Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Friday, 30 March 2018

With more good weather predicted, I had high hopes for finishing the beach approach today.  And yet, drizzle greeted us as we left home.  My assorted weather apps denied the rain and suggested the day would stay cloudy but clear, with little wind.

We began with a little bit of deadheading at The Depot Restaurant garden:

Depot deadheading

Depot lilies emerging

We then planted some monarda and some Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’ at the Shelburne Hotel, where I grieved mightily over this sight:

The dreaded aegepodium popping up in the sidewalk garden, where it did not used to be nine years ago when the garden was consistently under my command.

an unfurling fern at the Shelburne

Long Beach

We drove out to the beach approach and contemplated this weather…

…and I decided it would be best to finish mulching Fifth Street Park and hope that the drizzle stopped.  It was ironic that the most weatherbeaten garden of any that we do, the west end of the beach approach, was our goal for today.

soil scooping

mulching in Fifth Street Park

Allan’s photo

I cut down the tattered Melianthus major on the other side of the park.  The beds still need weeding but at least there are some narcissi:

Finally, despite a continued light drizzle and some wind gusts that almost made me decide to go home and read (till Allan said the gusts might blow the rain away), we returned to the beach approach.

Two sections to go till the red buoy.

Allan’s befores of the twelfth of thirteen sections:

I got to meet and pet a darling pug.

and this sweet wiggly girl.

We found a rock:

By 3:30, we had section twelve almost done but for the clean up of rose cuttings and sand along the road and sidewalk edges.

Allan’s afters of section twelve:

The drizzle had ended partway through that section and  I did so hope that we could do the last section by 7 PM.  Section thirteen is the longest one of all.

starting section thirteen, 3:45 PM

And then, when we had barely got started on it….

We tried for a bit to keep going but it got too cold and muddy and messy.

There are many roses right along the edge to pull out with the pick.  At least tomorrow the weather is supposed to be good, and we will start with higher energy.

We are SO CLOSE.

This much remains.

after we gave up. (Allan’s photo)

Dark Sky, which is usually accurate, had been wrong for much of the day.

Just one section to go!

Tonight, I finally felt that I had the energy to follow through with offering some rugosa starts to some local gardeners who wanted them.  We had saved some rooted pieces today, and tomorrow  we will be stripping more from along the edge, so I put out the word that the gardeners could come get some tomorrow afternoon.  I also have issued dire warnings about what eager colonizers these roses are and to not plant them where they will escape into the dunes.

I was relieved the person from yesterday did not return. I had some good advice from friends: To write down answers to the person’s repeated questions and give the person a list of answers on paper was one of my favourites.  And to do what I should have done yesterday, to leave for ten minutes and then come back.  Will do if it happens again.

Read Full Post »

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Astoria, Oregon

Indivisible North Coast Oregon partnered with area students and their families in a Rally for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, noon to 1:30 pm at 8th and Commercial in Astoria. We took to streets to demand that student lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools now. 

Allan’s photos:

Some photos from Indivisible:

 

photo by Laurie Caplan

photo by Laurie Caplan

 

photo by Laurie Caplan

photo by Laurie Caplan

photo by Laurie Caplan

photo by Laurie Caplan

photo by Laurie Caplan

photo by Laurie Caplan

my photos, till my hands got so cold from 38 degree weather that I had to stop!:

Our good friend MaryBeth!

Just look at that weather.

The rally got many and many honks of approval from passing vehicles, more than I have ever heard here.

From each corner, ralliers stood all the way down the block.

As the crowd began to dissipate after an hour because of the weather, I thought of a recent video that I saw about whether protests work. This article explains how weather can affect a protest and subsequent votes by Tea Party (right wing) sympathizers.  “We exploit variation in rainfall on the day of these rallies as an exogenous source of variation in attendance. We show that good weather at this initial, coordinating event had significant consequences for the subsequent local strength of the movement, increased public support for Tea Party positions, and led to more Republican votes in the 2010 midterm elections. Policy making was also affected, as incumbents responded to large protests in their district by voting more conservatively in Congress. Our estimates suggest significant multiplier effects: an additional protester increased the number of Republican votes by a factor well above 1. Together our results show that protests can build political movements that ultimately affect policy making and that they do so by influencing political views rather than solely through the revelation of existing political preferences.”

The weather aspect is especially interesting to me today.  Imagine, if we had at least 250 folks turn out in Astoria in pelting rain and 38F temperature, how many would we have had on a clear and slightly warmer March afternoon?  I admire everyone who stayed to the end; on this occasion, we departed half an hour early when my cold hands could no longer click the camera button..  I believe that those who endured bad weather to march and rally today were especially effective in their display of fortitude, and I have so much hope in the young generation as it reaches voting age.

 

Read Full Post »

Thursday, 22 March 2018

We did not do much work today.  We’d have done none, had we not had an appointment with our excellent new accountant who lives at the north end of the Peninsula about forty minutes away.  Since we were driving north, we also resolved to do a bit of work up that way.

First, we stopped in at the Port of Ilwaco office to try to find out more about the boatyard garden (will it be dug up for an important water project, and if so, how much?).  I could not connect with the port manager today to find out. We did deadhead the narcissi on the south side of the office in the full-on cold wind. A shopper from the Don Nisbett Art Gallery next door got caught in my photo because I was too eager to escape the wind to let him walk out of the way before snapping the shot.

On the way north, we bought some potting soil and two more packets of sweet pea seeds at

The Planter Box.

(I have resolved to plant sweet peas along the boatyard fence as I always do.  Surely the diggers, if diggers they be, would not dig by the fence all the way along.)

at The Planter Box

violas

After our accounting appointment, we briefly worked at

Klipsan Beach Cottages

where Allan trimmed a big sword fern and I planted a few sweet pea and poppy seeds.

looking in the east gate of the fenced garden

I recently came across a photo that compares the yews when Robert and Denny laid the pavers and the yews were first planted in 2003:

and now:

The garden, while still somewhat bare, has plenty to show of interest:

early tulips

blooming rosemary

blueberries

new foliage of Thalictrum ‘Elin’ which will tower overhead.

summer in the fenced garden with Thalictrum ‘Elin’ at middle right

Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii

Euphorbia (dulcis ‘Chameleon, probably)

Euphorbia myrsinites (donkeytail spurge)

daphne (several years old despite a miffy reputation)

azalea

double hellebore

pieris

pulmonarias

hyacinths

camellia (Allan’s photo)

And inside, out of the bitter cold and wind that was blustering even in that sheltered garden:

our good friend Bella, sensibly indoors

Ed’s garden

On the way south, we visited our friends Ed and Jackson Strange to drop off some plant starts (libertia and Lonicera fragrantissima and some rugosa roses; he can pot up and sell the latter at his big plant sale on Memorial Day weekend).

Jackson was most excited to see us.

We humans toured Ed’s exquisite small garden.

a WELL mulched gunnera

the deck

Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’

In the back garden, I scored a presale on the sort of garden bench I have wanted for a long time.

Ed helped Allan load it into our trailer, where it still sits, because I can’t help unload it.  We need help to get it into the back yard; the top piece is SOOOO heavy.

Long Beach

The sun had come out again as we drove further south.  Even though the wind was cold and fierce, we decided we could just about stand getting some buckets of mulch for Fifth Street Park.

Allan’s photo

before

after (Allan’s photos)

While Allan applied the mulch, I deadheaded narcissi in front of the Hungry Harbor, and then we rewarded ourselves for our work in truly miserable wind, with crab rolls at Captain Bob’s Chowder.

Captain Bob’s is behind the NW quadrant of the park.

Captain Bob’s cookies

Refreshed and warm again, we soon got cold by deadheading a few narcissi at city hall and then a rough deadheading of the narcissi at the welcome sign.

before

I took my after photo from inside the van….

….while Allan finished up the back of the sign, somewhat out of the wind and in a rain squall.

The rain stopped again.  We had had enough.  The local weather shows why we could not take anymore today, with 34.5 mph wind that felt like 35 degrees:

 

I had some cyclamens from MaryBeth to plant at the Shelburne. Next time!

At the library, we picked up a book and Allan took these photos:

Fritillaria meleagris

hellebore

and a quilt

At home, I delivered some narcissi clippings to the compost bins and ever so briefly enjoyed my garden.

Corylopsis pauciflora

a good crop of shotweed in this bed

window box

Frosty came with.

Allan’s photo

None of us stayed outside for long.

All I could erase today was one sweet pea task; Fifth Street still needs more mulch.

I am determined to take tomorrow off in order to avoid more cold wind.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Thursday, 22 February 2018

I awoke and thought “We will MULCH!”  I had talked with Shelburne owner Tiffany about getting a pile of mulch delivered, but over the course of working at the Shelburne for a couple of days, I had realized there was no good place to have a mulch pile dumped.  The hotel will need all its parking places soon when the pub opens, and right now all spots are taken up with workers for the refurbishing.  I made an executive decision to start the day by getting a yard of mulch for the areas we had cleared.  A plus: We could dump our load of debris at Peninsula Landscape Supply.  Some work time would be added picking up the mulch, but then time would be saved by being able to park (we hoped) near our mulch target area.

Peninsula Landscape Supply

The lava rock showed the cold.

(Lava rock is my least favourite; Pen. Landscape Supply also has grey gravel and river rock.)

P.L.S. owner Colleen gave me two cute pavers.

Inside the garden shop:

I was thrilled to learn that on March 2nd, P.L.S. will be going to their full seven days a week instead of three days a week.  (The three days a week winter hours is why I felt we must apply mulch TODAY.)

One yard Soil Energy (Allan’s photo)

Soil Energy combines 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).

One of their big trucks waiting to load up after us. (Allan’s photo)

The Shelburne Hotel

We had earlier this week weeded along most of the fence and had removed fennel and yellow flag iris.  The soil there had been low already.  I was so pleased when we had returned to this job to find that over the years, something I had wanted very much had been done: A board along the back of the sidewalk bed to make it possible to raise the soil to sidewalk level.

before

Allan loaded soil into the wheelbarrow for the front garden inside the fence, while I applied soil along the sidewalk with buckets.

I spy an aster.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo (too much hesperantha)

Allan’s photo

When I got to the south end of the sidewalk garden, Allan helped by digging out two Spiraea douglasii, a beautiful native shrub that used to fill up this end of the garden.  Its bloom time is brief and it is a pushy runner,  so these two starts had to go.  There is still one left on the inside, and will be forever, I suppose, because its roots go under the fence.  “It spreads by rhizomes, and is very aggressive, It often forms dense colonies and can quickly become the dominant species in a wetland habitat.”–nativeplantspnw.com

These would want to get as tall as me.

That was hard work and I am so glad Allan will tackle a task like this.

after

I salvaged three Kniphofia (the classic old red hot pokers) and replanted them.

If you know me well, this will shock you.  I planted some starts of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ on the north side of the entry way:

That is because I will never be able to eliminate these Lucifers from the south side:

The Crocosmia is actually a good plant.  I’ve just gone off of it because it has taken over some areas in Long Beach.  It is pushy but not as horribly pushy as orange montbretia (aka crocosmia).  Orange and red pop against the dark green hotel.  That is good because I’m sure I will never manage to completely eliminate the orange montbretia, whose corms are deeply entrenched in shrub and tree roots in some areas.

I am the one who originally planted the Lucifer here years ago.  I kept it contained to a couple of small areas.  It has gone on a rampage since then and is (or was, till this week) all through the garden.

I decided to send Allan for a second yard of mulch while I weeded madly to have enough garden prepared for it.  In picking up a pile of wisteria trimmings (clipped by another worker) to send with him for dumping, I found a surprise:

Here is the source of the yellow flag iris starts that were all along the fence!

Iris pseudacorus is a class C noxious weed here.  It is not mandatory to eliminate it.  However, we (meaning Allan)  are going to dig up this patch on our next day here.  It does not bloom at all in this dense shade and so many better things could replace it.  I would like to get some cyclamen starts from Our Kathleen if she has any to spare, and I could transplant some epimedium into this spot and some hellebore seedlings.  I hope that gardeners from the Big City will stay at the Shelburne and be pleasantly surprised to find garden treasures to admire.

back at Peninsula Landscape Supply (Allan’s photo)

While Allan was gone, I transplanted some hardy fuchsias that were in front of two small rose bushes, blocking them from getting sunlight. The fuchsias went down to the rhododendron end.   I loosened up three more big woody fuchsia clumps that my wonky back suggested I wait for Allan to remove.  When he came back he did…

Anytime he is working in that area, I fretfully cry, “Watch out for the windows!”  We are both excruciatingly careful back there.  The windows were imported from England.

Here is a historic photo of the Shelburne, before two buildings were joined together to make a greater whole.  It used to be across the street from where it sits now.

Along with loosening the fuchsia clumps, which would like to be so tall that they would block the windows, and one of which was swamping a rose bush, I had ruched out loads of running aster roots.  It helps that the roots are a distinctive pinky-purple.  And I had also pulled out two buckets full of pink-rooted Lysimachia punctata which had colonized almost all of the garden on the north side of the entry.  I will let some grow but I want more variety.  Lysimachia punctata is a plant that is so aggressive that I have (almost) completely eliminated from my garden.

The three fuchsias (plain old Fuchsia magellanica) had to go away; their roots were infested with bindweed, scilla, and aster.  There are still many smaller specimens left of the same plant.

Allan’s photo

Have I mentioned these want to get tall?  A passerby familiar with the garden said that in recent years, “from across the street, you could hardly see that the building was there”.

A cleared area. The aster will come back but in moderation.  The white phlox can breathe now.

second load (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

5 PM with the temperature dropping rapidly

looking south from the north end, with montbretia still to be edited, on the right

I’ve started weeding out the grass along the sides of the round pavers and moving some of the loose river rock to the very north end outside the fence.  I would love to have had time to finish that weeding, but the ground was starting to freeze and we were running out of daylight.

looking south. The southernmost end still needs to be weeded and mulched.

looking north from the entry way, before Allan did some more soil smoothing.

Allan’s photo, after soil smoothing with the back of a rake

Here is how it looked three work days ago:

Monday, before, looking north from the hotel entrance

 

looking south from the entryway, 5 PM today

Here is how it looked three work days ago:

We need to weed and edit up to the north end fence.  One more yard of mulch will finish the front garden mulching.  I have many the cool plant in my garden which I will divide and plant into this garden.  The good kind of passalong plant.  I look forward to days warm enough to start that part of the project.

Salt Pub

Tonight was our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner.  This time, the core four of us were joined by Our Kathleen and by Todd (Willapa Gardening).

We gave Todd his belated birthday presents.

Allan’s photo

two books: Cutting Back, my favourite gardening memoir of the last decade, and The Essential Earthman by Henry Mitchell.

–Henry Mitchell was to gardening what Izaak Walton was to fishing. The Essential Earthman is a collection of the best of his long-running column for the Washington Post. Although he offered invaluable tips for novice as well as seasoned gardeners, at the heart of his essays were piquant observations: on keeping records; the role of trees in gardens (they don’t belong there); how a gardener should weather the winter; on shrubs, bulbs, and fragrant flowers―and about observation itself. “The most soul-satisfying gardening book in years.” ―New York Times  (thanks to Leslie Buck for finding this quotation)

Cutting Back made me want to meticulously shape up so many shrubs and trees…I have not had time to get to all of them.

Todd, who had been with his twin sister in Hawaii for his birthday, brought us all delicious Hawaiian chocolates.

We had the most excellent conversation about everyone’s latest gardening and home projects.  I fear that for awhile I dominated the conversation with Shelburne this and Shelburne that, because I am obsessed.

Our delicious food:

cheese curd app with chipotle sauce (Allan’s photo)

crab mac and cheese

pork belly poutine (I would have had this if it was chicken poutine)

smoked tuna melt with salad subbed for fries

Melissa showed us this photo of her garden a couple of days ago:

photo by Melissa Van Domelen

When I got home after dinner, I had a chat on the phone with Bill and Carol Clearman, making for a good end to a satisfying day and evening.

Friday, 23 February 2018

I woke with an intense desire to get back to the Shelburne and dig up yellow flags and edit the orange montbretia and finish weeding the north end so that we would be ready for more mulch.  I was so determined that I did not care that it was 29 degrees.  (Our Kathleen says the low at her cottage halfway up the peninsula was 21F this morning. Her cottage is set down in a “holler”.) Normally, I would not work in such cold weather.  But I am obsessed.

Just as Allan was getting the trailer ready for work, snow began.  I looked at the weather report and saw this:

Never mind.  I’m not that obsessed.

Even this picture on my bookshelves failed to inspire.

It became a blogging day.  With this post done, I can do another book list post.  (Late last night, I posted Reading in 1993, so I have a long way to go.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Thursday, 7 December 2017

I slept long, and so did Skooter.

In the afternoon, Allan went boating again.  He will write up two days together for tomorrow’s post, because yesterday’s trip was not entirely a success, and today he returned to the same place to go further.  (I hear cries of “Thank goodness, we’ll have something to read about other than compost bins!”)

The day was warm, so warm that I had the back window and the front door wide open.  While hauling yesterday’s pile of chopped honeysuckle out to the trailer, I  had to find a summer weight shirt to wear, after having packed them away for winter.

I sorted out the wheelbarrow of purple lysimachia (went into the wheelie bin) and Sedum “Autumn Fire’ (went into a pile to save).

I picked up some windfall branches from the back yard next door, and saw a view that was worth going to the house for the camera.

crab pots being readied for the seaon

Unfortunately, the latest tests show the crabs do not have enough meat and it has been decided that the season will not begin till January.  Many years ago, after visiting and falling in love with this area, I subscribed to the Chinook Observer, the local weekly.  During the winter of 1991, I sat at my table in Seattle and read about a delayed crabbing season and about how the local fishing families were suffering economically at Christmas time.  When I read that a restaurant at the port offered free holiday meals to fishing families, I knew that this was where I wanted to live.  The way the community pulled together in hard times impressed me deeply.  (The restaurant in question might have been the former Reel ‘Em In Café.)

the latest windfall

My own little frustration is that tonight would have been a perfect evening for a campfire, being windless.  I knew Allan would not return till after dark,  and I would have felt rather selfish eating a campfire dinner on my own.  Especially since he was the one who had gone to the store to get sausages.

I feel pressured because it is so hard to get to just stay home on staycation.  We have Important Things to Do for the afternoons or evenings of the next three days.  This strangely warm winter* weather is supposed to go well into next week, though.  I hope so.

*As far as I am concerned, fall is Sept-Oct-Nov and winter is Dec-Jan-Feb.

The only indication of winter is the low angle of the sun and seasonal look of the garden.  Otherwise, it felt like a summer day.

2:20 PM

Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and smokebush

some interesting new growths on the dead “Danger Tree” snag

Frosty walked with me.

After some inexpert pruning of my leaning ‘Cox’s Orange Pippen Tree…

before…it’s leaning to the east

after, some big eastern branches removed

…I measured my compost area (again!) to figure out if a fourth bin would fit.

I don’t use the plastic bin; we have three of them.

I thought about having to empty all the bins at once and then realized that the bins could be moved without having to empty them all at once.  Starting at the near end, one could be moved, and the others shifted as they get emptied.  Eureka!   At the same time, we could move them forward, making room to walk between them and the greenhouse.  I need two more pallets to make another bin.

It has proved annoying when debris falls into this narrow space. And there is no room to maintain the greenhouse exterior.

There is room at the far end, too, if that batch of hops and honeysuckle were pruned regularly.

I simply had to start tearing a bin apart and get it moved.  I just could not wait. I would tie it together and later Allan could do the good job that he likes to do. I managed to tear off one side and move it over.  To my intense frustration, I could not get the back pallet off.  It got wodged into the other one and stuck by one screw.  I worked and worked at it and finally had to give up.

When I dragged the plastic composter to the back of the garden, I looked wistfully through the gate at the pile of gear shed pallets, and then realized that I have one under the wood pile.  I dumped the wood onto the tarp and dragged the pallet up to the compost area.  Now I just need one more.  I considered walking down to the dump pile near the boatyard where sometimes free pallets appear, and rolling one home.  I wasn’t quite that obsessed; it’s a five block “roll”.  (A Flintstones roll of a square object.)

I was left with a great big mess again…but tomorrow Allan will help me.

If we can get bin one set up, I can start shifting compost from bin two into it.  Because the wood pile pallet was a little smaller, I think the fourth bin might even fit in without moving the whole thing over.  (But will it bother me to to have one slightly smaller bin? Yes.) Bins two and three do need to come forward about a foot as they get emptied out.

Other than garden touring, this is the most satisfying event of my year, or will be, when that one danged stuck pallet gets moved.

I could not do my original plan of clipping more debris to compost, so instead I finished the daylight by clipping old hellebore leaves throughout the front garden.  They carry disease and must be discarded. I loosely filled the wheelie bin and didn’t even get to the back garden hellebores.

When Allan returned after dark, he went to the free wood pile and scored two more pallets.  Joy! Tomorrow, he will help me complete bin one.  No sleeping late, because we must get it done in time to go to a rally in Ocean Park.

Tonight, we have a new disc of Stranger Things, season one, so life is extra good.

Next:  Allan’s boating adventure.  We’ll get back to composting soon, never fear.

Read Full Post »

Sunday, 19 November 2017

I caight up by writing the three latest blog posts. I begin this one with a poem that blog reader Lavinia of Salmon Brook Farms recommended.  It is from a book called A Visit to William Blake’s Inn:

The King of Cats Sends a Postcard to His Wife

by Nancy Willard

Keep your whiskers crisp and clean.
Do not let the mice grow lean.
Do not let yourself grow fat
like a common kitchen cat.Have you set the kittens free?
Do they sometimes ask for me?
Is our catnip growing tall?
Did you patch the garden wall?

Clouds are gentle walls that hide
gardens on the other side.
Tell the tabby cats I take
all my meals with William Blake,

lunch at noon and tea at four,
served in splendor on the shore
at the tinkling of a bell.
Tell them I am sleeping well.

Tell them I have come so far,
brought by Blake’s celestial car,
buffeted by wind and rain,
I may not get home again.

Take this message to my friends.
Say the King of Catnip sends
to the cat who winds his clocks
a thousand sunsets in a box,

to the cat who brings the ice
the shadows of a dozen mice
(serve them with assorted dips
and eat them like potato chips),

and to the cat who guards his door
a net for catching stars, and more
(if with patience he abide):
catnip from the other side.

Of course, the poem reminded my of Smoky, and I found it most comforting to think of “catnip on the other side”.
Calvin enjoyed cereal milk this morning.
I am going to call tomorrow for a veterinary appointment for him.  He is almost 13 and has a nagging little cough, which I hope is just a hairball thing.  He is a compulsive groomer who has sometimes groomed himself into bare patches.  Since he and Smoky had become best friends, he had been grooming Smoky instead.  Now he is back to licking his ownself.

Snoozy Calvin

Frosty chose to nap near my living room desk, on the floor, even though there are four comfy chairs nearby.

Skooter helped me blog.

The wind gusted at 45 mph, as predicted.  We need a dry-ish, calm-ish Sunday or Monday for mulching the Ilwaco Community Building garden while the library is closed.

In the evening, I settled in to read a little book sent me by an imaginary bookish friend–that is, someone I know online but have never met. It came with this card:

The wee book was published in 1925.

What an affirming message to read today.

This illustration spoke to me of my grandmother (who would have treasured a little book like this):

In her Scrapbooks, she had several photos of stone edged ponds much like that one.

And she had pasted in an illustration with a similar path.

A pretty postcard that was in the book:

I’m feeling especially fortunate in my friends lately.

I finished Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Here are four favourite passages.

On someone who converses by asking questions:

On being a beloved person:

On why not to finish a boat:

A perfect river:

Now on to Of Mice and Men.

Sweet Thursday is a sequel to Cannery Row, but I need a little break from that setting.

Read Full Post »

Thursday, 16 November 2017, part two

When we returned from work, we just had time before dark to do a garden walkabout.  We had not been into the garden since the recent two days of rain and wind.

standing water where it usually does not collect

three days worth of rain in the big yellow rain gauge

lots of little twigs down

Frosty wanted to follow. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

the center path of the Bogsy Woods Loop

Allan’s photo

east Bogsy Woods Loop

from the center: the new sit spot

overflowing swale

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking east from the west side

hardy fuchsia

Allan’s photo

future firewood

forlorn hope for a winter campfire

In the house, Allan’s gloves after washing and drying:

We had time for an hour of sitting down (me reading The Grapes of Wrath) before going out to  meet Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) for dinner at Salt Pub at the port, followed by a Salty Talk.

Allan’s photo

Melissa showed us a photo of one of a couple of trees that had fallen at Sea Star Acres.

photo courtesy Sea Star Gardening

For dinner, Allan and I had “chicken pot pie poutine”, a deconstructed chicken pot pie with fries, gravy, and fried cheese curd.  It was amazing comfort food.

chicken pot pie poutine

and a salad for something healthy

Betsy Millard, director of Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. introduces the season’s first Salty Talk.

Park Ranger Dane Osis and a cauliflower mushroom (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo: the deadly amanita on the left

amanita (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo of some mushrooms brought in by an audience member.

My lecture notes follow.  Although I have no intention of collecting mushrooms or of eating wild mushrooms that anyone but the most expert person has harvested (and even then I would think twice), I am interested in all plant life.

Salty Talk about wild mushrooms, what I learned:

Mycelium mushrooms are like the apples on an apple tree.  You cannot hurt the main organism by picking them.

Saprophytic mushrooms can be mass produced.  So-called “Wild oyster mushrooms” are most likely produced on a farm.

Mycorrhizal fungi are symbiotic with plants and will transfer moisture from one part of a forest to another.

Knowing your trees will help you to identify mushrooms (based on where the mushrooms like to grow).

The “chicken of the woods” fungi used to rot the hulls of wooden ships.

Ranger Osis says there are fancy mushroom collecting knives with a brush on one end, for brushing off the mushroom to get a closer ID.  He made one by duct taping a brush to a knife.

His favourite mushroom book is All That the Rain Promises and More.  The one with the trombone on the cover.

Cauliflower mushrooms look like a pile of egg noodles.  The one he showed in the lecture, he picked on Monday while elk hunting.  His pick up bed filled with rain water, and yet the mushroom is still good, whereas a chanterelle would have rotted.  He has found one that was 24 pounds.  Another elk hunter found a 55 pound one and thought it was a bedded down elk at first.  If you pick this mushroom, it will grow back the following year.

This strange mushroom can get up to 50 lbs and is delicious, Dane Osis said.

There are more common names for a king bolete than there are languages.  Porcini is just one name.  They are beloved of deer and elk…and can have maggots, as a friend of ours discovered when she brought some home and left them in a bag for a short while.

Jack of Lantern mushrooms, which glow in the dark and can be mistaken for chanterelles, will make you violently ill.

Survivors say the death cap mushroom is the most delicious mushroom they ever ate.  Liver failure will follow in 48 hours.  The deadly death cap is changing hosts from oak to spruce and Douglas fir and can now be more commonly found in the Pacific Northwest (unfortunately).

The effects of amanita mushrooms, which are more toxic here than in Europe, are associated with berserker Vikings, Santa Claus (flying, maybe?), and Lewis Carroll supposedly tripped on amanita before writing Alice in Wonderland.  (Don’t try this.)

Candy cap mushrooms taste like maple syrup and are used in desserts, and will even make your sweat smell like maple syrup.  There is a toxic mushroom that tends to grow with the rare candy cap and looks almost exactly like it.

Since I knew almost nothing of mushrooms before the lecture, I feel that it was successfully jam packed with information.  I look forward to the once a month Salty Talk season which will continue once a month through the winter and into early spring.

Read Full Post »

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The forecast was for so much rain that we probably would not have tried to work, had we not  an appointment to see Shelly Pollock at NW Insurance and Financial to sort out my health insurance.  This drew me out of the house and away from reading The Grapes of Wrath.

First, in a dry hour, we tidied up a block worth of Ilwaco planters.

street tree, before (Allan’s photos)

before

after clipping lavenders and oregano

cleaning up a block worth of Ilwaco planters (telephoto)

also did three more planters near the stoplight intersection (Allan cut down that Sedum and pulled the nasturtiums)

A local fellow walked by and said how much he liked the nasturtiums and that he had picked up the fallen seeds and planted them around town.  I hope they all come up!  Allan refers to the seeds as “little brains”, which is what they look like.

Long Beach

Shelly’s office is in Long Beach.  We bracketed the appointment with some attempts to further tidy Long Beach planters and street tree gardens.  We did get two on the nearest corner done, mostly in the rain, before time to see her.

Bella in Shelly’s waiting room

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The books on the table, Starfish and Bottom Feeders, are from an excellent cozy mystery series by our friend Jan Bono.

on Shelly’s desk

As we got started on our health insurance, the Washington State Affordable Care Act website locked us out of our account as we tried to change the password because we had forgotten to bring ours.  (It has to be long and complicated, and the site makes Allan change it frequently.)  Because we’d be locked out of it for half an hour, we went off to try to work again and agreed to return in an hour.

We got a bit more planter work done.

before

and after (Allan’s photos)

Work soon became impossible.

So we went to Abbracci Coffee Bar, two blocks north, for a treat.

We got a window table.

Tony and Bernardo (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Mexican hot chocolate and cookies

We got to see our friend, Sophie (Allan’s photo)

Back at Shelly’s office an hour later, Allan was outside trying to tidy under the street tree while I waited for Shelly’s previous appointment to end.  As it did, Allan took shelter from pelting hail.

I knocked on the window for him to come in.

This time, we were able to access the website.  I am so grateful to Shelly for her expert help.  I got signed up for a plan I can afford, with the ACA tax rebate.  Without it, my plan would cost about $800 a month, or approximately half my annual income.  The greed and fear of the insurance companies (and pharmaceutical industry and the Republican party) may be the downfall of the ACA, but not yet.  Two and a half years for me before the relative safely of Medicare…  Shelly says that people used to be sad to get older, but that now people are rejoicing in her office to have turned 65 (Medicare age).  Medicare will also cost us about 1/4 of our eventual Social Security income, so even that is not a pretty picture for old age.

Continuing with work was futile, as the day turned as dark as dusk at 4 PM.

On the way home, we stopped at the library to pick up a film I had ordered.

The library garden had drifts of hail:

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Next: the rest of our day, including a mushroom lecture.  It was too long a day to write about in one post, despite us not getting much done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Monday, 13 November 2017

Even though the storm lived up to its advance reputation, it did us no harm.  The lights flickered but did not go out.  It was perfect reading weather, except for missing a certain cat cuddled under my chin.  The remaining three cats are nice, and they like me, but they do not dote on me.

There was some excitement to watch on the local Facebook feed:

The wind speeds were dramatic.

The 89 mph was up at Radar Ridge, a high hill south of the Astoria Bridge.

From the Chinook Observer, late Tuesday:

Overnight wind gusts Tuesday-Wednesday:
Megler Mountain: 76 mph
Naselle Radar Ridge: 70 mph
Cape Disappointment: 60 mph  [that’s just across the Ilwaco marina from us]
Sustained wind speeds around 50 mph at times

Skooter watching the weather

Meanwhile, I read.

This history of the Dust Bowl enlightened me in a gripping can’t put it down way about the harshness of the drought and sky blackening, lung choking dust storms of the 1930s.  I’d learned a bit about it in school, where the idea that contour plowing could heal the land impressed me.  But I had no idea till now how bad the dust had been.

How beautiful the land once was:

The advice of using dust to mulch!!

“The best side is up”:

“We Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land…”

“You are filled with dirt.”

Static electricity from the dust storms made barbed wire fences spark and burned kitchen gardens.

This book will stick with me.  Because I love diaries, I was especially pleased with diary excerpts of a farmer, Dan Hartwell, that were woven into the story.

A man of poetic thought in a dying land:

Mr. Hartwell just plain broke my heart.  The diary just ends, with no idea of what became of him.

I had read the book straight through with nary a pause.  I have ordered a documentary movie that includes Bam White, one of the people whose story figures large in it: The Plow that Broke the Plains.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

When I woke up, I looked out the south window and the skyline had changed.  What was that big grey thing? My view had never included a big grey….building?  I was disconcerted.

When I figured it out, I asked Allan to have a look. “Is that the river?” he asked, mystified for a moment also, until he also realized….”It’s a truck!”

It moved and my normal view returned.

It would have been a pretty exciting day if the river had suddenly returned to right outside our back gate.

The full gale flag still flew at the port, and another wind front battered the house.  Good, another reading day.

Calvin now waits for cereal milk.

I read another book straight through without a pause.  I had just acquired my own copy of the best book about the loss of of a pet, one that I had read twice before when my extra good cats Orson, and later Dumbles, had died.

reading with Smoky’s brother, Frosty

I thought that this time, I wouldn’t cry my way through the book. But I did, in a cathartic way.  Virginia Ironside had collected poetry and essays along with the most heartfelt stories that were written in to her in her job as a British “Agony Aunt’ (like Dear Abby).

And this:

And the inscription on a pet’s gravestone: “Here lies love.”

Orson sunning himself on the sidewalk, round 1991

Dumbles, 1999-2011

Smokey

I was pleased to find that Virginia Ironside has a Facebook page, along with several new books that I immediately ordered through interlibrary loan.  I’ve read her basic letters to an agony aunt book and one called “No, I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club“, about “aging disgracefully”, so I know I like her style.

Meanwhile, I had been inspired by The Worst Hard Time to finally read The Grapes of Wrath.  I had tried it last night, and just flicking through it made me think it was going to be a ponderous read.  Today, within seven pages I was mesmerized.  How had I missed this?  Allan has all of Steinbeck, a gift from his Grandma, Beulah Fones, who lived in Steinbeck country.  The only one I have read is The Red Pony, forced to in school and did not like it.  I have some catching up to do.

Allan’s Grandma Beulah

I read through half the book and finally had to sleep. I just needed a good rainy Wednesday to finish it.  That was not to be as the weather permitted work on the next day, and so I am still worried about the Joads, who just made it (well, some of them) across the desert into California.  I do not think their dreams are going to come true.

The moment I fell in love with The Grapes of Wrath, page 7, when young Tom Joad hitches a ride:

The refugees, trying to decide which possessions can go with them to California:

human kindness:

If I see someone traveling with a vehicle overloaded with possessions, and I have seen some vehicles that remind me of the Joads (because we know about the Joads even if we haven’t read the book), my immediate response is compassion and help, not turning away and contempt.  I fear for them and am going to get back to my reading the very minute I get this post scheduled.

(Allan has been busy working on a project involving his boating blog posts.  More on this later.)

Read Full Post »

Saturday, 11 November 2017

It is Veterans Day.  I reposted my mom’s Marine Corps story on Facebook.

For the first time in months, I sat and read an entire book.  I have read all of Ruth Reichl’s culinary members.  She has turned her hand to a novel.

To my delight, one theme in the book is an imaginary correspondence in WWII between a young girl and famous chef James Beard.  You may recall that I spent all last winter reading WWII memoirs and novels.  In one part of the correspondence, the persecution of Italians in WWII is addressed:

The finder of the letters discusses this with a friend:

I wish the human race would learn to not persecute whole groups of people.  Yet more than 70 years later, it still goes on.

A delicious passage about the reading of old memoirs and letters:

Allan usefully occupied himself changing the house and shed locks (which have become worn) and adding another coat of paint to a plant table.  We’d had vague intentions of going to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum for the annual Chinook Tribe dinner.  We did not.  Allan said the streets were fully parked for a couple of blocks, so it must have been popular.  By the time the locks…and my book…were done, the dinner only had an hour to go and we would have missed the drumming demonstration.  We stayed home.  I turned my reading attention to The Tootlepedal Blog and caught up and then caught up on another favourite blog, The Miserable Gardener.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The last of the tomatoes, some ripened on the window sill. The dark ones are delicious Chocolate Cherry.

In my recent full house clean up for our Halloween party, I pinned some badges and brooches to the curtain over the cat door.

Skooter has taken a great interest in removing them.

This one, once my grandma’s, was in the center of my desk.

Skooter triumphant

We are expecting some WEATHER.

weather map

High wind warning:

South Washington Coast-
Including the cities of Raymond, Long Beach, Ocean Park, Naselle,
Cathlamet, and Cape Disappointment
348 AM PST Sun Nov 12 2017

…HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM TO 6 PM PST MONDAY…

The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a High Wind
Warning, which is in effect from 8 AM to 6 PM PST Monday. The
High Wind Watch is no longer in effect.

* WINDS…In the coastal communities, south wind 25 to 35 mph with
gusts to 60 mph. Near beaches and headlands, south wind 35 to 45
mph with gusts 65 to 75 mph. Winds turning more southwest
Monday afternoon.

* TIMING…Monday, with strongest winds during the afternoon.

* IMPACTS…Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power
lines. Scattered power outages are possible. Travel will become
difficult for high profile vehicles along Highway 101.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected
or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts
of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

I had best check behind the garage for loose plastic flowerpots and tidy such things up.  Oh! And the Great Wall of China must come down!

I told Allan that if he would take the plates down for me, I would make him famous in a photo.

Next year, when dry weather comes, we have beautiful mosaic plates to add, created by our friend, artist Michele Naquaiya.  She gave us a box of them when cleaning out her studio, including the glorious Garden Art sign that used to welcome her guests.  The plates are already are fitted out with plate hangers.  Thank you, Michele, and thanks to Judy and Larry for bringing them to us on Halloween.

I’m putting this cool little piece in the house with my other tchotchkes.

Now I’m diving into a cozy mystery and will blog again after the storm either lives up to its reputation or does not.

I enjoy this series very much, although I could do without the cat helping to solve the mystery.

The cats and I are enjoying this staycation preview of doing nothing much.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »