Posts Tagged ‘Willapa Bay’

Friday, 6 April 2018

Allan did a bit of work today, deadheading (mostly narcissi) while I gardened at home.  I am so hoping that the Saturday through Sunday windstorm does not pop the flowers off the tall tulips.

Comments in italics are Allan’s explanations of his day.

Long Beach

This series is a continuation of our May 31 project to photograph all of the Long Beach main street planters and tree gardens during their spring bloom. The ones in the north were still incomplete as the camera battery plotzed.


Taken safely from across the street.


With a break in traffic, a closer and more vertical view from the street.

tulip damaged by too much rain. It was then clipped after giving us its message and will try again next year.

A victim of idle hands with destructive thoughts near a bus stop. Several tall stems were also in this planter, missing their flowers.

Building for sale on the prime corner of Pacific and Bolstad

You may recall my trauma a couple of years ago when a shopkeeper picked all the tulips, and then when I tried to explain why that was just not on, said snarkily, “So are you crying now?”  (I was misty with frustration.)  THAT is the building now for sale.

Please hold up to the storm, delicate long-stemmed tulips!

It is so uncommon to have a severe windstorm this late in tulip season that I recall only one year when many tulips got snapped off by the wind.

a beautiful sunny spring break Saturday

Lewis and Clark Square

Lewis and Clark Square with Police Station and Veterans Field

Tulip ‘Formosa’ blooming early (at least I think it is Formosa, which usually blooms latest of all)

Tulips ‘Tom Pouce’ and ‘West Point’

Tulip saxatalis at the police station

After the much appreciated work in Long Beach, Allan went to a wildlife refuge area at the end of the “dump road”.

The Reikkola Unit

Lysichiton americanum, skunk cabbage or swamp lantern lined the entrance road after passing Penninsula Sanitation & Recycling.

swamp lanterns

There were so many that the air smelled skunky.

A flourishing example on the Reikkola Unit trail. 

This bloom in its prime had curious ants.

Near the parking area, this guy was sunbathing and enjoying a dip in the warm water.

I had heard a rumor that a boat ramp was being considered out here which a kayak could launch from. One issue postponing it was that this is a gated area after a person walks from the parking area. But, since little boats are light, perhaps I could walk it in when the tide is right.

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a distance glimpse of Willapa Bay. I took the path to the right thinking the water adjacent the tree might lead out to the bay. The path to the left leads to Parker Slough which turns out is the more likely site for boat access. 

The channel soon petered out.

I stopped a short 3/4 mile walk from the car. It would be a long walk carrying a boat. Still no waterway but there’s an old spare pedestrian bridge.

Looking west from the pedestrian bridge towards Parker Slough.


Even in the later afternoon, there rose no breath of wind to turn it into a sailing day.


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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Allan goes boating in the Nahcotta boat basin

Today was a windy sunny day, with gusts predicted over 30 mph. That could make a pleasantly busy ride in a little sailboat. It was an easterly too, which favored north/south waterways, like Loomis Lake. A day to celebrate! I figured I should return there to check if the vegetation is diminishing enough that I could take out a guest without getting stuck. The locals have been working on it. It’s the biggest lake on the peninsula, two miles long with lots of wildlife. After a slow start, I drove up past Long Beach and found that the public launch to Loomis Lake was locked shut for the season. Even if I name-dropped my way into launching at the private Tides Wests dock just north, it’s a push and a drag to get my heavy boat launched through their grasses.


My boat is too big to toss off the side of the dock.

Here are some shots I took in 2014.

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The upper right shows my path through the muck in June, 2014.

With an hour and a half until dusk, I headed north to Nahcotta. The tide would be over eight feet. That meant deep water without the mudflats that appear below the three-foot tide.


only caution is a fast outflow after dark

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It is a short trip to Nahcotta.

Here is the turnoff. There is a small mountain of oyster shells in the distance.


Beach Bites is a highly rated food truck.

Launch fees are $5; kayaks or canoes are only $1. I paid once without the envelope, then once again correctly with the envelope which includes the tag for the dashboard.


There’s a picnic table to the left and parking next to the water. With a food truck nearby this could be a good way to enjoy the day even without a boat.

I sailed north towards Oysterville (3.5 miles) and looked at houses.


We used to help maintain the gardens at one of these houses.

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Viewing houses can be fun from the water as there aren’t any tall fences or hedges. It was certainly fun splashing through the waves but it was only a 46-minute outing. It would have been interesting to boat out to the end of the pier and watch the crane but it was getting dark.


A crane unloading what looked like oyster shells.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

boating on Willapa Bay

Another not so early start today as there didn’t seem to be any breeze predicted above 5 mph and there was painting to be done at home.

When I arrived in Nahcotta people and boats were at work. The wind was brisk. The bank is rocky so I set the boat up on the lawn while waiting for the ramp.


After five minutes this boat left with their floats.


Ten minutes later another boat arrived to unload butter clams.

After that, another boat arrived and also unloaded their bags of butter clams.


I quickly rolled the boat down the ramp past the bags of clams when a truck appeared at the top of the ramp behind me. Aha, by backing the truck bed down the ramp, loading clams would be easier. I was about to quickly pull my boat back out when one of them offered to help. I lifted the stern, expecting the wheels to drop off, but they got stuck, of course. He reached under, the wheels fell off properly, and off I went to tie up out of their way.


Lowering the truck bed to the dock makes for easier lifting.


I’m out of the way while the crew gets ready to head out for more butter clams.


Full of boats and gear.

I meant to check out the crane and the workings of the port but sailed right past. The wind had picked up properly and small white caps formed.  I headed straight out into the bay to avoid any more boats coming in. Just because I was fortunate to have the day off, and a recreational boat, it’s only proper to stay out of the way.

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Like the powerboat above, I headed out to clear the breakwater

There are lots of small hazards to entertain too.


I thought this might be a submerged sign.


A forest of poles mark the oyster beds. I didn’t hit a one. (16 in this pic)


The tower marking the port’s entrance.

I angled back to the shore looking for familiar landmarks but didn’t recognize a thing as it didn’t look like the view from the road.


The view from the water.

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The same buildings from a google map.

Not seeing a lot of reason to continue south I quickly headed north over yesterday’s route.


Ooh, over 8 mph and worthy of leaning over the side to track better.

About as good destination as any. A house with a very long fence I could look up later.


It’s a shallow shoreline when there is grass growing out of the water.


The air was clear enough to see the Cascade range, about 140 miles away.

I had gone 2 miles north of Nahcotta and the sun was getting low.

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The top of Long Island is on the right. I covered about 2.5 miles of the coast.

I later asked a local about these square net floats and found out that some oysters are grown in floating net bags to grow to a more round shape.


Back at port crews were still busy. There was another beautiful sunset.


This ship was spinning around spraying the contents off the barge.

It was now 5:00 and the port office was closing. A couple of cars were watching the sunset and another car was watching their dogs run around me and bark. The crews had gone home.


The port shut down for the night.

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Day one, lots of wind and fun but only 46 minutes.

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Day two and two-thirds more trip.

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First, an exciting announcement. The Astoria garden tour is back!  Read more about it here.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

We continued our peninsula garden tour day, with Ann and Evan, at Dave and Melissa’s Sea Star Garden on the outskirts of Oysterville.  On several acres, much of which is ungardenable wetland, our friends have spent the past two years using their rare days off from their gardening business to create their own paradise. Because they used to own a nursery called Glauca Moon, they arrived here with a large palette of plants in pots.

Dave and Mel’s past life

Sea Star Garden

On the left as you enter the driveway is a large raised garden where once a decrepit old house stood (a house that was unsafe to even enter).  This garden came about when a new septic system had to be installed last year.

Melissa and Evan

On top, a carpet of sedums will solve the problem of not being able to plant anything deep rooted on the septic system.

Allan’s photo


Dave, me, Melissa, Ann, Sean (Allan thinks this looks like a landing party from Star Trek.)

By the back deck of the house is a water feature with waterfall, made by a friend of the previous owner.

Evan and Ann looking at the pond.

the deck pond

in the water (Allan’s photo)

water lilies (Allan’s photo)

pond frog (Allan’s photo)

north of the house

north of the house

The property had been owned by a gardener before and abounds in interesting trees and shrubs.

The Eucalyptus that Melissa named Elvis.

Ann and one of at least two Acer griseum (paperbark maple)

Acer griseum (Allan’s photo)

one of the maples that Dave and Mel brought with them

Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Eskimo Sunset’; This tree had a surprise.

bird nest (Allan’s photo)

old bridge on the north side (Allan’s photo)

Evan, Ann, Melissa in the woods to the north of the house (Allan’s photo)

As Dave and Mel clear the underbrush, they are finding all sorts of hardscapes like two small ponds and a big stone circle with a stone bench.

Evan and the mysterious stone circle (Allan’s photo)

Hostas are one of their favourites in the shade garden.

on the deck (You can find sand dollars on the north end of the beach here.)

Next, we went to the garden of a North Beach Garden Gang friend, just south of Oysterville.

Todd’s Family Garden

As we drove up, Todd was weeding.

Allan’s photo

The house reminded us all of a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece.

Around the family home, Todd has planted his collection from his years as the display garden curator at Plant Delights nursery in North Carolina.

in the sunshine

Morina longifolia

Ann and Evan examining and inspecting (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Ann and Evan admire the view of Willapa Bay.

Todd surveys an area full of potential.

You can see Allan taking this photo of the shade garden.

Todd’s shade garden (Allan’s photo)


Spigelia marilandica ‘Little Redhead’

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The kitchen garden, which one of Todd’s family describes as “a real garden, none of this foo foo stuff” lay far below.  Because my heel was hurting, I sat this part of the trip out. (Todd kindly offered to go get a truck but I did not want everyone to have to wait.) Allan’s photos of that part of the excursion:

descending on a woodland path

the kitchen and flower cutting garden

Evan in the berry patch

kitchen garden

Ann harvesting carrots

sweet peas

fenced garden

walking to the bay

Todd has a handful of lettuce and carrots that became our salad for the next two nights.

Ann in her element

back up the road (the woods path down was a shortcut)


While I waited up top, I looked at my present from Lorna.  She had given me a book as we parted ways at The Oysterville Garden.

Thank you, Lorna!

a dedication that speaks to my heart

I also pondered curmudgeonly thoughts about garden tour programs that I feel compelled to share.  If curmudgeonliness annoys rather than amuses you, please avoid.

One of the gardens on today’s informal tour, Martie and Steve’s, had been on the local tour the day before. The tour program suggested its symmetry was “reminiscent of centuries old British estates” and “will put you in mind of Downton Abbey”.  Perhaps because it had a cricket lawn? Perhaps because of the green lawns in general?  It reminded me of my thoughts about garden tour descriptions, something that is always on my mind during garden tour season.

The Captain Stream House

Martie and Steve’s garden completely stood on its own and did not need to be compared to any other place.  The garden’s lines seemed clean and modern to me and certainly did not remind me of Downton Abbey.  Other than my usual desire to be in the UK, I would rather visit their garden than the site of Downton Abbey, anyway.

 I was reminded of the previous year’s comparison of a small garden to an Italian courtyard, leading to confusion on the part of tour guests (much of which I heard about later…even unto it being mentioned this year, and at the time, a friend texted me from that garden asking for enlightenment about the description).  I think that serious garden tour guests take every word of a description into consideration.  Raising expectations is not wise.  That particular garden (the non-Italian-courtyard) also stood well on its own because its big pots and hand made pavers were all portable; I would have described it as being a small garden that showed perfect solutions for folks who are renters rather than property owners.  There’s no need to get fanciful and make tour guests expect something grander than what is there.  Instead of describing a garden as “extensive” when it isn’t, describe it honestly as small but plant-i-ful. (To be fair, this year the word “extensive” was used to describe a tiny local garden in a newspaper article, not in the program itself.)  I think it is especially important not to aggrandize a garden.

The Master Gardeners’ north county tour, which I have now attended for two years, is good at avoiding hyperbole (with only one exception out of 12 garden descriptions in two years…a solid record of accurate descriptions).

The Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend programs tend to be accurate and non-aggrandizing (although I do remember, just once, looking for a cactus garden that turned out to be a couple of specimens in a pot).

I also do not like being told to walk here, stroll there, sit there, admire this, ask the gardener that.  Just describe the garden in a factual sense.  Here is an imaginary example: If I am told that “a salvaged window defines the edge of the garden by the river”, I will find it and admire it on my own without being told “Be sure to admire the salvaged window,” or “Ask the gardener where she got that window.”  (Clearly, I do have issues with being told what to do—thus 41 years of self employment.)

I don’t expect all readers to agree.  Now, let’s go on to one of my favourite peninsula gardens, the bayside garden of Steve and John.


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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Another two part post, as this blog falls further behind real time.  Our day had only four jobs, two of them brief, and would end with a tour of THE Oysterville garden, which always deserves its own post.

The Red Barn Arena


Amy and her barrel racing horse


Allan’s string trimming alternative to using round up right behind the garden


My friend Disney, the mother whippet, who likes me. It is her son who snubs me. Unless I have a treat.

Diane’s garden


new lawn going in by Steve Clarke and crew


All we did was fertilize and deadhead the three groups of back yard pots.

The Basket Case Greenhouse

I had a check to deliver and a few plants to seek.


middle greenhouse


north greenhouse


Middle greenhouse; all three greenhouses have many choices.


Allan’s photo


I love this peachy diascia, and that is my favourite tender fuchsia, Pink Marshmallow.


I got myself an Orange Rocket Barberry, shown here with Roxanne. This time, I won’t forget to water it. I’ve killed two Orange Rockets by neglect in the first year.


a poster by the sales desk

The Anchorage Cottages

Allan pruned the center courtyard viburnums to keep them from coming forward into the perennial border.


Allan’s photo: before, coming too far forward


 before (Note that I do not like the look of the Arbutus on the right.  I gave it some Dr Earth fert.)




Mitzu supervising






Dutch Iris


with gorgeous markings


‘Eye of the Tiger’ Dutch Iris


Dutch Iris and Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’ (blue potato vine)


Two of the four windowboxes


Climbing hydrangea


north end garden


climbing rose and ceanothus

The Planter Box

I wanted 18 more painted sage for me, and more Dr Earth rhododendron fertilizer, and then I saw some Cosmos ‘Double Click’ and ‘Seashells’ and ended up with two full flats of plants.  Oops.


at The Planter Box entrance

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We spent an hour in intensive grooming of the garden.


east side of fenced garden with Climbine Cecile Brunner rose and honeysuckle


looking in the east gate


birdbath view


Allium ‘Mount Everest’


The gold is Persicaria ‘Golden Arrow’




Mary had a little time to work with me. She is picking snails that are hiding in a daylily.

Allan had planned to clean up buttercups along the roadside edge of the swale (by the road up to the cottages).  He found that the housekeeping and grounds crew had done a beautiful job there, so he did not have to.


Allan’s photo: well done, and not by us.


Allan’s photo

This gave him time to do a good clean up on the outside of the fenced garden.


Podophyllum (Allan’s photo)


bindweed on the weigela! (Allan’s photos)



Allan’s photo: One of Mary’s snails on the run.

We then went north to THE Oysterville garden: Tomorrow’s post. On the way, we took a scenic route through Ocean Park.  Allan’s photos:



on Park Avenue


While I went into the Oysterville garden, Allan detoured on foot to the bay to look at the boats.


Oysterville by the bay



These are all part of the Oysterville regatta, a July event that seems to be an invitational event sort of for the Oysterville crowd.    Everyone uses the same kind of boat so that skill is the factor in winning, followed by a barbecue.

On the way home down Sandridge Road, we saw that (as expected) Steve Clarke and Co had completed laying Diane and Larry’s new lawn to perfection.  We did not stop; it did look like there will be room to create a very narrow remake of our roadside garden although I’m concerned about it being closer to the road, thus more nervewracking to work on.  We shall see!

In Ilwaco, we drove down Howerton to assess the gardens and saw both artist Don Nisbett and Butch of Coho Charters.

Fisherman Butch

Butch said, “No matter what they say about you, I still think you do a great job!”





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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Allan’s Day, part two: Long Island

This was the feature of the day, the weekend, to me: A guided trip by naturalists of a route to easily land and hike up to the small stand of old growth cedar that has been preserved on Long Island.


Here’s Long Island as it compares to the Long Beach peninsula

Here’s another view of the island.

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I’ve paddled into the bottom of the large green meadow in the center. Another time I paddled to the meadow opposite the Refuge and Baby Island but didn’t spot a good place to land with a trail. Actually, I felt it was OK to just sit in the boat.


Not all birders are boaters, therefore, canoes and planning.

Once again I ran across Baylee Layman, owner of Willapa Paddling Adventures. She had just driven 35 miles south from Raymond with a customer’s rental. Her shop has a fleet of varied kayaks and paddle boards. It’s a great place to get a lesson and into the water.


Baylee with one of her kayaks


Robert Pyle loading up with Tom & Ann

I was the last to leave as I had boots to help push boats off.


We were careful not to break the bug net


A canoe returns for more passengers while the kayaks head for the old ferry landing.


The pickup truck of the paddling world



I dragged the little Mary Beth kayak to just over the grass bank.


Robert Pyle & crew followed. The tide is a +1.3′ 


Here’s the party getting ready. Someone suggested I pull the Mary Beth up even further and tie it to a post next to Dr. Pyle’s canoe.


Here’s the same scene after we came back. The tide had risen six feet and fallen back a half a foot and was still flooding the grass bluff.

There was a large group paddling around to the far side of the island to set up camp at Smokey Hollow, one of five campsites on the island.


The evergreen huckleberry grabbed the focus


Here’s a story


Dr. Pyle pointed out a solitary Silverleaf at the boat landing.

The trail was easy to follow as it was an old logging road covered with grass and fallen branches.



Fungi on the trail



Water droplets – I just had to touch one and find out. I don’t recall any rain that day either, just fog maybe four hours earlier.



The underneath was quite different from the top


After about two miles we came to a sign and a narrow trail.





The beginning of about a fifteen-minute loop trail



An evergreen huckleberry high up in the grove.




A topped tree with multiple new trunks


A fallen tree is bridged instead of sawn.


The differences between lichen and moss are examined.


Not sure of the book’s title but this sighting turned out to be a grey jay, sometimes called a whiskey jack.

A phone app that was recommended was ‘Merlin Bird ID’ by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


Back to the landing with the boats still there


Steve, on the left, handled the logistics that made this trip possible.




Dr. Pyle, Tom and I are the last boats back.

Now I can share this trip again with a friend or several. I have one person already angling for a trip to be organized later this summer.


From the Refuge to the grove and back, at an average of 1.6 mph, with side trips took almost five hours and covered eight miles according to my ‘MapMyTracks’ app.


Smokey and our Robert Pyle book collection

 Post Script…Emails from Steve & R.M. Pyle June 4

Hello All:

Just wanted to say a final Thank You to you for a fun & friendly gathering last week at the refuge.  We managed to stay safe on the water and to enjoy the incredible beauty of the several environments we visited, plus see, and hear, some birds.  I think the hiking was a bit more than what I had estimated but a welcome workout nonetheless.  It was a pleasure to be involved and great to meet some new folks.  I think we all enjoyed our human company as much as the flora and fauna.  Hope we can do this again.  I’m looking at the Ellsworth basin nearby as a potential trip next Fall or next year.  For those of you who are not Willapa Hills members I invite you to join or at least visit our website http://willapahillsaudubon.org/.  So long!

BTW, we had 25 bird species identified, several by sound only.


Bob Pyle wanted me to forward the following missive:
Dear Folks,

Thanks so much for coming out with Steve and me to Long Island Saturday. Everything seemed to work out well, and I, for one, had a fine time. Thanks to those who helped with my big canoe.
I was glad to see that the Grove of Ancient Cedars was named for Congressman Don Bonker. Don was a great representative who sponsored ALL the major land protection bills passed during the Reagan administration, which wasn’t many: Columbia Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, Bowerman Basin, and Long Island. Even then, Weyerhaeuser tried to hold the cedars hostage for more money than they had agreed to take in the first place. Bonker called their bluff, and saved the rest of the cedars. (This, of course, with lots of local support, including from WHAS.) His successor, Jolene Unsoeld, got the refuge expanded and the island protection completed. We won’t see their like again in the Third District, the way it has been gerrymandered by the Republican Party.

If you would like to know more details, you will find a fairly complete summary of the whole story in my book Wintergreen: Rambles in a Raveaged Land, in the chapter called “The Last of the Old Growth.” Earlier editions leave the story somewhat up in the air, but the latest (fifth; 2016, Pharos Editions/Counterpoint) brings it all up to date.It’s available in Redmen Hall, Skamokawa, at Powell’s Books (Including Powells.com, far preferable to Amamonster for on-line book shopping), and of course in our fine libraries.

The trail penetrates just a corner of the cedar grove. There are many more, and denser, ancient trees protected there than we saw, but they take some work and time to get into. Dr. Jerry Franklin (UW & USFS), the old growth guru, said upon beholding them that this was the first climax forest he had ever met outside a textbook. He thought there were 3,000 year-old cedars there, and no significant disturbance for 1000 years. Their survival  was a close call.

Oh, and I was  little surprised to see NO butterflies on the island, given our lucky warm, sunny day, and plenty of nectar in the salal, evergreen blackberry, and spring beauty. Not many species occupy the coastal strip, but a few have been recorded on the island, and half a dozen or more could easily have been in the habitats we traversed. The long, wet winter and spring (so-called) have been rough on their survival through the winter, thanks to what I call the Rot Factor. Another, warmer & sunnier spring we might have seen some.

I much enjoyed meeting and seeing you all, and I thank brother Steve for getting this great outing together. Hope to see you again soon.

All the best,

R. M. Pyle
Gray’s River

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Allan’s day

Monday was sunny, windy, and had an incoming tide all afternoon. A good sailing day I opined. Skyler didn’t need anything that couldn’t wait, our friends at Sea Star Gardening were working hard pruning a hedge two doors down. I checked and they didn’t need to borrow a ladder or gas or oil, it’s a lazy 1 PM.  Off I went to:


only 15 minutes from Ilwaco


There is a trail and many things to see if you visit their FB page here

Daydreamily I unloaded the boat wrong, breaking off the rudder, but the manufacture anticipated this by including spare break-away pins. All I had to do was look friendly/busy while I repaired it in front of some tourists. We do these things to be the local color sometimes.


I piled everything in


Here is the 25 mph curve. There is one other rig with a boat trailer. It looks to be a quiet day on the bay.


fishermen at work


leaving their wake to splash through

The plan was to see how far I could go around the south end of Long Island, or maybe hug the coast and head south into the wind.

to baby island

The power or paddle boat route to Baby Island is about two miles.


The crooked sailboat route adds about a mile.


The wind was brisk so I stayed along the coast highway. Baby Island kept getting closer so I went for it.


The water is more calm around the spit on the left.

Here is an 8 second  YouTube video of the sound of the beach


landing on a deserted island



On the beach were plenty of  little sea beans. We’ve had them sometimes at the Cove and the Depot. They’re salty and lightly crunchy.


calm water and a rope, just to be sure. It’s only 4:20 and there is time to hike the whole  island.


a little bit of beach clean up


I think that is an old bird nest


silverleaf growing on the beach


a fungi about a foot across


the island’s interior is steep and heavily grown over

According to the book: ‘Coast Country: A History of Southwest Washington’, “…Baby Island is formerly the scene of Indian canoe burials…”



a trillium


a stormy life has shaped this cedar


After a casual ten minute walkaround, a reassuring sight to see.


Baby Island up close, receding


This trip I noticed an inlet into Long Island. It’s across from the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge,  just north of the concrete ramp on the island.


looking back from the interior of the island


There are still pilings from the days when this island was logged. I didn’t spot the campsite (it’s on another inlet), and I still haven’t landed on Long Island. I did spot an elk after wondering what or who was crashing about in the trees.


Here’s the boat landing. In the words of Chuck Yeager: “If you can walk away from a landing, it’s a good landing. If you can use the airplane the next day, it’s an outstanding landing.”

Nobody let me use their airplane the next day.


That night we had fresh sea beans, Skyler’s favourite vegetable, with dinner


Almost eight miles an hour sometimes…pretty fun!

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Just as we left for work, our neighbour two doors down was heading off with his handsome boat, The Salmonater.

Just as we left for work, our neighbour two doors down was heading off with his handsome boat, The Salmonater.


The highlight of our day was a visit to an extraordinary garden that I have long wanted to see (previous post).  On the way and after, we saw some other sights in Oysterville, the northernmost town on the bay side of the Peninsula.

Ilwaco to Oysterville

Ilwaco to Oysterville

Before our garden tour, we tracked down Dave and Melissa who were working at a garden where we had  weeded a couple of times  back in 2007 and 2008. When owners Peter and Linda needed help this summer, we knew that D&M’s Sea Star Landscape Maintenance would be perfect for them.

Peter and Linda's garden

Peter and Linda’s garden

one of their cats on the porch (Allan's photo)

one of their cats on the porch (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

rock edge piled for weeding (Allan's photo)

rock edge piled for weeding (Allan’s photo)

our good friends Dave and Melissa (Allan's photo)

our good friends Dave and Melissa (Allan’s photo)

After our garden tour (previous post) and while I was still talking on the roadside with the garden creator there, Allan took a quick walk down to the bay to assess it for boat launching possibilities.

by the bayshore

by the bayshore

other boats promise a launch at high tide

other boats promise a launch at high tide



looking back toward Oysterville

looking back toward Oysterville

There used to be another street between those houses and the bay, and maybe even more houses and buildings, before a flood changed the landscape.  (I need to read up on my Oysterville history.  Later: Todd confirmed that there was at least one more row of houses on the bayside.)

looking north to Oysterville Sea Farms in the distance

looking north to Oysterville Sea Farms in the distance

looking east from the bayshore

looking east from the bayshore


Allan walks the grassy public road back to our van and trailer.

Allan walks the grassy public road back to our van and trailer.

Then we really did have to get to work.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

Our main mission today was to dig up the root balls of some wild ferns that had inserted themselves into the fenced garden.

First, I petted Bella's nose through the back yard fence.

First, I petted Bella’s nose through the back yard fence.

Allan did most of the fern digging while I weeded and deadheaded in the garden.

bubbler in the fenced garden

bubbler in the fenced garden on May 7th.  These native ferns start out looking lovely.

Last week: the ferns looked all tatty and were hiding the bubbler, and got cut down.

Last week: the ferns looked all tatty and were hiding the bubbler, and got cut down.

Today, after Allan pried the fern root clumps out. The roots have the texture of steel wool.

Today, after Allan pried the fern root clumps out. The roots have the texture of steel wool.

Allan's photo, before

Allan’s photos, before

hard work with the pick

hard work with the pick

roots like balls of steel wool

roots like balls of steel wool on the toughest one that was in a stump



all clear

all clear

another sneaky fern hiding in the sword ferns

another sneaky fern was hiding in the sword ferns  (Allan’s photo) and was also vanquished.

the weekly view SW over the birdbath

the weekly view SW over the birdbath

a fierce looking bunny

a fierce looking bunny

Billardia longiflora on the arbor

Billardia longiflora on the arbor

Golden Sands Assisted Living

After all the hard pick work that Allan had done at KBC, I decided we should have an easy time at Golden Sands and just do some light weeding, deadheading and strimming.  I have in mind some digging out projects there…for later.  The garden is looking attractive to me again now that it’s over the late summer doldrums.  I need to make it skip those doldrums next year.  (None of my other gardens get the doldrums like this one.)  I think the answer is some yellow echibeckias and a lot more cosmos…and if only I could grow good dahlias.

SW quadrant

SW quadrant

NW quadrant

NW quadrant

What I'm fretting about here is that someone cut the Joseph's Coat rose down by half. WHY?

What I’m fretting about here is that someone cut the Joseph’s Coat rose on the pillar down by half. WHY?

Also fretting re why the dahlias are not more showy.

Also fretting re why the dahlias are not more showy.

NE quadrant. Note to self: Divide the Solidago 'Fireworks' and put some in the three other quadrants.

NE quadrant. Note to self: Divide the Solidago ‘Fireworks’ and put some in the three other quadrants.

Solidago 'Fireworks' in front of Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'

Solidago ‘Fireworks’ in front of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

SE quadrant (has a terrible horsetail problem)

SE quadrant (has a terrible horsetail problem)

looking south over the lawn; Allan strims it every week and I wish it would get taken over by flowers.

looking south over the lawn; Allan strims it every week and I wish it would get taken over by flowers.  (Carrying in a string trimmer through the long hallway is easier than a lawnmower.)

Long Beach

We had one small project: planting up the two planters on Sid Snyder drive.  We had dug old weedy plants out of there last week.

One of the two Eryngiums I planted last week was already pulled up...possibly by a gull or crow.

One of the two Eryngiums I planted last week was already pulled up…possibly by a gull or crow.

two planters with lavender and thyme and sea thrift added. (The big pink one was there already.)

two planters with lavender and thyme and sea thrift added. (The big pink one was there already.)

I am curious to see if these plants will get stolen the way the ones out at the end of the other beach approach road do.  I hope not.  This is a test.  (Update: so far so good; the plants were still in place at the end of the next day.) (Further update: the two little hens and chickens were stolen within a week.)

at home

front garden with cosmos, Coreopsis 'Flower Tower'

front garden with cosmos, Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

Sanguisorba and Melianthus major

Sanguisorba and Melianthus major

back garden, looking south

back garden, looking south

looking south on the west path (Kniphofia 'Earliest of All')

looking south on the west path (Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’)

Later, as I sat at my table typing up this entry, I looked out the north window and saw the most intense light on the front garden.

north window view from blogging chair; I had to get out there.

north window view from blogging chair; I had to get out there.

looking east from the porch: bright sun and dark sky

looking east from the porch: bright sun and dark sky

The sun was intensely focused through a break in the clouds, just before sunset.

east side of front garden

east side of front garden

front garden, Tetrapanax 'Steroidal Giant'

front garden, Tetrapanax ‘Steroidal Giant’

Tetrapanax 'Steroidal Giant'

Tetrapanax ‘Steroidal Giant’

Melianthus major

Melianthus major

Smokey and Frosty came running to see what I was doing.

Smokey and Frosty came running to see what I was doing.

The break in the clouds closed and the radiance died away.

back indoor, plain old evening light

back indoors, plain old evening light

Mary, Smokey and Frosty's mum, age 13 and a half, snored through the whole thing.

Mary, Smokey and Frosty’s mum, age 13 and a half, snored through the whole thing.








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Monday, 7 September 2015

Allan attends the Poker Paddle in South Bend

Last year I attended this event to check out the kayak crowd. I had been sailing during the summer and was reaching some sort of decision point. I could sail my little skiffs downwind and back and forth very well at my skill level. Upwind travel often resulted in folding up the sail and rowing to finally get back to the launch where I’d drag the 145 lb. boat out into our disassembled garden trailer. I wanted to see how people loaded heavier kayaks (like a 63 lb. Hobie I had my eye on).

 Last year by the time I got there, I had only had time for a quick trot along the shore.  This year I had a boat with which to participate,and take pictures.



boats and signs marked the spot


lots of colorful boats


Here’s the check-in with rules, directions and a number. “PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOUR CARDS ARE SOAKED YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO DRAW NEW CARDS!!!” I’m covered.


some people show up on time and don’t dawdle


Off they went. Suppose I should stop looking around but this wasn’t a hurry up event.


All the stations would be on the right.


picking up their first playing card


lots of chatting and fun




I once had one of these sturdy 80 lb. Coleman canoes and finally sold it to a rental group that loved them.


a stick, a clothespin, and a dry volunteer handing out another card


It’s the Laymans from Raymond who also help promote our local kayaking. Their daughter was just in the local paper regarding her new kayak rental shop.


back we go


Vern and Janet took their graceful craft up the river a ways after gathering their cards


cueing up to the small craft dock


extra hands were available for this 22 foot outriggered boat coming out now


just over two miles and a relaxed fun time.


two more cards to come but a pair of sixes was it for me. However a pair of jacks or higher won money ranging from $25 to a $100.

Baylee Laymann of Raymond’s Willapa Paddle Adventures   brought her rental kayaks.  Some were reserved but many were available to take out. With all the assistance available, a short paddle was possible for nearly anyone.



Karaoke with Doug was back again. One of the kids did an early set of Christmas carols. Doug has got a thick book full of songs and, if you want to try a song, what happens in Raymond-stays in Raymond.

The pole walk was the next dock event.


just walk out to the line and back (the further line is for adults)


shortest time determines winners…


…if you come back dry.

I meanwhile walked back to the car and trotted the sail kit past the tempting rides, and past the swimmers making good use of the low dock.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 12.46.46 AM

I had help pushing off the taller dock. It was 1:45  as I tried to discreetly leave the South Bend party and head down river for a nine mile trip to the entrance of Willapa Bay.


Pelicans! This was at the entrance to a branch of the Willapa River that was too shallow to enter at the outgoing 3.0 foot tide.


The 16x zoom of the fragile land camera helped keep me from bothering the birds. Waterproof cameras don’t zoom in as close.


what a beak stretch on the left.


more birds coming and going


who’s the pretty bird?


Back at shore I heard; ‘Where there are pelicans, there are fish…but not for long’. We saw a few seal heads pop up during the poker paddle but they wouldn’t come back up for a proper picture.


Everything got wet and I had left my coat behind. Fortunately there still was enough summer around not to get cold.

The wind picked up. I covered the distance at an average speed of about 7 mph topping out at about 9. Here’s a 18 sec. video of my camera being splashed with salt water as we bump through the waves. Camera still works but I shouldn’t do it again.


blue lights flashing, must be getting back to South Bend


3:45, the dock is empty, and the party has moved elsewhere.

Last year I attended wondering how I could get a heavy kayak / light sailboat here in 2015. There are rear car top rollers that work for the very tall, and a clever hydraulic side loader that’s very pricy. Yakima Racks makes an extension pole to reduce the weight a person has to lift for a hundred bucks. I copied it with a two by four, a plate screwed on the end and a bungee cord.


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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Willapa Bay

The original plan: Travel WITH the incoming tide from Oysterville to partway down the bay.  I was going to paddle someone’s skinny sit inside kayak while she sailed my boat downwind and with the current. Then we would stop at the Port of Nahcotta and later pull out in at her house further down the bay. The Hobie with its ‘training wheels’ doesn’t tip over unless a bunch of stupid is going on so its a good loaner but I have capsized someone else’s sailboat.

What actually happened:  An almost as good day boating as I went upwind and against the tide on the east side of Long Island.

He was going to boat from Oysterville down to mid-Peninsula; instead he went from the Willapa Wildlife Refuge to nearby Long Island.

I launched from Willapa Wildlife Refuge.


mud made it a challenge to launch

a muddy launch site at a +1.1 tide

Mud made it a challenge to launch.  I rolled the boat off to the side of the concrete launch to make room for others but the wheels sank deep in the mud.  A couple of tourists asked me, “Can we swim over to the island?” I showed them the deep boat dolly tracks and my muddy boots to discourage them. They weren’t aware that the tide was coming in nor did they try stepping in the mud. She kept teasing her partner to make the short swim.  Then, I told them about the man who had attempted to walk and or swim to Baby Island just south of here. It happened nine years ago. He was never found. The only clue was his empty car at the side of the road, foot prints in the mud, and Baby Island only a short distance away.

“Thank you, thank you. Have a nice day” and off they went for other adventures.

Todd told us that locals refer to the bay mud as “the mud monster”.  It can be dangerous to sink into it.

Allan's boat

the boat all assembled: Hobie Mirage Adventure Island

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.48.51 AM

The oyster beds are sometimes right under the surface even with a plus 7 foot tide. The deep channels are near the shore, so all the fins got pulled in after getting stuck and bent criss-crossing the middle.

oyster bed marker

oyster bed marker showing the incoming current as the tide filled the bay .

There was 18 mph headwind too, all the better to quickly head home later

There was 18 mph headwind too, all the better to quickly head home later

I suppose it would sink the boat to try to bring these for our garden.

I suppose it would sink the boat to try to bring these back for our garden.


assorted wild gardens atop the pilings

assorted wild gardens atop the pilings

entrance to the Naselle River

entrance to the Naselle River

What a day. Last time I was here, I went east up the Naselle River and past the curved 101 bridge. I wasn’t going to get over the top of the island and go down the west side today either as it was getting late. Sawlog campground is on the island nearby but like Captain Vancouver failing to spot the Columbia River (well, a little like it), I sailed past Sawlog and headed into a marsh instead.

Long Island

Long Island marsh

a cute caravan heading to the beach for the weekend

a cute caravan heading to the beach


a couple returning from the south of Long Island. Maybe I’ll head south next time.


‘Walking’ on the water with ‘map my walk’ and the Garmin GPS. Got up to 7.4 mph. 



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Saturday, 18 July 2015


Music in the Gardens Tour, Long Beach Peninsula

a benefit for the Water Music Festival and music programs in local schools.

ticket tour map

ticket tour map

(not a) garden 9: The Isle of Bev Wetland Restoration Project

This wetland restoration project is not a garden.  However, it will be of interest to owners of similar properties and fans of native plants.  Since 2011, Kelly Rupp and Bev Arnoldy have worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and Kathleen Sayce to restore this former Willapa Bay cannery site to its original state, including planting many native plants and dredging out a culvert pond.  Kelly will lead visitors on a guided tour around the bay-view site, which provides an opportunity to get right down to the shore of Willapa Bay with a view to the north of the Port of Nahcotta.

Google Earth satellite view

Google Earth satellite view: the large pond or lagoon is the site

the "Isle of Bev"

the “Isle of Bev”

The two houses to the left are up on a ridge and while they overlook the site, they are not part of it. Years ago, in autumn of 2005, Allan and I were hired for one day to pull English ivy off the slope of this site.  At that time, there was a building next to the lagoon that was the remnant of an oyster canning operation.

Nancy and I pre-toured the site on July 3rd:


looking east over the lagoon to Willapa Bay


Part of the project has been to open the lagoon to the bay so that the tide can wash in and out.


looking southeast

looking southeast

looking north over the lagoon

looking north over the lagoon

Willapa Bay

Willapa Bay

looking north to the port of Nahcotta....with white oyster shell debris on the shore

looking north to the port of Nahcotta….with white oyster shell debris on the shore

Kelly Rupp at the site, July 3rd

Kelly Rupp at the site, July 3rd

You can see one of the overlooking houses up the ridge.

You can see one of the overlooking houses up the ridge.

tour day:

tour day

tour day

books about native plants

books about native plants

Pam Fleming, Seaside gardener, foreground, with Kelly talking about the project

Pam Fleming, Seaside gardener, foreground, with Kelly talking about the project (Allan’s photo)

Pam was surprised to find that this was the very site where some of her grasses had ended up.  Kelly had come to Seaside, Oregon to dig Calamogrostis nootkaensis from one of her planting areas.


Kelly Rupp (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


north: the Port of Nahcotta

north: the Port of Nahcotta (Allan’s photo)



houses overlooking the site

houses overlooking the site (Allan’s photo)



It was so hot that I went back to wait at the van, on the shady entry road.  Allan discovered that the site held a field of sea beans, one of my favourite wild edible plants.

sea beans

sea beans

Allan says Kelly called them "sea asparagus".

Allan says Kelly called them “sea asparagus”.

They are crunchy, juicy, salty, and delicious.

They are crunchy, juicy, salty, and delicious.

This camera will record 10 years of growth.  (Allan's photo)

This camera will record 10 years of growth. (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

At a very high tide, the water will wash in and out.

At a very high tide, the water will wash in and out.

Our friends Ed and Jackson Strange had already toured the site.  They returned at 4 PM in hopes of seeing the tide come into the lagoon, but today’s tide was not high enough for that.

Ed and Jackson visit me at the van, where I had taken refuge from the heat.

Ed and Jackson visit me at the van, where I had taken refuge from the heat.

With the tour over, Allan I returned to Ilwaco, did some watering at the port, and later joined our garden touring friends for dinner at the Depot (already written about, here).  I found a note tucked under my front door that at first I found difficult to decipher due to the handwriting (about as hard to read as mine).  After dinner, I took another look at it and was able to discern the name and the sentence that there would be a garden tour tomorrow (Sunday, the 19th).  I realized that it was a garden I had adored and blogged about a couple of years before and that my planned Sunday of total relaxation was not to be because I simply must see it again.



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