Archive for the ‘our garden’ Category

Saturday, 14 October 2017

After attending the Cranberrian Fair, I got straight to my gardening mission.  Well.  Maybe I sat and read the news and Facebook for half an hour first.

Because Devery next door had told me she’d found frost on her vehicle this morning, I decided it was high time to get the tomatoes out of the greenhouse and put the tender plants in.

Before: Even though the tomatoes look sad, they are still producing.

There are still tadpoles in a tray by the greenhouse where I stacked the empty pots.  I swear the tadpoles motto is “I’ll never grow up, not me!”

Why won’t they become frogs?

A greenhouse review:

The lemon cucumbers were yummy but too hard to peel. Won’t grow them again.

Black Krim tomato: Only got two and did not much like them. Too mild and mealy.

Chocolate Cherry was my favourite.

Pineapple was tasty and prolific, unusual here for a larger tomato. Will grow this one again.

Better Boy gave me just a few red ones.

I also liked the usual Sweet 100 and a small yellow pear tomato, cherry sized.

I kept ruining a big spider’s day.

Frosty stayed near me while I worked.

after…and oh! my back hurt by the time this was done.  I had Allan move the last two pots for me; I simply could not.

The spider went up onto the door frame in despair.

I was glad I noticed and gently moved it out before shutting the door tight for the night!

Todd had visited to pick up some pieces of aruncus (goatsbeard) and brought two more of his dad’s special zucchinis.  He and his father, Dobby, have now given away 2050 zukes.  I normally do not like zukes, but these are a special variety with no peel and have a much better flavour.

While cleaning up around the front of the greenhouse, I found some rocks that had been displaced by the compost bins.  I loaded them up for tomorrow’s project.

last harvest, including one of the thin skinned zukes from Todd

In the evening, we went out to the Sou’wester for an event that irresistibly intrigued me.

Vintage trailers at the Sou’wester

vintage trailers with windows aglow

Allan’s photo

the Sou’wester sunporch shop (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

in the lodge living room. The picture on the wall is always out of focus, and I do not understand it.

The host, Libby Werbel of Portland Museum Of Modern Art, introduced the event with a good speech about how we were all sad these days. “This is a sad time; we encourage you to be sad with us.”  A fellow named Michael Hurley who had inspired the event was unable to be there. The DJ, Eric Isaacson of Mississippi Records, played the first of the five sad songs: Is That All There Is? by Peggy Lee.  He said he had listened to it over and over when he was ten.

The first singer was skilled and mellifluous.

Allan’s photo

Even though her music was good, I did not find most of the songs to be as sad as I had expected.  Mostly the theme was lost love, whereas I think my sadness is much more wide ranging as I have become older.

One song memorably stood out, about driving the Oregon coast highway and imagining going over the steep side into the ocean.

The second recorded song played by Eric Isaacson,  Reaping What I Sow,  did live up to what I thought a sad song should be.  I can’t find it now because I can’t remember who performed it.

His third choice of sad song, This Bitter Earth, was from a film called Killer of Sheep. You can see it in the film right here.

A man read a story, which he accurately said was scary rather than sad.  Its title, French Exit, refers to leaving a party without saying goodbye.

Allan’s photo

After the story,  I succumbed to feeling old (usually the crowd is mixed in age; tonight, I swear I was the old old lady) and so tired, and uncomfortable because I was sitting alone in a crowd, and yet not sad enough, except for being sad about being old and tired. I longed to be home.  Allan (who had been standing at the back) agreed to leave, so unfortunately, I don’t know what the last two saddest songs were.  We made a French exit. Somehow I had expected MORE cathartic sadness and did not get what I was seeking, which is no fault of the event.

At home, we had a dinner including our own harvest.  I love what Allan did with the pineapple tomato and the cherry tomato.  The cucumber (a straight cucumber, not the lemon cucumber) was too bitter to eat.  Google tells me that the plant may not have gotten watered often enough, or might have been too hot (perhaps from growing it in the greenhouse instead of outside).

We are watching the final season of Girls, a show that I love for a number of reasons, and I’m sad to have it end.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

I had spent the earlier part of the afternoon reinforcing the undersides of the fence all the way round so that my neighbor dog, Royal, can play zoomies along the garden paths.  He is an escape artist, nicknamed Houdini at the animal shelter from which he came.

places where he could slip under the fence patched with rubble

more escape routes patched with bricks, rocks and pottery

I had been wishing for a park bench for my new clearing in the bogsy woods.  Perhaps, thought I, I might buy one, and yet normal park benches are too long for the new space.  When I had looked out my window this (late) morning, I had seen this:

morning view

little park bench!

I had walked by that little bench on West Willows Loop so many times.  Someone had given it to us, broken and full sized, and Allan had refurbished it into a short park bench.

I dragged it inch by inch back to the bogsy woods spot.

Two days ago, when we had laid some sod bits on the lawn to raise a low area, Allan had tried out our old rusty roller and found out it no longer works.  He had the brilliant notion to cut the handles off and turn it upright for a plant stand.

Friday night: Allan grinds off the old handles.

new area, to be refined more tomorrow

I went back to patching the fence.  The most difficult part was the east side between us and the gear shed, where access is difficult. I shoved in some boards from our side and, where the shrubbery was too thick, rocks and cement chunks from the gear shed side.

Allan had spent his afternoon putting up our Halloween lights, a mission complicated by the usual problems of finding strings that did not work.  Lights that were marked purple on the package disappointingly turned out to be red.  My only way to cope with that was to remember that blooooooood red is a colour for Halloween.  (Halloween gore is the part I don’t like.) And red will also work for Christmas.

lights with the berries of Billardia longiflora (Allan’s photo)

The billardia berries, in full shade, are amazing this year.

As Allan finished, I got his help for the last ten feet of fence patching with cement chunks.  The sun was setting and I was beat.

With the great fence accomplishment done, I craved our last package of spicy sausages and built a fire.  This may be the year’s final dinner campfire.  We have enough wood saved for one more fire on Halloween eve, if the weather permits.  Tony and Scott are inviting people to our house for the Ilwaco trick or treat extravaganza and Tony thinks they would enjoy a fire.

campfire dinner

Monday, 16 October 2017

In the afternoon, Allan decided to go out on a quick boating trip (tomorrow’s post).  When he moved the van out of the garage, he found two zucchinis that Todd had put on the windshield on Saturday.  I had forgotten to fetch them in.  This means that those zukes rode ten blocks last night to and from the local market for milk without Allan noticing them.  I found that hilarious.

Today’s mission was to clear out the third compost bin and acquire some rough mulch for the bogsy woods, to back up some of the under fence rubble patches.


I would have to pile the first and second bin high.

40 minutes later

one wheelbarrow load rough mulch

bins piled high, wish we had placed them further to the side and fit in four!

rubble edge in SE corner of garden

Future mulch will make it harder for escape artist Royal to move the rubble.

added more driftwood to west end of bogsy swale

Planting of some new ladies in waiting followed.

Barberry ‘Pow Wow’

transplanted some shady plants (hardy begonias, something lost-taggii from Todd, and a painted fern) into the new sit spot area.

I love this bench and the old roller as a table!

Should I paint the bench, and if so, purple, or blue, or ??  Or every slat a different colour, or??

That might have to wait till spring.  It was hellish hard to move so can’t get it back to a dry space for painting.

Arum italicum in Allan’s garden, will move some to woods

Other plants I can divide out for woods: epimidiums and pulmonarias.  I want to take some of those to a shade bed in neighbour Mary’s garden, too.

I ended my gardening day with a frenzy of weeding (finally!), totally filling up the big wheelie bin.  The weeding is still far from being the “good weeding” that has been on my home work list since early summer.

looking southeast into the autumnal garden

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’ is over; I somehow missed its pre-final stages.

How very much I love Sanguisorba ‘Korean Snow’.

I found a Halloween spot, for dead flower bouquets, for MaryBeth’s twin black urns.

Allan, back from his boat trip, hung some more Halloween lights in the last of daylight.

evening sentinal Skooter (Allan’s photo)

These two lazy old men had spent the day indoors.

The only sad thing today was Devery and I did not have a chance to test Royal out playing zoomies inside the fence.  We were afraid to try it in the evening because if he found a way out, chasing him in the dusk would be hard.

our front porch (Allan’s photo)

spider lights over the gate (Allan’s photo)

purple and the red that was supposed to be purple (Allan’s photo)

The J’s were down for the weekend and got their lights up, too.

One punkin is burned out.

Tomorrow is predicted to bring rain, and Wednesday more rain.  Not sure when we will be able to work.  The plan for tomorrow is to get the garage all set up for bulbs which are incoming this very week.







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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Without any plan for the gardening day, I ended up spending hours on the first area that I saw when going out the back door: the garden next to Devery’s driveway.  It was an unsuccessful kitchen garden this year, except for potatoes and borage.

This photo shows how potatoes are made.

I pulled and raked a lot of debris from when this area was the debris pile and took the twiggy brown bits over to the new compost bins.

I disrupted this frog’s day considerably.

Across the driveway, Royal and Frosty enjoyed each other’s company.

Just as I was finishing the big weeding and hauling project, I had to take shelter in the greenhouse from a pelting rain.

greenhouse view, noisy rain

The rain barrels quickly filled again.

Allan had gone to the library.  He returned with a gift for me from our Ilwaco friend Ann S, who had tucked it in next to the book I had ordered.

That was most kind.

The Depot Restaurant

In the evening, we treated Our Kathleen to a three days belated birthday dinner, joined by our friend and artist Michele.  (She is the one who hosted the political postcard parties last winter.)

Michele and Allan

Kathleen’s favourite appetizer, Thai Calamari

Asian salad

salmon for Michele

Steak Killian

Allan’s Vegetable Primavera

an original art card from Michele

flourless chocolate cake for Kathleen

peach cobbler

The conversation was so interesting to all of us that we sat, ate, talked from 7 PM till 10 PM, realizing it was time to go when the last table but ours departed.  Such a scene always reminds me of the end of My Dinner with Andre, when the two friends look up and realize that the restaurant staff is sweeping the floor and putting up the chairs and every other diner is gone.

Outside, the moonlight and the streetlight dramatically lit the garden.

On Sunday, we visited Pam and Prissy in Seaside (tomorrow’s post).

Monday, 2 October 2017

I had another day of garden puttering.  Allan, in trying to mow Devery’s front lawn, had found that the mower no longer will stay on.  I was the last one to use it, on Thursday while he painted the shed.  This led to some dark mutterings of having “loaned it out”.  My mother’s old electric mower holds a charge only briefly, so he picked away at Devery’s lawn with that, in short spurts.

Meanwhile, I heard some loud crashings and bashings out beyond the bogsy woods and went to investigate.  The port’s big mower and trimmer machine was at work all along the edge of the meander line.  I took some befores, durings, and afters of the willow grove to the outside of our fence.

before, looking southwest; the willows beyond the ditch were already gone.

I moved my bench inboard, just in case.

before, looking southeast

the port being revealed as branches are removed

after, looking southwest

southeast, after

The swale will be a pond in winter.

Just last week I had been thinking of pruning out a view point through the branches, so I have no complaints about this port project.  Now I have a view at the south end of the main corridor:

A photo from last week shows the difference in the southwest corner:

last week


I was glad that last weekend’s salmonberry chopping frenzy had not included the ones that give privacy on the inside of the fence.

quite glad I kept these salmonberries

I spent the day planting and transplanting.

Allan’s photo, while fixing a string of lights at the edge of the roof.

Allan’s photo

potting up a new fuchsia

My mom’s “copper” rose was too overgrown with other tall plants to thrive in the front garden, and I believe the deer are still managing to get in to that area despite my bamboo pole and wire fencing at the sidewalk edge (where zoning does not allow a tall solid fence).

I hope it revives in a better back garden spot next to my mom’s “red velvet” rose.

mom’s two roses together again

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All” is changing its shape.

I planted my three new plants from Xera, the ones I had picked up yesterday from Pam.

Hydrangea ‘Edgy Orbits’ (which has been a disappointment) got moved to the bogsy woods, to make room for…

Clerodendrum trichotomum

Two new callistemons went into the west side of the front garden.  As I planted Callistemon viridflorus ‘Shamrock’ near another one, I was feeling quite pleased to be added to my collection of these cool bottlebrush shrubs…till I looked at the tag of the one planted last year.  It was also ‘Shamrock’; I had forgotten that I already had one.  Oh well, two side by side will make a good show.

The other callistemon is new to me, though, and I had to have it because of the name. I cleared a bed in its honor:

Callistemon ‘Wetlands Challenged Mutant’ will have creamy flowers someday.

I still think about taking all the lawn out in this one area and making the paths and edges be gravel.

Green is nice, and so soft and comforting when my foot hurts, but….

In the pleasant evening, we had a campfire.

roasting a campfire dinner, moon rising over the gear shed next door

Tomorrow: A three day work week begins.  But first, we will back track a day for our visit to Pam’s garden.






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Monday, 25 September 2017

When Allan dismantled a plant display bench in order to keep painting the shed, he found this sword fern growing right on the bench.  We had both thought it was growing up from ground level.


From inside the house, I heard familiar voices.  To my delight, I emerged to find that Scott and Tony had dropped by.  We toured the garden and Tony announced that he wants to have a bonfire party here on Halloween evening.  I said sure, because it is an occasion for which I will have cleaned house.

Tony took one of his famous selfies.

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

Allan’s photo

They loved the popping seeds of the touch me not (of which I grow a small, controlled patch). (Allan’s photo)

Before they departed, I loaded Tony up with apples, tomatoes, and peppers.


Cripps Pink apples


Scott and Tony

While Allan painted, Skooter lounged just inside his shed.

I was inspired to do something about the former woodpile area.  Firewood used to be stored on two decrepit old adirondack chairs and is now piled in another area.  One of the chairs disintegrated.  I moved and painted the other one, which is still holding together but lacks a seat.

newly painted chair

I am ever so pleased because I think it makes a destination at the end of the long green path.

It is at the SW corner of the garden.

I continue to admire Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’.

I also like this gold leaved four o clock, grown from seed by Roxanne of Basket Case Greenhouse.

A drizzle began quite unexpectedly.

Smoky found a new sit spot indoors, shoving things out of the way.

The rain was so light that Allan kept painting.

I had had no intention of gardening in the rain, and yet when I went back to look at the old firewood area, I got inspired to continue.

the last of the old firewood area, 18 Sept.

the old firewood area today

the salmonberry grove behind the gunnera

I had a big idea and started lopping salmonberries.

two hours later

When we get the trunks chopped out of there, it will become easier to keep salmonberries from coming forward into the hydrangea bed.

I had made quite a mess of debris.

The gunnera shows up so much better.

There is a now a salmonberry cave behind the hydrangea bed.  With a cat in it.

I had made the south side of the bogsy wood loop wider, too.



I love the new green on the shed.

still a work in progress

Calvin out of the rain under the eaves

Orb spiders are all over the garden, as happens every autumn.

spangled cobwebs

autumn colour from Hamamelis

I deserved a cuppa Builders after working all afternoon in the rain.

Slow Drag mug by Don Nisbett

Allan kept at his painting till dusk.

Allan’s photo at end of day

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

By saving us from having to water, the rain had given us another day off.

Not much rain, says the rain gauge, but enough to keep the planters damp.

Allan kept on painting.

Allan’s photo

All around the cedar shakes of the shed, he used spray paint to fill in the crevices, and then brush painted.

Allan’s photo

apple tree reflection in the mirror up at the top of the front of the shed (Allan’s photo)

While he painted the front of the shed, I hauled the many branches of salmonberries from yesterday’s pruning, 200 feet from the back of the garden to the trailer parked on the street.

the trailer overflowing

As I was loading the last of the debris, Thandi (owner of the Sou’wester Lodge and an Ilwaco resident) walked by with her mother, her partner, and their one year old daughter, Celestine.  I showed Thandi how I had made a cave in the salmonberry grove, even though I don’t have any children in my life to appreciate it.  Maybe Celestine will, some day.  I did not have a camera in my pocket so you will have to imagine a one year old taking a big enthusiastic bite out of a freshly picked apple and then eating enough cherry tomatoes that her smile was rich with with tomato juice.

End of day: Painting the gutter blue. This did not work out…by the next day, the paint had peeled right off of it.

I put a third coat on my painted chair.

I hauled a heaping wheelbarrow load of debris out of the SE corner:

Ahem, it looks like Frosty was…doing some business…He was really just exploring.

I was pleased to find two little Lonicera ‘Baggesons Gold’ still alive there despite having been stunted and buried by weeds.  Now…what shall I do to make this area a destination worth the walk to the way back?

Thursday, 28 September 2017

After a Wednesday work day (tomorrow’s post), we took one more day off so that Allan could finish painting the shed trim before a big predicted rainy day on Friday.

Skooter at the base of the front porch stairs.

Smoky’s gift

The outer window trim had been green, and now matched the shed walls.  That would not do.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

So yesterday, we had bought some turquoise paint.  After putting one one more coat of green on the walls (and repainting the gutter), Allan added the final trim colour.

the shed all painted and redecorated

I had mowed the lawn while Allan painted.

I did not know Allan was taking this.

I love the negative space provided by salmonberry editing.

Allan took out the salmonberry stumps.

all clear

I admired some of my hardy fuchsias.  Thandi’s mother had been amazed that the big fancy ones are perennials.

some garden admiration

All visitors have been smitten by Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’:

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’ is the latest bloomer here.

garden looking autumnal

painted shed (back window is going to get replaced, although the window guys have NOT called back!)

the shed all painted and decorated

I am very pleased.

At dusk, we met Dave and Melissa at El Compadre Mexican Restaurant.

The meal met with great satisfaction by all. Even though the restaurant was full, something about the acoustics made it easy for me to hear Melissa talking, which I much appreciated.

margaritas all around



cheerful and attractive

We expected a great deal of rain on Friday. Melissa said that no tourists would be worried about whether or not the cosmos in Long Beach were deadheaded in the rain, so I decided that we just might take Friday off, too.


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Yesterday, in a photo caption, I mis-identified the Ilwaco Fire Dept as Long Beach. No idea why!  Fortunately, astute blog reader Our Kathleen caught the error.  

Saturday, 23 September 2017

I thought I should go to the Saturday Market for a few photos for Discover Ilwaco, since the market has only two more weekends to go and might get rained out on the last one.  I had not been to the market much this summer because of my sore heel.  Now that it is feeling better, I can walk without constant pain.

I decided to not disturb my neighbor Rudder with pets.

Approaching the market, I noted that the tall ships were tall.

De Asis produce

two tall ships

Allan had signed on for tomorrow’s “battle sail” on one of these ships.

Mandolin Pete with a guitar instead outside Don Nisbett’s gallery

busy market day

a market patron

two little cuties

I was eager to get home to my garden, but when I did, I found that going to the market had sapped my energy, so I accomplished little.  Allan worked on painting his shed.

before (Allan’s photo)

Allan painting his shed.

I accomplished one thing, with Allan’s help a bit: digging out the snail chewed hostas.  I am giving up on them.  Almost.  I chopped off a little piece of each to try to grow in a drier spot.

can’t look at this anymore

I was then inspired to sift some compost, so the day was not wasted.

In the late afternoon, rounding the corner to dump some sifted compost along Willows Loop West, I was stopped by a beacon of light.

It was the glowing of Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’, an ironically late blooming kniphofia that Todd gave me.  It is spectacular.

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’ illuminated by late afternoon sun

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’

lovely compost, not sifted ultra fine because it is going on a perennial bed.

I finally decided this horrible heather had to go. OUT.

Allan’s end of day photo

Sunday, 24 Sept 2017

Ed Strange stopped by to pick up the hostas.  His hosta patch is glorious and mine will be happier there.

Ed’s Jackson

Goodbye Sum and Substance and the other one

Allan departed to walk to the port, first to tour a Tall Ship and then to go on a sail.  It would, however, not be a battle sail; he had gotten a call this morning that their gunpowder had not been delivered, so the event was now an hour shorter Adventure Sail.  That will be tomorrow’s post.

I had company at noon ish: Dear friend Judy S., her spouse Larry and sister Rosalie.  We had a gratifying tour of the garden (because they like it) and a good talk in the shady campfire area.

Rosalie, Larry, Judy

I dug this hardy fuchsia out of the (now compost mulched) former hosta bed and gave it to Judy.


I had a surge of energy and got ALL my ladies in waiting planted.  It helps a lot that my foot is hurting much less.

Asclepias fascicularis

Asclepias speciosa

Eryngium proteiflorum (went in by the garden boat)

The strawberries are trying to take over my would-be scree garden.

Eryngium padanifolium

Chocolate Shogun is near the base of the lady.

Astilbe ‘Chocolate Shogun’

My Metapanax delavayi from Xera also went into the former hosta bed.

Metapanax delavayi berries

Metapanax delavayi berries—thrilling!

I sifted more compost.  Frosty stayed close by.

I got the third bin sifted and emptied and put new newspaper down at the base (as a weed barrier).

Now I have two full bins of old debris, and will start layering the brown with new green material in the empty bin.

I took the last sifted wheelbarrow load of compost to a weedy path on the east side of the fire circle and proceeded to weed in preparation for mulching.

weeded and ready, but….

I remembered that I had thought this might be a cool spot to have a pond, probably one made out of a big, and I mean REALLY big, tub. because tree roots would prevent digging.  A tub like the ones I saw in this garden in Portland.

I stared at the garden bed for at least ten minutes, just trying to decide.  Big tub pond here? With a bench around it maybe? But where to get a big tub like that? And it is far from electricity (if one wanted a burbler in it).

to tub or not to tub

A big tub with a curved bench in front, where people could sit some distance from the campfire, would be amazing.

I finally dumped the load of compost onto the old hosta bed because I did not want to waste it on a bed that might get transformed.

old hosta bed with ALL the mulch

Allan returned, well satisfied with his Tall Ships sailing experience.  As a reward for much garden and painting progress, and because the evening was almost windless, we had a campfire dinner.

It has been an enormous relief to get my home gardening energy back.  One large factor has been that my foot is hurting much less than during midsummer, when it made it impossible to do much on days off but sit and kvetch and read.





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Sunday, 17 September 2017

We had rain, and I read.

I just love diaries.  I have to like the writer at least a little bit to enjoy them.  I sort of like Sedaris….I guess.  I certainly identify with this passage, having determinedly avoided hugs at yesterday’s rally:

I find that every time I say this, people who are huggers either express remorse for the last time they hugged me or  say they will continue to do so because they just love me so much. It is a conundrum.

Sedaris is not especially kind hearted.  At least he is honest about it in a way that amuses me greatly:

And then sometimes, I love him….in this passage about home movies and his late mother:

I finished the book and am eager for volume two to be published, although it will lack the parts that meant the most to me: his descriptions of what it was like to be poor.

Calvin after being chastised for biting at Smoky.

We’d had this much rain:

I checked out the rain barrels.

Calvin’s precarious drinking method. The other cats stand on their hind legs.

from the house roof: full

from the shed roof: not quite

unofficial rain gauge

official rain gauge (not a huge amount)

The garden smelled like autumn.

Skooter in one of his favourite spots

After the rain stopped, Allan went back to working on his shed project.  He was sad that the putty he had put in the nail holes up top had washed out.

removing old shakes

You can definitely see the difference in how the weather treated the sides of the shed (which was an electrical repair shop in WWII times).

south side

west side

north side

At the end of Allan’s day, all old siding now revealed.

Monday, 18 September 2017

With surprisingly fine weather, I was outdoors by noon trying to dig up a daylily.  I had learned just this year that daylilies suffer from a disease called daylily leaf streak.  I had thought it was normal for them to have crapulous looking leaves.  So out it goes, despite having rather nice, large maroon flowers.


I was thwarted by the digging project.  Allan came along with the magic shovel and the pick.

Skooter helped.

A couple of fellows from a window service came to look at the shed’s south window; Allan is going to get it replaced with one that can open, for ventilation.  When I mentioned the truly fascinating fact that the shed was an electrical repair shop in WWII….I got nothin’.  Hrmph.  I went back to my project, having been overcome with the energy to start shifting and sifting the compost bins.

Moving all the uncomposted pieces out of middle bin to right bin.

Left bin and middle bin have some good compost to sift.

My rather small sifter

I looked on the east side of the shed for my nice big sifter that covers an entire wheelbarrow.

Surely it is in here somewhere.

Then I remembered the moment at my old house when it disintegrated.  Damn.

I kept sifting even when rain began.

almost to the bottom!  found a pair of rusted clippers!

And then the rain became drenchingly earnest.

dumped my siftings where the daylily was, planted a veronicastrum from the ladies in waiting table

I felt frustrated by the weather.

Rumblings of thunder turned into huge claps that scared even me, and I usually like a thunderstorm.  Then….more disconcerting weather news via Facebook.

Tornado Warning

The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a

* Tornado Warning for…
Northwestern Clatsop County in northwestern Oregon…
Southwestern Pacific County in southwestern Washington…

* Until 415 PM PDT.

* At 340 PM PDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado
was located 9 miles southwest of Ilwaco, or 10 miles west of
Warrenton, moving northeast at 20 mph.

HAZARD…Tornado and quarter size hail.

SOURCE…Radar indicated rotation.

IMPACT…Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without
shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed.
Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree
damage is likely.

* This dangerous storm will be near…
Warrenton and Hammond Town around 405 PM PDT.
Ilwaco around 410 PM PDT.

TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest
floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a
mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter
and protect yourself from flying debris.”

What??  Allan was out running errands.  I called him and he came back.  We went to the post office, because it is a heavy duty building and I wished to heed the warning to get out of a mobile home! (A friend in emergency management said later that this was a wise choice, and failing that, “get the cats and get in the bathtub”.)

While nothing bad happened, it was all very disconcerting.  Last October, we had 9 tornado warnings in one day (most of which were early enough so that I slept through them).  I asked an expert if the weather had changed, since in the previous 23 years here I had never heard of a tornado warning. I was informed that more modern equipment now makes such warnings possible.  I then signed up for phone alerts.  Fortunately, a tornado warning only happens about once a year (I hope).  Last year, a tornado did tear through downtown Manzanita on the Oregon coast.

I do not like thunderstorms any more.

Having a relaxing evening in an intact home was an especially pleasant thing.  We watched Now is the Time, a documentary about Medicare for All.  I highly recommend it; rural Washingtonians can order it from the Timberland Regional Library.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

We continued with our days off because the rain had saved us from watering jobs.

The rain gauge showed impressive moisture with over two inches of “storm rain”.  Not sure how that differs from just plain rain.


I started clipping some green debris (daises and siberian iris) to layer in with the brown of the uncomposted material.Entering the garage to fetch some newspapers, I solved the Mystery of the Lost Peach, the one that Allan could not find in yesterday’s grocery bag.

It had rolled under the van.

The layer of newspapers on the bottom of the compost bins was still solid, but I added more anyway.

to keep weeds from coming through

I started layering in old kitchen compost.  We start it out in a locking bin because of raccoons and bears.  Not a good photo in the dark bin–of a big newt (or salamander?)

Sure that it must be 70 or 80 sweltering degrees, I had a look at the weather.  Oh.  61 degrees F.  Hmmm.

Calvin doing his balancing act

Skooter in another favourite place

Frosty tripping me up everywhere I go.

ate a delicious Cox’s Orange Pippin

Neighbours Devery on one side and Jared and Jessika on the other will help eat the Cripps Pink apples:

Cripps Pink is the REAL name for “Pink Lady” apples.

found this sweet baby in the compost bins

I dug down to the bottom of the left bin, getting only one wheelbarrow of good compost out of it, compared to three out of the center bin.

Even my new newspaper layer is political.

Can’t fit everything in the center bin!

sifting is bliss

The bottom layer of the left bin looks very promising.

I am saving it for next week because I need to weed the area where I want the sifted black gold to go.

Looking for some green to layer in, I rounded a corner on Willows Loop West and saw this gorgeous plant…

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’

end of a great day of compost shifting and sifting

Meanwhile, Allan had gone to the library, sanded the south side of his shed, dug up a big salmonberry stump in the bogsy woods, and mowed the lawn.

Ilwaco community building library garden, looking out

Allan also noticed the kniphofia at home.

stump before

and after

I think that tomorrow we will go back to work, but perhaps not, as the weather calls for another half an inch of rain during the day. 






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Saturday, 9 September 2017

You may have read our September 9 posts about the cottage tour.  I have two more things to say, the first being that I bought some bulbs for my garden at Costco on the way to Cannon Beach.  And as usual, their bulb arrangement caused me much angst because of the inaccessibility of many of the bulb bags.

The first section was neatly sorted, with each row being all the same bulb pack.  This was a much appreciated new phenomenon.

Organized bulbs! Well done, Costco!

Then I came to the same problem as every year.

I cannot get to the ones in the back to see what’s there!!

Usually, we haul the whole set of racks out into the aisle, determined to see everything.  Today, we did not have time because we had cottages to visit.

At the cottage tour, one of the most intriguing things I saw was in the cottage whose residents had turned all their books around.

I would be proud to have people browse my book titles (if I had dusted the books first).  I found it interesting that such private people were willing to open their home.  I am not saying which cottage it was.

I was ever so glad to be home after the tour.

at the post office to pick up our mail before going home

I rejoiced that I would not have to go anywhere for weeks, except to work and to dinner with Melissa and Dave.

That lasted for about 24 glorious hours until I saw that there is a rally, in Astoria, to support DACA (the Dreamers) next Saturday (16 Sept).   All I want to do is stay home in my garden.  However, there are most assuredly dreamers and their parents who would LOSE their gardens by being deported, so we must show up for that event.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

At 75+ degrees, the day was too hot to garden. After a day of blogging (for both of us, since Allan had many cottage photos to process), we had a campfire to celebrate the end of tourist season.  Our back garden was damp enough because of yesterday’s rain to make it safe.

alder wood and kindling

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ at dusk

a dinner of sausages and foil roasted (with butter, salt, and pepper) corn on the cob

The sky was clear, with many stars on view…if one turned one’s eyes from the annoying glaring white street light to our north.

NOT the moon. I miss the amber-reddish light that used to be there, and yes, I have kvetched to the powers that be, to no response whatsoever.

We then watched the excellent film, Bridge of Spies.

Monday, 11 September 2017

tooo hot for me!

Despite the heat, Allan embarked upon a project in the afternoon.  He is prying the shakes off of his shed, in preparation for new siding.  Underneath, he is finding old tongue and groove that just might be good enough to not have to cover.

prying off shakes around an old window (with Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ in the foreground)

Allan’s photos of his shed project:

south side, a jungle of hops, honeysuckle, and raspberry runners

before (foreground, a special buddleia from Todd)


None of the four windows in the shed open.  It gets hot and stuffy inside.  He wants to replace the four windows with vinyl ones that open.  (Won’t be as cute…or paintable…maybe.)

old wood revealed

He thinks maybe putty and sanding can save the old siding.


It is typical here at the beach for old buildings to be this weathered on the south and west sides.

I finally decided, after more blogging about cottages, that I simply had to do something in the garden.  By late afternoon, an annoying 21 mph wind had arrived, cooling the temperature but making it dangerous to work under the bogsy wood trees.  Nevertheless, that is what I did, cutting down a salmonberry to reveal a new area.  (Have I gotten all the established areas weeded? No, I have not. Never mind.)

early evening sun shining through the salmonberry tunnel on the west side of bogsy wood.

before: My goal was to open up the hidden southeast corner

after: And there it is! You can see the tarp of the stacked gear shed crab pots next door.

Now…what to do with this area?

The corner has a big patch of orange montbretia to eliminate.

Lots of weeding to do.

I once had Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ starts planted along the fence in this corner; they died from neglect.  I could try them again, or could maybe put up two outdoor plywood sheets in the corner and paint them blue!  Or…could plant something deciduous for privacy in summer and seeing through to the port in winter.

Today I ran out of energy and daylight before I did any weeding.  Allan will help me dig out the stump and haul the chopped salmonberry to the work trailer.

When he saw me emerge from this project, he said it was hard to take me seriously because I was wearing my slippers.

What if I got rid of THESE salmonberries and planted hydrangeas or Cornus elegantissima instead, hmmmm?  I just might.

At almost sunset, we chatted with Devery while she took my good friend Royal for his evening walk.

I then collapsed in my chair to do some evening reading with Smokey and Calvin.

Because I love diaries, I am loving this book, and yet I also find it disturbing.  In his youth, Sedaris worked construction jobs in Raleigh, North Carolina (later the home of Plant Delights Nursery and our friend Todd).  He keeps quoting the horribly racist things his white co workers would say.  It exposes the truth, and yet…I don’t think I could enjoy the book if I were Black, because the repeated use of racial slurs would be so hurtful and jarring that I might throw the book across the room.  (And this huge large print volume would do some damage.)  I don’t know what to think about whether Sedaris is right or not to quote the racists.  At least, he wrote (in his youth) about how he would object to what they said.  And we all need to be reminded that people and language like that still exist and need to be … battled.  I am at a loss for words about this.

Despite all that, I am truly a sucker for diaries, and I would like to read the unexpurgated originals and not just the excerpts he chose.

How very much I relate to the following; my mom would give my groceries sometimes when I was poor, at just about the age Sedaris is in this entry:

With a huge book full of treasure like this….

…..I wish that I had two rainy days to sit and read it from cover to cover.

Tomorrow: back to work



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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

We took the morning off to receive guests Jay and Diane, all the way from Florida!  I’ve been Facebook friends with Jay since he first visited our garden in 2014.  On that occasion, I was smitten with his insightful questions.  For example, he wanted to know who had been my greatest gardening influence.  When I said my grandmother, he asked to know her name “because it is important to say people’s names.”  He was here visiting his Long Beach sister, along with his good friend, Diane.

Jay and Diane arrive

Jay gave Allan and I each a t shirt of this delightful design from a place called Barberville Pioneer Settlement.

We walked out into the garden.

It’s looking rather autumnal.

I took note of what they noticed.


honeysuckle berries

honeysuckle flowers


wild impatiens (touch me not, my small and controlled patch of noxious weeds)

Everyone jumps when the seed pods pop.

an odd dandelion seedhead with a topknot

Diane said the Leycesteria (Himalayan honeysuckle) reminded her of shrimp plant.  She ate a creme brulee tasting berry.

fence decor

We sat around the fire circle for awhile (where we are not having fires lately because of dry conditions).

Diane wanted to visit the willow woods outside the south gate.

the swale between us and the port parking lots

the willow woods (Not many people ask to come this far into the depths of the property)

followed by Skooter and Smokey

We all smelled the fizzy leaves of the Stachys ‘Hidalgo’ (7 Up Plant).

Diane noticed my carniverous sarracenia.

Jay went with Allan to the workshop to look at two autoharps that he is borrowing for the week of his visit.  Diane and I walked around some more, and I noticed what she noticed:

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Helenium ‘Carnival’

Pink phlox (left) and escallonia (right)

this hardy fuchsia

my mom’s red velvet rose

By now, Jay and Allan had repaired to the house to look at more of Allan’s old musical instruments.

a dual player dulcimer that Allan built back in the 1970s.

Jay and Diane left, with Jay carrying two autoharps.  Two more plants were especially noticed:

a white passion flower

and of course, they had to smell the peanut butter leaves of Melianthus major. (Tetrapanax in the foreground.)

Melianthus major

Allan and I waited for a couple of hours before going to water at the port; he was typing away at a boating blog post while I read the ever-disturbing news (hurricanes, Dreamers in jeopardy, fires, flooding).

Had a greenhouse tomato for lunch: Black Krim, very mild.

Then we were off to do a couple of hours of watering and weeding at the port.

hooking our hose up to the hose at Time Enough Books

watering the Time Enough Books curbside garden

the westernmost bed

I am not cutting plants back right now.  More plant life will help keep people from standing in the garden during Slow Drag on Friday (I hope).

west end of Waterfront Way

Foghorns out on the river have been a constant for the last couple of days.

The river is out past the marina, which is entered through a rather narrow channel.

I had intended to do the boatyard garden as well today.  Our working drive was weak.  Allan wanted to get back to typing, and I was not averse to going home and postponing the rest of the work till tomorrow or Friday.

I took another walk around the garden, noticing things.

Everywhere I stepped, Frosty was underfoot, as he had been with our visitors today.

Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’

a table of ladies in waiting

I managed to get just one plant planted:

Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ from Xera Plants

back garden…not quite sure, a varieated lonicera maybe?

very autumnal with Darmera peltata and astilbe

I long for a campfire. The fire danger is excessive right now.

Even well watered astilbe is crisping up.

I am giving up on hostas as soon as I find the strength to dig these out!

I couldn’t get a GOOD photo of my favourite bird, the common flicker.

Have been completely lax at deadheading my own cosmos.

fragrant Sinningia tubiflora from Xera Plants.

Salvia patens backed with Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

Am pleased with this basket I made with ‘Lemon Slice’ calibrachoa, black eyed Susan vine, and Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’.

That was an excellent day.








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