Posts Tagged ‘compost bins’

Friday 25 December 2021

At home

The cattens had a typically peaceful day.

Nickel and Faerie have the closest bond.

Skooter modeled a gift from Marlene…for a very short time.

behind him, a bookshelf waiting to be organized

Allan continued to work on the 2021 version of his boating book with a rapt audience.

At the suggestion of Mr Tootlepedal, he has added a scale to his maps.

Stormy weather made it a good reading day for me. I finished the fourth memoir by Dodie Smith (I hope to share something about these later) and felt verklempt that they were over, but I have ordered a biography of her. The memoirs left off with over thirty years of her life left to describe! I think she wrote the last one when in her late 80s. I wonder if she hoped to live long enough to write one more.

After opening gifts from each other …..

A perfect pair of garden ornaments from Allan

….and from Montana Mary (delicious condiments and some books!) and Our Kathleen (Penzey’s spices and my very own copy of A Way to Garden!), we had a simple dinner of delicious salmon, caught last summer by our nearby neighbor Jeff Norwood…we’d frozen and saved it for a special occasion…and rice with soy sauce and canned peas, with Christmas cookies from Denny and Mary for dessert.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Port of Ilwaco

Yes, I actually left the property. (Allan leaves it almost daily to walk to the post office between midnight and 1 AM to get our mail). I had got a message from Heather at Purly Shell Fiber Arts that a bag of discarded wool mixed with wind blown fallen leaves awaited me on the shop patio. Compost makings!

I got to see my friend Jack!

We bagged up some more leaves for a total of three bags full of compostables.

I very much enjoyed the writing on the patio where the Purly women spin wool in good weather.

It’s been in my head ever since.

Just across the lawn…

Folks were dining outdoors at Salt Pub.

In one of the port curbside gardens, a geum bloomed out of season.

We drove to the boatyard to check the garden there for trash that tends to blow in. I do like seeing the encouraging signage that was placed there by our county public health department…and we saw a couple of new boats.

Back at home, I had time to load bagged leaves from autumn into the new leaf bins and some woolly leaf debris into bin one. The new path is so easy to walk on.

While I did have another project in mind, blustery weather arrived and sent me back to a book, and I didn’t mind.

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Friday, 22 November 2019

my day at home


I had big compost sifting plans for today.

Frosty accompanying me to the project

When I tackled bin three, as planned, I found the compost almost unbearably cold to sift.

ice on the canoe pond
before: bin four is tarped in blue

I got this far with some rough sifting…

…before my hands ached too much to continue.

Giving up, I decided to shift some plants into my new cold frame and pot up a few cuttings and then, just as I was about to return to the house and a book, the weather warmed enough to get on with the sifting.

Jazmin supervised.

second load
third load
fourth load
the last batch
bin three empty!

I used the rough mulch along some edges by the fire circle, where I had expanded garden beds in the late summer.

Bin three is now ready to receive a batch of fall clippings.

 Allan’s day at the port

Allan got a midmorning call for help from Jenna.  Going to the rescue with our garden loppers, he found her at a gear shed near the boatyard, battling to undo a vine-entangled net.

Our Jenna

Jessie’s Fish Company had donated the net for some sort of Crab Pot Christmas decorations.  After some of the ivy had been clipped off, a Jessie’s fork lift driver helped to drag the net open.

A nice large piece was then cut off for decorating purposes.

Because neither Jenna nor Allan felt hungry enough for a lavish reward, they split a burger at Salt Pub.

When Allan returned from his day, he positioned a new plant table for me, one that we had found in the free wood pile near the boatyard.

My reward for my unexpectedly productive afternoon:

I had an evening of reading an enjoyable novel about an aspergian man.  It is the first of a trilogy.  The library only has the first, so interlibrary loans will ensue.

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Thursday, 11 July 2019

at home

The heavy rain, amounting to 1.47 inches, had given us an extra day off.

The ponds brimmed with fresh water.

The red rain gauge told a beautiful story.

Today’s big plan: to dismantle and move my three trough gardens. They had turned out to be in too much shade.

And they also blocked access to weeding the most difficult corner to the left of a bog planting tub.

I can say I have rewilded that corner with long grass for frogs and insects to hide in.

Skooter helped with the dismantling.

“I halp!”

Allan helped move the troughs, which are actually old water meter boxes.

One is bigger than the others.

When I heard some whining next door, the dogs got their biscuits.

reassembled troughs
including this precious Dan Hinkley plant

The photos make the day look cool.  It was over 70 degrees of sticky heat.

I welcomed a break when an uphill neighbor, Beverly, stopped by to bring me two fragrant roses from her inland garden.

We had a bit of a tour, of course.

Because I don’t focus much on growing food, I had relegated my strawberry patch to containers outside the deer fence in order to make room for the ponds.  Bird netting had not worked to keep the deer off.  Four plastic window box containers of strawberries could fit where the troughs used to be.

The containers used to sit here, in front of a repurposed filing cabinet where a red runner bean and a cucumber plant are failing to thrive.

Instead of the plastic window boxes, I used the drawers from the filing cabinet for the strawberries and will try to keep bird netting over the others that are still outside the fence.

I guess this is Upcycle Corner now.

MaryBeth came by while I was wrangling strawberries, to return the book Swallows and Amazons to Allan.

I started the parade of compost again.


I realized I had an audience.


The fifth barrow got me to the bottom of bin two.

Judy from Ocean Park had come by because I had planned to give her the free garden tour ticket that a friend gave me.  She could not use it after all, so I called Beverly and she was pleased to come get it.  She brought me a little plant, looks like a heuchera, has flowers “like tiny bubbles”.

This is the first year in the last four that the local garden tour did not conflict with the Grays Harbor tour (my favourite) or the bi-annual Tillamook tour.  I almost used my free ticket, but the tour preview photos were overhead drone shots that showed so much of the gardens that I decided that I’d rather spend the day in my own paradise.  I think “sneak peek” preview photos of mysteriously enticing garden vignettes are wiser, not giving almost everything away in advance. I want to be intrigued, enticed, not shown as much as a movie preview that tells too much of the story,

How I laughed when I remembered that in 2016, when I used to manage the local tour’s Facebook page, I was told I could no longer post any vignette-style sneak peek photos. I resigned then and turned the page over to someone else. The gift that gave me was that we went elsewhere that year and discovered the Grays Harbor Master Gardeners tour.

Meanwhile, in the garden…

a poppy
the first flower on Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’
Allan’s photo

With a few breaks to get out of the heat, I had gardened from 11:45 to 8:45.

end of day

Allan had done a bit of work on our local mowing jobs (all on this block) and then rewarded himself with a concert in Long Beach, featuring a Roy Orbison and an Elvis impersonator.

I might have gone for Roy, but not for Elvis.  One of them changed clothes and turned into Neil Diamond at the end.

I had a pleasant evening in with Springwatch on Britbox TV.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Today, I weeded, because I am expecting company from afar next week.  Allan hung some mosaic plates for me, made by our friend Michele Naquiaya, an artist who left Ocean Park for a thriving artistic life in Ijijic, Mexico.

I woke Skooter up while weeding.  He was too comfy to help in the garden.

It was over 70 degrees and muggy again.  I did retreat to the house for an hour of reading.

I restored the salmonberry tunnel…

…had a visit from Devery, and turned out some compost in the relative coolness of the evening.

bin one

That is as far as I got with compost because I remembered that a new Gardener’s World episode should be on Britbox.  It was not!  Why?  I did find it elsewhere online, a wildflower meadow special.  I learned that since WWII, wildflower meadows equal to one and half the size of Wales have disappeared from Britain, and I could swear I heard someone say that birds-foot trefoil is fed upon by 160 different insects.  Is that possible? If you watch it (available here for the moment), tell me if I heard that right.

Also…Monty in a wildflower field must have set many hearts aflutter…

I accepted an invitation that would take me off the property tomorrow, only by two blocks, not too far.

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Sunday, 31 March 2019

Allan had gone boating.

My mission was to get enough compost to mulch the battered soil around the new water feature….which has leaked another half an inch or so.

I need to make some driftwood or other access points for frogs to get in there.

My hope for mulch lay in compost bin one.

compost critter

I got four red wheelbarrows of coarsely sifted compost.

Bin one empty:

Center bed is better now, but I still need more mulch.

When I have time, I can surely get more from bins two through four, especially the lower half of bin four, which has been sitting the longest.

While gardening today and yesterday, I thought at times about gardening partners, with some envy about couples I perceive as working hard together on their entire gardens.  The only couples who come to mind who I imagine doing this compatibly are the owners of The Bayside Garden and Mirabel Osler and her late husband, based on her book A Gentle Plea for Chaos.  (Even those two had a somewhat traditional division of labor, with him doing the mowing.)

In our garden, Allan now does the mowing (although at first I did, before the garden got big enough to needs lots of work).  He has his garden, on the east side of the house, small enough to be kept perfect, and I have the rest…not a half and half arrangement like Ciscoe and Mary Morris’ evenly divided and competitive garden.  Unlike that equally garden-obsessed pair, Allan does have other interests.  However, I can count on him to help whenever asked and to build cool things like my greenhouse lean to.  Longtime readers have seen much photo proof of his efforts.

In two previous relationships of mine, Bryan had no interest in gardening…until years after we broke up, when he developed a passion for collecting bamboo.  And he was a pot farmer, which I suppose counts as gardening but was not something I was involved in at all.

I was not obsessed with gardening during the five years when Bryan and I were together, although I did try to care for my garden that had once been my grandmother’s. Bryan and his friend Owen planted a parking strip tree for meyeads before I turned the parking strip into a garden.

Chris had no interest in the garden, to the point where I one day gave him an ultimatum, that I would no longer read any of his writing until he started to appreciate my art, the garden itself.  He did listen.  His next spouse was also a gardener.  Now, many years later, he has an allotment patch.  If he had been such a gardener in 1990, we would probably still be together!

(I must also point out the irony that both Bryan and Chris were completely opposed to having children while in their 20s and 30s, and both changed their minds in their mid 40s, very much to my disgruntlement at the time.)

After I became an obsessed gardener, Bryan built a wonderful fence for me at the back of my Seattle garden, just because he was a great friend.

And Bryan and his mum Louise helped prune my pear tree and pick the fruit each year.

Robert was my co-gardener both at work and in the garden.  Even though I did the plant collecting, I remember us gardening together at home and even have photos to prove it.

From our Seattle garden:

Robert watering
Robert building a twig arbour
Robert pruning the pear tree, early spring
Making our Ilwaco garden, 1995

However, I am content to garden large expanses of my current garden mostly on my own.  I get to make the decisions without a lot of argy bargy, have help to call for if something is to big for me to handle alone, and I am well aware that not all gardening partnerships are idyllic—especially with someone like Walter.

This evening, I finished reading We Made a Garden by Margery Fish, whose spouse was the worst example I have ever read of the kind of gardening partner that you do not want to have.

I did remove the label, and I put it back on.

I found a perfect essay about Margery and Walter right here on Slate, titled A Gardener’s Revenge, which is just what I was thinking while reading the book.

I remembered what Ann Lamott wrote: “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

All about Walter:


When she wanted to plant in amongst paving, “Walter would not have [that] at any price. I was allowed a few very small holes…. Time has improved things and a lot of the …cement has become loosened…helped…by a crowbar.”

He insisted on blue clematis and ridiculed the red ones she liked. “I was warned I was wasting my time.” He referred to them as “your red clematis” until they began to do well, and then they were “ours”.

He would not let her have a wisteria….  “Since Walter died, I have cut down the ampelopsis.  He could never be persuaded to have a wisteria because he said they would take too long to flower.  Now I have two, and they flowered two years after I planted them.”

He hovered and criticized.

I am reminded of how my mother, after my father died, even though she missed him dreadfully, soon confessed to me that “it’s kind of a relief to not get made fun of” for her gardening efforts.

Margery’s stonework “did not meet with approval.”  Walter liked to “gaze with horror” at what she had done the day before and make snide remarks.

He insisted on planting pole roses and gaudy dahlias in the area she had planned out, so that she had to work her planting around them.

“He never worried about treading on my plants, or smothering them with the great piles of earth that were thrown up, so I had to be careful not to plant anything” near the dahlias.

Margery wanted a year round garden but was “not allowed to plant many out of season plants” because all Walter wanted was a summer garden.

I found this the most telling paragraph of all:

(She was frightened of harming her little plants so dotted the manure around carefully.)

Oh, but wait, there’s more:

You might say that there must be another side to the story. I say what a horrible, dreadful man. After he died, and the pole roses and big showy dahlias went away, and cracks were made in the paving for Margery to plant as she liked, she became a famous garden writer and a great inspiration to cottage style gardeners of today.  It was in watching Carol Klein’s wonderful Life in a Cottage Garden series that I learned of Margery’s books.  I now intend to read all of them.

We Made a Garden is invaluable for its plant lists and descriptions and I must get myself a copy of my very own, maybe with this lovely cover:

Postscript: Two days later, in Tales from Titchmarsh, I found Alan T. expounding on the same topic:

…planted and where….








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Saturday, 2 March 2019

At home

The weather had a springlike warmth. My mission: to sift and empty bin four so that I can start turning compost again. The bins were so full that the latest batch of work debris overflowed onto the lawn.

First, though, I decided to set up a new plant bench and found that a big board, salvaged from the dump and propped up against the arbor, had fallen over and smashed off a third of the stems of a Euonymus ‘Green Spire’, a pretty basic plant to replace if one lives in the city, but one that is not available around here. Even though the thought had crossed my mind at dusk two days ago that the board was in a bad spot, I had not moved it. Since Allan had put it there, I took the opportunity to go into the house holding the branches, with a sad look, only to find that he had gone to the post office.

I made some cuttings from the broken off stems. The board is now a plant bench. Allan heard all about it when he got home, with less drama than the immediate reaction.

On to the compost….

Bin four gave me this much good sifted compost:

…and this much rough and even rougher material:

The bottom of bin four, before it got a new layer of newspaper to keep horsetail from coming through:

The mess that had been too much for the bins:

I mixed those ferns and ornamental grass debris with the old not quite broken down compost. The Toy worked brilliantly to chop up the fresh material into smaller pieces that will compost faster. Although it is not a tool that makes a painful noise, I did worry about being a noisy neighbor, especially when I started to run some tough stems through our little chipper, The Pencil Sharpener.

I was quite pleased with myself for getting over my dislike of using the chipper and was finding it quite fun until smoke started coming out of the top. Allan later found material wrapped around the blades. Turns out that corn stalks (left over from Halloween) are too fibrous to chip well. I had stopped in time to save the machine from damage and, as always, am grateful to live with a machine assembler and fixer.

Before rescuing The Pencil Sharpener, Allan had mowed our lawn, the Nora House lawn…

…and the J’s lawn (shown before):

In other news, I finished a book late last night.

Virginia Ironside wrote that great pet loss book, Goodbye, Dear Friend, and the delightful Marie Sharp novels. This book about aging was written when she was just a year older than me.

Here is the part that amused me most. I hesitate to share it in case anyone who reads it never comes to my garden again. But….it does apply to those times in the winter when I desperately want a week or two of non peopling. It will take a whole summer of dealing with public gardening to get to that point again.

I do think about retirement. It would be idyllic:

It is sorely tempting, yet I feel that doing public gardens gives my life meaning and purpose and earns me a place of value in the world.

In the evening, I found and watched four episodes of Christine’s Garden, starring Christine Walkden.

I’m shattered that I can only find four of the 12 episodes! I love her so!

She is downright poetic as she talks about nature.

Her darling neighbor Reg, who lives “next door but two”:

He brings her a pie baked by his wife, Pat, made with plums from his tree that she pruned for him.

I grieve that Reg has died sometime after season two.

Christine’s friend, Louise, “next door but one”, brings her some eggs:

Louise works in the pub just down the road.

In the evening, Louise and Pat and Reg and Christine have a garden dinner with some veg from Reg’s and Christine’s garden.

…till after dark…

I want this. Those few longtime readers of this blog know that gardening neighbors is my ultimate dream, and back when I thought I had that dream, I was happily a much more social person. I just need a neighbor like Christine who won’t judge me for being me. Did I say how much I love her? Why can’t I have a Christine?

My notes from the shows:

They show her going to work as a jobbing gardener and preparing to give lectures to garden clubs. She also guides garden tours and teaches a class.

She is just my age, born the same year and two weeks apart. Her house is her first house, in a neighborhood where planes fly low overhead.

Christine: “I make my living getting my hands dirty gardening for other folk.

I wouldn’t want a permanent job to save my life.

I’ve blossomed beyond belief since I took that vast leap into the chasm of being self employed.”

She goes to a former longtime job to tidy up the garden. The garden owners have both died.

She says, “Once a person dies, the soul of a garden dies There’s still a feeling of [their souls] here in their garden but it’s not the same.” (You can watch that episode starting here.)

For her neighbor Reg, “next door but two,” she helps in his garden “for tea and macaroons. His door is always open. Reg and Pat share my garden and I share theirs. No one has any expectations of each other. We just go in and we share.”

Both Reg and Christine have good veg gardens.

Christine: “I can eat my way around any garden, especially our veg. Veg with lashings of butter. You don’t get to my size without lashings of butter. Vegetables. I love growing them, I love eating them and I just love them.”

“I’ve never once been bored in a garden. Boring? You’ve not learnt to look.”

She speaks of the financial difficulties of being self employed and of how some people won’t pay enough, even though “I trained full time for seven years, as long as a doctor.”

After helping Louise buy and plant three trees, she says, “Three trees for sixty quid that’ll last a lifetime. By gum, mother nature is good value.”

“I love gardening. I eat it, sleep it, drink it, dream it.”

Tonight I intend to order the book that goes with the show and dream of a world where Christine is my neighbor.

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In the effort to catch up in book reports, I will begin with the book I recently finished.  (This means I have skipped over the two Morville books by Katherine Swift; I hope to catch up on book reporting later this autumn.)

The Prickotty Bush by Montague Don

Those who have read Monty and Sarah Don’s The Jewel Garden know that they loved and lost a garden due to financial woes, long before Monty was the famous garden show presenter that he now is.

I read The Prickotty Bush, the story of that garden, slowly over a few weeks of this exhauting, rain-free summer, just a few pages before bedtime.

Its somber cover goes along with the somber subject of a garden under siege by the bank and an obsessed man trying to make a garden as quickly as possible.

Here are some of my favourite bits:

On the imposition of order by pruning:

Also known as Something Shiny Syndrome:

The bullying wind:

On doing it all oneself:

Interestingly, in one of the next books I read, Marion Cran wrote about the same thing.

Below, I identify with Montagu’s urgency.  I felt, at age 55, when I started the Lake Street garden, that I had to get it laid out the first winter during a two month staycation, no matter what the weather.

30 December 2010, gardening in ice-crusted soil

On time in the garden (shared because I love what he says about human aging):

On how to look at your garden:

On garden design:

On plant names:

Friday, 14 September 2018

Frosty rejoiced that I had the day at home.

He was vocal about it.

Rain gauges from last night:

Even the slowest filling rain barrel was almost full:

I think I might need to remove a hebe.  I set it in the spot below, in a wooden planter, and it has rooted into the ground, broken the planter apart, and is about to block our path.  It pulls debris out of the wheelbarrow when I pass by. And yet it is so grand.

From my window I had seen an exciting glow:

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’

I had tried in late winter to divide it and transplant some to the center bed.  So far, this is all the transplants have done after many months:


My goal today was to deal with the basket plantings brought home from Long Beach.

In bin two, I had a pile of all green debris on top of brown.  I wanted to layer them, green and brown, into bin four.

Four hours later:

I got just this much compost from bin 2, which had not had much time to decompose since the last time I turned it.

Because I feel anxious about the financial aspect of retirement, I rejoice in any compost that I can make instead of buying mulch.  It’s good practice for more frugal years. Compost turning and sifting is an activity that relaxes and pleases me ever so much.

After a couple of rains, the rest of the basket root balls will be easier to break apart.

I wish I had a before photo of where Allan helped me dig out a big orangey grass that had seeded into the front of the east bed.  I needed some room for other plants, and have many others of this grass that I originally got from Pam Fleming’s former nursery.

left, some of the many that are left; right, a new empty space (not for long)

Salvia africana-lutea and an matching spider

Saturday, 15 September 2018

At last, I had a glorious rainy reading day, all Marion Cran.

First, I went through my book marks in her first book, which I finished two nights ago,  to photograph my favourite bits to share in a later post.

When I first opened my used English edition of The Garden of Ignorance, I found these inside:

All the way from Old Blighty, perhaps; there is nothing on the back of the picture.

Today I read all of The Garden of Experience and more than half of the third book of her autobiographical series, The Story of My Ruin.  She will get more than one of a series of blog posts when I have time to write more about the summer’s reading.

Here is just one excerpt that echoes Monty Don’s words about having to make one’s garden all by oneself.  In Cran’s world of the 1920s, that meant with the help of a gardener, but the garden owner also knew where every plant was and did much of the work herself.

I hope to offer you many more shared thoughts about Marion later this year.  Meanwhile, I enjoyed the endpiece to The Garden of Ignorance:




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An article for fans of our new favourite show, Detectorists:

‘Roman haul’ turns out to be TV show Detectorists prop

A guest photo from Steve of The Bayside Garden, featuring a hellebore:

Hellebore ‘Snow Fever’, photo by Steve McCormick

And here, especially for Steve, is his favourite cat, Skooter.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

I looked out my window and saw a visitor back in the bogsy woods.  Allan got some photos.

a Big Bird

I had decided that tomorrow would be the first work day of 2018.  Today, good weather allowed me to get to the bottom of one of my compost bins, in preparation for bringing home more clean debris from work.  (By clean, I mean no invasive weeds and no diseased foliage.)

Skooter helped.

glorious sifted compost

I got to the bottom of bin three.

Allan’s photo

added fresh newspaper to keep weeds from coming through

I shifted enough debris from bin two to keep the newspaper layer in place.

Today’s other project was to coppice two golden Leycesteria (‘Golden Lanterns’ and ‘Jealousy’) and a smokebush.

Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’ before

and after

Behind the bench: Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’ and the cotinus, before the chop


I had not liked the twisty shape that the cotinus had.  Chopping it down will give it a new chance and should result in showier foliage. (Allan chopped that one for me, because I was getting tired.) I wanted all fresh green stems on the leycesteria.

I walked around admiring a few plants.

Hellebore ‘Appleblossom’, with a sneaky mollusk that I did not see till I looked at the photo.

Hamamelis (witch hazel) in the front garden

and a very red Hamamelis in the back garden (from Dave and Melissa, with a tag too faded to read)

Iris unguicularis ‘Mary Bernard’

Todd gave me that Iris, and has provided a guest photo all the way from Hawaii, where he has been visiting his twin sister.

photo by Todd Wiegardt

Meanwhile, Allan had run errands and had taken some photos of a certain garden that I have been asked to take on again.  Here is a hint:

The photos told me a lot of my cool plants are gone, and someone has planted calla lilies all over the place, to my horror (because they take over and are SO hard to remove).

It all depends on whether I will be given free rein and a plant budget…I KNOW that I like the person I’d be working for.

While picking up some library books, Allan got some photos of the Ilwaco Community Building garden.

the tiered garden

Crocus tommasinianus

tommies with Oregon grape

The ramp railing post has been broken out again.  Allan informed the city works crew.

I hope (and dread, and am excited by) that we will start work tomorrow.  Allan heard a drip under the house and we called our friend and plumber, Don Anderson, and for awhile wondered if we WOULD be able to work tomorrow, having given him such short notice of our new problem.  He called and will come at ten in the morning, so if all goes well, staycation is over.

I made out the spring clean up work list:

The right hand column is the at home list that did not get done because of shingles and weather.

Just for the most bookish:

I have been working on a new project, adding to my Goodreads (for posterity, I suppose) my lists of books read from my old notebook.  As I get each year done, I will add a bonus post, just for myself and for the avid readers among you.  My reading habits have changed drastically over the years.  So tonight will be the first of those posts, of books read in 1982.  I am going to be writing over twenty of these posts (!!) and am going to do sort of a strange thing, which is set them to publish all on the same day (eventually, as I write them), so that I can find them all together.  Just because I got three done already, there will be three tonight.






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A RealTime Alert

From the local Indivisible group:

Rally to Protest the Arrest of Rosas!

“We are planning to rally again this Friday from 3:00 to 4:15, this time in two locations,  the 4-way stop in Ocean Park again (meet on Jack’s corner) and in Long Beach at the light on Sid Snyder Drive (the light furthest south).

Bring signs if you can.  It is possible this could be our last rally until the end of the rainy season.

If you want to contribute to our fund for Hispanic families who have lost their breadwinner due to ICE arrests, we will have an envelope at the rally.

Thank you for caring.

https://www.gofundme.com/sw4ua-help-the-gutierrez-family ”

My own worried thought: We only had about fifteen people last week, so splitting into two groups concerns me. I hope there is some inside info that lots more people plan to show up. We will be at the LB location.

P.S. Allan and I have rallied in the rain many times.

I’m sorry that once again, this event is on a day and time that is hard for working people.

Now back to compost news.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

I wished I had had better sleep.  Back to insomnia and only five hours…not enough!

Skooter is also a late riser.

After a huge cup of tea and very little news reading, I got back out to the compost project and got the last of the material that had been in the old bin three (and was now on the loose) moved into the new bin three.

Allan assembling Bin Four!

Now I can access the bins from both front and back.

view from behind bin four

Skooter, age four and a half, loves to chase Frosty (age 13) and Calvin (age 12).

I recently read in Fine Gardening magazine’s reader tips that you can grow beautiful carrot umbels by sticking old carrots in the ground.  Looks like it would work!

So I planted this one.

At last, I found a place to display an old piece of picket fence that used to be at Andersen’s RV Park.

a work corridor behind the four bins

four bins!


Allan’s photo

Ann Amato from Portland stopped by to see the bins and to introduce us to her cat, Felix, who enjoys traveling.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan had finished and installed the window boxes and put the plastic window box liners (already planted) inside of them.

Allan’s photo

sun setting over Cape Disappointment at 3:30 PM

The sun was an orb of fire in fog.

I now had room for more clippings and made some from the east bed.

When I went into the house at 4:20, Allan was finishing a pet project of his that he began this afternoon: installing some pavers in the arbor area where the grass gets worn down.

Also shows that the window box brackets got painted green.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Window boxes got erased from the work board.  (We also have to find a new accountant because our old one closed her office to spend more time with family.)

OleBob’s Café

We went to OleBob’s at the Port of Ilwaco for our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner, joined by Ann and by Todd.

Allan’s photo

Todd, Ann, me, Dave and Melissa of Sea Star Gardening

Our favourite local restaurant server and good friend, Lynn, is now at OleBob’s, and we were following her, because we are loyal like that.

so nice to be in the expert care of Lynn again!

You might think that OleBob’s is named after an old man named Bob.  It is actually named after two friends, Ole (pronounced Oh-lee) and Bob.

Chef Laura has OleBob’s open for dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings now and has revamped the dinner menu with delicious specials, like…

crab empanada

Ann had sauceless crab cocktail, with just lemon because she’s allergic to pepper.

samples of oyster stew. Even those of us who don’t like oyster found it tasty.

We liked that a dinner salad was included with the entrees.

Ann’s oysters. I just can’t. She pronounced them delicious.

salmon with fresh chimichurri sauce

prawns on polenta

OleBob’s is also a seafood market, so the fish is ever so fresh.

lemon chiffon cake and double chocolate brownie

After closing, we got to see the live crabs in the tank…

emerging from the crab tank area

I think we may have found a new weekly dinner spot.

Sunday, 10 December 2017 (part one)

I had another night of not enough sleep, this time because of anxiety over Skooter.  Last night he seemed poorly. We wondered if he had had a fall or a fight while we were out to dinner.  I realized I would be embarrassed to have to take him to the vet! I have never been to the vet as many times as in the last six weeks.  Fortunately, when I awoke this mid-morning he seemed better. We are keeping a close eye on him.  He certainly has a knack for trouble. [Update a day later: He’s back to his usual self. I think he must have had a fall on one of his climbing adventures and gotten sore.]

Skooter feeling under the weather (Allan’s photo)

I only had a couple of hours in the garden due to a planned afternoon outing.  As I began, our friend Ed and Jackson Strange (Strange Landscaping) stopped by.

Jackson Strange

Jackson and Rudder were exchanging glances.

Our Edster

My mission was to cut down some more compost debris.



I now have three of the four bins filled.

Meanwhile, Allan pruned the big dead branch and three stubby stumps out of the ornamental plum tree.

before (big branch is cut but is still in there)


Even though I did not want to leave the garden at 2:30, we had an irresistible invitation.  To be continued…

But first, one more thing.  You might remember little dog Royal who lived next door and was good friends with Frosty.

Frosty and Royal goofing around next door.

He was not a happy little guy during the day.  He’d been adopted from a batch of small dogs sent up from California so we do not know his background.  It had turned out that he had terrible separation anxiety, coupled with a strong desire to run outside.  So he needed a home with someone who was home all the time and with a fenced yard.  And look! Within three days of the local shelter seeking a new home for him, he found the perfect place, as we learned in this week’s paper.  Those kids will keep him busy and give him all the running around that he craves.  We are all so relieved.  I just wish that Frosty could read.

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Friday, 8 December 2017

at home

We stayed up till 2 AM finishing season one of Stranger Things, and since I did not get to sleep till four, my idea of getting back to the compost project early did not come to fruition.


Noon! Allan is on the job, with the two new pallets that he got last night.


1:15: The new Bin One. Getting it installed involved shifting a heap of compost.

It took me an hour to shift most of bin two into bin one.  Now that bin one is installed, the job entailed shifting compost sideways to make room for bin two.  I longed to get the project done, but since we had a rally to attend a half an hour away at three thirty, I figured we’d be lucky to get two bins done.


1:40 PM: Bin One is full


Allan helps.

When the space for Bin Two was close to the bottom, it was possible to skoot the compost around in order to install the back and second side.


Two PM, with Bin Two installed. A long throw from Bin Three.

We were also moving the bins forward so that they would now be accessible from behind.

3 PM: Three bins installed!

We now have a walkway between bins and greenhouse.

We had pushed hard to get that far before having to leave for the rally.  I wanted so much to stay home and finish the fourth bin!  I sternly told myself that there is no composting for people languishing in the detention center.

Ocean Park: Rally for “Rosas”

“Rosas was arrested when going to Okie’s early in the morning of November 27. When he asked why he was being arrested, ICE officers said “My supervisor asked me to come find you because of what appeared in the newspaper.” We want to speak out against this arrest and on the attack on his rights to free speech. Please join us!”


The original story in the Seattle Times (my home town paper) is here, and well worth reading.

The follow up, after the arrest of Rosas, is here.

He appears to have been sought out because he spoke (under his nickname) to the Seattle Times.  ICE did not detain him earlier, even though he asked them why they took his family and not him.

This story has drawn the attention of the Mexican consulate and has been picked up by national and international news, including the Washington Post and The Independent, UK.

Here is a link to the gofundme where you can contribute, to help him and his family, who were deported to Mexico.  (His children are American citizens, who went with their mother.)

We arrived to find folks on both sides of the street by Okie’s Market, mostly on the other side of the street because we don’t want it to appear that we blame the local markets for the fact that ICE uses them to catch Hispanic people who are shopping for groceries.

Another group had settled in three blocks east on the main intersection.  Eventually, we walked down there to join them.  As we walked, a man came out of one of the shops and said “Thank you so much.  I would love to join, but I don’t want to be targeted.”

by the new medical clinic and pharmacy

on the right, newly elected Long Beach city councilman Isa Cline.

Allan’s sign:

I suggested he put something warm and fuzzy on the other side:

We had enough people to be on three of the four corners of the intersection.

by Doc’s Tavern

Someone who walked by the sign holders by Doc’s said something about people being illegal, and then went into Doc’s.  A few minutes later, she came out and said, “You are right!”  Something in there had changed her mind.

A woman paused her car to say she had just moved to Ocean Park and was pleased to see us, as she had no idea there were protests here.  I want to meet her.  None of us got her contact information.

I was heckled by a driver with a scowly face, something about “illegals” and “securing our borders” and “they should get legal.”  “It takes years and costs thousands of dollars,” I replied, but he had driven on.  That was the only heckling that I noticed.  Mostly, we got some honks and thumbs up.

Lee Hogan Knott, local teacher at Sea School Cooperative and yoga instructor at Earthlight Yoga, joined us with her children.

Lee’s photo

Lee’s photo


Some black and white photos by Stephanie:

Two counter protestors showed up after sunset, just as we were ten minutes away from departure.

The counter-protest duo paraded back and forth on the other side of the street with their yuge Trump banner.

The rally ended at dusk, when it was too dark to easily read signage.  Some ralliers went to a nearby pizza place.  Allan and I had other plans.  Since my goal is to not get out much during staycation, we combined the rally with our annual visit to the Hungry Harbor Grille to see their lovely holiday village.

Hungry Harbor Grille

Every year, Hungry Harbor sets up an ever larger and more elaborate village.

It is a coastal village with boats and lighthouses.

Allan’s photo

Jessie’s Fish Market is one of many buildings personalized for our area.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

second from left, back: I dream of living in the top floor flat with a roof garden.

It’s odd that the flat with roof garden is my dream instead of a house with towers and room for a garden….

…or a farm with animals.

You could spend hours looking at the details. Some people bring binoculars.

tree house and train tunnel (Allan’s photo)

Our burgers and onion rings were perfect comfort food.

Allan’s photo

the best dinner seating in the house

Tomorrow: Barring calamity, I WILL finish the compost project!

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Thursday, 7 December 2017

I slept long, and so did Skooter.

In the afternoon, Allan went boating again.  He will write up two days together for tomorrow’s post, because yesterday’s trip was not entirely a success, and today he returned to the same place to go further.  (I hear cries of “Thank goodness, we’ll have something to read about other than compost bins!”)

The day was warm, so warm that I had the back window and the front door wide open.  While hauling yesterday’s pile of chopped honeysuckle out to the trailer, I  had to find a summer weight shirt to wear, after having packed them away for winter.

I sorted out the wheelbarrow of purple lysimachia (went into the wheelie bin) and Sedum “Autumn Fire’ (went into a pile to save).

I picked up some windfall branches from the back yard next door, and saw a view that was worth going to the house for the camera.

crab pots being readied for the seaon

Unfortunately, the latest tests show the crabs do not have enough meat and it has been decided that the season will not begin till January.  Many years ago, after visiting and falling in love with this area, I subscribed to the Chinook Observer, the local weekly.  During the winter of 1991, I sat at my table in Seattle and read about a delayed crabbing season and about how the local fishing families were suffering economically at Christmas time.  When I read that a restaurant at the port offered free holiday meals to fishing families, I knew that this was where I wanted to live.  The way the community pulled together in hard times impressed me deeply.  (The restaurant in question might have been the former Reel ‘Em In Café.)

the latest windfall

My own little frustration is that tonight would have been a perfect evening for a campfire, being windless.  I knew Allan would not return till after dark,  and I would have felt rather selfish eating a campfire dinner on my own.  Especially since he was the one who had gone to the store to get sausages.

I feel pressured because it is so hard to get to just stay home on staycation.  We have Important Things to Do for the afternoons or evenings of the next three days.  This strangely warm winter* weather is supposed to go well into next week, though.  I hope so.

*As far as I am concerned, fall is Sept-Oct-Nov and winter is Dec-Jan-Feb.

The only indication of winter is the low angle of the sun and seasonal look of the garden.  Otherwise, it felt like a summer day.

2:20 PM

Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and smokebush

some interesting new growths on the dead “Danger Tree” snag

Frosty walked with me.

After some inexpert pruning of my leaning ‘Cox’s Orange Pippen Tree…

before…it’s leaning to the east

after, some big eastern branches removed

…I measured my compost area (again!) to figure out if a fourth bin would fit.

I don’t use the plastic bin; we have three of them.

I thought about having to empty all the bins at once and then realized that the bins could be moved without having to empty them all at once.  Starting at the near end, one could be moved, and the others shifted as they get emptied.  Eureka!   At the same time, we could move them forward, making room to walk between them and the greenhouse.  I need two more pallets to make another bin.

It has proved annoying when debris falls into this narrow space. And there is no room to maintain the greenhouse exterior.

There is room at the far end, too, if that batch of hops and honeysuckle were pruned regularly.

I simply had to start tearing a bin apart and get it moved.  I just could not wait. I would tie it together and later Allan could do the good job that he likes to do. I managed to tear off one side and move it over.  To my intense frustration, I could not get the back pallet off.  It got wodged into the other one and stuck by one screw.  I worked and worked at it and finally had to give up.

When I dragged the plastic composter to the back of the garden, I looked wistfully through the gate at the pile of gear shed pallets, and then realized that I have one under the wood pile.  I dumped the wood onto the tarp and dragged the pallet up to the compost area.  Now I just need one more.  I considered walking down to the dump pile near the boatyard where sometimes free pallets appear, and rolling one home.  I wasn’t quite that obsessed; it’s a five block “roll”.  (A Flintstones roll of a square object.)

I was left with a great big mess again…but tomorrow Allan will help me.

If we can get bin one set up, I can start shifting compost from bin two into it.  Because the wood pile pallet was a little smaller, I think the fourth bin might even fit in without moving the whole thing over.  (But will it bother me to to have one slightly smaller bin? Yes.) Bins two and three do need to come forward about a foot as they get emptied out.

Other than garden touring, this is the most satisfying event of my year, or will be, when that one danged stuck pallet gets moved.

I could not do my original plan of clipping more debris to compost, so instead I finished the daylight by clipping old hellebore leaves throughout the front garden.  They carry disease and must be discarded. I loosely filled the wheelie bin and didn’t even get to the back garden hellebores.

When Allan returned after dark, he went to the free wood pile and scored two more pallets.  Joy! Tomorrow, he will help me complete bin one.  No sleeping late, because we must get it done in time to go to a rally in Ocean Park.

Tonight, we have a new disc of Stranger Things, season one, so life is extra good.

Next:  Allan’s boating adventure.  We’ll get back to composting soon, never fear.

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