hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big World, Small Place

The April edition of the All Point Bulletin seems very unusual to me.  Each month, I look at the paper, I read all the material in it, look at the ads, read the classifieds and the real estate, and it reflects back the Point Roberts that I know: a place where not a lot happens and where it's hard to get anything done if you aren't planning to do it yourself.  This month's edition, though, seems to be about a very different place, a place where a lot more things are going on, a lot more people are simmering up various plans. 

There are all the animals that are being cared for, and for various purposes; there's the locavore movement manifesting here in our very own townlet; the Customs and Border Protection people are coming back to talk to us again, as promised last year; and we have a brand new Point Roberts Advisory group that will work with the County to try to bring an informed view to the County's interactions with the Point.  There are a bunch of other stories, as well, but what struck me most was the very impressive job that the paper's staff had done in selling ads.  Normally, excessive ads in a publication turn me off, but in our newspaper I am always hoping to find that someone has come here to do something that we didn't have anyone previously doing.

And this month, it's like that: there's a nice Cando ad for their new recycling and disposal program, three or four new (to me) painters, small-scale builders, window and pressure washing, not mention tree and lawn care people, two nurseries where there used to be but one, storage facilities, and a plumber from Point Roberts who sounds like he's planning to do plumbing right here in Point Roberts. 

Maybe it's just spring time enthusiasm, but it really seems as if the paper is discovering a Point Roberts we haven't seen for awhile.  AND, I am told on good authority that the paper is going to start having a blog or two or more on its website so as to be able to update stories more than every month.  Even the paper is joining in in the apparent change.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earth Hour in Point Roberts

Earth Hour:  That's where/when you acknowledge we've been using the planet poorly, maybe even abusing the planet, and as a penance, or something, you turn off your lights for an hour on March 27, from 8:30 until 9:30, wherever you are on the planet. 

People in Point Roberts often talk a lot about conservation and preservation and it is certainly possible that they do all they can to leave a small footprint.  And perhaps they made this symbolic gesture last night.  Or maybe they are not into symbolic gestures.  I don't really know.

However, I think that symbolic gestures are important cultural acknowledgements that we are all in this together.  And because of that, I set an alarm so I'd notice that it was 8:30 p.m., and when the alarm went off, I turned all the lights out in our house.  And I found a candle and lit it so that I didn't run into anything, because when it's dark here, it's really dark.

And then, around 9 pm, I went outdoors and out into the street to note that every single occupied house on my street (that would be about 14-16 houses) was fully lighted, as they are every night, with extra bright porch lights and all.  Maybe everywhere else on the Point, it was dark.  Or maybe not. I am, however, pretty sure that we are in this thing all together.  What are the stages of loss?  Denial?  Bargaining? and some others.  I guess we're mostly at denial.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Great Minds Think Alike, or Something

The newest issue of the All Point Bulletin is up on the web and possibly in my mail box.  I was amused and interested to find articles on the medivac flights to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, on the varied animal population in Point Roberts (including pictures), and on the community garden project in Point Roberts all included in this issue.  All are topics that I wrote about over the past four or five weeks.  No articles, however, about the trash collection starting up or about the community events sign or about Point Roberts' abandoned houses under restoration.  Maybe they'll get around to those next month?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Light Rail

Last week, we treated ourselves to a ride on the new Canada Line.  We rarely go into Vancouver because of the traffic and parking difficulties.  Mainly, we just hit the outer edges of the Greater Vancouver District when we go back and forth to the Sunshine Coast.  Just before the Olympics, Ed's daughters were here for a week and they arrived at YVR and immediately took the new Canada Line downtown and then after a little touristing, took it back to the airport, picked up their rental car, and came down to Point Roberts.  They had such a good time, were so enthusiastic about it that we were inspired to do it ourselves when some friends came to visit.

We went to Safeway in Tsawwassen where we bought our day passes ($7 for 65 y/o), then drove on to Richmond where you park, apparently all day, for $2.  I didn't think there was anywhere in the world that you could park for $2, but there it is: an incentive to take the Canada Line.  The parking garage was connected directly to the terminal and we were on a train within minutes.

Any new experience like this involves a certain amount of phumpering around, trying to figure out how the machines of various sorts work.  In general, it was pretty obvious, and credit cards could be used.  It is something to go into a brand new terminal and into a brand new train.  The absolute newness of it all just keeps being remarkable; partly that's about cleanliness but it's also about the this-momentness of everything, the posters you've never seen before, the design and layout of the whole thing.

We rode down to Waterfront (and be warned if you are riding for the first time absolutely absolutely to hold on when the train starts; it goes from standing to moving very quickly very fast and if you aren't holding on to something, you have a good chance of falling down).  Waterfront is the end of the line in that direction and you can go on and take the seabus to North Van on your day pass ticket.  Or you can go outside the wonderfully spiffed up railroad terminal building and find a Vancouver bus and go somewhere else...clear out to Mission or Horseshoe Bay, if you are so inclined.

We walked up Granville and eventually over to Robson and enjoyed all the features of a spring day in Vancouver.  Eventually, we returned to the Canada Line and went down to Yaletown and looked around that waterfront.  And then back, in the early evening, to Richmond and the parking garage.  It was a lot of fun.  I might not do it ever again because I was pretty overwhelmed with all the people and the sights and the high level of noise, but it clearly is a great addition to the city and to suburban and urban living for the residents. 

It did take me back to my childhood when trains were the way we travelled.  We should not have lost them, of course, but we didn't know then what cars and planes would ultimately do to us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthdays

Today is a day of remarkable creativity: It is the 69th birthday of Billy Collins, the most widely-read American poet of our time, maybe of any time.  He has brought back humor to literate English poetry.  I first heard him on Prairie Home Companion about ten years ago and was absolutely delighted with his work: bought the books, bought the CD of him reading his work.  He was the Poet Laureate some time ago (under Clinton, I think), but how many people know who's the American Poet Laureate under any president?    The honor of his being Laureate was all ours, I think: that we had such a poet and that the politicians of our world knew about him.  Happy country, that.   Happy Birthday, Billy Collins, for all the listening and reading pleasure you've given me and all your other readers over the years.  You can listen to him read 3 of his poems here

And it's also the 80th birthday of Stephen Sondheim, our genius of the Broadway Musical stage.  Not only the composer of the music but also the writer of the lyrics, and lyrics that will break your heart and make you laugh and often at the same time.  How lucky I am to have been able to see productions of as many of his works as I have, and to have CD's of even the obscure ones (Merrily We Roll Along, Evening Primrose) easily available.  All this past week, there have been celebrations of his birthday in various formats and his fans talk about their favorite songs.  Since this is my blog, I get to pick my favorite songs.

But it's really almost impossible.  Tonight, these are my favorites, but tomorrow it might easily be three others.  I can't even pick my favorite show, although Into the Woods comes very close.  But some days it's overshadowed by the much less well-known Merrily We Roll Along.  And Bounce is also very close to my heart.  But then Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George are both pretty amazing.  And then comes the list of all the rest of them, not a loser in the pack, just some that are not quite as fantastically brilliant as some of the others.

I think sometimes of what it would be like not to have musical available in the ways it is to us.  I can't really imagine that life.  And now, you can find it all on Youtube.  Here are my three favorite Sondheim songs:  'Not a Day Goes By,' from Merrily We Roll Along; 'Move On,' from Sunday in the Park with George;  and 'No One is Alone,' from Into the Woods.  All three are performed by Bernadette Peters who knows how to do them.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Sondheim.  You have given all who love your music so many, many happy days over these years.  Thanks.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Development

The last big hopeful development was the one next to Lily Point where a guy named Bryan, as I recall, was going to build 100 million dollar homes for all those affluent folks who wanted to cross the border a lot as part of their daily life.  Needless to say, in the shadow of 2008 and following, that dream has faded and gone, perhaps, into bankruptcy or at least into the arms of some bank that is yet trying to hang onto its solvency.

Nowadays, we are looking forward to similarly up-scale homes being built next to the golf course fairways, but the plan for them, it appears, to be more of a one-at-a-time production, presumably when real money changes hands.  But we also have The Cannery as a prospective development.

The Cannery is a stretch of yellow building(s) down on the southern beach of Point Roberts, close to Light House Park.  For as long as we've been here, The Cannery has been defunct.  It was already developed once (as a tribute to the actual cannery that once provided economic development for Point Roberts in the early 20th Century) prior to the 90's, but then fell into desuetude for reasons no one has ever been able to explain to me.  The one thing that people always tell me about it is that they had dances there with actual bands from the rest of the world.  It's a nice looking place, right on the beach.

Here's a little of what I wrote about it a year ago:

The Cannery was remodeled in the 80’s and it was set to become a fantastic resort kind of place. (There is a remodeled actual APA cannery over the real border to the U.S. in Blaine that is a successful resort, I am told.) The outside of our Point Roberts remodeled buildings were painted bright yellow and it is still the most cheerful looking place on the Point. But it has long been empty, another abandoned house or at least buildings. 

One of my neighbors has been working for years to get permits to restore this desolate version of The Cannery to its hoped-for glory as a kind of eco-tourist destination.  He says he has all the permits in place, is working on financing and hopes to start construction/remodeling in the fall.  I wish him well, as I would any person who has a dream and is committed to really trying to achieve it, even as I fear the unlikelihood of his journey's success in the current economic climate. 

Last week, he invited Ed down to see the place and to take some photos.  They can be viewed here.  They look like a dream, certainly.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Noah's Ark

One of the pleasant pastimes of Point Roberts residents is imagining economic development projects for Point Roberts.  I, personally, am of the opinion that the only conceivable genuine economic development project for the Point would be to turn it over to Canada and then it could be developed as the southern end of Tsawwassen.  I don't know that I'd be happy with such an outcome, but I am pretty sure that it would be sustainable economic development. 

Given the isolation, it's hard to imagine what else you could do with five square miles of land with some water around most of  it.  It would be easy if it weren't for that border problem which waxes and wanes as to its problematic qualities and currently seems to be on the waxing cycle.  I concluded that from a random inspection down at Peace Arch last week.  They are said to do a compliance check on 1 out of 100 cars.  However, in the past two years, I have crossed that border no more than 8 times and have had 2 compliance checks.  By contrast, I've had only 2 checks up at the P.R. border crossing, even though I cross that border several times a week.  Maybe I'm just an outlier of course: someone has to be. 

But the thing about the compliance check was that, while I was inside the building and they were outside the building looking at my car, they inquired as to whether I had any of a long list of vile objects in my car: illegal drugs, alcohol, weapons, whatever that list of things they always ask about are, and, as a final item, 'scissors?'  Do I have scissors in my car?  Of course I have scissors in my car, in my purse, in my every room of my every house.  I have 27 pairs of scissors just in my quilting workshop.  And who cares if I have scissors, anyway?  Well, apparently the border people do.  I actually did not have any in the car because I had them in my purse, right with me inside their building.  And the CPB agent said, 'Oh, that's good.'  Any explanation for this exchange absolutely escapes me.  But I did not find it encouraging.

Anyway, back to the economic development plans.  How I work on this question is by assessing what we have a lot of and trying to figure out to turn that into an exploitable resource.  This has led to considerations of how we could exploit hydrangeas, apples, trees (nope, going to run out of them too fast), and even isolation itself (sell the whole place to a Saudi Prince or someone Bill Gates-like with a fleet of small boats/planes/helicopters).

But here's my new idea: we could become some kind of cross between the seed savers and Noah's Ark.  A pair of many kinds of unusual animals that are already in the U.S. could be brought here from Blaine by boat and then kept here and there around the Point for casual exhibit and preservation.  I got to thinking this after my friends brought the angora/pygmy goats over in their boat.  A few weeks ago, someone brought a pig over in a plane.  (I know, it was only one pig and you could scarcely call a pig an unusual animal, but I'm pretty sure it's the only pig on the Point.) And the highland cattle are down at the Marina showing themselves off regularly.

The pygmy goat owners are now looking to bring a llama over from the ROTUS via water.  And only last week, I found myself engaged in conversation with a gentleman at the International Market who was looking for some way to bring a 4.5-foot iguana over from ROTUS.  The price for driving the iguana over was $500+ for permits.  The price for bringing it over in a boat ought to be a lot less since it does not require permits since it isn't leaving the country; perhaps it could share the boat with the llama who is coming.  And the prospective iguana-owner is said to have a lot of other unusual animals already in house.  We could all have an unusual animal at our houses as an alternative to dogs that bark too much.

So, we get all these animals, and then all these people will be anxious to come to Point Roberts to walk around and see them (like Williamsburg, VA, sort of), and then they'll buy a lot of tidbits to feed to the animals, arts and crafts, and soft drinks, and also they'll eat lunch and put gas in their car, and there you have it: economic development!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two Things

The first thing:  We have had company for the past two days; very old friends from southern California who have lived there all their lives, as we had lived there many years before we came to the northwest.  One of them mentioned to me this morning that in Irvine, where they now live, there is a law that does not permit the use of leaf blowers prior to 8:00 a.m.  And, she said, you scarcely need an alarm clock if you are willing to awaken at 8 a.m., because every gardener at every house in the neighborhood turns his leaf blower on at precisely 8 a.m.  She imagined them all, looking at their watches, finely calibrated to the  precisely accurate time, with their fingers pressed upon the 'on' button.  And then, on the movement of the minute hand, there they go, and there comes the noise.

And I thought about how quiet it is in Point Roberts, even with the trucks and cars and overhead planes and that no moment in my life here is even vaguely like that moment she experiences five times a week (I am assuming they don't garden and blow leaves on the weekend, but that might be wrong).  And I am grateful for the (relative) silence that we have to accompany our journey here.

The second thing: And, speaking of silence, I have concluded that, for me, the noise of the comments has grown too loud, too grating, and thus, I will remove comments from my blog.  There have never been many comments on the blog and that seemed perfectly okay.  I did not begin writing the blog to create a spirited or lively or angry discussion about living in Point Roberts.  Rather, its purpose was to talk about what it felt like, to me, to live in Point Roberts with all its beauty and its oddities.  No one, really, can argue about whether I feel the way I feel. 

Nevertheless, I am grateful for those of you who have written via the comments section on occasion to tell me something I was helped to know, to thank me for some piece of writing, to introduce yourself and ask some question you had about life in Point Roberts.  But I find that what in the blogging world are sometimes called 'flame wars,' though occurring very rarely on this blog, are now too often for me to want to support them by offering the comments section as a venue for some peoples' very angry words.

I have the choice, as the blog owner, to have unmoderated comments (which has been my practice up until today), to have moderated comments (which means that I choose which comments appear and which are rejected), or to have no comments at all.  I don't much like the idea of picking and choosing, and now the first option seems to have worn out its welcome with me.  So, I am left with the third one.  If anyone yet wishes to write to me to express a contrary view, to ask a question, to rave on, my email address is on the front page, right-hand column of the blog, and any reader is welcome to use it to reach me. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Trash Collection Rates

I emailed Cando and received the following reply:

Here's a sampling of the rates. There are additional options available which
we would be happy to discuss at your convenience.

Weekly - $20.90 per month for 1 32 gallon can with every other week
recycling at $5.33 per month plus taxes
Every other week - $10.80 per month for 1 32 gallon can with every other
week recycling at $5.33 per month plus taxes
Monthly - $6.37 per month for 1 32 gallon can with every other week
recycling at $5.33 per month plus taxes

Please do not hesitate to call us at 360-945-2636 to arrange service or
discuss further options.


Friday, March 12, 2010

The Ides of March

Julius Caesar was warned to 'Beware the Ides of March' and, ever since, we have thought of March 15th as a day of potential ill omen.  This year, it marks the beginning of the new trash company taking over curbside recycling and trash collection here in Point Roberts.  The WUTC gave 'Cando Recycling and Disposal' (which is what Gellatly's 'Freedom 2000' is doing business as in this context) the certificate if they could get the business up by March 15.  Which would be Monday.

The All Point Bulletin carried an advertisement for the new service in its March issue (so we all saw it as early as March 1), but it provides only the telephone number and website of Cando.  Which is to say, it offers no information about rates.  And, when I went to the website, I was informed only that the website is under construction.  How hard could it be to put up your rates, given that you have a home page constructed?  Your frequency of pickup?  Apparently too hard.

In the All Point Bulletin article about the trash saga, Gellatly says he has 55 residential customers and 25 commercial ones, and is hoping to get 300.  The WUTC decision was clearly worried about getting an adequate customer base after all the unhappiness generated by the trash wars.  I'd hate to think that all the brouhaha of the past 6 months plus was about 55 residential customers.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rural Renewal, Part II

There are a lot of trailers in Point Roberts.  There used to be 3 trailer parks; now there are only two, I think, as Whalen's closed down a year or so ago.  But there are lots of lone trailers behind houses, and lots of mobile home trailers that are permanently grounded on a lot: that are more like houses than trailers in their function.  A lot of them are not lived in or are seldom lived in and are a lot more like abandoned houses than they are like anything else.  Because they are mobile home trailers, they are built to move around the rounds, even if they are not doing it, more than sitting unattended in a damp, cold climate.

When I was making the abandoned house quilts, I had a number of trailers to choose from, but I picked the one at the corner of APA and South Beach, because it was so available to public view and because it seemed quite typical of all the other abandoned trailers I'd seen around on my walks.

Here's what it looked like the first time I saw it, in 2003. 

It was probably around February when I took this picture.  Ivy was growing up into the house; there was no sign that anybody was living there.  I took pictures through the windows of the front door and it looked like an earthquake had shaken all the contents around.

I completed the trailer quilt later in the year, but only after I had rephotographed it some time during the summer, when it was of a sudden draped with tarps, and I combined the winter/spring pictures for that quilt.
I have continued to photograph this trailer over the years.  It gets attended to; it gets abandoned all over again.  It's covered with tarps, and then they're all gone and a little table and chair are set outside; it gets a coat of paint, and then the grey runs return..  And the cycle repeats.  Thus, this trailer, the trailer representative for the Point, is a little more problematic in its renewal.  Unlike the APA house from the last post, the trailer mostly gets cosmetic improvements, and then it slides back into abandonment.

Here it is this past week, 8 years after the original picture: its tarps are all gone again; its paint is looking pretty good, the leaves are raked off the yard and it almost looks as if the grass may have been mowed.  Even more important, it now has a little car parking area with fresh bark chips marked out in front.  It's Its apple tree is blooming, because apple trees, all over the Point, continue to bud and bloom and fruit whether anyone cares for them or not.  That's one of the differences between houses and apple trees.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rural Renewal: Act I

Here is a picture of the historic farmhouse on APA Road.  This picture was taken in 2008.  The first picture I took of this house was back in maybe 2003, before I had a digital camera.  The house looked very worn out at the time, but not so derelict as it did in 2008.  The house sits in the center of a large, undeveloped, untenanted parcel of land, several acres of it.  It used to be a farm, but not in my 15-year-old memory, of course.  It has never been tenanted in my memory.  It is just another of the many abandoned houses here on the Point that struggle along and alone until someone stops their struggle by tearing them down.

Early in the 2000's, I made 16 or so quilts based upon the abandoned houses of Point Roberts.  By 2010, the quilts remain, but at least half of the houses that brought the quilts into existence have permanently exited this world.  The abandoned houses that remain are mostly getting worse, what with rain and cold and wind and time making their inexorable inroads. 

This is the quilt that memorialized the APA Road farmhouse in 2004. Back in 2004, plywood covered some of the windows, but not all of them.  By 2008, most of the plywood was gone.

And this is the APA Road farmhouse in 2010.  It is heading to restoration, not degradation, and not disappearance.  It is a bright, bright sign in our landscape.  And when Lorne is done with it, I'll make another quilt of it for him, to thank him for what he has done.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lost and Found

Here is a puzzling situation.  Yesterday, around 5:30 p.m., I stopped by the post office to weigh and mail a small packet.  By that time, of course, everybody is long gone and not returning until noonish on Saturday.  When I went to weigh my packet on the scale in the front lobby, there was a folder sitting on the scale.  I just took it off, laid it next to the scale, weighed my packet and, satisfied that I had put enough postage on it, put it into the slot on the wall across from the scale.  And started to leave.

But, as I walked toward the door, I saw that folder and realized that somebody had left it there, doubtless accidentally.  The kind of thing I can do every day of the week, every time I walk out of the house.  So I picked it up and opened it to see if there was something waylaid of value that needed to be returned to its owner.  Inside were a thicket of papers of some sort of business listing: objects that had been mailed by a company that had a post office box in Point Roberts.  And also a small cloth, zippered bag.  It felt awkward opening the bag, but I did it anyway and found, inside, a Canadian passport and a few more papers, but none of them with a Point Roberts street address or phone number.

What to do?  You live on the border and the mere thought of losing/mislaying your passport is a major, major issue.  On the other hand, there's no way I can find this person, even though I can see what he looks like from his passport photo, on a Friday night.  And, if he's on the Point, then he's not likely to be leaving without his passport.

And why not just leave it there, where I found it?  Who's going to come by and steal his passport?  Nobody?  Somebody?  Do passports have some intrinsic value for anyone except their true owner?  The movies tell me that there's a busy black market in passports, but I'm not in a movie.  I'm in the Point Roberts post office on Friday night, and by now it's about 5:45 p.m. 

I stand there, fretting, trying to think this through in some way to find a satisfying resolution.  I could drive it up to the border crossing and leave it with the Canadian agents, maybe?  But will its owner think to go to the border to ask for it after he comes back to the post office and finds it not there?  Probably not.  He'll just be in a panic and not thinking any more clearly than I am.  So, I decide that I am going to have to babysit the passport, and about ten-fifteen minutes later, a car drives up with a panicky driver, a driver whose face I recognize instantly from the passport. 

I go out the door as he comes in, telling him as we pass that his stuff is safely there on the scale.  And the relief on his face was well worth my brief passport baby-sitting stint.  I'm glad he hadn't gone to have dinner with a friend on the Point, though.  Just now, as I was writing this, I thought of an option: I could have left him a note on the scale with my address/phone number and he could have picked it up.  Maybe I'd have thought of that if I'd still been there at 6:15 p.m. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Somewhere in Point Roberts

Despite the fact that Point Roberts is only 4.5 square miles, there are a lot of things to be seen here.  Or there are, if you live here and have the time to drive or walk or ride (on a horse, a bike, a motorized vehicle of some self-propelling kind) around so that you see the small things, or the larger things that aren't right out on the road.  There's the iconic cow at Drewhenge, of course.  There's Drewhenge itself.  There's the skatepark, and the baseball field.  The elementary school which it's easy not to see if you don't happen to actually go there for some purpose because it's hidden back behind the fire department building.  When I went there a couple of months ago, I was amazed to see what a wonderful school it is, as a structure.  I had kind of imagined it as a one-room school house, but it is much bigger, well-equipped, and with big windows overlooking a green world that makes me wonder how anybody ever pays enough attention to learn anything when they can be looking out the window instead.  (I am thinking this because I remember how I used to stare out the windows of the second story of my institutional elementary school in the early 1940's, hoping for a sign of life.)

All of us who live here could make a list of the things that are worth seeing but that most people may not have seen.  Not because they aren't looking but because they aren't looking just this moment at just that place.  Even though I have walked and driven around the Point for 14 years, I am always finding myself somewhere I've never been before, which is puzzling given how small this place really is.

Ed, too, noticed this phenomenon, so he has started a new photo series called 'Somewhere in Point Roberts.'  Can you find the photos?  (Click on the link, of course.)  But, if you are a local, can you find the actual phenomenon?  Leave a comment on the Flickr site if you feel so inclined.  Or tell me places that we ought to look for but haven't yet gotten to or haven't yet noticed.  And then, in the summertime, when friends and family come to visit, you can send them on a kind of scavenger hunt:  1.  Find a pygmy goat.  2.  Find a small heart-shaped mirror in a tree; a mirror bordered with shells.  3.  Find the iconic cow!  4.  Find the ocean-based boundary markers (there are four of them altogether, but only three of them can you see from Point Roberts).  Etcetera.  And if not a scavenger hunt, at least a guided walking tour.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It Really Seems Like Spring

No real winter yet (except for that cold 10 days in December), and now everything has decided to spring early.  It's astonishing to drive around and see the fruit trees springing forth with blossoms.  There are azaleas and rhodos making early presentations; daffodils abound everywhere that there is sun to encourage them to open.  Many of my raspberry bushes are leafed out; the currants and Indian plum are almost past blooming, and the crocuses have finished in my yard.  People are starting to put in gardens, or at least do the preparatory part, the part that usually starts in April.

And there's still time for a sudden frost.  I'm a little overly concerned about things suddenly going bad at the moment, but it doesn't help to have the Associated Press trumpet Chile's earthquake as a model for Vancouver/Portland/Seattle/Point Roberts (well, OK, they didn't mention Point Roberts, but it's obviously part of that triangle) and their coming giant earthquake.  So far, though, I haven't seen a news story headlined, Vancouver's Olympic Snow Could Still Arrive from the Skies.  I'll check the papers more carefully tomorrow, though.