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Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

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.

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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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Monday, 1 May 2017

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WHAAAAT?

I was taken aback by completely unexpected cold rain and 20 mph wind.  No!  What happened to our five nice weekdays? Ok, maybe the beach approach garden won’t get done before the Sunday parade.  After all, the parade takes place downtown, not the beach approach.

I decided that I would enjoy a reading day, as did Allan.  I returned to my wonderful birthday present book; Allan had discovered and acquired it for me from the UK.

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Smokey loves a reading day.

I was pleased to finish the very funny homage to Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island, in which author Ben Aitken retraces Bill’s route 20 years later.  While much of the book is humorous, I also appreciated Aitken’s occasional serious comments on class.

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An amusing passage:

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In Lincoln:

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More much appreciated (by me) musings on class:

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Later, in the north:

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I gave the book five out of five stars and I highly recommend it.  There were just a few moments when Aitken suggested Bryson did something that made me think, surely not.  When I cross referenced my copy of Notes from a Small Island, I was right, and now I intend to re-read Bryson’s book while Aitken’s is still fresh in my memory.

I still had plenty of time to read a rather short book that I had somehow missed by one of my favourite authors.

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An interesting digression that had little to do with the plot:

And after that, I had time to start (but not finish) a third book, another birthday present from Allan.

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I have some reservations about this book, particularly my thought that if you are going to travel from Lands End to John O’ Groats starting off in just your skivvies, begging along the way for clothes, bikes, food, and lodging, it will go a lot better if you are young white men.  These two chaps are the sort who insist on making it quite clear that they really don’t want to share a double bed.  And it does not seem to occur to them to examine why their journey is not especially dangerous.  My feeling when I read Dear Bill Bryson is that I’d love to be friends with the author.  These two…maybe not. However, I am very much enjoying the descriptions of England and I wouldn’t mind another rainy day to finish the book…if it were not for the fact that we are behind on work. (Edited to add…I am almost done with the Free Country book and have enjoyed the travelogue but am AWFULLY tired of being constantly reminded that the two young men are not gay.  They need to grow up!)

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

As predicted, we had a rainy and windy day.  I felt a little restless about it.  Views as I paced from window to window:

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kitchen


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north front


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north front


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east front


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Allan’s study, east


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Allan’s study, east


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Skooter does not like to go outside in the rain.


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south

I pondered how if I got my whole south window replaced, I could take photos out of the non screened side.

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This and one of the front windows is “blown”.

I find it very hard to spend money on things like this.

Just going out on the front porch to take this photo made my hands cold:

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Allan did take a few photos on his way between house and shed:

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and at the post office:

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hesperantha blooming now instead of waiting till fall


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one broken lily sprout

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Fortunately, I had a big book to read with over 300 pages to go.

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No Logo

I finished it by nine o clock, and then watched Deadliest Catch and felt wimpy for not being willing to work in the rain.

I felt blessed that we live in a relatively advertising-free environment.  Here at the “lost corner” of Washington State, we have only two chain restaurants (a rather gaudy McD’s and a low key Subway that blends in), and even though two of our three bigger grocery stores are franchises (IGA and, I think a Thriftway), they are still referred to by their old names (Sid’s and Okie’s).  While we do have billboards advertising local businesses, all but two extra large ones (between Black Lake and Seaview) are gentle on the eye compared to most billboards, and just advertise local motels and resorts.  This makes the Long Beach Peninsula a more restful place to live if, like me, you want to get away from advertising, brand names, and glitz.

Post script for those who are interested: No Logo by Naomi Klein

The book was excellent, even though somewhat outdated (published in 2000).

Some particularly interesting points:

How a certain McD restaurant went after any restaurant with McD in its name:

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This reminds me of the local story of how Starbucks went after an Astoria coffee shop named SamBuck’s.  The owner’s name was Samantha Bucks!  (She had done a logo that was sort of a take off on the SB logo.)  Read more about that case here.

A mention of community gardening:

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A whole chapter about the Reclaim the Streets movement had this interesting story.

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Of course, they lost…

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Re child labor, the National Labor Committee, and director Charles Kernaghan:

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About how sweatshops and child labor get so much more attention when attached to a brand name (Nike, for example):

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More about the Zapatistas (Klein also wrote about them in The Shock Doctrine).  I just very much like what Marcos had to say:

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Note to those who care: From what I had read recently, some of the Romany people consider “the g-word” to be a racial slur and would prefer that we use the word Romany.  If you care about that sort of thing, as I do, here is some beginning reading about it.  Google will give you much more.  I’d rather err on the side of politeness so have given up “the g word”. 

Tomorrow more rain is predicted, and I have a book of light reading lined up for a change.

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A storm was due, with two gale flags flying at the port.  After breakfast, I thought I just might have time to turn a compost bin.

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I got this far before the rain came in earnest.


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We’d had this much rain overnight.


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a wistful look in the west gate before giving up


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No one had gone outside with me.

I did not much mind staying in because I could get back to an excellent book, one I had set aside in order to read two interlibrary loans.  I was very much taken by today’s book and intend to read more by this author.

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The premise of Solnit’s book is that most humans behave well and for the collective good after disasters, rather than descending into violence and greed.

I adored the story of the kitchens and camps set up after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

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Solnit said it is “elite panic” that causes death after disasters, like the martial law that was declared after the 1906 earthquake and that resulted in a shocking number of deaths of citizens who were shot while trying to rescue others.  The same sort of horrific law and order and elite property protection violence happened in New Orleans after Katrina.  The powers that be seem to fear the way that the citizens gathered to make soup kitchens and shelters and to care for themselves.  Heaven forfend that anarchy might ensue.

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More about elite panic:

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There is also a lack of faith that the citizens will resist panic.  In fact, Solnitz presents evidence that in an emergency, people do not generally panic.  The British proved that to be true during the Blitz even though, beforehand, the government had little faith in them:

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Charles Fritz wrote this after visiting Britain during WWII:

IMG_1529.JPGWhile Solnit writes about several different international disasters, she focuses most in depth on the ones she could get the most information about: California earthquakes, the Halifax explosion of 1917 (which I had never heard of!), 9-11, and Katrina.  The way people took care of each other and found community makes me less afraid of the always dreaded tsunami (of which we might be survivors, since we live close to a big hill).

You probably know that I have an emotional response to the story of the little ships of Dunkirk, so this 9-11 story had enough tears falling that I had to move the book out of the way.

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In another disaster story, I learned about a real life superhero, Super Barrio, who emerged after the Mexico City earthquake.

And about the Musician’s Village, a post Katrina housing project that reminds me of the Rural Studio.

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so beautiful, makes me weepy

And finally, a political concept that deeply spoke to me.

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If you like to read non-escapist literature, a day spent with A Paradise Built in Hell will give you a renewed faith in the power and good nature of the most ordinary of citizens.  It was just exactly what I needed to hear.

I finished the book just in time to go to a Salty Talk at Salt Pub…but not in time to get there early enough to get a seat. 

 I had intended to pick some flowers.  Instead, I only had time to look at the garden briefly before leaving.

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I’m not selfless enough to pick tulips out of my boat…


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or in the center bed…

I have some hidden tulips I’d have shared with Salt if I’d left enough time.

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“Ever wonder how fast crabs move? Or how fast your crab pot can fill up? Join Curtis Roegner, a NOAA Research Fishery Biologist, as he discusses his group’s work with acoustic telemetry and benthic video to track Dungeness crab migrations and movements in the Columbia River estuary.”

As it was, we could not get a table with Dave and Melissa, who had arrived just before us to find seating only at the bar. Kind owner Julez found me and Allan a little table in the back corner.

Tasty Mac and Cheese


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a full house (Allan’s photo)


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view from our table (Allan’s photo)


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Allan’s photo


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Allan’s photo


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park rangers listening to the talk


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crabby slide reflection


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swooping down on a deadhead on our way home


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tulips in the garden boat at Time Enough Books


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in the curbside garden (Allan’s photo)

We must try to get back to weeding the beach approach tomorrow.  I am inspired to brave the weather because the new season of Deadliest Catch has begun.  It helps me to work harder.

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Skooter is on day 9 of 10 inside and has to spend part of every day in the bathroom so that the other cats can go out for awhile.

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Allan’s photo

I noticed to my delight that Allan had bought us a new box of Builders Tea.

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When I commented on this, he said that enough work had to be done to deserve it.

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Smokey outdoors

I embarked upon more front garden weeding to earn some Builders Tea and another reward that I promised myself: When I get the front garden done, I can turn the compost bins before weeding the back garden.

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The jar is for collecting snails.

Allan took it upon himself to weed a difficult corner by the back patio.

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before


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hard to access

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after


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after

I am impressed.  This area requires crawling underneath a thorny rose.  (The big trunk is the blue potato vine, Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’.)

My accomplishments:

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east front garden, before


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after


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middle front garden, before


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after


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before


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after


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north east front corner, before…


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and when I quit because of rain.

Oh well!  You can see I did not get to erase “front garden” from the work list.

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The garden was scented with the tiny flowers of Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’.


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grape hyancinth with a top knot


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Builders Tea has been earned.  (Allan’s photo)

I was tired and sore and pleased to be indoors with time to read an entire book (one with lots of photos) about The Rural Studio.

How very cosmic is was that I discovered the fascinating topic of Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio.

First, Our Kathleen sent me a link to a fascinating piece of real estate.

The listing mentioned Mockbee and the Rural Studio: “Enter the gates and you enter a private garden like no other. 100s of plants in containers, a grove of bamboo, mature trees and beautiful one-off gazebos and garden features. All of this is anchored by a grand pavilion made from steel and found materials in the grand style of The Rural Studio and Samuel Mockbee.”  

We went to see it and were thrilled with the use of recycled materials to make structures and garden art.

At about the same time, at Kathleen’s recommendation, I had read the book Deep South by Paul Theroux.  It had mentioned the Rural Studio in a way that piqued my interest.

I read online about Samuel Mockbee and then watched a video about his work.

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Now, through interlibrary loan, I had the book to read.

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Just look:

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I love him, and it breaks my heart that he died of leukemia at age 57.

Fill your eyes with these homes, and get the book to see much more.

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The three little popouts are for three grandchildren.  Brilliant!

Living “pods” under a big roof.


A wall of light made of old car windshields….

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…reminded me of the gazebo at the place for sale here on the peninsula that had one end made of clear floor mats from cars!

At the artist’s retreat for sale north of Ocean Park:

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wall of light made from car floor mats

I have ordered one more book to read on the subject.

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I wish that in an alternate timeline, I could have been a student there during the Mockbee years.  They have a Rural Studio blog, which I will try to find time to follow.

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

J’s garden

We managed to start our finishing-up project of weeding at J’s just before the rain came.  We completed the tasks in the rain.

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I am concerned about the three small hydrangeas in the front garden.  They had been planted so mounded up that their roots were exposedand they had been tipped over for years.  I mulched around them earlier this spring.  It is possible that they need replacing.  I forgot to do a scratch test for green under the bark.

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Survival is questionable; all the other hydrangeas I know are leafed out by now.

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weeding project in the back (Allan)

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flowering quince

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lawn ranunculus (Allan’s photo)

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Ranunculus removal accomplished.

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increasing rain and wind when we were done with J’s

On an errand, we saw that Black Lake is full to the brim.

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Black Lake, Ilwaco

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hopes for spring in the Ilwaco Timberland Library (Allan’s photo)

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deadheading a few Ilwaco planters in the rain

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final tax appointment at our accountant’s office

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official greeter

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Allan’s photo

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Jennifer’s lilies

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Our good friend Helen

We were so sad to learn that Helen, age 10, has cancer.  She is on chemo, doing well, and we are hoping for the best.

reading

I read two books for remainder of the day, while Allan (who likes to shop) made an excursion across the river for a big grocery shopping.

I kept all the cats indoors for awhile to keep Skooter company.

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yearning

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Skooter amusing himself with the bag from a belated birthday present from KBC

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I finished this book

Negin (pronounced Neh-geen) goes to a wedding in Iran.

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After finishing Ms. Farsad’s enjoyable, breezy yet sometimes serious and enlightening book, I indulged in a quick read about home decor.

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A photo reminded my of my friend Montana Mary and how when we were in high school, we dreamed of getting a place together right after graduation.  My vision was brick floors (with bricks brought in and just laid on top of whatever floor) and burlap curtains. I had not remembered that for years.  Now, practically, I’d find it hard to walk on and hard to clean.

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(Our dream never happened.  Mary went to college in Jerusalem and I stayed in Seattle.  We met up again in London in 1975.  Winter project 2017: To write up that whole tour of the UK.

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me and Mary 1973, right after high school

I also liked this idea for large bunkbeds:

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Even though we did not finish the check up list yet, I am starting to think ahead about the thirteen sections of the beach approach garden, and more.

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