Posts Tagged ‘Autumn in Oysterville’

Oh, please don’t let me kill them!

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Twelve Baby Mastershalums!

I think of my friend Ann as the Queen of Mastershalums — and if you don’t know Winnie-ther-Pooh, those might be Nasturtiums to you.  Years ago, when Ann lived in a different place, her summer/fall garden was a riot of yellows and oranges and reds — Mastersahlums all over the place

So, when I suddenly realized that Spring and Early Summer had passed right by me and I hadn’t given a single thought to those “standards” of my flower beds, I wrote and asked, “Is it too late to plant them?”  I do belie!ve the answer I received is, at this very minute, sitting on my porch table — twelve lovely little nasturtium starts.  Whoever else could have left them?


Does she know I have a rather brown thumb.  Two of them.  And eight fingers that compliment them perfectly?  I feel honored and oh! so timid about my responsibilities to these little ones.  It reminds me of how I felt about the baby chicks each Spring.  But Nyel was always there — Farmer Nyel, the nurturer.

He was good with plants, too.  He had two important qualities that I know I need to work on — attentiveness and patience.  He saw the nuances, heard the soft cries for help, felt when things weren’t quite right.  And he had the patience to fix whatever it was, a little at a time if that was what was needed.  But I will surely try.

Fingers crossed that there will be mastershalums just about everywhere by Autumn!


O is for Over the Moon in Oz & O’ville

Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

Nyel by Deidre Purcell, 2015

The word is just in — Nyel comes home tomorrow!

Meanwhile — ‘O’ has been for Overload here.  The editor literally pulled my Spooky Stories book off the press and has given me 48 hours (beginning yesterday morning) to review the PDF, note the errors, supply substitute images (I think there are 22 photos plus 10-or-so drawings that need replacement.)  All I can say is… it’s a work in progress…

But… first and foremost — Bill and Sue are picking me up tomorrow a.m. and we are going to Oz to fetch Nyel!!!  Yay!!  (Did I say that my 6’2″ husband, who a few years ago weighed about 170, is now at 147 pounds and the wizards are hoping for still more fluid loss.  And when the doctors asked when he last weighed 150, he thought a minute and then answered, “Probably when I was 12.”)

Cast Members – “A Bag Full of Miracles”

Little Red Hen was still hanging in last night — had hunkered down on the floor below the nest boxes; apparently without energy enough to fly up to the roost.  Though it was late — about 10:30 I think — Slutvana (who was on the roost) was wakeful, keeping an anxious eye on her friend.

And one final FABUOUS part to report — The BEST NEIGHBORS EVER Tucker and Carol treated me last night to dinner and the theater — a great meal at the Compadre and an absolutely hilarious time seeing so many friends in “A Bagful of Miracles!”  I loved it all!  And I’m absolutely sure that one of the miracles that Rita has been toting around in that bag of hers had Nyel’s name on it!  How else do you explain an early morning call today with the joyful news!  Bill and Sue say they’ll be picking me up at seven ayem for the ride to Oz!  I am definitely over the moon!

Underfoot and Out of Sight? Pay Attention!

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

One Cryptomeria Japonica Posing as Two

Ours, for the most part, is what you might call “a mature garden.”  My father planned the landscaping in the late 1960s with Dr. J. Paul Clark and his son, Steve, and by the time my folks retired here in 1972, more than one hundred rhododendrons graced the perimeter of the property.  Toward the northeast corner a cypress-looking tree, a cryptomeria japonica, was planted surrounded by rhododendrons.  We love that little island at the end of the lawn and call it “the round garden” but, frankly, don’t give it much energy or thought.

Over the years the cryptomeria has grown tall and stately and appears to have split into a double trunk.  Surrounded as it is by huge rhodies, we don’t look at its earthly beginning very often, but our Garden Girls alerted us recently that there might be a bit of trouble brewing with that tree.  About three feet up from the ground, near the “split” of the trunk, you can look down into a hollow,  But, more worrisome they thought, was the large fungus growing at the base of the tree.

We called Arbor Care and yesterday Austin came to take a look.  I can’t begin to explain the details, but suffice it to say that there is greater “trouble” underground than above.  The root system of the “conk” as he called that fungus-like growth, will eventually envelop the tree’s roots, weakening them over time.  Of more immediate concern is the top of the tree where the force of wind or storm could topple one of the sides of the tree — probably right onto our chicken coop.  He assured me, however, that The hollow trunk below the split is not of particular concern.

One Tree Has Become Two

He felt that the tree, despite the fungus situation, has a good many years left if we take stabilizing measures — sooner rather than later.  So, hopefully before the next big wind threatens, Arbor Care will install a cable toward the top of the tree, anchoring the weaker side to the stable half and all should be well.  At least for awhile.

My take-away, though, beyond a big sigh of relief at being able to save this tree for the foreseeable future, is the amazing realization that all sorts of things (beyond the life of the mole people) are happening underground as well as above.  And right here in our garden, too!   Who knew?  When I went back to take a picture of the outward manifestation of this huge fungal problem, though, I found not a trace of the conk. Perhaps Austin took it with him to get some input from his colleagues.  And perhaps more information will be forthcoming.

Slippy Slidey on the Chicken Path

Sunday, December 5th, 2021

Chicken Coop in the snow – 2015

Well, we don’t really have a “path” from the house to the chicken coop.  It’s not all that far to walk and it’s just across the east lawn and behind the cypress trees — a spit and a holler, you might say.  In fact, I try not to follow exactly the same route day after day.  I wouldn’t really want a visible trail across the lawn.  Besides, my meanderings give me a chance to check out the new mole hills — my gawd, those critters are busy right now! — and see how Mrs. G.W. Leach and the  Honorable Jean Maries are coming along.  As in buds today, blossoms soon.

This morning the grass was coated with shiny white frost and it was SLIPPERY.  Not so much on the way out which is ever-so-slightly downhill, but on the way back.  Uphill is harder when there’s no traction.  Don’t mention it to my son Charlie, though.  He is concerned that, even under the best of conditions, I will fall on my way out to the girls.  I think it’s because he was here in 2018 when Nyel fell on his way out there — the beginning of his long journey toward life in a wheelchair.

Our Lower Meadow – A Favorite Coyote Hangout

And, also, please don’t mention to Charlie that our neighbor Sue is concerned about my being out after dark.  “Coyotes!” she says.  Actually, I very seldom go out after 4:30 p.m. these days and if, for any reason, it’s beyond gloaming, I take a flashlight with a very big, bright beam.  Besides, as I told her, I haven’t seen or heard any coyotes around for a year or more.

“Oh, they’re out there,” she said, and proceeded to tell us about one coming close to her porch recently and actually growling at her!  Yikes!  “Maybe it was growling at Ursa,” I offered.  But Sue was sure not.  So… don’t tell Charlie.  And my resolve is re-doubled.  Out to the chickens before 4:30 — though the girls aren’t likely to be cooperative about heading for the roost if it’s TOO light!

Ah, the trials of a chicken farmer’s wife.  And who knew that it’s all uphill from the coop? Literally, not figuratively.

Speaking of Cats in Boxes

Sunday, November 28th, 2021

It’s a rule.  Leave an empty (or almost empty) box or container where a cat can find it and in goes the cat.  The “experts” have all sorts of reasons for that behavior.  “Boxes Make Cats Feel Safe,” “Boxes Make Great Hunting Hideouts,”  “Boxes Help Keep Cats Warm,” and “A Box Is New and Mysterious” are a few that come up over and over.

I prefer to think that the answer is more often “because it’s there.”  I come to this conclusion, not through any complicated intellectual process, but by asking myself why cats think that we humans sit in chairs so frequently.  Do they think we feel safe there?   Or that we are waiting for prey to come sit on our laps?  Or would it even occur to them that we just want to rest a bit — to take a load off, as it were?  Seems unlikely.  Resting is lying down as every sensible cat knows.

In reality, I doubt if cats think much at all about why we humans sit in chairs (or anywhere else).  I doubt if they care — unless, for some reason it signals “time for a treat” or another cat-centered activity.  Trying to figure out the whys and wherefores of others’ habits is more likely our bailiwick, not  that of our feline friends.  And… I have to say that it’s as hard to second-guess cats as it is to figure out chickens.

One thing though… chickens do NOT like boxes.



Thursday, November 25th, 2021

We are thankful for countless treasures on this Thanksgiving Day 2021, but first and foremost for the gift of friendship.   We wish all of you a wonderful day and joyous beginning to the holiday season!


Waiting for the third shoe to drop…

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Morning Facebook Notification from PUD – 11/23/2021

I know I’m mixing metaphors here but, so far, it’s a day that seems to require a bit more than usual in the realm of expectations and portents.

First, shortly after the alarm went off, the power followed suit.  Went off, that is.  Not an optimum time in most households, I’d say.  Coffee to make, toilets to flush, showers to take.  All reminders of how soft and dependent we have become.  Though, truly, we didn’t need this outage, so hard on the heels of the last two, for us to renew our concerns for the long, dark winter ahead.

Fortunately (and thanks to our dedicated PUD workers), we were back up and running within a couple of hours and I hied myself out to the chickens to bid them good morning.  Slutvana and Little Red Hen were waiting eagerly by the gate to the coop, but no sign of Clara.  I was at once relieved and concerned when I looked into the coop and saw her standing uncertainly by the door to the ramp.  Now that I was there, she started down — with difficulty, I thought, and I noticed that she had a poopy butt which is never a good sign.


Of course,  as soon as I opened the gate, Slutvana and LRH dashed out into the yard after the cracked corn I tossed about for them.  But, not Clara.  She stayed in the run, looking at me with dull eyes.  I told her I was sorry she didn’t feel well.  I hope it’s just a bit of indigestion but, honestly, I’m concerned.  Farmer Nyel says we’ll just have to wait and see.  That’s the way it is with chickens.

So… what else will this day bring?  I’m a great believer in things happening in threes.  I’m not sure if I can count the roller doors on the woodshed getting stuck right after I had my visit with Clara.  It’s not that big a deal — usually.  But right after they froze up (in the open position) here came the rains.  Torrential for a few moments.  The good news was that it came straight down so the wood was safe and dry.

Maybe it’s just going to be that kind of day.  Or that kind of week until we can say “goodbye” to November.  Perhaps, eventually, we can look back on 2021 as the year with the difficult autumn that, ultimately, paved the way for an easy winter to follow.  We can but hope.

Things Might Be Looking Up In Oysterville

Sunday, November 21st, 2021

Space-X Starlink Satellite

Until very recently, I had the vague idea that Elon Musk was some sort of exotic scent for men.  Then my cousin got a spiffy job in California working for Tesla and I found out a little more — at least to the extent that the scent exuded by this particular Musk is that of money and cutting edge electric cars.  And now we are hearing about Mr. Musk even closer to home.  Yes!  His Starlink satellites have reached the skies above Oysterville!

According to our neighbor (who, as far as we know, is the first in our area to sign up) the system delivers exactly what its website promises:  Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.”

“It was seamless!” she enthused to us at our Friday Night Gathering.  “No muss, no fuss.  Instantly we were up and running — no problems encountered by our local installer or by us!”  And best of all, the download speed for the internet is 200+MB/s (a figure so vast when compared to our all-time CenturyLink speed of 5.88 MB/s, that I cannot remember the exact number)!!

CardioMems Device

Will we sign up?  The jury is still out.  Mostly because it only makes sense to do that if we bag our landline and current internet delivery service.  We will do that in a nano-second IF Nyel finds that his daily CardioMems report can be sent another way.  Right now, the data from the device that measures and monitors his pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate goes daily via our landline directly to his cardiologist in Seattle.  That communication allows for immediate tweaking of meds, should the numbers so indicate.  The big question:  is there another way that his CardioMems machine can communicate with Seattle?

Fingers crossed!  If our stars are in the right aspect and there is a way to circumvent our landline, we’ll be on the waitlist before you can say, “200 MB/s.”


How far have we come? How far yet to go?

Friday, November 19th, 2021

Abraham Lincoln

On November 19, 1863 — 158 years ago today — at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War,  President Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In fewer than 275 words, he brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.

It used to be that every school child could recite at least the beginning sentence of the Gettysburg Address:  Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.    But, all these years later we still argue the fine points of that very sentence and, sometimes, it seems as though we might be, yet again, on the brink of a mammoth civil conflict.

And perhaps we are — it’s just that it happens on the streets during “protest marches” and in the courts during “fair trials” and in our free press in hateful words and “fake” news.  As if these thoughts don’t bum me out enough, I looked up how many wars the United States of America has been involved in since our beginnings in 1776.  Want to hazard a guess?

“Freedom From Want” by Norman Rockwell

Since the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War with the Treaty of Paris in 1783 in which Britain recognized the independence of the United States of America and the colonies, we have been involved in 92 wars, three of which are ongoing.  Granted, this information comes from Wikipedia which is not necessarily known for its accuracy and even it has a disclaimer of sorts at the top of the page:  The neutrality of this article is disputed  Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page.  Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. (August 2021)

Nevertheless… were the number of wars even half that amount, it is a scary proposition.  I wonder what Lincoln would have to say about our situation today.  And could he confine his remarks to  two minutes and 272 words?  Today, less than a week before our traditional Thanksgiving here in America, it is surely something to think about.


And speaking of old newspapers…

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

Northender Masthead May 21, 1976

If you’ve been around here long enough to remember the 1970s, a newspaper called The Northender may ring a bell.  I don’t know how many issues there were in all, but I’ve recently run across Vol. 1, No.1 published May 21, 1976.  It was a simple sheet of 30″ x 22½” newsprint, folded to make four standard newspaper-size. pages,  printed in a standard font (perhaps Century Schoolbook) and well-illustrated with photographs.

The map on the paper’s masthead showed, as might be expected, the north end of the Peninsula — from Oysterville and Surfside south to Klipsan.  Advertisements for north end businesses such as Ole’s Nook, the Ocean Park Tourist Camp, Don McKay Realty, and the Shake Shack are nestled among the news stories on pages 3 and 4.  The news content is divided between historic information and current events.

I was interested to see a front page headline, STREET NAME PETITION PRESENTED TO COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.  The article began:  A delegation composed mostly of Ocean Park Village Club members met with County Commissioners and Public Works Representatives in South Bend Monday, to present a petition of protest concerning the revised naming of Peninsula roads and streets.

Although Jack Downer, spokesman for the group, reported that “the meeting went smoothly, and Commissioners Claire Korevaar, and Bill Crossman were receptive towards working together…”  we all know how that exchange finally turned out.  I don’t know if it was this meeting or a subsequent one that my mother attended.  When the group was told that numbering the Peninsula streets was being done to accommodate the Fire Department, she was furious.  “I recently moved back here from San Francisco,” she said, “and, as you might know, it is a far greater metropolis than our Peninsula.  They have retained all of their historic street names and their firemen don’t seem to have a problem locating addresses.  Are you saying that our firemen are not as smart as firemen in San Francisco?”  She never got over the “stupidity” — not of the firemen, but of the movers and shakers of the County who would not listen to their residents — “the very property owners and taxpayers who pay their salaries,” she said.  More than once.

Old Nelson Home, Oysterville 1875 – by Pat Akehurst

Several of the photographs tugged at my heartstrings.  Jeff Murikami’s house in Nahcotta which, said the caption once housed the first north end newspaper.  The Pacific Journal was the first newspaper published in Pacific County.  It was established in Osterville in 1887…  And on page 2 is a picture of 93-year-old Charlie Nelson whose parents’ Oysterville home was being featured in a Friends of the Library calendar, set to go on sale July 4, 1976 at the time of the Bi-Centennial Celebration in Oysterville.

Great stuff!  Oh, and did I mention that the cost of these four pages of information and entertainment was ten cents — “one thin dime,” as they used to say?   I wonder how many issues Mr. Messing managed to put out.  And I wonder if anyone has the complete set — perhaps the library?  I’m keeping my eye out, you betcha,  as I dig deeper into these boxes and files of the past.  Stay tuned…