Coast Chronicles: Our town

<p>Look closely and you will see a little green frog with a big voice.</p><p></p>


Sunday evening after a jam-packed weekend, we heard the load croak of a frog emanating from the front porch of the Bay house. This full-throated song seemed the perfect culmination to a joyous series of sunny days. I peaked out expecting to find a hulking green webby songster to match that big sound, and instead discovered a minuscule little guy/gal perched inside a birdhouse on a cupboard shelf.

What a set of pipes! If only we humans could sing out so happily about our circumstances.

Summer weekends on the Peninsula are lively affairs — with or without a croaking frog on your porch. This time of year sometimes it’s a matter of choosing what to miss. With my sis and I singing at Vespers this Sunday in honor of Virginia’s 91st birthday, we had to forego the Edible Garden tour. But several friends took time out from garden viewing to add friendly faces to our Oysterville Church audience.

We were thrilled to have such a full house. Pete Hanner, 97, brought his girlfriend Joyce. Also in residence were Nancy and Frank Logan; Linda Ivy; Glenn Leichman and Rolande Chesebro; Nancy and Phil Allen; John and Aileen Roberts (our Hawaii connection), front and center; Pat Moss, art detective, along with the “village” contingency of Cyndy Hayward, Nina Macheel and Gail Accuardi. And, of all things, a long-time friend from junior high school, current Bainbridge Island resident Barbara Hoggatt (visiting Depot owner Nancy Gorshe), convinced Steve, her significant other, to stay through the afternoon. We were amazed to see her smiling face in the pews! It was that proverbial small world synchronicity.

The Rev. Dean Mead gave us the Cliff Notes version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Bonnie Masson pumped and tickled that elegant organ. Sydney Stevens told an Espy wedding saga that had us in stitches.

We sang, we laughed, we cried. But the best summary of the event was John Robert’s comment (we ran into him afterwards at the Berry Patch), “I was so happy after hearing you two sing that I needed ice cream!”

By the way, Nyel Stevens reports that the offering basket, supporting the Oysterville Restoration Foundation, a volunteer group that keeps the church in shape, took in $311. Thanks to all for adding your voices to the mix.

Around Town

Earlier in the weekend we stopped by the Peninsula Clay Art Show at The Artisan in Ilwaco. Sue Raymond was conducting a print-making workshop and Jan Richardson came out in an apron to give us big hugs. The show runs through this week and I highly recommend you go and gaze at the astonishing array of objects d’art.

Karen Brownlee’s cranberry platters and raku vases are beautiful gifts for any occasion. David Campiche’s vases and vessels capture his rugged flair. Sue has whimsical portrayals of fishy and furry personalities. Jan, known for her amazing ceramic houses, is also making exquisite pearly-tinted bowls, saltcellars and pitchers. And Renee O’Connor’s tiles are exceedingly handsome. (Forgive me for not mentioning every participant.) Needless to say, we are rich with talented artists offering wares at a fraction of the cost these quality items would bring in the city.

Again, we were sorry to miss the Edible Garden tour. We heard that the standouts were the Dickerson’s garden (which was featured here a couple weeks ago), Skyler Walker and Allan Fritz’s and the garden of Andrea and Kim Patten. Nancy (Allen) even got a tour of Andi’s bakery. “That was amazing,” she said, “Both Andrea and Kim are scientists and the time they’ve had to work on their garden — wow — it shows.” Lift the veil anywhere on our Peninsula and you’ll find remarkable people living their lives with gusto and smarts.

Music for the Soul

Before we leave this weekend, let me remind folks that next weekend will be taking place at the same high pitch, pardon the pun. Clint Carter, owner and chef at The Imperial Schooner, is also a musician and has been in charge of finding talent for Ilwaco’s Blues and Seafood, Aug. 16 and 17.

I spoke with Clint Friday when we stopped by for his well-known fish and chips plate. “This is such an awesome event and it’s gotten better every year,” he said. “I’ve worked on the entertainment since 2007 because I’m a blues man myself and I know musicians from my travels in Portland and Seattle. So that gives me a bit of an insider’s edge. I play drums, guitar and I sing. In fact, I’m working on a CD right now with five of my own tunes.”

“There’s so much great talent in Portland. It’s a big blues city and I’ve been calling the Peninsula Portland’s sister blues city. I start looking for talent in January and it’s tough to decide which ones I want because there are so many people who want to play for us. They keep saying, ‘We like your small-town feel. You guys really have a community here.’”

For those who haven’t experienced blues on the Peninsula, here’s the scoop: the stage backs up to the old Shorebank building (now called Craft3). There’s a bar in front of the annex and underneath the pavilion is a seafood court. This year the line-up includes Clint’s band, the North Coast Blues Band; the Heartbreakers; the Norman Sylvester Band, Strange Tones; Kevin Selfe ad the Tornadoes; the Robin Gibson Band; and the well-known Coco Montoya.

You can purchase tickets for each event, $15 for Friday night or $25 for all day Saturday, or purchase a combination ticket for $35. Or get a full weekend package that includes Sunday’s Jazz & Oysters in Nahcotta for only $50. (For the complete skinny, see

Grits and Grub

Edible Gardens saw an increase in visitors this year over last and this fund raiser for local food banks collected a lot of food and good will. Organizer Lisa Mattfield said, “We’re so glad that we had a range of gardens to showcase, from long-established vegetable gardens to Skyler’s beautiful flower garden with edibles thrown in.”

To cap the Gable family weekend, we grabbed soon-to-be fulltime Peninsula residents Vicki Vanneman and Virginia Spurkland and had an amazing dinner at Jeff McMahon and Shelly Hedges’ Pelicano Restaurant ( Looking out over the Ilwaco harbor, watching cormorants and gulls sail by, with a cool glass of Willamette Valley Viognier seemed the perfect way to end a perfect weekend.

But then it was topped by Jeff’s homemade deserts. I kid you not, we couldn’t decide which was our favorite between vanilla bean ice cream sandwiched between almond macaroons topped with caramel sauce, lemon cheesecake and local blueberries in lemon syrup or a chocolate pot de crème with Maldon Sea salt.

Oh my gosh, I was so happy I started chirping like a little green frog.

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