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Wednesday, 12 January 2022

The day turned out to be clear and not too cold, but windy. Allan spent an hour installing the south east gate in a temporary but effective way as a drop-in-place rather than hinged gate. He has hinges but not enough time.

Taking Skooter to the vet for an allergy shot at 1PM was a necessary interruption to our energy flow. He was thrilled to be back home again.

I decided to turn some compost after we returned, hoping to find at least some ”done” enough to take to the willow grove when the lawn dries some more. And I need to clear some space for new compost makings.

When I saw that Allan was enacting my idea of putting the remaining bark bags in the van and taking them for a ride….

…I went along for a ride around the block to the gear shed road, which is also our access road to our SE corner. I clearly am not a highliner because I could not move the crab pots to make access wide enough for a wheelbarrow.

Allan had to fetch the wheelbarrow by lifting it (empty) out over the pots and then carry each bag into the yard by squeezing sideways. Next time I see the gear shed guys, I will have to ask them to please shift that pile because we have more garden making ingredients to bring in during the next month. I wouldn’t even be landscaping back there at all were it not for the proposed building which is going to block us both in. But we will always have that shared road! Crabbing is much harder work than gardening, so I don’t want to be an annoyance. (I also don’t want to schlep supplies in from the front driveway, 250 feet from the willow grove.)

I checked my deer barrier at the SW corner. It hadn’t even survived two days. I did not see deer tracks, perhaps wind took it down.

Allan patched the opening with some wire. It was too windy to finalize the trimming and fitting.

I had told Allan it would be better to let the deer come in than work in the dangerous wind. He said statistics were on his side. He also used some wood to temporarily fill in a big gap.

The wind and lack of dry paths meant I had done all that I could in terms of bringing materials out to the grove.

But I am pleased to report all the garden beds are staying dry (enough.)

I took a risk myself by loading the wheelbarrow with some yard debris for the trip back to the house. I was as quick about it as could be, remembering the dire story of Allan’s aunt Dorothy, who told us of a suddenly falling tree killing a visitor to her nephew’s rural property. That story has certainly stuck with me.

Double wind flag at the port. Telephoto from our south garden. Proposed new building will likely block our view of this invaluable flagpole.

When loading the debris into our trailer, I took a moment to admire some narcissi in the front garden. On the drive to the gear shed, I had seen them through our new transparent front fence. They bloom every year but have always been hidden away.

A sweet dog suddenly appeared to be petted. We were both happy.

I went back to the compost bins, pulling bin one’s front off for now because it had been tilted forward so much by the weight of the compost inside.

Finally, I picked the most pitiful harvest of greens. That is all I could get because of my winter crop fail—a failure to plant seeds during my weeks long bout of vertigo.

Parsley, Kosmic Kale, collards, a bit of sage to go in a bean soup.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

At home

We had rain again, with a flood watch for Raymond and South Bend. 74 homes in Pacific County were damaged by the weekend floods, per the emergency management agency. This time, the lawn paths in our garden only flooded in the usual Bogsy spots.

Red rain gauge

Allan’s indoor work on the fence project started with an excursion back to the willow grove, where he checked on his gate work from yesterday (with temporary lift up unhinged gates).

His mission was to measure the width of the three arbors.

One…

Two…

Three, with a post hole digger standing in for the last post.

All that standing water turns to pathways in spring and summer.

He cleaned up the salvaged wood from the front and back fence re-do… The muck was not so much soil but various molds, fungus and mosses working on naturalizing the old fence supports. The moss will get a second chance as it got dumped on the ground.

…and he painted the 2x4s for the tops of the arbors that will be installed when we can work out there again.

I didn’t do a darn thing but read an enjoyable gardening memoir.

I loved it, and am looking forward to her newest one which is about moving to a new garden while in her 70s. I read her first book, Duck Hill Journal, decades ago and liked it. I wanted to read the three in order, but the first one has not arrived from the library yet.

The chapter on compost thrilled me.

I wrote this down, about finding a new cultivar of a shrub one already has: “A pink form exists, which I sometimes crave, but I lie down until the longing goes away.”

She and her spouse don’t do all the work on the garden themselves; they have three part time helpers. I’d love to work there!

Another favorite chapter is about creating paths and childhood memories of magical-feeling garden paths: “…we don’t take advantage of paths sufficiently…to suggest a journey, an adventure.”

“An elderly woman lived next door [to the author’s aunt] and had a garden I loved…It had many narrow paths that wove through riotous beds of flowers, and I happily wandered there. My aunt too had paths on her property that I remember with fondness. …A shaded path dipped down into a wooded dell where drifts of spring bulbs and flowers had naturalized over the years. This secluded—and to me enchanting—walk led to a wooden gate that opened onto a sunlit field.”

I identify with the passage below…it was just a year ago that I got obsessed with the willow grove, when I figured out that tax sifter said we owned the frog pond. It became the most important part of the garden for me, and still is at the moment as I try to create something without the frog pond, since we don’t have money to argue about the new survey.

I am full of ideas and longing to wheelbarrow ingredients (cardboard, bark, coir, compost) out to the willow grove but must wait for the lawn to unsoupify.

Monday, 10 January 2022

at home

It was too cold and windy to do much in the willow grove, and the lawn is still too soft to further muck it up by wheelbarrowing mulch, compost, or bark out there. Allan worked on building gates, and all I did outdoors was to pick rosemary and thyme for a bean soup and take some photos of my accomplishments of yesterday.

I find it very enjoyable to be able to see across the swale into the willow grove where there once was a fence. The fence was transparent yet still created a barrier.

Yesterday’s small bit of bark where I had dug out a large clump of orange montbretia, and the pile of montbretia drying out on a tarp before disposal:

Even hemlock bark looks annoyingly red out of the bag.

The path will wend from the east side of the Bogsy Wood, into the willow grove, through three sets of post arbors, and back out this way, which will only be a dry season path unless I put in stepping stones:

The Iris pseudocaris is on the noxious weed list here and will finally be dug out. It was in the swale when we arrived and has not bloomed, and has been on my list of things to do for ten years.

I fretted over the possible destruction of the frog habitat south of our fence We heard frogs there yesterday. It would cost a lot less to leave it as it is than it would to put it in a culvert, so my hope is that it just gets left alone as part of the setback for the proposed giant new building that some citizens desire and some think is hideous (aka “butt ugly”).

Frogland in yesterday’s sunshine

I imagined making an official looking interpretive sign for the outside of our new south fence, if a road goes there on top of a culvert, like a historical marker about the destruction of frogland. Or just an angry cranky screed like the ones that used to appear on a house in Seattle. Well, our front Catio does have a cute sign saying “An old crab lives here.”

Yesterday I made some rubble and log barriers in a couple of spots where there was no wire on the lower portion of the new fence. Wire might get added later, but meanwhile I want to keep critters out. Deer could have slithered under where the log pile is now. They could squeeze in through that hole on the right of the log pile, so that must be wired as soon as possible.

I am very much looking forward to planting along the new access to the south side of the swale, where the old fence was.

If the sportsball fortress gets built, my Adirondack chairs (which I never sit in) will be moved to face this way, inward. I just hope the walls of the indoor basketball court are thick enough to absorb all sounds of thump thump thump.

Walking back to the house, I admired the swale again.

It bothers me to imagine a three story tall building stealing my view of the clear cold winter band of light on the horizon. But if I have to, I can create a plant tapestry that will be beautiful in a different way. I just have to prepare beds out there now ish so that I am ready to plant if need be. And maybe install boat shapes! That means plywood in the silhouette of the boat, a tall barrier. I would buy the plywood (so expensive that I can’t retire!), Allan would cut the shapes, I would paint the shapes, Allan would put the shapes on the fence. I’d paint them a pale marine blue to extend the feeling of distance. The building would be a wind barrier to protect a solid fence out there but would cast an awful lot of shade. It’s a good thing I didn’t have a sunny veg patch out there. My neighbors who have sunny gardens and the gear shed work area will lose a lot of light.

There is a lot of cutting back to do in the garden.

I might pick an area in the willow grove to make a rough compost pile as part of a future garden bed. Oh! the perfect spot would be inside these most decomposing willow roots.

Iris foetidissima still has berries…

…and I was thrilled, when looking at a weedy bed by Alicia’s driveway, to see that my Ceanothus ‘Oregon Missed’, which I thought was well and truly dead from the heat dome, has put out new growth from the base.

Allan built gates.

He churned out three completed gates and got two of them in place but not hinged yet. He calls this method a gravity hinge; you lift the gate up and out, and will do fine till time allows a more refined installation.

The third and final new gate was finished well after dark.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

At home

Today we had beautiful weather and put in a much longer day out in the willow grove than any day so far on this project. It was the big day of trying to get the new fence deer proof, because today the dismantling of the old fence almost completely opened the garden to deer.

The fence is a challenge because of three areas of willows where large trunks jut out horizontally. All but one got enclosed.

I surprised myself by being able to dig out a very large salmonberry stump that was right in a planned path…thanks to the Root Slayer.

I was inspired then to dig out a clump of orange montbretia that has been there since we moved in, right where the path will be. The corms in mud were so heavy that I left them to the side on a tarp to be fed into the wheelie bin bit by bit over the course of a few weeks.

The montbretia had become invisible but I knew where it lurked.

I found out that Veda, daughter of Basket Case Greenhouse, is stronger than me. She unloaded a delivery of bark bags, as you saw yesterday…

…and today I managed to get one into the wheelbarrow and out to the willow grove…

…and after that I couldn’t even lift one of the remaining bags. I divided a bag into three buckets, got the wheelbarrow mired in lawn so sodden that it tried to suck off my shoes, and had to further divide the bark into more buckets to get it out to start part of a path in the willow grove. I simply could not get the other eight bags moved today.

It is just a start on a path.

Meanwhile, Allan was adding the wire panels to one section on the west and almost all the down the south side from west to east.

As dusk came, I was using short logs and rubble to make a raccoon and coyote barrier underneath a sideways horizontal willow that I quite like. It was too dark to take photos, so sharing some of the details must wait till tomorrow. Allan tacked in wire in another low open area by the horizontal trunk as it got almost too dark to see, tacked wire over three empty gate spaces and crammed some loose wire and lumber in the east end gate space.

Looking out from the original south gate, which will be moved to new fence.

Although it feels frustrating to me that we are now supposed to have two more days of rain and a wind of 30 mph, which I feel makes the fence area too dangerous, it is true that we need gates in order to finish the project. Thus there might be two days in the shed of Allan building simple gates, and then a day or two of finishing touches. My goal is to have it done by the fifteenth so Allan can enjoy a full month of non-fencing staycation.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

At home

Allan installed the last four 2x4s, three of which were tricky: one extra long and two had to be placed differently because of willows.

Some of the new fence is old fence, recycled

I had put six blocks of coir in dustbins full of water to soak, two days ago. But the lawn is too saturated to run a wheelbarrow over it to take fluffed up coir out to the willow grove garden beds. The same was true when Roxanne and Veda of The Basket Case Greenhouse delivered ten bags of nice dark hemlock bark. A wheelbarrow cuts a deep groove in the lawn at this time, so we stashed them next door for now.

Bark bags in waiting.

Cold to the bone, but determined to show weather solidarity, I accomplished little but chop up some branches to make yet another debris pile, along with occasionally holding the measuring tape. I also did some measuring myself and figured out that we are getting not 800 but more like 1000 more square feet of fenced in garden to plant up without losing plants to deer.

In the course of chopping debris, I wanted to move a big and heavy Y shaped piece of driftwood to hold up a smaller willow arch. I could not figure out how to get it under the big arch. Allan did.

But then I found it too heavy to wedge into place. I miss the strength of youth. It can wait for later…I did not not want to ask for help and interrupt the fencing progress anyway further.

Just thinking about the future garden.

I thought the best tactic for starting to put wire panels on the fence in the late afternoon would be to focus on filling in with scraps the two areas where willow tangles make it complicated. Then we’d have all day tomorrow to do more normal wire panels. Allan disagreed and dismantled some existing fence to do a large panel at the west end.

West end wire panel installed
A gate will go to Alicia’s side of the back garden.

It is a slow process to figure out how to reuse the existing fence because the posts for the new fence are a straight run rather than the staggered run around alder trees of the old fence. So none of the measurements are the same. I said I’d be happy (not really truly happy) to buy another roll of fencing, but Allan correctly pointed out that if we can use all the existing wire, we won’t have extra sitting around in our crowded shed-side storage area.

I am sure many of you gardeners know what it is like to have an outdoor storage pile of interesting ingredients that gradually rot, mildew, break, rust, or corrode before being used.

Allan’s last half hour (after I went indoors) was spent measuring and thinking about how the wire pieces will fit. I had also spent some time sitting and thinking in the cold air of the willow grove about how I am going to plant up the new garden and where the heck I am going to get soil on a budget. (That’s why I am soaking the coir: it will expand on the soil that I have.) I do have my eye on a pile of rubble and sandy soil at Susie’s house, and as soon as the fence is done and we can make a dump run to have an empty trailer, we will go and get it.

I’m hoping, probably illogically, that we can get all the wire from the old fence moved to the new fence tomorrow, and block off the gate areas to keep the deer out, so that I can actually return to garden preparation out there (in better weather!) while we still have a month of staycation left.

At home

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Allan built a gate frame, one of three new ones that will be needed for the south fence. We don’t need that many escape routes, but due to the willows, we need some access for maintaining outside of the fence. If developers rudely chop off our willows right at our property line, we will have one gate more than necessary.

Friday, 7 January 2022

We got another delivery of 2x4s from Oman and Son Lumber. It will speed the project along if Allan does not have to painstakingly salvage every scrap from the old fence. Any leftovers can be used for future projects. I thought it too windy to work in the willow grove so there was no weather solidarity from me.

The grey rain gauge

The lawn was a boggy mess on the way out.

He got an impressive amount of crosspieces installed just in this one afternoon.

The existing south gate will move out to that gap.
The east end. One of my next projects is to move that pile of debris. It’s not as big as it looks.

Another reason, other than wind caution, that I did nothing outdoors today was that I had gotten a new book from the library for which I had been waiting for weeks. By my current favorite author (she also wrote Advice for Future Corpses and Stepping Westward), it was excellent (although probably not if you don’t watch Survivor). I actually discovered all her other books when I placed an order for this one.

Just a few of my favourite bits:

After describing the years of her young adulthood (almost same age as me) of not watching television and feeling rather superior about it (same here), she starts watching again and adds, “People sometimes tell me they don’t watch TV, with a hint of pride. And then they send me YouTube videos and stream Netflix.”


“I’ve written at length about private matters… But writers reveal only what they wish to reveal and take great care about it. You have no idea what I’ve left out.”


Being a snob about reality television is a little different than being a snob in the world of, say, quantum physics.”


I am eternally curious about people, even when I can’t stand them, even when I don’t know anything about people.”

I had a delightful afternoon reading it all in one sitting. I have another book (about food) by her lined up next, but I do hope to get out to the south fence project again tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Dark Sky app
A river coming at us, with wind to boot.

That is the route north from Ilwaco. The Ilwaco library closed early so people who live up there can try to get home, with only one lane open.

From Pacific County Emergency Management Agency:

Good Afternoon, Pacific County is experiencing one of the most significant weather events we have experienced in years. This event will continue through at least tomorrow afternoon.

There are several components to this event that have combined to make this event even more severe. The first is the lingering snow-pack in the Willapa Hills. The second factor is the heavy rainfall. Rainfall totals are the highest we have seen since 2015 and may exceed totals going back to 2009. The third factor is the wind. A High Wind Warning is in place beginning at 7:00 p.m. Winds on the beaches and headlands will be 35-45 mph with gusts to 70. Winds inland will be 25-35 with gusts to 60.

PCEMA has sent out reverse 911 messaging to the hardest hit areas of the county. Schools have been closed in Raymond, South Bend, and Willapa Valley. Fire and EMS apparatus have been re-positioned and staged in places to ensure as many residents are as safe as possible. People in especially hard-hit neighborhoods have been offered the opportunity to evacuate their homes, although most have chosen to shelter in place at this time. Situational awareness is a personal responsibility, if it is not safe for you to remain where you are, remove yourself from that area. At this time, the South Bend Fire Station will be available as a shelter.

The Willapa River is expected to crest tomorrow afternoon at Major Flood Stage, but below its historic crest. The Naselle River is expected to crest tomorrow around noon below Major Flood stage. Sand and sand bags will continue to be available at the county shop in Naselle, (sand bags) in a black plastic tote behind the shop, at the County stockpile facility on Willapa Road, Behind Bud’s Lumber in South Bend, and at the Raymond City Shop.

Please do not drive around barricades or drive through flooded areas. It is unsafe to do so and it sends waves of water into people’s homes. If you have water coming into your home and need help with getting out of your neighborhood please call the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency at 360-875-9407 or PACCOM at 360-875-9397. At this time there are NO PLANS for widespread evacuations. Nonetheless, every individual needs to be aware of their personal surroundings.

Finally, the primary focus of PCEMA is life safety preservation, the secondary focus is property preservation. In an event of this nature where everyone in the county is impacted, we have to triage and focus our attention in areas where it is needed most.

at home

We both took photos of the amazing amount of water in our garden. Fortunately, the floor of our house is about three feet above this.

Lens kept getting wet!!
Telephoto, too dangerous to go under trees

Meanwhile in Seaview…

…our friend Susie Goldsmith took some photos of the roads around her home.

Susie and Bill’s house, right, is up high.

More Seaview photos from a local:

High tide drive through Ilwaco

We drove a circuit of the flatlands at the time of an 8.2 high tide, which affects all low lying areas of the town because ground drainage fills up.

At the port:

South end of boatyard

Safecoast Seafoods (formerly Jessie’s Fish Co) and the marina:

Here is what it looked like a couple of days ago at a higher tide:

Photo by “Wilson” from “Ilwaco Exposed” Facebook page

The port is getting a large infrastructure grant to repair that deteriorating bulkhead.

Ilwaco City Works yard:

And finally, a garden that we have seen flooded before. Years ago, we did a one off job of building a block edged raised bed that is under water today.

A stream runs along the right side of the garden to the bay and has a culvert which can get blocked and is also affected by the tide.

Now we brace for some 60 to 70 mph winds (on the headlands, a mile away, less in the town, we hope) overnight. My favorite kind of storm, in the dark (not!) and then, I hope, three mild enough days to finish the south fence, at last. We have had 5.79 inches of storm rain, 3.33 of them in the past 17 hours.

Skooter does not like it.

Friday, 7 January 2022

Seaview

Standing water in our garden had receded, but not so when the owners of The Depot Restaurant took these photos of the streets still flooded by their restaurant, where a pool of water had gathered inside.

We had 6.86 inches of rain in less than two days.

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

At home

It was a reading day for me. I did not even go out in weather solidarity, although Allan did go out to the willow grove and do some measuring to see if he needs more 2x4s. I could have counted it as a fence day even though it was all measuring and thinking. We decided that an official fence day for the blog must involve actually building something, even though I think brain work and sketching is as important. It was too wet and windy to install more 2x4s.

I will have some clean up to do where he dropped two big branches after dark yesterday. Probably won’t be able to get out there safely, because of wind, till Saturday.

The cats also preferred to stay in.

I read a most excellent book, published in 1991. That is the summer when Robert and I vacationed here and decided to move here, even made an offer on a house in Ocean Park when we returned in the autumn. The sale fell through because the seller, a fisherman, changed his mind about selling while on a three day fishing trip. Then circumstances intervened and we did not get down here permanently until December 1992.

To whet your appetite and convince you to get YOUR library to acquire this magnificent thirty year old book, here is what she wrote about Astoria…

…and the Long Beach Peninsula.

Oh, how well she captures the hard and dirty feeling of our vehicle infested beaches. And later compares it to the public and pedestrian friendly beaches of Oregon. I used to go to the beach regularly in the winter in Seaview and Long Beach. It was difficult at any sort of low tide to get a photo without tire tracks in it. I found it creepy to be walking a foggy beach and have a big truck roar by. Or worse, stop and stare. (There is a stretch from Long Beach to Seaview that is closed to vehicles in summer; I was too busy working to go to the beach then.)

I got Stepping Westward through interlibrary loan. It is a wonderful memoir and a history book, and I have now suggested the Timberland Regional Library buy a copy. With beautiful writing about flora and fauna, it is often heartbreaking about the impact of white settlers on local tribes and on the forests. It has much about the Olympic rain forest, the logging town of Forks, before it became the setting for vampire books, and Idaho, southern Oregon, the Palouse in eastern Washington, and Seattle. Something to fascinate any northwesterner. Sallie Tisdale is my current favorite writer ever since I read her book about death, Advice for Future Corpses (and those who love them)…which I have meant to blog about but got too busy.

I discovered her books when I ordered her new book about Survivor and reality television…which is now in transit having taken a couple months for the library to acquire it. While I waited, the “corpses” title caught my eye and I discovered a great writer. Another one that she wrote about food is waiting at the library for me, but the library is closed because of flooding, which will be the subject tomorrow’s post.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

At home

I slept ridiculously late after having a dream that was both good and bad. We had a lovely chat with Joey Ramone, who had not died after all, and then went to a Ramones concert in a crowded concert hall. Just before the show began, I remembered the rampant Omicron variant and realized I had been around all those people with no mask or social distancing. I pulled a mask from my pocket, put it on knowing it was too late, and Allan said he had completely forgotten his. I was glad to wake up even though it meant missing the dream of a Ramones show!

The weather was surprisingly good after noon so we returned to the willow grove. The way there is gloppier every day with all our walking back and forth. Allan takes the long way around, while I pick my way along the edges of the center.

I moved some soil from an old weed pile to a new bed, desperately hoping to not include bindweed roots. But I really need soil!!

Allan started putting up 2x4s, which involved inventorying all the salvaged lumber, organizing it by lengths, doing a lot of measuring between posts and getting about a third of the fence 2x4s installed. Each salvaged piece had to be cleaned of nails or screws.

First one going in.

With no particular plan of what to go for weather solidarity, I decided to try to finish digging the post hole for the very last post (not part of the fence). I succeeded, getting wet and muddy, including water in my shoes, in getting within three inches of the correct depth.

I took a break when our kind friend and almost neighbor Patty M brought us some fresh groceries, having braved four grocery stores across the river, and then found another project to do, lowering a hump to make a path into the Bogsy wood, to where I had dug the post hole.

I removed two buckets full of meianthemum roots, a native plant that some like but I find it a pest. It is a futile gesture because it is an ungetriddable groundcover, as pernicious to its non-fans as the non-native lesser celandine. Both go dormant in summer, their only virtue.

Allan had continued to install 2x4s at a steady pace after a glitch at the start when he changed his mind about the height and redid the first section.

The center of the grove will stay an open sit spot for now, with a big gate to the frog pond…

….although I will surely do some planting and am poised to plant large evergreens if a huge sports fortress is built out there. If it destroys the frog habitat, I will never want to look out there again.

Where transplanted ferns ended up.

Allan stayed out half an hour later than me and cut the two big branches angling off the willow arch.

They would have grown large enough to pull the arch right down. I have a before from a few days ago:

They were trouble in the making. I will get an after in daylight.

Next day:

I project three or four more (half) days on the project, one more of 2x4s, one to figure out how to deer proof in the willow tangles, one (a full day) to move all the wire panels from old fence to new in one day, and one for finishing touches, and then a non-urgent building of three gates. I hope weather permits those four days to happen soon so we can rest before going back to work in mid-February.

Allan says he is thinking of making gates in his shop if it rains for the next two days (including Thursday, when 2-3 inches is predicted for that one day!)

I attended a Long Beach Merchants zoom meeting in the evening, where it was confirmed that we are the official city gardeners again, along with the complimentary words of the mayor and city manager, which were much appreciated. 2022 is the centennial of the founding of Long Beach. All sorts of events are planned for the first 100 days starting after the centennial date (February 7th), so it is a good year for us to work on making the town as pretty as possible.

(Shhhh…we know it’s not really the world’s longest beach.

At home

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Before getting back to the fence, we had a stormy windy day at home, which was also Allan’s 69th birthday. (I find this age thing quite disconcerting. I’m only two years behind him.) Other than practical gifts like socks and pajamas, he was pleased with a full selection of his favorite candy bar from Our Kathleen and a couple of boating memoirs from me.

Skooter is a funny old boy. His latest favorite place to sleep is in the bathtub, which means he is inconvenienced when the water goes on. He will watch it with disbelief until it gets under his paws and then springs out in a huff.

The wind howled, the rain poured to the tune of 1.42 inches, the lights flickered, and I read a disappointing novel by an author whose first novel (Did You Ever Have a Family) I had loved. Can’t choose a good book every time. I kept expecting more.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Much to our surprise, and contrary to the forecast, we were able to work on the fence with only a small amount of challenging weather. Our order of lumber was delivered midmorning from Oman and Son Lumber.

The rain gauge showed our substantial rainfall as did water on every path to the willow grove.

We had, I thought, five posts to install to finish the south fence and, now that I am digging post holes, too, we moved along rapidly. Me getting the three foot deep holes close to done is certainly helpful. I don’t have a strong enough grip with the arthritic right hand to hold the digger handles open hard enough to get that last six inches of sand out.

High tide filled the fence post holes as we dug them.

We persevered through two heavy squalls of hail.

The sun came out and the garden glowed.

I moved a big sword fern that has been in the open center of the willow grove, in what is now the logical path to a new central gate.

Allan uses a loose 2×4 to check the that the post tops are level.

Determined to keep the job ticking along, I dragged a couple of posts inch by inch to the work site. I cannot pick them up and carry them. Allan, who is only two inches taller than me, can. I find it amazing.

At three forty five, I felt the great sense of triumph that the last fence post had gone in. And then, to my horror, I realized that at the east end of the south side of the fence, we had not put in a post for the gate. I guess we had skipped it because we hadn’t figured out the gate size yet, meant to go back and do it and had both forgotten about it. We had a quick discussion about gate width; I took the biggest wheelbarrow to the opening and imagined wheeling it through at an angle, full of mulch, then started digging the hole. Allan took over because he is faster, and I took on the role of handing him tools: level, assorted tampers, and then shoveling sand into the hole. We were racing sunset. I kept telling him no one will know if the height of the post is not utterly perfect. However, he did make it perfect. (He realizes that level four feet off the ground is level across the top too, but, a level board across the top gives it that ‘ah-ha’ confirmation.)

A missing post had to be added here!

There actually is one more post to install, a decorative arbor one, not part of the fence, to define a path back into the Bogsy Wood. I had tried to dig the hole for it earlier in the afternoon but gave up because the hole immediately filled to the brim with water. The water table is so high that all the poles backfill a little while digging, especially at high tide which does has an effect even though we are a block and a half from the bay. But the Bogsy hole was impossible, splashing in my face with every drive of the digger. I will peck away at it on the next fence day. If I fail, it can wait until the water drains out of the swales.

The rest of the south fence days should be much lighter work than those heavy posts: installing 2x4s, figuring out how to deer proof the three sections that go through the midst of willow tangles, and moving the fence wire panels and one gate to the new fence. The two end gates can just be moveable wire panels for now.

Have I mentioned that we are going to gain about 800 feet of deer-proof garden? The deer will eat almost any plant if hungry enough. I’m quite excited. I did love the feeling of going through the gate from Bogsy Wood to willow grove, from mostly civilized to mostly wild. Crossing the bridge over the swale will still give a feeling of change even without a fence and a gate. And perhaps Frogland will be saved from development. While I will certainly give my all to saving the frogs, I will soon be poised to landscape in any way necessary to keep our feeling of tranquility and to provide an alternate home for the frogs on our own southern front.