hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Garden Mystery; Help?

I have a lot of sunflower seeds left over from a big sunflower a couple of years ago.  I tested their germinability last month on a paper towel and found them about 80% willing to germinate.  I put them in small pots and they did indeed grow nicely (indoors).  In early May, I sent three such 5-inch-now plants outdoors to brave the weather.  And they've done OK.

So, I sowed a few seeds directly into the soil.  It was rainy, then it was warm, and they started to appear above surface within a few days.  And then, the next morning when I went to check on them, I couldn't see anything.  Next day, same thing.  So, I figured the slugs were eating them instantly, leaving no sign except a tiny, almost invisible stalk.  I went back to planting the seeds in pots in a safe place.

One such pot surged ahead and quickly developed height and leaves (4 of them).  Yesterday, I transplanted it into the garden along with a couple of lupine well-started plantlets.  I carefully surrounded each plant with blue slug crystals (terrible stuff, I know, but the only way to effectively deal with slugs and tiny plants in this part of spring).  The lupine plants are about 4-5 inches tall; the sunflower about 3-4 inches tall with two 1.5 inch long first leaves and 2" long true leaves.

This morning, I check them out.  The lupine plants are fine, looking just like I left them.  Some slug trails visible but no damage to the lupines.  A dead slug, as well.  The sunflower, however, has disappeared.  A tiny bit of stalk is left standing, but no sign of the rest of the stalk and leaves.  And then I notice, a full foot away, the four leaves of the sunflower, the poor decapitated sunflower.  The slugs have clipped it off but not eaten it and then have moved it a foot away?  I don't think so.  But I don't know what to think.

A bird might have dug up around the plant looking for the seed, but the soil is not at all disturbed and the bottom of the stalk is still there.  Raccoons just like to mess around with my stuff, but they leave a mess and there is no mess here.  Slugs would surely have taken out the lupines as well as the sunflower, but I don't see them carrying the leaves around and dumping them over with the lupine.

What kind of terrorist-enemy am I dealing with here?  Help!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Generous Man

Alas, the June issue of the All Point Bulletin informs us that Robin Lamb has died this month.  Robin is the man who provided Point Roberts with a small private airport where anyone who wanted to land a small enough plane could do so, thanks to Robin's generosity.

He was a life-long pilot, a kind and good-natured man, and a good Point Roberts' citizen.

I didn't know Robin particularly well.  I first met him maybe 4 years ago, I'd guess, when Ed was flying in and out of the little airport in a rental helicopter.  He'd drive over to Sumas or to Bellingham to pick up the helicopter, fly it over here, land at Robin's little airport, take friends up for a ride or photograph the PR coastline and eventually take the helicopter back to the mainland.

Robin was always at the airport on those occasions.  He'd come out and talk to whoever was around, mostly pleasantries of one sort or another, or airplane talk.  The first time I saw him at the airport, he came up to me (he already knew Ed from previous landings) and said, "You're Judy Ross, aren't you?  I read your blog every day.  It's great."  I guessed that he had recognized me from my picture here, but mostly I was just (like any writer) unduly pleased to hear kind things said about one's writing.  And we talked a little about writing regularly and what it was like.

Those were the kind of conversations we had.  I knew a little about his plans to have houses around the landing strip so people could live next to the airport just as people live around the perimeter of a golf course, but he only talked about those plans if I inquired of them.  Most it was just general talk about Point Roberts.  I'm sorry, now, that I never asked him what had inspired him to build a private airport and then give free access to anyone who came by with a plane small enough to land there.  Maintaining that kind of space is no small job, and he did if for all those who were able to use it.  How exceedingly kind of him.

I saw him last December at the Community Center and we talked about helicopter flying a bit and I noted that he was looking unusually thin.  But nothing beyond that.  And now he is gone: a man who made a generous gift to many of us and asked for nothing back as far as I can tell.

There are other people like that in Point Roberts.  If you know one (and you surely do), consider thanking them now instead of waiting until they're no longer here to be thanked.  Up to the stars, Robin: Thank you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One Thing Can Lead to Another

Some Whatcom County County Council folks came up here a couple of weeks ago, apparently to see whether it was possible to have a reasonable conversation with the Point Roberts denizens who show up for such opportunities.  Alas, I was not able to be there, but what I have heard from several people leads me to conclude that the answer to the "reasonable conversation" question was, NO!  I am told that there was a certain amount of Canada bashing, followed up by Whatcom County bashing, and the usual "you don't do anything for us but collect taxes," followed by "we just want you (ie, the County) to leave us alone."  Whatever.

But, in the process of this apparently unseemly affair, it was discovered that there might yet be some common ground: in a subsequent private conversation, the County Treasurer allowed as how it was possible that the County might be able to support the idea of developing a Visitor Center in Point Roberts with actual money in the form of economic development dollars.  And, even grander, that if the Visitor Center were located in the Community Center, it might be further possible to go to those same economic development dollars to cover the costs of some amount of the badly needed maintenance/restoration at the Community Center.

The County could be our friend, if only we'll let them.  Good to know that there are yet people here who can talk reasonably to them.  (I understand the irritation at the County.  At least some of the time it's like my irritation with the border people when it seems that their rules take no account of what Point Roberts is actually like.  But I also know that government regulations at any level can't be made just to suit and accommodate one particular person or one particular place.  Further, it's not as if we are living in a golden age of perfection in which the County, every so often, causes an unsightly imperfection that deeply offends our aesthetic senses and thus cannot be tolerated.)

Update: Yesterday, I saw the actual little, gazebo-like Visitors' Center building in the Community Center parking lot, so maybe it's going to be outdoors for the summer?  

Monday, May 21, 2012

66 Years Later, . . .

There are two events this Saturday that are intended to support the Point Robert's library's various needs.  The first (2-4 pm at the Community Center) is a Cookie Walk on Saturday: that's where you pay $6.00 (I think that's the correct amount, but if it's not, it's close) and you receive a bag and you fill your bag with cookies and you go home and serve them for dessert and with coffee on Sunday and are very glad that you didn't have to bake them all yourself.

And all those six dollarses go to support the library's program needs, including programs for kids; indeed, especially program for kids.  We are in an unhappy time when funding for schools is increasingly being cut back and somebody, some other institution is going to have to pick up some of those educational needs.  Here in P.R., that would be your friendly library: not open as much as we'd like, but absolutely committed to providing kids, teenagers, and adults, too, with all the library services it can manage on its regular funding and its volunteer funding through the Friends of the Point Roberts Library.  The FOPRL: those would be your neighbors who are organizing and providing those bags of cookies I mentioned at the top of this paragraph.

The second is an outdoor movie night at Brewster's.  Brewsters' owner has very generously offered the community this opportunity over 6 Saturday nights this summer to regain your memories of outdoor movies; and the price of admission is a donation to the library building fund, which is the particularly generous part.  And you can buy popcorn and refreshments to heighten the experience.

I'm up for the cookies and the movies entirely on their own, but I'm additionally enthusiastic because of their connection to the library and the opportunity for community folks to support the library.  I cannot imagine Point Roberts without a library.  I can't imagine life without libraries, but there is no guarantee that they will be there or that they will always be there.

Our library opened up in the 1934 WPA-constructed Community Center in 1946.  And it looked to be good for 50 years, at least, maybe a hundred years.  Who would have imagined then the kind of changes that the electronic revolution has introduced us to?  But now, it is 66 years later and that snazzy 1946 library is inadequate in a million ways.  It doesn't even have enough electricity capacity to manage the computer load that it needs and that the users need.  It doesn't have enough room for people to sit at a table and use their own computer.  It just doesn't have enough of a lot of things that a library needs to offer nowadays and that a isolated community like ours needs to have access to.

So buy some cookies, watch a movie, donate something to help your library.  You'll never be sorry you helped a library do its job better.  Cicero said that 'If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.'  That would seem to cover all the relevant points.  But remember he said, IF YOU HAVE A LIBRARY.  Libraries don't just grow themselves.  Be generous with ours.  I'll doubtless be mentioning this again.

The library

Friday, May 11, 2012

Poetry AND Cake? Poetry OR Cake?

My granddaughter at Berkeley is trying to organize the UCB Poetry and Cake Society to meet over the summer.  I was thinking that maybe that's what we need in Point Roberts.  How many people really go to the Voters' Association meetings or the Taxpayer Association meetings?  Precious few because there are more interesting ways to spend two hours for most folks.

But if we had a Poetry and Cake Society, or perhaps a Poetry or Cake Society that met once a month, wouldn't you all be more interested in attending?  Wouldn't that give us a new sense of community?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Join the Good Citizen Corps

There are those who clean the roadsides, there are those who support charitable endeavors and community work generally, and there are those who supply tails when in desperate need.  I belong to the latter group.

This morning, Ed was walking down Benson to the East.  When he passed Drewhenge, he looked in to see how Scarlett O'Holstein was doing and noted that she appeared to have a sign on her backside.  Approaching more closely, it appeared that Scarlett had not only had a dye job (black) on her formerly green and red spots, but that she had also added a smart saddle and lost her tail.

He came home and told me this sad story and we immediately looked into our tail material supply and spent the next 45 minutes knitting up a new tail of various mingled colors.  Unfortunately, he failed to tell me that she had lost her red and green spots, so her new tail has those colors even though she no longer does.

We returned before noon to attach the tail.

Good Citizens all around.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Nice Work!

There is some kind of arrangement (brokered by the Parks Board, maybe) by which various groups volunteer to keep the sides of the major roads clean of trash (what's a major road in Point Roberts?  Maybe none of them?  Maybe all of them, at least if they're paved?).

I recently returned to walking pretty regularly and noticed that the edge of Benson, next to the new walkway, was really trashy.  I mentioned it to one of the Parks Board people, and he said he thought it was the elementary school PTO that was responsible and he'd mention it to them.

I guess he did, and I guess the Parent Teacher Organization sprang to action because I was out the other day and was mighty impressed that there was Zero trash and that the big branches that had fallen in one of the big wind storms had also been moved off the easement and some appeared to have been sawed up.  The latter stuff may have been County good work, and the trash removal the PTO good work.  But whoever did it, good work!  Nice to have the community step up to do what needs to be done.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Pleasures of Very Small Towns

I was down at the Community Center today and found an acquaintance on her hands and knees weeding one of the library's little flower gardens.  Turns out that members of the Historical Society (who use the Center's back room for meetings and for displaying some of their historical Point Roberts collection) had proposed doing this 'vegetation management' as a kind of payment for their use of the building's space.  That's the kind of thing that is possible in a place this size.  And even more important, it is likely that somebody would think to make such a proposal.

Similarly, the owner of Brewster's asked the Friends of the PR Library if it worked for them if Brewster's put together a half dozen outdoor film nights this summer whose revenue could go to the Library Building Fund.  People do help each other here and we probably don't specifically recognize it or mention it often enough.  So I'm mentioning it and recognizing it right this minute.