Posts Tagged ‘Ilwaco Community Building garden’

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

I had a perfect rainy reading day.

There were all sorts of takeaways that I had marked in Ehrenreich’s book, especially things that it surprised me to learn we shared in her relationship with her volatile and unpredictable mother.  At the end, it all seemed too personal for a gardening blog so I saved none of it.

I then had the pleasure of reading Meg Wolitzer’s new book in one long sitting.

She is one of my (many) favourite authors.  This wasn’t my favourite of hers but still made for an enjoyable afternoon and evening.

I was also ever so pleased to see the Shelburne Hotel using an image of the garden on Instagram.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The weather looked ominous. Skooter, who is usually outside in the morning, wanted none of it.

We tried to go to work on the beach approach in Long Beach.  The bitterly cold wind was whipping along the approach at about 20 miles an hour, so all I did was plant California poppies in the planters that I missed on Monday….

cold and miserable with a cute but annoying hat

…and then we returned home, with a book return stop at the library on the way.  Allan took some quick photos of the Ilwaco Community Building garden during the book returning.

I had started an Alan Titchmarsh book at bedtime last night, loved it from the start, and looked forward to an afternoon of reading. But first, I needed to water plants in the greenhouse and have a look at the ponds.

We’d had this much rain.

And then I thought I might just strip the leaves off the Melianthus major branches piled behind the garage and put them into compost bin one.  And then I might just pull a few weeds from the messy bed by the Nora House driveway in order to fill up the wheelie bin which sits nearby.  And then…the wind was gone and the weather warmed.

Once upon a time, not long ago, I would have said to Allan that we must go back to the beach approach.  Instead, I kept on weeding.

I got distracted by the front garden’s westernmost bed and got it all weeded.  A before photos would have shown quite a mess of unwanted green.


Meanwhile, Allan worked on fixing the crack in the water feature canoe.

using the water trailer pump to empty the canoe to below the crack
after removal of the old repair!
the new patch, cut from a tote and epoxied on…fingers crossed.
It will have to set before refilling.

He then used The Pencil Sharpener to shred the melianthus and some dogwood branches:

I returned to my original project and got pretty far along before almost dusk.


This bed is a dreadful one for couch grass and horsetail.  Repeated years of potato growing have failed to clean it up.  It has so many spuds in it that I will have potatoes again this year (red and Yukon Golds).  My big idea is to have a shed here for privacy between the two properties. Or, if someday we have a friendly and compatible gardening neighbours, a shared kitchen garden!

I collapsed indoors and read my Alan Titchmarsh book for an hour before dinner and telly.

Like Mr. Titchmarsh himself, it is wise and droll and funny.  More on this when I finish it.  I was pleased that he shares my feeling about privacy, even with (I hope eventually) good gardening neighbours.




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Saturday, 16 March 2019

Before work, Allan helped me plant my new stachyurus.

front garden, east side, before

To the right is a Dan Hinkley selection of a different stachyurus, a willow leafed form, whose flowers do not show off as well.

I moved a young Descaisnea fargessii into a sunnier back garden spot to make room.  If it plotzes, it will not be too terribly hard to find a mail order replacement, and it has not liked this spot.

Here is my gorgeous Descaisnea from my old garden:

Decaisnea fargessii

It had blue beans, thus its common name. the blue bean shrub. From this blog years ago, the photos below also show another shrub that I want to regain in my now not to new garden.

In our own garden, the powdery blue edible beans of the Chinese blue bean tree, Deicasnea fargessii…also known, I recently learned, as Dead Man’s Fingers! And a truly astonishing colour combinaton from a Euonymous shrub.


Frosty wanted me to stay home.

And I wanted to stay home with him.

On the way to work, we toured the annual Peninsula Quilt Guild Show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum just three and a bit blocks east.  That will be our next post, which may or may not be tomorrow morning…or the next day.

We stopped off for a book exchange at the library, where we admired the garden (a project that is mostly Allan’s). I reflected that our Stihl electric shears would finally make it possible to trim the heathers, the main feature of the garden (which we did not design; we have just managed to squeeze some other plants in amongst the heather and salal).

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo (the blue is Anemone blanda)

entry garden

We added the hellebores…(Allan’s photo)

…and the pulmonarias and more.

The entry garden from the corridor windows:


The Master Gardeners were setting up for a seminar in the community room.

Allan’s photo

It looked like a plant giveaway was part of the event, but work called on this pleasantly warm spring-like day.

stocking the plant table

Allan’s photo

Long Beach

the welcome sign

When we arrived at the north parking lot berm, I suddenly felt so incredibly sore that I had to take the magic combo of advil and tylenol.

The berms are at the bottom of this satellite view.

I felt that The Toy (we each have one to wield) considerably speeding up the first clean up and trimming of the north parking lot “berm”.  (The three so called berms are barely raised, thus not really berms, but they have had that name since they were installed by the city almost two decades ago).


Someone had dropped a treasure trove for my compost bins:

a veg assortment

Allan found an egg:

Allan took one side of the berm and I took the other.

Allan’s photo

This is not a job where we have time to strive for complete perfection.

Not one but two big trucks came and parked on our debris.  The first one’s driver heard my muttering even though I was yards away and cheerfully moved the truck back when I said that it was preventing us from cleaning up.  She laughed (in a friendly way) when I said, “Don’t write about the crazy gardener on TripAdvisor!”  The second huge raised big tire truck drove onto some debris while I was raking it off the pavement.  I held up my hand and walked forward, making it back up, while the young driver looked like he just did not understand why.

My mind boggled.  I also must be careful of my muttering during tourist season. Next time, we will set up a cone or a line of buckets to define our work area.

After, trimmed but not yet completely picked up:

Between the two truck incidents, I got a message from a friend that teenagers were picking daffodils in Fifth Street Park.  (They got yelled at to stop by said friend.) Also that day, a friend’s own planter by her business suffered from a child picking the flowers while a mother indulgently observed and said, “Thank you”.  Friend’s mind also boggled.

The Toy made easier work of trimming small branches back from over the pavement.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tomorrow, Saint Patrick’s Day (Sunday), is my birthday.  My wish was to get one section of the beach approach weeded; that dreaded job (that takes at least ten days) is hanging over my head like the axe of doom. However, I’ve decided the other berms would be wiser because, with such nice weather, a Sunday on the beach approach might have a great deal of vehicular traffic.  My nerves are being worked hard by the picking of flowers and parking on debris so I had better work somewhere other than by a busy road tomorrow.  Maybe getting older is making me more crotchety.  As a rule, when my gardens are not being damaged, I LOVE tourists; I remember being one.






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Sunday, 14 October 2018

Allan briefly visited the Cranberrian Fair while I did some last minute bulb organizing.

our friend Jan Bono

We made a quick visit (with a small amount of social time) to the Boreas Inn to deliver some narcissi to innkeeper Susie G.  We hope she finds time to plant them!

some interesting growth in the Boreas entry garden

Ilwaco Community Building

We planted at the community building in hot and windy weather.  So windy paper bulb bags flew away when empty and even shifted somewhat when full.  Not pleasant.

I got Allan to move some saxifrage in a too-dry spot…

…too a shadier spot by the library entry.

Allan’s photos

The saxifrage had originally come from his mother’s garden.

Ilwaco Timberland Library entrance

Good news, per local newspapers: No library branch will be closed this year, giving the board a year to figure out their budget (and hear from concerned patrons).  Not sure about the South Bend branch, which was closed because mold was found in the unused basement.  Have been too bulb-busy to follow that story.

bags of tulips tossed out for Allan to mix and plant (Allan’s photo)

I learned slowly over the years that it works better to toss the bags out into the garden than tossing loose bulbs on the ground to roll around and get lost or hidden in bright glaring sunlight.  Works well on rainy days, too, easy to pick up bags and go home if a sudden storm comes.

the light as we finished, after 4 PM

the tiered garden in front of the Ocean Beach Alternative (high) School

autumn blooming crocus

I felt like I physically could not, and yet I did, dig deep enough to get us down to plant in the garden boat and curbside at Time Enough Books, where no photos were taken because we were so darned tired.

Getting to cross TWO things off the work list was the satisfying reward.

I then sorted bulbs from six to eight PM and was able to add some more check marks to the work list, indicating a batch being sorted.

At eight, we rolled out our back garage door and into the back door of the Nora House next door, having been invited to dinner by Alicia (Nora’s granddaughter) and Brian. They had been painting the cranberry colored trim on the house (now Alicia’s house). They had prepared delicious steaks, baked potatoes, with salad and corn.  They are night owls like us and were pleased to hear that we often dine at home at ten PM or later.

At dusk, they had been amazed to see a doe stroll out the driveway, right past them in the back patio, not scared at all.

Allan’s photo

The pleasant dinner invitation had saved me tonight from feeling that I must sort till 10 PM with my head swimming with names and numbers.  Alicia and Brian and Coco would be dream neighbors if they moved here full time…but city life is what they enjoy.

Alicia’s cat, Coco, entertained us.

Allan’s photo


sitting on Allan’s lap!

She is a good girl.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tomorrow, back to more daytime bulb planting and evening bulb sorting.  The clear weather cannot be missed.  Bulb Time is much easier if I get a couple of rainy days to sort all the bulbs at once.  Not this year.  This year is brain-hurting mental chaos of keeping just one step ahead on the sorting.



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Sunday, 27 May 2018

I had today and tomorrow to get as much weeding done as possible.

My coppicing of Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’ seemed to have killed it.  After tripping on the stump, again, I asked Allan to cut it to the ground.



Of course, the next day I saw that Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’, which had looked just as dead, was putting out one new gold leaf.  Fortunately, Jealousy had made a healthy new runner or seedling before it died.  I will have to buy myself a new Golden Lanterns, next time I see one for sale somewhere (probably not here on the peninsula, sorry to say).

The only part of the garden that looks pretty good is the front garden and the area of the bogsy wood that I weeded awhile back:

The rest has gone to Helena Handbasket.

Last Saturday, when Kilyn and Peter visited, you could still sort of see that a tunnel existed in the salmonberry grove.  This week, it had closed up.

I clipped it open again.

Allan did a wonderful thing for me.  I asked him to cut back the Lonicera fragrantissima, which he did.  I had planted it next to a big old rhododendron which dominated the west bed, and with the rhodo gone (it blocked our view of the Cape Disappointment hill), the winter blooming honeysuckle hid too much of the inner garden.  I had planted its offspring (from suckering) around the edges of the garden so now this one could come down.


after (Allan’s photo)

Meanwhile, I weeded in a frenzy.  The center bed is being particularly difficult because it needed and did not get mulch this past year.  The other beds are lighter and fluffier.  See the compost bins in the background?  First destination when I can sift some is the center bed.

Allan mowed; the grass was long.

When he was this far along….

…with just the back area yet to do, I have found that I could rock the stump of the Lonicera with the strong shovel.  I took over the mowing when Allan kindly agreed to dig it out for me.  After:

Look what a wonderful view into that bed now, and across to the Ceanothus ‘Oregon Mist’. (Blue, way in the background in another bed.)

Later…Skooter wishes for another campfire, perhaps.

Allan decided he had better go water the Ilwaco Community Building; it had been warm and dry and windy today.  I asked another task of Allan; would he please take some water to one cluster of new plants at the port.  He did, and a good thing, too.

thirsty agastache

[As I write this the following Tuesday, I am fretting that we should have, and did not, water those plants again today.]

At the community building:

Libertia and alliums

Allium schubertii

the tiered garden

Allium moly ‘Jeannine’

tiered garden edge, white California poppies

top tier

Meanwhile, folks continued to have fun on Black Lake.

Tomorrow, Allan will have a boating day in Oregon.  He has certainly earned it.

In the evening, we watched at episode of the excellent Shetland mystery series, which we got from the library on the recommendation of an astute blog reader.  And then I actually had time, because I can sleep in tomorrow, to watch an hour long episode of Gardeners’ World from 2016 (episode 29).

I got to tour a gobsmacking Welsh garden.

A beautiful house:

This is the pond I want!

How can I have this? What is it made of?

In another segment, I reflected, as I used to do when watching the Ground Force gardening show, how much I wished we could get gravel of this warm tan colour:

I long for it, but all we can get here is dull grey gravel.



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Saturday, 14 April 2018

Looking out the front window, I noticed that the goldy-bronze Japanese maple, which I planted for eventual privacy, tones well with the cottage across the street.

Allan picked up some books from the library and did some deadheading there:

Ilwaco Community Building

Tulipa sylvestris

Tulipa (probably) ‘Peppermint Stick’

at home

In the early evening, Allan went on a splashabout in the back garden.

I wish that white bucket was not sitting there. Fire water bucket. I keep forgetting to move it.

in the bogsy wood

looking north from the Bogsy Wood

Bogsy Wood bridge

Bogsy Wood swale

the seasonal pond at the Meander Line

looking north

fairy door

at the north edge of the Bogsy Wood

lawn under water

In the evening, we watched the documentary Kedi, about the cats of Istanbul.  It was glorious.  You can watch it right here.

Skooter, lower right

To protect our telly, we had to put Skooter into the laundry room.  The soundtrack of meowing cats had him all in a tizzy. He never gets worked up by the meowing on the show My Cat From Hell.

After the film, I studied the first couple of chapters of this book, a gift from Lorna, former owner of Andersen’s RV Park, a longtime past job of ours..

I have looked at all the lovely photos before, but this time I am seriously studying it as I am not all that successful at intensive cutting gardens.  I am wanting a small one around the edges of the back garden of the Shelburne Hotel and would like to do better with cutting flowers at home because I am taking bouquets there on a regular basis.

A sweet story of how the author got started:

I don’t often pick bouquets for myself but I do like to make them for other people. I learned useful items already, such as succession seeding for annual flowers up till July 15th.  And planting them extra close together for cutting flowers.

After midnight, I looked to see how much rain had fallen on Saturday: 4.36 inches! And 8.55 since this storm began.

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Sunday, 3 December 2017

my day

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

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

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

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


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

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

1:30 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3:30 PM

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

4:42 PM

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

out of focus progress

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

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

Allan’s day

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

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

view from atop the ladder

He re-waterproofed the remaining plugs.

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

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


after pulling montbretia and trimming lavender

our evening

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

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

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

SO good!

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




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Monday, 20 November 2017

We have a guest photo today from Steve of the Bayside Garden.

“The “Lion’s Head” maple (Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’) putting on quite a (late) show”

Today’s work photos were all taken by Allan except for one puppy picture.  My mind was completely obsessed with getting as many tasks erased from the work board as possible.

Allan loaded a second wheelbarrow for today’s first job.

I think our yellow rain gauge is broken.

fallen willow leaves in our garden on Willows Loop East.

We intended to start today by applying six large bales of Gardner and Bloome mulch to the Ilwaco Community Building garden.  Usually, parking has been good there on Sundays and Mondays (when the library is closed).  Today, the lot was all parked up so we drove on to our next job.  This made for extra heavy work for Allan, who had to shift the heavy bales around to make room for loading and later offloading debris.

It wasn’t till a library visit the next day that we were reminded that the alternative high school is now housed in the community building, so it will likely be a full parking lot on all school days.

Diane’s garden

We were so pleased to have a good weather day to get Diane’s garden clean up done before Thanksgiving.

raised septic bed before

after clipping Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Next year, the sedum won’t be as leggy because we will prune it halfway down in late spring to make it more compact.  I also transplanted three potted chrysanthemums and a couple of white California poppies into the raised bed.  While I tidied up all the potted plants, Allan clipped the Stipa gigantea and some perennials in the roadside garden and pulled the cosmos.



We left this handsome stand of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ till spring clean up

clipping perennials in the side garden


We had perfect weather except for one heavy rain squall that we sat out in the van.

At that moment, Diane came walking over from the barn with Holly.

Puppy Holly is dog sized now.

The Red Barn

Next door at the Red Barn, we did just a bit of tidying and clipping in our very small garden there.

in the pasture

The Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ in the barrels just might bloom all winter.

World Kite Museum

We had just a bit of clipping and cosmos pulling to do in the little garden.  Recently, we had recommended Sea Star Gardening to prune the long escallonia hedge, and it looked spiffing.  Patty emerged for a chat; we told her we will be back after a heavy frost to tidy up the six new blue containers.


I am pleased with how well the big purple penstemon is doing in two of the blue pots.   I figured the penstemon would have only a short period of bloom and then get moved into the garden.  Instead, it has been a do-er.

Penstemon Admiration Society

Even though I was getting concerned about time, we next went to

Coulter Park, Long Beach

to trim around the monument and to pull Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ next to the ramp to the old train depot building.  The ramp remodel has made that garden hard to get at.



We dumped our almost overflowing load of debris at City Works.  Allan had to shift the bales  again to do so.  With one hour to go before dusk, we started mulching at the

Ilwaco Community Building.

We used the Mary-of-Klipsan-Beach-Cottages method of dumping each bag into a wheelbarrow and breaking up the clods, then wheelbarrowing to our destinations.

The ICB parking lot is a steep one with weird angles.  The story is that the engineering was wrong by some inches, so the pitch is awkward for driving and walking.

The little red wheelbarrow was also in play.

the tiered garden, before

This garden got the old fashioned dump the bag and cut it open method.

after mulching

In previous years, we have used bulk mulch from Peninsula Landscape Supply.  However, this autumn, that business is closed Sunday and Mondays, the days that we are able to do this job.  We decided to go with the bagged mulch, which is easier to use and also a little bit richer (and costlier).  It fluffs out a lot from a big compact compressed brick, and covered enough ground to make a difference.  Because it takes less time to acquire it and to apply it than applying loose mulch, it saves on labour costs and might factor out about the same as bulk mulch for a smallish job.

Soil Energy has “composted wood products, aged screened sawdust, screened sand, composted chicken manure, lime, fertilizer and iron. (pH 6.2, brown tan in color, 38.9% organic matter).”

Gardner and Bloome Soil Building Compost is “Recycled forest products, arbor fines, composted chicken manure, gypsum, oyster shell & dolomite limes (as pH adjusters), vermicompost, bat guano, kelp meal”.

We buried some maple leaves in with the mulch.

shade garden at the entry to the library

We got done just as the street lights came on.


I had the satisfaction of erasing much from the work board.  I even put a question mark after the beach approach task; it is not that importan,t although we will do it if we have a nice day before the end of the month.  Most of what’s left has to wait for a heavy enough frost to make another go-round necessary.  That might not happen till mid December, if at all (and if it does not, the go- round will happen anyway).

In the evening, I read the brief and harrowing novella, Of Mice and Men.  When I added it to my Goodreads list, I found this perfect review:

We finished watching Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl documentary, including all the special features.  I recommend it highly.

I wish we could have one more nice day before the end of the month to polish off the pre-frost work list.









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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


before, the ramp to the dining deck


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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Saturday, 1 July 2017


Frosty, with Calvin far below.


Calvin enters at stage right.

Just for Skooter fans:  He loves to get in the bathtub and lick drips from the faucet.

I was happy that it’s now only two weeks until the garden tour that I’m so looking forward to.


After an early afternoon walk through the Saturday Market, and a revitalizing slice of chocolate marble cake from Pink Poppy Bakery, I tackled the stink-mint corner.  By which I mean the north east corner of the front garden, in which an annoyingly scented mint-like weed, with square stems and small pink flowers, whose name I learned and then forgot, is rampant.





I also planted the dahlias that Todd had dropped off, mostly in the garden boat.


The smallest one is shaggy pink Park Princess, which I had years ago in Seattle and loved.


in the back garden, after watering.  Louisiana iris…


in the bogsy woods: Has that alder always leaned so much?


found some old photos.  Yes…maybe. (January 2012)

A stick of a very expensive (for me anyway) tree, which has sat bare since a hot day last summer when every leaf fell of its brand newness in my garden, has new foliage emerging!  Good for me about procrastinating for a year on pulling it out.


Albizia ‘Summer Chocolate’ might revive.


In the evening, I had to leave the fragrance of Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ to attend the fireworks display at the port.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

my day

Midmorning was grey with a strong, cold wind whipping through the garden.  I took the opportunity to finish my book.


a favourite author of mine

This passage, about Nick, a British actor, being asked to win over a stage actor, amused me because I was once married to a Leedsman.  He could put on a posh BBC accent that worked wonders when dealing with any problem over the phone.


Actor Nick is going to play the film role of a beloved children’s book author and illustrator who recently died.  I liked this description of the author/artist’s home:


This is the second time in recent weeks that I have read a reference to the “stranger comes to town” classic plotline.


I finished the book.  I am in trouble because many books arrived from the library and reading time is scarce in summer.  (It would be less scarce if I stopped blogging.  But I love blogging.)


to read

The weather had warmed up and the garden called.


Leaves brought down by wind made it look like autumn instead of July.


Cats were waiting.


into the back garden


My Smokey loves a gardening day.  Or a reading day.


His fur is exceptionally plush and soft.

Without any warning to myself, I suddenly decided it was time to start edging the garden.





Allan’s day

Allan watered at the Ilwaco Community Building for the first time this year.






poppies that had dried up….


after a tad bit of editing

Black Lake

Allan’s reward for working on Sunday was a sail around Black Lake with his “yacht club” boat..


at the Black Lake yacht club




lots of other boaters

A very rude man yelled at Allan to “delete that photo” when his family’s boat was included in a scenic shot.  Allan had been pleased to see that the boat was a Hobie, like his own that he takes on fancier boating trips.  The man was so aggressive that Allan went along with it.  I wouldn’t have; I’d have paddled or sailed away top speed because I am tremendously opposed to being told what to do.  (Thus: a lifetime of self employment.)  The rather entertaining part of the exchange was that Allan told the rude and awful man that he takes photos of the lake scenes for the Discover Ilwaco Facebook page.  “Where’s Ilwaco?” said Mr. Threats and Bluster.  “You’re in it,” said Allan, but Mr. Rudeness seemed unable to understand even that much.

By the way, Mr. Horrible Man from Kennewick, it is perfectly legal to take photos of you in your boat when you have plopped yourself into the middle of a public park.



dock picnic


fog rolling in



The wind had been tremendously noisy and irksome back home in the garden, so it was good that a sailor got some use from it.  When he returned home, he kindly dumped my three wheelbarrows of sod.


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Saturday, 17 June

Allan did not go boating today after all; instead he went to volunteer on a building project at the playground several blocks east of us, arriving at 10:40.  The volunteer effort started at nine, which is rather too early for night owls.

as seen on Facebook

The park is at the east end of the flat part of town.

9:40 AM:

Swing set frame was up and concrete was being mixed, and poured at their base.

Holes for the sailing ship play structure were being dug.

Art for the occasion by Don Nisbett

Poles were laid out for the ship’s deck.

10:50 AM:

Parks and Rec member Nick was hauling a bag one at a time and mixing.

First thing I did was to move a small stack over to the mixer.

Another heavy load, a good use for a two tired wheelbarrow – we’ve found them difficult to maneuver around the gardens so have stuck with a single tire style.

11:00 AM:

Post hole digging and a depth measuring tool that I think is referenced to a laser on the tripod in the background.

Hard packed rocky soil, dense sand.

11:20 AM:

checking the depth of the hole

Note how our excellent Fiskars shovel has a good “ledge” for your foot to press on.

photo by Jarrod Karnofski

checking level on the swing sets as the concrete cured

Our friend Joe (Don and Jenna’s teenage son) on the digging crew.

an old plastic pipe that caused problems

12:10 PM:

device on tripod is a Self-Leveling Rotary Laser

The instructions to assemble the shorter mast

Jarrod drilling for a rivet that will keep the post from spinning.

The taller mast being assembled next to us with a crows nest on the right.

1:05 PM:

the ship’s bow and all its curves being sorted

A sample of the tools we got to borrow

Nick had all the bags ready to mix.

Rechecking the instructions

1:25 PM:

A bow view as the posts aren’t centered in their holes anymore as we make things fit.

1:40 PM:

The shorter mast going up.

photo by Vinessa or Jarrod Karnofski

I ended up at the hole carefully booting down the base so it would not flip up as the muscles worked it up past the balance point.

1:55 PM:

Its up, it’s balanced and it’s heavy. Nick holds it steady.

2:15 PM:

Using cinch straps as the deck goes in.

The trowel is a much borrowed tool as the holes need to be shifted.

5 PM:

The last project of moving the these holes is done. .

Another round of concrete is poured.

The bow is to the facing left with the anchor chain behind. The black gangway steps leading away at the right.

One of the volunteers admiring the project as cleanup continues.

Our Jenna (Queen La De Da) was there with refreshments. (photo by Vinessa Karnofski)

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Allan realized he had not gotten a photo showing all the playground accomplishment. He went back to the park Sunday morning for these photos:

Clearly, the dream of getting it done in one day had not come true.  Another volunteer work day is scheduled for Friday, June 16th.  We are arranging our work schedule so that Allan can participate.  Perhaps you, too, would like to show up and help, as this post conveniently will appear early on that same morning.  We hope the whole double masted “sailing ship” will be done by the end of that day.

At home on Sunday, Allan did a project that had been bugging him ever since a recent plumbing repair day, when the bamboo poles were falling over in the way of the under-house access and the electric meter.


after, with rebar pieces to keep the bamboo in place (one hopes).

With that accomplished, he went over the the Ilwaco Community Building to work on his own particular job of maintaining the garden there.



deadheaded rhododendrons along the sidewalk



Brodiaea laxa coccinea

little santolina started this spring by shoving a cutting into the ground

We’ve tried increasing the interest of this heather/salal garden with bulbs and poppies and starts of sedums.

The tiered garden was windblown.

poppies and mahonia

Allan certainly deserved a boating day after all this, and tomorrow he’ll get one.


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