hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Friday, September 30, 2011

Everything Going Wrong

Today, the October issue of the All Point Bulletin arrived, providing us with a disastrous report of what happened to this community in September.  Usually, the Sheriff's Report includes just a few items, most of them involving a domestic agitation or more liquor than appropriate under the circumstances.  But this September...Well, My Gracious!

September starts with excess alcohol and a silver pick-up running into a large rock in a yard just a little down the street from me, and ends with someone stealing a bag of dog food from a car parked in front of the car owner's house in the middle of the night.  And in between?  $16 worth of hard lemonade stolen from a porch, attempted invasion of the local school, a guy in custody who punched his fist through a reinforced glass window resulting in both the fist and window in need of repair, kids drinking and doping around a bonfire in a State Reserve, the poisonings of two willow trees, the discovery of some 500-year-old remains, a sudden death, and a lewd exposure.

I don't know whether to consider this just end-of-summer excitement, a statistical anomaly, or a harbinger of things to come during the bad times of a double dip recession (stealing dogfood already?).  But it is hard to believe that the Sheriff's Deputies who live amongst us would really have time to be lurking in driveways looking for speeders.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Weather Gods Look Down Upon Us

And are not so pleased, I guess.  Yesterday was like receiving a sharp rap on the knuckles.  As if they were saying, "Yes, we've been busy making other peoples' lives wretched, what with droughts and hurricanes and giant winds and floods, but don't think we've forgotten about you up here.  Here's a day of rain that will remind you, despite the calm and mild summer weeks you've been living and dreaming through, where you come from and what is your lot in life."

On Sunday, it was windy but sunny and the windsurfers were out in force in Boundary Bay. [I'm told they were 'kiteboarders' not windsurfers.]  But on Monday, it was just clouds and greyness and off and on heavy rain all day.  Easing off Tuesday, and some sun promised on Wednesday.  But the message was sent; and received.  It's fall, and don't be forgetting it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Different Strokes

We are in to the quiet time.  The wet days, the grey days, the quiet days (well, now that the big trucks have left off restoring the walking path shoulder on Benson).  The Saturday Market is over, but the rush to the International Market and the gas stations continues, at least on the weekend.  There are still a few tourists around, but with the rain, that will wither away.  It is so slow that last weekend the Seafood Festival was held without any publicity.  I saw a picture of attendants, so I know it happened, but I never saw any announcement on the Community Events Sign.  In fact, I thought it must have been cancelled for some reason.

In mid-week, we had a little Let's Hear It For Peace occasion.  The Lutheran Church folk organized a pot-luck dinner and a peace celebration.  They distributed fabric flags and invited us all to write messages of peace on them and then they intended to fly them at the beach, at Lighthouse Park.  Except that it rained and they moved indoors to the Church.  But peace would be good, regardless of the weather.

The strange part, is that the weather is warm.  We spend our days in the 70's with high, very high humidity, and on-and-ff overcast skies.  It feels like weather I've never felt here before.  Although, having said that, someone will immediately remind me that it was just like that 14 years ago when some event happened during a warm humid September.

The Community Events Sign when I saw it last had no signs on it.  We are closed down for the moment, I think.  But, for something to think about, read this.  The guy who writes this blog wrote to me awhile back to comment that I was a city person living in a strange place and he was an Alaskan living in Yucatan and that there were some things we had in common.  In this case, though, I suspect we are mostly like the foreigners.  Probably to our loss.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Plus or Minus

The big trucks were back on South Beach yesterday as they got ready to continue work on the shoulder walking path on South Beach.  Ed went out to take photos of the trucks because he likes to take photos of out of the usual objects.  It was around lunchtime when he started taking pictures and none of the workers was around.

Then a border patrol car arrived and parked.  And then a Public Works employee came up to him and engaged in a little small talk.  It felt a bit as if they felt he needed to be investigated for taking pictures of the public works truck.  And it reminded me of the time that the local Deputy Sheriff responded to a local resident's call about "a man walking fast with a suitcase," and conducted a little conversation with Ed about where he was going.  (This was pre 9/11 even!) (He was walking to the border to catch a bus to the airport.)

So, I don't know whether it's a good thing that people are suspicious or not such a good thing.  No harm, no foul, I guess.

But it also reminds me that if you spend much time on South Beach near Benson, you will get to see one of the current Deputy Sheriffs sitting in his residential driveway, just barely outside the fence, where he can ticket any driver driving too fast on Benson.  Just enforcing the law, I know.  But I wish he had something a little more useful to engage his skills than running a speed trap from his driveway, especially at this time of year when the traffic is negligible and the probability of people driving over the speed limit is perhaps higher just because of that.

A plus? A minus?  Life in Point Roberts.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How About That Paint?

Updated below.

Down the south side of Benson, from Tyee to South Beach, someone has painted blue and orange stripes on the shoulder of the road.  The blue stripes are a particularly attractive color in this setting.  Here it is:

And what does it mean?  I think the blue stripes are indicators of water lines and the orange stripes may be phone lines, and the painters are communicating some important information to somebody who might be digging there.  And why would they be digging?  Perhaps to restore the walking path along the shoulder.  That work was scheduled to be done after the Tyee road repair.  And it looks like it's about to get under way!

The walking path was established some years back, but then it was never maintained and the endless growth took it over.  Hope maintenance is part of the budget this time.

Update: And there they were, from the Whatcom Co. Public Works Dept, first thing Monday morning, scraping and filling.  Starting at South Beach and then down Benson to Tyee.

Friday, September 16, 2011

About the Post Office

News is out that the post office will be closing over 250 post offices nationwide.  Normally, in such a move, I'd expect that small rural post offices would be first in line for evictions.  At best, they'd be turned into a counter in a local grocery store.  And Point Roberts would be an easy target because there aren't enough voters here to complain sufficiently to change the P.O.'s point of view.

But our little post office is probably safe through a lot of closings because it is a big money maker for the P.O.  As critical as we may be sometimes of the Canadian mailers in line, we need to remember that they are the ones that are protecting us.

Eight of the post offices that will be closed are are in Washington State and include offices in Everett, Olympia, Pasco, Redmond, Fife, Kent, Tacoma, and Wenatchee.  The list of all post offices being closed can be found here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not Enough Water...Someplaces

If it turns out that the Pacific Northwest gets less rain as a result of climate change, our acute dependence on Vancouver might get to be a real problem, not only in terms of cost but of actual availability.  Our isolation with respect to water makes me somewhat attentive to what's happening in other places with respect to water issues.

My older daughter lives in Carlsbad, New Mexico, which is sharing Texas's current severe drought conditions.  The City Council there, she tells me, has just passed a law seriously restricting water use.  From April 1 to September 30 of every year, outdoor watering is limited to three days a week between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. a.m.   The restrictions also prohibit the planting of lawn, trees or shrubs during that 6-month period.  Unfortunately, she says, April is when everybody plants because it's too hot from May on and too cold in the other six months.  Those are pretty harsh restrictions.

Washington State recently passed legislation legitimizing use of rain barrels.  That would be a good start here in Point Roberts: i.e., for people to install rain barrels.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ride That Ferry!

CNN has offered us a little news analysis or something about the effects of 9/11 on the border.  Included in its report is a section on Point Roberts.

Apparently, someone actually came up here and actually looked around and actually talked to some people, including people who had not lived here prior to 9/11, to find out what the effects of 9/11 were.  And then its intrepid reporter (after experiencing lack of sufficient respect by the CBP) points out that one of the essentially worrisome problems of Point Roberts is that a terrorist could come here and then take a ferry to the mainland.

Is it that there is a ferry to the mainland from Point Roberts and Homeland Security has kept it secret from us P.R. residents?  Or is it that CNN does not know what it is talking about?

CNN reports; you be the judge.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Small Town

Yesterday afternoon, I showed up at the post office around 2:15 in order to make the 3 pm mail.  one guy in line ahead of me with about 25 packages.  Oh, dear.  Well, I've got time.  Then, about five minutes later, an older woman walked in, thanked the guy with the packages and entered the line ahead of me.  Then, as he had tended to her, she tended to him and he disappeared to re-appear with another cart and another 25 or so packages.  Jeez...maybe I'll make the 3:15 mail, maybe not at this rate.  Maybe they'll open another line?

But, not to be.  Turns out the evening power outage (what was that about?  Grid problems from some San Diego outage?) had disabled all but one of the post office's computers and thus only one line was the story of our lives today.  And we began to talk to one another about our plight or at least about our lives in Point Roberts.  Such talk always starts with stories about the border.  Apparently it was problematic that day coming in.  The day before it had been absolutely awful going out.  There remains some kind of road work that can bollix it all up for us all.

The guy with all the packages inquired of me whether I had only one thing.  Alas, I had three small packages and he gave me a look, the equivalent of 'not going to be able to help you today, and tomorrow doesn't look too good either...'  We drifted off in our conversation to the lines in the grocery store, and eventually found ourselves off into the weekend's quilt show, when one guy asked what we did here in Point Roberts on a weekend, those of us who actually lived here.  The quilt show was an event nobody in the post office line had attended, but they wanted to know about it; from boredom or from interest?  Well, hard to know.

Then we discussed the summer weather and its strangeness...too warm too long.  But, the lady in front me said it had been just like this the year of Expo (maybe 20+ years ago).  And another woman agreed with that memory, thus leading us to conclude that it wasn't unusual.  And yet, once every 20+ years seems unusual to me.  Unusual enough to be caused by different things.  We didn't discuss global warming or climate change.   Too worrisome for an afternoon at the post office.  But there had been an earthquake in the vicinity a few hours earlier, but we didn't feel it, even though it was 6.4.  Not going to happen here, one woman said.  Like, right.

It's now 2:40 and we discuss whether we'll make the mail deadline at 3:15 and conclude we will.  And the guy at the head of the line slowly processes his massive pile of packages.  Lisa, the post office clerk, apologizes to the rest of us, but the guy never turns around.  We are not there, apparently, for him.

Fiinally, he is done, and turns to see the half dozen of us behind him.  He looks amazed.  I wish him a nice day, acknowledging that there had been some hard feelings during the past half hour.  But now,  I said, we were all past that.  And he smiled and said, 'thanks,' and left.  And we moved through our own processing steps.  And Lisa thanked us again for our patience and apologized for it all.

I know all the post office peoples' names here.  I never knew a single name of a post office employee in any of the many places I have lived previously.  If I keep at it, maybe I'll get to know the names of all the people in line at the post office too, and we can learn to work out our differences.  Small town.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Strange Days

More sun, day after day.  Hardly even could call it Indian Summer.  And then, this afternoon, the wind came up and it was a warm wind from the west.  Westerlies are never warm up here, it's my impression.  Sitting on the porch tonight with the warm breezes still coming, I felt like we were living in a moment that we wouldn't see again.  But maybe that's what climate change will bring us: warm westerlies coming in over the warm northwest Pacific Ocean?

It's time to start on the end of summer gardening chores.  Yesterday, I pruned the summer raspberry canes, to give some room for the fall raspberry crop which is, usually, not much of a crop; but if this weather continues, it could come through unexpectedly well.  And, today, I began transplanting a large crop of 2-year plants that will bloom next year: lunaria and digitalis seedlings, especially; and then it's time to spread the crocosmyia bulbs around, and do the autumn fertilizing of the peonies and lilies.  And in no time, it will be time to plant tulip and daff bulbs.  And if it's still sunny and warm then, well, I think we may be in trouble.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Out of One, Two and It's Legal

The big news from the Border Conference with the Community Advisory Committee is this:
We can now bring tomatoes and peppers over the border but only if we slice them at least in half, first.  (Presumably, the CBP will not get agitated if they discover that we are now traveling with sharp knives.)  And, somewhat more, if the tomatoes and peppers are clearly marked grown in the U.S., they don't have to be sliced or even halved.

Also, which is probably a big deal especially for Canadian cottagers who come down for a chilly weekend in the fall-spring seasons, we may all bring firewood in from Canada if it is for one's personal use.  I don't have a wood-burning stove, so this part is not such an improvement for me.  But it is for lots of people.  And we rejoice for all improvements, small and large.  The Advisory Committee deserves a lot of support both for taking this issue on and for making some headway.

In other news, the last Saturday Market was held with something less than a full pack of vendors.  But there were some and there were lots of visitors to the market, at least in part drawn by the Point Roberts Quilt Group's Quilt Show, which was fabulously attended.  The quilters send out their thanks to everybody who came.  We had a lot of fun, and it seemed like our guests did too.

It's something of a challenge for just a dozen people to put on a substantial quilt show, but we managed it with great variety this year.  Maybe next year, again.

Friday, September 2, 2011

An Event on Saturday

Tomorrow, Saturday, from 10-2, the Point Roberts Quilt Group will have its occasionally annual Quilt Show and, in this case, sale.  I'm busy, with the other members of the group, getting this put together today and then doing it tomorrow, so I don't have time to write much except to say that it is happening and that we all hope, if you are in the vicinity, that you come and see what we have been doing over the past year.

And say hello!

"To the Nines," 2011, an Improvisational Quilt based on the traditional 9-patch block.  44"x64"