NORTH

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In the morning on tide-swept sand, we recognize footprints of local humans we can name and coyote, raccoons, deer, and various birds we cannot name.

Yesterday morning we walked north nearly to Arcadia Beach. This morning we walked from the north to Cape Falcon.

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Cape Falcon from Flacon Cove Beach.

Both days were foggy in the morning—yesterday the fog lifted after we got home. This morning the fog closed in by the time we were having toasted homemade bread for our breakfast.

We had to go out extra early to avoid seeing other walkers. This morning, the sand was entirely empty for most of our walk, and we search the sand for shells (no luck) or sea glass (no luck) and beautiful scenery . . . well.

The local crabs, even when only a couple of inches wide, sometimes have barnacles on their shells. The full sized ones are occasionally kicked up high on the beach by the tide. They will labor to make their way back to the sea or bury themselves. We sometimes carry them out to a tide pool.

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Photographed yesterday north.

There were “baby” crabs yesterday and this morning. They were of more than one species,

very small,

fast,

and ferocious.

We saw one this morning that raised its claws and raced along the sand—tricky to focus as it scurried along sideways.

As a child, I turned over rocks on the gravel beach at Mukilteo on Puget Sound. My father would identify sea worms and crabs and shellfish, insisting that I replace rocks in

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Photographed this morning south.

precisely the same position I found them. It it a habit I maintain even today.

If I pick up a stone and decide I do not want to carry it home, I generally press it back into the sand where I found it.

The crabs do not want to be picked up at all, not even to be rescued. These little guys were safe in the foggy morning. By the time the sun came out, the tide had moved back in to keep them cool.

Crabs do not fare well in hot water.

We were happy to see two starfish yesterday. The “purple starfish” were attacked a few

 

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A rock poked out of the sand in Hug Point Beach, thick with anemones, mussels, barnacles, and two starfish.

years ago by a wasting disease, and while scientists seemed confident that the species would make a recovery, progress has been slow.

 

We now have to search sea stacks for starfish. We are relieved with find one or two on large rock where there used to be dozens or hundreds of starfish.

Finding two on a small rock felt very special yesterday.

Today, walking all the way south to Cape Falcon, we were heartened to find many healthy starfish in clusters on large rocks tumbled at the base of the cape.

Starfish are hunters, “generalist predators” consuming anything from algae to snails.

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“Purple starfish” can be various hues from orange to blue.

They might clear a small space on a seastack, making way next year for a fresh grown of mussels or barnacles.

We saw hundred to the south—looking fat and sassy. It was a cheering sight.

This summer the coast has seen a good influx of sand. Normally, autumn and winter tides strip the sand offshore and spring and summer tides begin with sweep sand back in.

A tide in January of 1999 shoved the rock the underlies the sand on the coast into a ridge. This ridge of rock has always, in my memory, been quite high in Falcon Cove, where rocks have tumbled over one another for decades, rounding and smoothing the basalt.

Closer to home, our rocky edging is far more variable with more sandstone and rocks of other colors.

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Wet, basalt looks quite black, but it dries to medium or dark gray.

Most of Falcon Cove beach shows high banks—one reason the basalt has been so far exposed. When we first moved here in 1979, I would walk south around the arch specifically to gather the rounded basalt stones for my garden.

Our own shoreline now shows basalt year around and in the winter high tides tumble them in a terrific roar. I ly awake at night sometimes listening to the retreating waves dragging the stones over each other.

Even after twenty years our rocks nearby are still not nearly so smooth and rounded as what I can find in Falcon Cove.

When my mother was a girl, she played a game with her sister called “Poison Sand.” The goal was to make their way over a quarter mile south to the creek walking entirely on logs, and without touching sand. I played that game in the late 50s and early 60s, but today the drift logs all get cut up and burned.

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In Falcon Cove, less beach access reveals what my beach looked like not so very long ago.

Jean Auel, best selling author of Clan of the Cave Bear (unfortunate “anthropology”) used to have a beach house in Falcon Cove, but that house has been remodeled and sold several times since. That beach has its own issues. When I was hired to draw up plans

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If you look closely, you can see that the near corner of this house appear to be hanging over space.

for a remodel of a house built high back on the bluff the county inspector said it was the only house he’d ever known in that area that was not sliding into the sea. Houses have slid right off the bluff, but that one had been designed by the widow’s engineer husband with a massive deep foundation. And he built far back from the edge.

 

It has been a great couple of days, a great week, in fact. I completed three more shawls—more than thirty-five merino shawls 66″ to 77″ long and 22″ to 23″ wide Twenty-four shawls came off the loom just in the last seven months.

I try to name my warps and then to weave each of the shawls to look distinctly

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The “Strawberry” shawls before washing. They become thicker and softer.

different from the other two. The warp I just took off the loom is “Strawberry” and the shawls are pale apricot, strawberry-bright, and mauve.

I am taking a break from weaving just now in order to sew in labels, measure and record my progress, and begin planning a pair of quilts. The vintage cotton quilt is with Linda Pinkstaff of Astoria Quilting. I dropped it off earlier this week and stood for a time sharing news with Linda from twelve or fifteen feet away.

The next shawls that I hope to begin late this month will be green or brown and gray. The quilts will be bright colors, one of them in reds and black-and-white batiks with heavy muslin for a shift in texture. The other . . . probably in pinks and burgundy and sparks of plum. I will need to plan something in green just to balance.

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I found a secondary flight feather from a pelican.

 

 

We keep busy.

We were saddened when the new owner of the house south of ours had a crew come in and shave the hedge back to two feet. They also took out the corner garden. (If I’d known, I’d have sneaked over to dig up Barbara’s dahlias or at least take cuttings from an unusual hardy pale pink fuchsia. I never like to do that without permission, but I’ve missed my chance.)

Gary has planted crocosmia, escalonia, and hydrangea to conceal the old path our other neighbor marked with “no trespassing.”

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Gary carried my rocks home this morning.

Gary spends most of his day outdoors, which I’m sure is healthier than what I do. The garden is thick with blossoms. The escalonia makes tunnels over my grandfather’s concrete paths.

Pelicans have been here all summer so far. We saw an osprey this morning, but I was not quick enough with my camera.

I keep meaning to write about the oystercatchers. Maybe next time . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “NORTH

  1. I have a pale pink fuchsia in front of the kitchen window you can take cuttings from, and I have too many yellow dahlias that are Barbara’s in my raised beds where vegetables should be located, if you want a few of those for next year. Currently I am growing a “pollinator garden” but will overhaul half of it or more by next spring to grow vegetables. And the green space in front of it I will turn it into a pollinator garden/sanctuary. With reading space of course. I enjoy reading about your excursions on the beach.

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    1. Your garden plans sound wonderful! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I admire your garden so much!

      The fuchsia I will take you up on. I don’t actually love yellow dahlias, but I would have rescued that pink cactus flowering one next door rather than see it ground down to the earth.

      Like

  2. What lovely photos! Just looking at them makes me feel a little cooler (it’s high 90s out here ;)). What are you doing with all the shawls and quilts you’re making? If you’ve mentioned that in your earlier posts, my apologies for asking. I still have my day job and it’s been difficult to keep up with my favorite reading.

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    1. Thank you! It is cool here, though we are careful to keep skylights and windows open to maintain our preferred temperature. When we have fog here that usually means Portland is hot. We do not do hot. If I could send you an ocean breeze, I would.

      Thank you for asking about my textiles. I committed work to a small gallery this December and I hope the show will happen. It’s hard for me to imagine how people will choose among the wool shawls without touching them—they are so lovely. I also have four quilts so far and hope to complete three more. I considered piecing pillows but can’t get enthused about small pieces. Maybe quilted Christmas stockings? I have collected a lot of beautiful fabrics and made stockings for family in the past.

      Anyway, since I am retired, this is mostly what I do to stay out of trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the offer of an ocean breeze 🙂 Besides writing and now photography, I look forward to spending more time sewing and knitting once I’m retired. The sewing might only go so far as to use up my fabric stash. My quilting experience is very limited but I’ve enjoyed that more than any other sewing I’ve done. Quilted stockings sound like a great idea.

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    1. I assume the owners of that house did a cost analysis and it costs more than it’s worth to move it. One homeowner cut his house in half and let the western side go. Others have moved their house or tried to shore up the bank to protect it.

      It is strange, because we are much lower and appear far more vulnerable, but have only had splashes in our front yard. But our house has not moved. The house to the north had a wave circle it (it’s built on an old creek bed), and one a mile up the beach had a wave go right through, carrying the fridge from the west of the house to the yard on the east!

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