Archive for the ‘spring clean up’ Category

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Shelburne Hotel

We loaded up three flats of cool plants for the Shelburne, including a Melianthus major (unfortunately, not Antenow’s Blue, so needs to not be front and center because I am saving that space for a shorter, hardier, bluer one), and a couple more cultivars of Agastache, fuchsias for the edible semi-shade totem pole garden, nicotianas langsdorfii and ‘Fragrant Cloud’, and more.

My only “during” photo is of some diseased white phlox.  I had removed almost all the phlox years ago because it gets to looking so bad, and now it is back to being everywhere.  Some of the clumps that look sick have got to go.  The garden needs some breathing room anyway and there are so many of clumps of phlox, and it has a short bloom time.

A lot of plants are everywhere in the garden, including Joe Pye weed, which is too tall for a lot of places where it now is, and the dreaded variegated ground elder, and so much Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ that the garden would be bright red for two weeks and then nothing but green.  Today I did a big editing session.  The same thing happened during the first year I gardened at the Shelburne, when it had just about four perennials: shasta daisies, Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, white phlox, and peachleaf campanula.  Much editing occurred then, too.

Allan’s photo

placing plants

We emptied a white container of mint, on the north side of the building, to replant on the south side and make a more matchy container area.

before (Allan’s photo)

mint saved by the kitchen door (Allan’s photo)

Outside the kitchen door are the two hose hangers that Robert welded for the hotel, back when the Shoalwater was the name of the restaurant (so each hanger has an S; one is hot water for the kitchen so one must never water the plants with that one!)

Robert’s Ironworks hose hangers

Last week, the mismatched pots on the south side bugged me:

the pub deck with a couple of newly planted pots

I like it better now:

sweet peas coming up along the picket fence (Allan’s photo)

weeding and editing

We have to take all weed buckets home and dump in our garbage can because they contain ground elder!  It is up into every plant.  Sad.

I took some after photos.  Unfortunately, I am still sick with this horrible cold, so a day that should have been enjoyable (I love working in this garden) was quite a struggle.  Warm weather and rain had brought on a wealth of bindweed, and I despair at how the ground elder (bishops weed) is now everywhere in the garden, both variegated and plain green.  I think I have figured out why.  Plants were moved from one area to another to fill in (thus the Joe Pye weed everywhere, a good plant but can’t be everywhere) and the plants from the south end, where ten years ago I had the ground elder pretty much beaten back to just under the rhododendron, carried it into the north end garden.

I wish I had a before of the view below.  The end closest to where I stood had suddenly become thick with creeping sorrel, and the path needed weeding.  Here it is last week (before the weeds went crazy):

Allan’s photo, watering, last week

And today:

some new plants in place

looking north from the entry last week

looking north from the entry today

I think the big rosemary on one side of the entry is dying (below); it looks a little crispy and the trunk is damaged.  That could make for asymmetry, because the one on the other side of the porch still looks good.

north side

south side

I used to have a small, well mannered clematis climbing over the entry railing.  It is gone now.

looking south from the entryway

In the back yard, tucked around the west side in the shade, the totem pole garden is coming along.

Here it is earlier this month:

looking north, 13 April

I decided the big Melianthus could go in by the pub deck.

will make more room for it later as needed

Above is the one place, along with a big container, that I am letting the fennel grow.

I’m desperate to get rid of THIS (used to be a hydrangea in this spot) but I don’t feel I have permission yet.  It looks just silly.

At home, I had to do B&O tax forms and preparations for monthly billing, and I now hope I have time for at least one online episode of Gardeners’ World before suppertime.  I missed my comfy chair very much today.

Later—bliss. Note on the right, I’m being offered a British show on “wartime kitchen and garden”. Oh for more time.


A much gentler way to divide perennials, with two garden forks instead of my usual big chop with an axe:

I learned that Knophofia really should be pronounce Knip-hofia; it was named for a Mr Knip.

Just time for one or two more shows before bedtime.

Just look at this, a gold medal display from the Malvern garden show. You can see more glories of the garden show here.

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Monday, 23 April 2018

Dispatch from my comfy chair.  This was supposed to be tomorrow’s post, but I got a bit punchy and somehow published early.

When I am too lazy to sit at my desk, I blog with my iPad, which does not allow as many formatting options.  All my photos today were taken with my phone, as I had a feeling I might want to blog from my chair.

Today, I felt poorly with a tight chest and sneezy sniffles. And yet the weedy garden plagued my mind.  In between reading Mirabel Osler’s A Breath from Elsewhere, I made a few brief weeding forays into the garden.  The weather, slightly over 70F, was too hot for my liking.

In the front garden…maybe I posted this yesterday, as well:

This is the single flowered Kerria that I mentioned recently, backed with a Goldflame spiraea.

Parts of the back garden look like the gardener passed away and nature is taking over.

Especially the Ficaria (lesser celandine):

In a bed by a big alder, near the campfire, the planting is a muddle with no feature.

The feature is supposed to be a variegated hydrangea that, after two years in the ground, has one pitiful leaf.

It was planted as a tiny thing. I still ponder turning that bed into a raised pond. If I had the building skills, I would. Or if I could find a huge and attractive old wooden hot tub or some such thing. For now, I think I will put some sort of big pot in the middle.

Maybe I could drag forward my big phormium-in-a-garbage-can!  That is statement…of some sort.  You can just see a bit of it the photo of the area, above.

On one trip into the garden, I got a whole edge of the east bed weeded in a rather half-arsed way, and Allan kindly dug out a couple of huge African love grasses along there that I have gone off. I lacked the energy to place the pots on the pavers.

A before from two days ago:

and this evening:

At almost sunset, I made another short foray to free my Acanthus ‘Whitewater’ from weeds. It was perfect weather then, a campfire paradise if we had not both been sick.



I walked back into the Bogsy Wood and was delighted to see that Allan had trimmed the sword ferns and had deadheaded narcissi. Now if I only felt well enough to weed.

Outside the south fence:

Our “bluebell wood” (just Scilla):

I wish a had taken a better camera. Maybe tomorrow.

Plant table:

I must remember to fertiLize the gunnera; I did manage to get my roses fertilized today.

After my Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ apparently plotzed in the front garden, I replaced it but could not bear to not give it one more chance, in another back garden spot that looks like the gardener is long gone:

Mirabel Osler wrote:

“There is the particular kind of happiness–never commented on by poets–which comes from seeing a shrub you’d assumed dead, one day has minute specks of green on an otherwise lifeless stick. As this occurs more often than you would expect, no gardener should pounce in despair to pull out an ailing plant.” (I first learned that from Ann Lovejoy.). I do think I have killed this one. I will give it a few more weeks.

Asphodel at sunset:

Skooter toyed with the idea of being a lap cat and then changed his mind.

Meanwhile, Allan had weeded and trimmed ferns in his own garden.

Allan’s photos in his garden:

Arisarum Proboscidium (mouse plant)

And dead-leafing the bogsy wood sword ferns:

In good company:

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

When I first tried to continue with my weeding of the front garden, an attack of sneezing sent me rushing indoors for allergy medicine.  The local weather report explained that I was probably not alone.

I am skeptical about the sources listed; I think pine pollen carried by the cold strong wind (again!) was the culprit.

I would rather have worked in the less windy part of the garden, but I could no longer stand the idea of sidewalk passersby being able to see so many weeds.  So after reading A Breath from Elsewhere for a half hour till the medicine took hold, I returned to the front garden, where the wind was literally whistling overhead.


I forgot the after from the above angle.  Will get one tomorrow.

Next day. I will be repainting the bamboo poles!




My after is all blurry; I will try again tomorrow.

Next day

I have decided to take one more day off to weed at least a couple more areas that are so terrible.  Fortunately, they will be in the back garden where the soil is looser and more pleasant to work in.  And I must fertilize all my roses.


The front garden was created by digging up all the sod (because I wanted to plant bulbs straight away), and the soil is still tighter and more difficult than in the back garden, which was made by the newspaper method.

front garden, 8 November 2010

14 November 2010, showing part of a pile of soil energy.

That sod digging was absolutely exhausting!

16 November 2010

Newspaper method in the back garden:

22 December 2010

December 2010, garden beds slowly expanded as I got more newspaper and soil down.

5 January 2011.

Eventually, I cut the old rhododendron down (right) because it blocked my window view of the Cape Disappointment bluff and of the port office weather warning flag.

This method of newspaper, soil energy mulch, cow manure, and homemade compost made the most luscious and easy to weed beds.

From yesterday, a repeat photo showing how they look now:

You can the whole sequence of initially creating the garden starting here.

Back to the present: Due to the cold wind, I suppose, Skooter had had no interest in joining me outdoors today.

In the afternoon, Allan went to work on his own, “just” to dig two woody old lavenders from the Port Office garden.  It was a more difficult job that either of us had expected.  I felt bad at having delegated, and yet I don’t think I would have been much help.  It was a job for one strong person.

Port of Ilwaco

the garden boat at Time Enough Books

Port Office, south side, before

a tough, rooty job

bleached out bulb foliage fro being hidden in the lavender

before, other end


just across the lawn

south side, port office, after

I think I might plant Agastaches instead of lavenders, for no reason other than my great love for Agastaches (and because a couple of lavenders remain in the middle of the bed).  The reason the lavender sprawls so much is that in the summer, hanging baskets give an increasing amount of shade.

a surprisingly large load of debris

I had forgotten how huge those lavenders had become.

In the evening, we watched this film, based on a great book by the author of Ethel and Ernest, which we had purchased because we could not find it otherwise. (I think it might be available for online viewing. I like to watch films on a nice old fashioned DVD, from the comfy chair.)


“A naive elderly British rural couple survive the initial onslaught of a nuclear war.”

And then, as happens sometimes, i suddenly came down with all the symptoms of having caught Allan’s cold.

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But first, here are some extra photos from Thursday that did not make it into the blog.

the unusual sight of a newt crossing the lawn (usually we find them in hidden places)

Some photos of the bouquet that Allan took to the Shelburne:

Physocarpus ‘Dart’s Gold’ provides the foliage.

inside the pink tulip

Friday, 6 April 2018

Frosty at the bedroom door (Allan’s photo)

Instead of rain ahead of the storm, we got a perfectly calm windless day.  Allan went on a non- boating outing (tomorrow’s post) while I stayed home and planted almost all of my ladies in waiting.

view from the front porch

When I emerged into the late morning sunshine, I found a most unusual guest low down in an old apple tree by the front porch.

Usually, the flock of doves hang out way up on the power lines.  (I’ve thought of them as pigeons till Montana Mary said this looks like a dove.) Not long after, I heard a distinctive cry and looked up to see one male and two female bald eagles circling overhead.  The pigeon, and some of its mates, had been hiding low down in the trees.  I started to worry about how Skooter goes up on our white, flat roof and took some time to research whether the eagles might snatch him.  Audubon says that would be most unlikely.  “No, no and Google it”, Audubon says to the question of whether an eagle would take an adult cat.  But when Googling, youtube videos say otherwise.  (I did not, could not watch.)  I talked to Allan about putting some loose wire mesh around the arbour posts that we know Skooter uses to access the roof, but he probably has another way.  One site pointed out, not too meanly, that for an eagle to take a cat would reverse the usual cat-bird situation.  I looked at Skooter and said, “You do eat birds.”  I wish I could warn him in words he could understand.  (If he is kept indoors, he sprays angrily on the door and elsewhere while glaring at us.)

I put that worry out of my mind (leaving it in Allan’s, perhaps) so that I could concentrate on planting.  Perhaps because planting is not my favourite gardening activity, I moved slowly and mopily through the day, thinking how much I miss seeing Calvin sitting on the cat door ledge watching the world go by.

I dumped the gauge of this week’s rain because I needed it.

a lily coming up inside an old stalk (winter clean up neglect)

I love the backdrop of stacked crab pots.  It will not last long, because surely the gear shed folks will tarp the pots to protect them from weather all summer long.

Skooter kept me company throughout the garden.  I will keep on missing my Smoky’s constant garden companionship and his enjoyment of campfire evenings.

I realized that if the wind stayed away, we could have a campfire tonight.

The tiny cupped narcissi are my favourites.

(By the way, Allan bought me a better camera from ebay, a pocket sized Lumix (yes, trying Lumix again despite many “system error zoom” fails in the past) with a Leica lens.  It arrived today but with a dead battery and no charger, so we can’t use it till a newly ordered charger arrives.)

What I planted:

My first mission was to plant four roses that have been languishing in small pots.  I had been thrilled to find Ghislaine de Feligonde there, and had ordered three other kinds of roses just because.

Ghislane de Feligonde and Rosa palustris in my old garden

Rose ‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’ in my old garden; my transplant of it here died last year.

The other three roses are Old Blush, which gives a at least one flower most every month, Golden Wings, because I like yellow roses, and Félicité et Perpétue, which I used to grow in Seattle and in my year at the Sou’wester Lodge.

Rose ‘Felicite and Perpetue’ by cabin 9, east side, at the Sou’wester

As I sit writing this the next day, I think I planted Felicite in the wrong place.  It had to get out of the pot.  I must ponder a better place for it to climb than just over a big fuchsia in the west back bed.  I will move it to the fence on the east side…as soon as the storm is over.

I played musical chairs, moving the sad and probably dying Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ to the back garden (insane to have any hope, but at the last minute I could not bear to throw it out), replacing it with Pittosporum ‘Wrinkled Blue’, and trading around with a small epilobium and a small callistemon and a small Japanese maple whose name completely escapes me at the moment.

This one, at Westport Winery last August

The rest of the the plants:

Far Reaches Farm, east bed, south end

Now that I have found out that the height is six feet, I am rethinking this spot.

From Far Reaches Farm. Now at the south end of west bed.

Ajuga incisa ‘Bikun’

From Select Seeds, now in a pot in the greenhouse, Sempervivum ‘Gold Nugget’

Also planted, but not photogenic or rare, an Eryngium ‘Blue Glitter’ and a Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’.  I had already planted the ever so pink leaved Eupatorium ‘Capri’, a birthday present from Todd, which is supposed to be shorter than ‘Pink Frost’.  The only plant of mine that I did not plant was my other Todd present, because it needs a special place and I want to protect it from the battering storm.

I might try to talk Allan into adding this to his garden, where we can see it from the porch.  His garden is better maintained and plants don’t get lost in it.

With the plants in the ground (even though two may be moved again), I had a couple of hours for weeding, a task I enjoy so much more than planting.

center bed, yesterday

this evening

I wish I had four more nice days at home to weed.

Allan had returned in the early evening and set about making a fire.  I remembered one more plant, an Eryngium ‘Jade Frost, and I ended the planting session badly by slicing a lily bulb (of course, one I had recently planted only one of) right in half.

Eryngium in, lily collateral damage, stuck the damaged bulb back in anyway.  So much weeding to do!

I swear I will not buy a whole bunch more plants (except for cosmos and nicotiana) this year so that I can….oh…wait…I have another order coming from Digging Dog.

Near the fire circle, I had finally remembered to divide a Japanese iris today:

It takes two to make a thing go right.

It takes two to make it outta sight.

The area below used to be the campfire wood pile along the edge.  Allan and I had a bit of an argy bargy when I said I was going to move the wood pile in order to make this a garden.  I won that round.

It makes a good view from the campfire.

I do wish the ground was not thick with meianthemum (the heart shaped ground cover).

mahonia (Allan’s photo)

bogsy wood alder catkins

campfire supper

Allan’s photo

Post script:

At midnight, after an evening that had continued windless, the rain finally arrived.  The wind did not kick up till after 2 A.M. and I slept through the supposed storm, waking to learn that the wind had only reached a mere 44 mph.  But as I began to write this blog post on Saturday morning, I learned that the storm had gotten distracted along the way and is now due to arrive later on Saturday.

Update regarding the new LUMIX: a charger arrived. Upon testing, the refurbished camera immediately zoomed in and out and said “turn camera off and then on again” so back it goes.

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Friday, 30 March 2018

With more good weather predicted, I had high hopes for finishing the beach approach today.  And yet, drizzle greeted us as we left home.  My assorted weather apps denied the rain and suggested the day would stay cloudy but clear, with little wind.

We began with a little bit of deadheading at The Depot Restaurant garden:

Depot deadheading

Depot lilies emerging

We then planted some monarda and some Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’ at the Shelburne Hotel, where I grieved mightily over this sight:

The dreaded aegepodium popping up in the sidewalk garden, where it did not used to be nine years ago when the garden was consistently under my command.

an unfurling fern at the Shelburne

Long Beach

We drove out to the beach approach and contemplated this weather…

…and I decided it would be best to finish mulching Fifth Street Park and hope that the drizzle stopped.  It was ironic that the most weatherbeaten garden of any that we do, the west end of the beach approach, was our goal for today.

soil scooping

mulching in Fifth Street Park

Allan’s photo

I cut down the tattered Melianthus major on the other side of the park.  The beds still need weeding but at least there are some narcissi:

Finally, despite a continued light drizzle and some wind gusts that almost made me decide to go home and read (till Allan said the gusts might blow the rain away), we returned to the beach approach.

Two sections to go till the red buoy.

Allan’s befores of the twelfth of thirteen sections:

I got to meet and pet a darling pug.

and this sweet wiggly girl.

We found a rock:

By 3:30, we had section twelve almost done but for the clean up of rose cuttings and sand along the road and sidewalk edges.

Allan’s afters of section twelve:

The drizzle had ended partway through that section and  I did so hope that we could do the last section by 7 PM.  Section thirteen is the longest one of all.

starting section thirteen, 3:45 PM

And then, when we had barely got started on it….

We tried for a bit to keep going but it got too cold and muddy and messy.

There are many roses right along the edge to pull out with the pick.  At least tomorrow the weather is supposed to be good, and we will start with higher energy.

We are SO CLOSE.

This much remains.

after we gave up. (Allan’s photo)

Dark Sky, which is usually accurate, had been wrong for much of the day.

Just one section to go!

Tonight, I finally felt that I had the energy to follow through with offering some rugosa starts to some local gardeners who wanted them.  We had saved some rooted pieces today, and tomorrow  we will be stripping more from along the edge, so I put out the word that the gardeners could come get some tomorrow afternoon.  I also have issued dire warnings about what eager colonizers these roses are and to not plant them where they will escape into the dunes.

I was relieved the person from yesterday did not return. I had some good advice from friends: To write down answers to the person’s repeated questions and give the person a list of answers on paper was one of my favourites.  And to do what I should have done yesterday, to leave for ten minutes and then come back.  Will do if it happens again.

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

a calendula by our driveway (Allan’s photo)

Fritillaria meleagris (Allan’s photo)

Shelburne Hotel

I had a few plant starts ( cyclamens from MaryBeth and Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ from Klipsan Beach Cottages) to plant in the Shelburne front garden.  It had been on my mind to get back there and see how the garden is doing.  I wish it would “do” faster.  I miss having lots of spring bulbs in it.  Next year!  I took some narcissi from my garden  and left them by the kitchen sink, hoping someone could find it useful.

Outside, the only especially maddening weed I found was the dratted Aegopodium, which is thick at the south end and, unfortunately, popping up elsewhere as well.

a horde horrendous little aegepodium leaves at the south end (among the scilla)

in the center of the garden….nooooo!

looking north

looking south

I was most pleased when one of my most admired local gardeners came round the corner for lunch in the pub and said that the garden HAD gone to weeds but was now looking much better.  He had brought two little friends with him.

One had hopped into the garden and was gently removed.

I am feeling so eager for the plants to start to show.


and March 11. Some progress.

I planted my baby Sansuisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’ with Allan’s protective teepee.  I found that mine at home is finally leafing out so I could put my new one in here.

Long Beach, Bolstad Beach Approach

We returned to the all consuming task of weeding the beach approach, after doing a small bit of deadheading downtown.

in a downtown planter (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Before driving to the approach, we dumped Sunday’s debris and gathered some mulch.

our low tech method

on the approach garden (Allan’s photo)

mulch added to a couple of sections

We began weeding where we had left off.  The red buoy is at the end of the gardens.

six sections to go

Befores and afters (mostly Allan’s photos):

We finished one section in two and a half hours and started the next.

second section, before

I enjoy the parade of delightful dogs all day.

Our neighbour Jared strolled by with his good dogs:

Rudder and Yarrow

Below, see those holes in the weeds? That is where I had planted some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, of which I have plenty, to try to fill in with something free.  Every one has been stolen and I am so exasperated.  And furious. This is why, other than shrubs and roses, the gardens look so empty.  This is why we can’t have nice things.

I also find much evidence of the theft by digging of narcissi bulbs.  Below, evidence that was discarded on the ground after some fool took the bulb and no foliage, apparently.  Or someone just pulled the plant apart for fun.  Deer do not do this to narcissi.

I placed it on the post for your examination.

I am just going to encourage more wild beach lupine.  I can’t have anything fancier here.

Sometimes I think about writing a letter to the editor or speaking at Long Beach city council.  Then I think that would just alert people to where to find good plants for free.

willows, by where we dump weeds

When I got this far in the second section, I did not think I would make it to the planter.  Allan put a cookie on the rock to keep me going.  I was not amused, so he placed it where I could reach it. Three ibuprofens later, I did make it to the end.

The afters, (all by Allan), section one:

section two:

Now we have this far to go to the buoy:

at home

In picking narcissi for the Shelburne this morning, I had noticed that a depressing number were tattered by snails, so I had to find enough evening energy to totter around the garden tossing out some Sluggo pellets.

Narcissus ‘Frosty Snow’, cat memorial garden

Narcissus ‘Frosty Snow’

center bed (with loads of shotweed)

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’!

gunnera and rain puddles

I must divide this Japanese iris soon!

bogsy wood after rain

Oh dear, I may have coppiced my golden leycesterias and my smokebush too hard and too soon:

looks ominous

akebia by the driveway

Four beach approach sections to go and then I MUST get the rest of the sweet peas planted.

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Sunday, 25 March 2018

I am sometimes amazed at how wildly weather can differ from day to day.  After yesterday’s cold rain almost made me weep, today ignored the weather forecast and became a lovely spring day.  Instead of reading as planned, we went out to continue with the beach approach weeding.

before, looking west. The red buoy is our goal.

The rest of the photos are Allan’s today.


Occasionally, we find narcissi and crocuses in the long grass where we dump weeds.  (All rose clippings go to city works).

Mary and Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages  delivered birthday presents for me and our cheque.

Mary and me

A gentleman came by and as we talked gardening, I learned that he is the one who does the garden at the Astoria Senior Center, a job that requires being tied in on a rope.  I was ever so pleased to meet him.  He’s a gardening hero of mine.

Here, from last summer, are a couple of photos of his senior center garden.

hero worship

He is 12 years older than me.  I should perhaps stop complaining about how hard it is to weed the beach approach.

In grumpy news of the day, I was annoyed that so many narcissi had been picked.

fuming over picked stems

Someone mentioned trying to visualize the flowerjacker really enjoying and needing a stolen bouquet.  That does not work for me.  I want the flowers there for everyone, and I feel that EVERYONE who walks by there deserves to see ALL of them.  (Not to mention that bulb planting in November is not the easiest of gardening tasks.)


To think that I resolved that this year, I would not let finger blight annoy me so much.

Afters of our first section of today:

We went on to the next section; the first one today had only taken two and a half hours instead of three.  We had now come to one of the worst sections.  The eastern half of it is full of swampy rush and sedge.  I can only think it was a boggy spot originally.  There is no getting rid of the rush, whose long ropy roots are all entwined with the roses.


in battle


We made it all the way to the next planter and thus got two sections done today.

Now we have this far to go to the buoy.

Six sections left to go!  I was so excited that I made a list of the week’s work, each day having a small project to begin with and then a section of the beach approach.  We could get it done by April 1st, I thought, and then I will be free to do work that I enjoy more.  And then….I looked at the weather.

NOOO!  Last I’d looked, the whole week was supposed to be nice.  Oh, how very much I wanted to get this project done by the end of March.

Six sections left to go!

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