Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Monday, 13 November 2017

Even though the storm lived up to its advance reputation, it did us no harm.  The lights flickered but did not go out.  It was perfect reading weather, except for missing a certain cat cuddled under my chin.  The remaining three cats are nice, and they like me, but they do not dote on me.

There was some excitement to watch on the local Facebook feed:

The wind speeds were dramatic.

The 89 mph was up at Radar Ridge, a high hill south of the Astoria Bridge.

From the Chinook Observer, late Tuesday:

Overnight wind gusts Tuesday-Wednesday:
Megler Mountain: 76 mph
Naselle Radar Ridge: 70 mph
Cape Disappointment: 60 mph  [that’s just across the Ilwaco marina from us]
Sustained wind speeds around 50 mph at times

Skooter watching the weather

Meanwhile, I read.

This history of the Dust Bowl enlightened me in a gripping can’t put it down way about the harshness of the drought and sky blackening, lung choking dust storms of the 1930s.  I’d learned a bit about it in school, where the idea that contour plowing could heal the land impressed me.  But I had no idea till now how bad the dust had been.

How beautiful the land once was:

The advice of using dust to mulch!!

“The best side is up”:

“We Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land…”

“You are filled with dirt.”

Static electricity from the dust storms made barbed wire fences spark and burned kitchen gardens.

This book will stick with me.  Because I love diaries, I was especially pleased with diary excerpts of a farmer, Dan Hartwell, that were woven into the story.

A man of poetic thought in a dying land:

Mr. Hartwell just plain broke my heart.  The diary just ends, with no idea of what became of him.

I had read the book straight through with nary a pause.  I have ordered a documentary movie that includes Bam White, one of the people whose story figures large in it: The Plow that Broke the Plains.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

When I woke up, I looked out the south window and the skyline had changed.  What was that big grey thing? My view had never included a big grey….building?  I was disconcerted.

When I figured it out, I asked Allan to have a look. “Is that the river?” he asked, mystified for a moment also, until he also realized….”It’s a truck!”

It moved and my normal view returned.

It would have been a pretty exciting day if the river had suddenly returned to right outside our back gate.

The full gale flag still flew at the port, and another wind front battered the house.  Good, another reading day.

Calvin now waits for cereal milk.

I read another book straight through without a pause.  I had just acquired my own copy of the best book about the loss of of a pet, one that I had read twice before when my extra good cats Orson, and later Dumbles, had died.

reading with Smoky’s brother, Frosty

I thought that this time, I wouldn’t cry my way through the book. But I did, in a cathartic way.  Virginia Ironside had collected poetry and essays along with the most heartfelt stories that were written in to her in her job as a British “Agony Aunt’ (like Dear Abby).

And this:

And the inscription on a pet’s gravestone: “Here lies love.”

Orson sunning himself on the sidewalk, round 1991

Dumbles, 1999-2011


I was pleased to find that Virginia Ironside has a Facebook page, along with several new books that I immediately ordered through interlibrary loan.  I’ve read her basic letters to an agony aunt book and one called “No, I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club“, about “aging disgracefully”, so I know I like her style.

Meanwhile, I had been inspired by The Worst Hard Time to finally read The Grapes of Wrath.  I had tried it last night, and just flicking through it made me think it was going to be a ponderous read.  Today, within seven pages I was mesmerized.  How had I missed this?  Allan has all of Steinbeck, a gift from his Grandma, Beulah Fones, who lived in Steinbeck country.  The only one I have read is The Red Pony, forced to in school and did not like it.  I have some catching up to do.

Allan’s Grandma Beulah

I read through half the book and finally had to sleep. I just needed a good rainy Wednesday to finish it.  That was not to be as the weather permitted work on the next day, and so I am still worried about the Joads, who just made it (well, some of them) across the desert into California.  I do not think their dreams are going to come true.

The moment I fell in love with The Grapes of Wrath, page 7, when young Tom Joad hitches a ride:

The refugees, trying to decide which possessions can go with them to California:

human kindness:

If I see someone traveling with a vehicle overloaded with possessions, and I have seen some vehicles that remind me of the Joads (because we know about the Joads even if we haven’t read the book), my immediate response is compassion and help, not turning away and contempt.  I fear for them and am going to get back to my reading the very minute I get this post scheduled.

(Allan has been busy working on a project involving his boating blog posts.  More on this later.)

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

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

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

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

Skooter by the front door

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

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

The cats all tucked themselves into naps, separately.

Skooter on a bed

Frosty on Allan’s chair

Calvin on my chair

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

Davidia ‘Lady Sunshine’ through a rainy window

rain and wind view from my desk

To my left, two cats.

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

The sky eventually brightened, but the cold wind continued.

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

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

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

on heaven:

It must be this painting.

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

With this label, from the Tate Gallery:

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

Gallery label, September 2016

I learned a new word, “eschatology”.

The “downward step” of aging:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An allegory about his diagnosis:

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

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Monday, 6 November 2017

Frosty looking cute in the morning

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

Long Beach

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

before and after (Allan’s photos)

We found a reversible rock.

not sure what it means

The Anchorage Cottages

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

Arbutus and Melianthus major in the center courtyard

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

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

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

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

just an after

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

before and after (Allan’s photos)

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

Long Beach

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

planted them on the upper tier

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

lots of clean up accomplished on the north side, too

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

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

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

Allan also photographed the planter project.


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

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

Port of Ilwaco

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

Allan’s photo

Almost sunset at the marina:


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

Calvin wakes up.

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

Smoky and Calvin on October 7th

Calvin and Smoky on October 19th

October 26th

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

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

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

Frosty and Calvin a couple of nights ago

detente but no affection

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

I then got to erase City Hall and Anchorage.

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

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

Why not a comfy chair?

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

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I was so tired while writing that I called yesterday’s post “Friday” instead of Thursday. In real time, here is a PSA:



Friday, 5 May 2017

The predicted rain storm and thirty mile an hour winds did not arrive!

I was so hoping we could accomplish a whole lot of garden tidying pre-Sunday’s parade so that we would not have to go back to Long Beach on a crowded Saturday afternoon.  (We will be attending the Saturday parade in Ilwaco, but not the Sunday one in Long Beach.)

Others in our household had no particular worries:

on the porch

Smokey and Skooter

Skooter is not to be walked on.

Peace was soon restored.



Before leaving our block, we did two tiny garden tasks: mowing at the J’s and weeding round the Norwood garden.

We spent a little while weeding our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office.  The garden is still looking rather dull.  While we weeded, an old man said “Why don’t you plant something I like so that I’ll have something good to look at?”  While I chuckled weakly, here is a hint: Gardeners  prefer to not be teased while they are working.

dullsville garden at the moment

Depot Restaurant

Just some quick deadheading…

north side of deck

Tulips ‘Night Rider’ (left) and ‘Virichic’ (right)

Tulip ‘Flaming Spring Green’

Tulip ‘Green Wave’

Long Beach

When we got to the welcome sign and I opened the back of the van, I was momentarily appalled to see a flat of bidens sitting there, that had not been unloaded last night.  I then decided to just plant the darn things, since the welcome sign was their destination.  I would usually wait for annuals planting till the magic date of Mother’s Day (which is next Sunday).

low yellow bidens along the front edge

The tulips on the back side had gone over, every one.

all moldy and unattractive

too much rain! (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Too bad that boring moment between spring bulbs and annuals happened this weekend.

Here’s how the whole welcome sign would look if we didn’t control the horsetail:

the east end, around the faucet….

cheatin’ weedin’ with string trimmer (Allan’s photos)

The Red Barn 

Part of the weekend’s events will include a “cowboy breakfast” at the Peninsula Saddle Club.  Figuring that the patrons might spill over to the Red Barn Arena next door, we detoured to make sure the little garden there looked ok.

after some weeding (Allan’s photo)

Diane’s garden

I was eager to talk to Diane about garden plans, while deadheading her narcissi.

Misty, as you can tell, is getting older. Diane and I discuss….

The roadside garden will return as soon as a fence is built. (Allan’s photo)

Long Beach

Allan and I finished the north parking lot berm at last.

North “berm”

 I had high hopes that the second one would also be done today.  I even had a fantasy that Allan would have time to do the string trimming that is the way we handle the less planted middle berm.  I left Allan to it….

south berm

Allan’s photos:

cleaning up along the edge

…while I went to groom four blocks of tree garden and planters.

lots of Baby Moon narcissi still blooming for parade day

‘New Baby’ is white and yellow.  (really)

fringed tulips still blooming

escallonias that would like to be eight feet tall (left over from someone’s volunteer planting)

crocus foliage

I used to tidy up foliage like that before parade day.  Now I leave it, on the theory that it is good for the bulbs…and that the fuller the planter is, the less likely to be sat or stood upon.

Primulas have been blooming for weeks.

thrilled that Fifth Street Park, west side, did not need weeding

Fury: Out of 20 of these late blooming tulips in two adjacent planters, all but 7 had been stolen.

I called Allan to see how he was doing…and due to the plethora of weeds, the south berm was still not done.  We had to abort that mission so that he could de-horsetail by the Heron Pond while I tidied the north two blocks of trees and planters.

more late blooming narcissi on the northernmost block

These tulips might hang on for Sunday.

As I weeded the tree garden outside Dennis Company, a friend and business owner stopped by to tell me of her anger at a politician who had just said that “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”  (Really? It took me less than one minute to remember two people I knew who had died of exactly that.)

As I deadheaded tulips in a planter five minutes later, a friend and valued community member walked by and told me how she and her family are seriously exploring a move to Canada.  I felt sad to hear it but I certainly understand.

Meanwhile, Allan’s project:


Someone had deposited painted rocks at the edge of the waterfall (without falling in).

“love” rock and some leftover easter egg decor


sidewalk edge, before


We still had the east side of Fifth Street Park to check up on with some light weeding.


Darmera peltata leaves…


and flowers (Allan’s photos)

7 PM shadows

Just last year, I would have been able to push till 8:00 PM to try to finish the berms.  Now, I find that I just cannot.  We drove by to look…and found a stack of lost buckets!  Allan said he thought he was running inexplicably short on buckets.  This is a sign of how tired we both are.

He had been too tired to remember where the buckets had gone to…. They had been just sitting by the north berm.

Nobody’s parade day is going to get ruined by some weeds in the parking lot beds and so…we are not going to finish the berms till next week.

workboard tonight

Planting Time is starting to show up on the work board.

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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

I woke to puddles.  The good amount of rain had changed up our week by making it unnecessary to water the Long Beach and Ilwaco planters.  I was a little discombulated about what to do, then decided the world would not be too rocked if we did the north end jobs on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.  My dithering got us off to a late start.  Just before we left the house, I suggested we take a cat carrier in case Marilyn’s cat, Skooter, would be available.  Our plan is to adopt him so he can have a home with a garden to enjoy. (You’ll find his name spelled two ways for awhile till I get used to the K.)

On the way we tested the container soil in both LB and Ilwaco and found it nice and wet.

We reversed the polarity of the neutron flow and went from south to north, doing only some of the jobs in case we ended up with a cat in the late afternoon and would need to bring him straight home.

The Anchorage

We were greeted by our good friend Mitzu.

We were greeted by our good friend Mitzu.



the center courtyard

the center courtyard

Melianthus major

Melianthus major

I spent a long time weeding in a rather drab little bed that didn’t feel worth a photo.  Maybe next week, if I mulch it, it will be worthy.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

the lawn bed with Shasta daisies that did not need much deadheading

the lawn bed with Shasta daisies that did not need much deadheading

inside the fenced garden with Persicaria 'Golden Arrow'

inside the fenced garden with Persicaria ‘Golden Arrow’

looking northwest toward the sit spot

looking northwest toward the sit spot

the birdbath view

the birdbath view

pink feathery sanguisorba just past its prime

pink feathery sanguisorba just past its prime

many hues of hydrangea

many hues of hydrangea

Allan worked on the woodland swale.

Allan's photos, before...

Allan’s photos, before…

and after

and after

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' flopping, before....

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ flopping, before….

and after

and after

our good friend Bella

our good friend Bella

As we left KBC after an hour of weeding and deadheading, I got a message from Nancy saying that she was at Marilyn’s house and would have Skooter ready for us to take.

Marilyn’s Garden

With dear Marilyn having passed away, her house will soon be listed for sale. A home has been found for the most affectionate of Marilyn’s two cats, Coral.  Because the home has children, it would not be suitable for Skooter, who liked “affection on his own terms” and probably would not relish being toted around by kind hearted and loving little girls.  This photo of him with Marilyn’s daughter Susan shows that he does like affection, within reason.

Susan and Scooter

Susan and Scooter (Allan’s photo)

We did a quick weeding session before loading Skooter into the cat carrier (accomplished by Susan and Allan with one escape attempt when the door did not close correctly).

so poignant to see Marilyn's begonias

so poignant to see Marilyn’s begonias

looking north

looking north

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' and Helenium 'Feuersiegel'

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ and Helenium ‘Feuersiegel’



By next year, another gardener (I hope!) will be keeping the phygelius within bounds, or it will be all over the place.

from the back porch; I must clip noxious bronze fennel before it goes to seed.

from the back porch; I must clip noxious bronze fennel (left) before it goes to seed.

looking north; I will miss recording these weekly views.

looking north; I will miss recording these weekly views.

There were some tears when we were ready to take Skooter; Nancy is happy he is going with someone he knows, and sad to see him go.  Her own cat would simply not accept a new addition to the household.  He did not yowl the whole way to Ilwaco as some cats might have.

at home

Here he is at home, not ready to come out of the box yet.

Here he is at home, not ready to come out of the carrier box yet.

Because getting him was a last minute arrangement (instead of having Nancy bring him on Thursday), Allan got busy and hammered a board over the cat door that leads out from the second bathroom.  That will be his sanctuary room till he is ready to meet the other cats and go outside.  Wire mesh was installed at the bottom of my study door that has a cat “tunnel” at the base.  When Scooter comes out into that room, he will be able to look but not engage with the other cats yet.  (Two days later, with separation still in place, I got a suggestion of covering that view for now until the hissing stops.  So far, all the hissing is on Scooter’s part.)

Scooter's eye view tonight of the cat tunnel covered with screen.

Scooter’s eye view tonight of the cat tunnel covered with screen.  (Allan’s photo)

He has toys, litter, food, water, and his three platform cat tower.  I felt sad when I found him half an hour later hiding in the very back of the bathroom closet.  Poor fellow.  If only we could talk about it, person to person.  (Sometimes that doesn’t work with people, though.)  Because various articles advised leaving a cat alone to explore its new sanctuary, I felt ok about keeping our dinner engagement.

Our weekly meeting of the North Beach Garden Gang was on a different night this week because of the schedule of Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening), so with Skooter all situated in his hidey hole, we met them at the nearby

Salt Hotel Pub

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

the view from our table

the view from our table

A Sea Cucumber sounded perfect...

A Sea Cucumber sounded perfect…

and so it was, especially the chili salt rim.

and so it was, especially the chili salt rim.

I had been craving the delicious tuna melt...

I had been craving the delicious tuna melt…

and the potato leek soup.

and the potato leek soup.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

nachos for Dave, Melissa, and Allan

Nachos were the choice for Dave, Melissa, and Allan

The downstairs social room is where folks who cannot climb the stairs can dine. That will be me this December if I get my knee done.

The downstairs social room is where folks who cannot climb the stairs can dine. That will be me this December if I get my knee done.

The owners, Jules and Laila, also operate Skookum Surf lessons and rentals from the hotel.

The owners, Jules and Laila, also operate Skookum Surf lessons and rentals from the hotel.

Back at home, I was relieved to find Skooter out of his hidey hole and ensconced on his cat tower.


I was even more relieved that he did not meow all night and keep us awake.  I had been anxious about losing sleep.  I look forward to the transition being over, the cats accepting each other (I do so fervently hope), and life being placid again. I had not realized till the process began how much anxiety it would cause me to introduce a new cat to our comfortable ménage.

The only entry for this date in my mother’s garden diaries is one word, for August 9, 1997:  HOT.




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Monday, 23 May 2016


During gardening season, picking up our mail always involves a bit of weeding and deadheading at our volunteer garden at the post office.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

post office garden

post office garden

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allium albopilosum

Allium albopilosum

pink California poppies

pink California poppies

We drove to the fire station to check on the water needs of the planter there, which is under the eaves and gets no rain.  I looked again at the garden areas that I keep thinking of taking over as a volunteer…especially now that we have been fired (or I suppose I could say REPLACED) at Golden Sands and therefore have an extra two hours a week.  I walked all round looking for a hose faucet and found none anywhere near the gardens, except for one down in a hole in the sidewalk that is turned off.  The lack of water, and the thought that I might be crazy to take on a new project while needing a new knee, put the kibosh on the idea for now…along with the fact that it is getting late to transplant free plants.

one of the areas that calls out to me...north wall, under wide eaves...

one of the areas that calls out to me…north wall, under wide eaves…

and the other...southwest corner, sunny

and the other…southwest corner, sunny

The station deserves a volunteer garden because the firefighters themselves are volunteers.

We did a bit of weeding at Time Enough Books (Allan's photo)

We did a bit of weeding at Time Enough Books (Allan’s photo)

and some weeding and planting at the Community Building, which got some Sedum 'Autumn Joy' starts and a couple of sanguisorbas that had come out of my garden to make room for my mom's copper rose.

and some weeding and planting at the Community Building, which got some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ starts and a couple of sanguisorbas that had come out of my garden to make room for my mom’s copper rose. (Allan’s photo)

free plants going in

free plants going in

Long Beach

Today was the first day for liquid fertilizing of the Long Beach planters.

As we secured an excellent parking spot by Fifth Street Park, my eyes zoomed in on something that really bugged me.

Do you notice what is wrong?

Do you notice what is wrong?

The old lavender in the planter kitty corner, that I had cut back to improve traffic sight lines earlier this spring, is so dead inside.  So ugly.  I planted another small lavender in front of it in hopes of hiding the horror.  I can’t wait, so I asked Allan if he could dig the big old one out after he did his portion of the watering rounds.

lavender on left is glaringly hideous

lavender on left is glaringly hideous

In the first planter that I watered, I found half of the Lollipop lilies broken off.

What happened here?

What happened here?

I just philosophically picked them up and threw them out.  Now the planter is all out of symmetry.

Lilies remain on the other side.

Lilies remain on the other side.

This is one of the planters with a planting scheme left over from volunteer days, with an aggressively running rose that is too vigorous for the planter (beautiful right now when in its once-blooming stage).  I don’t plant lilies in the planters because their foliage, while dying back, is unattractive.  To have them broken off just in full bud is a darn shame.  Oh well!

Right about that time, Todd drove by and called out “You guys rock!”.  That was nice.

Also nice: I had unearthed a pair of my favourite clippers, the ones Fred Meyer stopped carrying.

Also nice: I had unearthed a pair of my favourite clippers, the ones Fred Meyer stopped carrying.  I wish I could find these to buy somewhere.

a Long Beach planter (Allan's photo)

a Long Beach planter (Allan’s photo)

In Fish Alley, I came upon the city crew hard at work making a big sandbox.  There will be sand castles built here by expert builders every weekend this summer.


Parks Manager Mike driving the back hoe.

Parks Manager Mike driving the back hoe.

While bucket watering the four barrels in Fish Alley, I discovered that the two barrels at the west end of the alley had once again had every edging plant stolen. I told Mike it’s not from lack of trying that those barrels look blah.  One of the crew pointed out that all the lower light bulbs on the poles at the alley entrance had been stolen.  You can see the results in the first photo of the crew, above, and below.

light bulbs almost all gone!

light bulbs almost all gone!

This is not a crazy crime ridden town.  Yet things like this are so frustrating.  I told the crew that I had just had a brainstorm:  I am going to stuff the back two barrels with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ which is easily replaced with divisions if the plants get stolen.  It is the perfect plant for that: drought tolerant, so divisible, and yet not invasive or impolite toward other plants.  No more special plants for whomever is repeatedly stealing there.

Outside Wind World Kites, I joined in on petting the Mighty Quinn, whose tail never stopped wagging.  Quinn is so big and only two years old.

Quinn and the Kite Guy

Quinn and the Kite Guy

Quinn’s predecessor was a good friend of Tank, the kite shop mascot dog, and after Tank died of old age, his buddy used to check out Tank’s “office” in the back of the shop to see if maybe Tank was there.

Tank in his office

my very good friend Tank in his office, years ago

Allan finished watering and accomplished his lavender removal project.  His photos:




He moved the new small lavender into the space.

He moved the new small lavender into the space.



I’d like to redo that whole planter and get the curly teucrium and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ out of it—both too invasive—but not this spring.

Allan's photo by Hungry Harbor Grille

Allan’s photo by Hungry Harbor Grille

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Walking by the park on Third Street reminded me that Mike had asked me to prune the hydrangeas by the bench.  After watering, Allan and I parked by there and did so.

after pruning. The hydrangeas had been blossoming through the back and seat of the bench.

after pruning. The hydrangeas had been blossoming through the back and seat of the bench.

A fellow smoking by the fence told me he had picked some flowers (rhododendrons, I believe) from the park and then felt he had done something wrong.  I was touched by his confession and gave him the hydrangea flowers I had needed to cut.  He was ever so pleased.

At the back of the park: aegepodium. DO NOT ever plant it! and tall fireweed. I left the fireweed, remembering that in the UK it goes by the lovely name rosebay willowherb.

At the back of the park: aegepodium. DO NOT ever plant it! and tall fireweed. I left the fireweed, remembering that in the UK it goes by the lovely name rosebay willowherb and is much admired.

Allan bucket watering the stage planters at Veterans Field

Allan bucket watering the stage planters at Veterans Field

We have a lot of little things to remember to do in Long Beach in order to keep plants alive and happy.

Eschscholzia californica 'White Linen' and Salvia 'May Night' in vet field corner garden

Eschscholzia californica ‘White Linen’ and Salvia ‘May Night’ in vet field corner garden

We had saved the northern two blocks of planter fertilizing till late afternoon.  I took a break  to go into NIVA green and get some more photos for the shop’s Facebook page.

front window, NIVA green

front window, NIVA green


Heather Ramsay’s lamps


a seat for a miniature garden

a seat for a miniature garden



Heather has the most artistic selection of greeting cards around.  I had a birthday gift certificate from Todd burning a hole in my wallet and I decided a wide selection of cards would be the perfect things to spend it on.

owl card

owl card

many choices throughout the shop

many choices throughout the shop

Allan's photo by Dennis Company

Allan’s photo by Dennis Company

Back to Fifth Street Park Allan and I went to get some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  I planted all the rest of my sweet pea seeds, tired of packets floating around the house with just a few seeds in each.  It is crazy late to plant, I know.

looking toward the NE quadrant of Fifth Street Park

looking toward the NE quadrant of Fifth Street Park

When I took the above photo, I did not even remember that it was the planter whose lilies had been broken off on the north side.  That’s because I was being all philosophical about plant damage today.

Fifth Street Park, NW corner

Fifth Street Park, NW corner

Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem sage) (Allan's photo)

Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem sage) and the first lily (Allan’s photo)

We dumped our debris and got some soil from the city yard and went to Fish Alley to replant the stripped out two barrels.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' on the move (Allan's photo)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ on the move (Allan’s photo)

Fish Alley replanting (Allan's photo)

Fish Alley replanting (Allan’s photo)

Because we still had time in our day, we went to the Bolstad approach to remove some of the clover that had turned out to have boring, lax white flowers.

the silver Pacific Ocean, end of the Bolstad approach (Allan's photo)

the silver Pacific Ocean, end of the Bolstad approach (Allan’s photo)

clover attack

clover attack

before (Allan's photo)

before (Allan’s photos)

and after

and after

I worked on pulling grasses from among the roses.  As I approached the nearby planter, I let out a bellow and all thoughts of being philosophical flew away.



That hole marks where a brand new perfectly shaped santolina had been planted within the past month, to match its brother on the other side of the planter.

Now its brother is all alone.

Now its brother is all alone.

utterly maddening

utterly maddening

The fairy door at the base of the planter had not protected it nor had the little green soldier that Allan found in the planter itself.


I looked around to make sure no tourists or children were nearby and then let out a string of swearing and imprecations against plant thieves.  To anyone looking from the distant hotel windows, I must have looked like a cartoon character hopping about and waving my arms in rage.

hopping mad!!

hopping mad!!

This is why the beach approach planters look so sparse.  I plant repeatedly, and choice new additions are repeatedly stolen.  I suspect it might be just one person, maybe the same one also stealing in Fish Alley, who is furnishing quite a nice little garden somewhere.  I have no idea who.  Someone who knows good plants and only takes the choicest ones. Perhaps they think I will just replace the plant.  Well, no, because now every nursery on the Peninsula is sold out of it.  I found a small specimen of a different santolina cultivar at ground level, where I had stuck in some cuttings earlier this year.

It would have been swamped by resprouting roses anyway.

It would have been swamped by resprouting roses anyway.

into the planter it goes...maybe won't be stolen as is not impressive.

into the planter it goes…maybe won’t be stolen as is not impressive.

On the other side of the sidewalk, I noticed that someone had stolen one of the fairy doors, breaking it off in the process of prying it from the driftwood.



Wendy Murry had sent me this photo of it on May 15th.

Wendy Murry had sent me this photo of it on May 15th.

All thoughts of being philosophical had disappeared and I was back to being a crabby gardener.


The Crabby Gardener by Don Nisbett, an art idea suggested, oddly enough, by someone who knows me.

In better news:  The beach approach was so easy to weed now that we got two sections done in less than an hour and stopped work at the eight hour day mark.

It should be easy to do a weeding of the rest of the approach, maybe just a one day job.

It should be easy to do a weeding of the rest of the approach, maybe just a one day job.

at home

the garden at 8 PM

the garden at 8 PM

I moved my kitty statue from near the greenhouse over to Mary’s grave after suddenly realizing how much it looks like Mary.



Mary herself

Mary herself

Rose 'Mary Rose' planted on her grave

Rose ‘Mary Rose’ planted on her grave

Mary Rose, picked for a closer look

Mary Rose, picked for a closer look

and to float in my mom's birdbath

and to float in my mom’s birdbath

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

On this day in 1995, my father went into the hospital with a heart problem.  The diary entries from May 23 through June of that year will appear in one post at the end of this month.

1997 (age 73):

May 23:  Don [her neighbor helping get ready for a garage sale] 12:00-3:00.  We sorted the rest of the boxes from garage shelves.  I found some pink dishes that might match Skyler’s dishes and several pieces of colored glass to put on kitchen shelf over sink.  Sorted through flower seeds for ones to direct seed.

1998 (age 74):

May 23: Cool wet dreary—too lousy weather to go outside so I planted seeds—for several hours.  I keep switching trays between heating mats on the card table and Floralight.  The Jazz swept the Lakers.




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Sunday, 27 March 2016

I slept till all hours, getting a good nine hours.  If I lived alone, I think it would have been more like 11 but it’s embarrassing to sleep well into the afternoon.  A medium strong gusty wind and rain would have prevented work till after noon anyway.  Allan suggested he go to his own particular gardening job and I thought I might weed in my own garden.

Ilwaco Community Building

Although I advise and sometimes help out, Allan has taken on this garden for the past year as his own project.




before: His target was the reseeding wild lupins (the boring pale blue kind) and the kinnikinnick


closeup: After removing large ones last fall, new seedlings are rampant.


Bindweed is also pernicious in these beds.




room for some poppies, perhaps


an early allium emerging


caught in a squall




Meanwhile, at home:


Smokey was not eager to go outside.

I  went out, intending to weed in the front garden out of the wind, only to find the cold wind was everywhere.

I had opened a late birthday present from dear absent friend Sharon, and I placed something from it out in the garden.  I can’t show you a photo yet because I want to see if Allan notices it.

That was about all I accomplished except for a few photos before the wind and a rain squall sent me back indoors.


one of Allan’s ferns


a “black” hellebore


I do not tire of Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’


My unrealized goal had been to get the “stinkweed”, a rampant, smelly mint relative (native, wild) out of this northeast front corner.


Pieris, bright new leaves but no flowers


Another area I WOULD have weeded…


an unplanned colour echo


I should remember to plant more orange and gold tulips near that Japanese maple.


from outside the fence, in the rain

If I walked by, I would stop and stare into this garden…and often from the window, I see people doing just that.


Tulip sylvestris


an excellent bergenia

I walked just as far as the back patio, no further near the trees because of the wind.


Smokey did follow me outside.

I took a panorama, although it looks a little tilted in the middle.  I’ll do better next time:


With the rain and the lure of two almost overdue library books, I was happy to go back indoors.  Even when the rain stopped again, and the sun was out, the sound of the gusty wind soothed my non-weeding guilt.  I had some deep, intellectual reading to do:



Somehow Calvin briefly replaced Smokey on my lap.

Calvin is always noticeable as a lap sitter because he makes himself heavier than the other cats and his feet are hard and pokey unlike the soft paws of other kitties.

After the quick read of the Star Wars prequel (not bad at all!), I considered every photo in Bystander, a book about street photography that was heavy with text that did not much appeal to me.  Now both can go back to the library before becoming overdue.

I turned next to a book that I had recently purchased, having been reminded of it by someone quoting one of my favourite passages about gardening: “People go through five stages of gardening. They begin by liking flowers, progress to flowering shrubs, then autumn foliage and berries; next they go for leaves, and then the undersides of leaves.”

Here is the entire passage:



That reminds me of a cherished tiny bun of a dianthus that grows in the Wiegardt Gallery garden:


the slowly growing Dianthus mat that I hoped to snick a piece of for my scree garden

It has the tiniest, drabbest little flowers but oh how I loved it.  I tried to move a little piece to my garden; it did not take.

Getting enough sleep (for a change) and reading three books (well…two…because just looking at the pictures in Bystander did not count) made for an excellent day.  Knowing some work got done (not by me) made it even better.

I’ve added a new scrapbook post over on my Grandma blog.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1995 (age 70):

March 27: Planted new Stark Bros strawberries.  They really looked good from being put in straight mushroom compost.

1997 (age 72):

March 27:  Planted seeds—cabbages, leeks, more peppers in 50 cell tray.  Tomatoes in one of the APS trays are big enough to transplant into pots.  I’ll wait till its warm enough to do it outside.  Ditto with sprouted begonias.

1998 (age 73):

March 27:  I have been waking up with morning headaches lately but today it was a migraine.  I stayed in bed most of the day.  By late afternoon I felt ok.  [She had suffered terribly from migraines 2-3 times a month till she was over 60 years old, when they became just occasional.]

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