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Posts Tagged ‘Affordable Care Act’

Tuesday, 5 November, 2013

We overslept yet again, fooled by rain and…just tired.  Thus we missed perhaps an hour of good working weather.   Our mission for today: to fill Erin’s new garden boat with soil.

 On our way out of Ilwaco, despite being late, we had to stop when we saw two hens on Williams Street.

Inn at Harbour Village hens taking a stroll

Inn at Harbour Village hens taking a stroll

a friendly and unskittish pair

a friendly and un-skittish pair

At Peninsula Landscape Supply, we got a yard of Soil Energy…

soil

load

Next, a stop at The Planter Box as they have the best and thickest landscape fabric.

Teresa rolls up a length of fabric for us.

Teresa rolls up a length of fabric for us.

I realized we still did not have good scissors with us!

Teresa revealed to us the true weight of the pumpkin in her “guess the weight” contest.

150 pounds of pumpkin

150 pounds of pumpkin

She said she had ordered 150 pounds of pumpkins, but someone had left the “s” off on the receiving end of the order….

And then we drove to Erin’s, and up the side yard of her neighbours’ house (who does not seem to mind the traffic across their lawn) and rather suspensefully, across Erin’s lawn to park near the boat.  I have heard horror stories about vehicles sinking into old septic fields at old houses, so we stuck to the path that Chester’s truck had tested out when he delivered the boat!

Allan drilled some strategically placed holes in the bottom and soon I was able to start filling it.  I soon realized that I did not need to have soil in the dark spot under the prow of the boat (if that is the right term for inside the front of the boat).

filling the boat

filling the boat   

I told Allan my brainstorm and he went to the ruins of the original garden boat for reusable lumber.  (That boat has disintegrated over the  more than a decade since Robert and I first turned it into a garden boat.)

 scavenging the old boat

With his rechargable chainsaw, Allan was able to cut old wood to fit at the end of the open area of the new boat and save us from wasting a considerable amount of soil.

a fix it job on the spot

a fix it job on the spot

Eventually, when it’s needed as the old wood rots, he can make something better.

When I went to scavenge for a few small pieces to jam into a couple of holes in the makeshift wooden barrier, Felix appeared.

Felix

my friend Felix

my friend Felix

He hung around and helped us for awhile.

Felix and the boat

Felix and the boat

We had gotten the landscape fabric tucked underneath before making the boat heavy with soil.  As soon as we can (I hope tomorrow) we’ll cover the fabric with gravel and then decorate with river rock to make it look (with a lot of imagination) like it has washed up on a rocky beach.

Then came the careful backing and turning to get out of the yard without hurting the sprinkler heads.

the van and trailer in the big yard

the van and trailer in the big yard

Felix kept a careful eye on the proceedings.

Felix escorting us...

Felix escorting us…

on the fence at the northwest corner...

on the fence at the northwest corner…

and saying goodbye for now.

and saying goodbye for now.

We had a longish discussion about where to get the remainder of the soil to fill the boat.  If we went back to Peninsula Landscape Supply for another load of soil energy, the cost of material would be smaller but the cost of time and labour would be higher.  To make the soil richer, we could go to the Planter Box and get a load of cow fiber, but then we would have way more than we needed.   We decided that bagged soil from The Planter Box would be so time saving that it would pay off the extra cost of bags vs. bulk, and we would could buy enough for two other projects at the same time.

the drawback:  Allan loads the heavy bags

the drawback: Allan loads the heavy bags

Below:  Here’s the boat holding one yard of Soil Energy, two big bags of Gardner and Bloome potting soil and two bales of Gardner and Bloome Soil Building Compost.

ready to plant!

ready to plant!

Erin and I were discussing paint colours for the boat; she had said she liked white or green.  I realized today it should be white, with the red paint redone in the same green as the house’s shutters.

We had some daylight left and had only used two of seven bags of potting soil, so we went to The Anchorage Cottages where two containers awaited fresh soil.  While Allan filled them, I was suddenly inspired to tackle an annoying area of beach strawberry by some parking spots.  One of my goals in quitting some jobs this year is to at last be able to do some of the little things for which we just have not had time.   This was one:

before and 45 minutes later

before and 45 minutes later

The blue potato vine in this spot has a history of blowing over, and the courtyard garden has two others, so out it went.  I was sick of the schizostylis here, so it too was ousted.  When we have time to finish around the edges, the garden will be blank but for two Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and some lily bulbs.  Manager Beth saw the empty area and requested dahlias; I am not sure it will be enough sun (morning sun only) but we can give that a try…although I had had something more formal in mind.

I keep picturing small columnar evergreens.  Must be Pam Fleming’s influence.

We just had time then for a bit of Long Beach work.  Allan took potting soil to fill in the planter by the carousel (the one from which we had pulled vinca two days before).  I pulled Salvia viridis (painted sage) out of the planters in front of and across from the Home at the Beach shop.  I’d noticed driving past that they looked raggedy from Saturday’s wind.

Close up, a few of the blue ones did look quite bad, and one was still pretty.  And one of the pink ones looked almost as good as in midsummer…

In fact, the planter looked downright summery.

In fact, the planter looked downright summery.

Close up, you can see the pink one would need some deadheading to look perfect…

pink

And I was just tired of it, so out it came.  I almost immediately felt bad, and now feel worse looking at this photo…but it is NOVEMBER, for heaven’s sake, and these summer flowers are so last month!

I wonder how long it would have lasted had I left it alone?  I am tired of the nasturtiums, too, but I left them.  I figure that some visitors will be impressed that we have blooming nasturtiums this late and perhaps will not notice that they are rather tatty by now.  I suppose the same could have been said of the salvia…darn it.

I am hoping that tomorrow we can get gravel and river rock to make that faux beach at Erin’s house.  The idea of a garden on that huge lawn has me wanting to neglect other jobs in order to get it done…

Wednesday, 6 November, 2013

Back to the boat project!  We headed straight up to Peninsula Landscape Supply to get some pea gravel and river rock.  We cannot carry much of something that heavy in our little old trailer.

 a small scoop of river rock

a small scoop of river rock

The river rock went in the bottom of the trailer as it would be applied second.  The pea gravel went on top.  Allan set up some buckets so that some of the gravel would arrive ready to go.

topping off with a scoop of pea gravel

topping off with a scoop of pea gravel

Meanwhile, I handpicked two buckets of larger river rock.  Had I wanted to, I could have gone into the bin of rainbow rock and got an even larger one.

I like the pink one at lower right!

I like the pink one at lower right!

I fished some fairly big ones out of the bulk pile, though.

Then we delivered our rocks to the new garden boat at Erin’s.  Yesterday, we had tucked landscape fabric under the edges of the boat.  Today, I tucked some newspaper underneath as well, just to make extra sure of smothering the turf.

The hardest part of using the newspaper method of garden building is acquiring enough for a big project.  The second hardest thing is laying newspaper in wind.  (Today was calm, so no problem.)  The third is resisting the urge to read every article that looks interesting.  We had The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal today and because I have several friends who have had cancer recently, my eye was particularly caught by this article.

paper

boat with pea gravel

boat with fabric and newspaper, and pea gravel application in progress

For several years, whenever doing a dry creek bed or any sort of river rock effects, I would lay down landscape fabric, and then medium to small river rock, and then spend the rest of the lifespan of that garden tweaking the rocks so that the “underwear” (fabric) did not peek through.  FINALLY in 2007, when doing a  garden with a dry creek bed in memory of a man who loved to fish, I realized that small gravel would hide the fabric and added it after the fact, then had to shift and fuss with the rocks to get the larger pretty ones on top.  Now we always put down a layer of pea gravel, or even plain crushed gravel, first, to completely hide the fabric, and then dress it up with larger rocks.

first: a solid sheet of gravel.  second: river rock.

first: a solid sheet of gravel. second: river rock.

The part of the fabric and newspaper left showing is where more thick layers of newspaper will get laid down and soil put on top to meet the gravel “beach”.

Allan screwed it one bit of the boat that had come loose.

 

And I rejoiced that I had found the blue scissors that cut the fabric well.  We had struggled without them while cutting fabric for some Long Beach planters on Monday.  They had been in the van the whole time, hidden under some papers (not in the box they were supposed to be in).

triumph!

triumph!

over the picket fence, the dunes, and then the beach

over the picket fence, the dunes, and then the beach

Felix made an appearance but did not linger so no cute cat photo for Wednesday.

By now, what I wanted to do for the rest of the day was to get a yard of soil and start making a garden bed around the boat.  I had not brought enough newspaper for that as it was not in my original plan.  Perhaps, I thought, we could scavenge some from the recycling bin.  First, though, I should check the weather.  Oh dear, high wind and rain warning for tomorrow.  We had better go to one of our weekly jobs, Andersen’s RV Park, in case we were rained out tomorrow…And it does make more sense at this point in the Erin garden job to have a really big pile of soil delivered to just outside the picket fence. Unfortunately, now it will have to wait till after Bulb Time, and I am burning to do this garden…

Oh well, on to Andersen’s.  I had a project in mind for there:  removing lady’s mantle and three tired Stella D’Oro daylilies from the garden shed garden.

1:44 PM and 4:06 PM

1:44 PM and 4:06 PM

The rain came on a little after two PM.  Without wind, I found it sort of refreshing (for awhile).  This is the hottest spot to work in on a scorching (well, 65 degrees and up) sunny day.

While Allan cleared the long bed, I cleaned up a little area by the garden shed door.  Somehow this year it got full of beach strawberry, and there was way too much of  boring old Bergenia.  The Bergenia has been there since before I started caring for the Andersen’s gardens.

before and after

before and after

In between pecking away at the beach strawberry and bergenia, I worked over the areas Allan dug out to prep them for receiving wheelbarrows full of cow fiber, as with every trip he made to dump debris, he returned with a wheelbarrow full of mulch.

before with hideous Stella D'Oro

before with hideous Stella D’Oro

after

after

before:  I am SO over lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

before: I am SO over lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

after

after

We even got started on the eastern end of the garden.

one huge lady's mantle gone from the corner...

one huge lady’s mantle gone from the corner…

The rain had become harder and chilly, so we were not inspired to finish all the way to the end today.

Now, what to plant next year in the lovely blank slate?  Lorna loves bright flowers and is fond of cosmos (as am I).  I wonder how she feels about dahlias?  Something extra bright might get some attention drawn to the garden as people drive into the park.

At dusk, we went to our appointment at NW Financial and Insurance where our insurance broker, Shelly Pollock, was finally able to help us register for the Affordable Care Act.  Yes, the state website was working and we are now officially enrolled.  Even though we chose one of the mid range plans, we are still going to save (and this will not be a typo) $937 a month over what our cost for a similar plan would have been in 2014.  And our ACA plan will have a much lower deductible AND will help with prescriptions, which our old plan did not.  “Obamacare”, at least in states with a Health Exchange set up, will be so beneficial to the working class.  No more will we be paying 20 to 25% of our income for health insurance, and local friends who have never been able to afford insurance are now able to sign on.  We believe this will be an stimulus to the local economy.  I can guarantee Allan and I will have a dinner out to celebrate and raise a toast to Obamacare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 29 October, 2013

I awoke to white frost on the back lawn, as predicted.  All the tender plants in pots were safely in the greenhouse.  The ones that I want to save, anyway:  scented geraniums, tender salvias…

frost

frosty morning

Great, thought I, the annuals will perhaps be done in Long Beach.  I have wearied of their tired looking appearance; they have still been looking too colourful to pull as it might make shopkeepers and passersby said if I dispose of them them prematurely.

But NO!  They still look mostly wonderful.

painted sage, Agyr. 'Butterfly', nasturtium

painted sage, Agyr. ‘Butterfly’, nasturtium

still a tangle of colour by Home at the Beach

still a tangle of colour by Home at the Beach

Even a few of the cosmos still look good.

Even a few of the cosmos still look good.

Allan cut back the Panicum ‘Heavy Metal‘ ornamental grass back in the one street tree under which it grows.  I like the name of the grass and its metallic sheen.  However, I think that to most people it probably looks weedy.

Heavy Metal grass

Heavy Metal grass

This particular tree has no working water and has to be bucket watered from a nearby planter.

The park by Marsh’s Free Museum and one of our favourite little cafés, Captain Bob’s Chowder, still looks fine.

obelisk tiles by Renee O'Connor

obelisk tiles by Renee O’Connor

The work in the frying pan park is coming along….By spring, that clam statue will spout every hour on the hour again.

park

Allan took a break from Long Beach city work and pulled Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’ from the Summer House  garden while I checked the rest of the planters.  I swear I did not plant the darn hardy geranium at Summer House.  It probably had one little seedling inside another plant.

Below:  Allan stands where a rose trellis should go IF Erin (who owns this vacation rental) wants to keep the rampant climbing rose in there:

I asked him to look like a trellis, but he is sideways.

I asked him to look like a trellis, but he is sideways.

Then he dropped me off to tidy up the Veterans Field garden while he dumped debris.

Veterans Field garden

Veterans Field garden

still very faintly red white and blue

still very faintly red white and blue

We had an appointment at NW Financial and Insurance regarding the Affordable Care Act (which I believe will be very beneficial to us).  The main website was down again, even though it had been working all day.

My friend Bella greeted me at the insurance office!

My friend Bella greeted me at the insurance office!

The best thing I have read about this is:  “War is a crisis.  Poverty is a crisis.”  And then something about the computer problem being an inconvenience.  We will go back next week.  If anyone local (Southwest Washington or Northwest Oregon) needs help figuring out the Affordable Care Act paperwork, Shelly Pollock is a wonderful helper and her services are free.

We concluded our work day by pulling some Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ foliage clumps and a doing a bit of weeding on the Bolstadt beach approach.

Bolstadt approach buoy

Bolstadt approach buoy

two birds

two birds

another two birds

another two birds

bird

Bolstadt beach approach garden, looking toward town

This walk is so popular with townfolk and tourists alike.  One can walk up Sid Snyder Boulevard ten blocks south, then along the boardwalk with its view of the beach and back down this street….or vice versa.

rugosa rose autumn colour

rugosa rose autumn colour

with dwarf mugo pine

with dwarf mugo pine

Something amazing happened when I pulled a weed from the easternmost Bolstadt planter….

full of chocolate mint planted back in volunteer days

full of chocolate mint planted back in volunteer days

The mint started to peel up just like taking up a carpet!   I was thrilled!!

before and after

before and after

Next year we can make this planter right by the arch look so much better.

Next year we can make this planter right by the arch look so much better.

While Allan tidied that up, I cut back a few lily stalks on the south side of city hall and observed with dismay that a purple ajuga had gone aggressively running through the whole bed.

Anyone want some purple ajuga??

Anyone want some purple ajuga??  will fix this later

Just west of city hall, reflections of sunlight fell on the sign for the upcoming new coffee shop.  I was excited to see that Pink Poppy Bakery’s logo had been added to the sign.  My ultimate loyalty still likes with Ilwaco’s Olde Towne coffee café but I will love being able to get Pink Poppy treats while working in Long Beach.

Akari Space

Akari Space

Although I could tell a great sunset was brewing, the dumping of debris had to take priority.

looking west from city hall

looking west from city hall

While at the city works yard, we could see the sunset developing.

over the water treatment plant

over the water treatment plant

With work done, we went back to Bolstadt.

Another sunset watching group had gathered on the big picnic shelter.

crows

closeup

The sunset started as a moody grey and pink one, and I thought it would continue that way.

Allan’s photos:

bird

grey

grey

grass

west of the boardwalk

buoy

my photos:

from the end of the Bolstadt approach

from the end of the Bolstadt approach

pink

boardwalk

boardwalk

band of colour

band of colour

Thinking it was fading, we turned to go back to town and saw the tail lights of the cars of other sunset watchers driving away….

Long Beach from the boardwalk

Long Beach from the boardwalk

One glance back and we turned to the west again as the colour suddenly intensified.

colour

bright

And then it did fade.

last

At home, I took a quick walk along Spruce and Lake Streets to check out progress in the Ilwaco flatlands Halloween preparations.

the J's house across the street

the J’s house across the street from ours

on Spruce

on Spruce

Soon would come the yearly Halloween extravaganza.

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