hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Cottages at Seabright Farm

A note from the guy who is hoping to develop the property which has been known previously as "The Point Roberts Beach Club" (down toward the end of APA and south to the cliffs).    They have changed the name of the development to The Cottages at Seabright Farm.  Seabright Farm, apparently, is what the property was called back in the 70's when we were all a good deal more idealistic than seems to be on the menu today.  Can't argue with him that it's a much more appealing name than the P.R. Beach Club.

So, in the future, when we write of this, we will be referring to it as "Seabright Farm."  The whole project is still with the County Planning Dept.  Or at least I haven't heard that they have yet scheduled a public hearing.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Like Being in the 19th Century

The Victorian era famously had evenings in which friends, invited for dinner, perhaps, after dinner entertained one another in the parlor: they played music or sang, they gave readings, or recited poetry. All amateurs.  What people did before TV came to control us.  Being at last night's Spring Fling talent show was like going back to those days, without the dinner but with lots of exceptionally nice desserts, and neighborly entertainment.

Here were lots of folks I knew doing things that, for the most part, I didn't know they knew how to do.  Nobody was a professional (with a couple of exceptions) and the performances ranged from kids playing the piano as in a spring recital, complete with bows, to teenage guitarists, and retirees cutting up a storm on a Yamaha keyboard or playing "Jingle Bells" on a french horn mouthpiece and then on just her mouth  (I really don't know how to describe that one).  There were even two oral interpretations, plus a reading of "The Ballad of Sam Magee," a Robert Service poem I had memorized in high school and not thought of since (amazingly, I still remembered large sections of it; might we ask why the brain doesn't have a better cleaning-out service?  Surely, if it weren't remembering Sam Magee, it would do a better job at remembering the name of someone I have just met?).  There was a one-act play, and a portion of a one-act opera.  And, although I don't want to just recite the names of the players, I am inclined to take note of Campbell McClusky's thespian skills: he appeared in both the one-act play and the opera piece.  Hearing Ian and Sylvia's "Four Strong Winds" and John Denver's "Sunshine" more than competently sung brought us old people in the audience (who were a lot younger when those were heard everywhere you listened) to soft sing-along mode.

Forty or fifty people turned out to chat and eat and watch and clap, to support the cause and to be good witnesses to what was happening: and a good time was had by all.  Good luck to the local kids who take on the summer jobs that all this will go to fund.  We wish them well, and we all ought to be thanking the organizers.  It's stuff like this that is required to make this community more than just another suburb.  Here on Memorial Day, we can take some time to remember not only those who have died but also those who are still living...next door to us, e.g.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Talented Point Roberts

This Saturday night is the Spring Fling in Point Roberts.  It comes with a talent show and it has an admission price of $10.  I don't entirely know what kind of entertainment talent we have in Point Roberts.  Probably a sizable amount since most everybody shows up here with the experiences of a former lifetime.  Nevertheless, because we don't have a lot of venues for people to display it and, more to the point (and to the Point), we are a seriously fragmented community (not enough that we are geographically isolated, we then further isolate ourselves) and thus know little of who lies about us.  So, for that reason alone, you might want to take a couple of hours to meet your neighbors.

Beyond that, it would be a way to offer some encouragment to those among us who do work to make the community more cohesive.  The Friday Night Fling will be raising some money for summer interns to work with businesses and groups to improve tourist services over the summer.  Which is worth doing, both for the sake of the businesses and the tourists and the kids.  We ought to be able to keep and care for what we have.

This began last year when Samantha Scholefield raised the funds to hire two local  grads to be public ambassadors.  This year, she's looking to build on this success.  These two interns will provide visitors and residents alike with directions and orientation to the community, will support local business and parks and will work to promote local events. New for 2013, the students will also provide orientation to different natural highlights of our community – including low tide walks and tours of Point Roberts Parks and historical sites.

So, take a chance and give a hand.  The talent will be surprisingly entertaining in one way or another.  It's Point Roberts.  Be giddy.

(25 May, Saturday, 7 pm at the Community Center; $10 tickets at the Blue Heron or at the door)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gardening (and Remembering) in the Rain

Despite the fact that the rain was threatening and actually falling a bit, the P.R. Garden Club members brought hundreds of plants to the Community Center hallway and outdoor area to make sure that all Point Roberts gardeners had a lot of choices for what they wanted to plant in their gardens this year.  It's certainly prime time for planting: soil is pretty warm, still damp (well, soggy in a few places in my wetland yard), and enough sun showing up now and then to encourage everything to come on up!  I planted a dozen lily bulbs (very late to be doing so) 10 days ago, and they are all up already.  Of course, the previously planted lilies are up about 2-3 feet, so these new ones have a way to go to catch up.  But gardening, as my friend Patricia always reminds me, is always about hope.

In any case, the Garden Club people get our thanks for their generous sharing of their plants.  It's always a good sign that a plant will probably do well in my yard if it's already thriving in a neighbor's/friend's garden.

The Friends of the Library simultaneously threw a big book sale, and as I stood about among the many, many tables covered with books, it occurred to me that the Friends provide us half a dozen times a year with a Point Roberts Used Book Store.  Maybe that's the future of small businesses: they will be like gypsies that come now and then with their wares and we all rush out of our houses to see what they are bringing us.  What the book sale brought me was Robert Graves' memoir, from back in the early 20th Century, Goodbye to All That.  Shortly after the end of WW I, in which he fought and managed to live through, Graves left England for pretty much the rest of his life, ending up in Majorca.  What he was saying "Goodbye" to, was that privileged, class-based life that had lead to, among other things, the awfulness of WW I.  And what he then gave to the rest of us included wonderful poems, stories, and novels, which nowadays are probably best known to the masses through "Masterpiece Theatre" ("I Claudius", e.g.)

"Goodbye to all that" became a famous quotation.  I think about it often as I read the news of our own time and note what has gone, seemingly forever.  So thanks to the Friends for getting me back in touch with the source.  It's a wonderful memoir of a time as foreign-seeming to those of us in our old age as our own childhood usually seems.  But that's another topic.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Shopping

Last week, the Fire District reported on more shopping, but this time they were using our federal taxes instead of our property taxes to pay the bill.  They were buying some $43,000 item whose name I didn't catch (Mr. Riffle informs me that it is called a Lifepak 15), designed to be life-saving, and planning to join another of the same items already owned by the Fire District because you can't have too many of a good thing, I expect.  Turns out they wrote a grant to FEMA to get this paid for and FEMA said, sure, we'll pay $40K and you can pay $3K and it will be a good deal.  I wish FEMA were in to funding libraries, but somehow the equipment deficient fire department qualifies as an emergency and the space-deficient library does not.

Also, a Commissioner advised the three of us attending as honored guests that if any one (of us, or of anyone else, I guess) wished to run for Fire Commissioner we should do it, but only if we were "democratically minded."  This is fairly rich coming from a man who runs a Comment Period in which "NO QUESTIONS" may be asked: that, he publicly told me, is why it is called a "Comment Period," and not a "Question Period."  So my questions are always phrased like this: "A lot of people are wondering why X is happening and so I've been thinking about that, and wonder what your comment on that would be."  Just a wondering, not a question.  Although it's a Comment Period, not a Wonder Period.

And, finally, the two Commissioners present for the meeting, one Commissioner's wife, and two attendees contributed $20 each to the new library, after an impassioned plea from me: a different kind of comment but I got it in in well under three minutes which is what the democratically-minded Commissioner has established as the limit for comments.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Beach Club By Another (Unknown) Name

Last week's P.R. Conservation Society meeting was largely about clarifying information on the status of the County approvals for the Orca Shores sadly named 'Point Roberts Beach Club.'  Principle Wayne Knowles says it's going to have a different name, indeed it may already have a different name, but nobody at the meeting knew what that new name is/will be.

It continues to be sitting in the lap of the County Planning Dept. at the moment, on its way to the Hearing Examiner.  The slow down arose when the State had its say, concluding that the development (with respect to suitability for septic systems, in this case a community septic system) could manage 35 one-bedroom single family houses.  The County, however, does not allow sub-divisions (which is what this would be) with one-bedroom homes.  They must be at least 2-bedroom homes, and the ground is not suitable for 32 2-bedroom houses in a community septic system.  So, the developers suggest as a compromise, 15 2-bedroom houses with a community septic system, and 17 lots which would have to be approved individually for individual septic tanks.

The County had somebody up from the Health Dept. assessing whether that was viable with respect to the 17 lots.  That report will come back to Planning soon.  And then we and the developers will know what plan is theoretically approvable.  The Hearing Examiner will have a hearing.  And APA will not need to be widened east of Paul's Road, although not clear about South Beach to Paul's Road.  At least not clear to me.  Whether 15 houses and 17 dubious lots makes economic sense, is the developers' problem of course.  The end for today.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Good Work, Congresspeople

Border Congresspeople are on it!  (Well, not those in Washington state of the Republican persuasion, but maybe they're just late getting briefed?).  The Seattle Times has the story.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Unusual to See a Llama on the Beach," Say Visitors

On Saturday, we went out to do our duty to the tourist economy (which many people here are convinced could be improved) by taking a walk on the beach.  Well, we don't really improve the economy, because there's no money involved, but we do improve the entertainment level by taking our friends' llama (Lily) out to walk with us.

First, Ed gets Lily's approval by standing around in the corral with the halter and lead in his hand and when she decides that she wants to go out with him, she comes over and accepts their being put upon her and then it's out we go.  On Saturday, we started near Marine and Freeman Beach, walked up to Lighthouse Park on the road (cars stopping all the way to see what we were doing or just to say "Hi!" to Lily, whom they know from previous acquaintance).  Then we proceeded through Lighthouse Park (still minus its dock..September, they say), and back north on the  beach until we got back to her house.

Because it was such an unusually warm and sunny day for May, there were lots of people out, clearing their eyes from the greyness of spring in the Northwest.  And thus, lots of people to say, "Wow! You don't see a llama on the beach everyday!"  Lily had just been sheared within the past week, so she was unusually striking in her appearance with her hairy boots and head and her sparse other parts.  Kids say, "What is it?"  And are amazed and stunned that they can be so close to such a big animal.  (That's how I feel, too.)  Lily just looks at it all with an interested (moderately) and bemused expression.

And then it's back to her house where she ate pink lawn flowers for about half an hour while WE were entertained by sitting in the sun and looking at the water.  Then, back to the corral and her four pygmy goats who were very happy to see her back. And back home for us, too, where Zoe the cat was happy to see us back.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

All Day Arranging the World

Saturday, I went to a morning meeting about getting the Community Market/the Saturday Market organized for this summer.  And then I went to an afternoon meeting to find out what the P.R. Conservation Society is doing with respect to the soon-to-be-named-something-else P.R. Beach Club.  And then I spent the later afternoon at a photo/quilt exhibit reception at the Blue Heron.  Hardly time to be getting the dishes done in such a day.

The Saturday Market is going to begin this summer on June 21 (10-2) in the parking lot between the Community Center and the Julius Firehall and continue every Saturday until and including 31 August.  That is going to be a big challenge.  The problem is not ensuring that there are customers but ensuring that there are enough vendors.  And ideally making sure that some vendors are regularly selling produce.  Whether that can be achieved this year is really a question.  So, if you are a potential vendor, try really hard to think about how to become an actual vendor.

Also, if you have some kind of activity/educational work that you could bring at least some Saturdays, it might be very helpful to your project and to the market.  Maybe you don't want to sell anything.  But maybe you want to talk to people about something.  You want to interview people or to engage them to participate in some project you're doing?  There are lots of people each Saturday who come by the market.  You want to educate people about something.  For example, noxious weeds are all over the place in Point Roberts.  People could use some help in knowing how to identify them and how to get rid of them (and maybe they need to understand why we ought to be getting rid of them).  Maybe the Garden Club or the Conservation Society could take that up.  The Fire Department could doubtless provide us with education about lots of things that they do and we don't know about.  PREP can surely use the opportunity to talk with local full and part-time residents.  I was there every Market Day last year talking to people about fundraising for the new library.  I met a lot of people, had a lot of pleasant conversations, raised some money, and definitely raised awareness of our project.  But you can't achieve that awareness if you're not there regularly.

Flea market tables are okay, as well as local arts and crafts.  Vendors pay a $5 fee, but charitable folks don't have to pay a fee.  Further information about the market will doubtless be forthcoming on Point-Interface, but now is the time to start thinking about participating in it.  Have questions?  Email to saturdaymorningmarket@gmail.com

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Subscribing to the Blog

I've put a new blog gadget onto the site so that readers can get the posts automatically sent to them via email whenever I post.  It's located on the upper right hand column at the top of the blog.  You enter your email, and then go through a brief procedure that is designed to verify your email.  Hope this makes it more convenient for some of you to keep track of blog posts.

update: ed was successful in getting through the email verification, but hasn't received this post; barb wayland couldn't get through to the email verification.  so maybe i need to do some further work with this before it works.  sorry.  

further update.  ed did receive the post automatically but it took about a day for it to get set up.  i'll see how to help barb, but i think it might work okay.  judy