Archive for the ‘Summer in Oysterville’ Category

I could hear them loud and clear, but…

Friday, September 15th, 2023

I went over to Carol’s to feed the birds this morning but… hardly one to be seen.  Oh, they were there, all right, and scolding! scolding! scolding!  Not me — or at least I don’t think so.  They were really cross with the two little critters who beat them to the  goodies!

Little Mr. Chipmunk was there even before I arrived, looking over a few scattered seeds that had been left behind yesterday.  As I approached, he had quite a bit to say about the situation but scooted into the bushes when I got within arm’s distance.  And, then, even before I left, he was aced out by Mr. (or Mrs.) Gray Squirrell.  Apparently they are not dining companions and whoever gets there first is the Seed King of the moment.

Meanwhile, the ever-patient (though noisy!) birds kept fairly well hidden in the trees.  Like who did they think was going to bother them, anyway?  I’m pretty sure they could have joined either of the furry critters, but apparently that is not good manners among the woodland fauna.

I didn’t stick around to see if everyone got his/her fair share.   (Mostly, I don’t know what “fair” is.  Or is that even a concept among the feathered and furred?)  I guess their numbers and continued patronage is the best indicator that they are happy with their allotment each day.  I’m just glad they are good cleaner-uppers.  I wouldn’t want one of Tucker’s bears to come join the breakfast brigade!  Not on my watch!

And the beat goes on…

Friday, September 8th, 2023

Mr. P. in Colin’s Plum Tree

My down-the-street neighbor, after reading of the fruit-theiving porcupine in my plum tree, sent a photo of Mr. P in HIS plum tree a day or so later.  That rodent is surely making the rounds!

I did a little sleuthing to see what I could learn about porcupines. According to my research, adults range from 2 to 3 feet in length and weigh about 20 pounds,  Their fur ranges in color from brownish-yellow to black with white highlights on their quills – (the black and white are definitely “our” guy’s colors,)  And they are covered in approximately 30,000 hollow quills.

Even though all our Oysterville sightings so far have been with the rascals in trees, they are said to spend much of their time on the ground.  AND, presumably they aren’t the best climbers.  One study found that 30% of the porcupines had healed fractures from falling out of trees! 

Dogs often tangle with porcupines and should be taken directly to a vet should that occur. Such an attack can be fatal. 

As for their diet — A foraging porcupine will eat the fruits (as we know, here in Oysterville), plants, and vegetables in your garden and they  have been known to chew on tool handles, garden hoses, and tires.

In Washington, porcupines “are unprotected” which I assume means you may have your way with them.  My way is to let them go their way.  But I do resent their stealing my plums!

Just east of our back fence…

Thursday, September 7th, 2023

Look who’s in our plum tree??? Photo by Cate Gable

Look who  Cate spotted in Nyel’s plum tree the other day!  The pesky porcupine that ate all of the Wachsmuth’s apples!  Of course, it’s hard to tell with porcupines, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same one.  After all, we don’t often see any of these slow-moving critters in town and this one does look pretty familiar.  And smug.

Tucker checked out the few plums (actually they’re Italian prunes) Mr. Porcupine left on the upper branches and reports that they are still a bit tart.  We (Tucker on his ladder, me on terra firma with a container) are going to try to get them on Saturday — if any remain!

And today, while I was at the dentist, the meadow just beyond that plummy prune tree disappeared!  Just like that!!  Chris-The-Mower-Man was here and what a grand job he did!  Have you noticed the ORF Meadow as you come into town from the south?  Beautiful! And it’s so nice to see Willard’s Bench once again after its summer disappearance in the tall grasses!

Our Gorgeous Meadow Ready For Autumn!

I hope we have a month or two to enjoy the beauty of the shorn meadow grasses before the winter tides and rains start creating their puddles and lakes out there.  But, I love those, too — especially when the ducks get to dabbling and it’s splash-full of watery activity out there beyond my windows!  It is hard to believe, though, that summer is just about over!  I hope I enjoyed it.  It seemed to dash by so in a blink this year!

Let’s hear it for the History Forum!!!

Wednesday, September 6th, 2023

I am delighted to report that the first-ever History Forum at the Oysterville Schoolhouse this morning was a resounding success!  Forty-six community members — think “larger community” from Cathlamet, South Bend, Astoria, Centralia and the Peninsula — were in attendance to hear three members of the Chinook Tribe discuss “How We Got Here” and what is was like for their ancestors who lived here on the leading edge of White settlement.

Charlotte Troeh Killien, Charles Funk, and Linda LeClaire each spoke about their families of long ago and the development of the Chinuk Wawa (called “Chinook jargon” by Whites) to assist them in trading with people speaking many languages, what canny bargains they made — and those comments only for starters.  Interest was high and when it came time for questions and comments from the audience, there were many.

Moderator Sydney Stevens and Speakers Charlotte Killien, Charles Funk, Linda LeClair – Michael Lemeshko Photo, 9-6-23

There was also additional information offered.  Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum Executive Director Madeline Moore invited History Forum participants to two events at CPHM featuring the Chinook Nation: “Chinuk Ntsayka!” We Are Chinook: Photographs by Amiran White (August 4th-November 11th) and “We Are Chinook!” Gallery Talk with Photographer Amiran White (September 20, 5:00-6:30 P.M. )

Steve Rogers, President of the Pacific County Historical Society invited all those interested in pursuing research regarding the history of Pacific County to come to the South Bend Museum and have a look at the files for themselves.  “There will be someone there to assist you,” he assured listeners.

Charlie Funk Talks About His Ancestors and Their Way of Life 9-6-23 – David Olson Photo

Afterwards, people lingered in groups of two and three to further discuss what they had learned or to share additional information.  “Hooray!” I thought!  “That’s what a Forum is all about — a place or setting in which to exchange ideas and hopefully to inspire  like-minded people to carry the discussion out into the community.”  Nothing would please me more than to learn that people were beginning to get together beyond the Forum, itself, to share information and, as Jim Sayce so often hopes, “to tell the stories.”

With apologies to Nyel and all chefs at large!

Wednesday, September 6th, 2023

Propane Tank, 2020 — Unsightly After 20 Years

Yesterday was a red letter day for me!  I bade a fond farewell to our propane tank and to all its connections to my kitchen range.  But I did send silent apologies to all the wonderful cooks and chefs out there who know better than I about the wonders of cooking on open flames!  I acknowledge your artistry and (to me) your bravery.

Me… not so much, even though I grew up with gas stoves in California without giving them much thought one way or another.  In fact, I think I lived with gas being the only option — both on stovetop and in the oven for my first 42 years.  It was natural gas, piped in from under the streets in every house where I lived.  I never gave it a thought.

But, when I moved full-time to Oysterville and built my own house, I found that I had a choice.  Electric everything, or “gas” which was provided by propane tanks.  I don’t know why that seemed scary to me — perhaps because I’d heard of disasters caused by the combination of leaking gas and a spark.  (But why I’d never focused on that where natural gas was involved — and surely there must have been disasters now and then — I don’t know.)

Time passed.  Nyel entered my life.  Nyel who loved to cook and lamented that we hadn’t the proper cooking facility.  So, when it came time to move to the family house, the first thing we did was to remodel the kitchen and install a duel-fuel stove.  And propane.  I was not a happy camper but, of course, Nyel’s wonderful meals more than compensated — even when we did, indeed, have a gas leak early on! (But no spark.  No explosion.  And no repeat performance.)

In August 2020 Nyel did his magic paint trick — the next best thing to a propane tank disappearing act.

As the years  went by and the tank grew rusty, Nyel painted it white to camouflage it a bit — for my sake.  He talked about building a  latticework screen around it but it was one of those things that we never got around to.  I’m sure he knew full well that eventually I would revert to an all-electric stove if ever he could no longer manage the cooking duties.  I’m so glad that never happened as long as he lived.  And now…  Now I’m sure he would be cheering me on.  He was just that kind of guy!

Shouldn’t we call it R&R Day?

Monday, September 4th, 2023

What to do on Labor Day — from Country Living Magazine

I do understand the reason that the first Monday in September is called “Labor Day.” It is our yearly celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday was first proposed when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

But, what it has become, of course, is a “day off” — a sort of extension of summer.  One more day before school starts most years and then the work year begins anew.  Except, of course, if you work in the tourist or travel industry or happen to be a nurse or a retail worker or a first responder or…  But, I guess the point could be argued that some work does not count as “labor.”

Another Labor Day Option?

In my own case as an elementary school teacher, the holiday just came at an awkward time in the school year — within days of the opening  school some years or, in some cases it was the day before school started.  It was always just at that time when we “grade school teachers” were scurrying to get our classrooms ready for the next 25 or 30 (or when I began in 1961, 32). youngsters.

There were desks to arrange, bulletin boards to create, new curriculum materials to become familiar with, class lists to look over, the school nurse and (if you were lucky) counselor to meet with, lesson plans to prepare, worksheets to create… and on and on.  Of course that was in “the olden days” but nothing much changed during the 29 years I spent in the classroom — except, perhaps, the addition of paraprofessionals who sometimes made the work load easier… but not on Labor Day.

One Last Summer Picnic

And so… I thought the “Labor Day” moniker was apt and actually was thankful for one more day to get ready for the new school year.  But, now that I am retired and don’t usually have to scurry on this holiday, I really would like call this “R & R” Day — and find a way for all workers to have the luxury of one paid day with no work responsibilities at all.  (Yes, I have been told I live in a Fantasy World!  Hear!  Hear!)

It’s A Grand Day for Cloning!

Sunday, September 3rd, 2023

St. Helen’s Hall, Portland OR

Being in two places — or maybe three or thirty — at once has been a life-long fantasy of mine.  I’ve always had the unreasonable desire to “do it all” but, as much as I’ve tried, I’ve not been very successful at it.  My earliest memories of that unrealistic yearning go back to my pre-Kindergarten days at St. Helen’s Hall in Portland,

My good friend, Nancy Cannon, was a bit younger than I and perhaps a bit more timid.  When St. Helen’s Hall proved a “good fit” for me, Nancy’s mother enrolled her as well, not realizing that she would be in a different class.  I still remember sitting on the floor in the back of my classroom by the huge windowless French doors talking to Nancy on the other side — trying in my best five-year-old tones to reassure her that it would “be all right.”

Nancy Cannon Goodell (1970s ?)

How I wanted to give her a hug and how torn I was when my own teacher led me back to my place at the little table where bright-colored crayons and a coloring book awaited me.  “If only,” I remember thinking, “I could be in my classroom and Nancy’s at the same time!”  That was almost eighty years ago and I can still remember how stubbornly I hung onto the idea that I SHOULD be able to be both places at once.

Today, as on every Labor Day Sunday of the past 45 years, I am thinking yet again of how to be in two places at once — at Vespers in Oysterville or at the Annual Williams Family Reunion in Chinook.  If I didn’t have “responsibilities” at the former and I were less cautious about my old-age driving abilities, I could probably spend an hour at the Chinook gathering and make it back in time for most of Vespers.  But alas!  It is not to be.

Zooming — the next best thing to cloning?

Maybe cloning wouldn’t be possible, anyway.  Would I have to be young and physically fit?  Could I choose my destinations and arrival/departure times precisely?  And, does making “the best possible choice” in such matters really develop our character as my parents tried to gently infer as I was growing up?  There is one small consolation, though — tonight is Zoom Night with Charlie and Marta.  It’s about at close to cloning as we are likely to get in my lifetime.  Certainly better that talking through a crack between those big old French doors!

At long last! It’s Dahlia Season in Oysterville!

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023

White and Spikey

It’s been a weird year garden-wise here at my place.  Almost all the flowers came late and began to fade away almost as soon as they had time to say “hello.”  At first I thought it was because summer took its time to arrive and then gave us too much wind and very little rain but my friends say it’s been “a great summer” and look at me as if I’ve been on another planet.

Perfect in Pink!

I guess it’s one of those eye-of-the-beholder things and my garden and I have mostly been beholding mole hills and bird nests.  But, now the dahlias have come out in full force and I am in my usual quandary — to pick or not to pick.  I so love seeing them brightening the garden that I hesitate to approach with my snippety-snips.

On the other hand… there’s nothing like bringing a bit of the outside in!  I do so enjoy seeing their stately blossoms and gorgeous colors as I move around the house throughout the day.  They make me think of my father — he always had dahlias, every place we lived, and usually had “a cutting garden” so he could leave the decorative bedding plants alone.  He often spoke of his mother’s dahlia garden in Boston when he was a boy and how she would stop at homes of perfect strangers to ask for bulbs.

Color, Color Everywhere!

I’m not even close to being that cheeky — and, thanks to my friend Patricia, I don’t need to be.  Her Long Beach garden is a dahlia lover’s Paradise and she is generous about sharing.  In fact, I wonder how many of my current plants came from her,  And, come to think of it, some of hers originally came from here many years back.  (My dad and Nana would be proud!)

Have you marked your calendar? Sept. 6th!!

Thursday, August 24th, 2023

Oysterville Schoolhouse

We* are gearing up for the first session of the History Forum here in Oysterville and hope those of you interested in SW Washington history will be among our participants!  We begin at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 6th at the Oysterville Schoolhouse – but if you can get there a tad early so you can “register,” we can be sure to keep you posted month-by-month in the future.  Better yet, if you are planning to come, write and I’ll “pre-register” you!.

Charlotte and Her Button Blanket, 2019

There will be an article in the Chinook Observer next week giving some particulars about our speakers and telling you a little about our initial plans for these monthly get-togethers.  When I was talking to our Editor, he mentioned that the History Forum is reminiscent in some ways of Diane Buttrell’s “Oysterville Talks.”  Certainly as to place and frequency (and I hope as to popularity!), that is true.

However, the big difference is that the intent of the Forum is that it be as  participatory as possible.  After a short presentation by each of our panelists (two to three speakers each week who will set the stage for the day’s topic) it will be up to the rest of us to discuss, question, speculate, suggest and, in general examine the topic and the avenues it takes us.

“Town of the Old People” by Charles Funk

I’m excited about the possibilities!   I so hope that some of you readers who have responded to my blogs over the years with history questions or comments of your own will come if you are able.  Also, we fully expect to record each session and post it on YouTube so those who don’t have the opportunity to be here in person can “weigh in.”  See you soon!

*At this point “We” includes Michael Lemeshko, Tucker Wachsmuth, Kathleen Davies, Dayle and David Olson, Jim Sayce and myself.  The History Forum is “a work in progress” so DO join us and invite your friends who might be interested!

Samuel Hawkeye Wachsmuth – Generation Alpha!

Monday, August 21st, 2023

Wachsmuths in Hats – Sam and Opa Tucker

Tucker’s grandson Sam is eleven years old and is well on his way to becoming a force to be reckoned with.  At the Oysterville Regatta this weekend, he told me he is going to learn to sail so he can race in the next year or two.  “Can you swim?” I asked, eyeing the boats that had just gone over in the very sharp wind,

He gave me one of those “so-so” hand-moves, looking just a bit anxious, but quickly assured me that he’ll be wearing a life jacket, anyway.  “And,” I thought to myself, “if he keeps growing at the current rate, he’ll be able to stand up in most of the Lazer learning waters and will, no doubt, learn easily under the watchful eye of his (many times Regatta winner) father, Clark!”

Besides being mostly arms and legs, Sam was mostly everywhere at once.  It seemed that wherever I looked, Sam was helping set up, helping bring in buoys and more buoys, totally engaged and having very serious fun.  What a guy!  It seems such a short time ago that he was hardly as high as the food tables at his Aunt Lina’s Regatta Dinner and he busied himself at the potluck affair by building his own dinner.

As had become the custom in those days, the dinner (read: banquet) took place in Sam’s Aunt Lina’s front yard and was presented buffet-style for the enjoyment of all the Regatta participants, their families, and the residents of greater downtown Oysterville.  Among the food choices that evening were corn chowder, black bean and sweet potato soup, dueling beef briskets (one by Sam’s Uncle Charley, and one by Lina’s husband,  Uncle Dave) or maybe those were the year before, four(!) different kinds of vegan enchiladas, beef enchiladas, homemade refried beans, tossed salad, chocolate cake, almond cake, and cheesecake.  Whew!

Buoy-Puller Sam

Sam looked over all the choices and waited patiently as each guest filled a plate (maybe more than once).  Then, quick-as-a-wink,   Sam chose one of those big, oval paper bowls, poured in a generous mound of peanut M&Ms, buried them in a mountain of whipped cream topping, and proceeded to a quiet corner enjoy his “dinner.”  Lest there be no questions about a healthy boy’s appetite (and priorities), for dessert Sam helped himself to a giant slice of chocolate cake and smothered it, too, with whipped cream!   What a guy!

I hope I’m around two years hence to report on Sam-the-teenager and his Oysterville Regatta Experiences in 2025.  One way or  another, they are bound to be full of unexpected and delightful surprises.  (No pressure, Sam!)

Sam Foolin’ Around In A Boat