

I look forward to a day of expanding part of the bridged swale tomorrow. Should be fun!

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24 January: more mulch

Accidentally published this one in the PM so will publish the next one on Thursday!

Monday, 24 January 2022

At home

It was still bitter cold when I got outside at 11 to start moving more mulch to the willow grove.

Little Tommy crocuses stayed closed because of the cold.

I soon warmed up moving one wheelbarrow load and immediately felt quite tired. Surely it would be easier to move just one more load of buckets with the van, on the gear shed easement road. Allan was on the phone trying to sort out the refund on an undelivered item while I filled buckets and then sprung it on him that I had lied (not on purpose) when I said I’d do the rest of the mulch by wheelbarrow without his help.

By the time we were loading buckets into the van, I regretted my idea. It seemed like so much work…although unlike the way I felt on Saturday after moving eight wheelbarrow loads (three quarters of a mile of barrowing), I am perfectly capable of lifting the buckets.

When we were done loading the buckets in through the southeast gate, I was happy we had done it. Half the buckets stayed in the willow grove for use in the near future and half were emptied and came back, and then Allan wanted us to refill the empties so he could drive them back out to the grove. I was happy about that, too, and kept shoveling soil while he was gone, into a wheelbarrow and then stashing some in big stacked pots, a trick I learned from our Canadian friend, Kilyn.

Later, Allan shoveled soil to the sides of the driveway because our van prefers to live in the garage than spend the night outdoors all alone.

I sat down for awhile, always a mistake as it is hard to get up again, and realized at three that I had accomplished little that I’d planned for today, so back to the willow grove I went with two and a half hours of daylight left.

I raised up a bed in the Bogsy Wood, realizing later that I probably deeply buried a nice golden brunnera. This bed is where I want to put a tall hemlock. If I can ever acquire one.

In front of the grey stock tank, where the swale water had receded, I piled some rubble as a base for some rocks to hide the front. What IS the name of the concrete rubble you get from old sidewalks? People use it to build garden walls. It is rare to find it around here, and the pieces I used were rough and misshapen. (They came with the brown sand from Susie’s garden.) Before:

I wheelbarrowed the bog plants out to the tank and threw them in to sort themselves out, then made a couple of branch paths for frogs to use to access the water. I forgot to take an after except for this far away shot…

I asked Allan to zoom in on the long shot. Maybe you can get the idea of the after.

Next to the tank, I got Allan’s help to move a fragile old chair to another decorative spot…

…and then moved a euonymus, a pink pussy willow and a variegated elderberry of some sort to the willow grove. Earlier today, the new beds also got a frosty green heuchera and a brunnera.

An Escallonia ‘Iveyi’ will replace the euonymus (right, above) in a spot where I don’t want to see through the fence. The euonymus was slow. Just in case we get to keep our view of Cape Disappointment, I am starting with evergreen plants that can be clipped low enough to see over from my south window.

New homes for shrubs:

A gold and green Sambucus (elderberry)

I have realized that I especially like evergreens with shiny leaves…too bad the ubiquitous holly that I am battling is on the noxious weed list, because it is delightfully shiny. Escallonia, luma, Lonicera nitida, some euonymus, pernettya, some pittosporums and mahonia all are shiny. Or glossy. Conifers are not. I am getting three eucalyptus, too, which Dan Hinkley in his book about his Windcliff garden used to make a quick privacy screen and later removed them when other plants had grown in.

I want to do more planting of the assorted ingredients that I have on hand. Even though I have planted in January before, it’s making me anxious to do so. Surely being in the ground can’t be worse than being in a pot…unless one is in the greenhouse or cold frame, which some of the ladies in waiting are. Oh what to do. I’d like the new garden beds to have plants as soon as possible. They look so fluffy and ready.

Note to self: Take the green spray paint out there!

The frog bog today:

Maybe I should keep myself busy cutting down perennials now that it is just three weeks before we go back to work. Almost everything brown will be cut down:

After working on his door project, Allan sorted out the junk, I mean ingredients pile, between our shed and the neighbors. This is the before picture with a sideways sailboat dolly in the middle. Next up is another gate to make access easier because someone filled up both greenhouses with plants, including the one that used also to serve as an entrance to this area.

There is a drop off in the former grass path after the neighbors’ shed got some drainage problem fixed, so it is an awkward place for storage with the property line down the middle. We used to mow it. Now it is too rough. No after photo because Allan got done after dark. Maybe the trick is to keep using ingredients up rather than sorting and storing them.

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23 January: moving mulch

Sunday, 23 January 2022

At home

Our mission today was to move Soil Energy via buckets in the van, through the next door easement road to our back lot. Soil Energy is a planting mix that has actually had its name changed to Lawn Starter, but Peninsula Landscape Supply still calls it Soil Energy because that’s the name people know. I think Lawn Starter has a little more manure in it than the previous mixture, based on the smell.

The pile this morning…

I filled buckets, Allan loaded, then while he drove around the block I would take one wheelbarrow load out through our garden and meet him at the south end about 260 feet away.

When he got to the easement road with the first load, two gear shed trucks were in by the shed.

I felt a sense of doom, would we be unable to deliver our soil today to the back garden? But the owner was very nice and said he and his crew had other things to do today, so we could use the road without inconveniencing them, before they start to work on crab pot sorting and other important gear shed things. I said perfect, we can get it done! Now the push was on!

Backed in and ready to unload

The crabbers will lose this pleasant view from their work space, and room to maneuver crab pots, if a huge building goes up on this field.

In through our south east gate:

I had texted Our Kathleen, who was going to stop by for a visit and to bring us some cardboard and newspaper, that we would not have time to even stop for a brief chat. It was a PUSHPUSHPUSH day. Bless her heart, and I do not mean that in the sardonic Southern way, we returned to our front driveway after one bucket delivery trip and found the pile of cardboard and newspaper delivered anyway. This was fortuitous because I needed it badly to lay on the soil under an old willow tree whose roots and old trunk made a perfect edging for a raised bed of some shade plants. There are still remnants of ivy roots there that I wish to discourage by smothering.

I lost track of how many van trips we made with all our 27 4 or 5 gallon buckets full. I think it was at least five trips. On one walk back with the wheelbarrow, I heard a cat fight on the other side of the compost bins. By the time I got there, only Skooter, the victor, remained.

Allan was fortunate to see this cute dog on walkabout near the gear shed.

Some crocuses had opened for us to admire in the front garden near the mulch pile.

Hellebores will flower soon.

Clematis ‘Freckles’ by the garage:

Plant table in the Bogsy Wood:

Befores, durings, and afters in the willow grove:

Eastern bed
Middle bed
Western bed
Middle beds
Most of the cardboard is under there.

The cherished frog bog is on the other side of the fence.

On the final trip, we left some buckets undumped where I am going to raise up some plants in an already planted bed.

It was almost dark for my last walk of the day back to the house.

There is still plenty of soil energy left to move, but the rest of it can be done by me in the wheelbarrow to areas that require more weeding and slow work than just dumping in new beds. This sets Allan free to get back to his door project and other things that amuse him more than hauling dirt. I appreciated the help, I would probably only have two small beds done if I had been just wheelbarrowing the long, sodden, squishy path to the willow grove.

The mulch pile tonight:

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Saturday, 22 January 2022

At home

Allan started working on his door project, then stopped to help finish the pond. Well, actually he did it all from that point on, although I had dug out another small wheelbarrow of sand to begin with. There was still water in the pond hole.

He went back to his door project ….

…while I messed around with planting some bog plants (I can’t even remember what the balls of mud are that came out of the grey tub.)

Allan rounded off the stern to his arbor-top tribute to Chinook canoes.

I arranged for some mulch to be delivered and tried to spend my last hour before it arrived by digging up some hollies and some wild running tall grass from the willow grove. I couldn’t budge most of it.

Impossible holly will have to be thwarted by clipping.

Some of the holly is outside our alleged property line (with which you know by now that we disagree). If it is not my holly, I guess I don’t have to try to control its noxious weediness??

Skooter got himself stuck in the Catio again (by asking to go indoors for a snack).

And then the mulch arrived.

I started moving it by wheelbarrow. It is a long way back to the willow grove from front driveway…at least 500 feet round trip. I wished we could have had some of the soil dumped on the southeast corner easement road…but there is too much gear shed stuff in the way of backing a truck in.

Although I was too tired to appreciate the garden much, I did notice this Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’.

The poor sad lawn is still trying to suck off my shoes.

After his door project came to a stopping point, Allan implemented an idea I had had: filling all our four to five gallon buckets and stacking them in the van….

…then very carefully driving around the corner to the easement road, where the van can be got much closer to our gate by wending around totes and pots in a way that van with trailer cannot do.

I had made only eight wheelbarrow trips by the time he drove out back. I really had wanted to see how long and how many miles ten trips would make. But it was getting dark, so I stopped to dump out the buckets he brought in the southeast gate.

His method of moving soil (which he says I should take credit for thinking of) covered half again as much ground and took half as long as my wheelbarrowing across the mucky soggy lawn.

Results of the van soil moving method:

Results of twice as long wheelbarrowing time:

There will still be some wheelbarrowing. This part of the project is supposed to be mine. Yet when I had tried to load buckets of mulch into the van, I found I was too exhausted to pick them up.

I did a map my walk of the eight wheelbarrow loads, which included the time spent dumping the many buckets from the van.

It’s just possible some mulch will be left over from the willow grove project and could be put in the front garden, requiring a blissfully short trip.

I will be depressed if we lose our view of the sunset over Cape Disappointment.

After dark, Allan painted the door that will replace a disintegrated door between us and the gear shed’s back yard. It’s handy to be able to step through a door there for bindweed control along the fence. He has added reinforcements to the back so this old door should last a few years.

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Friday, 21 January 2022

At home

We are due for about seven days of welcome dry weather. I hope the lawn will dry, because I need to get soil for the new beds and it is still very hard to wheelbarrow to the south end.

I started by getting bog plants out of the big grey tub, with Allan’s help. They were heavy.

We had an audience.

Skooter got himself stuck in the Catio again.

Then we rolled the tub on a handcart to the west end of the bridged swale, where it solved the problem of the fence being high off the ground in summer. I had the underneath of the fence somewhat unsuccessfully blocked with a mixture of rocks, concrete chunks, and driftwood so that visiting small dogs could not run under in summer. Not that small dogs visit as often as I would like them to.

As we pulled the rocks and chunks out from under water, Allan commented, “Great time to do this when the water is high.”

I admit that when it came to leveling the tub, I thought about waiting a few days till the water disappeared. But then I thought of the convenience of being able to dip water from the swale into the tub and persevered.

Despite our efforts, it ended up not quite level when full of water. Rocks along the front (when the swale water recedes) and bog plants inside will hide this. At a time of evaporation in summer, we will set it to perfection. It can’t be dug into the ground because its handy drain valve is close to the bottom.

Last night while watching an excellent zoom lecture by Loree Bohl (Danger Garden), who was the speaker for this month’s meeting of the Portland chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, it finally registered with me that the shiny metal version of our grey plastic container is called a “stock tank”. She loves the metal ones. So do I, but we somehow acquired the grey one for free.

Anyway, I hope that if the bog frogs outside our fence wake up to a bulldozer one day, they will hop inside our fence and see that I am trying to make new homes for them.

Allan put some little metal tabletops onto the southeast gate as a stop the eye measure…

…and then put up the lattices that we got for free when a friend was moving. (I need to add one more spray of paint on a nice day). New ones, left, below.

I love the way the lattice looks on the fence by the wayback sit spot, making it feel enclosed more than with just the long shutters that were already there, and yet you can see into the willow grove. Most satisfying.

I started on the next pond/bog project, with the pond form that Patti gave us. I want to sink it in by the garden rowboat. I dug and dug and after two hours, this was as far as I had gotten.

I was discouragingly slow, partly because I was afraid of falling in the hole or the adjacent pond. Also, what FOOL put landscape fabric under rocks around the boat?! That would be me 11 years ago. I used to think it was good under a rocky area or path. I know better now… In my opinion, the only place it might be good is on top of a porous chair or table to turn it into a plantscape.

Coincidentally, in the evening I read this passage about gravel paths in Paige Dickey’s excellent new book, Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again.

Even though Allan was busy trying unsuccessfully to fix his vintage air compressor …

…he showed up at the right moments to wheelbarrow over six loads of brown sand out to the willow grove. I was pleased to be generating some much needed DIRT with this project.

It was high tide in Baker Bay two blocks south, and it was also high tide as I reached the bottom of the hole I was digging.

The water was still rising at dusk.

I did not achieve my goal of getting the pond form in place today. I’m no good at getting down INTO the hole, which is what is necessary at the end, so Allan will help with the final scooping out of the sides. He also got ready for his next project, involving this old door.

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Yesterday, I spent most of the day reading David Kynaston’s wonderful new history book, On the Cusp, part of his Tales of a New Jerusalem Series, which are all amazing. I long for the next one. He’s about my age so, since this new book covers just a few months of 1962, and he intends to write his detailed British history through 1979, he had better keep on task! And I hope I live long enough to read them.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Susie’s garden

In my constant thirst for more dirt, I was inspired by the weather being simply cold and unpleasant, but not pouring rain, to suggest we get some more dirt from the pile at the bottom of Susie and Bill’s driveway.

Pulling it by hand into buckets works well for watching out for weed roots, as does only filling the buckets half full so they are not too heavy. The pile looked slightly better after than it did before. There is still some usable dirt in there, brown sand that is useful for building up a solid base on a garden bed. We might get more later.

I think we can bring the planting alongside the driveway down almost to the street…when work season officially begins in about a month.

Bulbs are not emerging yet in the main garden.

Long Beach

After an errand to the bank, we detoured out to the Boldstad beach approach, where the water alongside is even deeper.

Patti’s garden

Because we have our work gear mostly unpacked from the van, I had no biscuit for Stella! I felt terrible! Patti saved the day by giving me some biscuits, which I pretended were from us.

Patti and I had a chat while Allan installed a gate, which was the working purpose of our visit, and I removed dead annuals from the window boxes and slightly tidied the garden bed. The weather was tiresomely cold.

We are being extra cautious even outdoors because the Omicron variant has exploded here, with new cases in the 300s this week and rising rapidly day by day. Note window boxes in background, above, and below (before final tidying).

At home

We parked on the access road and schlepped the buckets of dirt into the willow grove.

That’s as close as we can get.

I need several yards of mulch!!
The water was high again on the lawn.

To my surprise, the new stepping stones were still walkable in the bridged swale.

Earlier this week, I cleaned some ashes out of the remnant of an old burn barrel that was in that spot when we bought the place.

This gave me an idea that I will finish cleaning it out and see if it holds water. It looks good as water within water, and I’ve been thinking about sinking a pond form into the slightly deeper west end of the swale to hold some water all the time. I’m finding that idea even more intriguing now in my mission to create more frog habitat.

Having spent yesterday sorting out and storing almost all the leftover lumber, Allan did a bit more shed tidying and took some photos of the cats, Nickel outdoors…

…and Skooter indoors.

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