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Archive for the ‘Small town life’ Category

Sounds like the name of a band. If anyone uses it I think I should get royalties.

I mostly listen to the local NPR station ( staffed primarily by volunteer programmers). There are several different types of programs, some music, and a few talk. Not too much national stuff  — the budget is very small. It seems like once a week or so I hear “we have a report of a lost lab – answers to the name of Trudy”. And if you listen long enough, you hear that Trudy made it home. It’s nice. There is the Ship Report on weekday mornings, which gives a breakdown of the comings and goings of all the big boats that make their stops along the Columbia River. It is a remarkably busy shipping  channel.

We have weather here. Real weather. Seven feet of rain, on average. Often I look out and the sea is a a mess. During the storms, the swells grow to 20 feet, easy.  Though the past few weeks has been unusually calm, dry, and cool. The air is incredibly clear.  I see a million stars at night, and occasionally even a satellite while I lie in bed in the pre-dawn hours of the morning.  And then there is the big  river.  The bridge over to Astoria is four miles across, and I never tire of the view when crossing. Last week it was so calm, it was masquerading as Lake Powell, smooth as glass, which is a rare sight this time of year.  Water skiing, anyone? Yeah, I’ve never seen it around here. That water is cold. And the sunsets here are stunning.  I took this shot looking out toward the ocean near the mouth of the river.

This time of year is special. On Monday morning I looked out to see the telltale twinkle of lights on the water, signaling the onset of Dungeness crab season.  “I’m dreaming of a crabby Christmas…”  . I got up and counted an even twenty boats making their way north along the peninsula, setting their pots for a couple days of soaking. It was clear, cold and the sea was calm; no doubt there were a lot of happy fishermen.

The locals here relish the winter (but truth be told, the talk turns to warmer climes in a wishful sort of way). Few tourists, no lines at the grocery stores, and no one on the beach to speak of. Excepting the clam digging weekends, when it gets busy for a couple of days.  And winter here brings the annual crab pot christmas tree to the port of Ilwaco. A night shot would be better, but my camera has it’s limitations.

crab pot tree

And with it nearly Christmas, I have soooo much sewing to do. The past few weeks have disappeared too quickly, and once again I feel like I lost a week or four. There were a couple of trunk shows at the coffee shop, and lots of work leading up to them. I hope to get one day to cram a ton of baking in before we leave on Friday.  And just maybe a ‘regular’ sort of post here. Some good news, sewing project / progress, or the like.

And with that, I head for the studio.

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In this semi rural area that I live in, the houses aren’t always close together. I like that.

Our neighborhood is pretty much house next door to house, with a empty lot dotted here and there.
Though as I drive this long peninsula on one of the two main roads, I’m continually distracted by driveways.

There is a rustic handmade sign at the beginning of this one that reads “Broken Axle Drive”.   There are lots of these paths  many of which have a cable or rope ‘gate’ to keep the nosy folks ( like me) out. Really though, I would never drive up a stranger’s driveway, but I can’t help but wonder what shangri-la is just beyond where I can see.

This next one has a twin, separated by a split rail fence. I guess they couldn’t figure out how to share just one driveway. Seems odd to me.
 Do they pass each other on the way in and out? Do they wave?\
I couldn’t not mention the one driveway that I can see what’s at the end. This looks like such an idyllic little cabin right along the main road.  and a better shot .

Of course, living next to the ocean means that lots of people decorate in some sort of a nautical fashion. Yard art often includes floats –

and sometimes lots of them !!!  Not sure how many were found on the beach ( I’ve found a couple- they’re not too uncommon ). Or maybe he’s a fisherman.
And this yard at the end of our street has some serious dock iron which had to have been hauled in on a big truck; apropos for a retired longshoreman   and

I know, I have my painted boat, but…….it’s not the same. Our grandson wants to make some sort of a ‘driftwood garden’ but it just keeps looking like a deposit of random pieces of found stuff from the beach. I feel like since I live at the beach, do I need to decorate my yard with it as well? Usually I really try to keep the philosophy of “bring a piece home, take a piece back” .  Hmmm. I must confess here though that I’m working on a project for a lot of collected sand dollars. 

When I saw this I figured it was a tongue-in-cheek  autobiographical statement- .
And the first time I saw this all I could do was laugh  ( yes, that’s a bottom half of a mannequin with fins on ).

Sometimes beach-y things work just fine.

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The weather is warming up, and even when it’s cloudy outside it is warm – mid to upper sixties most days.  This is a happy thing ( though I catch myself thinking about how it will come to an end in just a few short months). I want to drink it in, this summer weather, before it’s gone. We’re just two months away from blueberry season – I cannot wait (see, I tend to jump ahead).
I feel ridiculously emotional when I go by areas in full bloom; yards that are so beautiful and well thought out. Or huge, old rhododendrons that blend into the rest of the greenery for eleven months out of the year, bursting into bloom like a neon sign to remind everyone of their existence. There is the smell of honeysuckle here and there, which I didn’t notice at all last year.
So, I’m resuming last year’s goal: to ride my bike the length of the peninsula and back by the end of summer. We are about fifteen miles or so from Ilwaco – so that means working up to 30 miles. It is a fairly flat road so if I work at it……….. Somehow that got lost in all of the work that needed to happen here last summer (not to mention that we had lousy weather for most of it ).
Today I rode seven miles into town and back to mail out stuff that sold on ebay.
I took a long meandering route both directions. This keeps me off of the main road, and gives me the opportunity to ride on the side streets and take in the scenery.

In our little town of Ocean Park there are lots and lots of small houses. Mostly pretty old – 60-90 years old. There is a street called Park Avenue which is dotted with the sweetest little cabins and houses in varying states of care and repair.
This first one is so adorable, and they have a nice veggie garden growing. And the color is happy even on a dreary day.
  The next one is nearly across the street – It’s not nearly as old ( and I think there’s some friendly competition as to who’s house is cuter.
   There are lots of these tiny storybook houses – though I would guess most of them only see life a few weekends per year.       There’s a huge banner in the window which reads: and “Dave Sudell Poisons My Garden And My Well”  Not happy neighbors.

Lots of folks name their houses:  “Drift Inn”, “Quiet Cove”. “the King’s Estate”?? ( I’m guessing that’s their last name) but this caught my eye:
         I like the idea of a name for the house, but don’t think I could do it.                   This relaxed cabin has an eclectic vibe with it’s bright blue trim and an assortment of things around the outside.     And I couldn’t resist a shot of small, tiny, and itty-bitty ( the biggest of the three is maybe twenty feet square. Could you fit more than one person in itty-bitty? Maybe it’s like a teardrop trailer where you have to stand outside to cook. All three of those are pretty old cabins.
   There is a ton of poppies beginning to bloom along the back of Jacks Country Store      And a final shot of the main intersection of town, complete with it’s blinking light   nearly too small to see in that photo. The beach is a couple blocks right down that road, just over the rise.
So, today I love living in this little town where I can bike to the post office and pick up a couple things at the grocery. Most people acknowledge you or even wave as I go by on my bike – I guess they’re happy to be here too.

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I’ve been somewhat struck by where I live lately. And grateful. ( yes, even in spite of the rain. ) I’ve wanted to live by water as far back as I can remember. I thought when I moved to California that of course that would be my opportunity to be near the beach; but I was too naive and way too poor to be anywhere near the water. So we lived where it was more affordable, twenty some miles inland.   Not only am I now near the beach, I can hear it most all of the time. Some nights I wake up at 3 a.m. and it’s so quiet that I wonder where the ocean has gone. I guess maybe the wind is moving the sound in another direction – not sure, but it now seems odd when I don’t hear it.  With the weather gradually improving, we  – well Sunny and I, at least – are walking more. When we hit the beach the other day, it was nearly an hour before we saw any sign of people – truly an amazing thing after so long in So Cal, where the beaches are busy all year; in summer they are packed. And no dogs allowed, except for a couple of small areas. I took this shot:
  I also took some video of Sunny having a good run at the little ‘peeps’ ,but I don’t know how to upload it.
One of the other things that I really like here is the sheer variety of houses in the area. We all know what the huge, picture perfect new homes look like. I’m talking about the quirky ones that you’d never see in a typical residential area. Like this:  Richard calls it the ‘tippy house’. The little structure in front of it is a matching well pump house.  I’m sure its a vacation cabin, as I’ve never seen anyone there; it makes me wonder what their house in the city looks like. And just up the street from us is this one:      which looks like it came out of a cartoon – I see two eyes and a mouth there.  And a few blocks away is an old A-frame cabin that someone is doing a serious makeover on,  complete with the addition of two-story dormers. I like it, as so many old A-frame cabins have been forgotten or torn down to make room for the ‘big, beautiful house’.  And at least around here, it looks like any interesting shade of green is a color of  choice when repainting. We’ll be painting this year, and as of now I’m thinking our blue house will turn a bright red.

I went last week to quilt a small lap sized quilt on the machine that I took the lesson on, and it went pretty well. Today I went back to Astoria to do the quilt that will be for the bed in the guest room. It went way faster than I had imagined ( there was a different person running the shop today –  a positive ) and I was out of there in just under three hours!  Now there is just the binding left to do.  When its done I’ll put pictures up.

We got a lot of the plants into the ground yesterday, in the area along side the driveway and in view of my sewing room.  Now, if there was grass growing, and a swing……………….

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