Tuesday, 16 June 2020

We are getting used to five day weekends. The thought has crossed my mind that we should find some more work than just two days a week. The time will increase to longer days when watering season begins at the port; I don’t think we have ever had such a delightfully late start to watering season. But the time off is too enjoyable to give up yet, if ever.

Allan did go to work two doors down, mowing the Norwood lawn.

He then began to paint the new Catio. I’d every intention of helping, till I got a visit from Jenna. I had invited her, just did not know exactly when she might arrive. We haven’t seen each other, except in passing, for months.

After a good long social distancing visit, I joined Allan to finish the painting project. It goes much faster to paint the side for which the wire has not yet arrived.

I eagerly await the delivery of enough wire to finish the enclosure.

Alicia next door used our “grandpa’s weeder” (which according to this sales site was invented in Seattle in 1913!) to get a few dandelions out of her own lawn.

I took a few photos around the garden.

The greenhouse…

…with lots of tomato plants and two cucumber plants and a Dortmund rose out the back door.

Paul’s Himalayan Musk is still blooming.

Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ and Thalictrum ‘Elin’

And a small but delicious harvest of Sugar Sprint peas and strawberries and brazzleberries.

Monday, 15 June 2020

We had had some rain.

I woke with the pleasant realization that I had a project to do. The new Catio was built over the year-old faux rock wall in a way that looked like, well, an unplanned addition.

I spent a couple of delightful hours fixing it.

More Catio progress came about with Allan’s carpentry.

He had mentioned several times that he wondered how cats could navigate around the big old rose in one corner of the Catio, one of the few original shrubs that came with the house.

It was pretty during its brief bloom time…

….but wanted to be huge. Last year I had cut it back hard, and it clearly was not going to bloom this year, while being determined to regain its huge size. When I gave it an experimental dig with the Slayer shovel and it rocked in the thin, gravely soil, I suggested to Allan that if he disliked it so much, he could dig it out.

I put the rose up on offer on the Peninsula Gardeners Facebook group and within five minutes Matt, spouse of Seaview Sara, showed up to nab it.

We had a garden chat before he left.

I sifted some compost for the new kitchen garden…

Another project of mine was to dig out a rhododendron that was lost in the undergrowth back by the Bogsy Wood. I had won it in a raffle at the Astoria Garden Tour over a decade ago. Only last year did I realize that its new growth is is white, like my favourite rhododendrons at Steve and John’s bayside garden.

From this invisible spot…

…I dig the poor little thing out…

….and gave it a better home at the edge of the Bogsy Wood where I hope it will grow to show off its beautiful leaves.

I also dig some small catmint starts for the Catio. Skooter showed an intense interest.

I picture him basking there as our good friend Spencer used to do at Klipsan Beach Cottages.

In the evening, we watched an episode of Springwatch 2020 on BritBox. Skooter took a highly unusual interest in what Chris Packham had to say.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

I had two garden visitors today, by arrangement. First, Marilyn came all the way down from Surfside. We toured her garden there years ago when it was quite new and was on the Edible Garden tour. (Gosh, if there were an edible garden tour again, mine would actually qualify!)

Today we had a social distancing walk though the garden.

Not long after that, Beverly came by because she had a book to give me. I’ll tell you more about the book after I have read it, of course. It is in garage quarantine for another couple of days along with all new arrivals. I believe it is about living a life of kindness.

We had a garden walk and a good long visit.

I am a fiend for social distancing, still.

Meanwhile, Allan had been working on the Catio and had managed to get wire up on one side and attached all by himself.

The top piece will be bent over to make a barrier that a cat cannot climb out of upside down. That’s the theory.

Allan reattached the front horizontal boards so they they present their thin side to the house, making my south window view a little better. It’s too bad that boards and wire go between the south window view and the garden, but Skooter is one pampered puss. And with the narrow side toward the house, the boards look like a picture frame around the garden. So I tell myself. All for Skooter …. and whatever companion cat we find for him.

He longs for a sunny Catio.

I am in a right old swivet because we can’t source the rest of the wire for the other side locally (stores are out of it), so we ordered it from a big box hardware store, and they then announced that it won’t be delivered till maybe the second week in July. Neither Skooter nor I like that. (Update: A couple of days later, the delivery date got moved up to June 23rd. Thank goodness.)

I occupied myself with garden puttering in the afternoon, moving containers to the new veg area and adding to compost bin three.

Next door, Alicia and Brian busied themselves raking grass and sawing limbs and picking up windfall branches in their back garden. I joined them back there while hilling up potatoes around the old stump that I have imperialized on Alicia’s property.

Soon the lawn will get a good going over with Sea Aire Mowing’s riding mower and then Allan will keep it mowed from then on.

Meanwhile in Ocean Park:

Terran of BeeKissed Gardening provided an update of her new kitchen garden.

It is coming along beautifully.

Meanwhile, in the farming world…

Migrant workers face increased risks of Covid-19 during harvest time

Saturday, 13 June 2020

We had had some rain.

Bees are still all over the ceanothus. You can hear the buzzing from several feet away.

Blue is hard to capture. This anchusa, from Annie’s Annuals, a cultivar that is not the invasive kind, is far more intensely blue than this photo shows.

We continued to work on the Catio (Allan) and the shift from compost area to kitchen garden (me).

During the day, we had some company after we invited Annie and Amber and Annie’s mum into the garden when we saw them looking from the outside.

Amber is such a good pup. I couldn’t pet her because of social distancing.

I then used the handcart to move some big pots of veg to the new area. Skooter seemed to want to take a ride.

Allan has been indulging him by making some more walkway shelves around the edge of the shady catio. The other day, Skooter seemed to demand that the walkway go all the way around.

So now he has a new shelf, although it is a bit too wide, Allan found.

By the end of the day, I had a new bed with a zucchini and a cucumber in it. Photo at dusk came out blurry.

Next year, I will have more beds and won’t have so many vegetables in containers.

Beans will go on the picket fence. I ran out of steam and daylight before I got the seeds planted.

My energy had gone to potting up 15 more Sweetie tomatoes into large pots. Six will be outside the greenhouse, four in the cold frame against the south wall of the house and two on a low table against the outer greenhouse wall. I’ll be curious to see if, with our cool climate, I get any tomatoes at all outside the greenhouse.

Meanwhile in Seattle, my home town

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone got a name change to the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, to make clear, or so I read, that participants did not intend to mean they were separate (autonomous) from the rest of the city and thus wanted a more inclusive name. A Facebook user named Tracy Rector wrote this explanation:

“UPDATE AND REFLECTION: The area on Capitol Hill formerly known as CHAZ is now CHOP – Capitol Hill Occupancy Protest. As I learned yesterday protests are protected under freedom of speech so organizing groups have decided to name the space and the actions as a protest since that’s essentially what’s happening. The first demand being to return the police station back to the people as a community center or cultural space for BIPOC. One organizer mentioned being inspired by Daybreak Star.

My reflection as a witness to the beauty, art and community care that has flourished on Capitol Hill. It’s amazing after being sheltered in to have an opportunity to practice and experiment with a new way of being which is not centered on whiteness or capitalism. It’s in fact a space born out of centering BLACK LIVES MATTER and an end to a militarized police state.

I find it interesting and telling how hard the mainstream media is working at spinning the narrative into a negative including fanning the flames of misperception and fear. Please share with the world that what’s happening on the ground is driven by young people who are kind, thoughtful, fierce and ready for real change. They are sick of what was being called “normal”, they are sick of gentrification, billionaires, greed, racism, corporate looting of Mother Earth, and broken political systems – they are SICK of being murdered. They want their space and breath back. Their fight should be seen as all of our gain as we need to be shook awake hard from this deep comfort with dangerous mediocrity in service of the 1%. We need to step up and do our part.

Finally, the space is perfectly imperfect and an evolving ecosystem of people who are really trying their best to figure things out. They want us all to continue centering the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement, honor that the land is occupied Indigenous territory which should be returned and they want people to take actionable steps to be anti-racist and opt out of a failing system built on genocide, murder and patriarchy which only perpetuates greed, divisions and inequities. That’s it.”

A friend in Astoria shared this with me:

Fox News removed their falsified photos that showed a photoshopped version of armed guards and broken windows that were not even taken in Seattle!

The Seattle Times published this article about the negotiations, difficulties, and tenuous nature of creating a new community. The SeattleP-I, the city’s other mainstream newspaper, reported on how the CHAZ or CHOP came about , including hope that the issues are not lost in a festival atmosphere:

“Still, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay is cautioning people to remain focused on the issues.

“By ‘stay focused’, I meant the goal of CHAZ is not to have an outdoor festival,” he tweeted. “If we’re benefiting from freedom purchased through the work of Black organizers, we all have to be advancing their demands.””

Another article from King 5 focuses on the concerns of some neighbors who really do not want to live next to a 24 hour festival of music and voices. I can empathize with that, although I have also read reports of neighbors and business owners participating in the ongoing event. I like a quiet life myself, so I can see the point of view of the neighbors who want their old lives back. Quiet hours at night would be a kind offering to the neighborhood. If it were me, though, I would be exhilarated to hear the sounds of activism going on during the day…just not too early in the morning, please.

Politico published this excellent article about the nature of the protest, which is borne out by eyewitness accounts from people I actually know. Here is another personal report, from someone I met briefly when he lived here, so I know he’s someone real:

“Took a short trip to the CHAZ….. In spite of what you may have heard on the news, it is really quite pleasant there. More of a street fair with people giving speeches on civil rights and police defunding. No sign of lawlessness, just people building community.”

(Photos above by Carl Hofelt from a public post on Facebook)

You might wonder why this ongoing protest moves and fascinates me. It reminds me of my involvement in something similar in 1991, without any community garden because it took place in January. I have a couple of old blog posts about it starting here.

So my heart is with these people and I share their dreams of a better world.

Friday, 12 June 2020

My mission to move the compost bins to the west edge of our property continued. Allan bravely raked out some more half finished compost from the remaining bins while the yellow jacket circled ominously.

When I wasn’t asking him for compost help, he worked on the sunny Catio.

At the partly dismantled compost area, I pulled the debris toward me and sifted it while the yellow jacket zoomed around. Before long, both Allan and I were being buzzed right up close nose to nose in tight angry little yellow jacket circles.

When this behavior drove me all the way to the west gate with a wasp going eye to eye, I had had enough and finally we resorted to a squirt of wasp spray. We had given every opportunity over several days for the yellow jacket to move to another part of the garden where I could have left it alone. But no.

With some anxiety over whether a nest had already been started under the ground, I kept sifting and moving barrowloads of rough compost to garden beds.

We found two newts in the pile…

Look how red its belly is.

“How embarrassing,” said Allan in a newt voice.

Both newts got moved to the new bins.

Allan also found a spider with some important baggage that it was eager to move.

Allan also found, at the bottom of one bin, my long lost favourite composting tool…

Getting most of the compost moved was most satisfying. I put the old bathtub in place and sifted more compost into it.

Then beets went into the tub. Poor beets, moved so many times.

By the end of the day, much progress had been made…

…and I had found at last a use for the picket fence from Andersen’s RV Park.

The new bins were heaped high. Allan had screwed together the pallets for bin three and had pounded in rebar to hold the front panel in place.

The red hammerer-downer tube is invaluable.

A useful metal pounder

I could hardly move after all that.

I had seen some interesting sights in the garden while wheelbarrowing compost.

My mom’s “red velvet rose” with a somewhat clashing lily….

Salmonberries in the Bogsy Wood….

Sugar Magnolia peas refusing to use the teepee…

I won’t tie them in now because they are so fragile that they might break.

Dipplarhena moraea…

Stipa gigantea, my favourite grass…

The horror of encroaching bindweed…

My cutleaf elderberry from Joy Creek Nursery (not very vigorous)…

My Sambucus ‘Black Lace’, much more vigorous, and backed with wild red elderberry….

A view from the compost area, looking southwest…

Allan had gotten quite far with the Catio framework.

Meanwhile, in Raymond and South Bend…

Citizens did a four mile Black Lives Matter march from one town to the other. You can see see a video here.

And in Seattle, my home town…

I know people, yes, real people who are not imaginary friends, who live near the “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone” and so can offer their accurate reportage and observations.

L.S. wrote,

S.M. wrote,

If I were still a Seattleite, I’d still be relying on other people’s reports because I am still social distancing.

You can read in this story from the Seattle Times how a certain “news” source used drastically altered photos (which they later deleted) which gave a false perspective. Forbes magazine offered this more accurate portrayal.

Seattle’s The Stranger newspaper has this wonderful article about Marcus Henderson, a gardener (with far more credentials than I have) helping to create community vegetable gardens there.This isn’t the work of a casual amateur; Henderson has an Energy Resources Engineering degree from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in Sustainability in the Urban Environment, and years of experience working in sustainable agriculture.

When Henderson said, “Going all the way back to emancipation, he points out, farming has been an important way for Black people to gain autonomy and self-sufficiency. But Black land ownership, particularly in the farming sector, has dropped precipitously over the last century; in the 1920s, America had nearly a million Black-owned farms. By the 1970s, it was down to less than 50,000.“…I was reminded of the excellent book, Sundown Towns and of the painful history of Black farmers being run off their land in middle American towns. Land they they never got back, homes that were burned, farms and gardens that were lost. The book is a must read.

As someone who has worked in public gardens for a quarter century, I think that the message of that community garden is far more important than the inconvenience of a parks department perhaps having to restore the lawn someday. Or maybe the garden will be allowed to stay. Here is a delightful photo of it taken by Harriet Strasberg.

It is being built with the method of soil on top of cardboard, a method I often employ myself, a great way to make an instant and I hope not temporary garden.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

As may happen once a week now, we had my favourite kind of workday. 80% of the photos today are Allan’s.  The better ones! Because I was using my old phone camera.

We started with the J Crew Cottage…

And then the Norwood garden…


And then Mike’s garden.


Allan trimmed the second big escallonia at CoHo Charters….

I took a quick look at the marina….

…and then weeded the curbside gardens at the east end of Howerton Avenue.


Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

But not the one in front of CoHo! A killdeer had laid its eggs there, right by the street. It’s a choice that makes one question the wisdom of nature, as killdeers always like to lay their eggs in hazardous places.


We used to see a pair of killdeer acting anxious about their eggs laid in gravel at the Long Beach city works yard. The partner bird today was doing the usual routine of pretending to have a broken wing, drawing our attention and then running away from the nest hoping we will follow.

I hope the birds are successful. It seems to me that their family plan must often be doomed to disaster.

We continued on weeding the curbside beds as far west as Time Enough Books.


This passerby found me fretting over an area that is not growing well.

I must remember to bring some mulch for a small area where the ground is more like concrete than soil


One of the smaller eryngiums



The bookstore was just closing. Again, we could not pet Scout because of social distancing. I told her what a very very good dog she is.

I also weeded the Port Office garden on Waterfront Way.
After work, we weeded around the beds on all four sides of the Ilwaco Fire Department. The lawn would like to come back on the north side…

…but we won’t let it. The ferns must win.

At home, Allan worked on his boat…

..and at dusk, raked the old compost area more level in an attempt to discourage the Yellowjackets to not want to nest there. Google and a local bee expert confirmed my worry that the buzzy pair I worked around the other day had markings matching a Yellowjacket rather than a nice honey bee.

This is most unfortunate.

When I sat down to read the news, I was heartened to read about how the good citizens of Forks, Washington, had found a way to send an apology to the family who were recently harassed by vigilantes there.

We made the rounds of all our non Ilwaco jobs, which during maintenance rather than planting time can be fit into one long day.

First, we drove to the boatyard to check for wind damage. The garden had held up well to yesterday’s gale. Allan noticed a pile of pallets. With Jessie’s Fish Company closed and in receivership, a bad situation because they were a big employer in our county, I did not think we’d see any new compost bin makings in the wood pile. Happy day!

The pallets that are being revealed at home as I move the compost bins are mostly rotten, so these are a blessing.

Speaking of Jessie’s, I desperately long for three of these red bins to turn into raised beds. If anyone can legitimately get me some, even ones with broken corners, I would be so happy.

As you can see, the day was dark and gloomy…but not to me, as the temperature was perfect, warm but not too hot, and there was very little wind.


We did our weekly weeding and deadheading at the Depot Restaurant.

Bamboo was trying to sneak up under the eaves again. All this new growth had come on fast.

Bindweed would love to take over this garden (as would the hops which likes to creep forward from its lattice).

A large frog at the edge of the garden observed our work.

We drove past the Sou’wester ….

…on our way to have a look at Patti’s new flower green, where a fountain is being added.

The garden bed does not need any weeding yet, being only one week old.

The Red Barn

We did not have to do anything but pull a couple of weeds and drop off an invoice.

One of the whippets greeted us….

…and got a biscuit, as he knew he would.

Allan walked the invoice to the drop box at the back of the barn.

Diane’s garden

Holly got two biscuits and a gloved petting of the top of her head.

We pulled some more white California poppies from the septic vault garden and added a few more plants: Some Verbena bonariensis that I started from cuttings and some Agastaches that I started from seed (go me!). The garden is finally starting to look interesting instead of just being a sea of white poppies.

I weeded along the roadside, relieved that the Stipa gigantea was not battered by yesterday’s wind….

and fretted over the lack of growth on the sweet peas.

The sweet peas look the same pitiful height as last week and are not yet visible on the fence at all. I am frustrated.

The Boreas Inn and Yett House

Allan did one of our rare weeding jobs at the cute Yett Beach House, a 125 year old cottage that is managed as a vacation rental by the next door Boreas Inn.

Good job! The roots on that beach grass go on for miles.

Meanwhile, I tidied and weeded next door at the Boreas garden and planted three more painted sage (that I grew from seed!).

At home, I made salads to go with dinner. Although the process is certainly more time consuming than dumping salad out of a bag, the ingredients are a lot more varied and now include a small topping of fresh strawberries along with baby carrots and a few peas, and dianthus, calendula, and rose petals.

Alicia next door had asked about who might mow the Long back lawn and I had suggested Sea Aire Mowing, although I had thought Becky might be too busy. It happened that Alicia caught her at the right time, and she came straight away with her powerful power and had at it!

It was so wet this past spring that our not very powerful push mower just sunk right in. Now that it is dryer, we will be able to take on the mowing. I like a meadow, and would choose to leave some of it wild if it were my grass, but this particular meadow is rampant with bindweed that wants to creep into my garden, and mowing is one way to get that situation under control.

Monday, 8 June 2020

For maybe the first time this year, I did some compost sifting that resulted in several wheelbarrows of delicious compost.

Because compost is such a thrill, I am letting you see all the barrowloads!

I used the yellow wheelbarrow for rough compost that went back to the southeast corner of the Bogsy Wood and included sphagnum moss from last year’s Long Beach hanging baskets, very slow to decompose, if it ever does.

But oh, dear. Two buzzy critters kept appearing at the corner of bin three and seemed to be nosing around a rough debris spot where they might be able to go into the ground next to one of the pallet dividers.

I was hoping for a nice placid bee. They seemed peaceful enough and smaller than the photos might suggest. Since they weren’t angry, I kept carefully working around them. Unfortunately, Google suggested the markings are those of a yellow jacket.

I switched from bin three to bin one because of the two buzzy folk, and got it all emptied out. Switching bothered me because I like to do the bins in order.

Bin one is empty now.

The last load:

There is still much more to sift…….but I am worried about the buzzing folks.

My Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose made me happy all day long.

Meanwhile, Allan worked on the Catio.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

We had been expecting a windstorm with about 35-40 mile an hour wind. Instead, we woke to a doozy of a freak storm. My fig tree on the south wall of the house was whirling around like a carnival ride. I could have taken an amazing video had I not been reluctant to go out there. The wind was almost 90 mph at nearby Cape Disappointment.

I spent the day writing up our recent visit to Steve and John’s garden while Allan worked on his boat.

Leaves were spread all over the yard from the Bogsy Wood alders, even unto the north side of the house.


News of the day

This blog will not always contain a newscast under the warning line. However, in recent days I have again been as obsessed with the news as I am obsessed with compost and other gardening matters.

In semi-local news (rural western Washington), the Forks City Council made an apology to the family that was blocked into their campsite by trees being felled on the road, and then rescued with the help of local teenagers who removed the trees. I find it impossible to believe one Forks individual’s theory that is was not racially motivated. Because the protest to which some locals believed “Antifa” were being bussed in was in support of Black Lives Matter, it is hard to see the local objections and harassment of the family in their camping bus as being anything but racially motivated. However, I feel positive about the way that so many townspeople turned out yesterday, in an article shared in yesterday’s blog. I cast no judgement on Forks as a place; it is not that different from the small rural towns where we live, where unfortunately one can still see confederate flags flying here and there.

Here is another article from our Long Beach Peninsula weekly about the Astoria protests and one lone voice on Long Beach. (A number of my friends would like to join in with him.)

I am also still obsessed with Coronavirus news. In two interesting stories today:

Unemployment is not the rosy picture that the White House recently presented


A warning about how long Covid 19 can last for those unfortunate enough to get it.

“I’ve been very concerned by friends and family who just aren’t taking this seriously because they think you’re either asymptomatic or dead,” said Hannah Davis, an artist from New York City, who is on day 71. “This middle ground has been hellish.”

Article above also has interesting stuff about false negative tests.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

We’d had some rain.

Before starting my main project, I transplanted beets out of an old bathtub planter into some big pots. Poor beets, this is the third time they have been transplanted.

The reason for moving the tub is that I will need that spot to squeeze through next to the new Catio if I ever want to weed that corner of the garden. And today was the day the new Catio began. (Don’t ask me why autocorrect capitalizes Catio. I am mystified, but will go with it.)

I am hoping that I won’t have to move the water garden next to the tub. That is a much harder project. Some history: That bathtub was in the old motor home belonging to Terry Holtzclaw, our friend who died and left us his three cats, Mary and her sons Frosty and Smoky. He had removed the tub so that he could grow pot in his bathroom!

The new spot for the tub will be where the four compost bins are now. I hoped to get one bin dismantled in order to have a place to put it.

Bin two in the new area outside the fence was ready and waiting with newspaper and cardboard in the bottom.

I was excited to start moving my compost to the new area and began with bin four because it had the most recent debris, much of it chopped dry ornamental grasses that take a long time to decompose.



While Skooter watched and dozed while in the background, Allan began work on the sunny Catio, all for him.

I hope Skooter appreciates it more than the shady Catio.

There was no good finished compost to sift out of bin four. It was still too fresh.


I had skimmed a lot of the uncomposted  debris off the top of the other three bins and moved it, as well, revealing some promising compost to sift tomorrow.

The view from my project:

The new bins outside the west fence are heaped high. This will not be an odiferous compost, as it does not include kitchen waste. My darling neighbor, Alicia, seems to not be bothered by it being perhaps not such a beautiful thing to look at. I will plant something to soften the view from her side.

In order to add some green material with the brown, I had done the Chelsea chop on two areas of Joe Pye weed. This photos shows it halfway through:

I got all of it chopped down to the height of the foreground. It will still bloom profusely, without flopping.

You might be interested to see Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’ which is right next to Joe Pye.

Allan had made good progress, getting the Catio layout done and four of six posts in.

Here is the after photo to follow the beginning photo of the old bathtub.

To the left, a big red valerian which had to be dug is in the water just in case I wanted to try to save it. I don’t. It will get chopped into the compost bins.

Skooter picked a new spot to lounge in the evening.

Allan saw an amazingly large newt or salamander near the ponds after I had gone into the house. I did not get out in time to see it (as it takes me several minutes to even stand up after a day of turning compost). He said it was probably seven inches long.


The news of the Black Lives Matter protest has still been at the forefront of my mind.  In the town of Forks, on the Olympic Peninsula, many townspeople turned out to show that they believe in the cause.  A series of excellent photos can be found here, well worth perusing.

Closer to home, The Astorian newspaper had this good article  about yesterday’s protest across the river.



Saturday, 6 December 2020

On a partially stormy day, I spent most of my time working on this post featuring vintage photos , and another vintage photo post that follows it, over on our Ilwaco blog.

Allan took some garden photos, and probably worked on his boat project.

In the morning when I awoke, I had seen something bright on the shelf by the window. My grandmother’s cactus has bloomed, just a small neglected plant that I have never even cared for properly. I put it out onto the front porch, where Allan noticed it later.

Ceanothus, probably ‘Victoria’, planted next to the Nora House parking area, is popular with the bees.

Rambling rose ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ is starting its once yearly fragrant bloom.

Cerinthe major purpurascens was a big hit on our recent garden open day. I showed people how to collect the large black seeds but have not got around to doing so myself. The colour is from bracts, not flowers. The flower is a tiny white bell.

Our next door neighbours Alicia and Brian had arrived at the Nora House (really Alicia’s house; Nora was her beloved grandma). We are social distancing so no “family” dinners together as we usually enjoy. I sent over a bouquet, picked safely with gloves fresh from the box, and we talked across the driveway.

I think that my lettuce hanging basket has been such a great success that I have started two more.

A book

Karla, owner of Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco, had lent me a book that I have been reading at bedtime for the past week or more.

I wonder if she thinks I am depressed. (I asked her a few days later, and she asked, “Are you a saddie or a normie?” “A saddie,” had to be my honest reply.)

I liked the book very much.

This passage about the loss of the author’s family dog reminded me so much of our recent loss of our eccentric tortitudinous and adorable cat, Jazmin. Especially since we are hoping (at least I am) to get another cat to assuage Skooter’s loneliness, as he is much more talkative and needy without another cat to pester.

If we get another cat for Skooter, once the Catios are both done, I hope it is a cat who likes being pestered more than Jazmin did.

One thing that especially spoke to me was this, as it reminded me of moving to the beach from Seattle at age almost 38.

I hardly recognize myself as the person I was before I moved here, although some things remain the same. One of those things is that I could be counted on to go to a progressive protest. So today I felt terrible that I did not go to the anti-racism protest in Astoria, especially since the high school students who had organized and led the event, and everyone who joined them, were harassed at top volume by the small group of local white supremacists, some visibly armed, who recently moved here from Portland. Fortunately, when the students and other progressives marched down to the Safeway store at the other end of town, the perhaps less energetic hostile faction was left behind. As I would have been, because from the video I saw I would not have kept up! They braved the rain to continue their protest into the late afternoon, while I had stayed home because I am not ready to give up social distancing.

Our friend Wendy went with her daughter and sent me these photos. She said it was very cold and wet.

To make up for not going, Allan and I made a donation online via the Black Lives Matter website. . Here is an article with a good list of options for donating to the anti-racist cause.


The rest of the news is here under the warning line because of its disturbing glimpse into the depressing side of human nature.

The story of the family terrorized in Forks haunts me. This screenshot of comments from a couple of locals showed the social media mob mentality that led to the harassment. I have somewhat blocked out the names of the Forks residents who were rejoicing on Facebook that the family had been scared out of town. I suppose I did this because I saw it done on a couple of places where their horrid little chat was shared and thought there might be legal reasons.

This is of especial interest to me because of the series of non fiction books I read about the power of mobthink on social media. Some titles: This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, a couple of chapters in Lindy West’s Shrill, and Future Crimes. I think that the two Forks women who are now renowned for their xenophobic comments will perhaps want to read the excellent book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. Words can follow you for the rest of your life nowadays and the whole world can hear about bad behavior. I am just relieved to read that an investigation has been opened.