hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Friday, June 28, 2013

What Cats Like

We bought Zoe the cat a new scratcher.  It's a kind of flat item made of glued together cardboard and said, when scratched by a cat, to feel like tree bark.  I've never seen that kind of thing, but it was inexpensive and she's so fussy about everything that I'm reluctant to invest in something major.

 This is her first attempt to figure it out.    The picture below, however, demonstrates her genuine enthusiasm for the new scratcher: it came in an absolutely super box that she spends lots of time in.

Note the box label, indicating that the scratcher is for a double-wide-cat, which she's getting to be, I'm afraid.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Incident at the Border

Update below.  2nd update below.

A couple who have lived for a long time in Point Roberts had an unusual experience at the Peace Arch border this past week.  Let's call them Bill and Mary.  They make a trip to Bellingham every month or so and customarily buy groceries of various sorts while there, usually from the Coop or Trader Joe's.  And when it's Trader Joe's, it usually includes wine and or beer in various quantities, never more than a case.  And there's usually some produce, and then the various other things that make up groceries.

This past week, they made such a trip and left the Trader's with a case of 2-Buck Chuck (which I think is now about 3-Buck Chuck), and a 6-pack of beer, some plums, some strawberries, some apples.  And the dairy products and cat and dog food, etcetera.  When they got to Peace Arch (going into Canada), they pulled out their Nexus cards and when the CBP guy in the booth asked what they had in the car, Bill replied, as he always does, "We've got a case of wine, a 6-pack of beer, and groceries from Trader Joe's, with a receipt."  Mr. CBP inquired as to how many bottles were in the case and how big the bottles were.  "Twelve 750 milliliter bottles."  Mr. CBP informed them that that was way too much alcohol to be bringing into Canada.  "And do you have any fruits or vegetables?"

So Bill and Mary explained that they did have some odds and ends of fruits, as well.  But, they went on, we live in Point Roberts and we are going straight through to Point Roberts, not stopping in Canada or leaving anything in Canada.
Alas, Mr. CBP didn't care about any of that and wrote them up a dreaded yellow slip violation for bringing prohibited fruit and excess alcohol while traveling in a Nexus lane, and sent them and their yellow slip Inside the Building.

There, an agent took the prohibited produce away from them, and sent them to another employee who eventually took to writing up a bill for the wine and beer tax, when Bill managed to get through to her that they weren't taking anything to Canada, but to Point Roberts which was the United States and that they lived there (as their Nexus card info clearly showed).  He asked if he could talk to a supervisor because it was our understanding up in Point Roberts that we could bring such goods straight through to the Point as long as we did not stop in B.C. on the way. She said she'd never heard of any such thing, but she'd ask her supervisor.

Off she went, and shortly appeared another uniformed officer who asked them where they lived and whether they had Washington State Driver Licenses with their Point Roberts' address on them.  Which Bill and Mary then produced.  And the supervisor returned the yellow slip to them and told them to be on their way and have a nice day, suggesting that with large quantities of alcohol, they had to make sure that the traveller actually did live in Point Roberts.

All that remained was to retrieve the produce from a giant bin which had been receiving a lot of forfeit produce.  Fortunately, theirs was plastic wrapped, distinguishable, and rescuable, but it could as easily have been a handful of berries, in the midst of squash and beans and lettuce, I guess, just part of a muck.

Bill and Mary had been told (as I have been told) that the proper procedure if our goods are questioned at Peace Arch is to ask to speak to a supervisor.  I hadn't expected it would be quite so difficult to make that happen as Bill and Mary found.  But, it appears to be good advice.  For them, the incident cost an extra 30 or so minutes of being in various lines and required an unexpected persistence.  At the end, Mary asked the Supervisor, "This isn't going to be some kind of mark against us on our Nexus Card, is it?"  "No," he said, "because there was no violation."

I'm hoping somebody tells that to the guy in the booth.

Several commenters have written that Bill and Mary should never have tried to bring such purchases through the Nexus Lane.  On June 26, I received the following message from Arthur Reber, the Chair of the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee, and I reprint it here with his permission:

"At the last meeting of the ad hoc border committee the Canadian supervisor assured us that their policy was that all legal purchases made in Washington by residents of Point Roberts could be brought 'in transit' through Canada. The guard who first issued the Nexus violation was in error and the supervisor made the correct decision.

Arthur (S. Reber)
Chair, PRCAC"

2nd Update:  Reber further notes that 'legal purchases' would not include plants, seeds, and guns.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Last Week in June

Not a lot of sun, not a lot of heat, but enough to bring the first of the lilies into bloom.  Even if there were a lot of sun, I'm in the trees, so my lilies have to really work to get themselves going.  These are about 4 feet tall, and each stalk has about ten buds.

The top two are different plants but the same kind: Graffity.  The bottom one might be called Mambo.  (I put plastic tags on each plant with the name written in permanent marker, but all the names disappeared anyway over the winter.)

I buy lily bulbs from a place in Port Townsend, WA, B&D Lilies (http://www.bdlilies.com/lilybulbs.html) and they're kind of pricey ($3-$5/each), but they are real producers.  Different kinds of lilies bloom in different months; there are tall ones and shorter ones; some are scented, others not; many colors and shading.  If you've got 6 hours a day of sun and soil that is reasonably well-drained, they'll be winners.  And they make great cut flowers, too.  So, are you persuaded?  I don't really care whether you have lilies in your garden or not.  I just am awfully pleased with mine so need to talk about them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Saturday Market Tries Another Season

The Saturday Market first tried to get off the ground about three years ago, I think, but it has been and continues to be a struggle.  The first year, there was this 'big dream' about it being like the Salt Spring market, which caused people to try to reject anything but original/local crafts and fresh produce.  But we don't have enough local artists/artisans willing to populate a regular summer market.  So the second season, they tried to corral the resale types, which also didn't work very well.  Further, the availability of fresh produce dropped dramatically.  Then, last year, it disappeared almost entirely, except for very occasional offerings.  And the artisans fell to a small number, as well.

This year, we might hope for something better, although I don't know why since I don't sense any significant organized effort being made to make it better.  One of the things I have learned from library fundraising is that it requires a constant effort to keep the community even marginally engaged in any community project.  It just won't work to send out a few emails and hope for the best.

Nevertheless, Point Roberts-style, that is what this fourth year is primarily based upon.  I've been at the market all three years.  With Ed, the first two years: he was selling his Point Roberts postcards while I sold off our too-large CD collection; and then last year raising money for the library.  It's always a pleasure, even for someone who is not particularly extroverted, to talk with people in a public setting like this where the primary activity can only be talking to people.  We may be buying or selling something, but talking is the medium of the day and so the rules of talking to strangers are very clear: it is expected.

So, if you have something that can take up a tablespace and interest strangers, try it out.  Or if you are a potential buyer (and talker), come and see us all.  We won't show up in your back yard to talk, after all, or at least not most of us, so this would be your only chance to talk to us.  The quilters will do at least one weekend this summer, so if you are a fabric type, keep an eye out for the weekend they're coming.  And I expect there will be some plants regularly.  And Heidi Baxter is soliciting fresh produce for a table of herbs and greens and flowers (currently, anyway) that will benefit the library: she's hoping to do this most Saturdays.  Some local crafts will be available.  If more people come, I expect more will be available.

This Saturday, from 10-1, is the first scheduled market.  If it's raining, it's not happening, but at the moment, the weather wizards say Not rain on Saturday.  And remember also that if you come to the Friends of the P.R. Library table, you can donate your $20 to the library at the Market, get a button, get your name recorded in the Donation Book, get a free raffle ticket on the quilt pictured at left (drawing the end of August), and Be Among Friends.  Also, you can fly a "Piece of the Library" Peace Flag.  There's lots to do here so come and do it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Post Office Makes a Big Change

Observant readers may already have taken this in, but I went to the post office on Saturday about 12:30 to get a letter in the mail (the deadline is 1:15), only to find that the deadline for hitting the mail is no longer 1:15.  The deadline for mail going out every day, Monday through Saturday, is now 12:00.  That's the noontime 12 o'clock.  No longer 3:15 during the week; no longer 1:15 on the weekend: 12 noon.  Be advised.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Least Said, the Best

The Fire District meeting this week involved a truly bizarre slamfest over the new patches designed by the Chief and his volunteers.  The patches are to be worn on their uniforms/jackets and feature both U.S. and Canadian flags.  The Chief was clearly pleased with the research he had done and his team's involvement in the design and the final outcome.  And why not?  Nevertheless, the ten or so attendees were treated to a lot of charges, countercharges and general incivility in which no one's interests were well served.

Also, 5 of the volunteers have completed their EMT training and one of them is already State Certified (the others to follow this route shortly).  And that's a good thing.

Which is about all I think I want to say about that meeting.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Community Calendar

Awhile back when I was scheduling something, I thought it would sure be a good idea if we had a community calendar and I did some initial work about figuring out how to get one set up.  Along the way, I found that we already had one.  It's managed by Pat Dean at visitpointroberts@gmail.com and it has a lot of stuff on it.  Not everything but that's not because Pat isn't trying to make it happen.  It's because not enough people know about the calendar and thus put their events on it.

So here's an attempt to help everybody have and use the Community Calendar that already exists.  Go to: http://visitpointroberts.webs.com/calendar

See something that's not there that you are in charge of?  Write Pat.

Going to schedule an event?  Check the calendar first.  Somebody else may have scheduled on that date and you don't want to conflict with their event.

See something you'd like to do that's listed?  Go to it.

Bookmark the calendar.  Check it when you are scheduling an event;  check it when you'd like to do something.  And then it will all work better.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Not First, But Last

There was a time, maybe ten or so years ago, when I had the idea that Point Roberts could and should become the first universally wireless-connected  community in the United States.  Now, though, it turns out that we have a better chance of being the last community in the United States to have universal cell phone coverage.  Hunhh...

[update:  perhaps verizon is too busy communicating with the White House to be getting the cell phone tower 'fine tuned'...weeks pass and no bars are registered at our house, almost 3 blocks away from the tower.....

Monday, June 3, 2013

Here's Where We Live

I don't fly around much, but here's what we look like from the sky.   Like the head of an alligator, sort of.  But so insignificant in the face of all that water...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Rain Makes Us Cranky

The Letters to the Editor in the just appearing yesterday June edition of the All Point Bulletin are a striking example of what you're going to get here in May when it won't stop raining even though we think it's time for spring and perhaps summer: I mean, the summer solstice is about 20 days away and from then on the days start getting shorter.

There are people who don't like the price of water.   Somehow unclear about the fact that we get our water from Vancouver and it can kind of charge us whatever it wants, which is not good, but at least they MUST provide us with water.  Just think what would happen if one day they could just decide, "No, we need our water more than we need to be supplying it to this weird little U.S. community down south."  Exactly how long does the writer think it would take to get Whatcom County to supply us with water?  And at what terrific price?

And people who feel that bad behavior (at least in their view) of Canadians should be stopped immediately else it tarnishes the reputations of Canadians generally.  And people who are advising the County about how Lily Point Reserve might be better structured.   I sympathize (to an extent) with them all, but mostly....well, I think it's just too much rain in late May.  A few days of sun will cheer us all up considerably.