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Posts Tagged ‘Corridor of Spooky Plants’

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

It had gotten cold enough last night for the ponds to have a skim of ice.

Today’s mission  was to finish the Corridor of Spooky Plants and turn the garage into a forest grotto.  I was so grateful that Judy and Larry drove all the way down from Ocean Park to help out.

They are much craftier than I am.  I had seen some pictures last year of ghosts made from tomato cages.  They figured out how to make it happen.

It wasn’t easy to get the milk jug head (which i would never have thought of!) to stay on.

Larry has skills.

They also figured out how to implement my chipper/shredder idea.

I was worried it was too gory a thought already, so I turned down Larry’s offer of a bottle of ketchup for the finishing touch.

Meanwhile, I was cutting and hauling branches and stalks from back yard to front to turn the garage into a woodland grotto. The weather was like a perfect summer day.

white sanguisorba, before…

and after (too tired to move wheelbarrow)

After Judy and Larry departed, I made one tomato cage ghost from a couple of inside out potting soil bags…

…and only one, as it was not very successful.

A spider who had been disturbed by Allan tying some decor to the fence added herself to the decorations.

He also found what appear to be snail eggs.

A friend, Jan M, stopped by to see our progress.  I got to pet her nice dog.

Allan went out in the afternoon to help Jenna move one last large item.

Jenna’s “wishing arch”

He saw that other households had also been enhancing their decorations.

on Spruce Street

He checked the cosmos at the Port of Ilwaco office; they still looked fine despite the cold night.

Thanks to a wise suggestion from Kilyn, the Steveston Gardener, I had saved several baskets of sphagnum moss to tuck around and in the big pots lining the driveway.

I dumped the baskets out and got to work on that so that Allan could use the baskets to collect more maple leaves from the Ilwaco Community Building parking lot.

nice dry leaves

Allan encountered our friend and neighbour Kevin at the community building.  When Kevin got on Allan’s phone and invited us to join him and his family for dinner, I replied that I normally would say no because of being too busy in the midst of the Halloween frenzy—but because he is being deployed, it was important to say yes.

In the late afternoon, afraid the flowers would get frosted if I waited till tomorrow, I picked bouquets for house and garage.  With two hours till dinnertime, Allan brought two heavy benches from the back garden and got the lights strung along the driveway and inside the garage.

The cat bench will be part of the seating in the grotto.

garage as woodland grotto

A combination of gunnera leaves and landscape fabric hid the buckets from view.

I dumped the leaves throughout the scene.

6 PM

one of Judy and Larry’s ghosts

Last year, just as I had despaired that the would-be grotto looked nothing but tacky, I had the idea of putting the leaves down.  The noise of walking on them makes it magic.

We were far enough along that I had no worries about taking time for dinner.  We met Kevin and Ana and their children at the Lost Roo restaurant in Long Beach.  They had snagged the perfect corner booth, tucked away from the big screen televisions.  (It is a sports viewing restaurant.)

Allan’s new buddy

The dinner and the conversation were the sort that makes good memories.  I was so glad we went.

I am partial to the Roo’s ahi tuna tower.

Allan had steak salad, my second favourite dish.

Across the table, the choice was good old fashioned steak and potatoes.

On the way home, we admired some more Halloween decorations half a block away.

When we got home, Allan made two pumpkin pies for tomorrow’s guests.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

I was glad I had picked flowers yesterday evening; we had frost and ice!

For our final preparation, we thoroughly cleaned the front part of the house where party guests would be.  All the last minute clutter (mostly the boxes Halloween came out of) got stuffed into my room at the back, and some branches put in front of the door so that no one would open it.  We arranged plates and cups and cutlery and flowers.  Finally, after noon, I was able to get outside and string cobwebs.

Allan got the apple ghosts ready to hang up. Each is constructed with an apple and a wire hook.

This year, we hung them above the front fence among the cobwebs.

The cobwebs look so tawdry on any day but Halloween that they will only be up till late this evening.

I had arranged the treasure chests yesterday in the grotto.  With the garage door now open for the event, I moved them into place at the front so that the trick or treaters would see them. We had two little fountains running and the Halloween wreath up on the side of the garage door.

The usual time for the very first trick of treaters is around four.  Judy and Larry had arrived before then to help with any last minute arrangements.  At 3:30, I was in the back yard raking up some more of the leaves I’d stashed on the lawn over a week ago, because I did not feel there were quite enough on the grotto floor.

Finally, all was prepared.  The J’s were ready across the street.

Jodie, Jay, and Doug as the Munsters

I checked on Peggy and Robert, three doors down.

They had been carving pumpkins.

Robert’s costume was a foil wrapped “alien protection device” cap.  Which is more dressing up than I did.  Allan dressed as a garden gnome again.

his outfit last year, when our neighbour, Willa, was dressed the same

And finally, it was show time.  We could see the first trick or treaters coming down the next block.

Tomorrow: Halloween at Tangly Cottage.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

I was mighty glad we had some days off, because we had much to do.

Next door, Sue, “That Lady with a Tractor”, worked on clearing blackberries from the back yard.  Allan took some photos.

The blackberries did not win the battle.

I have never seen the back of the garage before!

A huge stump from a tree that was cut down years ago, and then had a rock-edged flower bed built around it, had become a haven for blackberries and bindweed. It proved daunting to the tractor…although the rock edge got mostly dismantled, after the willow branches hanging over it were trimmed.

I have my eye on the disintegrating wood for compost and mulch and on the rocks for garden bed edging.  (I have permission to scavenge them.)

By one o clock, I was able to start cutting material from the garden for the Corridor of Spooky Plants.

lily stalks and Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' will be part of it. Lily stalks and Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ will be part of it.

Tomorrow, I will be turning the garage into a woodland grotto, using long branches from the dark-leaved physocarpus.

Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ (beautyberry) will not get cut.

Skooter supervised.

after cutting the lily stalks after cutting the lily stalks

As I scrounged around for plant decor, I found some big branches down from last week’s wind.

That’s why we avoid the bogsy wood on windy days.

In the driveway, the taller stalks and branches got tied to the iron fence and the rebar posts, and the shorter ones got stuffed into pots full of soil.  It took many trips from back yard to front yard.

Jazmin enjoyed the bits of debris.

Skooter observed from next door….

…and later, worn out, napped in the laundry room sink.

In the late afternoon, the Girl Scouts came around from house to house on the Ilwaco flatlands, bringing candy from the Ilwaco candy drive to make sure that we all had enough for the hordes.

Allan’s photos

down the street at Missy’s house
and another house on the next block

I took our candy drive bags to our new neighbors down the block, giving me an opportunity to meet them. I learned that Peggy is an artist.  You can see her beautiful paintings on her blog, here. I am looking foward to a rainy day of perusing all of it, and I look forward to seeing what she paints in Ilwaco.

Peggy and Robert were glad of the extra candy.  Kevin, whose house they are renting, later told us that during his first year in Ilwaco, he had thought the candy drive was cute, because he expected just a few kids.  (We had not met him then to warn him!)  He had run to the little local store three times during that evening to replenish.  The same thing happened to us during our first Halloween in Ilwaco in 2010 (before the candy drive was initiated).  Allan made at least one emergency candy run to the little store. (No one had warned us, either!)

At 5:40 PM, we had gotten as far as we could today with the outdoor decorations.

Last year, I had the pots pulled forward to make a narrower and spookier entryway.  This year, I will let it be wider because we noticed that the costumes are getting bigger every year.

Allan went out at dusk to help Jenna move a load to her Long Beach Mermaid Sandcastle event centre. I turned to setting up the garage with buckets all down the sides, partly filled with water and ready to receive branches and stalks tomorrow.

home after dark (Allan’s photo)

Tomorrow, we have as much if not more to do.  The Corridor of Spooky plants started because we moved to Lake Street in mid-October 2010 and had to pull together some quick Halloween decor. It was a big hit with the trick or treaters of all ages (although some little ones found it almost too spooky.) Last year, because of bad weather, we moved it to the garage driveway instead of the narrow front door entry and learned that we had been missing some of the larger costumes all along. So the garage woodland grotto is now a part of the yearly preparations, because a spooky plant corridor leading to a normal, boring garage simply will not do.

 

 

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Friday, 30 October 2015

In the morning: the rare sight of Frosty and Smokey sleeping together.

In the morning: the rare sight of brothers Frosty and Smokey napping together.

Mary in her latest favourite spot.

Mary in her latest favourite spot.

I was determined not to be “down to the wire” decorating for Halloween at the very last minute, so despite some concern about the predicted 40+ mph wind, I added some material to the Corridor of Spooky Plants™ and decorated the sunporch.  Allan has a large box of Halloween decorations that he inherited from his mother, and we use them to lavish effect.

The bird and cage are new this year, from NIVA green.

The bird and cage are new this year, from NIVA green.

There are certain books that I like to put out each year.  Our Kathleen said (not unkindly) on Halloween night that the kids don’t notice them.  That’s true, but they mean a lot to me, and sometimes the parents have noticed, and besides, YOU will notice because of the photos I am about to post.  ( I missed taking a photo of Margaret Millar’s Beyond This Point are Monsters in the window by the stairs.)

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The Dark Secret of Weatherend by John Bellairs. I also strongly recommend his book The House with a Clock in Its Walls.

The Corridor of Spooky Plants at day's end

The Corridor of Spooky Plants at day’s end

The weather was not especially conducive to outdoor decorating.  I was fretting about how this would affect Halloween, as the storm was supposed to continue into the next day.  I held out hope that the forecast showed a break in the rain at 6 PM Halloween evening.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan made a reviving snack with tuna and olives and capers.

Allan made a reviving snack with tuna and olives and capers and celery and cheese.

In the late afternoon, Allan went on an errand to deliver presents to Don Nisbett’s art gallery for Jenna’s birthday party.  We’d been invited…but I felt too tired to make words at a crowded social situation.  Jenna is a dear enough friend to understand.

Don with a painting he had done of his wife, Jenna.

Don with a painting of his wife, Jenna.  The painting is by Susan Wallace of the Painted Lady Lavender Farm.

On the way there and back, Allan saw much evidence of the upcoming commercial crabbing season.

gear stacked behind the gear shed that is just east of our back garden

gear stacked behind the gear shed that is just east of our back garden

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sorting crab pot floats

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He also brought me this photo showing that the pond at the back of the Lost Garden is filling back up with rain water, after going totally dry this summer.

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One of his projects to get done by Halloween: to clean up the Park sign and get it installed on one of the front arbour.

It was rusting away.

It was rusting away.

The cockles of my geeky heart were warmed by these photos from the staff and teachers of Ilwaco High School:

Ilwaco High School teachers and staff

Ilwaco High School teachers and staff

Saturday, 31 October 2015

I awoke early to the sound of a roaring wind and anxiety about Halloween being stormed out.  I managed to sleep some more, and when I got up my first action was to look out the front windows to make sure the Corridor of Spooky Plants had not blown down.  It still stood!

We were expecting up to 9 guests for Halloween evening so I actually spent some time thoroughly cleaning house.  My goodness, that was hard and unaccustomed work.

Allan got the Park sign installed on the center front arbour.  He had also spent the last couple of days preparing chili and pumpkin pie.

He thinks maybe the word "Park" needs to be painted a contrasting colour.

He thinks maybe the word “Park” needs to be painted a contrasting colour.

He did not want the Flower Ghost  (a sheet over the front garden tuteur) to have a pointy head.

Allan's photo: before

Allan’s photo: before

Last year he had topped it with a pumpkin head, but this year we did not have a pumpkin of the right size.

last year

last year

He came up with ingenious idea of using a wheelbarrow tire (and said it was hard work getting it securely attached).

(actually taken when he was dismantling the ghost after Halloween)

(actually taken when he was dismantling the ghost after Halloween)

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On Halloween afternoon, an excellent rounded effect and an appropriate guest

On Halloween afternoon, an excellent rounded effect and an appropriate guest (Allan’s photo)

Allan also spent some time assembling little ghosts made of bits of white cloth over apples.

ghost assembly (Allan's photo)

ghost assembly (Allan’s photo)

The first trick or treater arrived at 2 PM before I had even put the cobwebs up!

Allan's photo of an early trick or treater across the street

Allan’s photo of an early trick or treater across the street

Fortunately, the others did not begun to arrive till after four, as I found myself down to the wire on decorating, as usual.  I had waited till 3 PM to do the cobwebs, because the pouring rain would make them sodden.  I felt a bit of panic when I looked at my watch and saw it was 3:20 already. I was still SO hoping that the rain would stop for the evening.  So far, about 3.11 inches of rain had fallen on the Peninsula.

Allan's photo: applying cobwebs in the storm; "Look happy!", he said.

Allan’s photo: applying cobwebs in the storm; “Look happy!”, he said.

A couple of years ago, I thought I might skip the cobwebs as they look so tawdry the next day that I’ve sometimes taken them down at midnight on Halloween eve.  However, the Corridor of Spooky Plants™ did not look scary enough when cobweb free.  This year, the new deer fencing gave even more area for cobweb application.

spider lights and cobwebs (Allan's photo)

spider lights and cobwebs (Allan’s photo)

While I was hastily applying cobwebs as witching hour approached, Garden Tour Nancy and Phil drove by.  I didn’t have time to stop and chat, or even to say that they were much too early to get the full effect of Ilwaco Halloween.  It is tricky to get the cobweb stuff to spread out enough; no matter how I work at it, I lose patience or run out of time and parts of it end up clumpy.

Nancy and Phil's drive by.

Nancy and Phil’s drive by.  (Allan’s photo)

totally drenched and decorating with some red twig dogwood

totally drenched and decorating with some red twig dogwood

Allan's photo: He had put the window film up.

Allan’s photo: He had put the cats and bats window films up.

The pressure was getting to us and there had been considerable squabbling about where the double stick stuff for the window film had gone (I had used a bit to hang some pictures, since I was cleaning house), why weren’t the white lights on the apple tree hooked up yet, and so on….exacerbated by our being a little hard of hearing so much yelling back and forth ensued.  We were both, I am sure, deeply glad to get all the tasks done on a decorating job that had started a week ago.  (I did notice that by the next day, despite torrential rain overnight, the cobwebs looked just fine and not at all sodden, so next year I will apply them early in the day no matter what the weather.)

Allan's photo: ready at last! 4:15 PM

Allan’s photo: ready at last! 4:15 PM

The Corridor of Spooky Plants™

The Corridor of Spooky Plants™ is ready!

and the rain stopped!

and the rain stopped!

Allan's photo: Mary checks out the scene

Allan’s photo: Mary checks out the scene

Our Kathleen arrived bearing corn muffins to go with the chili, and some cookies, as well.

Right after 4:15, the first trick or treaters began to arrive.  And miraculously, the weather changed at that moment to rain-free and almost windless perfection.  Mother Nature smiles on Ilwaco Halloween; I have observed this phenomenon more than once over the past five years of living on Lake Street.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

With the first trick or treaters arriving, I went on a walkabout down Lake Street and back on Spruce, and over to Willow where there had been one extra good display last year.  I was disappointed that several houses chose not to decorate this year.  Spruce was almost devoid of decorations and Lake was better, but still lacking compared to last year.  Two of the households had moved away, but really, what happened to the others?  I feel that decorating in Ilwaco is a civic duty, and it bothered me a lot that some residents had let down the side by not making an effort to at least put out a few pumpkins and be home with treats at the ready.  It’s just not right.  When I returned, I told Allan “If I ever die or go to hospital on October 30th, you WILL do Halloween anyway!”  In fact, I had given Our Kathleen a key and told her that if anything catastrophic happened to us at the last minute, she was in charge of running Halloween at our house.  I heard later from a couple of parents that they noticed the downturn in decorating this year.  We have all raised the bar high here in Ilwaco, and I do hope that next year, more people will step up. I was so glad Allan and I  had put together a tableaux that made the kids thrilled and excited (and garnered many compliments from  children and adults alike).

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan and Kathleen await

Allan and Kathleen await

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo “Vampire Stick Figure”

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Shelly and Steve arrived (owners of The Great Day Café in Surfside, and NW Insurance and Financial in Long Beach).  When they had seen photos of the huge number of trick or treaters in Ilwaco last year, they had made plans to join us this year to hand out candy.  No one comes on Halloween to their quiet block on the north end of the Peninsula.

Shelly arranged some scrumptious shrimp that Steve had made for the occasion.

Shelly arranged some scrumptious shrimp that Steve had made for the occasion. (Allan’s photo)

Steve had also made this fabulous garden pumpkin.

Steve had also made this fabulous garden pumpkin.  Steve said the broccoli nose and kale hair had gotten flattened in transit.

We started by sitting on the porch to hand out the candy.  Soon it became apparent that with the number of folks greeting the trick or treaters, we should be on ground level.  Karla, from Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco, came to give us her left over Halloween candy so that we would have plenty.

Karla, and Steve in orange handing out candy (Allan's photo)

Karla, and Steve in orange handing out candy as I replenish his bowl (Allan’s photo)

Steve and Shelly (Allan's photo)

Steve and Shelly (Allan’s photo)

Steve and Shelly

Steve and Shelly

Shelly's excellent hat

Shelly’s excellent hat

Karla's niece, Kelli, with her sons (two of our favourite trick or treaters) (Allan's photo)

Karla’s niece, Kelli, with her sons (two of our favourite trick or treaters) (Allan’s photo)

a four-armed creature and a bat

a four-armed creature and a bat

Children like Kelli's sons, who examined the details, make the decorating well worth while.

Children like Kelli’s sons, who examined the details, make the decorating well worth while.

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J9 arrives (Allan's photo)

J9 arrives (Allan’s photo)

Kathleen on candy detail (Allan's photo)

Kathleen on candy detail (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Shelly and the pumpkin

Shelly and the pumpkin

Steve, Shelly, and Allan had walked down the street to see Chris’s Halloween extravaganza  (three blocks west).  Allan lost track of Steve and Shelly on the way because of so many distractions, so I don’t even know if they found Chris’s house.  They returned eventually so I do hope they found it.

Dave and Melissa and Todd arrived, and shortly after that, Teresa from The Planter Box came.  We left Steve and Shelly in charge while the rest of us walked down to Chris’s.  Meanwhile, Allan departed on a walkabout of the surrounding area to collect photos for our Ilwaco blog.  You can see photos of our walkabouts on the Our Ilwaco blog.  Here is a preview in the form of a thrilling video of Chris’s 2015 display.

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Realizing that the weather had truly turned pleasant, we arranged a semi circle of chairs and settled in to enjoy the show.

Kathleen, J9, Dave, and Melissa

Kathleen, J9, Dave, and Melissa

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Wendy Murry got this photo of the double line of trick or treaters

Wendy Murry got this photo of the double line of trick or treaters

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan returned after Steve and Shelly departed for another evening commitment, to find us seated at ground level, still inundated with trick or treaters.  Dave and Melissa had left just a few minutes before to go home and walk their dogs.  Todd had helped me move the skeleton bird’s cage to hang in a tree next to Kathleen.  She told the trick or treaters, who were fascinated by the bird, “Tweetie has had a really hard day.”

Tweetie

Tweetie

Kathleen, Todd, me, Teresa, J9, and Lynn of Pink Poppy Farm visiting from a party next door.

Kathleen, Todd, me, Teresa, J9, and Lynn of Pink Poppy Farm visiting from a party next door.

Allan's photo

Tweetie, Kathleen, and Todd (Allan’s photo)

Next year, I am going to line the entry corridor with all the ceramic Halloween figurines that Allan got from his mother.  They are wasted on the porch when the weather is so fine that we can sit outside, and they will be quite visible from a child’s eye view.

quite spooky indeed

quite spooky indeed

Todd and our cheerful ghostie (Allan's photo)

Todd and our cheerful ghostie (Allan’s photo)

Teresa takes a turn handing out the treats.

Teresa takes a turn handing out the treats.

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It was fortunate that we had plenty of candy, including some extra contributed by Karla and Teresa, as our neighbour one door down across the street ran out after 500 pieces.  I told her we had plenty and that she should feel free to come for more if she needed it, and so she did!

The quite amazing costume of Julez (owner of Salt Hotel), who visited from the Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm household next door.

The quite amazing costume of Julez (owner of Salt Hotel), who visited from the Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm household next door.

I knew it was Julez because Salt Hotel at the Port of Ilwaco (which he owns with his wife, Laila) had posted this photo earlier in the

I knew it was Julez because Salt Hotel at the Port of Ilwaco (which he owns with his wife, Laila) had posted this photo earlier in the day.

Julez said he could neither see nor breathe, and he seemed to have a special affinity with Tweetie.

Here's a photo of Julez and Laila of Salt Hotel relaxing next door; photo by our neighbour, Jessika Tantisook

Here’s a photo of Julez and Laila of Salt Hotel relaxing next door; photo by our neighbour, Jessika Tantisook

At the Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm house next door, if you knew the secret words, “I love Pink Poppy Bakery“, Maddy of Pink Poppy would give you a special treat.  She was kind enough to bring us a packet of her cookies:

Pink Poppy Bakery

Pink Poppy Bakery

It is so gladdening to see friend after friend come trick or treating.

our good friend Terran and her son Greydon

our good friend Terran (“Crazy Cat Lady”) and her son Greydon (Allan’s photo)

At about 8:30, we decided the last trick or treater had come, and Teresa made her departure.  Actually, the last group of five rang the doorbell at 9:20, just as I was about to turn off the Halloween lights.  At about that moment, Allan remembered that he had baked two pumpkin pies and completely forgotten to serve them.  Todd and J9 and Kathleen each got a large piece to take home with them, and due to the overwhelming nature of Halloween in Ilwaco driving thoughts of dessert from Allan’s and my memory, our other friends missed out on pie.

The tally showed that we had about 515 trick or treaters.  Because the tally sheet got passed around a lot, we did not have an accurate account and the number might have been higher.

As we sat inside relaxing at about 10 PM, the torrential rain returned and continued all night long.

Next year:  Because we are so touched by the appreciation of all the trick or treaters, we want to put on an even better show.  Steve and Shelly want to dress in costumes,  perhaps I can do a better job with the cobwebs, perhaps we could have some scary music, and we promise to remember the pumpkin pies.  And no matter what happens, our intention is that someone will be here to make Halloween dreams come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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