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Thursday, 9 November 2017

I got eight hours of sleep for the first time since my cat Smoky got sick.  This meant a late start to the day.  I had barely settled in to what I thought would be a reading afternoon when the sun emerged from rain and we decided to go to work.  We picked the Ilwaco boatyard so we would not get drenched far from home if rain returned.

I left Frosty in his peculiar new favourite spot:

smack dab in the middle of the back bedroom floor

On the way to work, we clipped the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ at the back of our volunteer post office garden.

Allan’s photo; no before; the Helianthus had been in the back corner.

Ilwaco boatyard

I had decided to take down some of the annuals now instead of waiting for frost, because I remembered how hard they were to pull from frozen ground.

sweet peas all the way to the top of the fence

Turns out that while I did pull some of the sweet peas and the taller cosmos, I could not bear to pull them all.

Tall cosmos and the tallest sweet peas and the verbascums got pulled.

Allan’s photo; We did get caught in a couple of brief squalls

Allan’s photo: This re-seeded euphorbia had to go, as it was too close to the sidewalk

Allan’s photos: All but the two Stipa gigantea at the center of the garden got their long stems trimmed.

Allan’s photos: sweet peas that I left blooming.

In pulling the old foliage off of a big Geranium ‘Rozanne’, I found a pair of clippers that I had lost over the summer.

The clippers had been hiding inside a santolina whose dead flowers I had sheared a month or more ago.

We had time to do a pretty good weeding all along the boatyard garden, as well, and to sow a bucket of poppy seeds that I had saved from deadheading there in late summer.  I thought the poppies might not reseed naturally because we had added a lot of mulch at the end of summer, smothering seedlings.  But I found quite a few new little poppy seedlings despite that, so good.

The crab pot tree has been assembled.  Allan will help decorate it later this month.

bare bones of the crab pot tree (Allan’s photo)

event poster by Don Nisbett

A fishing boat was pulling in to the nearby processing company, Ilwaco Landing.

 

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We dumped a few buckets of weeds at our dump spot, and took all the cosmos, sweet peas and clean non weedy clippings home to my compost mountain.

view from the east end of the marina

debris haul to compost bins (Allan’s photo)

the rain gauge from last night (Allan’s photo)

A dear local friend of ours is having post surgery woes.  Allan ran her son to McDonalds to get a meal, and then he and I went to meet Dave and Melissa for dinner at

Salt Pub.

It’s now dark when we go to dinner. Salt courtyard, Allan’s photo

Dave’s eyes were on a televised football game at the other end of the room.

fish and chips and sliders

clam chowder

Tomorrow we do expect the weather to be good enough for working, followed by a rainy weekend that I hope to devote to reading.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

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

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

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

Skooter by the front door

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

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

The cats all tucked themselves into naps, separately.

Skooter on a bed

Frosty on Allan’s chair

Calvin on my chair

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

Davidia ‘Lady Sunshine’ through a rainy window

rain and wind view from my desk

To my left, two cats.

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

The sky eventually brightened, but the cold wind continued.

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

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

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

on heaven:

It must be this painting.

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

With this label, from the Tate Gallery:

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

Gallery label, September 2016

I learned a new word, “eschatology”.

The “downward step” of aging:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An allegory about his diagnosis:

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

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

We had run into Steve and John at the 6×6 art auction three days before and were invited to tour their latest garden expansion.  On this cold and windy late afternoon, we bundled up and examined the entire garden…except for the beds on the east side, by the bay, from whence the wind came.  The tour was so interesting that we hardly commented on the cold.

Our tour started as we drove up to the house.

the driveway in

two beautiful piles of mulch that had just been delivered

young gingko by the irrigation pond

Met by Steve and John by the house, we began our walking tour.

This bed to the south east of the house was salal just a few days ago.  It is a hard task to get all the roots of that vigorously running native out of the ground, especially under a tree.

John picks a non variegated leaf off of a new variegated hydrangea.

The whole south side has been cleared of scrubby trees, including holly.

The tidal stream marking the edge of the property is now revealed.

Allan’s photo

I teased Steve and John that they would now be stretching a plank across the stream to lie on and trim the sword ferns on the other side.

I would have thought for sure the new shrub, below, in a new bed, was a rhododendron.  It is not.

Rhododendron ‘Pinky Purple People Eater’

Looking back on the new area. The tall old species rhododendrons to the left will enjoy the increased light.

Here is how it looked (not from exactly the same spot) earlier this year:

16 July 2017

We continued our walk to the west.

Foreground: Rhododendron ‘Cherries and Merlot’

Arbor Care from Astoria had done the expert clearing and had also limbed up the remaining trees. Steve and John said that when Arbor Care is done, you can’t even tell they were there (other than the results), because all the debris is chipped and cleaned up.

The photo below from January 1st demonstrates the difference in how the trees look now.

1 January 2017

We crossed the driveway, where the garden beds are also expanding.

a sinuous new bed

a fairly recent bed in the northwest lawn

Allan took notice of this tree, Athrotaxis cupressoides (Pencil Pine)

the very newest lawn bed of all

Each new plant gets some attention and admiration.

Quercus alnifolia (golden oak)

Quercus alnifolia (golden underside of leaves)

Allan noticed wire laid to discourage deer.

An independent minded dawn redwood which lost its leader and turned into a shrub.

The redwood on the other side of the driveway had behaved like a regular tree. This one…not. (Allan’s photo)

At least one big tree has been removed from this view, looking east over the pond.

Compare to May 2 of 2015.

May 2, 2015, on the Rhodie Tour

We walked back up the driveway, admiring the pushing back of scrubby salal and undergrowth on the south side, giving the garden greater depth..

Allan admired a fern.

the cryptomeria grove

Even though the photo below, from May 2, 2015, is from a little further to the east, it shows the difference that the clearing and limbing up has made.

May 2, 2015

center: Cryptomeria ‘Black Dragon’

right: Rhododendron ‘Ever Red’

Rhododendron ‘Hill’s Bright Red’

another new area

We admired more plants in the mature beds, planted in late spring 2009, to the northwest of the house.

Acer ‘Bijou’ in gold

Rhododendron ‘Yellow Hammer’

Rhododendron ‘Yellow Hammer’ blowing in the wind.

Rhododendron ‘Yellow Hammer’ (Allan’s photo)

autumnal hosta

(background) Rhododendrons closing their leaves against the cold wind

Brrr. They will close their leaves even more against winter’s cold.

Allan’s photo

Rhododendron pachysanthum by the front door

in the courtyard, looking through the breezeway (Allan’s photo)

coral bark maples

the last of the dahlias and the green roofed pump house

falling leaves

a look to the west before retreating indoors

same view on July 16 ’17

From the kitchen, we looked across the lower level to the stormy bay.  At a high winter tide, the water will come up over the rough grass.

south east corner: The evergreen huckleberry glade and the outlet of the tidal stream

view to the north: To the rear is Sorbus ‘Pink Pagoda’

A friend had given John and Steve some quinces, from which John had made a special treat, Quince membrillo, served with Monchego cheese, a delicious cheese made from the milk of Manchega sheep.  Served on crackers, it brought back memories of my grandmother’s quince jelly.

Quince membrillo

We admired a new piece of art that they had recently acquired from local woodcarver Jim Unwin.

by Jim Unwin

We visited till early evening, about gardening and politics, little knowing the glorious news of the blue wave of Democrat victories that awaited us in the evening news.

If you would like to virtually tour this garden in different seasons, here are some of our past posts about it:

26 September, 2013

21 April 2014

16 June 2014

19 July 2014 (garden tour)

2 September 2014

7 March 2015

2 May 2015 (Rhodie Tour)

23 June 2015

21 April 2016

24 July 2016

1 January 2017

11 May 2017

16 July 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

In the wee dark hours of the morning, blustery wind battering the south wall of the bedroom woke me repeatedly, and I did not look forward to the work day.

Allan saw a gorgeous sunrise outside the kitchen window.

Because we knew the next few days would bring substantial rain and stronger wind, we went out to work despite the cold weather.  I started out sore because of a bit of physical stress the previous evening.  Cats had knocked over a jade plant on a cute but wobbly table by my bathroom window.  I knew it was a potential problem when I set it up, and had done so anyway, so I blame no cat for the mess.  After repotting the unhappy plant, and in returning from our front porch with a better table, I had tripped sideways at the front door, yowling and windmilling into the living room.  I had saved myself from a fall but felt all twisted up.  I know all too well from the experiences of friends that one bad fall can change your life for months…or permanently.

Long Beach

I had had in mind today to trim a big lavender in the planter by First Place mall.  Allan did so while I tidied the planter across the street and then took refuge in the van while he finished up.  This particular task was set in a tunnel of east wind whipping down the cross street.  The east wind from the Columbia Gorge is the coldest wind that we get here.

before (Allan’s photo)

I wimped out.

after (Allan’s photo)

cold

We went on to Veterans Field, where I planted an arc of elephant garlic corms.  As with the city hall garden, someone this past summer had clipped off all of the flowers on the few that were in the vet field corner garden.  Next year there will be many more.

I met a darling dog named Snack.  His guy had also had a dog named Lunch.

Again, the US flag at the flag pavilion flew at half staff, again for a mass shooting.

We chose a somewhat sheltered Long Beach spot to continue, in the two eastern quadrants of Fifth Street Park.  I’d had the idea of using our strongest string trimmer on an annoyingly rooty and muddy bed of lady’s mantle and hesperantha.  Allan did it.  It worked a treat.

Allan’s photos: before

before

after

after

I tackled a messy long narrow bed on the north side.  It had been planted in haste before the re-dedication of the razor clam statue a few years back.  A couple of blue scabiosa had turned into way too many.  I started digging them out because I want a new look here, something not so prolific.

before

before

I got into a big mess of debris as I got every scabiosa  and a lot of the badaster out.  I had not intended to spend so long at it, because KBC was still on the schedule.

huge mess

Allan got done with his strimming project and helped me clean up.  I did not have time to dig through the soil to get out more of the telltale pinky purple BadAster roots, and there is still no pile of mulch for us to bring to this now battered looking bed.  (We are assured that a pile of mulch will soon appear for us at City Works.)

after (the juniper, foreground, goes way back to before we did this garden)

after (with Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ in white)

A tourist passerby from Woodinville, north of Seattle, had no idea what the razor clam statue represents.  Its signage is covered for winter while its plumbing (that lets it squirt on the hour) is turned off.  I will suggest to the powers that be that the clam needs a year round interpretive sign, perhaps just “Pacific Razor Clam” on its base.

In summer, you can also put in a quarter to make the clam squirt at any time during the day.

Of course, now is my opportunity to post again the droll letter my dear friend Montana Mary wrote to the local paper during the years when the clam did not squirt at all.  The statue was re-plumbed when the clam festival revived in 2014.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We had stopped at The Planter Box to acquire a belated birthday present for manager/part owner Mary of KBC.  In a big rush to have at least an hour to work at KBC, we took no photos at the garden store.

We did come up with a pretty flower pot, three plants, and three cute gourds to make a birthday present.

Allan’s photo

We had time for one hour of work, after texting garden friends that we were running fifteen minutes late for a late afternoon social engagement.

Allan cut down the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ behind the fenced garden sit spot.

Allan’s photos, before

after

I clipped and pulled in the other beds, without enough time to accomplish enough to finish off the fall clean up.  Still, three wheelbarrows of debris left the garden.  Even without our late afternoon plans, we would not have enough time.  I need to schedule a day of nothing but this garden in order to finish it up for the year.  It’s so sheltered that it’s a good place to choose for a windy day.

Before we left, I took some photos for the KBC Facebook page.

the sit spot

flower bud on Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’

birdbath view

Hydrangea ‘Izu No Hana’

We left KBC at 3:15 for a Bayside Garden tour, which will be tomorrow’s post.

Later, at home…

The work board got two things erased, Fifth Street Park and planting of garlic in Vet Field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Frosty looking cute in the morning

Even though my neurotic cat Frosty (the late Smoky’s brother) still wants to sleep in the garage rather than have to spend the night indoors, I won’t let him.  It is cold out there.  He wakes me up at 6 AM yowling to go out, so I then open the south cat door for him.  So far the other two cats have not figured out this happens.  Frosty seems to go out and then come back in soon after, because I find him asleep in my room when I wake up again.

Long Beach

We happened to nab a parking spot right next to a street tree that needed its batch of Lysimachia punctata cut back for winter.

before and after (Allan’s photos)

We found a reversible rock.

not sure what it means

The Anchorage Cottages

We left Long Beach to work at the Anchorage first, mainly because I did not know how long we would be there, and the rest of the time could then be devoted to Long Beach.

Arbutus and Melianthus major in the center courtyard

arbutus flowers (to be followed by strawberry like fruit, thus the common name strawberry tree)

I love arbutus so much, why do I not have one in my yard?

I’ve been meaning for ages for us to dead-wood the arbutus. No time for that today.

I did a nice under-pruning and lowering from the top of the big Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’ in the corner; wish I had a before picture.

just an after

Allan pulled Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ from the narrow bed under the blue sign, and on either side of it he planted some starts of shasta daisies.  I know folks who would turn up their noses at that.  I think the daisies will look spiffing with the white window trim.

before and after (Allan’s photos)

I put some redtwig dogwood twigs in the window boxes, just because it is something I like to do.

Long Beach

I planted a whole pot of cloves of elephant garlic on the west side of city hall.  The very few that were there this past summer were a hit with the city hall staff, who called it  “The Horton Hears a Who plant.”  It was so disappointing when someone picked off all the round flowers that I said I was going to plant so many that surely some flowers would be left next year.

planted them on the upper tier

after planting and clean up of the long narrow tiered beds that were planted originally by Gene and Peggy Miles, when Gene was city administrator (Allan’s photo)

lots of clean up accomplished on the north side, too

I do not clean up my gardens this way.  I leave a lot more plants standing into late winter.  In public gardens, most passersby would not understand that and would just see it as messy.

We turned next to pulling Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ at the front of Coulter Park (Allan) and tidying up a planter across the street (me).

Coulter Park, before and after (Allan’s photo)

Allan also photographed the planter project.

before

After work, we returned a couple of forgotten Halloween party items to Scott and Tony’s townhouse in north Long Beach, along with a tall houseplant that needed a place with tall windows.

painted rocks that Scott and Tony’s friends leave in their little entry courtyard

Port of Ilwaco

We did a security check on the business of a friend who will be out of town for two more days post surgery and then had a look at the garden at the port office.  It needs some trimming.  We were almost out of daylight, so it will not get done today.

Allan’s photo

Almost sunset at the marina:

home

I feel sad when I come home to Calvin sleeping alone, in the chair where for the past couple of months he spent the day sleeping with his new best friend, Smoky.  I wish he would bond with Frosty.  He must miss Smoky as much as I do.

Calvin wakes up.

Two nights ago, when I was petting Calvin, I realized I had already lost the hand memory of how much softer Smoky was than any other cat.  Calvin feels soft to me now.  I clipped a tiny bit of Smoky’s fur, before his final visit to the vet.  It felt intrusive to clip very much. It is just enough soft fur, in a little wooden box, to touch with one fingertip.  I can’t bear to go there. But I don’t want to forget that softness.  My hand aches to pet him again.

Smoky and Calvin on October 7th

Calvin and Smoky on October 19th

October 26th

Frosty and Smoky, mid October.  Note the subtle patterns on Smoky’s oh so soft fur.

Smoky was nice to all cats, humans, and nice dogs.

Frosty and Calvin will share my lap, but without affection and with the occasional squabble.

Frosty and Calvin a couple of nights ago

detente but no affection

I occupied my mind with a re-write the work board, dividing the fall clean up list into before and after the first heavy frost, for the purpose of giving me more tasks to erase.  Erasure gives me satisfaction at day’s end.

I then got to erase City Hall and Anchorage.

Below, at 2:45 AM (technically the next day):

Frosty, the odd kitty, has a new favourite place now that he is not sleeping in the garage: right in the middle of the open space in the bedroom.

Why not a comfy chair?

As I write this two days later, he is sleeping in that exact same peculiar spot.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

We began by offloading the huge amount of Fifth Street Park compost from our trailer to the three compost bins.  By the time I piled everything on, the bins were heaped high.

I wish we had assembled four bins by starting them a little further over.  I measured, and there is not room to fit an equal fourth bin in where the plastic bin sits, empty so far.

However, it is probably good to have that area where hops and honeysuckle hang down in the summer and hide the work area as one approaches the back garden.

After having first thought of putting my new Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’, a memorial to my cat Smoky given me by Our Kathleen, in the wayback bogsy woods newly cleared area, I realized it must go in the former hosta spot by the campfire circle, where Smoky loved to joined me.

perfect Spotty Dotty spot

my young paper bark maple glowing in sunlight

Skooter observed my various gardening activities.

The new wayback had a bit of standing water from last night’s rain.

That will not be a wet winter sit spot, as it will require wading to get to it.

surprising new flowers on a nigella

I picked two bouquets, one for an afternoon event at Time Enough Books, and one to thank Salt Pub for the meal Julez brought to us Friday night.

Speaking of bouquets, I am very pleased with myself that I have kept all paper clutter off of the dining nook table for the past week.  Here it is today with a bouquet from the Fifth Street Park hydrangeas that had to be clipped.

Allan delivered the bouquet to Salt Hotel.

Allan’s photos of the Salt bouquet at Salt Hotel.

south side of Salt Hotel

Robert Michael Pyle at Time Enough Books

door to Time Enough Books (Allan’s photo)

Local author, naturalist, and butterfly expert from Grays River, Bob Pyle, gave a talk about his recently re-published book about Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch.  Although Bigfoot has never been of big interest to me, the talk kept me fascinated.

Before Pyle arrived, bookstore owner Karla gave me this gift wrapped book.

Thank you.

Karla’s mulled cider, served up by her sister, Linda, went well with cookies.

Linda and Scout

a packed house

I told Karla that my bouquet was too big for Pyle’s table, so we moved it to the fireplace.

And a good thing, too, because Pyle filled the table with Bigfoot memorabilia.

Karla introduces Robert Michael Pyle. (Allan’s photo)

Pyle did not begin his book as a Bigfoot believer.  He did end the writing of it with an open mind.

Scout works the crowd. (Allan’s photo)

Scout in a typical pose

Allan’s photo

Bob alternated reading excerpts with telling stories.

Allan’s photo

Several points that especially intrigued me:

Bob said we are in the period of the sixth extinction, which includes many independent bookstores, and that the ones that remain are a grace note on our culture.

Even giants have legends of giants, as in the Brobdingnagians of Gulliver’s Travels, who despite being 60 feet tall, spoke of a time when other, bigger, giants had walked their land.

Bob got a Guggenheim fellowship to write the book, which he compared to the unlikeliness of Bigfoot entering the book store, sitting on one’s lap and feeding one bonbons.  Karla said, “Would he buy books?”  Bob:  “He’ll take books.”  Karla:  “I’ll let him.”  Bob said Bigfoot would leave something in trade, in the way that Bigfoot is said to leave a stick in exchange for catching a salmon.

Bob said that many members of local tribes think it is pretty silly (he used more elegant words) that people don’t believe in Bigfoot.

Pyle spoke much of a wilderness area called the Dark Divide, such an evocative name.  I wish to read the book if only to find out more about this wild area.

signing books after the talk

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photos

Allan showed me a book he had found on the shelves, with posters of women serving in WWII, a topic of interest to me because of my WWII Marine Corps mother.

The book featured London Transport posters from 1908 till the present day.

At home again, I sat down right away to read my gift from Karla.

How I wish…How very much I miss my Smoky…..from For Every Cat an Angel by Christine Davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Ilwaco

Saturday, 4 November 2017

6×6 Art Show and Auction at Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum

6x6“Join us for our annual 6×6 Art Show and Auction Nov. 4th. Over 60 art objects produced by some of the region’s most talented artists will be auctioned, with the silent auction running from 5-8pm and the live auction starting at 6pm. Tickets are $15.00. Fifty raffle tickets are available for $20 each. The winner can pick any 6×6 prior to the Auction event!”

This is one of the three most fun official events on Ilwaco’s yearly calendar (the other two being the Slow Drag and the Crab Pot Christmas Tree).  It is my favourite of the events because of the winning combo of good food, good art,  the hilarity of Bruce Peterson’s auctioneering, and the annual battle for the sock monkey art.

We first perused the four tables of silent auction items.

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We had…

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