hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bear-ly Here

A little report on Facebook about there possibly being a bear around here (to keep house with the young moose in some natureworld reproduction of The Swiss Family Robinson...stranded on a peninsula that is  in the U.S., although these animals all carry Canadian passports!)

Anyway, there has also been some concern about picking up fallen fruit to keep the bear from marauding in your yard.  It did occur to me that if the bear were here and if it wanted your fruit, it would just climb the tree and take it, so tidiness under the tree would be of no avail.  However, this afternoon, when I was picking a few ready transparent apples from my many fruit trees, I thought about the half dozen or so fallen transparents already on the ground and happily browning away, wafting their apple smells to tempt bears everywere to visit them.  And then I thought, there is maybe one small bear somewhere around Point Roberts and there are about !4,000 apple and other fruit trees with ripe fruit in the tree and on the ground in Point Roberts, and I decided the odds were pretty small that a bear, whose presence is also very unlikely, would make it to my yard to prey upon my apples.  So I stopped thinking about the entire issue.  I'm done with it, ok?

An Apple a Day

The first ripe apple from the transparent tree today.  Must be August?  A month from now, we'll be awash in apples here on the Point.  Everybody has apple trees and the "old ones" planted lots of apple trees that now grow more or less wild in fields that somebody owns but sort of nominally.  And we will never have a way to use all those apples.

By contrast, the Italian plums look to be, for the first time in years, a very small crop (at least in my yard with 4 trees), whereas the one ancient pear tree seems to be trying to push up and out a dozen or so Bartlett pears.  Last year there were 2 or 3.  But that poor pear tree is so old that it has a hole that goes clear through its trunk at one point, so it's amazing it produces anything.

And that is the agriculture report for today!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

You Live, You Learn: Postoffice Edition

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the local post office (a generally wonderful place except for the frequent lines) to obtain some Mark Twain stamps.  My son had noted they were available as 'forever' stamps and suggested that we all should buy a lifetime supply and give up on the flags and like that.

I'm good with that conclusion, so I was saddened (mildly) to find that they have no Mark Twain stamps here and they can't order them for me and they're not going to get them unless by chance some get sent to them.  Nowadays, they say, they get the stamps they get.  Well, maybe things work differently in the Big City, but I live here.  So I inquired whether I could buy them on line.  'Yes,' they said, 'that is what I am suggesting to you.'  And so I did.

On line there are many stamps other than and additionally to the Mark Twain stamps so I found myself buying less than a lifetime supply of Twain and dabbling in 'Modern Art in America, 1913-1931' and 'Miles Davis and Edith Piaf' (separate stamps, not together again).  And I end up buying about $25 worth of stamps, which is probably less than a lifetime's worth, but you never can tell.  And then, alas, there is a charge for mailing them to me.

Now is seems to me that since they won't let me get them at my local post office, they might reasonably swallow the mailing costs since they own the mail.  But their financial situation is strained at this time, I know.  So I cut them some slack.

When the stamps arrive, they arrive by priority mail, in a large (12x14") white plastic envelope.  When I open the envelope, each of my three kinds of stamps is separately packaged in a glassene envelope with a sturdy cardboard backing.  Each stamp is in a different-sized package.  It seems a lot of packaging to buy $25 worth of stamps when I could just buy the flag ones or whatever else they are warehousing at the local postoffice.  And the packaging probably costs more than the handling and shipping charges I paid.  Just one more piece of a changed world that I find myself not too crazy about.  I doubt if I'll bother with buying stamps on line in the future.

I'll just have to remember and honor Mark Twain by re-reading his books, I guess.  But I was doing that anyway.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What a Summer!

It has been a so-so year for raspberries, I'm sorry to report and sorrier still to live through as we wait for Okanagan peaches to join us with local blueberries for breakfast.  I'll be lucky if we get 3 quarts out of this pack of raspberry plants at the rate they're going.  On the other hand, hydrangeas and lilies are setting new records for size.

My friend Pat's lilies are 7 feet tall, while mine are skulking around at most at 6 feet.  And the buds are huge (up to 8 inches long), and the flowers even more so.  Furthermore, the average number of buds per lily stock is surely six or more.   And hydrangea flowers are as big as my head, which is just a standard size human head, but very large for a hydrangea flower.  The individual flowerettes are, on some heads, about 4-5 inches across.

If only we could eat them for breakfast!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Couple of Meeting Matters

Last week, at the Community Advisory Committee meeting, the issue of bad or at least undesired behaviors at Maple Beach arose.  The basic problem is that Maple Beach is a County Park and a Public Beach.  It is the responsibility of Bellingham Parks and Recreation NOT Point Roberts Park and Recreation District.  Unfortunately, Maple Beach, as lovely a beach as it is, is lacking in a couple of significant areas: 1.  It has no public parking lot; and 2.  It has no public facilities in the way of bathrooms or water supply of any sort.

The County's reply to the first problem is that there is nowhere to put a parking lot.  There are obvious unused plots of land, but they seem to be under the jurisdiction of the International Border Commission and they don't do parking lots for County Beaches, even if the beaches really need parking.  The County's fallback position is that there is parking on both sides of all the side streets coming off of Bayview (which has no parking) and that should be sufficient for beach visitors.  The problem with this is that the side streets are pretty narrow and the owners of the houses along the sidestreets have, in many cases, obstructed the easement with various items making it not possible to park there.  Dubious, if not actually bad, behavior.

The County's current answer is to inform the owners of the first two houses on each of the side streets that they cannot interfere with the parking easement.  At least that's what I think the County is said to be doing.  We will see how that solves anything.

The second problem, the absence of bathrooms and water supply, is the source of the other problematic behaviors.  According to attendees at the meeting and to several letter writers (all of them residents of Maple Beach), beach visitors are beginning to respond to the absence of facilities by borrowing the lawns and outdoor showers of local residents to make up for the lack of bathrooms and faucets of any sort.  This constitutes a public health problem that the County should really have to respond to.  Whether they will do so remains to be seen.  The CAC will discuss it with various parties at the County level.  It is an unfortunate and unseemly problem that deserves to have a quick solution, if only the importation of portapotties.

The second matter was at the Fire District meeting, also last week.  The Fire Chief reported on the unusually high number of calls to the Fire Dept. in June.  Typically, there are about 6 or so calls total, but June had 18, one of which was someone who called because an eagle had taken up residence on the ground in their backyard.  I'm not sure I would have thought to call the Fire Department about such a problem, but that's what the folks did.  Unfortunately, in their various training activities, none of the 43 volunteer fireman currently on the registers (all of whom are not available at any given time) and on duty at that moment knew much about eagles.  Nevertheless, they made an appearance, but none of their excellent equipment exactly suited the occasion.  The eagle was in "a defensive posture" and was about 2 1/2 feet tall, it was reported.  The Chief postulated that it was a baby eagle that had fallen out of its next.  (Sounds big for a baby eagle?)  Eventually, they got in touch with the OWL people who are based in Delta (http://www.owlcanada.org/) and who have members on the Point who came and took the eagle away (it had an injured talon).  And all ended well, we conclude.

But the moral of this story, however, is that if you have an eagle or any other big bird downed in your back yard, contact OWL---http://www.owlcanada.org/.  The Fire Department is probably not the place to get help for such a matter.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bad News for the Boaters Amongst Us

At the Community Advisory Committee meeting tonight, the small number of attendees (maybe 7) were told that the new dock at Lighthouse Park was a dead issue for this year.  Although the County has the money in hand to replace it, when they put their design out for bid, the only bid was 80% over the funds that are available.  So they are redesigning and then rebidding, but no chance of anything happening this summer.

Friday, July 5, 2013

July 4th, With Events

It might have been the shortest July 4 parade i've ever seen here or anywhere, but it had a few notable sights, including this car (below) as well as the motorized sofa with its riders and accompanying hordes of Viking invaders.  Unfortunately, that picture did not make it out of the camera.  Sorry, George, Julie, Samantha, and the rest of you wild and crazy folks (I think maybe the remnants of the Red Hat group?).

Many previous parade entrants were missing, including almost all the usual floats and the lawnmower drill team, and the stiltwalker, not to mention the Shriners, with or without the little cars.  This parade planning needs some work, I think.  Probably it needs a parade committee.  Maybe the Chamber of Commerce could form a Parade Committee that included folks from outside of the Chamber group and just itself be the convener?

The evening had the best fireworks ever down at the Marina, sponsored I take it by the Pier Restaurant.  They were just gorgeous and very well attended right there in the big field at the edge of the water.  I know fireworks are not good for dogs, but it was only a half hour and there shouldn't have been any dogs there since it is well known that dogs don't do well with fireworks, but at least one dog got himself lost according to this morning's mail.  Hope he's back home by now.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What Does P.R. Do on the July 4th Holiday?

Apparently, we eat; a lot.  The following photos were taken in the produce section at the International Marketplace last night around 9 pm.  Other areas were equally decimated of foodstuffs: crackers, cereal, bread.  No food for Point Roberts after the 4th, I guess, except for expensive oranges, I guess...

Monday, July 1, 2013


They grow wild here but I have collected seed and have three or four colors around in the yard.  This is the source of digitalis, in case you have a weak heart. I don't know, I guess you could just chew the flowers or leaves.  But it was a spectacular crop this year...most were at least 6-feet tall and some in the 7-foot range.  And then, next year, they will be rarer because they bloom only every 2nd year and one has to make some effort to make sure seeds get planted two years in a row which I have done, but with varying results.

But, and this is sort of the point of this post, this is what we do here in Point Roberts when we have foxgloves, even if we are old people.

Is it possible that this is why they are called 'foxgloves'?

Here are some Google thoughts:

"Foxglove was used for working magic, for protection, and communicating with fairies, elves, and woodland spirits. It had many names; lion's mouth, fairy caps, folk's glove, and witches thimbles. In France, it is known as gant de notre dame, or our lady's glove."  Probably the "folk's glove" that is the key there, misheard as 'fox'.