Posts Tagged ‘stars’

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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 We’ve been inundated with rain, and everywhere I go, that is the topic of conversation. Overheard in the next line at the store, between any two people whether they be strangers or not. How much rain? Over eleven inches since the start of the year, which is a lot even for here. It’s hard to not be a bit depressed about it, but on the other hand it’s a little comical. It’s as though no one has anything else to say to each other, or they all want someone to commiserate with.
All of this makes the occasional sunny day that much nicer. The sun seems almost painfully bright when it peeks out, as noticed when you go out and people are smiling and squinting at the same time. 
The other night we decided to go clamming on the spur of the moment. We have plenty in our freezer, and it had been raining the first two nights of the three day dig. But, it had cleared up, and there was no wind so…….. off we went with head-lights and a lantern to help with the hunt in the dark.  Now, I don’t really eat clams. But, I love to dig them. Love. it. And I will cook them, but the cleaning needs to be done by someone else. I suppose it’s the thrill of the hunt – looking for some small hole in the sand, or a slight indentation even. Of course there are the ‘doughnut holes’ that are the clear markers, but if the water is washing over the sand you just don’t get those. I’ll dig anything that looks ‘different’  – and often I get lucky.( I secretly like to think of myself as the most skilled clam hunter in the house. ) It is hard in the dark – did I say that already? But I can’t get enough of wandering around at a minus tide, and looking up and down the beach at the hundreds of lanterns in the dark. There are headlights from the vehicles that drive by, higher up on the beach; but the people are all out nearer the water, and all you see is the lanterns. There is no other light. As far north or south as you can see, its a magical glittering portrait with the sound only of the waves breaking and an occasional ‘woo-hooo!’ from someone who just scored one more toward their limit of 15. Every now and again someone hollers ‘run’ if a wave breaks and is flowing in with a little more gusto. When it’s clear like it was on Saturday, there is the bonus of looking up at the sky. It is breathtaking seeing the billion stars that show up, as there’s hardly any other light here.  
The catch wasn’t so good – we only got ten clams between the three of us. One person held the lantern while the other two dug; we wandered for an hour and a half; I dug dozens of holes at anything I thought might be a winner, and ended up with five in my bag. The guys got three and one. Richard got swamped by a wave, and his boots full of water (which makes you cold and not much in the mood to keep on). Me, with my down coat on, made sure I ran when the waves approached and managed to stay dry and warm. I could have stayed out there for another couple hours, but the guys had had enough. Next time, maybe. The spring digs will all be in the morning, which is fun too, but the magic is not the same without all the stars above and the tiny lights in the distance. 

The last few nights have seen the return of the crab boats on the water. I can’t help but do a count when I look out the window and see their lights shimmering out in the darkness. If it’s clear like it was last night, I can see them if I wake in the middle of the night. I watch them slowly rise and fall with the ocean swells, and peeking in and out through the trees that are between us and the beach. It’s sort of mesmerizing, and sometimes when there’s a light fog just above the waters’ surface, there’s an added glow when they get close in to shore. The last few nights (and this morning) there have been no fewer than a dozen boats all working the area that I can see. Some are way out near the horizon, and those are like tiny stars that come and go as they weave and dip in the water. I know that they’re working during the day too, but it is literally a sea of grey, and they’re hard to spot.  It looks as if they mostly come out at night. Just for me. 
All this thinking about boats has me decided on what’s for dinner: last nights’ catch of crab. 
I’ll be heading down to Ilwaco this afternoon to pick some up from our favorite fish market. The boats ( from in front of our house) bring them to her, she cooks it in the big kettle out front, and it’s on the table tonight. Add in a couple artichokes, sourdough bread, a little lemon and some butter. 
The only decision left is what’s for dessert. 
Hmm, what can I make thats sparkle-y?

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