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Posts Tagged ‘Depot Restaurant garden’

Sunday, 13 May 2018

I thought it might be weird and difficult working at a hotel garden and in Long Beach on Mother’s Day, but needs must in Planting Hell, which was truly planting hell because I still had a headache.  Of course, the direst diagnoses were percolating in my mind, making me so worried about all the still unplanted plants and what would happen to them if I could not work.  One of my favourite authors, Patricia Highsmith, wrote a book of short stories called Little Tales of Misogyny.  I could call this blog Little Tales of Hypochondria if I shared every health related thought that daily weighs down my mind.

While I tried to get myself going in the morning, Allan watered two doors down at Norwoods…

and across the street at the J’s:

Finally, I had some plants gathered and was ready to start work, beginning with planting some cosmos at

The Shelburne Hotel

While I planted in the front garden, Allan watered the back garden.

West side fence garden, mustard transplanted from my garden is doing well (Allan’s photo)

The late morning weather was getting increasingly hot.

planting in the front garden

The soil was still slightly damp underneath, and every plant got water in the hole and then more water once in, dipped from buckets.

little cosmos from six pack (Allan’s photo)

This year, I am not fertilizing the tall cosmos ‘Sensation’.  I think putting fertilizer in each hole is what has caused Cosmos ‘Sensation’ to sometimes bolt to extra tall and not bloom till October…because my “pinch” of fertilizer can vary in size.  I’ve read recently that they like a lean soil.

Allan planted assorted thymes along the edges of the front garden: creeping thyme, woolly thyme, a variegated thyme called ‘Foxley’, ‘Silver Posie’ thyme and lemon thyme.

Allan’s photo

Shelburne front garden, looking north

and south

I heard a guest say “I love this garden, it has some of everything.”

Gardening was also going on at the gallery to the north of the Shelburne:

I love a garden boat.

Leaving the Shelburne, the temperature had just dropped from 80 when I took this photo:

We drove up to Long Beach, looked at the crowds of people, and I had the idea of finishing planting at the

Depot Restaurant.

But what if they have a Mother’s Day brunch? Allan surmised wisely.  I checked their Facebook page.  Fortunately for us, they did not open till five and so we were able to plant there.

bidens, and an Agastache ‘Summer Fiesta’ in the barrel under the east window. (Allan’s photos)

cosmos going into the garden

We can’t cross this job off the list till I get Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ for that barrel planter.  I had them all picked out at the Basket Case on Friday, but got distracted and left that tray uncollected mid-greenhouse.

Long Beach

By now, it was past mid afternoon, and we figured some of the Long Beach tourists had gone home.  We collected buckets of soil at city works, for planters that are low.

Soil Energy Mulch

Although we still did not get all the planters done, we made good progress.  The big stress was the heat, which fortunately had decreased to a pleasant evening of 65 ish degrees.  This meant some of the planters we had planted not long ago also had to be watered.  That is another factor of Planting Hell…we plant, and then the next day have another place to plant, but meanwhile the plants in the first place are screaming for water.

I haven’t been wearing my knee brace for the last three days.  I realized why: I am taking so many pain killers for this darn headache that it is making my knee feel better.

In the Dennis Company planter, I was surprised to see the blue bacopa had come through the winter and was blooming along the edges.  Most unusual.

blue bacopa and Geranium ‘Rozanne’

I was thinking a lot about bulbs today.  John (of the Bayside Garden) likes a tidy garden and finds bulb foliage messy.  It sure is.  Every planter is now plagued with dying bulb foliage that cannot be removed yet (because letting it die back strengthens the bulb).  Some planters, where big strappy narcissi are left over from volunteer days, are especially hard to work in now and they look unsightly.  I try to plant the tiny narcissi with delicate foliage (like ‘Baby Moon’).  Without the spring bulbs, I would have to plant all sorts of spring annuals, so I cannot give them up.  At least we can just yank the big tulips; they never do as well the second year.

Cosmos ‘Sonata’ is going toward the centers of every planter that has room.  

By evening, the terrible heat had gone away, and as we turned to drive down our street in Ilwaco, we could see a blissful cool fog at the end of the street.

Allan’s photo

My headache (day four) had actually stopped being horrendous and was feeling more like a heat related headache.  I did not get to erase anything from the work list. We have not finished any planting job.

Because I still could not find an hour at bedtime to watch a full episode of 2016’s Gardener’s World, I found another old episode featuring Geoff Hamilton.

You may recall that I was worriec in the other Hamilton episode I’d watched when he said that variegated ground elder stayed in its place.  Tonight, he revealed that “variegated ground elder has been on the market a little while and it is showing its true colours, and we have to get it out of here!”

Another Hamilton gem: “Herbacious perennials thrive on being moved, but shrubs like to get their feet under the table and keep them there.”

He likes weeding.  So do I.  I just wish I had time to weed, can hardly wait till the planting is all done so I can back to just caring for the plants.

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Friday, 4 May 2018

Ilwaco Fire Station garden

Before work, we stopped by the Ilwaco Fire Station where councilwoman Missy “Lucy Dagger” had dug up most of the remaining L shaped area of weedy grass in our volunteer garden area.  We bucketed up the piled up sod and hauled it off to make it easier for her.

I had a Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to bung in there.

more to come!

The Depot Restaurant

The garden got a tiny bit of deadheading and some container watering.

Long Beach

We deadheaded the welcome sign, where the tulips are, unfortunately, almost over, and yet it is too early to pull them all and plant annuals.

Next on the list was The Big PopOut, a raised garden on Ocean Beach Boulevard

before


after (Allan’s photos)

I wish I had not planted rugosa roses in this bed.  More variety would be fun.  And I did not choose the so called dwarf pampas grass.

a white armeria finding room for itself in the wall


We missed the proper time to sheer the pampas all the way back. The roses will hide its skirts. (Allan’s photos)

We went on to touch up the garden at city hall, a block north.  It had held up well since our recent work there.

City Hall east side (Allan’s photo)


Geranium macrorrhizum (Allan’s photo) The leaves have the fragrance of pine.


new growth on hostas


Allan’s photos

Allan’s photo

This little park was planted by Gene and Peggy Miles.

We weeded the disheartening amount of scrimmy little horsetail in Fifth Street Park’s west side.  I was pleased that Allan found new growth on a Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ that someone had broken off to the ground over the winter.

SW corner, before Allan weeded it…


and after (Hesperantha is a running problem here)

A few sweet peas are up….wish them luck against snails.

reseeded Cerinthe major purpurascens


The blue flowers are camassia.

I feel that the soil in the bed above has gotten quite poor.  Soil Energy is not enough.  I think I must add some bagged manure.  I could get horse manure for free, but it introduces the dreaded pasture grass.

We groomed the planters out on the Boldstad beach approach…

Looking east from the west end of the approach garden.

Oh, my…the big stands of wild beach lupines in the garden are covered in grey aphids.

This is a problem that I am leaving completely to nature.

one lady bug on aphid duty


another stand of lupines coated with aphids, and a couple of lady bugs.

The mugo pines in the long, dry garden look pitiful.

We will do more mulching out here when another pile of mulch is provided.

would love to fill in low areas with Soil Energy mulch

rugosa rose, lupine, and Juniper conferta spilling out


Allan found a rock.

…and then we tidied planters on the Sid Snyder beach approach.

Tulip batalinii ‘Bright Gem’ (Allan’s photo)


on Sid Snyder Drive

For our almost last thing, we tidied the currently quite drab garden at the World Kite Museum.

Allan’s photo


The pots look good.


those wonderful Bright Gem tulips

We accomplished the pruning job that I had noticed yesterday.

before


after

The south parking lot berm got the tiniest of touch ups.

At home, because I was a blog post ahead, I was able to sit down and watch some Gardeners’ World episodes before dinner…and at bedtime.

Monty likes agastaches!

Here is a alpine garden idea from 2015 GW visit to Slack Top Nursery.  I would like to replicate it.  My ground level scree garden has too much horsetail to be good.  I would have to use synthetic stone, though (“cottage stone”, I suppose).

Ah….

Have I shared the link to this video tour of Craigieburn garden?  Enjoy for the first or second time.

 I am looking ahead to Annuals Planting Time starting in about a week.

However, we will now take at least three days off.  We are still slightly poorly from our cold, and my garden is a disaster.  We’ll attend the Saturday Children’s Parade in Ilwaco but not the big Sunday parade in Long Beach.  Tomorrow’s post: The Children’s Parade, shared from our Ilwaco blog.

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Friday, 16 March 2018

On the way out of Ilwaco, we dropped off and picked up books at the library.  Now I have an even bigger pile of books to read, which is problematical at this time of year.

Ilwaco Community Building

Community building garden with Ocean Beach Hospital and a salal I want to get rid of this year.

Supposing we do manage to dig out that tatty salal, what should we put in that triangular corner instead?  I am thinking.  The sidewalk is narrow and peculiarly designed there.

We began with a quick visit to the Basket Case Greenhouse, to give Roxanne some seeds to try growing for me.  If she succeeds, she will have some Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Wilmott’s Ghost’ for sale eventually!

Two seedy characters (Roxanne and me)

Right now, the Basket Case has the excellent Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’.

The leaves of Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ eventually revert to green. So it’s worth refreshing with a new plant every couple of years.

Peninsula Landscape Supply

Our first work destination was the acquisition of some Soil Energy mulch.

When we drove in, I had a brief wave of anxiety because the bins looked empty and I had not called to confirm that Soil Energy was in stock.

When we pulled up closer, I was relieved to see enough for us.

The fish of Peninsula Landscape Supply

The Depot Restaurant…

…was our mulching destination.

Before: I wanted to improve this tight and rooty bed and to plant a start of Tetrapanax.  Chef Michael wants tall things in here.  I tried to transplant a start of Tetrapanax last year to no avail.

Allan’s photo, south side of dining deck

after

We used the remainder of the mulch on the north side of the dining deck.

filling in along the edge

Allan’s photo

We were making good time, so we went to the city works yard in…

Long Beach

….and filled all our buckets from the city pile of Soil Energy, enough to mulch the arc garden at the Veterans Field flag pavilion.

Driving to city works, I had seen two sets of narcissi that needed deadheading, the first by the Coastal Inn and Suites.  We took care of that and noticed that the inn now has a tulip bed.

Very nice; we hope the deer don’t eat them.

Allan’s photo

Next, we deadheaded the tree garden in front of Abbracci Coffee Bar.

Allan’s photo

Feeling weary after the usual night of semi-insomnia (and dreams when asleep about the film Ethel and Ernest, now one of my favourite films of all time), I had a craving for coffee and a Pink Poppy Bakery treat.  Just as we finished deadheading, the closed sign went up in the door of the coffee bar.  Dang it! It was already three thirty.

I guess it was just as well, because it gave us time to get more done; we went through the Great Escape Coffee Drive Through instead.

The Shelburne Hotel

Our visit to the Shelburne garden was a quick one, just long enough to plant some Eryngium and Dierama seedlings and a bit of variegated saxifrage.

The epimedium whose leaves (some of them) I cut back in the rain a couple of weeks ago is blooming.  The flowers would not show if the leaves were all still there.

Remember the hellebore whose flower got broken off to many cries of woe (and blame)?  It made a new flower.

Allan’s vindicating photo

I made a fun photo of the Shelburne with the Popsicolor app last night:

Popsicolor: Double Mint, Natural Focus, Top to Bottom Gradient, Inked: India Ink, Enhanced

Ilwaco boatyard garden

We tackled the last of the targeted (by us) clumps of the Pennisetum macrourum, where we had run out of time yesterday.

Allan’s photo, before…the horror

I went over the last area he had dug and picked over yesterday, and had not had time to finish.  There were so many deep roots, I despaired of winning.  But humans WILL WIN this battle.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo: But what lurks beneath?

Yesterday:

looking north (the steam is from a boat engine that just got put in the water)

Today:

We had a look in the boatyard:

Right above the High Hope, to the left of the Starwest, is the spruce tree in the lower part of our old garden.

At home, Allan decided he had time to mow our lawn, and I unloaded and piled roots of the pennisetum for future wheelie bin disposal (it’s full now) until I ran out of steam, and then erased “mulch Depot” from the work board.

Skooter was sleeping on my go bag again.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 17th, is my birthday—not a big important one, just age 63, but worth a day off and (I hope) some garden accomplishments at home.

 

 

 

 

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Friday, 9 February 2018

At home: My green hellebore, a gift last year from Our Kathleen.

and Clematis ‘Freckles’

The Depot Restaurant

We started with the spring clean up at the Depot in Seaview, mainly the cutting of the ornamental grasses on the south and east side of the dining deck.

south side, before (Allan’s photos)

and after

 

before

after; Allan is putting back the sprinkler line, which he pulled out to protect it from getting snipped.

The perennial and annuals border to be, on the north side of the deck

Allan chopped the one big grass at the house next door (Depot office space):

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

next door to the Depot (Allan’s photos)

We took our load of debris, including some branch-y clippings from coppicing shrubs at home, to the dump.  Because the usual clean green debris area was so muddy, we were instructed to put the compostables into a big dumpster.  It was a scary drop in my mind so I stayed well back from the edge.

way down far

Allan is brave.

In the evening, I finished a book.

Guess which orange one I love, and which one I loathe.

Long Beach

We returned to Fifth Street Park to do the two east side quadrants.

This narrow bed to the northeast desperately needs mulch.

One of these days, I will find Parks Manager Mike working in town and ask for a load to be placed for us at City Works.  I am glad he did not get any late last fall because I was all tired out and glad to go on staycation without mulching.

Rudbeckia blooming in February

While Allan pruned the big hydrangea in the SE corner, I checked on a few of the nearby trees and planters, cutting back old Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and pulling little weeds.

tree in front of Abbracci Coffee Bar

We did not have time for a coffee break.  We did get some banana bread slices to go for our post-work tea time.

primroses under a street tree by Malai Thai restaurant

Geum unseasonably blooming in February

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ blooming three months early (or four months late)

hydrangea before

and after (Allan’s photos)

I hope we did not sacrifice flowers by pruning so low.  But if the flowers are up higher, they are hidden by tree branches and interfere with the light on the pole.

Allan found a painted rock representing a fried egg, quite appropriate for the park next to Benson’s Restaurant, a breakfast establishment.

I was able to erase Fifth Street Park and Depot from the work board clean up list…and remembered to add Third Street park.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Long Beach

We started with the spring clean up of Long Beach City Hall; Saturday, when it is closed, is a good day for that because parking is easy.

Peggy’s Park, east side of city hall, before

Peggy’s Park was planted by Gene and Peggy Miles and is kept up by us in her memory.

after

Allan did the clean up on the west side.

City Hall, west side, before

narcissi and rosemary and rue

after (Allan’s photos)

With the city hall garden done, we dumped a load of debris at City Works and then went to Third Street.  Allan battled the roses on the south side of the police station:

before: Rosa rugosa ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’

before

welding gloves

passersby

after

after

And he cut back the Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ in the Veterans Field flag pavilion garden.

before

memorial wreaths

making a mess

cleaned up

Meanwhile, I weeded and pruned hydrangeas in the little park by Lewis and Clark Square.

I am excited to tell you that the sign in the window says “Coming Soon: Taqueria el Jalepenos”!

before

after

I also pruned the hydrangeas in the southwest quadrant of Third Street park….

before

after

…and tidied up another block’s worth of planters.

more blooming Geranium ‘Rozanne’

and knautia blooming with the crocuses

That knautia was the variegated ‘Thunder and Lightning’ which unfortunately reverts to green leaves by the second year.

historic photos in the window of a business for sale (the building on the southwest corner of Bolstad and Pacific)

I hope passersby are appreciating the snowdrops in the planters.

We had another load of debris to dump.

evening sun in the city works yard

We drove out to the end of the Bolstad approach to view the sunset.

I was able to erase Vet Field, Third Street, and police station roses.

But then I remembered to add the parking lot berms.

For the bookish:  I’ve added 1985 in books, here.  I’m not sure if email subscribers will get a notice of these posts that I am publish retroactively, because I want to keep them all tidily together.

 

 

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Friday, 24 November 2017

I was determined to polish off the work list no matter what the weather.

First, we walked out into our garden to collect some red twig dogwood stems for decorating.

Damp and faded hardy fuchsias are still hanging on.

autumn colour on cotinus (smokebush)

another big branch down

Next door, the tarp had blown off the gear shed crab pot stack.

lots of little branch pieces lying about

As we departed, rain fell heavily.  My Dark Sky app said it would last for 15 minutes, and then we’d have forty minutes before it returned.

The Depot Restaurant

We sat in the parking lot, waiting out the squall.

The building in view is Oceanside Animal Clinic.

Our mission was, in part, to remove the annuals from the north side window boxes and barrels (expertly planted by Roxanne of The Basket Case Greenhouse).  They are still blooming. It is fully autumn now, and I am tired of summer annuals.  The roof overhang keeps them dry even when it rains, so they have be checked on at least once a week.  I want something spare and seasonal and no maintenance for the winter.

before

before; note the wide roof overhang

after

Just a bit of red twig dogwood decor. It would be even better if I had some pine cones.

Allan pruned the Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ and the escallonia.

before

after (escallonia not shown here)

autumnal garden, north side of dining deck

We did some general tidying and some pruning around the house next door that serves as the Depot office (a tree with branches that were hitting the side of the building, and some pulling of an old patch of crocosmia).  We recommended that Chef Michael hire Sea Star Gardening for a more extensive pruning of the tree.

Even though we’d had more non-rainy time than Dark Sky had predicted, the weather looked damp again as we headed to…

The Anchorage Cottages.

A windy rain squall greeted us there, and made the first fifteen minutes of work challenging.  I had thought it would be time to cut back the chrysanthemums by the office window.  No, they had barely begun to bloom, so this will not be our last visit of the year.

office window

Allan had begun by pulling some cosmos in the south courtyard.

before, valiant cosmos still trying to bloom

after. (Allan’s photos). Next year, a pool of some sort of bright and well behaved ground cover (hakonechloa maybe?) might look better around that Japanese maple.

I almost gave up on finishing the garden tidying because of the cold windy rain.  A brightening sky gave me hope, and the weather cleared.

Allan trimmed the lady’s mantle and geraniums along the front of the bed near the office.

before

after (Allan’s photos)

Even though I was trying to be merciless, some annuals still looked too good to pull.

center courtyard after today’s big tidy[/caption
Anchorage window reflection:

Captain Bob’s Chowder
At almost dusk, we rewarded ourselves and celebrated the start of staycation with a late lunch at Captain Bob’s, behind Fifth Street Park.

[caption id="attachment_132999" align="aligncenter" width="500"] a Renee O’Connor crab sidewalk tile in the park (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Cathy of Captain Bob’s was down to just one crab roll.  Allan kindly let me have the crab roll and ordered fish and chips instead.  Cathy thought that the last of the crab salad did not make for a big enough crab roll, so she gave me a piece of delicious fish on the side.

crab roll

Allan’s fish and chips

Fifth and Pacific intersection after our meal

Half a block south, we admired the lights of the Herb ‘n Legend Smoke Shop, complementing the city’s decorations.

At home, It was too dark to offload the trailer load of compostable debris that we’d acquired at today’s jobs. I was able to erase The Depot from the post frost clean up.  There’s nothing left there that frost would make look bad.  All that is left on the work list is the post-frost go-round…if frost arrives.  Or a pre-Christmas go-round if we don’t get frost.  That won’t take more than two days, probably only one and a half.  Unless some special request from a client arrives, and unless Long Beach gets a pile of mulch that needs applying, we are now off work till the end of January, giving me plenty of time for my list of home garden projects.

I stopped counting the weeks to staycation when my best cat, Smoky, got sick.  I’m not as ecstatic at having this time at home as I usually am.  The other three cats will enjoy the company … not as much as Smoky did, and I will miss him during my reading days.  I have a blog post memorial to him planned, with photos through the years…when I can manage it.  Meanwhile, our first week of staycation should be busy enough to provide some blog fodder, a week that culminates in Ilwaco’s Crab Pot Tree Festival.

event poster by Don Nisbett

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Friday, 10 November 2017

If we methodically work through the fall clean up list, we might get it done by the end of this month and then be on staycation.  I’d like to be done (except for post frost clean up) by Thanksgiving (Nov 23).  This is not looking likely because of a prediction of at least five days of bad weather.

Port of Ilwaco

On the way to the port, we saw the sure signs of approaching crab season.  The crab fishing fleet has to wait for the crab to size up properly before it can begin.  They always hope for the beginning of December but often have to wait.  While they wait, they prepare their pots.

crab pots by the old Kola boathouse

I began with the small garden on the south side of the Port Office building.

port office garden with lots of lavenders to clip and one last big cosmos pulled

after (Allan cleaned up with his new, pretty quiet rechargeable blower)

It was a big advance recently when we acquired a battery operated blower.  I had avoided them because of the noise.  Allan picked out a quiet-ish one, and it does make the job go faster than a broom.  Perhaps he will insert the make and model here, for those who like specs.  ( A Greenworks 80V blower  Same battery operates our heavy duty string trimmer and could operate a replacement chainsaw or a mower in the future.)

just across Waterfront Way from the little garden

I joined Allan to help finish up his project, the final clean up of the Time Enough Books garden.

Each business has the garden or courtyard (or in some cases, just a parking lot) on the south side of the sidewalk.  The north side is the curbside garden, maintained by the port (usually by us, with the exception of a fish processing business that clips their own escallonias).

Time Enough Books, east side before

and after (elderberry lowered behind the boat, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ clipped down in front of the boat), Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ pulled by the entrance to Purly Shell Fiber Arts)

before (Allan’s photos)

after

Time Enough Books west side garden, before

west side, after, with elderberry and tall grasses and more cut all the way down for ease of Christmas decorating; that was one year of growth on that elderberry, which we chop down every November.

before (Allan’s photos)

after

after easy peasy blower clean up

The Depot Restaurant

Allan did the once yearly chopping of the bamboo in a very narrow space between the deck and the building.  I am not even sure I could fit in there.

His photos:

bamboo all up in the works

after

A portly repairperson would have a hard time getting to that equipment even without the bamboo

We like the bamboo for long stakes.  I realized Allan would have to run it home before we loaded up the debris that I was cutting from the garden to the north of the dining deck.

trailer with long bamboo

He made quick work of taking the bamboo home and returning with an empty trailer.

I chopped down almost everything in the north garden.

before

Sous chef Jamie emerged from the kitchen and I asked him if he would leave up the Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’, which I love for its tiny yellow flowers still showing way up high.

Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

He could not see the appeal of the old, worn plant, and I figured his opinion would be shared by most passersby, so down it came.  I am extra glad now, because a great deal of wind is being forecast and it would have had to be chopped next week for sure.

Solidago ‘Fireworks’, Persicaria ‘Firetrail’, and old ferns were for the chop.

after

I did leave up the late blooming Sanguisorba.

Sanguisorba menziesii ‘Dali Marble‘, backed with a self sown cotoneaster and with Cornus ‘Hedgerows Gold’

There will be one more short session of clean up in this garden after the first heavy frost.

I had hoped to get a couple of Long Beach planters cleaned up.  The frost is not yet here, and yet I woke up in the morning realizing I am tired of California poppies and nasturtiums’ last few blooms.  We ran out of time, so that will have to wait.  I wanted to get home with some daylight left to pick a bouquet for a friend who is recovering from surgery.

at home:

Allan’s photo

an autumn bouquet about to be delivered to dear Ilwaco friend

I got such a touching card from my neighbors.  I love the way it recognizes the true friendship I shared with Smoky.  (It wasn’t lopsided; it just photographed that way.)

Thank you.

On the work board, as much was added as erased.  I realized the port office garden looks battered by rain and needs a bag of mulch.  And I see that I need to add the Depot to the “post frost clean up” section.

I really hope we can accomplish all the pre-frost clean up before the end of this month.  All we need is five workable days!  ….Or six, since things usually take longer than I hope.

 

 

 

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Thursday, 26 October 2017

At midnight, just as the clock turned to Thursday, a crisis struck.  My best beloved cat, Smoky, had been sleeping in my room and then sitting on my lap.  All seemed normal until I saw him walking…He looked enormous.  He had somehow bloated up all through his sides and belly, so quickly, since he had looked normal two days ago.  Yet he was eating, drinking, purring.  I called the vet and heard the “Please call the emergency vet only in a real emergency” message and felt I should wait till morning.  But I started shaking, as hard as any cliché you can think of, teeth chattering, while I tried to look up causes of cat bloating.  Dr Google was not reassuring.

I managed to get five hours of broken sleep, with Smoky sleeping and purring on my feet.  This in itself is unusual; he usually sleeps in the living room, lately curled up with Calvin, the neurotic black cat who finally has a friend to cuddle with.

At 7:30, I woke and bided my time till exactly 8 when I called the Oceanside Animal Clinic and got a 9:15 appointment.  Smoky was still purring and eating a bit of food, but he could hardly walk.  He would take a few steps, find his hind legs burdened by his increased size, and he’d just stop, like this:

I was frantic inside; I love this cat so very much.  We got him and his brother Frosty and mother Mary (who died of lung cancer last year) from a neighbour of our old house.  The cats’ first seven years were well loved and lived inside a moldy broken down motor home with a heavy smoker who doted on them. Before he died of lung cancer, he asked me to take his three cats.

At the vet, Smoky’s abdomen was tapped and drained of some fluid, which was sent off for a test that will take a week.  He had blood tests and X rays which showed a lot of internal fluid and reasonably good heart and liver, so the tentative diagnosis is a serious cancer.

a little dog to pet while we waited for the blood test results

We got to take Smoky home, with some pain medication, and we could take him back to be “tapped and drained” when the fluid builds up again.  He’s only 12.  I have been worried about him being 12, after his mother’s death at 13.  I wanted at least two more years with my best little friend. (Later I realized that he is either recently turned thirteen or is almost thirteen.)

Smoky back at home, on a sheet covering the bed blankets, because his abdomen would be “leaking”.

We went to work, bulbing.  If we could get three jobs done, we could take four or five days off.  I had been so looking forward to that time off of planting my own bulbs, decorating for Halloween, and cleaning the house for Halloween company.  Now I wish I had nothing to do other than just spending time with Smoky.  (Maybe he will feel well enough to come outdoors with me.)  The house is a tip, though. The better I clean it, the more time I’ll be indoors with my precious cat.

Today we were back to beautiful summer-like weather.  We started by planting some white narcissi and tulips at Mike’s garden.  When we stopped back at home, a package of the second round of bulbs (shipped later) had arrived, and we distributed some to Time Enough Books, the boatyard garden, and the community building garden.

Boatyard got Narcissi ‘Green Eyed Lady’ and ‘Latvian Freedom’.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo; new blooms from the Echinops I had cut back to the ground.

Sweet peas are still blooming.  I asked Allan to take these sweet pea photos.

I was going to make an end of season sale order of more narcissi for the boatyard, but after a $400 vet bill, I don’t want to tempt my budget with any more bulb purchases this fall.  I also feel somewhat tentative about planting more narcissi here, since last spring someone picked about a hundred (that is, all of them) overnight.  (The local vet is reasonably priced.  The $400 included expensive tests and x rays.)

We planted some more bulbs at the Ilwaco Community Building.

Ilwaco Community Building

a test planting of tulips. We have seen deer in this tiered garden so….it is only a test.

autumn blooming crocus

Allan’s photo

We then got back to our planned planting and clean up at

The Depot Restaurant

where Allan cleared the hops from the dining deck lattice while I planted bulbs.

tulips and narcissi set up to plant

Allan’s befores and afters of the hops project:

the hops project, before, showing the door that leads from restaurant to dining deck

after

before, the ramp to the dining deck

after

a Pacific tree frog in the lattice

After today’s work. More fall clean up will be done after frost. 

Long Beach

We now had five more white narcissi for the Vet Field corner.  While Allan planted them, I planted a combination of yellow tulips in the big Lewis and Clark Square planter.

L&C planter; Allan helped me by pulling the bad asters that had appeared, as they seem to blow in from the dunes or other gardens.

Then on to the last of today’s planned jobs,

Diane’s garden.

before (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo, bulbs laid out to plant

bulb tossing

All done…Planting bulbs in the soft soil of the septic box was so easy.

Red Barn in the background.

Diane was pleased to see all the bulbs go on, and of course she was sympathetic about Smoky.  I got to give good dog Misty a good belly rub.

Allan also planted clumps of narcissi in the newly restored roadside garden.

The recent heavy rain had not washed out the new garden strip.

Last thing: cutting back some short (due to lack of frequent watering) Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ at the Red Barn.

our little Red Barn garden

As you can imagine, my bulbing today was done in a somber and anxious mood.

At home

There was little joy in erasing bulbing jobs from the work board.

I sat with Smoky, who purred while I wept, trying and failing not to cry because I don’t want to upset him.  I fretted about whether he was again retaining fluid and mourned over the thought of soon losing my softest, plushest, kindest cat ever.

Allan heard the sounds of the big homecoming football game up on School Hill. He walked up the hill to watch the halftime show which he’s always missed before.  The marching band often does a Halloween themed show which he wished to see.

halftime fireworks

They did not disappoint.

This year included music from Nightmare Before Christmas.

The score was Ilwaco 39, guest 0 when Allan left after the show.

The most comforting thing for me about Smoky’s dire prognosis was the support of Facebook friends.  After writing about the visit to the vet, I changed my profile photo to one of me and Smoky at one of our backyard campfires.

The comment that got to me the most was when I wrote how much I had been looking forward to my staycation reading with my best friend, Smoky.  Shannon, friend of Tony, wrote, His book says “Dear Mama — you’re the best one.” He reads it over and over.

 

 

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