Archive for the ‘Summer in Oysterville’ Category

Vespers Bounty Beyond Expectations!

Sunday, August 7th, 2022

Peninsula Guitar Project

It’s happening more and more frequently these Sunday afternoons.  I am coming home from Music Vespers at the Oysterville Church laden down with gifts.  I’m not talking spiritual gifts here for they come along almost as a matter of course when you spend time in our lovely little church.  No, I’m talking about actual pick-it-up-and-carry-it-home sorts of gifts.  Today there were three!

First, was a CD that Bill Svendsen handed me just before today’s service began  “The Peninsula Guitar Project – Live at the Oysterville Church” it was called and, lest there be no doubt, there was a picture of our church right on the disc!  Bill had set up the recording equipment last week before Ken Emo, Jason Sheaux, and George Coleman — The Peninsula Guitar Trio — took center stage.  How lucky I was to be able to listen to them all over again this evening!

Vespers Flowers by Sue Svendsen

Then, as I was leaving the church, Sue Svendsen called to me and  offered me one of the bouquets she had done for today’s service.  I took the smaller of the two and it was absolutely the right choice.  It is perfect on our entry table in the living room and cheers me each time I pass by.

And… before I had even reached my gate, Deborah Perry called out to me and came hurrying over with a loaf of bread that her friend had made yesterday.  “The loaves are small, but she made 15 of them!” Deborah said.  “If you have company, I can give you more than one loaf!”  Wow!

And as if all of these treasures weren’t enough… I am still basking in the glow after a familiar looking woman came up and spoke to me as I was helping gather up hymnals.  She said she was from the Sacramento area of California and she has been coming up to visit our Peninsula each summer for years.  “I remember your sweet mother,” she said, “and the wonderful hats she always wore to Vespers.”  How lovely it was to have someone speak to me of my mother.  It was the best gift of all!


Doncha think it’s scary the way…

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

…the cars and trucks barrel-ass along Territory Road here in Oysterville? Twenty-five miles per hour the sign says as you turn into town.  I don’t think so.  That hasn’t happened in a long, long time.  It’s more like forty or forty-five and pedestrians beware.  Oh.  And never mind that there are entire patches where we have no verge to  cower on anymore…

And it’s not just the tourists in a hurry to roar through the town with “isn’t it quaint” and “I wonder what there is to do here, anyway:?”  No.  Often, it’s the workmen coming in answer to a call — time is money and all of that.  Sometimes it’s even one of us who lives here, heaven forbid! How important we’ve all become!  How fast we need to get on with it!

Even scarier was the report in the paper about the break-in a few weeks back at our late-neighbor Bud’s.  It took more than an hour for the sheriff to get here but luckily (I guess) the intruders were still in his house.  Armed even.  What possible good would “neighborhood watch” do here, anyway?  “Good Night Nurse!” as my mother used to say!

Meanwhile, we are kept well-distracted (no pun intended) by water quality worries and by tsunami preparations and by rinky-dink rules and regulations that we can’t seem to change no matter how many tons of garbage the fireworks nitwits leave on our beach.  Our elected officials say their hands are tied and, even worse, no one at all wants to run against them in the upcoming election.  Would you?

I, for one, think we’re in a scary place down here at the grass roots.  I probably shouldn’t have gone out of the chicken biz.  You never could tell with chickens but they did seem a bit more grounded than most of the human flock I’m seeing.  Go figure.



The First (but not the last) Deja Vu

Saturday, July 30th, 2022

Peninsula Saddle Club Logo

This was Cowboy Breakfast morning at the Long Beach Rodeo Grounds — the first one I’d been to since BC (Before Covid) and the first “traditional” outing that I’ve always shared previously with Nyel.  We had gone every year that I can remember, Nyel dressed in his cowboy duds and describing himself as “all hat and no horse!”

This time I went as Tucker and Carol’s guest and the morning was full of deja vu!  For one thing, there were Judy Eron and Charlie Watkins of “Double J and the Boys” renown — both in full cowboy regalia and cooking up a storm behind the serving counter.  I was able to tell Charlie (the egg man!) “no runny parts” on my fried egg and he did it up “extra crispy” just like always!

Cranberry Cowgirl Duo, Ardell and Carolyn

“Little” Guy Glenn was flipping flapjacks, as usual, and I marvelled again at how long ago he’d been a third grader in my classroom.  (Or was he?  Neither of us quite remember… Maybe it was his sister, Carrie, and Guy was just the wannabe younger brother???)  His folks were next to us in line and over at a nearby table were Malcolm and Ardell MacPhail.  It felt like Old Home Week.

In fact, there were many familiar faces in the crowded room.  And, in that treasured Peninsula small-world way, the young man who found a seat next to Tucker turned out to be Charlie Watkin’s grandson, here on the Peninsula from North Bend with his family.  How fun!

And, I’ll bet I wasn’t the only one who was “seeing” people from past Cowboy Breakfasts — Nyel, Gordon and Roy, Florence and Azmi, my cowboy cousin Brad Pearson, Nyel some more — so many people that seemed to be enjoying the morning just out of sight.

Nyel After The Cowboy Breakfast, 2014

Once again, I felt our community’s greater dimension.   I love knowing that we are not solely the total of everyone who lives here now, but the sum of all who have lived here before us, as well.  Whether or not we knew them or have even heard their names, they had a part in the legacy we continue to share.  Lucky us!

Quick! It’s Trimmin’ Time!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Rhodie Trimming: Before (left); After (right).

What a strange year it’s been for our rhododendrons — especially our Honorable Jean Maries.  Our cold, wet spring meant spasmodic blooms late in May — not the usual solid mass of color earlier in the month which has been the  norm since we were first introduced some forty years ago.

And then, as the cold, wet spring sloshed into a soggy, well-chilled summer, whatever bloomin’ inclinations the lovely Jean Maries might have had morphed into leaf production.  Leaves, leaves and more leaves!  Bigger leaves and higher branches of leaves than most other two-year periods produce.  I was having to stand on tiptoe inside the house to see out over the plants that were blocking the windows!

Blackberries (with white blossoms), left, encroaching on York Roses, right.

So today I said, “Enough already!” and began to trim.  And trim.  And trim.  I worked for an hour or so — two big trash bags full and I had made scarcely a dent. At this rate I reckon I have job security until September.  At least!

As an added bonus, I decimated half of a huge blackberry vine that had the audacity to invade a tub of York Roses.  I felt quite accomplished and promised the other half that I’d see her tomorrow, you betcha!  What I didn’t mention to any of them — rhodies, blackberries or York Roses — all bets are off if it rains.  I’m definitely a fair weather gardener, even while lopping and trimming!

I do a lot of thinking when…

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Sometimes the Recycling Center is less than inviting.

I went to the recycling center today — the one nearest me, in Nahcotta.  It was clean as a whistle and there was no one there except a man in a Peninsula Sanitation truck who appeared to be taking a break of some sort.  I don’t dislike recycling, but I can’t say I love it, either.

A Sunrise on Willapa Bay – June 9, 2015

Mostly, it puts me in mind of being a second class citizen.  No curbside recycling collections for us.  And, it goes without saying, that we need to pre-sort; it doesn’t all go into the same bin.  Not so in the more urban areas.  As with many such things, we rural residents are on the second-class citizen lineup.

Curbside?? Where?

Trade-offs?  Of course.  Great weather events almost daily — sunrises, sunsets, rainbows over the bay, whippy winds and pelting hail.  We get a little of everything as the year rolls ’round.  And even better than the smiling bounty of Mother Nature — the ability to absolutely count on knowing someone no matter where you go — to the post office, the store, the newest pizza joint in town.  It’s a given — there’s always a friendly face. a smile, maybe even a hug.

Wolf Moon – January 2, 2018

But, it seems to me that “rural” no longer has to mean 2nd class citizen.  Basic amenities such a up-to-date garbage collection, high speed internet, healthy drinking water and a power supply you can count on should be available to all of us by now.  At least that’s what I think when I’m pitching aluminum can after aluminum can into the slot of the recycle bin.  It’s almost enough to make me give up V-8 juice!  Almost.

Planting Babies and Hoping for The Best

Monday, July 18th, 2022

Planting Babies

Today was Plant Baby Mastershalums Day at my house.  Thirteen of them.  A baker’s dozen… or, in this case, a gardener’s dozen!

I watered them, too, but then read Caroline Miller’s comment on yesterday’s blog: They say Mastershalums are the easiest plants to grow, but more than once I killed mine.  I think I overwatered them.  I ran right outside and turned off the sprinkler!

Perhaps (I keep thinking to myself) the seeds from last year’s nasturtiums (and there must have been plenty) will notice these babies that Ann left for me.  And, perhaps they will take the hint and begin to grow.  There should be quite a few of them lurking just underground, perhaps amid the daisies or where the dahlias used to be.

Roses and Lilies and… Bindweed?  Oh My!

Which reminds me, whatever happened to the dahlias?  I know it’s supposed to be tricky to get them to winter over, but I always thought the danger was the cold and the frost.  I didn’t realize that they could drown.  Surely that must have been their fate in our soggy boggy winter, spring, and early summer.

I do have a few dahlias — emphasis on few.  But even they are dwarfish — not the robust plants their mothers were last year.  Only the lilies and the Shasta daisies are thriving… so far.  But, I haven’t given up hope.  That’s because my memory is clear as to past years.  (And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a look at my July 12th blog:

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Louise Penny

A copy of author Louise Penny’s July Newsletter arrived in my inbox this morning.  It was just what I needed — a welcome diversion from the “sea of despond” which laps at my toes now and then.  The last family members returned to their normal lives a few days ago, gently leaving me to find my own “new normal.”  It will take some time, I know.  And I also know, as Nyel so often reminded me, patience is not one of my outstanding qualities.

Marie Lagrouix, Quebec City Guide

But, like the characters in her wonderful Armand Gamache series,  Louise Penny’s newsletter speaks to me in soothing, meaningful words.  It has always been so and, in this issue, the words “Deep Breath In.  Deep Breath Out.” were just what I needed.  She, however, was writing about her recent horrific experiences with airline travel.  To me they were the perfect advice for these difficult days of adjustment to life without Nyel.

And, as I read Ms. Penny’s words in their familiar cadence, I thought about the “Trip to Three Pines” that Nyel and I went on with three other members of our Mystery Book Club.  On the last day, we had scheduled a guided tour of Quebec City where we would visit some of the places the author had highlighted in a recent book.  And, not only that, we would get a glimpse of where she had stayed and where she’d eaten and where she’d had afternoon coffee during her days of research there.

Coming November 29th!

We met our guide at the tourist information center.  She was a little late and arrived with a welcoming smile, but with an ashen face.  “Michael died this morning,” she began.  Louise Penny’s beloved husband.  Her anchor.  Her helpmate.  Her strongest supporter.  Her prototype for Armand Gamache.  We all wondered if she would continue to write…  But, of course, she has continued — all the while praising and thanking her friends and millions of fans for their support.

I thought about all that as I took a deep breath in and another deep breath out.  And I’m looking forward to her next book — the 18th in the Gamache series — “A World of Curiosities.”  It’s due out November 29th!



Mending Our Hearts in Historic Oysterville

Friday, July 8th, 2022

A Sign of Summer

After a glorious beginning a few weeks back, then a bit of a hiccup due to a Covid threat, Music Vespers will begin again on Sunday — a hopeful return to the “normalcy” of a long and cherished Oysterville tradition.

If you have been a “regular” Vespers attendee over the past thirty-plus years, you know that in our little Historic Church, the service is a mix of history, spiritual message and music of every genre — with emphasis on the music.  This summer, especially, it seems to me that it’s just what we all need!

Kathryn Claire

When my mother, Dale Little, introduced the idea of featuring music at Vespers she said, “Let’s have all sorts of music!” and went on to quote the familiar Psalm: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…”  This Sunday, we will be treated to the “stunning harmony vocals” of Kathryn Claire and Margot Merah.  And what a duo they are!

Margot Merah

Both are “singer-songwriters,” both play musical intruments (Margot, guitar; Kathryn guitar and violin), Margot comes  from Paasloo, a small township in northeast Netherlands and Kathryn’s roots are in the Pacific Northwest.  Margot sings both traditional songs – often Celtic – as well as her own compositions and she’s noted for her enthralling voice.  For Kathryn, her early classical training  plus her love of traditional music allows her to move seamlessly across genres.  With these two accomplished women performing in the Oysterville Church with its amazing accoustics, Sunday’s Vespers audience is in for a treat!

Bear Family Visits The Wachsmuths, April 2020

Besides which, Tucker Wachsmuth is promising a “bear story” during his “Oysterville Moment” opening of the afternoon’s service.  And Steve Kovach is scheduled to give a short message and lead the congregational hymn — all-in-all a not-to-be missed hour of enjoyment in our lovely little village.  See you at three o’clock day-after-tomorrow!





Was Sunday ever “a day of rest”?

Sunday, September 19th, 2021

Sydney and Erin — At Sunday Brunch

It seems to me that Sunday is a scrambling day.  Scrambling to finish up what didn’t get done on Saturday.  Scrambling to get things started (and finished!) for Sunday dinner.  Scrambling to get our ducks in a row for the upcoming week.  Why did we used to call it “a day of rest” anyway?

I do remember that when I was just beginning school in Alameda, my mother got up to see me off to Sunday School… and then went back to bed.  Only once in a while did my parents go to church and when I asked why, they said they had had enough church at the University of Redlands — a Baptist institution — to last a lifetime.  I think they were obligated to attend a church service every day and I specifically remember her saying that there were five (count ’em five services) on Sundays.  YIKES!  So maybe they felt they had earned a day of rest.  Or at least a morning.

Blum’s, San Francisco – 1890s – 1970s

I do remember, too, that it was often on Sundays that we “went for a drive” — sometimes out into the countryside where we once bought my dog, Zipper.  And sometimes (at Christmastime, especially) into San Francisco to see the Christmas trees in the windows along the Marina or to wander the downtown streets and look at the magical displays in the department store windows.  Sometimes on Sundays we went and got a hot fudge sundae (which I always thought was funny — a sundae on a Sunday) as a special treat.

Looking back, I don’t know that Sundays were as much a day of rest as a day to have family fun — the only day of the week with two working parents that such activities were possible.  But like they say: a change is as good as a rest.  And therein must lie the problem when you are retired and every day is a sort of Sunday…

Toes Up On The South Lawn

Saturday, September 18th, 2021

Windy Aftermath

Once again the garden chairs have been blown belly-up by the wind.  It doesn’t take much to buffet these plastic Adirondack chairs into submission.  After all, they are lightweight enough that I can stack all four and carry them from place to place.  So,  a “real storm” is hardly a requirement for blowing them over.

Nevertheless, yesterday could almost be classified as “stormy” here in Oysterville.  The rain seemed relentless, as did the wind.  The flags on the churchyard flagpole whipped and snapped all day and it was cold and gray and uninviting out.

Last Night’s Cozy Fire

Besides which, the chickens had gone to roost by five o’clock — about two hours early for these last days of summer.  They were hunkered down, seemingly resigned to a long and drafty night with the wind whistling around the coop. I wonder if this gloom and sog while summer is still upon us portends a difficult autumn and winter ahead.

On the other hand… the sun is shining this morning as we speak, despite the weatherman’s prognostication of more rainy gloom and doom for today and tomorrow.  That’s the best part of the weather here in Oysterville:  if you don’t like it, wait a minute and it’ll change!