The Fast Draw

Raise Your Sights

I found an old sketch book of mine. The first half of it is filled with drawings that I did back in the spring of 2014. David and I had taken a trip to Spokane for a family reunion and were on our way back home to Port Townsend. I decided to pass the time by sketching in a book that my dad had given me. I wanted to see if I could capture the changing scenery of Washington. It was quite a challenge for me. As we drove, I would try to hold these fleeting images in my head and sketch as much as I could remember.

Looking through the pages, I really began to miss that familiar landscape, having driven that stretch of I-90 my countless times over the years. The land changes so drastically as you move from east to west. When you’re in Spokane, you see Ponderosa Pines everywhere and outcroppings of exposed basalt. This eventually gives way to the Scablands, a stark landscape with an interesting geological history of multiple mega-floods that scoured the land during the last ice age. Then you come to the Cascade Mountains where the pine trees quickly get replaced by fir and cedar. My sketches stopped there. I can’t remember why. Did it get too dark to see? Maybe. All I know is that it left me with a wanderlust; a feeling that hasn’t visited me for a while. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I thought to share these drawings with you!

Keeping Up

The rumors are true.

Gardenkeeping is back after taking a year-long sabbatical. I’ll admit that it wasn’t intentional at first. I thought I’d take a break from blogging to spend some time on the nuts and bolts of my website: make a few tweaks here, an adjustment there, you know, spruce it up a bit….

…or so I thought. I’m still working on some of my ideas but, I really just needed to dip my toes into the dirt of the internet and get back to it!

The Smoke Screen

OK, you’ve probably guessed the real reason why I’m just now making it back online. The fires that are raging up and down the West Coast did what many months of a pandemic could never accomplish; I’m stuck inside my house. I feel so fortunate that we haven’t had to directly face the flames and flee our homes but, here on the West Coast, the bad air is everywhere.

The smoke has settled in. The trees in the background are on the next block over.

The last time we were breathing bad air from wildfires, I wrote a post about it: Smoky and Blue. That was bad then, but this feels so much worse now. There is an eerie quality to the stillness that has descended over Port Townsend. The air, the people, the sounds of the town- everything has stopped. We all have masks but, since the cloth ones do not protect you from smoke, we’re all shut inside for now. One of the only things I’ve gone outside for is to clean the birdbaths.

I feel badly for all of the creatures that are out in the smoke and can’t escape it. I worry as I watch them from the safety of my home.

Breathing in the Rarefied Air

The only problem is, the air inside isn’t necessarily better than the air out there. I love my old house but, closing the windows and doors just wasn’t enough to keep out the polluted air. I finally broke down a couple of days ago and bought an air filter. Under normal circumstances, I would have never consider recirculating and filtering the air inside my house – I’m a fresh-air freak! My usual style would be to open the doors and windows to air the place out; even during the coldest days of winter. It’s a trick that you can use to avoid getting sick. I learned it from my mom who learned it from the nuns at her school – and she grew up in Chicago!

A Sensational Sight

Red morning light

Even though it took a couple of natural disasters to bring me here, I’m very excited to be getting back to my blog. It’s truly been a dream of mine!

~ First, I had to find my way through a house to a door. It was dark as I reached to turn the knob. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen it open. There inside was a computer and a desk. I searched for a button and pressed it. I was surprised to see the fan start spinning and the screen flashing words and codes. Then, on the screen, a picture of the moon with the words, *Stay Calm, Ask the Moon. This is familiar; I think I know how to do this……

I hope you’ll take some time and look around the website. I’ve made a few changes with more to come. I’ve reintroduced the page “Tale of the Gardenkeeper” and am adding a portfolio page to showcase some of my work. The biggest change that I’ve made is with my blog posts. They will now require a subscription to read the full story. I really struggled with that decision but, my goal was to make my site more secure as well as economically viable while keeping it ad-free. There will still be plenty available for those of you who do not want to subscribe. In the meantime, I’ll keep dishing the dirt here at Gardenkeeping.com.

*Words of wisdom from the Mighty Boosh.


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Sleepy Summer Daze

 The forecast said it would be hot this weekend

I’m keeping things well watered, but that’s it! I’ve been putting in very long work days and then spending weekends in my own yard trying to catch up on pruning and weeding. Last weekend I finished with the mulching and can now (in theory) spend the summer just watering and relaxing.

Work has been very busy. This seems to be a summer full of special events that I’m helping my clients get ready for; garden tours, visiting family and a backyard wedding(!!!). I’ve been putting in extra hours daily to try to meet all of the deadlines. It a good thing it’s summer and the days are long…

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1:23 Birdsong

Hello from Gardenkeeping

It really has been a while. I’ve been too busy keeping garden to get around to writing posts for my blog. I’ve taken a lot of pictures with the hope that I would get some writing in, but it hasn’t happened for one reason or another. As I write, there are 1757 pictures on my phone! Nearly all of them are plant related. Some might say that’s a good start but, for me it’s a visual reminder of all those ideas that are still stuck in my head.

Wedding Bells

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My oldest son will be getting married in 10 days. The date was picked to coincide with the lilacs blooming. They are the favorite flower of the bride. The lilacs started blooming about two weeks ago and we’re all pretty sure they will be done by the day of the wedding. I’ve been cutting lilac bouquets so that they can be enjoyed but, time is marching on! It’s looking like the flower that will be in abundance just in time for the wedding are irises, my son’s favorite flower.

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“Light…Wind…Action!”

The time is late July.

The sun is heating up the land and the sea and, as it sits overhead, the directness of its rays reach down and hold you in place. If asked what you’re doing the answer better be, “Not much.” It’s obvious you’re not getting anything done today. Just admit it.

 

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The 12 Days of Solstice. Day 12.

Here is a repost from last year’s series, The 12 Days of  Solstice.  This last year we spun around the sun so quickly that I thought it might be fun to revisit the riddle of standing still. ~Bridget, Gardenkeeping


(sŏlˈstĭs) From the latin word solstitium meaning “sun standing still”.

You have arrived. Now, ready for some cosmic talk?

It’s all how you see it.  Imagine you are the center of the universe……

 

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Clip and Tuck

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is all of the decorations.

The only problem is that I’m not very good at it. My best excuse is to start with my lack of know-how, briskly mix in a short attention span and then I always like to add a few dashes of embarrassment when it looks like I tried too hard.

The tree is up, lit and decorated

and most years that is all I do. One year I made a bunch of garlands that I draped over the doorways, but that year was an anomaly that has never been repeated. I was encouraged by Martha Stewart showing how easy it was. I have to admit that her technique of building a rope from fir cuttings and then attaching the rest of the greens to the “rope” with wire worked really well and made for some very sturdy garlands. Click on the pictures to see and read more.

They made it through the season completely intact! If I’m remembering it correctly, that year the windstorms in November left huge amounts of windfall from the evergreen trees, and the timing was perfect! I went for many walks around the neighborhood collecting as much as I could carry. It was mostly fir and cedar, which was great, but the pine turned out to be my favorite. Unfortunately, pine is very messy to work with because of the tree’s resin, but because it smells heavenly, it’s definitely worth the sticky bother. Also, I love the fine, grass-like texture of the needles.

 

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Resident Crows

Halloween is here.

The best holiday of the year.

The rest could go away and never come back.

I really wouldn’t care.

Growing up in Spokane, on Altamont Boulevard, the houses were old and so were the trees. There were large areas along the circle where the parking strips were planted with maple trees that reached across the street. The branches created a living vaulted ceiling. Come fall, the leaves would be raked into huge piles and left for the garbage trucks to pick up. How they did it, I’ll never know. It happened while I was at school. The temptation of those giant leaf piles were too much for my sisters and I to resist. You would get a running start and jump before disappearing into the pile. I can remember bringing a rake so we could make the pile higher and keep jumping. A few times I just stayed in the leaves, breathing in fall, staying hidden. I don’t remember anyone ever coming out to tell us to stop. Those were the good ole days for sure! The first time I saw leaves put into bags for the garbage trucks to pick up (they were orange plastic and made to look like jack o’ lanterns) I was so mad! It was like being told for the first time that the world was no fun.

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The Green Man-Child

So much of what I have is broken

but, since I grew up with Bob Ross, I’ve come to see these imperfections as “happy accidents”. The fact that most people do not want broken things is what usually brings these pieces into my life.

This is how the mask of a child came to me.

This story extends from a previous post about Kuan Yin, Bring Her In . My clients were moving away and I was helping to get their garden ready for viewing.  They had some very nice pieces of garden art, but had decided to not take it with them to their new home in New Mexico. The feeling and style of their new home was too different from that of a Pacific Northwest shady bluff garden. Most pieces were being given to friends. The ones they saw as needing repair were headed to the curb to be put out with the trash. That is how I got Kuan Yin. When Teresa saw how happy I was with a statue that needed repair, she asked me if I might want a hanging pot that had broken as well. She just needed to dig it out of the garage and find all of the pieces.

 

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