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Posts Tagged ‘Halloween in Ilwaco’

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Just before showtime, Jodie and Doug from the J’s house across the street came so we could see their costumes.

a flapper and Burt Reynolds of Smoky and the Bandit (Allan’s photo)

And a hummingbird got a last sip from the fuchsia display.  I was hoping that humans would notice the many hardy fuchsia flowers I had added to the entryway and grotto.  The hummingbirds had been all over them since yesterday.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tony arrives (Allan’s photo)

and Scott (Allan’s photo)

Scott bearing treats (Allan’s photo); Wendi came to say she would have to miss the trick or treating but she brought me the prettiest little china cat and a bag of candy for the kids.

 

tiki torches in the front fenced garden

the tuteur ghost

Scott, Tony, and the driveway spooky corridor

In the house, I had blocked off the entry to my private lair with a last minute brilliant idea.

physocarpus and fuchsia branches in the hallway and a strategically placed bookshelf

book: Beyond This Point Are Monsters by the brilliant psychological suspense writer Margaret Millar

Scott had made Halloween cookies.  The spider bodies are halved malted milk balls.

so clever

Tony made an assortment of exquisitely flavorful and varied roll ups, and later J9 arrived with hummus and chips, and Heather of Niva green brought good ham, cheese, and crackers, so we were able to keep our strength up for the onslaught.

Allan’s photo

Before more guests arrived, Skooter was snoozing on his favourite cupboard at the entrance to the kitchen.

He loves this space where he barely fits.

He stayed there all evening, getting pets and smooches from every cat lover in attendance.  Frosty had been in my room, and was still there at the end; I wondered later if he had been trapped behind the hallway shrubbery.  (He could still have gone out the south cat door.)

Rootin’ Tootin’ Rudy was also in attendance.

(Next time, I must find something to hide the milk crates; they are bringing down the tone, although I doubt anyone noticed but me.)

Allan and Rudy and Scott (Tony’s photo)

Someone thought Allan’s costume was that of a wizard.  No, a garden gnome.

Hallow-evening began with the first trick or treaters, not very many, arriving before five o clock.

the first to arrive (Tony’s photo)

A handler backing out the cow (Allan’s photo)

I realized later that the costumes this year were often so huge that they would not have fit down the usual route, the narrow front sidewalk entry.

A steady flow of trick or treaters arrived soon after the cow.

I went on a walkabout before dark, and Allan took a long walkabout, much further than mine, after dark.  (That will be our next post, shared from our Ilwaco blog.)

Todd and Karen Brownlee had arrived while I was gone and toured the garden.  I was sorry to have missed this tour.

Allan’s photo

When I returned, I was so sore from four days of plant-iferous decorating that I was happy to take a chair and just watch.  The new garage set up worked well.  At least twelve chairs, lined up on each side, were filled with grown ups who had a good view of the costumes.

Unicorn Teresa of The Planter Box arrives.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony, Scott, Del, Wendy (Tony’s photo)

Heather of NIVA green and our Tony (Tony’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony took videos, as well.  Here is one taken just as he and Scott arrived. Later, three videos show how crowded the trick or treat scene gets, here, here, and here.

 

Joe Chasse and friend arrive (Allan’s photo)

Cathy and Captain Bob come to check our our decor before they returned to greet the Long Beach trick or treaters (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Seaview Sara and Matt arrive (Allan’s photo)

 

Amy (left) from the Port Office (Tony’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Planter Box Teresa appears as a unicorn (Allan’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Allan’s photo

Lorilyn and her fella arrive; she had a box of sand dollars to hand out as extra treats (Tony’s photo)

Judy and Larry from Ocean Park came; sadly, Donna and Jan and Michele and Devery were missing, and missed, because of bad colds and a family obligation.

Erin of Cranguyma Farms came with her eleven year old son Diego, who passed out the treats for the rest of the evening.

Erin as La Catrina (Erin’s photo)

After this large dinosaur left, we got Diego to sit in the very first chair because having a dinosaur all the way into the mid-grotto made it too crowded. (Tony’s photo)

This critter barely fit under the garage door and would never have fit through our front entry arches and gate. (Tony’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Kelli, a local teacher and avid reader, came with her very good dog Gromit, here shown with Diego.

As darkness fell, it was kinda magical.

Jessika, Jared, and Willa from right next door

Our guests loved the feeling of being enclosed in a sparkling and slightly haunted woodland.  (They also liked our ready-to-go protest signs.)

I loved my two treasure chests complete with spooky books, and got rather bossy when the grownups moved forward and blocked them from view; I insisted everyone stay back so the kids could see the treasures on either side of the entrance.  Many of the small children stopped and looked very carefully at each object along the way.

Scott and Tony had carved five elaborate jack o lanterns.

Tony’s photo

a momentary lull

Ocean Park Sarah and Seaview Sara & Matt, with one of Sarah’s little dogs

When we first began handing out treats in 2010, we were surprised that people of all ages come around.  There is not much else to do in our small town on Halloween for anyone underage, and we welcome all.  The older ones have some of the best costumes.

I wish Allan had been back from his walkabout when Napoleon Dynamite showed up.

I said, “Oh, that’s my husband’s favourite movie!” and Napoleon said, “Finally, someone who gets it!”

When Allan returned, I learned he had had his photo taken with another garden gnome.

He had also allegedly had his photo taken with a lovely mermaid at Queen La De Da’s; I haven’t seen the evidence yet.

We loved having dogs at the party!

Scott, Sarah, and pups (Mabel now has Rudy’s hat.)

Here is a costume I would wear if I could find a basket big enough:

an inspired planter outfit

Our friend the unicorn (Teresa of The Planter Box), left, was keeping the tally for most of the evening.

We all told Wonder Woman that we are counting on her to save the world.

a steampunk gentleman

Dorothy and a fairy

Cute dog alert!

Thandi of the Sou’wester, little Celestine, and an intellectual friend

Tony’s photo

Cella and the tally sheet

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

close observation of details

checking everything out—I love this kid!

I like to think that children of memory-forming age will have memories of our Halloween display, maybe for a lifetime.

Allan’s photo

Diego (Allan’s photo)

Jules and Felix from Salt Hotel

Tony’s photo

Here they come to save the day.

Our Tweetybird

One young man sorrowfully said to us, “I have some bad news for you—your bird has died.”

treasure chest

Finally, there were no more trick or treaters and no laughter and screams in the distance to let us know more might come.  All but one of our guests left. J9 and I finally had time for a visit.

More!

tiki torches still aglow as Allan took down the cats and bats orange window film (Allan’s photo)

J9 stayed behind for a considerable time to help us bring in garden ornaments from the driveway, de-cobwebbify the entryway (cobwebs look so tawdry the next morning) and remove the treasure chests and enough decorative branches to be able to get the garage door shut.  (She has a party help business called Have Tux, Will Travel, and knows just how to efficiently and carefully dismantle decorations.)

Skooter had had a very good evening with everyone who came into the kitchen giving him love.

The tally was a little messy, especially the part where I was trying to keep count.  It added up to 601.  The Beards Hollow Pirates house, one block east, counted 589 so I think about 600 is a safe bet.

Things to remember for next year:

Hang the Halloween wreath on the garage doorway frame so it shows better. Don’t forget to remove the hook before the end of evening garage door closing.

Get some fabric with leaves (flat bed sheets with patterns?) for the back wall and other areas.  Or even just grey or green.Ross Dress for Less across the river has sheets at a reasonable price. Maybe camouflage the inside of the garage door where it forms the ceiling.  Maybe not because of some of the very tall costumes could get caught up in any fabric or cobwebs.  

If one of our guests brings a cardboard box of treats in, make them put their stuff in a basket so there is not a boring cardboard box in the photo later. (I am bossy.)  It is all in the details.

Cover the milk crates!   I also did not like that the outdoor buckets were not covered, but they did not show after dark.

Get a couple of pieces of cool driftwood to put on either side of the garage entrance once the door is opened on Halloween day.  Or some kind of faux wood curved entrance that doesn’t take up too much room.  More driftwood or branches entry effect could be added right outside the garage door, stuck through or tied to the arbor.  Not too big for giant costumes to enter through.

This is an event we look forward to all year.  Just 12 months till the next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 October 2017

A couple of months ago, our friend Tony, who had been talking about having a garden party here, asked if he could invite some friends for Halloween.  Absolutely, said I. He said he and his husband, Scott, would bring food. and all we would have to do is set up, so we did.  (I also had cleaned the house including dusting almost every tchotchke; the cleaning went on into the afternoon of Halloween day.)

I was adding the last touches to the Corridor of Spooky Plants when Tony and Scott, and our mutual friend Jan, and the first trick or treaters arrived shortly after four.

Tony arrives!

adding the last touches

4:45; our mutual friend Shelly arrives, taking photos on her iPad. (Allan’s photo)

Tony and Scott (Allan’s photo)

Scott’s jack o lantern. (Allan’s photo)

Scott helps set out tea lights (small artificial candles)

5:20 PM: Trick or treaters were in full force by now. Because of the beautiful weather, we had set up all the food on a picnic table outside.  (Allan’s photo)

Carol had arrived from Seattle, along with David and Melissa, Judy and Larry, and about ten friends of Tony and Scott’s.  Larry and Judy and a nice couple new to me did much of the treat handling at the gate, and Larry did a superlative job of keeping a paper and pen tally of trick or treaters.

Judy had brought me a new piece of her art representing my cat Smoky’s having passed this Halloween morning.

the groaning board

Scott and Tony’s homemade jalapeno poppers (Allan’s photos)

Scott’s delicious mummy truffles

one of Tony’s great selfies

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

We had set up two campfires, one in the traditional campfire area back by the bogsy woods, and one closer, made of an old barbecue top and a metal plant stand on a metal table.  The closer one was the one that got lit.

The trick or treaters were non stop from 5 till 7:30 and kept arriving in groups till 8:30, with some straggling groups after that.

local art teacher Kelli and her sons (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

At 5:30 PM, Seattle Carol and I left for a walkabout of the town (which will be covered in another post).

Allan took some views from the roof.

across the street at the J’s

At our inner gate, each new set of trick or treaters presented themselves to an appreciative audience.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

the horde (Tony’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony’s friends in the garden (Tony’s photo)

garden at dusk (Tony’s photo)

garden touring (Tony’s photo)

tiki torches leading to the bogsy woods (Tony’s photo)

At 6:15, Carol and I returned.  I thought Tangly Cottage looked rather fine as we approached from the west.

Outside our gate, Maddy of Pink Poppy Bakery was bringing her brand new baby girl to meet us.

Maddy and Quincy

Maddy and Q (Allan’s photo)

Quincy, 16 day old chili relleno (Allan’s photo)

Q had originally been dressed as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but that costume had been too elaborate for the baby’s comfort and only stayed on for a few moments.

Tony’s photo

our house from across the street. Pumpkinhead Gardener shows up well.

7:30 PM: spotlight illuminating Allan’s pumpkinhead gardener (Allan’s photo)

the Corridor of Spooky Plants

I wish I had the patience to make the cobwebs more gossamery.

Tony’s photo

bench blocking the front path

Teresa of the Planter Box arrives at 6:30, after closing down her garden store for the evening.

Allan put out the two pumpkin pies that he had baked. (Tony’s photo)

campfire (Tony’s photo)

Around the campfire, I found that one of my favourite local artists, Wendy Murry, had arrived (on the left, with Tony).

Tony and Wendy

around the campfire (Allan’s photo)

Wendy and her spouse, Del, toured our house and appreciated all the art and tchotchkes.  Tony came indoors to see the various pieces of Wendy’s art that I have collected at the annual 6×6 auction over the years.

Tony’s photos of some Wendy art:

my favourite Wendy art of all from last year

I felt comfortable having guests because the house was so clean.  Wendy and Del’s style of interior decorating is similarly…full.

Del and Wendy noticed, as did Carol, that I had put my scariest books on display.

I didn’t get good photos of the two bouquets I had made.

corridor of spooky plants at night (Allan’s photo)

Tony and Teresa (Allan’s photo)

Scott and Tony (Tony’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

Teresa (Tony’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

a real ghost (Allan’s photo)

kind of captures the feel kids must get walking up the corridor (Allan’s photo)

Our new ghost projector lamp turned out to be pretty effective.

Steve of the Bayside Garden arrived and we had a visit in the house.  We must tour his and John’s garden soon and see some new areas they have recently created.

At 7:45, Allan went on his walkabout of town.

At 8:40, the almost full moon came out.  I wrote on a piece of paper the words that Maggie had sent me yesterday, on October 30th, the day before Smoky died, and added a message to him, and burned the paper in the small back garden campfire with Tony and Scott as company for the ceremony.

Maggie’s words

Smoky dearly loved sitting with me around a campfire.

a handwritten message to Smoky going up in the smoke; he might not read, but he could feel the message, if there is that sort of an afterlife.  I hope so.

Just after nine o clock, we had our last two trick or treaters and Allan returned.

Allan’s photo

By the end, we had 543 trick or treaters.  The fire station on Spruce, one block over, had over 700.

the tally sheet (Tony’s photo)

It was enormously helpful to me to have all this joyous activity on this evening.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

There may be a one or two day blog break while I spend time with my friend Seattle Carol.

 

 

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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Despite a forecast of rain on and off all day, I woke to fine weather and decided we must go plant bulbs.  Typing up the spreadsheets would have to wait for evenings.

Onyx, our east side neighbour (Allan’s photo). He and Skooter are mortal enemies.

Skooter (Allan’s photo)

The wheelbarrows showed the amazing amount of rain we had received over the past four days.

the final storm rain tally

 

old chair used as plant stand; its time is over.

many leaves down but only two chairs blown over

I shouldn’t have left this board propped up.

alder branch spear driven into the ground

where we are trying to raise the lawn with sod patches

The newly cleared swale did fill up.

the old swale, now with water.

Here is how it looked on Oct 14, 2016, when it filled earlier than usual.

The south end swale is full…but they all will drain soon.

Outside the fence, at our south property edge, this seasonal pond will now probably have water all winter.

looking back to the house

In the front garden, I admired windblown sanguisorba.

with cardoon overhead

Pretty sure that is S. ‘Pink Elephant’, which grows to about eight feet tall.

It is even towers over the towering Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’.

After that home garden tour, we were off to work.

Ilwaco Post Office Garden

We did a thorough clean up of toppled cosmos, tried to eliminate the volunteer perennials sweet pea that would like to infest our volunteer garden, and planted a selection of bulbs.

before (Allan’s photo)

the damnable sweet pea (Allan’s photo)

bulbing

after

has an austere look now

I put in a row of cuttings from the silver santolina, as I would like it to run all along the front.

I leave my garden much wilder in the winter, but here I needed room for bulbs, and generally people do not understand the wild winter look.

Because we had dug out the non-draining planter at the fire station, we replaced its bulbs.  I was pleased that it still looks so good; the station sheltered it from our recent windstorms.

red plants for the fire station

Allan pulled this crocosmia. I would still like to take over the fire station garden.

Ilwaco Community Building

I was pleased to find that the community building garden, cared for by Allan, needed no weeding.  This gave me time to do some pruning while Allan planted bulbs (and time to help him finish planting them).

I thinned and lowered a tree-like red twig dogwood near the library entrance.

Allan hauling my debris.

Even though this was not my intention, I realized the long red stems will make excellent Halloween decor.

entrance garden today after pruning

Compare to the photo Allan took last week:

Even though it was not the right time of year to prune the mugo pines (which would like to be tree-like), I noticed that one might soon be unable to  read the whole sign.

I was pleased enough with the pruning to clearly reveal the address number…

But the covering of the word Ilwaco had to be fixed.

I don’t want to lose any more pretty red leaves.

I do long to lose this, one of three remaining tatty invasive patches of salal.

Fall crocus knocked down by rain (Allan’s photo)

Port of Ilwaco

Much to my surprise, we had time to plant bulbs in the curbside gardens at the port, as well, even though one rain squall made me think we would not finish.  Yet we did.  We had stopped at home to get a Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to divide and put in a curbside bed where two huge shrubs had recently been removed.

brief, light rain

planting narcissi in former shrub area

We only plant narcissi at the port (except for tulips in the Time Enough Books garden boat).  Deer would eat tulips in the curbsides, and birds (crows or gulls) pull up most of the little bulbs such as crocus and miniature iris.

Time Enough Books boat before (Allan’s photos)

and after

more bulbing

not a bulb (Allan’s photo)

On the way home, we got some photos of the Halloween preparations going on around the flatlands of Ilwaco.

Spruce Street

The spookiest house on Spruce had skipped Halloween last year. I am thrilled that they are baaaack.

The guy will be in motion on Halloween night.

a block up the hill…I love this front garden.

on top of the hill

The higher one lives on the hill, the less likely one is to get the 400 trick or treaters that we flat landers can expect.

At home, I was able to erase three bulbing jobs from the work board.


 

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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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Friday, 31 October 2014

This is the lead-up to Halloween. Part two, Halloween in Ilwaco, will be posted on the Our Ilwaco blog, and I will reblog it here as a bonus post this afternoon. We took the day off, despite wonderful weather, to finish the Halloween decorating. After my childhood, Halloween was never an important event for me, until we moved to trick or treating mecca on the flatlands of Ilwaco. Now it’s a very big deal to make a good show for the children.

The big excitement of the morning was that the bulb shipment arrived, even though we had not had a UPS email to notify of their arrival. Bulb planting time will begin as soon as I have some of them sorted, a daunting job that I rather dread (the sorting, that is, although I don’t love the planting, either).

All day yesterday and today, an irrigation and lawn prep project was going on right across the street by local landscaper and plantsman Steve Clark and his crew.

The crew laid in the pipes (after removing some old diseased lilacs and part of a fence).

The crew laid in the pipes (after removing some old diseased lilacs and part of a fence).

Today's weather was much better for the crew.

Today’s weather was much better for the crew.

Steve himself supervising (and we had several good chats during the day).

Steve himself supervising (and we had several good chats during the day).

His work trailer is ever so professional and its dumping function is run with a remote control!

Pink Poppy Maddy showed up next door to help decorate, and was happy to take my tin garden pig.

Maddy as a mime

Maddy as a mime

Now I'll remember to send Pig to a happy new home.

I had put Pig out with the Halloween decor to remember to offer him to a new home.

Pig was given me by a former friend and it made me feel not exactly sad but just…baffled and frustrated and disappointed to look at Pig. I’ve been maundering on all summer about the subject of friendship. Having Pig in the garden was more of a reminder of how two friends used to visit each other’s gardens than the fact that the former friend’s house is ridiculously near mine. I was so glad Pig went to a good home, either on Pink Poppy Farm or Maddy’s own new garden. While the pig adoption sounds awfully poignant, it was really just mildly cathartic and satisfying and yet significant enough to record in this blog..

Starvation Alley Farms Jessika sweeps her front walkway.

Starvation Alley Farms Jessika sweeps her front walkway with Yarrow supervising.

Allan ran an errand to the library, where he photographed two lovely flowers in the community building garden:

autumn crocus

autumn crocus

nasturtium

nasturtium

On the way back he noticed all the crab pots stacked up in the parking lot to the south of the bogsy woods.

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When he returned, he found yet another box of his mom’s Halloween decor, including two bags of cobwebs left over from last year. We had so many cobwebs now that I took a bag to Jessika next door to add to their decorations.

Allan helped me finish with the decorating.

He drilled out a pumpkin for the top of the front garden tuteur.

He drilled out a pumpkin for the top of the front garden tuteur.

an effective garden ghost

an effective garden ghost with fabric and a punkin head on the tuteur

Just as the decorating was finally done and all the little ghosts and pumpkins hung in the corridor and all the cobwebs applied and teased out, and as I began to do some preliminary bulb sorting, our friend Ed arrived and we had a bit of a sit down.

Strange Landscaping Ed and me

Strange Landscaping Ed and me

The spooky corridor of dead plants, all ready for trick or treaters, proved to be so scary in the dark (with plenty of lighting from artificial candles and our garden lamp) that some littlies were too afraid to walk up to our porch. I’ve noticed since tying all the dead plant stalks to the support frame that the corridor is of great attraction to little birds, who are all over it eating the seeds of helianthus, fennel, and goldenrod.

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The Corridor of Spooky Plants would prove to be so daunting that some littlies were afraid to walk up to our porch.

The Corridor of Spooky Plants

Next: The Halloween reblog.

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Thursday, 30 October 2014

We took the day off because of wind and rain and were both going to go shopping overseas (Warrenton, Oregon), until Allan pointed out that the grocery list was long and that I don’t really enjoy shopping.  So off he went, happily alone, while I stayed home to read.

Or so I thought.  The drizzle was not enough to keep me indoors when I had a couple of new bareroot plants from Todd that needed to go into the ground.  I started by planting a Baptisia sphaerocarpa (yellow false indigo) behind the cat bench in the back garden as I had removed a Sedumn ‘Autumn Joy’ that was too low.  THEN I googled it.  Oops, it only gets three feet tall.  Some musical plants ensued, resulting in my getting more planted than I thought I would.

I finally got my Berberis ‘Orange Rocket’ (2 of them, acquired in Seattle last June) in the ground, after transplanting two sanguisorba starts into the back garden.

Berberis 'Orange Rocket'

Berberis ‘Orange Rocket’

While Todd visited the other day, I’d noticed a few exciting things during our tour of the garden.  A mystery evergreen shrub in the front garden has white berries.  It is an angular plant, looks thorny but is not painful to touch, and neither of us could ID it.

white berries

white berries

My Edgeworthia rubra has buds already.

My Edgeworthia rubra has buds already.

Dicentra scandens still blooming by the sun porch.

Dicentra scandens still blooming by the sun porch.

My white sanguisorba died back to the base...

My white sanguisorba died back to the base…

but it's putting out new growth

but it’s putting out new growth

I admired a few dwarf conifers (can’t name them, though).

conifer

conifer

conifer

In Allan's garden

In Allan’s garden

I was inspired by the damp but almost windless weather to go back to the bogsy wood and transplant a golden Virburnum that I had planted too close to a variegated elderberry.  Then I saw two small, new hydrangeas were too close together.  All got shifted around.

former danger tree shade bed

former danger tree shade bed with Virburnum removed…

and it went in here...

and it went in here…along with 2 Sauromatum venosum bulbs from Todd.

It's a good thing I have a new shade bed in the works as I am almost out of room again!

It’s a good thing I have a new shade bed in the works (under that tree, by the swale) as I am almost out of room again!

I checked the most satisfactory rising of the water in the seasonal swale outside the south gate.

pondy swale

pondy swale

water under the willows

water under the willows

water in the long grass

water in the long grass

...the grass I wanted to pull, but didn't.

…the grass I wanted to pull, but didn’t.

My grass-cut finger is only now healed from when the grass fought back almost two weeks ago (or more).

Hardy fuchsias gleamed in the rain.

Hardy fuchsias gleamed in the rain.

fuchsias

Nicotiana langsdorfii has put out new flowers.

Nicotiana langsdorfii has put out new flowers.

pineapple sage

pineapple sage

My river of blue Geranium ‘Rozanne’ has put out fresh new growth.  If I had cleaned up the old spent growth, it would look all fresh and new.  The strangely warm weather has inspired all this strange late-blooming behavior.

Geranium 'Rozanne' new and old growth.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ new and old growth.

Languishing in a corner of the garden I found the tin pig that sadly reminds me of a friendship lost not by my choice.  Poor pig.  Makes me feel baffled just to look at it.

languishing pig

languishing pig

I put Pig up front with the Halloween decor so I can give him to Pink Poppy Madeline.

Now I'll remember to send Pig to a happy new home.

Now I’ll remember to send Pig to a happy new home.

I know Maddy will like the pig, because she and Jacob had its sister and brother at their wedding.

wedding pigs will be good company

Wedding pigs will be good company; perhaps my pig will grow wings.

I finally remembered to transplant (again) the yellow Baptisia into the front garden.

Despite all the rain, the soil is still powder dry right under the surface.

Despite all the rain, the soil is still powder dry right under the surface.

I still need to find a good spot for this wiegela from Todd.

I still need to find a good spot for this dusky leaved wiegela from Todd.

I added some sopping wet plant stalks to the corridor of spooky plants.  It is now almost done except for the decorative touches and the final part that inconveniently blocks the lawn path.

the Halloween entry corridor

the Halloween entry corridor

I called Allan on his shopping trip to tell him that even though I had said we would not use cobwebs this year as they look so tawdry in daylight, we needed them after all.  The corridor is not spooky enough without them.

Finally, the rain came down strong enough so I could go inside guilt free.

south window view

south window view

I felt bothered by the darkness created in the living room by the Halloween window film.

Next year will wait till the last day to put this up!

Next year will wait till the last day to put this up!

My book, The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty, had a number of thought provoking passages about age.  I’m sorry to say I identify with the pain stuff even though I am not QUITE 60, surely too young to be OLD.

book

Rose attends a funeral and contemplates old age:

age

old

She remembers what it was like to THINK she was old, but still be young:

50

Memories of her sister:

memories

memories

I am working hard on appreciating every moment now.

Also, I apologize to MaryBeth at my failure to make the book photos less curvy.

The Last Anniversary is mostly set on a fictional Australian Island, has a set of characters of all ages, and like all Liane Moriarty’s books, I recommend it for a good read.

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Book frontispeice:  A mystery set on a little island; how very satisfactory!  Irresistible!

I had to get it through interlibrary loan; it did not take long to arrive.

I’d forgotten it was Thursday till our friend Jenna (Queen La De Da) texted me to invite us to join her birthday dinner at the Cove.  We couldn’t, because Allan was still across the river.  When he returned, we did go to the Cove for a late dinner, and I was glad to have been reminded of the day as otherwise I could have missed our Thursday tradition.

Allan's photo: entering the Cove

Allan’s photo: entering the Cove

the menu

the menu

Caeser salads

Caeser salads

ahi tuna

ahi tuna

Our day concluded with two episodes on DVD of the most recently released season of True Blood.  I do wish my memory were better for what happened in the intricate and convoluted plot during previous seasons.

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Tuesday, 29 October, 2013

I awoke to white frost on the back lawn, as predicted.  All the tender plants in pots were safely in the greenhouse.  The ones that I want to save, anyway:  scented geraniums, tender salvias…

frost

frosty morning

Great, thought I, the annuals will perhaps be done in Long Beach.  I have wearied of their tired looking appearance; they have still been looking too colourful to pull as it might make shopkeepers and passersby said if I dispose of them them prematurely.

But NO!  They still look mostly wonderful.

painted sage, Agyr. 'Butterfly', nasturtium

painted sage, Agyr. ‘Butterfly’, nasturtium

still a tangle of colour by Home at the Beach

still a tangle of colour by Home at the Beach

Even a few of the cosmos still look good.

Even a few of the cosmos still look good.

Allan cut back the Panicum ‘Heavy Metal‘ ornamental grass back in the one street tree under which it grows.  I like the name of the grass and its metallic sheen.  However, I think that to most people it probably looks weedy.

Heavy Metal grass

Heavy Metal grass

This particular tree has no working water and has to be bucket watered from a nearby planter.

The park by Marsh’s Free Museum and one of our favourite little cafés, Captain Bob’s Chowder, still looks fine.

obelisk tiles by Renee O'Connor

obelisk tiles by Renee O’Connor

The work in the frying pan park is coming along….By spring, that clam statue will spout every hour on the hour again.

park

Allan took a break from Long Beach city work and pulled Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’ from the Summer House  garden while I checked the rest of the planters.  I swear I did not plant the darn hardy geranium at Summer House.  It probably had one little seedling inside another plant.

Below:  Allan stands where a rose trellis should go IF Erin (who owns this vacation rental) wants to keep the rampant climbing rose in there:

I asked him to look like a trellis, but he is sideways.

I asked him to look like a trellis, but he is sideways.

Then he dropped me off to tidy up the Veterans Field garden while he dumped debris.

Veterans Field garden

Veterans Field garden

still very faintly red white and blue

still very faintly red white and blue

We had an appointment at NW Financial and Insurance regarding the Affordable Care Act (which I believe will be very beneficial to us).  The main website was down again, even though it had been working all day.

My friend Bella greeted me at the insurance office!

My friend Bella greeted me at the insurance office!

The best thing I have read about this is:  “War is a crisis.  Poverty is a crisis.”  And then something about the computer problem being an inconvenience.  We will go back next week.  If anyone local (Southwest Washington or Northwest Oregon) needs help figuring out the Affordable Care Act paperwork, Shelly Pollock is a wonderful helper and her services are free.

We concluded our work day by pulling some Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ foliage clumps and a doing a bit of weeding on the Bolstadt beach approach.

Bolstadt approach buoy

Bolstadt approach buoy

two birds

two birds

another two birds

another two birds

bird

Bolstadt beach approach garden, looking toward town

This walk is so popular with townfolk and tourists alike.  One can walk up Sid Snyder Boulevard ten blocks south, then along the boardwalk with its view of the beach and back down this street….or vice versa.

rugosa rose autumn colour

rugosa rose autumn colour

with dwarf mugo pine

with dwarf mugo pine

Something amazing happened when I pulled a weed from the easternmost Bolstadt planter….

full of chocolate mint planted back in volunteer days

full of chocolate mint planted back in volunteer days

The mint started to peel up just like taking up a carpet!   I was thrilled!!

before and after

before and after

Next year we can make this planter right by the arch look so much better.

Next year we can make this planter right by the arch look so much better.

While Allan tidied that up, I cut back a few lily stalks on the south side of city hall and observed with dismay that a purple ajuga had gone aggressively running through the whole bed.

Anyone want some purple ajuga??

Anyone want some purple ajuga??  will fix this later

Just west of city hall, reflections of sunlight fell on the sign for the upcoming new coffee shop.  I was excited to see that Pink Poppy Bakery’s logo had been added to the sign.  My ultimate loyalty still likes with Ilwaco’s Olde Towne coffee café but I will love being able to get Pink Poppy treats while working in Long Beach.

Akari Space

Akari Space

Although I could tell a great sunset was brewing, the dumping of debris had to take priority.

looking west from city hall

looking west from city hall

While at the city works yard, we could see the sunset developing.

over the water treatment plant

over the water treatment plant

With work done, we went back to Bolstadt.

Another sunset watching group had gathered on the big picnic shelter.

crows

closeup

The sunset started as a moody grey and pink one, and I thought it would continue that way.

Allan’s photos:

bird

grey

grey

grass

west of the boardwalk

buoy

my photos:

from the end of the Bolstadt approach

from the end of the Bolstadt approach

pink

boardwalk

boardwalk

band of colour

band of colour

Thinking it was fading, we turned to go back to town and saw the tail lights of the cars of other sunset watchers driving away….

Long Beach from the boardwalk

Long Beach from the boardwalk

One glance back and we turned to the west again as the colour suddenly intensified.

colour

bright

And then it did fade.

last

At home, I took a quick walk along Spruce and Lake Streets to check out progress in the Ilwaco flatlands Halloween preparations.

the J's house across the street

the J’s house across the street from ours

on Spruce

on Spruce

Soon would come the yearly Halloween extravaganza.

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