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Get ready! She’s on her way!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Early Morning Fog Bank

She’s not due to arrive until March 20th – almost two weeks away.  Yet we saw her striding boldly toward the Peninsula as we drove up and back from Seattle yesterday.  Lady Spring!  She’s on her way for sure.

We saw her as we rounded the head of the bay at first light, hidden in the deep fog bank that hung above the Naselle River.  We saw her in the bright squinty sun that tried to blind us as we headed north on 101 out of Raymond.  We saw her in the cloudless blue sky in Seattle – a sky which I’d have sworn is always gray.  And we saw her in the glory of snow-covered Mt. Rainier as we headed home in the afternoon.

Glorious Mt. Rainier

Unbelievably, it was still bright daylight when we rolled into Oysterville at five o’clock.  The days truly are getting longer – even without Daylight Savings time which doesn’t begin until Sunday.  And, to top off this glorious day, the daffodils by our old gazebo were smiling a springtime welcome as we went out to check on the chickens.

I’ve seen several online articles lately about “getting ready” for spring.  One was titled “The 16 Easiest Ways to Get Your House Ready for Spring.”  OMG!  Sixteen?  Another, “5 Ways to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring.”  That sounds better.  And then “6 Tips to Get Your Body Ready for Spring.”  Frankly, I don’t even want to know…

Cheerful Daffodils

I’m absolutely a-tremble with eagerness – body, mind, spirit and all.  I am so very ready.  Bring on the sunshine!  And the flowers!  And that lovely green haze of the waking alder trees!  As for the house and garden, I expect they’ll limp along as usual.  Or maybe energy and enthusiasm will arrive on March 20th right along with Lady Spring.  We can but hope!

Let’s hear it for SHIPS!

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

The Shelburne Inn c. 2010

Once again, I am missing my friend Larry Weathers!  It just seems so wrong that he isn’t here to carry on with all the things he was into way before anyone else was noticing.  Like SHIPS – the Seaview Historical Preservation Society.  He would have loved the concept and he would have loved attending their gathering tonight at the Shelburne Hotel.

Shelburne c. 1900

In case you haven’t been keeping up… the iconic Shelburne Hotel (the oldest continuously operated hostelry in the state) has been closed since early January while new owners Brady and Tiffany Turner oversee a little renovating – most specifically refurbishing the fifteen guest rooms. “Conceptually, we want to take them back in time, but modernized for today’s travelers,” say the Turners.

This evening from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00, SHIPS will be getting an in-person update and sneak-peak look-around at the historic hotel before it opens to the public in the spring.  There will also be an update on the Seaview sign replacement endeavor – a huge undertaking, in itself.  (Gone are the days of our youth, Larry, when a few good men could cobble together an approach sign from the bits and pieces of a salvaged shipwreck – but that’s another story.)

Larry Weathers c. 2001

Larry Weathers worked in the Pacific County Planning Department (as I think it was called in those days) in the late seventies and eighties.  He was the… drum roll… designated County Preservation Officer. Part of his job involved helping County residents obtain official recognition for their historic properties.  He assisted the then Shelburne owners David and Laurie Campiche in getting the hotel placed on the National Register of Historic Places and he spent a considerable effort in trying to interest Seaview residents in forming a Seaview Historic District.

Larry, my friend, in your efforts on behalf of Seaview, you were definitely ahead of your time.  How I wish you were still with us.  I’d pick you up in a Nano-second and take you with us to the Shelburne tonight.  The event is open to the public and, by going early, we could actually order a meal from the pub!  And, best of all, I could introduce you to Nan Malin, primary mover-and-shaker in Seaview these days and president (I think) of SHIPS!  Or… maybe there’s a heavenly communication network.  You can reach her by calling 360-655-5883 or at

Meanwhile, for all of you still earthbound history buffs… hope to see you at the Shelburne tonight! And, keep this thought: Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects. – Herodotus, The History of Herodotus

Due Diligence versus Self-Preservation?

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Proposed Changes to the Hampson House?

Readers take note:  If you were among those who expressed interest in attending the County’s public hearing on a proposed change to the Hampson House in Oysterville, you need to know that the hearing has been postponed.  According to the DCD (Department of Community Development) the matter will be heard sometime in February.  No date set yet.

I thought long and hard before mentioning this change in today’s blog.  A week ago, when I devoted my daily entry to the history of the properties to our north (, I was totally unprepared for the ensuing ‘conversation’ on FaceBook, in my email, and in the comment section of the blog, itself.  Most of the remarks were prompted by a neighbor’s response that what I had written was “an alarmist call to arms.”

I was so amazed at that take on my words that I had to re-read what I had written.  Twice.  Neither reading helped me put together his comment with the words of my blog.  Apparently, his reaction was just as mysterious to most of the folks who responded. That was somewhat reassuring.  If there was one take-away from my first-ever journalism class at San Rafael High School (about a gazillion years ago) that I still think is important, it is to be clear about what you mean.  “Say what you mean; mean what you say” was the mantra we learned from Miss Girardo.  Subtle, underlying messages are not part of my writing style nor my intention.

Screenshot – Jan. 19, 2018 Blog

On the other hand, I am thin-skinned and a little naïve when it comes to others’ reactions to what I write.  Invariably, when I am misunderstood, I go back to what I said or wrote to see how I could have stated it better.  And, I am always amazed that, despite all the instant-this and cyber-that, communication is still the most difficult of all our human interactions.  Sometimes I don’t think we’ve progressed far from the growls and grunts of our cavemen (do we have to say cavepeople, now?) ancestors.  In the interest of self-preservation, I am tempted not to post this.  But, once again due diligence is winning out over my hypersensitivity.

Back In Production Again

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

This Week’s Supply

Twelve eggs in seven days!  Not a world’s record for four hens – not even for our four hens.  But, in our coop right now it’s huge news.  We only wish we knew the why of it all.

Why, for instance, was there a total work shutdown from July through November?  By November, of course, the ‘experts’ (other fowl owners and sellers of chicken feed) were saying that it was the “low light levels.”  But, that doesn’t explain July, August, and September.  Not satisfactorily.

Nest Box This Morning

Why, also, has laying begun in earnest now that the darkest months are upon us?  Any chicken expert (see above) worth his salt and pepper will tell you that. According to, in fact:   “There is a gland behind the eyes of our birds called a pituitary gland. When stimulated by light this produces a hormone that is carried via the bloodstream to the ovary which sets egg production in motion.”

That article, like many others we have read, goes on to say that setting up artificial light (even a twenty-watt bulb) in the coop will increase winter production.  We’ve actually done that in the past by running a heavy-duty electrical cord from our house to the coop, but it’s not the best way to solve the problem.  This past year, being as it was, it all seemed too much to cope with.  And besides… the problem began in summer.

Aunt Rye (Ella Caulfield) and Banty Chickens at Heckes Inn, c. 1930

I remember (just barely… ahem!) when my grandmother would ‘put up eggs in water glass’ in the fall when her chickens were still in full production mode.  That process assured the family of having eggs through the dark days of winter.  Although we had electricity at the time, it was a new and iffy proposition,  and I doubt that it would have occurred to anyone to waste it on the chickens.

“Age,” people said.  “Your hens are probably too old to lay.”  But the oldest is only three.  And anyway, according to  “Chickens usually don’t simply “stop” laying eggs when they get to a certain age, but they will lay fewer as they get older. That said, most laying breeds will lay more or less productively in backyard terms for five or seven years. We know of one ancient buff orpington cross who still lays an egg occasionally at 17 years old!”

Water Glass Label, 1920

“Could be a dirty coop,” we read.  We cleaned it.  And cleaned it again.  “Could be diet,” we read.  So, we changed our brand of chicken feed.  It took a while, but we think that was the answer.  We hope the uptick in production continues, winter or no winter.  We were worried about those girls!  To say nothing of missing their delicious eggs!

Clotted Up With Surveys

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

They come in our email.  They show up on FaceBook.  Our telephone rings off the hook with them.  Surveys!  Opinion polls!  Day in, day out.  Sometimes from the same medical institution as yesterday or the same political pollster as last week. I guess they are job security for someone. I don’t see that anyone really cares about the answers.

If they did care, Trump would be out of job by now, the cafeteria food at one or another hospital would be improved, and the service department at our auto dealer’s would vacuum the car when they wash it.  It’s all enough to have you yank the phone out of the wall, cancel your cell phone contract and go into permanent hiding.  Oh. Wait.  “You can run but you can’t hide.”.  Isn’t that what they say?

Taken on an individual basis, each of these surveys, questionnaires, etc. might be seen as an honest effort to gather information that could result in positive change.  Taken as a whole, however, and given the lack of results… they are a huge timewaster.  Even worse, they are a distraction-to-the-max – a look-over-here, no-look-over-there, yes-somebody-does-really-care distraction!  Keep us busy giving our opinions (is that supposed to make us feel important and like we truly have a voice) while the movers and shakers go right on rattling the planet off its axis and out of sync.

So…  Push one if you agree.  Push two if you disagree. Your information will be kept private.  Thank you for your transparency.

Finding Calm in the Midst of Chaos

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

My Office

For me, routine and a sense of order are necessary components of sanity.  I don’t do well in chaotic situations.  When my external world is in disarray, I can feel my internal world beginning to fray.  I am full of empathy for all the displaced persons living amid the disarray of makeshift camp cities and, come to think of it, I was never crazy about camping even when it was a planned ‘recreational’ activity.  Being outdoors: fabulous.  Not having bureau drawers: untenable.

I’ve been thinking about all of that for the past eighteen hours or so.  Not that I’m outdoors.  But we are more-or-less camping.  After twenty-some years of wear and tear, our wall-to-wall carpet in bedroom, closet, and my office is being replaced.  I loved the old carpet but the color choice (celery) was not a good one.  Years of foot traffic, bedside spills and other invalid-related disasters conspired to prompt a change.  The new carpet is an avocado color and we have high hopes.


“A day and a half,” said our CG (Carpet Guru).

“Will we be able to sleep in our own bed tonight?”

“No problem,” he said.

We moved the small stuff – my gawd, where did it all come from?  Even things stored under the bed!  Our CG moved the rest – bureaus, file cabinets, the chifforobe…  OMG!  When all was said and done, the fainting couch was standing on its head in the hallway, our east room was a complete clutter and the bed was in pieces in my office with the dust and cobwebs of the ages hanging from the parts not seen for decades.  YUCK!  I could feel the unravelling begin.

In Progress

“I’m afraid you’ll have to sleep upstairs tonight,” CG said quietly at the end of the day.  “Will that be all right?”

Of course it was.  As in, there were few alternatives.  It was making my way into the closet for clothes this morning and trying to retrieve my makeup and hairbrush from a drawer in the bathroom that was tense.  I unraveled some more…

Early Morning Crossword – Calm, Cool, Collected

But today our Community Historians class begins.  No time to wonder if the CG will complete his task today.  Or tomorrow.  Not even time to worry about whether we’ll get put back together in time to host Sunday’s House Concert.  OMG!  Thank goodness for Nyel – always a bastion of calm no matter what. Perhaps I can re-ravel after all.

Putting on the… what?

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

2017 Apple Cup

Choices on television were pretty limited last night – especially for a couple of old folks who could care less about football.  But here we are, a stone’s throw from Husky stadium and Nyel a two- times graduate of the UW (BA ’65; MA ’85), so watching the Apple Cup seemed the right thing to do.  For a minute or two.  On and off.  Just to assure himself that the Dawgs were bringing home the bacon, or in this case, the applesauce.

We spent far more of the evening watching the National Dog Show – always fun but never enough time with any of the dogs.  This year there were 2,000 dogs competing and it was a Brussels Griffon named Newton who won best of show.  Nyel was underwhelmed.  Nothing against Newton (who is called a “Chewbaca look-alike”).  It’s just that Nyel prefers large, or at least mid-sized dogs, and Newton is definitely not in either of those categories.

Newton, the Chewbaca Look-Alike

Nyel’s choices among the dogs we saw were the Golden Retriever, the Giant Schnauzer, and the Old English Sheepdog. I’m always partial to German Shepherds and Border Collies.  But, as the commentators pointed out, small dogs are the very most popular these days – a fact reflected in the judging, we’re pretty sure.

Nyel has been talking “dog” for some time now.  He has visions of sitting by the fire with pipe (though he doesn’t smoke) and slippers, a big, mellow dog at his feet, gazing at him with adoring eyes.  Great idea, as far as it goes.  “But,” says a small (probably a bit querulous voice) who is going to walk this imaginary dog?  And feed it?  And clean up after it?  And give it a bath?”  So far, no answers have been forthcoming…

Maybe it will suffice to see dog movies on TV.  Last week at Emanuel Hospital we saw “A Dog’s Purpose” and both enjoyed a huge dose of warm-and-fuzzy.  There must be lots of great dog films.  And it certainly would bring a whole new meaning to the term “putting on the dog!”

And now we are in one! Yikes!

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Best Halloween Costumes of the Year!  (Thanks to Lee Murphy!)

I’ve never aspired to live in a retirement community no matter how affordable or upscale or welcoming.  I think ‘the home’ may be just right for many people, but not for me.  Fortunately, Nyel feels the same way, so we are content to dodder along here in this house in Oysterville.   I hope we are able to continue living here until the knackers come for us.

But last evening as we sat watching television and eating our Halloween candy, I thought, “Wait!  Oysterville IS a retirement community.  And here we are.”  The Halloween candy was what we had purchased ‘just in case’ of trick-treaters.  But there were none.  Though we are ever hopeful, there haven’t been any for ten or more years.  That there are no kids in Oysterville, of course, goes without saying.  Not since Shannon Rose lived here.

But it goes beyond that.  Oysterville is ‘at the end of the line’ geography-wise on the Peninsula. Not an easy place to get to.  Plus, even if little ghosts and goblins arrived by the carload, there are only a few occupied houses at this time of year.   Slim pickin’s for hopeful doorbell ringers.  Consequently, they don’t come.


The lack of age diversity is one of the main deterrents in my mind to Retirement Communities.  So, the realization that I am living in one comes as a shock, though not exactly a surprise.  After all, the numbers of children here had diminished sufficiently by 1957 to close the Oysterville School.  Permanently.  And it’s been downhill from there.  Kids, like most everyone else in the world, come here to visit but not to stay.  Just like to ‘the home.’

I’d like to say, “Oh well, more trick-or-treat candy for us.”  But the candy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either.  Bah Humbug!  Or whatever the Halloween equivalent might be.

LRRH and the BBW

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

LRRH, Maggie

If you know your fairy tales and take a look at Maggie’s picture posted here, you can figure out the title of today’s blog.  Except that there really isn’t a Big Bad Wolf in this story.  Or a grandma.  Or a riding hood.

Nevertheless, night before last, Maggie arrived all decked out in red with a basket of yummy food, but she didn’t even stay for my picnic.  (In fact, I have the rinsed-but-not-yet-washed plates and silverware to return at a later date.)  Yes.  “My.”  The contents of that basket were all for me!

Nyel in the Garden with Coffee

And, no.  I don’t feel one bit guilty.  As I wrote a few days ago, Nyel’s menu choices here at Emanuel are really, really good – especially considering he is on a heart healthy diet.  Mine, on the other hand, suck, and Maggie, in typical Red Riding Hood fashion, came to my rescue!

The entrée (hot) was a stuffed portabella mushroom.  It was accompanied by two salads – one, an avocado stuffed with shrimp and other delicacies and an orange pepper stuffed with chopped tomatoes and celery and…  I must confess, I was so ravenous and so overwhelmed that I enjoyed every single morsel but did not pay good enough attention to be able to enumerate the ingredients.

But what I can tell you is that there was a Halloween color scheme!!!  A black tray, orange (cloth) napkin, white plate and foods in reds, oranges, greens, yellows and other fall colors!  Imagine!  I don’t know that I’ve ever had a themed meal right down to coordinated colors!

Sign of Things to Come

It was all such a change from the last ten days of ‘hospital everything’ that it prompted us out of our lethargy for a re-visit to the Children’s Garden yesterday.  And there were all of Maggie’s fall colors again — a whole garden full, top to bottom!   For our own special afternoon entertainment, an industrious five-year-old was using a kid-sized rake to clear the leaves from the garden path — smooth rolling for Nyel’s wheelchair!  A few Thanksgiving decorations signaled that yet another holiday will soon be upon us!

Bring it on, we say!  We’ll definitely be ready to celebrate and give thanks!

…with Te cheering him on!

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017


Along the lines of ‘you never know who’s life you might be influencing,’ our friend Te comes to mind.  ‘Te’ is short for Terralene  and we met her years ago through our friend, the late Larry Weathers.  As we did our friend Linda.  They were all friends growing up in Raymond in the 60s (I think) and went on to lead separate, though intertwined, lives over the years.  Te (like Linda) lives in Seattle and we go year in and year out without actually seeing her face-to-face.  Even so, she is a presence in our lives, whether she knows it or not!

Take today, for instance.  I, as Nyel’s Head Cheerleader, have decided that we will ramp up his walking regime.  That thought immediately brought Te to mind.  She is a walker.  Years ago (maybe ten?) she embraced the 10,000-steps-a-day program and has followed it religiously ever since.  Often, she has those 10,000 steps accomplished before the rest of the world has had breakfast but, even so, she doesn’t slow her pace (so to speak.)  She is relentless.  She is also attractive, trim, slim, healthy, enthusiastic, and fun – the poster girl for that 10,000 Steps a Day idea.

All The Rage

Te’s enthusiasm is catching, and she soon had all of her friends using pedometers, checking their steps, trying to keep up with her numbers.  When I discovered that I average between five and six thousand steps a day just going about my usual day inside the house – not even venturing outdoors, mind you – I sort of gave up on my diligence.  Lately though, I’ve read that 15,000 steps are better but whether it’s ten or fifteen thou, it’s the intensity with which you walk that makes the difference.

Well… right now, that’s neither here nor there.  Nyel came into the hospital a week ago yesterday unable to walk more than five or six steps (and slowly, at that) without having to stop for a minute or so to breathe.  Now he can walk the length of this hallway and back with no problem at all – taking it slow, to be sure, but much like the proverbial tortoise, on his way to winning this race.

Outside Nyel’s Door

One round trip in this hallway equals 230 feet.  The little labeled hearts that are every five feet along the way tell us so.  Nyel says his stride is three feet.  So, for him, a round-trip  along this Unit 51 hallway is about 80 steps.  Reaching Te’s 10,000 step goal would take Nyel 125 round trips.  It would probably take every waking minute of his hospital day excluding mealtimes, meds-time, vital signs time, to say nothing of nap-time.  Maybe ten round trips today might be more realistic, stepping it up (so to speak) each day as he can.  I hope Te would approve.