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Sunday, 26 March 2017

More exceptionally wet weather kept me indoors.  Even though I’ve heard of our region being described as the Pacific NorthWET, I feel (without checking statistics) that February and March have been exceptionally rainy.

I took the briefest of walks out into the front garden.

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Pieris and flowering plum


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pieris


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needs detailed weeding!


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one showy tulip


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pleased that my rosa pteracantha has leafed out; I had been worried about it.


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narcissi


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Japanese maple


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also relieved to see Tetranpanax leafing out after a cold winter


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No feline had come outdoors with me.


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Skooter


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Smokey

I applied myself to finishing Thank You for Being Late…

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Parts of it were good…

…and then turned to a much shorter book that I’d been looking forward to and that was soon due at the library.

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I had read all of Betty’s books, enjoying both her acerbic wit and the Seattle and Vashon Island settings.  (Warning: The Egg and I, her most famous book, published in 1945, has some passages of racism toward the local native tribe that bothered me very much when I read it.  This is addressed in just one page of the biography.)

As I had always suspected, there was a more harrowing truth to the egg farm story than was revealed in Betty’s fictionalized autobiography.

I had started young on Betty’s books, with Mrs. Piggle Wiggle being a favourite of mine in grade school.

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I was astonished to read that in the 1930s, Betty lived just three blocks east of where I grew up (6317 15th; I lived at 6309 12th).  I must have walked by the house many times.

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Betty’s home, as it was

I was even more astonished to read that the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books might have been an influence on the name I chose in 1994 for my gardening business.

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In spring of 1994, I somehow ran across (before I had internet!) a mention of a place in England called “Tangley Cottage”.  I wonder if my memories of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s “tangly garden” is why the name appealed to me so much.

Paula Becker felt compelled to find Betty’s story.  That is just how I felt about Mass Observation diarist Nella Last, and about Gladys Taber’s memoirs.

“Why do some moments in history, some people’s stories, resonate for us more than others?  Perhaps because on some level, our own histories are deeply listening for them.  Listening to the quiet voice saying, Find me.”  —Paula Becker, Looking for Betty McDonald

Someone else that I found more about this week was Samuel Mockbee.  First, he was mentioned in the real estate listing of a hidden garden paradise we recently toured, and then his Rural Studio was mentioned in the great book, Deep South, by Paul Theroux.  Last night, we watched Citizen Architect,  a video about him.  It made me want to be young and a student at the Rural Studio.

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As you can see, rainy days are in many ways quite perfect.

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Monday, 13 March 2017

As I write the first part of this in the mid afternoon, the rain is not as fierce as it was this morning.  In my youth…maybe five years ago…I would have leapt out to do some work.  Now, I feel less like working in the drizzle.  I added last week’s one day of work to the time sheet and was shocked to see we’ve eight rain and windy bitter cold and even snow days off.  Meanwhile, I’m embarrassed to report that Dave and Melissa bundled up in rain gear and worked through almost ALL the weather.

My excuse today: The soil is boggy and the plants are all drenched.  What a wimp!

I did take a walk in the soft rain throughout the garden.

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Skooter looked startled that I opened the front door.


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hyacinth basket


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looking south


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soggy footing


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lots of crocuses


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Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (contorted filbert)


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way too much fried egg plant reseeded in the bogsy wood


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narcissi, and monster shotweed


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Slippery ground prevented the shotweed pulling and fern clipping from starting up.

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pulmonaria (spotted dog)


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hard to even imagine when we’ll be able to have a campfire


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The swale path is a pond.


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Looking north.  Water on the center path is over the top of my boots.


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south gate

The top of the south gate represents a Chinook tribal canoe, the sort that used to ply the river when this very spot was river front, before the port parking lots and building sites were built on fill, in the early 1950s.

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I do wish this water stood all year long.

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coming round the west side


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more pulmonaria


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corydalis foliage


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crocuses

As you can see, the chop and drop method looks pretty messy.  I look forward to the future three compost bins which will be made as soon as we get six more free pallets…from somewhere.  I have decided the bins will tuck in nicely next to the greenhouse.

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They will replace the wonky tadpole pond set up…


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I love my new stop the eye fence.


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Euonymus ‘Wolong Ghost’ is seriously climbing the front of the house, which is vinyl clad.

As I had walked all around the garden, I had collected one flower from every hellebore.  I’m sorry to report that many had minuscule snails hiding inside, putting paid to the idea that a cold winter would mean fewer snails.

Here is the full collection of hellebore blossoms.

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Skooter appeared.

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The center one is last year’s birthday present from Our Kathleen.

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Because my camera has been finding it hard to capture the glory of the corylopsis in bloom, I asked Allan to photograph it.

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Corylopsis and crocus, my photo

He returned with these:

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Corylopsis pauciflora

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with some fill in flash

Smokey snoozed through all of it.

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I’d like to read for the rest of the day in this most wonderful book:

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I can already tell you I am going to be rating this book at 20 stars.  As a former housecleaner for 18 years, I find deep familiarity in the stories of doing housework for richer folk.  And as the protagonist, Mildred, talks with her best friend about race, I keep marveling in a furious way that 70 years after it was written, how very much about racism is still the same.  Read it; it is wonderful and it’s funny despite its serious topics.  Read about it here.

My reading hours are curtailed because tonight is the local Democrats meeting.  I know Mildred would want me to go.  Here are her thoughts on a meeting:

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

We had a huge amount of rain, resulting in no gardening.  Allan took some photos in the back garden:

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path by the bogsy wood

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path to the bridge

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bogsy wood swale

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next summer’s campfire wood

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the swale bridge

After a great deal of news reading, I started a new book, recommended by Our Kathleen.

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At first, the author annoyed me.

This doesn’t sound farcical to me:

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I didn’t like this classism:

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I almost put the book aside.  Fortunately, I persevered because it got much better.

The author is seeking how poor people live:

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I wonder if this is true.

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At over 400 pages, Deep South should keep me occupied for two more excessively rainy days, which is about what is predicted.

I had wrought a miracle over the past two days, actually getting the bathroom closet completely emptied.  Today, Allan removed the door and walls, which will give us a corner to store the glass bricks for the tub project.  I expected the sounds of a sledgehammer and splintering faux wood; instead, he did it neatly with a screwdriver. Glass blocks will make the end wall when the tub (still to be acquired) is placed in the already plumbed spot; a tub used to be there till the previous owner had it removed in order to place a rolltop desk in the bathroom.  Bathroom/slash office was an unusual combination.

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This probably doesn’t seem like interesting blog fodder. However, I know of one reader who will be interested to know that the glass blocks got moved into the bathroom (but not the 95 Pound bag of mortar). 

Allan saw a good sunset while discarding old particle board shelving.

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Skooter enjoying the water boxes

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Monday, 6 March 2017

I woke to sunshine and thought we could work…until I took a look out the window.

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view out the south cat door

Never mind.

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Skooter, staying in.  (Allan’s photo)

Allan took some snowy garden photos:

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I see a black spotty hellebore leaf that should be removed.

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hypericum

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When he went to the post office and dropped off three books at the library, he took more photos of the community building garden’s crocuses.

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Meanwhile, I was reading.

IMG_0352.JPGIt was difficult to leave the book for an early evening meeting of the Living Liberally Pacific County group.  I had only heard of Swallows and Amazons in the past year and was recently reminded of it by a mention on the Tootlepedal blog. 

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At Adrift Hotel in Long Beach


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Folks barbecuing nearby in icy wind.


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determined to wrest all enjoyment from their vacation


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into the meeting room we go

After another productive political meeting, Allan and I repaired upstairs to the [pickled fish] restaurant.

I’d been wanting to try absinthe for some time, because I’m a fan of artemisias in the garden.  It is made from Artemisia absinthium, which you can read about here. [pickled fish] serves it “in the traditional way”, involved a decanter, a spigot, and the melting of a sugar cube.

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absinthe: licorice, sweet, strong


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delicious fennel sausage pizza

Upon departure, I was especially struck by the beauty of the planters in the foyer.  Perhaps the absinthe enhanced my appreciation.

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some artemisia (but not absinthium)

Swallows and Amazons

During the day and into the night I read Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.  How did I miss this 1930 classic as a child, especially since I had then sought out British children’s book authors (like Edith Nesbit and C.S. Lewis)?  As I read today, I occasionally felt verklempt about being old.

A few favourite bits from this delightful adventure of children camping on an island in the Lake District:

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…….

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……..

Oh, to have a mother as open to her children having adventures:

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…………….

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I have learned that the book is the first of a series.  I will be reading more of them.

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public service announcement

Maggie Stuckey, author of one of my favourite kitchen gardening books, The Bountiful Container, is going to be speaking at all four Timberland libraries on the subject of vegetable gardening in containers.  While I would most like to attend the talk at our local Ilwaco branch, it conflicts with an ACLU training session, so we will go to the Ocean Park one.  Allan took this photo at the library today.

 

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Thursday at Ocean Park, Saturday at Ilwaco

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Guest photo from last midweek, from THE Oysterville Garden:

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photo by Melissa Van Domelen

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Now it feels like we have returned from spring to winter:

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early morning hail and thunder

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Having missed our garden club dinner last week, the North Beach Garden Gang met for brunch at Salt Pub.  (All but two photos today are by Allan.)

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This is the next garden awaiting our attention, west of Salt Hotel.

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It did not get awfully weedy over the winter.

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Melissa and Dave arrive

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our view

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two egg breakfast

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eggs benedict

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heuvos rancheros

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coming soon-ish.  Allan and I have tickets already.

The five of us lingered over our table for two hours, catching up on all the gardening news. It was especially pleasing to me to be greeted by another diner there, Lorna, who used to own Andersen’s RV Park and was one of our top favourite clients for the many years we gardened there.

I had just been thinking how now that we have six fewer big spring clean ups than we used to have, bad weather is not a crisis in the early spring.

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clearing but still cold and windy

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Todd, me, Melissa, Dave

In the afternoon, I simply finished a book I started last night.

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Yesterday evening, I read a short post apocalyptic novel (Thirst, by Benjamin Warner) that I only mildly enjoyed. Today’s choice was excellent; I especially appreciated that the protagonist was autistic and I could well identify with her ways of coping in the world after a comet hits our planet.  Turning from political non fiction to post apocalypse fiction hasn’t been that much of a change.  Coming up soon is Swallows and Amazons which should be much cheerier.  I haven’t even started it and I’ve already dreamt about reading it.

 

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

With the rainy windy day that had been predicted, we did not get the port spring clean up done.  I must confess that maybe if we worked between 8 and 11 AM we might have accomplished some of it

The rain increased considerably after 11 AM.  Allan went to pick up books at the library and took this photos of the early crocuses and irises at the community building in which the library is housed.  You can click on the photos in this mosaic to view them individually.

I had finished the excellent book The Shock Doctrine and was pleased at the prospect of a new batch of library books.  While I waited, I photographed a pile of old postcards (from the collection of our friend Joe Chasse) for my Grandma’s Scrapbook blog.  They will begin to appear there later this year.

A sneak peak:

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My books arrived.  What excitement opening the book bag! This new assortment contains some fiction, for a change.

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I settled right in with one of them.

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It is poetically written and its only flaw is a plot twist that I did not much like.  The parts about Scrabble, I liked very much.  (A boodle is what I call a bingo.)

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Even though I only play online now, I remember this sound:

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I finished the book.  It was a much easier read than the non fiction I’ve been perusing lately.

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Skooter had been helping Allan read.

 

Our garden club weekly dinner was postponed because of members being under the weather.

For the next two days, the actually weather won’t matter much because we have indoor political activities to attend.

 

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

I’m not sure why I decided we could take the day off, but we did.  The weather was pleasant enough to get outside in the afternoon and work on spring clean up in my own garden, at last.  Even though I have a separate at-home work board, I decided to add my own clean up to the main board.

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Because I haven’t been out there much, I was pleased to remember that I have a new eye-stopping bit of fencing:

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free fence wood courtesy Klipsan Beach Cottages

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east bed, before

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Skooter about to leap

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This was pretty much not a weeding day, just clipping.

This year, I am determined to not add to the debris pile next to Nora’s driveway, because I don’t want new neighbour Devery to have to look at that mess.  This strengthened my resolve to follow the Ann Lovejoy and Anne Wareham methods of dropping debris right into the garden.  Lovejoy calls it Chop and Drop.  Wareham wrote in her excellent book, The Bad Tempered Gardener, that it makes no sense to haul debris out of the garden, compost it, and haul it back in.

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after

I did not do a whole lot of chopping before dropping.  Because my two biggest back garden beds are so wide, I think if I make a spine of debris down the middle, it will be hidden as the garden grows.  Eventually, this should lift up the center of the beds as much as adding mulch would.

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The crocuses are all up, so I can tell where to not make piles of debris.

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crocus among naturally fallen Miscanthus

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This debris should disappear later.  Must do more stomping.

Now the trick is to not have an attack of tidiness.  This method is not one I can use on most jobs because the clients value tidiness, especially in public gardens.  Anne writes about dropping and stomping the debris into the border.  I did walk on it to press it down.

 

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center bed, Stipa gigantea, before

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after

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west bed, before

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This made me sad. Little chamaecyparis.  Unfixable, I think.

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after the rain came, stopping my work

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center bed, before

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after, as I got rained out

Rain and small hail resulted in my not getting any bed done enough to erase it from the work board.

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west bed

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pouring rain and hail

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another area to hide debris behind tall lilies that will come up in front

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east side of the bogsy woods

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I got soaked!

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Allan picked up the couple of piles of debris that was too tough to rot down, for which I was grateful.

Allan’s photos:

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the debris pile I’m trying to not add to

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a pile to pick up (Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’)

Despite the gardening session ending two hours earlier than I would have liked, I felt that I accomplished much.

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I started a new book

Monday, 27 February 2017

Allan hooked up the work trailer.  Just as we were about to depart, rain came and the temperature dropped, and we turned around and went inside.

The cats did not want to go out, either.

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Frosty

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Skooter

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Calvin

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later

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how Smokey and I spent our day

I almost finished the book…less than 100 pages to go.  It did not make for a mentally restful day.  I feel that its lessons apply strongly to what is going on politically nowadays.

Speaking of the military, we’ve been binge watching a highly satisfying science fiction series called The Last Ship.  My last social media look of the night showed me one of those silly little quizzes, something like “You’ve been kidnapped and the only ones who can save you are the cast of the last show you watched.  Will you be saved?”  The Last Ship? Hell, yeah.  While it’s kind of gung ho militaristic, I find the show entertaining and I appreciate its diverse cast (even though the ships commander is one of those square jawed guys that looks kind of like a Lego man).

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Tomorrow…back to work, I hope, although the forecast looks iffy.  I long to erase stuff from the work board.

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