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Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

 

sun on dogwood leaves outside our kitchen window

Ilwaco

We started by pulling the rest of the now wind-battered sweet peas off of the fence at the Ilwaco boatyard and trimmed some more Stipa gigantea.

The boatyard garden is all greens and silvers now.

Long Beach

We continued to whittle down the fall clean up of the Long Beach planters, starting with taking down the last of the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ at the welcome sign.

windblown geraniums

There’s no after photo.  Just imagine it pretty much empty.

In town, we could tell the weather was about to be variable.

I had decided to clip back Geranium ‘Rozanne’ even if it still had some blue flowers.  My memory was strong of how miserable it is to do an extensive post-frost clean up in cold weather with cold hands.

before

planter in front of the Coastal Inn and Suites

Allan cleaned up under two trees just to the north of my project.

before (with Pacicum ‘Heavy Metal’ and some badasters

Panicum “Heavy Metal’ is a kind of greyish green grass in summer.

after

It is better to wait to prune down ornamental grasses in late winter.  However, sometimes I just realize that passersby do not GET this grass and probably think it looks weedy in the winter (or anytime).

The first big rain squall came.  I got into the van.  Allan was stuck under an awning (in yellow vest by the white pillars).

I had found a couple of rocks in the planter.

I am now finding painted rocks that have been hidden in the planters all summer, not very effective because they were so lost that some of their designs have worn off.  Mr. Tootlepedal asked about the painted rocks.  It’s a hobby that has caught on around here, and towns all over Washington State and Oregon, too, have groups of folks who paint and hide pretty rocks.  When you find one, you can keep it or re-hide it.  You can join the Facebook group associated with whatever group logo is (usually) painted onto the back of the rock and post a photo of it.

From one of the local groups, Ocean Park and Long Beach Rocks:

We paint rocks and hide them all over town for others to find. On the back of the rocks write Ocean Park/Long Beach Rocks and a Facebook symbol. If you find a rock, you can keep it or re-hide it for others to enjoy. You can also post pictures here of the rocks you hide, as well as the rocks you find.

This is a family friendly activity, so please don’t decorate rocks with profanity or obscenities. Always remember that this activity is about community and spreading joy, happiness and love.

They do bring me a lot of enjoyment as I find them and can brighten up a hard work day.

After the squall, finishing up the planter by Coastal Inn:

We moved on to another intersection, skipping a couple of blocks to get to the planters that I felt needed tidying the most.  The one in front of Hungry Harbor Grille, with its tired California poppies, had been on my mind.

before, with the planter by the carousel in foreground

I left this one for Allan.

Allan clipped the catmint in the near one, and I tackled the diagonal one.

before

creating a big mess

I needed the wheelbarrow!

after

after

The Hungry Harbor was getting its doors painted for Christmas. She got one door outlined in the time it took to clean the planter.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan also cleaned up the planter in front of Sweet Phees snack and pizza shop.

before cutting back the golden marjoram

after

Cutting the perennials now prevents the cutting of bulb foliage of those that come up early, and lets the flowers of the small spring bulbs show off better.  The grape hyacinths foliage is already up, which is normal.

Another tree garden cleaned up by Allan:

before, near Castaways Bar and Grille.

We had once tried to make this tree garden special, with some hardy fuchsias and fewer badaster and hesperantha.  But people park their dogs in it, and bikes, too, I suppose, and the good new plants got smashed so it went back to badaster and hesperantha.

after (Allan’s photos)

At 4:30, 45 minutes before dusk, the rain came back in earnest so we went home.

I’m spending some of my evening time reading The Grapes of Wrath, which continues to be both stressful and satisfying.  Satisfying because I so agree with John Steinbeck.

About a rich man with a vast acreage who is “mean, lonely, old, disappointed, and scared of dying.”:

How times have not changed:

The desperately hungry, who cannot find work despite daily questing for work, dream of just a small piece of land where they could grow food to eat:

Is a different time coming?

In his review of the film of The Grapes of Wrath, Roger Ebert wrote, “Of course Tom [Joad] didn’t know the end of the story, about how the Okies would go to work in war industries and their children would prosper more in California than they would have in Oklahoma, and their grandchildren would star in Beach Boys songs. It is easy to forget that for many, “The Grapes of Wrath” had a happy, unwritten, fourth act.”  Fortunately, I did not read the review till after I’d finished the book; it has a big spoiler about the book’s final scene.

Roger Ebert was not entirely optimistic about the fate of the workers:

 “The story, which seems to be about the resiliency and courage of “the people,” is built on a foundation of fear: Fear of losing jobs, land, self-respect. To those who had felt that fear, who had gone hungry or been homeless, it would never become dated. And its sense of injustice, I believe, is still relevant. The banks and land agents of the 1930s have been replaced by financial pyramids so huge and so chummy with the government that Enron, for example, had to tractor itself off its own land.”

 

 

 

 

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Monday, 13 November 2017

Even though the storm lived up to its advance reputation, it did us no harm.  The lights flickered but did not go out.  It was perfect reading weather, except for missing a certain cat cuddled under my chin.  The remaining three cats are nice, and they like me, but they do not dote on me.

There was some excitement to watch on the local Facebook feed:

The wind speeds were dramatic.

The 89 mph was up at Radar Ridge, a high hill south of the Astoria Bridge.

From the Chinook Observer, late Tuesday:

Overnight wind gusts Tuesday-Wednesday:
Megler Mountain: 76 mph
Naselle Radar Ridge: 70 mph
Cape Disappointment: 60 mph  [that’s just across the Ilwaco marina from us]
Sustained wind speeds around 50 mph at times

Skooter watching the weather

Meanwhile, I read.

This history of the Dust Bowl enlightened me in a gripping can’t put it down way about the harshness of the drought and sky blackening, lung choking dust storms of the 1930s.  I’d learned a bit about it in school, where the idea that contour plowing could heal the land impressed me.  But I had no idea till now how bad the dust had been.

How beautiful the land once was:

The advice of using dust to mulch!!

“The best side is up”:

“We Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land…”

“You are filled with dirt.”

Static electricity from the dust storms made barbed wire fences spark and burned kitchen gardens.

This book will stick with me.  Because I love diaries, I was especially pleased with diary excerpts of a farmer, Dan Hartwell, that were woven into the story.

A man of poetic thought in a dying land:

Mr. Hartwell just plain broke my heart.  The diary just ends, with no idea of what became of him.

I had read the book straight through with nary a pause.  I have ordered a documentary movie that includes Bam White, one of the people whose story figures large in it: The Plow that Broke the Plains.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

When I woke up, I looked out the south window and the skyline had changed.  What was that big grey thing? My view had never included a big grey….building?  I was disconcerted.

When I figured it out, I asked Allan to have a look. “Is that the river?” he asked, mystified for a moment also, until he also realized….”It’s a truck!”

It moved and my normal view returned.

It would have been a pretty exciting day if the river had suddenly returned to right outside our back gate.

The full gale flag still flew at the port, and another wind front battered the house.  Good, another reading day.

Calvin now waits for cereal milk.

I read another book straight through without a pause.  I had just acquired my own copy of the best book about the loss of of a pet, one that I had read twice before when my extra good cats Orson, and later Dumbles, had died.

reading with Smoky’s brother, Frosty

I thought that this time, I wouldn’t cry my way through the book. But I did, in a cathartic way.  Virginia Ironside had collected poetry and essays along with the most heartfelt stories that were written in to her in her job as a British “Agony Aunt’ (like Dear Abby).

And this:

And the inscription on a pet’s gravestone: “Here lies love.”

Orson sunning himself on the sidewalk, round 1991

Dumbles, 1999-2011

Smokey

I was pleased to find that Virginia Ironside has a Facebook page, along with several new books that I immediately ordered through interlibrary loan.  I’ve read her basic letters to an agony aunt book and one called “No, I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club“, about “aging disgracefully”, so I know I like her style.

Meanwhile, I had been inspired by The Worst Hard Time to finally read The Grapes of Wrath.  I had tried it last night, and just flicking through it made me think it was going to be a ponderous read.  Today, within seven pages I was mesmerized.  How had I missed this?  Allan has all of Steinbeck, a gift from his Grandma, Beulah Fones, who lived in Steinbeck country.  The only one I have read is The Red Pony, forced to in school and did not like it.  I have some catching up to do.

Allan’s Grandma Beulah

I read through half the book and finally had to sleep. I just needed a good rainy Wednesday to finish it.  That was not to be as the weather permitted work on the next day, and so I am still worried about the Joads, who just made it (well, some of them) across the desert into California.  I do not think their dreams are going to come true.

The moment I fell in love with The Grapes of Wrath, page 7, when young Tom Joad hitches a ride:

The refugees, trying to decide which possessions can go with them to California:

human kindness:

If I see someone traveling with a vehicle overloaded with possessions, and I have seen some vehicles that remind me of the Joads (because we know about the Joads even if we haven’t read the book), my immediate response is compassion and help, not turning away and contempt.  I fear for them and am going to get back to my reading the very minute I get this post scheduled.

(Allan has been busy working on a project involving his boating blog posts.  More on this later.)

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11-12 November: rainy time off

Saturday, 11 November 2017

It is Veterans Day.  I reposted my mom’s Marine Corps story on Facebook.

For the first time in months, I sat and read an entire book.  I have read all of Ruth Reichl’s culinary members.  She has turned her hand to a novel.

To my delight, one theme in the book is an imaginary correspondence in WWII between a young girl and famous chef James Beard.  You may recall that I spent all last winter reading WWII memoirs and novels.  In one part of the correspondence, the persecution of Italians in WWII is addressed:

The finder of the letters discusses this with a friend:

I wish the human race would learn to not persecute whole groups of people.  Yet more than 70 years later, it still goes on.

A delicious passage about the reading of old memoirs and letters:

Allan usefully occupied himself changing the house and shed locks (which have become worn) and adding another coat of paint to a plant table.  We’d had vague intentions of going to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum for the annual Chinook Tribe dinner.  We did not.  Allan said the streets were fully parked for a couple of blocks, so it must have been popular.  By the time the locks…and my book…were done, the dinner only had an hour to go and we would have missed the drumming demonstration.  We stayed home.  I turned my reading attention to The Tootlepedal Blog and caught up and then caught up on another favourite blog, The Miserable Gardener.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The last of the tomatoes, some ripened on the window sill. The dark ones are delicious Chocolate Cherry.

In my recent full house clean up for our Halloween party, I pinned some badges and brooches to the curtain over the cat door.

Skooter has taken a great interest in removing them.

This one, once my grandma’s, was in the center of my desk.

Skooter triumphant

We are expecting some WEATHER.

weather map

High wind warning:

South Washington Coast-
Including the cities of Raymond, Long Beach, Ocean Park, Naselle,
Cathlamet, and Cape Disappointment
348 AM PST Sun Nov 12 2017

…HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM TO 6 PM PST MONDAY…

The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a High Wind
Warning, which is in effect from 8 AM to 6 PM PST Monday. The
High Wind Watch is no longer in effect.

* WINDS…In the coastal communities, south wind 25 to 35 mph with
gusts to 60 mph. Near beaches and headlands, south wind 35 to 45
mph with gusts 65 to 75 mph. Winds turning more southwest
Monday afternoon.

* TIMING…Monday, with strongest winds during the afternoon.

* IMPACTS…Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power
lines. Scattered power outages are possible. Travel will become
difficult for high profile vehicles along Highway 101.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected
or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts
of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

I had best check behind the garage for loose plastic flowerpots and tidy such things up.  Oh! And the Great Wall of China must come down!

I told Allan that if he would take the plates down for me, I would make him famous in a photo.

Next year, when dry weather comes, we have beautiful mosaic plates to add, created by our friend, artist Michele Naquaiya.  She gave us a box of them when cleaning out her studio, including the glorious Garden Art sign that used to welcome her guests.  The plates are already are fitted out with plate hangers.  Thank you, Michele, and thanks to Judy and Larry for bringing them to us on Halloween.

I’m putting this cool little piece in the house with my other tchotchkes.

Now I’m diving into a cozy mystery and will blog again after the storm either lives up to its reputation or does not.

I enjoy this series very much, although I could do without the cat helping to solve the mystery.

The cats and I are enjoying this staycation preview of doing nothing much.

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Seattle Times (my home town paper) published an article about ICE on the Long Beach Peninsula.  Not only is it informative about the hardships of local immigrants, it is also beautifully captures the flavor of life here on this somewhat isolated sand spit.  Read about us here.

And recently, while Googling something, I came across a most enticing event about my beloved Nella Last.  If only I could go!  (Even if I could, it is sold out.  And I haven’t renewed my passport.) Tea With Nella Last would be such a joy.  So would a winter spent in the Mass Observation archive, something I could not even dream of when my dear cat Smoky was alive, because I would not have left him.  That reminds me of a favourite book that I intend to re-read this winter, Waiting for My Cats to Die by Stacy Horn.

The rain and wind kept me in today, although our friends Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) showed their usual impressive fortitude by working anyway at The Oysterville Garden.  They described sitting in their truck looking at the storm and then forging into it like entering a hurricane.  I would picture it as diving into an agitating washing machine, set on cold water.

Skooter by the front door

On the front porch, I found a package of cookies from Scott and Tony.  Amazing will power resulted in there being four left by the end of the day.

Tomatoes are ripening on the windowsill.  The model VW bus, a gift from Allan, represents one I used to have.

The cats all tucked themselves into naps, separately.

Skooter on a bed

Frosty on Allan’s chair

Calvin on my chair

I sat at my living room desk and worked on a long blog post about visiting Steve and John’s garden the day before.

Davidia ‘Lady Sunshine’ through a rainy window

rain and wind view from my desk

To my left, two cats.

To the right of my old Macbook, that empty spot where Smoky used to lie while I blogged.

The sky eventually brightened, but the cold wind continued.

Allan spent some time sanding an old table, once my grandmother’s, whose veneer top had chipped.  It will return to being a plant table when the paint dries.

In the evening, I finally finished a book in which I’ve been reading a few pages a day for weeks.  Margaret Drabble is a favourite author of mine.  I’d like to have read her latest book in a day, but it had coincided with bulb time and then with Smoky’s illness and death.

The book’s theme is aging and death, told in a quiet and undramatic way.

on heaven:

It must be this painting.

Spencer, Stanley; The Resurrection, Cookham; Tate; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-resurrection-cookham-201964

With this label, from the Tate Gallery:

Spencer believed that the divine rested in all creation. He saw his home village of Cookham as a paradise in which everything was invested with mystical significance. The local churchyard here becomes the setting for the resurrection of the dead. Christ is enthroned in the church porch, cradling three babies, with God the Father standing behind. Spencer himself appears near the centre, naked, leaning against a grave stone; his fiancée Hilda lies sleeping in a bed of ivy. At the top left, risen souls are transported to Heaven in the pleasure steamers that then ploughed the Thames.

Gallery label, September 2016

I learned a new word, “eschatology”.

The “downward step” of aging:

To add to my winter reading list, Margaret Drabble’s inspirations:

Margaret Drabble’s books are always over my head, due to my lack of education.  She inspires me to look things up, and learn.  One of her brief mentions was of the “varicolored but disturbing” Kitaj Tapestry.

An ideal staycation’s reading might be to read through all of her books again, from the beginning.  I own them all through The Radiant Way.  I remember my favourites being The Waterfall and The Needle’s Eye. If I could resist getting a pile of new books from the library, that re-reading might be accomplished.

I set my Goodreads goal too high this year: 90 books.  It seemed so doable till recently.  I am only up to 68 books read this year.  Perhaps if staycation starts by Thanksgiving….

I have had many thoughts of how much I will miss my Smoky during staycation.  He so loved those long reading days on my lap.  Perhaps, though, his brother Frosty will appreciate being the top lap cat this winter.  There was some sibling rivalry, and Smoky always won because he was just a quieter and more restful lap sitter.

While finishing The Dark Flood Rises, with Frosty on my lap, I had admired his silver tipped fur.

His blue eyes must come from a Siamese ancestor, as does his loud voice.

In the evening, I started a short and heartbreakingly gorgeous memoir, It’s Not Yet Dark.  I expected to be able to finish it the next day because of another forecast of rain.

…about a man with ALS, also now a well reviewed film

An allegory about his diagnosis:

Update: A five star book. It is not about despair. I think of my friend Lily who died of ALS in 2005. The lilies in the Long Beach parks are planted in memory of her. And I think of Vernie, the wife of a friend, a strong and beautiful gardener taken by ALS, who I wish I had known. I am planting some good asters in her memory.

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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)

before

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.

after

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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Saturday, 10 June 2017

At last, after skipping several weeks, I did walk two blocks (with the motivation of finding a couple of tomato plants) to

Ilwaco Saturday Market

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Northwest Natural made a waterfall of their concrete leaves.

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asparagus from De Asis Farm


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all shopped out


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the cutest booth

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Our port office garden (and Basket Case Greenhouse baskets)


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The Wood Elf


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tomatoes!

I did get three more tomatoes and walked home in pouring rain, which made me happy because it means less watering.

reading

At home, because of the rain, I took the time for the book I had been wanting to read in one sitting.  It is the story of the author’s mum and dad’s  life in England from about 1930 to 1970.

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Oh, how wonderful it was, and thanks so much to my “imaginary” (online) friend Lynn for recommending it to me.  She got to see an advance showing of the film made from the book, which will be released in the USA next October.  As she said, “There’s gardening!”

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Installing an Anderson shelter in the garden.  I just love that they say “antirrhinums” for snapdragons.

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the terror of WWII bombing, laying down flat in a cabbage field


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the garden

For beautiful illustrations, not deliberately off angle snaps, I do advise you to get the book.  Oh how I cried at the end.  I am counting the months till the film.

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in love with this book

And then I went out to plant my tomatoes and pepper plants for the greenhouse and got them all done, just in time to go to a book reading at

Time Enough Books

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our bouquet for the event


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author Kathleen Alcalá

We were the only ones who showed up!  That made me sad; however, after the reading we had a good long conversation about the world’s problems (which we did not solve) with bookstore owner Karla and the author and her spouse, and bought a copy of the book.  (I’m halfway through a library copy.  If it were winter, I’d have read it in two days.)

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Karla and the author and her spouse

There was one thing I did not like about the book so far: One short passage in which the author says she does not like to see “overweight people buying pallets of food at Costco.”  I took the opportunity to recommend that she read Body of Truth by Harriet Brown without chastising her for her “People of Walmart” judgement.  I had written the title down for her.  She seemed open to reading it.

bodyoftruth

 

At 7:30 PM, the light outside was gorgeous.

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looking west, Time Enough Books garden


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poppy and penstemon


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looking east


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coming home


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evening light


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greenhouse: messy but tomatoes are in!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The main feature of today was the glorious Astoria Pride Parade.  That will be tomorrow’s post because it deserves to stand alone.  Meanwhile, here are some photos taken while we were in Astoria.

As we parked, we saw this shopkeeper decorating.

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Allan’s photo

Some of the curbside gardens on Marine Drive:

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the best one…


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by Jessica Schlief


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O Jessica, what is this?


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Jessica’s garden


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poppies and cerinthe

The other curbside gardens could not compare to Jessica’s floriferous display…

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with salal


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and just plain weeds

We joined the parade.  A few non parade photos as we walked along the Riverwalk.

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trolley stop

I don’t want to add this old age story to the parade post:  During the parade, Allan was on his own taking photos.  After falling back to the end to get photos of the entire procession, I could not keep up with the parade and with five blocks to go till the rally, I was way behind.

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The end of the parade is now the people far far in the distance walking away from me.


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the pleasant view with freight ships lined up waiting for the tide

My slowness was rewarded because as I approached the rally, Darcelle was just getting off the trolley, and, in fact, I got a hug from her. (I’ve seen the grand Darcelle show a couple of times when it has come to Long Beach.)

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The famous Darcelle, left, longtime performer from Portland, Oregon

After the rally, we walked back to town.  Very very slowly.

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Allan’s photo


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Allan’s photo of the tour boat that goes all the way upriver


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Allan’s photo


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Allan’s photo


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Allan’s photo

A young man told me I could have taken the trolley.  But it has a big step to the ground and even with the step box that they provide, it is very tough with knee problems.  Easier to walk.  Although I did wonder if I would make it and I reminisced poignantly about how, not so many years ago, Seattle Carol would spend the day in Astoria walking all up and down the hills or the whole length of the Riverwalk and back just for fun.  In those days, I lived up to my last name, Walker.

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Allan’s photo

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the cute bus that goes with the riverboat tour (Allan’s photos)

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Allan’s photo

I was pleased to make it to downtown.

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in a shop window (Allan’s photo)

And I was even more pleased to find something I had forgotten about: The Astoria Sunday Market was in session.

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Every time we saw someone with something rainbow, we exchanged “Happy Pride!” greetings. I found it most joyous.

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Allan’s photo


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We bought a hummingbird sculpture.


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Allan’s photo


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bouquets

At the market, we encountered our friends Pam of the Seaside gardens and Sean and his darling dog.

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Sean’s photo


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Allan is in this photo, too.


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plants for sale (Allan’s photo)

Then, I was so tired and we were hungry.  We ate at one of my favourite Astoria restaurants.

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Fulios

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Pasta Puttenesca for me


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squash ravioli for Allan


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back to where we began


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Allan’s photo

At home, I thought all I would be able to do was sit down and process photos.  And then, with the help of a handful of wake up beans, I managed to plant most of the new ladies in waiting that were slated for my own garden.

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yesterday


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this evening (and the three on the bench are Allan’s not mine!)

Meanwhile, Allan mowed three lawns: Ours, Devery’s, and the J’s.  That is not unusual becuase he does seem to have boundless energy.

Tomorrow: The Pride Parade itself.

 

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Monday, 15 May 2017

I did not mind in the least that we had a cold, rainy, windy day off, because I had an excellent book to read.  Karla from Time Enough Books had lent me an advanced reading copy. I had started it recently at one chapter a day.  It was much better to be able immerse myself for a whole afternoon in the world of gardening in Japan.

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I had been immediately interested in Ms. Buck’s description of the difference between public gardening in California and Japan:

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And that was just the preface.  I am completely smitten by this book and consider it perfect in every way, as it tells a very personal story along with expert advice about pruning and about techniques to make every inch of a garden impeccably beautiful.

More, from later in the book, about the respect given to gardeners:

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Later:

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And not just designers are given respect:

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I do remember quitting a garden once when I was supposed to follow the design of a landscape designer with absolutely no personal input (or respect).  Especially when I heard that said designer was famous among jobbing gardeners for planting everything too close together.

I learned a new way to think about Japanese gardens, quite different from some of my assumptions:

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The passage below reminded me of how I have never adopted the term “master gardener” and feel uncomfortable when people call me that (even though I did once take the Master Gardener class with its 56 hours of training and volunteer time):

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The hard work impressed me, in all weather, including winter cold.  While I no longer work such long hours, and in all weather, I used to (although I never did start at dawn, making my winter hours much shorter than the ones Leslie worked at age 34 in Kyoto).

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When given the choice of taking rain days off, she was determined to work as hard as the rest of the crew.

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This is one reason why today, I felt a bit guilty in my comfy chair reading a wonderful book, knowing that our good friends Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) still work in all weather.

Throughout the book, I identified with the hard work of full time gardening.

“Nature….

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…carry thorns and sticky sap that attracts dirt and sometimes causes infection.”

Later: “We loved pruning, touching the plants directly.  We both understood the monetary and physical sacrifice of working on behalf of nature.”

When I read the following passage, I asked Allan to go across the street to the J’s and give the three small struggling hydrangeas a good dose of Dr Earth fertilizer.  (I could not leave my book, you see.)

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I learned of a new-to-me product, cuffs to wear over one’s wrists while pruning to protect from scratches.  If only I had thought of this while weeding among the rugosa roses in the beach approach garden.  This could save much pain in the future.  (I cannot weed in heavy rose gauntlets, but protective cuffs would be just the thing.)

I found some for sale in New Zealand.  I’ll keep searching for some closer to home.

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an excellent concept

I was reminded in the following passage of private clients of the past who treated us well:

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She had some especially kind clients:

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A later passage reminded me of a recurring problem in private gardening: bathroom access.  A few clients immediately would offer us use of their bathrooms.  Others would never think of it even if we were there all day.

I learned a new term, one that explained why I often teared up while reading about Leslie’s gardening experiences:

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Author Keane also said the original Japanese word for gardening includes “humans in nature as an inherent and indivisible part of it.”

I could hardly bear for the book to end.  It is rare to read the story of a hard working gardener, whether a highly skilled pruning specialist like Leslie or a maintenance gardener like many I know.  Her descriptive prose beautifully captures the gardens where she worked, and her pruning advice is invaluable and will prove to be of great use and inspiration to me.  I had to stop many times to ponder what she had written and, especially toward the end, to feel some deep emotion.  (A passage that mentioned President Obama brought actual tears.)

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It was a good day for Smokey, as well.

I think that during gardening season, it would help me to only read gardening books, for inspiration.

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