Posts Tagged ‘composting’

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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Sunday, 17 September 2017

We had rain, and I read.

I just love diaries.  I have to like the writer at least a little bit to enjoy them.  I sort of like Sedaris….I guess.  I certainly identify with this passage, having determinedly avoided hugs at yesterday’s rally:

I find that every time I say this, people who are huggers either express remorse for the last time they hugged me or  say they will continue to do so because they just love me so much. It is a conundrum.

Sedaris is not especially kind hearted.  At least he is honest about it in a way that amuses me greatly:

And then sometimes, I love him….in this passage about home movies and his late mother:

I finished the book and am eager for volume two to be published, although it will lack the parts that meant the most to me: his descriptions of what it was like to be poor.

Calvin after being chastised for biting at Smoky.

We’d had this much rain:

I checked out the rain barrels.

Calvin’s precarious drinking method. The other cats stand on their hind legs.

from the house roof: full

from the shed roof: not quite

unofficial rain gauge

official rain gauge (not a huge amount)

The garden smelled like autumn.

Skooter in one of his favourite spots

After the rain stopped, Allan went back to working on his shed project.  He was sad that the putty he had put in the nail holes up top had washed out.

removing old shakes

You can definitely see the difference in how the weather treated the sides of the shed (which was an electrical repair shop in WWII times).

south side

west side

north side

At the end of Allan’s day, all old siding now revealed.

Monday, 18 September 2017

With surprisingly fine weather, I was outdoors by noon trying to dig up a daylily.  I had learned just this year that daylilies suffer from a disease called daylily leaf streak.  I had thought it was normal for them to have crapulous looking leaves.  So out it goes, despite having rather nice, large maroon flowers.


I was thwarted by the digging project.  Allan came along with the magic shovel and the pick.

Skooter helped.

A couple of fellows from a window service came to look at the shed’s south window; Allan is going to get it replaced with one that can open, for ventilation.  When I mentioned the truly fascinating fact that the shed was an electrical repair shop in WWII….I got nothin’.  Hrmph.  I went back to my project, having been overcome with the energy to start shifting and sifting the compost bins.

Moving all the uncomposted pieces out of middle bin to right bin.

Left bin and middle bin have some good compost to sift.

My rather small sifter

I looked on the east side of the shed for my nice big sifter that covers an entire wheelbarrow.

Surely it is in here somewhere.

Then I remembered the moment at my old house when it disintegrated.  Damn.

I kept sifting even when rain began.

almost to the bottom!  found a pair of rusted clippers!

And then the rain became drenchingly earnest.

dumped my siftings where the daylily was, planted a veronicastrum from the ladies in waiting table

I felt frustrated by the weather.

Rumblings of thunder turned into huge claps that scared even me, and I usually like a thunderstorm.  Then….more disconcerting weather news via Facebook.

Tornado Warning

The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a

* Tornado Warning for…
Northwestern Clatsop County in northwestern Oregon…
Southwestern Pacific County in southwestern Washington…

* Until 415 PM PDT.

* At 340 PM PDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado
was located 9 miles southwest of Ilwaco, or 10 miles west of
Warrenton, moving northeast at 20 mph.

HAZARD…Tornado and quarter size hail.

SOURCE…Radar indicated rotation.

IMPACT…Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without
shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed.
Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree
damage is likely.

* This dangerous storm will be near…
Warrenton and Hammond Town around 405 PM PDT.
Ilwaco around 410 PM PDT.

TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest
floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a
mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter
and protect yourself from flying debris.”

What??  Allan was out running errands.  I called him and he came back.  We went to the post office, because it is a heavy duty building and I wished to heed the warning to get out of a mobile home! (A friend in emergency management said later that this was a wise choice, and failing that, “get the cats and get in the bathtub”.)

While nothing bad happened, it was all very disconcerting.  Last October, we had 9 tornado warnings in one day (most of which were early enough so that I slept through them).  I asked an expert if the weather had changed, since in the previous 23 years here I had never heard of a tornado warning. I was informed that more modern equipment now makes such warnings possible.  I then signed up for phone alerts.  Fortunately, a tornado warning only happens about once a year (I hope).  Last year, a tornado did tear through downtown Manzanita on the Oregon coast.

I do not like thunderstorms any more.

Having a relaxing evening in an intact home was an especially pleasant thing.  We watched Now is the Time, a documentary about Medicare for All.  I highly recommend it; rural Washingtonians can order it from the Timberland Regional Library.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

We continued with our days off because the rain had saved us from watering jobs.

The rain gauge showed impressive moisture with over two inches of “storm rain”.  Not sure how that differs from just plain rain.


I started clipping some green debris (daises and siberian iris) to layer in with the brown of the uncomposted material.Entering the garage to fetch some newspapers, I solved the Mystery of the Lost Peach, the one that Allan could not find in yesterday’s grocery bag.

It had rolled under the van.

The layer of newspapers on the bottom of the compost bins was still solid, but I added more anyway.

to keep weeds from coming through

I started layering in old kitchen compost.  We start it out in a locking bin because of raccoons and bears.  Not a good photo in the dark bin–of a big newt (or salamander?)

Sure that it must be 70 or 80 sweltering degrees, I had a look at the weather.  Oh.  61 degrees F.  Hmmm.

Calvin doing his balancing act

Skooter in another favourite place

Frosty tripping me up everywhere I go.

ate a delicious Cox’s Orange Pippin

Neighbours Devery on one side and Jared and Jessika on the other will help eat the Cripps Pink apples:

Cripps Pink is the REAL name for “Pink Lady” apples.

found this sweet baby in the compost bins

I dug down to the bottom of the left bin, getting only one wheelbarrow of good compost out of it, compared to three out of the center bin.

Even my new newspaper layer is political.

Can’t fit everything in the center bin!

sifting is bliss

The bottom layer of the left bin looks very promising.

I am saving it for next week because I need to weed the area where I want the sifted black gold to go.

Looking for some green to layer in, I rounded a corner on Willows Loop West and saw this gorgeous plant…

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’

end of a great day of compost shifting and sifting

Meanwhile, Allan had gone to the library, sanded the south side of his shed, dug up a big salmonberry stump in the bogsy woods, and mowed the lawn.

Ilwaco community building library garden, looking out

Allan also noticed the kniphofia at home.

stump before

and after

I think that tomorrow we will go back to work, but perhaps not, as the weather calls for another half an inch of rain during the day. 






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I relished almost a week of rainy weather during the second half of January.  On the nicer days, I had to go out and garden.  I just can’t sit in and read all day on a nice day, much as I would like it.  In my 20s and early 30s, I was quite capable of staying in no matter what the weather…until the fateful year, round about 1988, when I became obsessed with gardening.

Friday, 16 January 2015

The big gardening excitement today was that MaryBeth came over with some sizeable peony starts.

peonies from Debbie

peonies from Debbie

Peonies are terribly expensive to purchase, so I was pleased indeed.

We had a good visit and then walked around the garden so that I could pickaxe out some starts of Darmera peltata for her.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo; Smokey is walking behind me and so is MaryBeth.

handing off the Darmera to MaryBeth

handing off the Darmera to MaryBeth


Saturday, 17 January 2015

The weather cooperated for reading, as these photos from inside the house show.

view to the south

view to the south

patio water gardens (and the last of the paperwhites, done)

patio water gardens (and the last of the paperwhites, done)

just the weather I wanted to see

just the weather I wanted to see

bogsy woods telephoto

bogsy woods telephoto

Monday, 19 January 2015

All of these gardening days are actually half days, as we are still firmly on night owl staycation time.  Weather forced me out on the 19th to weed here and there in a scattered way.  And I got the peony starts planted.

hellebore in the front garden

hellebore in the front garden

west side, some curly teucrium piled to give to Debbie for plant sale

west side, some curly teucrium piled to give to Debbie for plant sale

west side, some crocuses in bloom

west side, some crocuses in bloom

spot of sunshine (and I like the way the soil looks)

spot of sunshine (and I like the way the soil looks so rich and crumbly)

Clematis 'Freckles' has been blooming for week after winter week.

Clematis ‘Freckles’ has been blooming for week after winter week.

I should order one of those Clematis for Klipsan Beach Cottages and for the Anchorage for some midwinter joy.  I am pretty sure I got it from Bluestone Perennials, but a search shows they don’t carry it, so maybe I got it at Joy Creek Nursery in Scappoose, Oregon.  They do, indeed, list assorted Clematis cirrhosa in their catalog (and I would like to acquire more cultivars for the winter blooms).

buttery ranunculus

buttery ranunculus

Often while I am gardening at home, I see the Life Flight helicopter go by, and it gives a moment of sadness as I know that it is a scary emergency for someone.

It is going from the hospital in Ilwaco to a larger city hospital inland.

It is going from the hospital in Ilwaco to a larger city hospital inland.

My young Garrya has winter tassels.  I’d be thrilled were it not for the sad fact that the leaves are all spotted and ugly. I wonder if I should pick them off?

sad looking leaves

sad looking leaves

I have too many weeds to pull to fuss with picking leaves off of the garrya.

I have too many weeds to pull to fuss with picking leaves off of the garrya.

I had piled some fairly dry wood into the fire pit and had a strong urge to have the first campfire of the season…

It looked enticing....

It looked enticing….

until I realized there was standing water in the lawn all around it.

until I realized there was standing water in the lawn all around it.

still too wet

still too wet

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

I went out with no firm project in mind and then suddenly decided that I would dig an edge outside our west fence all down the Nora side, to make weeding easier.

beginning the afternoon project

beginning the afternoon project, with Smokey in attendance

a half-mooned edge

a half-mooned edge

This is only about one third of the wood that I picked from Nora’s back lawn and brought in for our campfire stash.

storm fall of alder branches

storm fall of alder branches

Meanwhile, on an outing to town, Allan found that some tiny crocus are blooming in the Ilwaco planters.

Allan's photo: By the Ilwaco Pharmacy

Allan’s photo: By the Ilwaco Pharmacy

Allan's photo; we hope passersby are noticing and enjoying.

Allan’s photo; we hope passersby are noticing and enjoying.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

I had an audience of noisy crows while I weeded.

I had an audience of noisy crows while I weeded.

I tried out the panorama feature in my new-ish iPhone.

I tried out the panorama feature in my new-ish iPhone.

As I worked in the shady southeast corner of the garden, by the gate that goes to the gear shed next door, I found that the sword ferns are already started to unfurl.  This seems early to me.

There will be a lot of sword fern trimming when we go back to work.

Early unfurling. There will be a lot of sword fern trimming when we go back to work.

Allan gave the lawn its first mowing of the year.

Allan gave the lawn its first mowing of the year.

Hellebore buds in foreground

Hellebore buds in foreground

freshly mowed

freshly mowed, and a barrow of weeds

fragrant winter Lonicera (honeysuckle) in bloom...The hummingbirds were feasting from this.

fragrant winter Lonicera (honeysuckle) in bloom…The hummingbirds were feasting from this.

As dusk came, we were able to get a campfire starts and had our first hot dog roast of the season with the help of some of the dryer wood that I had stashed in the dry storage behind the garage.  The evening felt balmy and the chorus of frogs was loud beyond the bogsy woods.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

I continued weeding along the east fence and next to the bogsy wood.

moss in the bogsy wood

moss in the bogsy wood, and some shells that Sheila once brought me from Mexico.

This area was the focus of my attention.

This area was the focus of my attention.

Onyx from next door kept me company for awhile.

Onyx from next door kept me company for awhile.



contorted filbert at the end of the center bed

contorted filbert at the end of the center bed

Sunday, 25 January 2015

a sunny day

a sunny day

a rare sighting of Calvin in the garden

a rare sighting of Calvin in the garden

I have found a spot for the two heavy blue wooden chairs, where they will not have to be moved when the lawn gets mowed.  We will use all light, inelegant plastic chairs back by the fire circle (and I won’t have to worry about them getting smashed by falling branches during windstorms).

a most satisfactory idea

a most satisfactory idea

Mary in the garden

Mary in the garden

Calvin and Smokey

Calvin and Smokey


I’m pleased to see Calvin getting braver.

Calvin and the brothers, Smokey and Frosty, are ten, and mother Mary is possibly as old as thirteen.

Sunday was actually hot, in the low 60s.  I turned out a compost bin and further tidied up the debris pile next to Nora’s driveway.


compost bin, before. It is supposed to spin, but doesn’t.

Now that we are no longer collecting compost from the local coffee shop, I have extra bins so I also dragged two of the plastic bins up and placed them right behind the house for composting yard waste (thus decreasing the size of the debris pile).

The job of digging out that non-rototing deep bin plumb wore me out.  Allan came home from his outing and helped me finish, thank goodness (thank Allan, actually).

Aftereward, I went back to the bogsy wood to cool off by looking at water.

still water in the bogsy woods

still water in the bogsy woods

inside the south fence, from the bridge

inside the south fence, from the bridge

I had been wanting since autumn of 2010 to have a bench outside the south fence, by the meander line.  Finally, I had one to spare: the bench that used to provide a sit spot where the blue chairs are now.

mission accomplished at long last!

mission accomplished at long last!

I sat out here very content while the sun went down and because I was quiet, the frogs started chirping…although not in the big pool right in front of me.

the seasonal pool at the meander line

the seasonal pool at the meander line


If i hadn't pulled some grass last fall, that pool would be like this area to my left.

If i hadn’t pulled some grass last fall, that pool would be like this area to my left.  (Better for frogs to have some wild areas.)

Mary joined me.

Mary joined me.

She approved of the new bench.

She approved of the new sit spot.




evening willows and water

evening willows and water

looking west

looking west

looking east

looking east

I could just see, beyond the green gear shed, the roof of the community college annex where I had planned to sign up for a water colour class.  I think it was starting tomorrow and I had simply not mustered up the energy to take it.  I treasure my evenings so much that I did not want to give any up, and I did not feel up to the conversational aspects of taking a class.  I have to admit that the Waterlogue phone app has satisfied some of my need to see how scenes would look as a watercolour.

"painted" with one click.  I know it is cheating!

“painted” with one click. I know it is cheating!

Looking straight south...

Looking straight south…telephoto

I feel I am sitting a bit below the street by the port buildings.  Where I sit used to be waterfront; everything to the south was built on fill in the 1950s.

setting sun over Cape Disappointment from my new sit spot

setting sun over Cape Disappointment from my new sit spot

It would have been the perfect evening for a fire, but we had a party to attend at the Sou’wester Lodge instead (see tomorrow’s post for that).

Monday, 26 January 2015

Still working in the back corner.  This used to be Mount Sod, where the grass dug up from the front garden ended up.  When we began the garden in November 2010, we dug up the front lawn so that I could plant bulbs right away.  The back beds I made with soil piled on newspaper right over the sod.  I planted potatoes in pockets of soil in Mount Sod and they worked very well at cleaning the pile and turning it into good dirt.  But now I want it completely de-spudified so I can plant shrubs and trees.  It turns out to be quite hard to get rid of every last potato.

questing for potatoes

questing for potatoes

I am moving some of the spuds to the debris pile behind the garage, and I’m trying something I read about: planting some of them in cardboard boxes.

Allan gave me some boxes from his shed.

Allan gave me some boxes from his shed.

Planted with Yukon Gold and red fingerling potatoes

Planted with Yukon Gold and red fingerling potatoes

The boxes, with soil in them,  will get buried by debris, and maybe they will make it easier to harvest potatoes at the end of the season.  I might try the same thing with some squash plants, and the foliage can cover the debris pile for the summer.  My eventual plan is to put a cute little garden shed here to provide privacy between the two houses.

a hellebore to enjoy while digging for spuds

a hellebore to enjoy while digging for spuds

On the 26th, I had some reading weather (at last!).  On the 28th, I swanned about with Nancy, and on the 29th we worked.  When we got home from the workday, I heard an ominous dripping sound from under my bathroom floor.  Worse yet, I remembered I had heard it in the wee hours of the night before and thought it was merely the sound of drizzle.  Allan crawled under the house and found this:

29 January: a sad sight indeed

29 January: a sad sight indeed

It was hot water, too.  We had early baths and then turned the water off till the next morning.  The next day, we got a notice from the city that they thought we had a leak somewhere.  That was kind of them, and is also an ominous hint that our bill may be high.  (I hope they  had JUST read our meter!)

Friday, 30 January 2015

To the rescue!

To the rescue!

The plumbing situation had us up very early.  (Allan got a call-back from Taft at 7 AM).  Neither of us had a whole lot of energy as a result.  The air felt rather chilly till I actually got going on a task.

I puttered around with weeding

I puttered around with weeding.

I set myself some small tasks that would give satisfaction.

the weedy base of a rose

the weedy base of a rose

That is a very mean rose, and yet is sentimental to me as it’s a white rambler that I started from a cutting from Maxine’s garden.  Maxine, Jo’s mom, was my first gardening client on the peninsula.

I trimmed the lower branches in order to access the weedy grass.

very satisfying

very satisfying

Allan tied down some branches from the Paul's Himalayan Musk rambling rose.

Allan tied down some branches from the Paul’s Himalayan Musk rambling rose.

Mary enjoyed the sun.

Mary enjoyed the sun.

the contorted filbert

looking north through the contorted filbert

hellebore admiration

hellebore admiration

Smokey and Frosty get a visit from Onyx

Smokey and Frosty get a visit from Onyx

We decided to have a fire.  It took the bellows to get it going.


I had just been reading an enjoyable psychology book called The Upside of Your Dark Side.  One thing it said was that sometimes we want something more than we actually like it when we get it.  Tonight’s fire was sort of like that, as the temperature had dropped and it was not entirely pleasant to sit out.



We did enjoy toasting and eating spicey cajun sausages.


I have Googled what we can toast on a fork that is healthier for summer campfires as we cannot live on a diet of roasted hot dogs.  (Bell peppers and apple slices are one suggestion.)

Moon over the gear shed.

Moon over the gear shed.

I liked the glow in the window of the gate-door.

I liked the glow in the window of the gate-door.

We did not linger outside after our campfire dinner.  I was hoping for rain on Saturday as a large stack of books had been accumulating during all this gardening weather.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Still no rain!  I worked on a blog entry about January outings for awhile but could not stay indoors.  I did not have a big plan so just started some weeding in the front garden.



The carex (Ice Dancer?) all along the edge looks tatty, so I chopped it hard with hedge shears.

The carex (Ice Dancer?) all along the edge looks tatty, so I chopped it hard with hedge shears.

Early crocuses have nicely clumped up.  I have gotten NO snowdrops so far in my own garden, and I find that disturbing.

Early crocuses have nicely clumped up. I have gotten NO snowdrops so far in my own garden, and I find that disturbing.

I was inspired to radically thin my clump of Rubus lineatus.   I’d planted it with a casual feeling that it would die in winters anyway, as it had died in winter every time I planted it in my former garden.  However, it has thrived and it is spreading vigorously.

That tall...um..Rubus something?? that I wanted for a long time and now have might be a bit vigourous.

From summertime: “That tall…um..Rubus something?? that I wanted for a long time and now have might be a bit vigourous.”

Rubus linneatus...amazing leaves.  Also had it, and it died, and I just bought it again....a familiar theme.

In my former garden: “Rubus linneatus…amazing leaves. Also had it, and it died, and I just bought it again….a familiar theme.”

The new leaves have a pretty little white feathery effect, provided by silvery-white undersides, when they start to emerge.  I don’t have a good photo of that.  Wikipedia commons does:


So in the winter, I could see how it was spreading into other things, including my very special new tree (protected by bamboo).

The bamboo protects my variegated Davidia.

The bamboo to the right protects my variegated Davidia.

All the stems of the Rubus came up with a good yank except for this one, on the edge of a hellebore, that needed some hard shoveling.

All the stems of the Rubus came up with a good yank except for this one, on the edge of a hellebore, that needed some hard shoveling.

The Rubus is now strictly editing.  (In the foreground is a bamboo pole for a lily support).

The Rubus is now strictly editing. (In the foreground is a bamboo pole for a lily support).

Got lots of rooted clumps with sprouts at the base.  Planted some in the bogsy woods...to regret later?  and saved some for Debbie to collect for the plant sale, if she wants them.

Got lots of rooted clumps with sprouts at the base. Planted some in the bogsy woods…to regret later? and saved some for Debbie to collect for the plant sale, if she wants them.

end of day; Allan had kindly dug out some running clumps of the carex (also saved for Debbie).

end of day; Allan had kindly dug out some running clumps of the carex (also saved for Debbie).

a young witchhazel just coming into bloom by the front gate

a young witchhazel just coming into bloom by the front gate

My BIG plan for January had been to get a load of maybe five yards of mulch delivered to build up the edges of some of the garden beds.  I delayed too long, and now rain (reading time!) is predicted.  (Surely on Sunday!)  A load of soil blocked our garage access and needs to be moves as quickly as possible.  I think I will just get one yard at time at the end of work days since my BIG plan did not come to fruition.

To close the month, we went to a musical performance at the Sou’wester.  (See tomorrow’s post.)  I have extended staycation for at least one more week.

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