Posts Tagged ‘composting’

Friday, 10 August 2018

My goal today, other than getting enough sleep in the morning, was to sift the compost from bin one, thus having one empty bin to start layering green and brown in, as clean clippings are now frequently created by deadheading and tidying. (I do not put weeds in my compost.)

The day started lovely and cool.

Agapanthus ‘Xera’s Cobalt’

Echinops (blue globe thistle)

Skooter wanted to help.

Bin one looked promising.

Skooter watching a bug.

first barrow of sifted compost

an excellent bin

Now Frosty wanted some attention.

Two and a quarter hours later, I had sifted and dumped five good wheelbarrows of luscious compost.  And then, ominously, the sky brightened.

And out came the sun.

With this much left to go, I went into the house, planning to finish in the evening:

The temperature read 77 degrees, much too hot for me.

I spent the afternoon and into the early evening catching up completely on writing this blog, an unusual occurrence as I tend to run days behind.  That took so long that I almost did not make it back outside in time.  We had been planning a campfire dinner, but almost as soon as Allan got some corn wrapped in foil, a light rain began.  I finished the compost project anyway.

Allan’s photos in the evening:

I realized from the heavy fragrance that my brugmansia had its first flower.

rainwater for the barrels

the final wheelbarrow

Frosty escaping the rain

a new layer of newspaper for the bottom of the bin

Mission accomplished!


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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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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Skooter also sleeps late.

After a good long sleep, I returned to my composting project.  The wind was an annoying 30 mph, and yet the weather was so warm that I did not need a jacket.  Allan went off boating in the afternoon to take advantage of the brisk wind.


Before I finished tidying, I had the urge to remove the “hat” from the honeysuckle hops tangle.

1:43 PM

This is nothing on the hat that grew at the top of a power pole at my old house.  From this post written in 2007: That one was scary, as it had to be done with pole pruners and involved trying to avoid some big power lines.  We had to leave the hat in place or risk catastrophe.


Today’s was easy in comparison.

It is a glorious moment of triumph when a big tangle starts to break free.

2:30 PM

I left the uncompostable honeysuckle pile on the lawn.  The wind made it impossible to drag it out and load it neatly into the trailer.  It would have blown all over the street.  Instead, I turned back to the compost project and chopped up and added the remaining pile of debris, that had been sitting on the nearby garden bed,  into bin one.  Underneath it was a patch of Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ and some purple lysimachia that I was heartily sick of.  I dug it out, put it all into a wheelbarrow to sort later, and decided I could probably move a Spirea ‘Goldflame’ from the center of the garden to the edge.

The spirea was lost in the middle of the garden.

Much to my delight, I did manage to dig it out all by myself (not entirely easy).  When I got it dragged out to the edge, I felt sort of bored with it and realized I could switch it out with a couple of blueberries at the south end of willows loop.

Now the spirea is in the bed to the left…

And the blueberries are where they will get more sun and watering.

That was all tremendously satisfying, as was the final raking of the compost area.

4:30 PM

Backing up further begins to reveal the mess left behind on the lawn.

At dusk, I was able to remove “re-do compost corner” from the work board.

I heard Jenna’s voice outside.  Allan had returned from boating and came in with a prize, a plaque by artist Don Nisbett to say thank you for helping decorate the crab pot tree and more:

I did some reading in my current book…

Cover is edited by me to remove DT’s mug.

The hassle of being camera-ready:

Katy Tur writes not just about the political scene, but also the rigors of being a reporter on the same beat every day, staying in hotels or the news van and eating fast food because there’s no time for anything else.  At the nomination celebration, the reporters were given some good food for a change:

I didn’t finish the book quite yet.  We had watched Blade Runner: The Final Cut yesterday evening.  To my amazement, Allan had not seen the film before; it’s one of my favourites.  Tonight, we watched a “making of” feature that surprised us by being two and a half hours long.  It was interesting in every detail.

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

It had been a cold night.

one of our bird baths. clippers resting on ice (Allan’s photo)

We drove up to Long Beach to do a small amount of work and pick up our check.

some lovely seasonal garlanding next to the Ilwaco Post Office

in Long Beach City Hall

Long Beach City Hall: finance staffer Helen does the decorating

City Hall west side

We’d had a frost overnight that had not been hard enough to create the need for the final go-round of planters.  However, Allan did cut down the last of the blooming chrysanthemums in a planter.

Unclipped Geranium ‘Rozanne’ were still blooming.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and primroses blooming in December (Allan’s photo)

Goodbye to the yellow chrysanthemum (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

In Fifth Street Park, we took down the remaining old leaves on the Gunnera.


Thick stemmed gunnera take the big loppers.

after, with a few old leaves tucked over the crown of the plant to protect it from freezing

We had gotten a call from Oceanside Animal Clinic that our Smoky’s ashes were ready to be picked up.  Listening to the message, I had gotten teary when Dr. Raela said, “We will just tuck them away till you can pick them up.”  She knows just what to say.  We did pick them up, and I couldn’t help but cry.  My best kitty ever.  It’s hard to have the little box of ashes.

We dropped a book into the Ilwaco Timberland Library return box and admired their Christmas wreaths.

Ilwaco Timberland Library

I am enjoying other people’s decorations even though I don’t think we will put up our own tree this year.  The only place to put it is where my living room desk sits.  I like sitting at my living room desk on rainy days to blog with a garden view.  Eventually, I will make my Smoky retrospective photo blog posts there.

We drove along the Port of Ilwaco gardens and, of course, I saw a few things to do.

east end, looking west, before (Allan’s photos)


calendula blooming (Allan’s photo)

We clipped a small Miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’ at the Ilwaco Pavilion and an Eryngium at Time Enough Books and that was the end of the work day.

Crab pots are now stacked up in the field to the south of our property.

Allan’s photo

At the western port parking lots, stacked crab pots make a long aisle out of the traffic lane.

crab pots and the boat storage yard

Allan’s photo

At home, I decided that the Ilwaco boatyard garden and the port gardens are done for the year and erased them from the work board.

I then took a closer look at the box containing Smoky’s ashes.  It was so nicely decorated; when I got the ashes of my good cat Dumbles, from a vet across the river, they were in a plain square box.

“If love alone could have kept you here, you would have lived forever.”

I intend to bury Smoky’s ashes where his mother, Mary, is buried by the garden boat.  I need a day when I can do that properly, not in haste, and I do not know when that will be. Maybe I should wait till early spring.  I am wondering if I should finally bury my good cat Dumbles’ ashes in the same spot.  Dumbles liked to go outdoors at our old house.  At our new house, he was scared, and he died before the garden got big enough to be like the old garden.  Surely by now he would like it?  I know Mary would have probably bossed him around, like she did all the cats, but Smoky would have been his friend because Smoky was friends with and cuddled with Frosty, Calvin, Skooter, and of course, his mother Mary.

me and my Dumbles at the old house

Dumbles was a special boy, but even his loss did not affect me like Smoky’s did. I miss Smoky every day, especially while I am reading or watching television.  Frosty or Calvin (not Skooter) will sit on my lap, for awhile, but neither of them are snuggly.  Dumbles’ ashes are on a shelf near where I sleep. For now, Smoky’s ashes are on shelf near my chair.  I find that hard to deal with.

At two o clock, I was able to get back to my compost project, with the goal of emptying bin one into bin two.

I first took some starts of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle clippings,  sticking them in here and there, including by Mary’s grave where I want to grow silver-grey plants.

By the garden boat, the strawberries have taken over again. My vision is silver grey plants, and some catmint, with the scree garden reclaimed from strawberries.

Then the compost shifting began.

2:30 PM

Allan climbed onto the roof to prune the blue potato vine, which was putting some weight on our internet cable.

Allan’s photo, before; the after was after dark and too late for a photo

Here is an “after” taken the next day.

view from the roof

🙂 I do love composting.  I had no idea he was taking these pictures.

By 4:15, bin one was successfully shifted into bin two.

finally at the bottom of bin one!

I added some debris to bin one, clipping the pieces up small (six to eight inch lengths, mostly) to make them break down faster.

After sunset:

Tomorrow, I have one more pile, to the right, to shift into bin one, and then I will still have room for more garden clippings.

Scott and Tony stopped by briefly with a Christmas card.

Rudy and Bailey and Scott; Allan lent Scott a couple of movie DVDs.

Our good friend Tony.

Scott and Rudy

Tony and Scott had just been out on the beach clamming and took these photos.

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

When clams are in season and the clam tide comes at sunset or at night, people clam by lantern light.

This photo is just to show those who cried along with me about Smoky that there is still happiness in life.











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Monday, 4 December 2017

After a good long sleep, and the reading of news over breakfast, I got back to the shifting of compost from one bin to another….one of my favourite gardening tasks.

Outside the front door, in Allan’s garden:

a golden conifer (don’t know the name)…

…and bright new leaves of Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’

It occurs to me that this Hollard’s Gold has never bloomed.

Jasminum nudiflorum, with green stems and yellow flowers, has been blooming for a couple of weeks.

not a good photo, but there you go: Jasminum nudiflorum, an excellent winter bloomer

It is time to trim the hellebore leaves.  They cannot go in the compost because the old leaves are always diseased and yucky.  The windfall apples can go in the compost though.  It is a shame, but we were too busy to harvest and most of the apples fell from the old tree.  The crows did have a feast.

windfall apples and hellebore in Allan’s garden

By the compost bins, the columnar golden apple tree (given to us by Sea Star Gardening) had gotten tilted and rocky, planted in an old garbage can.  I finally decided on a place to put it in the garden.

Here, it gets strangled by the honeysuckle.

I hope it will survive its transplant into the west garden bed.  Perhaps next year it will have more than one apple.

At 1:30, I turned back to the most enjoyable and exciting task of shifting compost from bin two to bin three.

out of focus progress photo from dusk last night

Allan had replaced the rotting wood and had removed one of two screens from a good sized sifter that we had found.  I do not know why someone thought that doubling the screen would make it a better sifter.

much better than the small one, and now with a single screen

By four o clock, I was down to the bottom of bin two.

I had chopped any large stems up smaller while shifting to bin three.

Yesterday and today, I got six red wheel barrows of compost (some old potting soil, and some actual compost).

beautiful sifted compost

Because it is going on beds of shrubs and perennials, it does not have to sifted as fine as for a vegetable garden.

I worked on the project till after sunset.

looking southwest

Progress: Bin three is heaped up high and bin two is empty.  Tomorrow, I might be reach the point where this area looks tidy again.  Allan picked up all the windfall apples and brought them to me in buckets.

4:45 PM

I thought today about making a sort of U shaped area with a sideways bin at each end.  But even though the path is wide, that would not leave room for wheelbarrowing.  It would be grand to have five bins, for now.  As we age and work less, and bring home less debris from jobs, I won’t need that many.

Meanwhile, along with working on compost sifters and picking up apples and clipping hellebores, Allan is making progress on the window boxes for the workshop.

fixing the old sifter (Allan’s photo)

window boxes (Allan’s photo)

apples (Allan’s photos)

If we ever cut back on work enough to not have fall clean up time be such a busy season, I might be able to harvest apples and make apple sauce for the winter like my grandma used to do or dried apple slices like my mother used to do.

Tomorrow, we have a tiny bit of actual work to do, and I also hope to continue the thrilling composting saga.

At bedtime, I started a book that, had I not been tired, I might have stayed up till 4 AM to finish.  The first couple of chapters are riveting.  I am showing a partial view of the cover because I will NOT have a photo of the execrable DT in my blog.


A real time alert:

Rally to protest the arrest of ‘Rosas’ at Okie’s Thriftway in Ocean Park
Friday, December 8
Meet at corner of Bay Avenue and Vernon (intersection with 4-way stop sign), Ocean Park
3:00 – 4:45 PM
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!

a hard working man, respected and valued in the community

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 a 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.)

Another article about a different man, and another example of how difficult it is to become documented, is here.  “My dad wanted to follow the rules. He has been trying to adjust his status with the help of relatives since 2001.”


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Sunday, 3 December 2017

my day

I slept shockingly late, having been exhausted by previous week of the Crab Pot Tree  (and I did less than half of the helping out that Allan did). We are supposed to have nine or ten sunny, moderately winter-warmish, days, an unusual December weather pattern that started today.  This is perfect for my mission of getting the compost area sorted out to make room for more at-home garden debris.  I find the subject of compost to be a scintillating one.  If you don’t, you might not be as interested in this and the next few posts.

The three rain gauges show the storm that we had Saturday morning (while Allan and Jenna were doing the last minute work on the Crab Pot Tree).

The red wheelbarrow holds just the amount of mulch that I can comfortably move.

I love the handles on the new-ish yellow one. The grey one is our work wheelbarrow in season.


The gauges will be repurposed from rain collecting for the next week or so.

As you can see, the compost area has gotten to be a huge mess, with empty buckets that were used to ferry debris from work, and overflowing bins, along with a big pile of extra debris on the right. I’ve been too busy during nice weather to tidy it up.  The look of buckets strewn about is not one that I favour.  Fortunately, no one can see this area from the outside of the garden.

1:30 PM

2:15: down to the good stuff in the third bin

The big ball in the corner is from one of the Long Beach baskets.  Four of them are taking up room in the bins.  Next year, I will pile them somewhere else in the yard. They had been a solid unbreakable mass, but after a month of heavy rain, they are softened and I can break them apart.  I so wish we had gotten all of them before the City Works debris was bulldozed.  They are good as mulch for raising up the level of the garden beds.  (They do not count as organic material, having been fertilized all summer with Miracle Gro.)

I looked and looked for my compost sifter, behind the garage, in the garage, in the greenhouse, next to the shed, and had finally called Allan on the phone.  (He had gone out to do some work.)  It was in the back of his workshop, where he had fixed the rotting wood and given it a coat of primer as a Christmas present.  Oops!  It’s just as well I found out, though, because until today he had not understood what I’d been saying about how this sifter is just not big enough.

Someone gave it to me years ago.  I need one big enough to almost cover the wheelbarrow.

Now I am hoping Allan can maybe sell this nicely fixed up one on the local sales group.  He says the originals sell for only about $40 though.  I don’t see how the builder can make enough profit at that price.  Are they made overseas perhaps?

Google images has all sorts of interesting compost sifter photos.  My favourite, from Scotland, is right here, a pedal powered compost sifter.  Of course, I shared the link with Mr. Tootlepedal, who is Scottish, and a bicyclist, and a sifter of compost.  I really don’t think that the amusing pedal powered sifter would work as fast as me shoving the debris through a screen with gloved hands.

By 3:30, I had the third bin emptied.  The newspaper layered bottom of a bin is a glorious sight.

down to the bottom, with some un-decomposed apples  (bruised windfall ones).  Newspaper keeps weeds from working their way into the bottom layer.

With no fourth bin, I had to pile the extra debris onto the two big wheelbarrows, to eventually be moved to bin two.

3:30 PM

By 4:30, I had the overflowing layer of bin two moved into bin three.  As I layered green and brown debris, I chopped it all up into smaller pieces with my hand clippers, to make it compost faster.

4:42 PM

With lots of fine chopping, and because I know there at least three big potting soil balls in bin two, my goal for tomorrow is to fit all of bin two into a heaping pile in bin three.

out of focus progress

My hands had started out warm, and then got cold as my gloves got wet, and then got warm from work, and now were icy cold again.  All my clothes were damp and filthy from hugging piles of compost while moving them.  (I do love compost a lot.)

Here is the little float that I scored while helping to decorate the crab pot tree.  What a little cutie.

Allan’s day

In the afternoon, Allan went out to do some volunteering and some work.

First, he climbed a ladder to unplug the power cord that had gone to the tent for the crab pot tree festivities.  The port crew had removed the tent. Allan was careful to not accidentally unplug the crab pot tree itself!

view from atop the ladder

He re-waterproofed the remaining plugs.

The crab pot tree will be lit up every night till after Christmas.

At the Ilwaco Community Building, he finished tidying an area in the lower garden.


after pulling montbretia and trimming lavender

our evening

I sat down to read for the early evening, a book I had started yesterday.

I like this cozy series, even though I do not think cats can read book titles and use them to help solve mysteries.

With dinner, we watched four episodes of Stranger Things.  It finally came out on DVD and now I understand why so many friends like this scary series so much.  I am eager for disc two to arrive!  It’s been a long time since I saw a show that gave me chills.

SO good!

The Black Cat Bookshop Mystery was so enjoyable that I stayed up till three to finish it.  I do enjoy staycation.




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Sunday, 5 November 2017

We began by offloading the huge amount of Fifth Street Park compost from our trailer to the three compost bins.  By the time I piled everything on, the bins were heaped high.

I wish we had assembled four bins by starting them a little further over.  I measured, and there is not room to fit an equal fourth bin in where the plastic bin sits, empty so far.

However, it is probably good to have that area where hops and honeysuckle hang down in the summer and hide the work area as one approaches the back garden.

After having first thought of putting my new Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’, a memorial to my cat Smoky given me by Our Kathleen, in the wayback bogsy woods newly cleared area, I realized it must go in the former hosta spot by the campfire circle, where Smoky loved to joined me.

perfect Spotty Dotty spot

my young paper bark maple glowing in sunlight

Skooter observed my various gardening activities.

The new wayback had a bit of standing water from last night’s rain.

That will not be a wet winter sit spot, as it will require wading to get to it.

surprising new flowers on a nigella

I picked two bouquets, one for an afternoon event at Time Enough Books, and one to thank Salt Pub for the meal Julez brought to us Friday night.

Speaking of bouquets, I am very pleased with myself that I have kept all paper clutter off of the dining nook table for the past week.  Here it is today with a bouquet from the Fifth Street Park hydrangeas that had to be clipped.

Allan delivered the bouquet to Salt Hotel.

Allan’s photos of the Salt bouquet at Salt Hotel.

south side of Salt Hotel

Robert Michael Pyle at Time Enough Books

door to Time Enough Books (Allan’s photo)

Local author, naturalist, and butterfly expert from Grays River, Bob Pyle, gave a talk about his recently re-published book about Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch.  Although Bigfoot has never been of big interest to me, the talk kept me fascinated.

Before Pyle arrived, bookstore owner Karla gave me this gift wrapped book.

Thank you.

Karla’s mulled cider, served up by her sister, Linda, went well with cookies.

Linda and Scout

a packed house

I told Karla that my bouquet was too big for Pyle’s table, so we moved it to the fireplace.

And a good thing, too, because Pyle filled the table with Bigfoot memorabilia.

Karla introduces Robert Michael Pyle. (Allan’s photo)

Pyle did not begin his book as a Bigfoot believer.  He did end the writing of it with an open mind.

Scout works the crowd. (Allan’s photo)

Scout in a typical pose

Allan’s photo

Bob alternated reading excerpts with telling stories.

Allan’s photo

Several points that especially intrigued me:

Bob said we are in the period of the sixth extinction, which includes many independent bookstores, and that the ones that remain are a grace note on our culture.

Even giants have legends of giants, as in the Brobdingnagians of Gulliver’s Travels, who despite being 60 feet tall, spoke of a time when other, bigger, giants had walked their land.

Bob got a Guggenheim fellowship to write the book, which he compared to the unlikeliness of Bigfoot entering the book store, sitting on one’s lap and feeding one bonbons.  Karla said, “Would he buy books?”  Bob:  “He’ll take books.”  Karla:  “I’ll let him.”  Bob said Bigfoot would leave something in trade, in the way that Bigfoot is said to leave a stick in exchange for catching a salmon.

Bob said that many members of local tribes think it is pretty silly (he used more elegant words) that people don’t believe in Bigfoot.

Pyle spoke much of a wilderness area called the Dark Divide, such an evocative name.  I wish to read the book if only to find out more about this wild area.

signing books after the talk

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photos

Allan showed me a book he had found on the shelves, with posters of women serving in WWII, a topic of interest to me because of my WWII Marine Corps mother.

The book featured London Transport posters from 1908 till the present day.

At home again, I sat down right away to read my gift from Karla.

How I wish…How very much I miss my Smoky…..from For Every Cat an Angel by Christine Davis








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