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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Scorcher Café’

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Astoria Garden Tour:

a benefit for the Lower Columbia Preservation Society

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I have always loved this little rose garden.


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in the garden, a dog that “loved to be held ALL the time”


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Allan’s photo

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bachelor buttons and hops


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glass art in the garden just for the day

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hops and lilies


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hops


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Melianthus major


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the ramp up to the upper floor of the pub


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Jessica serving Fort George beer tastings


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Allan’s photo

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a glimpse of the river


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hops and compost


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looking down from the ramp at Seaside Pam in the garden


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My camera could not handle the bright sunlight.

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looking down from the ramp


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hops towering overhead


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overlooking the melianthus

This had been the final garden.  We three were hungry and thought of having lunch at Fort George.  Because of a 45 minute wait (due to Astoria Regatta and a Fort George Block Party), we instead repaired to our favourite Blue Scorcher Bakery, in the lower corner of the same building.

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By the way, the name Blue Scorcher refers to a bicycle craze:

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more sidewalk history outside the café


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lunch at an outdoor table


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breakfast burrito (Allan’s photo)


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Pam’s salad and pizza (Allan’s photo)


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Astoria Regatta celebrants passing by (Allan’s photo)

We were entertained by beautiful dogs whose people were at the next table.

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Allan’s photo


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friendly (Allan’s photo)

After lunch, we said goodbye to Pam and had a look at the rest of the plantings at Fort George Brewery.

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Will West and the Friendly Strangers playing for the outdoor block party.

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white cyclamen and hardy begonia

As we left, I saw a stand of sunflowers at the back of a parking lot across the street.  I am sure these are also Jessica’s work.

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a garden right on the edge of a sunken lot


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held up by boards


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Allan’s photo

Near where we parked, Allan photographed some interesting Astoria architecture.

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With the garden done, the day still held a treat for Allan: The early evening Highwater Boat Parade on the river.  That will be a bonus post, tonight.

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

We had a rainy day off. While I continued to read Bad Feminist and got caught up on the Tootlepedal blog, Allan went to Time Enough Books to get some photos of Karla and the signs she had made for a Town Hall (Tuesday) with Representative Jaime Beutler, who is a Republican politician well known for opposing the Affordable Health Care Act and for not showing up to vote.  In fact, she has one of the worst voting absentee records of all.

The Tuesday event is an hour and a half away, so we won’t be going.

However, Allan and I did go to a demonstration in Astoria on President’s Day…

Monday, 20 February 2017

“Not My President Day”

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approaching the busy intersection where cars come from both the coast highway and the Astoria bridge and turn onto the main highway through town (Commercial Street), heading east to Portland.

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It was a good turn out despite a chilly rain, with a group on each of three corners of the intersection.  At its lunch hour peak, 60-70 folks were in attendance.

Many vehicles honked in approval.  We got a few one finger salutes, which surely meant “You folks are number one for turning out in such bad weather!”

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Northwest corner


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Southwest corner

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a real sweetheart


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view from southeast corner.  That is Allan in yellow.

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They drove all the way from South Bend.

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“Support Families Not Deportation”

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very good dog

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my favourite sign


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our friend Carol from Ilwaco

We all followed instruction number two, being friendly to the passersby no matter what their attitude.

1. BE SAFE: Do not block cross-walks, intersections, and leave sidewalks accessible to pedestrians.
2. BE POSITIVE: Be nice to each other, drivers, and pedestrians. Ignore hecklers. Do not engage!
3. MAKE FRIENDS: Please–talk to as many people as you can. Network, exchange ideas, and feel free to engage with Indivisible co-organizers about any ideas you have.

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me and Allan (Carol’s photo)


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the youngest protestor

Allan’s photos of the demonstration:

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I have to admit that by the last half hour of the two hour long demo, we were checking our watches for how much longer.

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For the last fifteen minutes, when many folks had had to go back to work after their lunch break, those of us remaining consolidated ourselves on one corner.

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Allan collected the last sign.


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He was the last protestor because he had helped put signs away.

We had parked by the lovely Flavel House Museum.

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Flavel House back yard

Afterwards, glad to be out of the dreary weather, Allan and I had lunch at the Blue Scorcher Bakery.

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got the last slice of my favourite treat


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In the Blue Scorcher

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yummy breakfast burritos

We shopped for Dr Bronner’s Soap at the charming little Astoria Co-op.

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If you bring a bag, the co op gives one nickel to local causes of your choice.

A shopping for big items at Costco resulted in a bulb purchase.

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because we are still a gardening blog, most of the time

Then back across the Columbia River to home.

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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Because I wanted the Astoria Pride Parade to stand alone, I’ve split this day into three parts.

After the parade, Allan and I wanted to stay in Astoria to attend at least a few moments of an early evening art event.  We dined at the Blue Scorcher Café.  Next door, at the Fort George Brewery, I admired the garden.

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Blue Scorcher Café

Fort George Brewery deck and garden (Allan’s photo)


Blue Scorcher

Blue Scorcher

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I saw what I wanted and got the last piece, after the folks in front of us placed their order.


on our table

on our table


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


ginger tea cake

ginger tea cake


and fajita style taco

and fajita style taco

When we had finished our meal, we saw locally famous wild food forager Veronica Williams, the “mushroom queen“, enter the café, so when she had taken a seat, we joined her.

Veronica's meal

Veronica’s meal


Veronica Williams

Veronica Williams

Veronica, age 85, had been gathering wild berries this very morning….6-7 weeks after a hip replacement.  She was instrumental in popularizing the delicious wild foraged sea beans among the local restaurateurs after being taught about them by a local Native American woman from whom she had bought some baskets.

Veronica is a font of wisdom about wild foods.

Veronica is a font of wisdom about wild foods.


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


in the Blue Scorcher Café

in the Blue Scorcher Café


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

After our meal, we did a bit of shopping at the nearby Astoria Co-op.  If we lived in Astoria, we’d be members and shop there frequently.  It reminds me of Puget Consumers Co-op in Seattle, before it got big.

borrowed from the Co-op Facebook page

borrowed from the Astoria Co-op Facebook page


the garden outside

the garden outside


the wall garden at the Astoria Co-op

the wall garden at the Astoria Co-op

I could not resist buying a very few plants, mostly because of their names.

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got one even though I don't like zukes!

got one even though I don’t like zukes!


could not resist

could not resist

If you bring a grocery bag, the co-op gives you a bean, and when you donate it to one of three charities in a jar outside, a nickel per bean gets donated to the charity of your choice.  We picked the North Coast Food Web.

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Allan helped another shopper donate a bean.

Allan helped another shopper donate a bean.

As we walked back to our van, I saw a room I would like to write in:

Can you see the tower room?

Can you see the tower room?


a plaque by the sidewalk

a plaque by the sidewalk

We had managed to linger till almost five in order to go to the art event, so we strolled back downtown.

trolley art in a window

trolley art in a window


more planter admiration and more reflection on how these are not very sittable because of the narrow edge.

more planter admiration and more reflection on how these are not very sittable because of the narrow edge.


Old Town Framing Company

Old Town Framing Company


Old Town Framing Company was featuring art by our dear friend, Ilwaco's Don Nisbett.

Old Town Framing Company was featuring art by our dear friend, Ilwaco’s Don Nisbett.


me and our Jenna (Don's spouse, Queen LaDeDa)

me and our Jenna (Don’s spouse, Queen LaDeDa) and Don’s rainbow art on a t shirt

Don had created the rainbow fish art especially for Astoria Pride weekend.

Don and Jenna

Don and Jenna


Don, Dulcye Taylor (art gallery owner) and Jenna

Don, Dulcye Taylor (art gallery owner) and Jenna


Don Nisbett and rainbow fish for Astoria Pride

Don Nisbett and rainbow fish for Astoria Pride


people taking pictures of each other

people taking pictures of each other


Jenna and Don

Jenna and Don

We did not take in the rest of the Art Walk galleries as I was simply tired.  Even though it had been hard to leave my garden this morning and spend the day “overseas”, I felt awfully glad that I had.

At home, even Calvin and Frosty had a rare moment of unity.

I post this blurry 1 AM photo just to prove it can happen.

I post this blurry 1 AM photo just to prove it can happen.


Ginger’s Garden Diaries

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from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1997 (age 73):

June 11: Another day of puttering.  Picked strawberries in a misty rain—got another 8 Sealameal bags for the freezer.  Sorted the various boxes I brought up from the garage sale.

The Jazz lost—MJ 3 pointer with seconds left in the game.

1997 (age 74):

June 11:  11:00 to 4:45  Another good day’s work.  I worked in the shop dumping the trays of planted seeds that didn’t germinate—most of them were old seeds.  Then I started on plants on patio—mainly so I can get the saw horses to move the tomatoes out of greenhouse.  I put several dianthus in large bowl.  Planted some other plants in tam area.  After dinner I planted more seeds until 9:00.

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doubling up on some entries so we can get back to garden tours!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Every day but Sunday: a stop at the post office because we don't get home mail delivery.

Every day but Sunday: a stop at the post office because we don’t get home mail delivery.

our volunteer garden and its monster leaning lily

our volunteer garden and its monster leaning lily

Basket Case Greenhouse

The Basket Case closed for the season on Sunday.  We stopped by to get some sale perennials, mainly to help out by leaving them fewer plants to water.

Allan's photo:  Shadow, as usual, was in love with our van (which used to be "his").

Allan’s photo: Shadow, as usual, was in love with our van (which used to be “his”).

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Long Beach 

Watering the Long Beach street trees and planters was the first order of the day.

Wooden Horse gift shop: that star was $125.  We might be in the wrong business.

Wooden Horse gift shop: that star was $125. We might be in the wrong business.

The Hungry Harbor with Basket Case hanging basket

The Hungry Harbor with Basket Case hanging basket

white nigella (love in a mist) in Fifth Street Park

white nigella (love in a mist) in Fifth Street Park

my audience while doing a bit of weeding in Fifth Street Park

my audience while doing a bit of weeding in Fifth Street Park

Eryngium 'Jade Frost' in Fifth Street Park

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ in Fifth Street Park (with sanguisorba and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Nicotiana langsdorfii)

While watering the planter outside the Herb ‘N Legend Smoke Shop, I saw my good friend Bill Clearman working on the entryway.

Our Bill, mixing some goop.

Our Bill, mixing some goop.

in a planter: Geranium 'Rozanne' with bee

in a planter: Geranium ‘Rozanne’ with bee

Coreopsis 'Star Cluster'

Coreopsis ‘Star Cluster’

The city crew was out working hard, too.

The city crew was out working hard, too.

I'm pleased with this planter, that was all white yarrow last year.

I’m pleased with this planter, that was all white yarrow last year.  (The yarrow had been planted by a volunteer and was hard to get rid of.)

white tigridia

white tigridia

white catananche (Cupid's dart) under a street tree

white catananche (Cupid’s dart) under a street tree

I like this catananche a lot.

I like this catananche a lot.

Lilies on the east side of Fifth Street Park

Lilies on the east side of Fifth Street Park

Gunnera in Fifth Street Park (SE quadrant)

Gunnera in Fifth Street Park (SE quadrant)

yellow tigridia (Mexican shell flower)

yellow tigridia (Mexican shell flower)

Veterans Field...I must find time to deadhead that Salvia 'May Night' soon

Veterans Field…I must find time to deadhead that Salvia ‘May Night’ soon

Veterans Field with Gaura 'So White'

Veterans Field with Gaura ‘So White’

Catananche caerulea in Veterans Field

Catananche caerulea in Veterans Field

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' in Veterans Field

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ in Veterans Field

Ilwaco 

With Long Beach done, Allan watered the Ilwaco planters and street trees while I watered and weeded at the boatyard garden.  While we were at our house getting the battery for the water trailer, Ed Strange pulled up behind us with my nephew, Jackson.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I long to pull all the poppies...but am letting them go to seed.

I long to pull all the poppies…but am letting them go to seed.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo: A bee snoozing under a daisy petal

Allan's photo: The darn deer are nibbling the nasturtiums in some of the Ilwaco planters.

Allan’s photo: The darn deer are nibbling the nasturtiums in some of the Ilwaco planters.

Allan's photo: Don and Jenna were painting at Queen La De Da's

Allan’s photos: Don and Jenna were painting at Queen La De Da’s

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Allan's photo: the planter by the fire station

Allan’s photo: the planter by the fire station

While I chose the plants, Allan is taking care of the Ilwaco planters pretty much all by himself this year and is doing an excellent job of watering and grooming them.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

I had to get up at 8 AM to go across the river with Garden Tour Nancy for the Diggin’ In the Dirt radio show to promote the upcoming Music in the Gardens Tour.  Morning people will laugh, but that is awfully hard for me.  Allan went back to sleep and woke up at 9:30 to listen to the show.

We'd left extra time for stopping for work being done on the Astoria Megler bridge.

We’d left extra time for stopping for work being done on the Astoria Megler bridge.

workers way up on the tippy top!!!

workers way up on the tippy top!!!

KMUN community radio

KMUN community radio in Astoria

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the view over buildings to the Columbia River

the view over buildings to the Columbia River

onair

My job was to describe the tour gardens, and Nancy’s was to talk about the music and other tour particulars.  I think it went well. Pam Fleming, our friend and the city gardener for Seaside, Oregon, joined us to promote her tour of the Seaside city gardens, which will take place on July 26th.

Pam's tour

After the show, we went to breakfast at the Blue Scorcher.  Getting to have breakfast with Pam, whom we do not see often enough, was one of my big motivations for getting up so early.

on the way: poppies

on the way: poppies

a courtyard

a courtyard

Pam and Nancy outside the Blue Scorcher

Pam and Nancy outside the Blue Scorcher

Blue Scorcher planter

Blue Scorcher planter

at the door of the Blue Scorcher

at the door of the Blue Scorcher

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I bypassed delicious treats...

I bypassed delicious treats…

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...in favour of a breakfast burrito, and Pam got the quiche.

…in favour of a breakfast burrito, and Pam got the quiche.

Blue Scorcher dining

Blue Scorcher dining

at our table

at our table

breakfast burrito

breakfast burrito

delicious quiche, made sweet by cabbage (we traded bites)

delicious quiche, made sweet by cabbage (we traded bites)

From this delightful (although sleepy) morning, I went home and then to the horror of weeding…

The Long Beach beach approach garden

before...our goal was to get two sections done (out of 13)

before…our goal was to get two sections done (out of 13)

before

before

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

It is such a tough job in this drought.  The weeds are stuck in so firmly.  The best parts of the afternoon:  When a passerby reminisced about her grandma making rose hip jelly, and how it smelled of roses.  And when the dial a ride bus stopped next to us and the doors opened and I said “Have you come to take us away?” and the driver said “The best thing Long Beach ever did for its gardens in town and out here was to hire you two!”  And when a woman asked “Are they edible?” when she was already nibbling on a rose hip.  (Good thing they are).  And when our neighbour Jared walked by with my good dog friend, Rudder.

Allan's photo: Rudder!

Allan’s photo: Rudder! (the big black dog, the other one is Yarrow)

This is about as good as we are getting it done.

This is about as good as we are getting it done.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo: what we are up against

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

after

after

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after

Allan's photo: I resorted to desperate measures.

Allan’s photo: I resorted to desperate measures.

the parts where I just got fed up and used the strimmer.

the parts where I just got fed up and used the strimmer.

Ilwaco

On the way home, we drove by the port to see if any plants needed watering.  What did I spy but a fingerblighter, a woman in person, caught in the act, picking herself a bouquet of Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’!

Allan's photo: caught in the act

Allan’s photo: caught in the act

She was caught red handed as we pulled our van up next to her, and she had the grace to look mortified when I told her to stop.  She said she was sorry.  She said that the Eryngium was “just so unusual.”  Allan said it was an expensive plant.  I said it only blooms once, and that we work hard on the gardens and she was lessening them.  She asked if there was some way we could replant the flower.  (!!!)  I said no there was not. She said “I blame my grandmother because she always picked flowers and I got it from her.”  I could not think fast enough to say that MY grandmother taught me to NOT pick flowers from anyone’s garden, public or private.  As she bicycled away, I felt sorry for her and called “It was your bad luck that we happened to be driving by.”

or, rather, to protect the guilty

or, rather, to protect the guilty (Allan’s photo)

a soul-soothing view

a soul-soothing view

watering at Time Enough Books

watering at Time Enough Books

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

my morning

I had to get up early! Before eight AM! My inner clock does not allow me to sleep early, so I had maybe six hours. Nancy arrived with a double iced mocha in hand for me, and I ate a tahini sandwich on the way as had no time for breakfast. The reason was to go to Astoria with Nancy, Stephen, and John to be on the Diggin’ in the Dirt radio show to help promote the July 19th Music in the Gardens tour. Stephen and John’s is one of the ten tour gardens.

KMUN radio is housed here.

KMUN radio is housed here.

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Stephen, Nancy, and John

Stephen, Nancy, and John

view from the KMUN waiting room

view from the KMUN waiting room

Pam from my favourite local collectors nursery, Back Alley Gardens, joined us for the show to promote her Seaside walking tour which will take place on July 27 (sadly for me, it starts at 8 AM). The organizer of the Astoria garden tour was there also; it’s July 12th and I am very sorry to miss it this year as we will be at the Bloggers Fling in Portland. I wish there was some way I could have a sneak peek at the gardens.

After the show, we all walked a few blocks to have coffee together at the Blue Scorcher Café.

on the way, we saw goats...

on the way, we saw goats…

a hillside pasture for city goats!

a hillside pasture for city goats!

and gnarled old rhodo trunks reminiscent of some of the very old rhodos in Stephen and John's bayside garden.

and gnarled old rhodo trunks reminiscent of some of the very old rhodos in Stephen and John’s bayside garden.

walking and looking

walking and looking

My left calf had felt absolutely seized up with pain when I woke briefly at three AM, yet by midmorning had recovered enough that I was able to walk up and down hills in Astoria with not much trouble.

We gazed upon this because Stephen and John are conifer men...one more than the other, I think perhaps.

We gazed upon this because Stephen and John are conifer men…one more than the other, I think perhaps.

wild cucumber vine

wild cucumber vine

at the Blue Scorcher

at the Blue Scorcher

Pam, John, Stephen, Nancy

Pam, John, Stephen, Nancy

Pam's delicious looking brunch (some sort of curry soup); I simply had a chocolate croissant.

Pam’s delicious looking brunch (some sort of curry soup); I simply had a chocolate croissant.

On the way back, we happened upon a George Schenkian public garden that I admire very much. Jessica Schlief’s garden that she made by piling soil on top of asphalt to make beds has been here for years.

roses inside an ornate fence

roses inside an ornate fence

Pam and John.  (Stephen and John buy cool plants from her nursery.)

Pam and John. (Stephen and John buy cool plants from her nursery.)

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inside

inside

poppy and lily

poppy and lily

roses

roses and, I think…feverfew perhaps

bee balm

bee balm

My favourite ornamental grass, Stipa gigantea

My favourite ornamental grass, Stipa gigantea

sunflowers

sunflowers

The potted yew was a hit.

The potted yew was a hit.

garden admiration

garden admiration

John and Stephen

John and Stephen

all grown in raised beds atop unbroken asphalt

all grown in raised beds atop unbroken asphalt

Alllum schubertii

Alllum schubertii

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allium shadow

allium shadow

The day had gotten bright and very hot. Back at KMUN to get the vehicles, I admired a bumper sticker.

I SOO dislike beach driving except for litter clean up and surf rescue.

I SOOO dislike beach driving except for litter clean up and surf rescue.

As Nancy and I drove back to the Peninsula, she expressed a desire to peek at the very secret house that I had dreamed about on Saturday. So we did. I did not pine for it as much, mostly because I have realized I would have to have a deer fence there, and it has no fencing at all.

Meanwhile I was on the phone with Allan, who informed me that it was very, very hot, that he had been sweating while starting his work day by watering Larry and Robert’s garden, and that I might not want to work. I could feel it, but thought surely we could accomplish our project, which was to weed one of the Long Beach parking lot berms.

I took time to stop at Nancy’s to meet her new chickens, still housed in the living room till their feathers grow in.

chickhouse

very curious

very curious

a peek at Nancy's veg garden

a peek at Nancy’s veg garden

her purple peas

her purple peas

She's very pleased about these Liberty apples.

She’s very pleased about these Liberty apples.

alliums in the flower garden we made there

allium albopilosum in the flower garden we made there

Allium schubertii

Allium schubertii

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

After the brief garden stroll, I called Allan and said that it was indeed TOO TOO hot, and would he come and get me and we would go home and go back out to work in the evening. After dumping the weeds he had already collected, he came over and we all sat on Nancy and Phil’s porch and drank ice water for awhile…and just as Allan and I were about to depart, a faintly cool breeze wafted from the north and I thought that perhaps we could go back to work after all.

Allan’s morning

This is how hot it was (so unusual for the beach…although seems to be ominously less unusual lately):

He saw this man while driving through Long Beach.

He saw this man while driving through Long Beach.

92 F!!

92 F!!

another fellow lounging in the shade by one of our planters.

another fellow lounging in the shade by one of our planters.

a before photo of the weedy parking lot berm

a before photo of the weedy parking lot (not really a) berm

He began by pruning back the overhanging roses

He began by pruning back the overhanging roses

then tackled the horrible mess in this garden for which we had had not time yet this year.

then tackled the horrible mess in this garden for which we had had not time yet this year.

Our afternoon

After we decided to get back to work despite the heat, we paused at Fifth Street park for a restroom stop and I checked the nearby planters; amazingly, there were still damp enough to not have to be watered yet.

The city crew was mowing, surely glad the temperature had dropped a bit.

The city crew was mowing, surely glad the temperature had dropped a bit.

park

I joined Allan in the berm weeding.

Yikes!

Yikes!

I had accidentally packed the wrong homi, the one that is too straight and springy.

I had accidentally packed the wrong homi, the one that is too straight and springy.

I tried the double tool but it did not have enough oomph.

I tried the double tool but it did not have enough oomph.

I borrowed Allan's ho mi that had enough oomph.  (Ho Mi, Korean Hand Plow, Zen Weeder, E-Z digger)

I borrowed Allan’s ho mi that had enough oomph. (Ho Mi, Korean Hand Plow, Zen Weeder, E-Z digger)

weeds!

weeds!

awful

awful

a nightmare indeed

a nightmare indeed

We had been hinting around that maybe a city parks intern could do this area…and finally it had gotten so bad I could not bear to leave it alone.

certainly an improvement!

certainly an improvement!

The main problem is the soil is tight and difficult, so lots of weed roots were left behind.

a battered looking weeding job

a battered looking weeding job

not great at close inspection

not great at close inspection

with some pockets of weeds that were so daunting we left them there for now

with some pockets of weeds that were so daunting we left them there for now

It is...better.

It is…better.

There are some good plants in this garden that may distract people from the rough rootiness at ground level.

Rosa glauca and Stipa gigantea

Rosa glauca and Stipa gigantea

Rosa glauca and Stipa gigantea

Rosa glauca and Stipa gigantea

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

assorted shrubs

assorted shrubs

Echinops (Blue Globe Thistle)

Echinops (Blue Globe Thistle)

Even the horrible phormium

Even the horrible phormium

had redeemed itself by putting out a flower.

had redeemed itself by putting out a flower.

Across the parking lot, a garden at the Oceanic RV Park was brimming with potted astilbes.

a very nice little garden on the north wall

a very nice little garden on the north wall

Home, so tired from such a tedious job and the early morning, I got back to garden tour blogging. I glimpsed from my window that the sky promised a good sunset and then got so absorbed in writing that I forgot to look again. Judy four doors down probably won’t mind that I show you the sunset photos that she posted on Facebook.

sunset on Lake Street

sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

What is a holiday when one is on staycation?  Today Olde Towne Café was open so I had my usual sort of vacation midmorning brunch.  All the Christmas decorations had been boxed up and a new front window display was in progress.

decorating in progress

decorating in progress

And then, I actually mustered up some gardening energy and cleaned up the geranium ‘Rozanne’ bed in the back garden.

1:09 PM

1:09 PM

3:21 PM

3:21 PM

Hoping for a good sunset, I strolled down the the port where I found the view pleasant but not spectacular.  It is difficult to predict a really great sunset!

low tide and the final showing of the Jessie's star

low tide and the final showing of the Jessie’s star

Look who came flapping and croaking in right at sunset.

Look who came flapping and croaking in right at sunset.

heron

from the east end of the port by CoHo Charters

from the east end of the port by CoHo Charters

from the middling part of Waterfront Way

from the middling part of Waterfront Way

a good sit spot for sunset watching

a good sit spot for sunset watching

by the condor statue

by the condor statue

Thursday, 2 January 2014

For Allan’s 61st birthday (and he looks all of 35), we went overseas to Astoria for the afternoon.  He’d picked a well-known restaurant with charming ambience.

a popular restaurant

a popular restaurant

in the back dining room

in the back dining room

The food, sadly, was adequate (his panini) to poor (my “Thai” pasta, with flavour that had the subtlety and complexity of a cup of white sugar syrup dumped on a bowl of pasta).  However, I did like the decor and we appreciated the photo right inside the front door:

a good-hearted restaurant

a good-hearted restaurant

On the way back to our van, we enjoyed a block’s worth of planters.

planter

planter

by Fulio's (delicious Italian restaurant), planters with greenery tucked in

by Fulio’s (delicious Italian restaurant), planters with greenery tucked in

The trailing rosemaries have held up better than mine...

The trailing rosemaries have held up better than mine…

We drove to the east end of town so that Allan could have a birthday browse (for his sailboat project) in Englund Marine.

englund

inside Englund Marine

inside Englund Marine

In order to not be fidgeting, I took a walk around the nearby area and found much of interest.

Port of Astoria

Port of Astoria

a duck hangout

a duck hangout

ducks

a boatyard

a boatyard

boatyard

a retired pilot boat

a retired boat

more boats just across the road

more boats just across the road

marine

Shoofly

boat

The motel in the background has an interesting view of old boats and a lumber (shipping) yard.

The motel in the background has an interesting view of old boats and a lumber (shipping) yard.

detail

details

detail

detail

boat

boat

boat

the obligatory rust shot

the obligatory rust shot

After all that wandering around boats, I went back two blocks to Englund Marine to find Allan just finishing his shopping (and schmoozing). We headed back into town to seek some sort of birthday dessert.  (Both of us are very bad at actually getting birthday cakes for each other.)

At The Blue Scorcher Café in Astoria, a fellow with the iconic Astoria t shirt: The Goonies.

At The Blue Scorcher Café in Astoria, a fellow with the iconic Astoria t shirt: The Goonies.

The Blue Scorcher, whose motto is “Joyful Work, Delicious Food, and Strong Community” is like a step back to an idealistic time that still lives on.  It’s a worker’s collective and offers a “Gluten Free Friday”, surely welcome to many.

"chocolate fairy cake" at The Blue Scorcher

“chocolate fairy cake” at The Blue Scorcher

We returned to the area by Englund Marine and the industrial Port of Astoria to explore a bayside path that we had noticed earlier.

Path along Youngs Bay on the Columbia River

Path, looking north, along Youngs Bay on the Columbia River

looking east

looking east with Astoria Megler bridge in background

on the river

on the river

The paved path ends before the spot where the bay and the river meet, and on the pavement we saw this:

signs1sign2

sign3

We entered the small path between Scotch broom anyway…

path

..and returned safely after discovering that it did not go very far.  To our right was a big lumber shipping yard that neither of us photographed, that turned out to be significant later in the day.

the path, returning to our parking spot to the north

the path, returning to our parking spot to the north

Soon we would cross the Youngs Bay Bridge to do some shopping at Costco.

the Youngs Bay Bridge

the Youngs Bay Bridge

In the evening after a dinner at our local Thai Restaurant (still seeking an excellent birthday meal), we sat down at home to watch the final episode of Dexter.  (Spoilers follow.   Stop now if you intend to, and have not, seen it!)

Even had we not known that the end of the last episode was filmed in Astoria, we still might have recognized that the lumber yard shown in the last few minutes of the series was the exact same one we had walked next to earlier in the day by Youngs Bay!

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Occasionally there is a film which I so much want to see that I will kick over the traces to go see it in Astoria even on a non-rainy gardening-worthy day.  So it was with Pan’s Labyrinth, which lived up to our expectations and more.  I think it is rare for a foreign language film to come to Astoria, so I was extra chuffed to get to see it on the big screen rather than waiting for Netflix.  Before the show, we had coffee and treats at the Blue Scorcher, a cool cafe; it’s a tough choice between the Scorcher and the also hip Astoria Coffee House or Coffee Girl….and being a lifelong member of “those who wear black” requires the seeking out of happening coffeehouses. The old punk in me would pick the Astoria Coffee House as a favourite, because something about it seems that little bit edgier.  Coffee Girl has the view, though, and I have a happy memory of sitting on their deck on a warm summer day with friend J9 and some delicious coffee and tabouli.

After close rapt attention to the visual feast of the movie, my mind leapt back into gardening while Allan went into the nearby hardware store. Right across the street is a garden which I have admired since discovering it last year.  Whose it is, I don’t know, as the apartment building in the lot does not seem attached to the garden in any way.  I wonder who maintains it?  It is a curvacious sweep of cistus, senecio greyii, artemisias, and a further tapestry of interesting shrubs with a picnic table tucked into a cove.

attractive Astoria garden

Yesterday gentle, ceaseless, somnolent rain kept me indoors where I read three books, including “The No Work Garden” by Bob Flowerdew, as recommended by Moosey.  Indeed, his writing style is witty in the British way that so appeals to Anglophile me, and he had many good ideas although I certainly would not describe his methods as “no work.”  (Even “low maintenance” is not a term I would ever let any of our clients think could possibly happen!)  And if gardening CAN be “no work,” why does he write with such drollness:

“…I’m often asked…how a son, daughter or friend who loves gardening can best be got work in some area of horticulture.  I plead with them not to do so. Growing plants is a wonderful hobby, and education, a pleasure, even a means of improving your table but a hard way to earn a living that will leave no time for the original enjoyment. No, instead help them find a humble home with a generous garden and some righteous employment that only demands four days a week and gives them three to garden in.  I’m sure they will be the more contented for it.”

Is gardening in ones own garden work?  The other day when we were chopping sword ferns in the rain, Allan commented “This is not fun.” And it was not.  But on a day off, we continued to do it with a sense of purpose and satisfaction because the end result would be what we envisioned that part of the garden should be.  It was work, but not dislikeable work.

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