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Thursday, 15 June 2017

The storm did not veer away or fizzle out.  It appeared as predicted with 47 mph wind gusts at the port and 1.36 inches of rain (with three hours of rain left to go in the day as I write this).

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Skooter had no desire to go outside.

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reading

I finished my book.  (We’ll get to some garden photos after this reading time.)

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This is the same author whose reading we attended at Time Enough Books last week.

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author Kathleen Alcalá at Time Enough Books

The entire book is wonderful…except for one brief passage when the slim and beautiful author expresses her distaste for seeing overweight people buying pallets of food at Costco. (The day I read that paragraph, I in fact went shopping at Costco!)  At her reading, I mentioned to her that passage and gently suggested she read Body of Truth by Harriet Brown, and I hope she does.  I wrote it down for her.

Nevertheless, every other paragraph in the book gets my top rating.

Here are a few of my favourite parts.

About Michele Obama’s White House garden, and her book American Grown, in better days:

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I loved that The Deepest Roots mentions Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens, a book written by a Bainbridge Islander.  I used to own a copy and just loved it even though I don’t have chickens.  (I need to get that book for Melissa!)

Description of the author’s garden:

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I appreciate the mention of Jamaica Kinkaid.

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Kinkaid’s book is excellent.

In my teens and twenties, I used to frequently take the ferry to the town of Winslow on Bainbridge Island for a fun day out.  I doubt I would recognize Winslow now.

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I like the woman who just calmly read:

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for readers who are fungus fans:

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Think about this:

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I love the quiet in the garden, when no one in the neighborhood is mowing or string trimming!

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Sharing food garden at Town and Country Market:

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People have suggested that we have a food forest growing in Long Beach and Ilwaco.  The problem is that our windy weather is not very conducive to fruit trees on the ocean side of the Peninsula.  I was excited to Google and read about the town of “Incredible, edible Todmorden” in England.

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I want to grow these:

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It is useful to know that white camassia is poisonous to eat!

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She imagines a post apocalyptic world:

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I looked to my right and was pleased to see a wall of books.

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And those are just novels and memoirs; the gardening and nature books are on another wall.

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This is a beautiful book and I can think of several people who would love it as much as I do (and I have already bought a copy for one of them).

I looked back in my own archives and found these photos, from sometime between 1970 and 1973, of some trips that my friend Montana Mary and I took to Bainbridge Island.

on the ferry, with Seattle as the backdrop

We would go to the grocery store and buy apple beer, which was a non alcoholic drink that amused us.

Winslow, Eagle Harbor

Winslow by the ferry dock

I believe this is all built up by now.

We used always to walk down to this beach near the ferry dock.

We walked along a county road all the way to Fay Bainbridge State Park and back. It is now a busy road.

Mary on the quiet road.

That was quite a walk from Eagle Harbor. Mary and I often took long all day walks; back then I could live up to my last name of Walker.

Coming back to the present stormy afternoon, I checked the Heroncam.  Dark and rainy in Long Beach.

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I followed the book with a thorough catch up on reading my favourite blog, by Mr Tootlepedal.  If I read it a couple of weeks late, I can also enjoy the witty and informative comment section.

At 6 Pm, the wind had finally slowed.  We went out to check for storm damage and to assess whether or not we could enjoy the four day weekend I had so been hoping for.

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My rambling rose flowers had not blown off.

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Eryngium ‘Big Blue’

Port of Ilwaco

The gardens were not as damaged as I had feared.

The boatyard garden:

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Stipa gigantea had suffered.

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yesterday

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today

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still have red poppies

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On Howerton Avenue, the worse damage was to these sea thrift on the north side of the bookstore!

Long Beach

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welcome sign

The baskets did not look as bad as I had feared.  The leaves did not get turned to blackened mush like during the strong freak summer storm of late August 2015.

That storm has wind of 56 mph and more.  Long Beach probably had 35-40 mph this time and the damage was not severe.

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still looks good in what is probably the windiest planter

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The bigger Geranium ‘Rozanne’ were the most windblown of the planter plants.

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Had to deadhead these Dutch iris…

The south side of the police station was the biggest crisis.

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We fixed it so we could have tomorrow off.

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earlier this week

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today

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I did cut off the asphodel flower.

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Fifth Street Park not too bad.

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Allan’s photo

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protected baskets on north side

Port of Ilwaco Office

We saved this for last because I knew there would be some work there and I did not want to start out wet and cold.  I was thrilled to see the port staff had put up hooks to protect the hanging baskets by putting them on the north side of the building.

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a beautiful sight

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gale warning storm flags (Allan’s photo)

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south side

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after some staking and clipping and waterfalls falling on us from the deck above

home

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rain gauge plus water buckets I filled before the storm so the barrels could refill; rose flopped across the path

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Snails on my new tradescantia.  NOT cute.  I was not nice to them.

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yesterday

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today

Otherwise, very little damage.

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Recently transplanted paperbark maple is still happy.

Now we can have the four days off that I have been wanting, and I’m hoping for good enough weather to get a lot of weeding and planting done. Allan’s plans may be more adventurous.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, 4 May 2017

By the time we went to work, the anti-health care vote had happened, and I felt furious and disgusted on behalf of the old and the poor, reading on the way to work about the projected cuts to health care for disabled school children, the proposed sharp rise in premiums for folks in their fifties and early sixties,  and more.  I pondered again just exactly how we are supposed to work harder in order to pay higher premiums.

Some might think I could give up my workdays in my own garden and use that time to take on more clients.  Many a year at my old garden I just had to think sadly, “It’s another lost year for my garden,” as I spent seven days a week working for other people. I just don’t have it in me physically any more to pushpushpush at for 20 work days in a row as I used to do.

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“Push Push Push, all the way, all the time, right on down the line.”  (Twilight Zone, A Stop at Willoughby)

My former partner and I used to quote that Twilight Zone boss’s slogan to each other as we worked and worked and worked.

Today was a workday, as Allan and I were still pushing to get the Long Beach and Ilwaco gardens looking good for McCarthy Day-I-mean-Loyalty-Day weekend.  You can read some history about L Day here.  “In 1955 Congress passed a resolution designating May 1 of that year as Loyalty Day. It was the height of McCarthyism and an anti-Communist red scare in America.”  That was my birth year, in fact.  I have read that there are very few town that still have Loyalty Day celebrations.  Long Beach’s parade is a mostly cute and surprisingly long one, with lots of baton twirlers, marching bands, some llamas and horses and basset hounds.

Ilwaco boatyard garden

The dredge was getting pressure washed right next to where we needed to weed.  That did not stop us.

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Allan’s photo; I started where I had quit from exhaustion yesterday evening.

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I hope this one Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’ reseeds like mad (dark foliage behind the tulip).  (Allan’s photo)

Yesterday, the weather was almost 70 F and some cool misty overspray would have been welcome.  We got the boatyard weeding done at last.

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looking back; we had come a long way, from the north end far in the distance.

Home again for a moment, Allan took a photo from the kitchen window of the rampant wild cucumber vine.  He says he has been training it.

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outside

We weeded and deadheaded at city hall in Long Beach, intending to follow that task with a good weeding of Coulter Park.  Almost as soon as we began city hall, we heard loud thunder and decided it would be a good time to deliver the plant cheque to…

The Basket Case Greenhouse.

By the time we got there, serious rain had begun.

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heading for refuge from the rain; Darrell told me how his grandma had been struck by lightning more than once!

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Allan’s photo.  I like this, because my liberal heart was bleeding today.

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and….crabby…

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There are still a few callistemon left.  I’m getting them all if they are still there next time I go!

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Check out time.  (Pink petunias were not mine.)  Had stayed out of the rain as long and productively as possible.

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At Coulter Park, we worked in a storm of wind, thunder, rain, and pink petals.

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The back end of this park continues to be a challenge where the roses are, because of salmonberry and bindweed coming under the fence.

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Salmonberry running UNDER the roses and then popping up.  Everything is thorny and difficult.

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the horror of a grass infested rose

That particular grass WAS the variegated bulbous oat grass that I used to like so much, till I found out how quickly it reverts to green, and how its bulbous roots like to migrate.

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Allan won that battle.

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There’s a dead columnar conifer along the fence, too, and two other conifers toward the front seem to be dying.

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The south back side, away from the fence of invasives, is doing just fine.

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Allan’s photo

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just about to leave the park to dump debris

I checked Dark Sky.  It was discouraging.  “Heavy rain stopping in 30 minutes, starting again 11 minutes later.”

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I thought we could stand to do one more thing in the rain, so I scooped up six buckets of mulch at city works…

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…and we returned to the front corner of Coulter Park, where lots of people will line up for the parade on Sunday.

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Last week:

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a quick fix

I looked at Dark Sky again.  Stopping in 30 minutes and then overcast?

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We decided to go to Abbracci Coffee Bar.  On the quest for parking, we passed the little popout and stopped there for another quick fix.  I said it would take two minutes.

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before

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12 cold, wet, and windy minutes later

And then: Abbracci

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Allan’s photo.  Abbracci is just south of the Fun Rides.

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shelter from the storm

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treats

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more treats available than on our first visit!

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and they have Pink Poppy Bakery treats now!

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the wonderful owners Bernardo and Anthony  (Allan’s photo)

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Allan’s photo

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drenched

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We like the floral art.

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The other customers were a knitter, two chess players, and a woman reading a book in the other window seat.

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waiting out the rain

Even better, we acquired a bucket of coffee grounds for my compost pile!

With the rain stopped, I headed out to deadhead a block worth of planters while Allan went to weed and deadhead at Veterans Field (main stage for the festivities following Sunday’s parade).

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tree garden outside of Abbracci: still lots of narcissi for parade day

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and bright tulips

Guess what, there should be TEN tulips in each of those planters.  Broken off stems showed that five had been stolen.

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only five left, dang blang it.

Does someone think I won’t notice or care?  I DO notice.  Plus, these were special tulips from Brent and Becky’s bulbs.

Allan came over to help me finish the little park behind Lewis and Park Square, where the city crew had dug a trench at the lawn’s edge, surprising me with an unexpected clean up job.  He pulled bindweed from the rugosa roses on the south side of the police station, where many will walk by to go to Vet Field on Sunday, and then we went over the two Vet Field beds again for more tiny weeds.

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Note to self: Monarda is swallowing this Jade Frost Eryngium; maybe next time, I can move it.

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Someone had carefully filled a tulip with some grape hyacinth foliage, making a fanciful flower.  (Allan’s photo)

We finished the Vet Field gardens as this returned:

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But in driving from Abbracci to Vet Field, Allan had found an emergency by one of the parking lot berms.

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Whhhaaaat???

A tourist information trailer had been parked next to the weedy south berm.  All we usually know is the date of each festival, but the intricacies of what the city crew does is left for us to discover on our own.  I decided we simply had to do some weeding.

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Allan’s photo

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the biggest weed of all (Allan’s photo)

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6:20 PM

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7:11 PM

One more debris dump trip ended the work day.

home

At home, I could have erased one berm from the work board.  We have the north one about fifteen minutes from being done, and the south one is over halfway done.  That surely counts as one done…but I did not feel like finagling on the board.  I did finally get to erase the boatyard!

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Everywhere Skooter sits for awhile lately ends up looking like an explosion of cat fur.

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front porch from today

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And yet here he is, still whole and fluffy!

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and Frosty

I could hardly believe my last check on the weather for tomorrow, showing heavy rain all day with 30 mph winds.  No!  This means we would have to do the planter deadheading in Long Beach on late Saturday afternoon among throngs of visitors.  Oh please.  Just give us a few hours of workable weather tomorrow so we can finish the two berms and the deadheading, and please spare the tulips from 30 mph winds that would blow them all apart.

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

As predicted, we had a rainy and windy day.  I felt a little restless about it.  Views as I paced from window to window:

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kitchen


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north front


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north front


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east front


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Allan’s study, east


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Allan’s study, east


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Skooter does not like to go outside in the rain.


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south

I pondered how if I got my whole south window replaced, I could take photos out of the non screened side.

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This and one of the front windows is “blown”.

I find it very hard to spend money on things like this.

Just going out on the front porch to take this photo made my hands cold:

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Allan did take a few photos on his way between house and shed:

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and at the post office:

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hesperantha blooming now instead of waiting till fall


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one broken lily sprout

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Fortunately, I had a big book to read with over 300 pages to go.

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No Logo

I finished it by nine o clock, and then watched Deadliest Catch and felt wimpy for not being willing to work in the rain.

I felt blessed that we live in a relatively advertising-free environment.  Here at the “lost corner” of Washington State, we have only two chain restaurants (a rather gaudy McD’s and a low key Subway that blends in), and even though two of our three bigger grocery stores are franchises (IGA and, I think a Thriftway), they are still referred to by their old names (Sid’s and Okie’s).  While we do have billboards advertising local businesses, all but two extra large ones (between Black Lake and Seaview) are gentle on the eye compared to most billboards, and just advertise local motels and resorts.  This makes the Long Beach Peninsula a more restful place to live if, like me, you want to get away from advertising, brand names, and glitz.

Post script for those who are interested: No Logo by Naomi Klein

The book was excellent, even though somewhat outdated (published in 2000).

Some particularly interesting points:

How a certain McD restaurant went after any restaurant with McD in its name:

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This reminds me of the local story of how Starbucks went after an Astoria coffee shop named SamBuck’s.  The owner’s name was Samantha Bucks!  (She had done a logo that was sort of a take off on the SB logo.)  Read more about that case here.

A mention of community gardening:

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A whole chapter about the Reclaim the Streets movement had this interesting story.

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Of course, they lost…

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Re child labor, the National Labor Committee, and director Charles Kernaghan:

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About how sweatshops and child labor get so much more attention when attached to a brand name (Nike, for example):

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More about the Zapatistas (Klein also wrote about them in The Shock Doctrine).  I just very much like what Marcos had to say:

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Note to those who care: From what I had read recently, some of the Romany people consider “the g-word” to be a racial slur and would prefer that we use the word Romany.  If you care about that sort of thing, as I do, here is some beginning reading about it.  Google will give you much more.  I’d rather err on the side of politeness so have given up “the g word”. 

Tomorrow more rain is predicted, and I have a book of light reading lined up for a change.

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

We had sort of a storm, with lots of wind.  The rain stopped by mid morning, leading to a dilemma.  I had wanted to finish yesterday’s long blog post; an internet glitch had resulted in all the text and photo arrangement being lost, but the photos were in the media library ready to be inserted and captioned.  And then….the power went off.

Someone unfortunate had driven into a power pole two thirds of the way up the Peninsula.  Because we are on the same grid as the hospital, we got our power back within two hours.  (As I write this in the evening, Dave and Melissa, way up in Oysterville, are still without power.)

I used our battery back up’s last bit of oomph to catch up on the Tootlepedal blog.  And then I could find no good excuse to not try to weed.

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Allan’s photo: Skooter blocks the other cats from exiting the cat door

Oh, how very much I did not want to weed, because of the wind!  I told myself that if I just filled one bucket with weeds, I could come back in.

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We had had this much rain overnight.

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Allan string trimming

As I pulled some of the easier weeds, I observed and concluded that my earlier idea of composting in place was just not working.  We just have too many snails and slugs that like to hide in the debris and eat lily buds.

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next to one debris area, a chomped lily bud

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another chomped lily!

Now that I have good compost bins, I carried many armloads of debris and binned them.

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gathering debris

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I told Allan that I now have so much debris that I need a door for Bin B.

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I found another sad columnar evergreen.  Dang blang it!

I tried to focus on weeding the center bed so that I could erase it from the work board.

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It had a wealth of shotweed and horsetail.

My audience all afternoon:

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Allan’s photo

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Devery came over and we had a good chat.

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Debris in the west bed, which I will move on my next day in my own garden, had not stopped a giant ornamental rhubarb from showing off its size.

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While I love my periscaria bistorta ‘Superba’, I think it is getting too vigorous.

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West bed: Persicaria is just starting to show its pale pink spikes.

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tulips in the garden boat (Allan’s photo)

The  wind increased to 30 mph, making the last part of the center bed miserable to weed. Because I wanted so much to erase one thing from the work board, I thought really hard about The Deadliest Catch.

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Deadliest Catch puts my job into perspective.

I had got not just one bucket but four heaping wheelbarrow loads of weeds removed.

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after

However, I think the garden beds need a nice crisp edge.  I had noted the crisp edge on the Tootlepedal’s glorious garden during my blog reading today.  You can see the garden photos in this entry.  Part of the excellence is the trimmed hedges and Mrs. T’s plantings, but I do think the crisp lawn edge is important.

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some extra lambs ear and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to go to Long Beach or the port

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Just as I finished, really big rain drops arrived.

Meanwhile, Allan had gone to get a new sheet of plywood, and on the way he went to the library and felt compelled to deadhead at the Ilwaco Community Building.

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art in the library

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a stray narcissus at the Community Building

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deadheading, and library books (before the rain came)

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community building garden

He drove home via the high school road to see if their tulip display was on for this year.
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Camera is above the window.

 

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It is indeed on.

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AND it is well protected.

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I wish all OUR gardens were as well protected.

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Back home, Allan lined up the old trailer side on the new cut plywood in order to drill out the holes for bungee cord lashing.

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The old side became a new front for the center compost bin.

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By then, I had made myself a nice cuppa Builders Tea.

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in my big Don Nisbett Slow Drag mug

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and a bit of a treat left over from my birthday

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one “home” bed erased from the work board

I have two guest photos to share, texted to me by Melissa, of her and Dave’s garden. The container has Tulip sylvestris. 


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Friday, 7 April 2017

I’m not sure why various weather services decided to call our storm a cyclone (which I thought was specifically tropical). Nevertheless, they did. Maybe because it looked like this:


Other than the power going out before the coffee was made and heat was on, we had no excitement, and the power outage was only an hour. Portland had more felled trees, including this doozy from a local news station:


I read a five minute book. 


Halfway through this fictional Dunkirk rescue tale, I had to move the book to keep my tears from dropping on the pages. Why does the story of the little ships rescue affect me so deeply? Is it partly because I live in a port town?


I had been looking forward to this storm so that I could read a Mass Observation book in one sitting. 


How I envied the author’s time at the Mass Observation archives. 

I was pleased that the book began with my beloved Nella Last. 



And here I learned that Nella shared my feeling about Dunkirk. 


As with another Mass Observation book (Seven Lives from Mass Observation) by the same author, I wished this book was longer so that it could have more excerpts from the diaries. I would like to read more from one diarist in particular. I’d just like to know this Mary Clayton:


The luxury of reading a whole book in a day made me feel like I was on staycation again.  Allan also had a relaxing reading day with the second of the Swallows and Amazons series.  


Swallows and Amazons forever!

Meanwhile, we had some impressive wind nearby. 


Do take time to watch this video by someone who had to drive to Astoria in the storm along the Columbia River road heading east from Chinook.   Here’s another video with a good view of the debris on the road. 

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Monday, 27 March 2017

Allan still being slightly under the weather made an excuse to take a pleasant day off.

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Allan’s photo. front porch


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Smokey flirting (Allan’s photo)

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I emerged in the early afternoon and the first thing I noticed was a Stipa gigantea in a water bucket.

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I had been looking for this grass since bringing it home from the boatyard garden 8 days ago.  I had verbally declared that Allan must have accidentally thrown it out, so I had to show him my discovery.  “Are you a little bit sorry?” he asked.  Yes, I was.

(The quotation on the water barrel is by Iris Murdoch: ‘People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.’)

Allan found some boards to make fronts for the new compost bins and helped me plunk the heavy pots, taken from the old plastic pond two days ago, into the water boxes.

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My mission was to move a few wheelbarrows of debris from the old debris pile to the new bins, even though I should perhaps have been weeding.  The composting was irresistible and I worked on it for four hours.

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ignoring a weedy garden


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a weedy bed near the debris pile

I unearthed an old rhubarb plant that I’d thrown into the pile last fall.

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happy rhubarb


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I disturbed at least three big frogs.


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happy


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I transplanted some hot mustard, which Devery loves, in the former debris pile next to her driveway.

Just as I was trying to finish by picking up the debris around the old pile and spilled along the way from a couple of too-full wheelbarrows (what my grandma called “a lazy man’s load”), a heavy gale and rain came up.  I called to Allan for help and he kindly joined me and did some raking.

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the debris pile several days ago


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and today

I had filled two bins, leaving the third to turn the first two into.  Google tells me I can do that weekly, if I want to.  I do want to, if I can find the time.

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I tried to put the older debris into the center bin.  That idea went all willy nilly when the rain came.

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rain


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Skooter wanted in.  He hates rain.


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Later, we were all dry and happy.

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Monday, 20 March 2017

In honor of the turning of the season, here is my favourite quotation about springtime:

“Every year, back comes spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.”  Dorothy Parker

Skooter was not enthusiastic about the drizzly, cold weather.

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head under the covers (Allan’s photo)

I picked some flowers for an event, and then Allan and I went for our tax appointment with our accountant, Jennifer, whose office is just four blocks west.

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Jennifer’s flowers

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office assistant Helen

We then delivered two bouquets of flowers to Salt Pub for our dear friend Jenna’s evening event.

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There was a new tiny little baby to see!


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flowers for Jenna (and, later, for Salt to have)

We went back home because the cold drizzle was supposed to end in half an hour.  Allan became absorbed in “do not pick” signage for the boatyard and I delved into the excellent book I’m reading.

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I am loving Mr. Theroux’s trip around the English and Welsh coast.

This reminded me of Mr. Tootlepedal:

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Along a branch railway line:

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Two most interesting sounding places:

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Chesil Bank


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Undercliff Walk at Lyme Regis

I googled up some photos of both these areas and even found videos of the Undercliff walk.

This description of tourism in seaside towns certainly reminded me of where I live (even though we love tourists here, and I well remember being one):

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Meanwhile, Allan worked on strengthening the pallets that will make the new compost bins.

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Allan’s photo

I had to leave my book and Allan his projects when the weather seemed to clear.  We drove to

The Anchorage Cottages.

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Our good friend Mitzu

The weather was actually quite miserable, damp, drizzly, with a bitter wind.  We did not last more than an hour.

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Center courtyard: not much happening except too many bluebells coming up


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narcissi


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narcissi and primroses


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hellebores, pulmonaria, and ranunculus


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trilliums


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trillium (Allan’s photo)

I cut back some hardy fuchsias, planted three lily bulbs, we did some weeding and could bear no more of the cold and headed back home.

I did not get to take photos of the Long Beach narcissi display….

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too cold and miserable to stop

After an interlude at home, we went back out to that event for which I had picked bouquets.

Ilwaco Merchants Association Spring Mixer

Oh, how I had tried to weasel out of going.  Because our dear friends Don and Jenna (Queen La De Da) are heading the group this year, Jenna did not let me escape.

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By the time everyone arrived, we had a full house at Salt Pub.


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Our Jenna (Allan’s photo)


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the view (Allan’s photo)

We discovered that Jenna had a special purpose in wanting us to attend: The merchants presented us with a community recognition of our work, both in the gardens and in taking photos for the Discover Ilwaco Facebook page.

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Thank you plaque by Artist Don Nisbett

Raffle prizes were drawn, hors d’oeuvres were served, drinks were downed, and the crowd was happy.

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Ponytail: Andi from the Visitors Bureau (ponytail), with Jenna and our Mayor Mike, Don Nisbett in black, and Jane from The English Nursery.

We were so touched by that nice award.  And impressed with the fun and liveliness of the event.  If only the usual Ilwaco Merchants Association meetings weren’t at 8 AM!

Tomorrow: more rain, thunderstorms….I do hope the Long Beach narcissi hold strong till I get some of them photographed and closely appreciated.

P.S. After 9 PM, I suddenly had the sniffles and wheezes. This bodes extra ill for work tomorrow. Almost everyone I know has had The Three Week Cold this winter. I thought I had escaped. Am embarking upon all my home remedies. 

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