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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A Fire in the Belly

Just when we thought it was safe to go outside again

along comes February to remind us that winter is not done with us yet. Most of the country has been hit by some seriously cold, wintry weather. It’s hard to compare to places that are experiencing subzero temperatures but, even here on the Olympic Peninsula, we’re feeling the freeze.

 

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Smoky and Blue

The Woods a Blaze

There are wildfires burning throughout the western part of the United States. Here in Washington State there have been 470 fires in 2018 so far. I was surprised to find out that every year the fire season officially starts on April 15th with burn restrictions in place on all DNR-protected lands. It turns out that as soon as the spring rains stop, everything starts to dry up and is at risk of catching on fire. This year we had a wet spring but, once May hit, the rain stopped and they began predicting a challenging year for fighting wildfires. Then came the summer.

Summer’s Haze

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I’ve had to cancel work for the week. The air quality has gotten that bad.I tried to work a bit but, it was truly miserable. Last week I was out in it and ended up feeling pretty crummy. When I showed up at work the following Monday, K came out of her house and was amazed that I was there, “We’re not even letting our dog outside today!” That was when I realized how quiet it was Uptown: an eerie air. There were no other people outside and only an occasional car driving by. The smoke had driven everyone inside to hide from its ghostly presence. I said I’d reschedule and then left for home. My head hurt and I felt tired, so, after a bath I went to bed and stayed there.

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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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Spring-a-Ding-Ding!

•Ding!•

A bell tolls for spring

We’ve been stuck in a rain cycle for a while now. This week’s forecast was for rain every day, so I was prepared for another rough one. I’m use to the rain routine at work; get on my rain gear, keep tools tucked away and then spray mud off of everything, including myself, when I get home. I still managed to work a full week, but it hasn’t been easy: rain, wind, sun (kind of?) and then a cloudburst or two. We have definitely been swept up by the full swing of spring!

 

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Into the Outside

The rain seems to be following me.

Gardenkeeping is away from Port Townsend, but not away from the soggy skies. I’ve gone off to one my favorite places, the Bay Area in Northern California.

I flew out on one of the first nice days in Seattle thinking it was a good start for a vacation, but then, as we’re descending into Oakland, the pilot announces that the descent will be a bumpy one because of the rain and clouds! It’s hard to not feel personally responsible, “Yup, that’s me, the one walking around with a rain cloud over her head.”

 

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A Thousand Words

It’s not that there’s nothing to say

or even that there’s not much going on.

It’s just that life has gotten a little unpredictable….starting with the holidays. We had a white Christmas, which is unusual for Port Townsend. The odds of it snowing here on Christmas morning are about 7%. The last time that happened was 2008.

Then both of my kids’ birthdays are in December. Basically, the celebrations never stop! It really helps to keep my spirits up. I’m not naturally a holiday person, but my kids have worn me down over the years. I’ve learned to “relax” into 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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