Posts Tagged ‘Springtime in Oysterville’

It takes all kinds…

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

In our garage are three big bins — one for glass, one for aluminum cans, one for recyclable plastics.  Nearby is an area where we stash flattened cardboard.  I think of it as our “Recycle Center” and faithfully add to the appropriate stash every day.  When one of the bins gets full, usually the plastics, I make a run to the Recycle Center at the end of Bay Avenue and Sandridge with all three bins and the cardboard.

It’s definitely not my favorite activity.  Unlike that woman who used to appear on TV wearing huge rubber gloves and scrubbing each contribution until it shone, I don’t recycle because I love the activity.  I recycle because it’s the right thing to do.  And, in case anyone wonders. doing the right thing doesn’t make me hate the process any less.

No matter.  Today was the day.  I found the Recycle Center clean and tidy — slots looking empty and no excess bags of “stuff” piled up near overflowing bins.  And, it was busy.  My neighbor Mark was there and we exchanged pleasantries — actually, unpleasantries in a way.  The puppy-guard for their new family member inadvertently “bit” Sandra and so we talked about blood and clots and scabs and other nasty subjects.

Shortly thereafter, a woman marched (yes, marched) up to where I was working and said, “I just want to see where she thinks she’s putting those plastic bottles.  You can’t recycle plastics here.”  I have no idea who she was talking about or even if she was talking to me, but I responded, “Yes you can, if they have this symbol,” and pointed out the PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bin.

Ready for More Recyclables

“Oh.  Well that’s new!” she said.  “No.  It’s not,” I told her.  “Well, it wasn’t here a year ago,” she said.  “Yes, it was.  Probably even five years ago,” I said.  And then wondered why I was arguing with this stranger who seemed to have designated herself the Recycle Nazi of the Day.

Without further incident I finished up and  returned home feeling “very much accomplished” as my Aunt Medora would have said.  But I still don’t like the recycling job…  Another one of life’s necessities.  And who cares what I think, anyway?

One by one… and now there are only three

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

The Jungle Beyond The Run

Some time ago (maybe three or four years), when we were about to introduce new pullets to the coop, Nyel fine-tuned the broody hen end of the run, closing it off completely so that the new girls could meet the old girls but remain safe.  It was sort of a solitary confinement in reverse.  We had had trouble once before with an old alpha hen pecking a newbie to death.  Chickens can be mean.  Very, very mean.

As an introduction-to-the-flock area, it worked very well but we’ve not used it for at least a year now.  We’ve kept the area closed off and, without chicken activity each day, it has grown to jungle-like proportions, at least from a hen’s vantage point.  I decided to open the gate between it and the run and let the chickens do their magic transformation.  I figured that in a couple of weeks it would be bare dirt again.  Chickens are good at that.  (I’m sure they are part goat.)

Just Big Enough

What I didn’t think to do was to check the parameters.  So… two days of access to ‘solitary’ resulted in chicken breakouts — but only of the smallest chickens.  Both times, one hen didn’t come home.   And both times the largest hen — the Russian Orloff — was still in the run.  I looked and looked and finally found a small place at the end of the Chicken Jungle  where the hog wire fence had been bent outward leaving a hole large enough for the smaller hens to get out but bent in such a way that they could not get back in.    Looked like raccoon work to me.

Three from Three

Tom, our new mower-guy, said there were black feathers over by the rhododendrons on the north side of the yard today.  Again.  Apparently, if the raccoons can’t get in, they find a way to entice the chickens out.  And then…

The three remaining hens seem unfazed.  They have left three eggs in the south nest box each day.  But they are not very happy with me.  I’m keeping them confined day and night and without access to the Chicken Jungle until I can repair the raccoons’ handiwork.  It ain’t easy being an ailing chicken farmer’s wife!

Nyel’s Sweet/Spicy/Sumptuous Homecoming

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

We thought we’d NEVER get out of the Seaside Hospital yesterday!  Nyel had wakened with a “dangerously low” blood pressure and they said if it didn’t come up they’d have to keep him.  Interestingly, there was no speculation as to why it was low.  And, had they asked, we could have told them that that happens occasionally to him but it always come back to where it should be in a few hours.

That’s what happened yesterday, too, of course, but the doctor was super cautious.  Instead of discharging him at 10:00 as planned, it wasn’t until about 4:00 that we were finally in the car and on the road.  The car was full of equipment — a two-foot-long shoehorn, a grabber/picker-upper, a stiff cloth ribbon-like item with a noose on each end for lassoing a recalcitrant foot and lifting it onto the bed.  In short, everything that a one-and-a-half-legged man might need to help him become independent!

Nyel managed to walk into the house on his own steam (with his walker) and was greeted, first thing, by a gorgeous bouquet and six chocolate cupcakes on a silver tray.  Then there was the biggest chocolate bar of all time, beautifully wrapped!  And in our fridge was a home-made lasagne (“a little spicy”) with an accompanying salad, salad dressing and bottle of red wind for our dinner.  And for dessert, fudge brownies with a hint of orange zest!   What fabulously thoughtful friends and neighbors we  have!

As I schlepped  stuff from car to house, Mr. (or Mrs.) Swallow flew through the living room door — no doubt eager to add its welcome on behalf of the new family on the porch.  I know Nyel thought it served me right for not destroying that nest at the get-go.  Was there just a hint of amusement in his eyes as he sat wheelchair-bound and watched me  flail away with the broom…

Just as the bird flew out,  Erik and Pat arrived.  Suddenly, I wasn’t a bit concerned about putting away medical supplies or reading the manual for Nyel’s portable wound-vac.  It’s really amazing how many frustrations and worries a delicious meal with good friends can erase, to say nothing of the warm glow we both are still feeling about such a wonderful homecoming!  Neither of us can quite wrap our heads around the amazing generosity and support our friends (and even “friends” we hardly know!) have provided during these past months.  There aren’t enough hugs or thank yous to begin to express how we feel.  We only hope we can “pay it forward” as time goes by.


It’s not easy outsmarting a chicken…

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Somewhere we have (or had) a big roll of black netting.  I’m not sure why Nyel got it, but it occurs to me that I can put it around the plants and over the dirt in our geranium pots and that might discourage those naughty girls from making a mess on the porch.  It’s another of those “when I have time…” things.

For today, I’m hoping that,  by leaving the sprinkler on in the south garden, I can discourage them from doing their dastardly pot pecking at least for today.  I’d like the porch to be fairly dirt-free for Nyel’s homecoming.   I can’t do much abouot the swallows, though.  Nyel will not be happy to see them (or their mess) and I’m sure the feeling will be mutual.


On the other hand, it would be great if the ladies would come greet him when he arrives.  His plan is to walk the length of the porch with his walker (rather than in his wheelchair) as he can manage the step up onto the porch and the second one into the house that way.  He told me yesterday that he’s been practicing going up and down stairs during his therapy sessions!

Another session with practicality in mind was in the “kitchen area” of the gym at the Seaside facility.  Yesterday the therapist had him stand with the kitchen counters as support while he got dishes and silverware  out of cupboards and drawers.  “So I can help you in the kitchen,” he said with a twinkle.  Obviously, he hadn’t told the therapist who is the head chef in this household.  “Help, hell!” was my response.  And we both laughed out loud.

I haven’t actually asked him what his goals will be once he gets home.  But I suspect that returning to his cooking duties will be one of them.  I plan to talk about that on our way home today.  I can still hear the pride in his voice when he told me Friday that he had met all of his goals at rehab.  “And more besides!” thought I!

As for arranging for Nyel to be met by his girls… That’s my immediate goal and I think I have a plan that will work.  Stay tuned…

…and maybe a little sunshine, please?

Monday, June 17th, 2019

 At The Oysterville Church

The Shasta daisies in front of the church have been out in all their glory for several weeks now.  They are spectacular — a fact that I have repeatedly told our own Shastas which are right across the street.   However, ours are still tightly in bud and, in this gray and misty-moisty weather, are probably intending to stay that way for a bit.  Maybe they are a different variety.  I suspect, though, that they are just stubborn.

Farmer Nyel planted them along our south porch years ago and they come back every Spring to brighten our days and to draw the eye away from other garden imperfections.  We eagerly await their arrival each year and I had hoped that this year, especially, they would burst forth a little early.  I thought they would make a suitable setting for Nyel’s homecoming tomorrow.

At Our House

But,  it turns out that daisies are a lot like chickens.  You can’t really count on them and they certainly turn a deaf ear to suggested behaviors.  Oh well…  I know that just being back at home in Oysterville will be excitement enough for all of us here on the homefront — daisies, chickens, and me!  To say nothing of Farmer Nyel, himself!

Ready! Set! Tuesday!

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

Beard Trimming 6/15/19

I was once told by a doctor that you know a hospitalized woman is ready to go home when she starts putting on makeup again. It’s not quite the same with guys — at least not with Nyel, but when he asked me to bring his beard trimming kit and a big mirror, I certainly knew that homecoming is on his mind.

Yesterday he got rid of six weeks’ worth of whisker-growth and looked oh so much better!  He also conceded to use one of those spiffy shampoo caps again.  It’s not the  first “shampoo” he’s had during his days of confinement — not by any means — but he isn’t crazy about the method or the result.

The Dreaded Shampoo Cap

“The doctor said ‘no showers til the wound vac gets removed’ and that’s likely to be a month or two more,” I pointed out helpfully.  (NOT!)  Nyel has been looking forward to a shower ever since he first heard the words “when you go home.”  Before that, he had other things to worry about.  However, yesterday he told me in no uncertain terms that he was planning to at least get his head under water.

“I can stand and lean against the kitchen sink,” he told me.  I bit my tongue just a little.  I do think he can safely do that with the wheelchair directly behind him and me (hovering) within reach.  I know it will be the first of many sentences beginning “I can …” !  What a guy!  I hope my hovering instinct quickly morphs into clapping and cheering!  So far… so good!

A Home and Garden Day

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Library Mantle

You wouldn’t think that the trip from Oysterville to Seaside to visit a loved one would take its toll on the homefront, but indirectly the last two weeks have done just that.  Or maybe it’s just that being home around the edges (rather than isolated for days at a time in Portland) leads to noticing all the “benign neglect.”

So, yesterday I declared  a “home and garden day” and got some of the edges taken care of.  I finally set out the hoses and tried to adjust those pesky lawn sprinklers — the kind that go “pssst pssst pssst” around in circles.  They were no doubt engineered by geniuses and figuring out which of the multiple moving widgets and gadgets will do the trick is almost more than this woman can tolerate.  But, finally, mission accomplished!

A Work In Progress

Then there were those oversized pots in what we euphemistically call “the kitchen garden.”  There are four of them, each containing an herb we use fairly frequently — parsley, rosemary, mint, bayleaf — and weeds!  They had been pulled away (the pots, not the weeds) from the house during last summer’s painting project and needed to be returned to their proper place.  Heavy!  I weeded and trimmed and fertilized and pooped out.  It’s a work in progress…

Pesky Sprinkler at Work

Inside, I managed to scrub the kitchen floor, water the indoor plants, arrange some wild roses for Friday Night and stay dry-eyed during an online bill-paying session.  I gave the carpet a lick-and-a-promise with the vacuum and decided that paying someone to shampoo it might be necessary in the not-too-distant future.  As for dusting and polishing silver — how about a “home and garden month” or maybe two?

Kitchen Floor

All the time I was puttering and muttering, I felt guilty that I hadn’t gone to Seaside to spend time with Nyel.  I was relieved to learn that he had had a non-stop gaggle of visitors yesterday — Bill and Sue from the beach,, Petra and Michael from Astoria, and Cousin Pat from Gearhart.  Plus, of course, the usual round of nurses, therapy sessions, and other rehab niceties.    Yay!

Today, though, I am going south again.  After all, I don’t think any of those wonderful visitors came laden with freshly ironed shirts and other necessary amenities (or is that an oxymoron?)  Plus… there is only so much home and garden I can deal with in one swoop.  (Oh.  And did I mention that the chickens got into the kitchen garden pots and unearthed the parsley?  Twice!)


Happenings in the ‘Hood

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Dell’s House?

The first thing I noticed as I drove into town the other day was a neat and tidy looking tent in front of Tucker’s boathouse.  I was immediately bombarded by two thoughts — first that Dell had finally moved in for good and second, that Tucker’s collecting had seriously overflowed. In my heart of hearts, though, I knew the truth… that the sheetrocking of his new Pinball Arcade is about to happen.

Meanwhile… I sorta like the Dell fantasy.  Dell is a long-time friend of Tucker’s who lives in Oregon and comes visiting now and then.  Almost always there is a project going on at the Wachsmuth house and Dell is a willing and very helpful volunteer — especially if it involves electricity which is his area of expertise.

Hampson House, June 11, 2019

I think it was in May that Dell was here for a full week helping with the wiring of the aforementioned arcade.  I remember that he went home on a Saturday because, he told me:  “I promised my wife I’d be home for Mother’s Day.”  But… soon afterwards, Dell was back again “to finish the job!”  What a guy!

In reality (and as I suspected) the tent is being used as extra storage while the sheetrocking happens.  Tucker gave me a peek under the tent flap.  Wow!  Chock-a-block full!  But, even more amazing was that Tucker already had the tent.  In fact, has two of them and their acquisition is yet another Tucker story… Ask him sometime.

The other change in the neighborhood was the progress on the Hampson House.  If you can call disappearing parts “progress.”  The upstairs is now just a memory except for a few two-by-fours here and there.  I imagine that they will be incorporated into the remodel somehow.  It’s been quiet over there — no worker bees for several days.  Perhaps it’s the misty-moisty weather that has called a temporary halt to things.  Or perhaps they are waiting for a delivery of materials.  I’m sure the goings on (or not) will be the subject of speculation throughout the summer.

Ready for Summer!

At our house, all is as it has been except for the addition of four inviting new lawn chairs — fake Adirondacks in bright colored plastic.  They do cheer me up and I hope the summer will be such that they will see a lot of use.  Nyel has informed me that, once he gets home and weather permitting, he intends to spend a good deal of wheelchair time in the garden in the next few months!  So, now that we have seating for visitors, hope y’all can come and set a spell!

Hallelujah! Raise the flag!

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

It’s seven o’clock at the wrong end of the day and my blog is twelve hours late.  Never mind that it has been totally irregular since Farmer Nyel’s Big Fall on February 28th!  I still feel the urge to get back to normal and now, maybe, I can!

At seven o’clock this morning I was on my way to Seaside.  I was to provide transport for Nyel back to St. Vincent’s for two important appointments.  The first was with the Infectious Disease Team to see if his six weeks of IV antibiotics have cleared up the dread infections that have been coursing through his system!  The verdict:  Yes!  When he finishes the current course of meds on June 17th, he can come home!   Yay!!!

His second appointment was with the head surgeon who wanted to inspect his “wound” (which I call his incision) and see how he is healing.  Verdict:  Super Duper.  HOWEVER, he wanted the wound vac to be replaced today or tomorrow.  When we returned to the Seaside Hospital late this afternoon, it was all I could do to keep from dancing around the nurse’s station chanting, “I told you so!  I told you so!”  (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my blog of June 8th, “The Learning Curve and Me” —

But the wound care nurse wasn’t on duty today and I didn’t see the hospitalist who deferred to her judgement…  The surgeon sent a handwritten note which told them what they should do in no uncertain terms.  Nyel and I discussed whether or not they would comply.  Guess whose glass is half empty and whose is half full…

But, never mind the ins and outs of medical egos and other matters that try a patient’s patience.  The important news is that Nyel is coming home one week from today!!!  Keep your fingers crossed and your trumpets in readiness!  Jubilation is in the works!!

The older I get…

Monday, June 10th, 2019

As we age and outlive the older generations, most of us lament the questions we didn’t ask and the discussions we never initiated.  Recently, though, I’ve been looking at the “flip side” (for lack of a better descriptor) of my own aging process.  I have been noticing which characteristics of my forebears I have unwittingly developed.  Sometimes it’s a bit frightening to contemplate…

From Papa, my beloved maternal grandfather, I seem to have inherited loquaciousness.  The older I get, the more I talk and the more rambling my stories have become… just like Papa.  As his son Willard wrote of him in Oysterville, Roads to Grandpa’s Village: “He could talk indefinitely on any subject, detouring away from it for miles but always returning to his point of departure.”

Unfortunately however, it’s the returning to the point of departure that I didn’t inherit.  More and more I tend to lose the thread — a characteristic that I probably inherited from my mother.  Luckily, I think I also resemble her in the humor department and hope that as those threads continue to unravel, I can keep laughing — especially at myself.

On a scarier note, I fear I’ve inherited my maternal grandmother’s eye problems.  Granny was legally blind by the time I can clearly remember her — a combination of cataracts and glaucoma.  Just after World War II, she flew to Manhattan and had cataract surgery which, in those days, required her to lie on her back for ten days, her head secured between sandbags — twice!  Once for each eye.  My own cataract surgery was a breeze by comparison and the toric lenses that were implanted were a far cry from the thick glasses Granny wore for the rest of her life.  For the glaucoma, she used eye drops; so do I.

I think I got my neatnik tendencies (such as they are) from my dad.  Although I hardly noticed at the time, he was forever “picking up” after my mom — taking a glass back to the kitchen, organizing the stack of newspapers on the coffee table or returning garden tools to their rightful place.  He did it automatically, without thought — an accomplishment I haven’t quite achieved.  But I do feel antsy when things are not neat tidy.

With regard to my bossiness/leadership (depending how you look at it) tendencies, Dad often said I was just like his mother.  I hardly knew her so I can’t speak to that.  And, I’m sure there are other traits I exhibit — results of both nurture and nature, no doubt — traits that make me who I am, thanks to my progenitors.  It’s easy to blame them for my less admirable qualities, but I often forget to credit them with the better ones. (And that particular trait probably came from my great-grandfather R.H. Espy.  From what I understand, he was an exacting sort — quicker to criticize than to praise.)  Hmmm.