#148––Book launch, snake rescue, purple poop & Sir Groucho sick . . .


The week started with the first sales of the book about the history of Florence being made in Yachats at the farmers market. A fact that Yachats residents absolutely loved. And the week ended with more launch activities and a sick kitty. In between, I rescued a large garter snake and cleaned up purple poop all over the front of my house.

It was a most interesting week.

A great place to find homemade jams, including some hot ones, and fresh greens. These are grown near Ten Mile Creek Bridge.

A great place to find homemade jams, including some hot ones, and fresh greens. These are grown not far from the Ten Mile Creek Bridge.

With my canopy at the Yachats Farmers Market last Sunday, I felt like I really belonged. Bill the potter whose booth is located near me, showed me tips for shaking out the canopy’s metal structure by myself. (The directions say to have two people pull from opposite sides.) And then market manager Ellis Lampman helped me get it locked on each end.

A friend from Florence just happened to be there early to get some veggies and stayed to help me finish setting up. I really appreciated her help and then she bought two books. Thanks, Zinta.

The weather was not windy, which had been one of my fears with a canopy. It was slightly misty and at one point large raindrops began but almost immediately stopped. I had plastic surrounding my boxes of books, and I kept only a few copies of each book on the table. I kept moving the table either totally under the canopy or slightly extended out, to make it more appealing to folks passing by, depending on whether moisture was coming down. Because of the intermittent moisture, I was grateful for the canopy.

My canopy on its first use at the farmers market. Because someone was unable to come, I got her place on the pavement.

My canopy on its trail run at the farmers market. Because someone was unable to participate, I got her place on the pavement.

Fast forward to yesterday. I knew I could set up the canopy all by myself this time, but Bill the potter helped me finish shaking it out and had the ends locked into place before I could finish saying that I could do it. I did get it raised (or so I thought) and moved everything under it, but it seemed not as high as last week. I attributed it to being on a low spot in the grassy area instead of on pavement this week.

When Ellis stopped by, I told him, I was thinking about trading it in for one that was taller; I just didn’t like having to duck so much. He gave me a strange look before asking with a straight face, “Why don’t you raise the legs all the way up?” And then he and Bill, who overheard, couldn’t help chuckling. Talk about being embarrassed!

All set up and ready to go--or go I thought. Just too low ,and I had to duck to get in and out.

All set up and ready to go–or so I thought. Just too low, and I had to duck to get in and out. This grassy location is my regular spot. Notice the shims under the waterjugs and the cockeyed chair. Not a level spot, that’s for sure.

Oh well, I joined in the merriment and helped Ellis undo the four guy lines that I had knotted really well and undid the two jugs of water tied to each end. I was so pleased to have it higher that the embarrassment was worth it. Then I reset the guy lines and retied the waterjugs.

About then my first customer showed up and he bought both of my bridge books. He was a bridge aficionado who liked to paint the bridges and had traveled here all the way from British Columbia. A little later, another bridge aficionado came by and bought Crossings. A woman, whose father had been involved with the ferries in Astoria, Florence, and Coos Bay, bought all three of my books. And she was also a painter who liked to paint the bridges. She was the first person to buy all three at the same time. I should’ve had a medal to present to her.

I’ve been there four days now, and I’ve sold a total of 30 books. I keep 100 percent of the proceeds and pay $15 booth rent each day I’m there. It’s not major sales, but a lot of people see the books and will buy at least one of them in the future. I will continue being there most Sundays throughout July and August.

On Saturday, I was at Books 'N' Bears to sign books. No big lines, just occasional folks.

On Saturday, I was at Books ‘N’ Bears to sign books. No big lines, just occasional folks.

My planned launch activity this week was at Books ‘N’ Bears on Saturday afternoon. Because of a major event called the Power of One where folks volunteer here, there, and everywhere singly or in groups, I didn’t expect to see many locals. Although, a few did come in to buy the new book. We hoped to zero in on the tourists on Bay Street, and there were plenty.

Because it was a sunny, rather warm afternoon with little wind, I sat at a table inside instead of out on the sidewalk out front in the sun. I had no umbrella and the canopy would have taken up the whole sidewalk. That reduced the number of tourists I would’ve seen, but we sold some books, and I signed each one. I talked to lots of folks and passed out my business card.

Some of my books had arrived on the 12th and the remainder arrived on the 15th in the morning. I was glad I was home, or else they would’ve filled up much of my front porch. It was seven boxes. The FedEx guy backed his station wagon type vehicle up to my garage, and I opened the garage door. It took him all of about 10 steps to carry in each box. Now, all 400 that I ordered have been delivered.

I called all the folks who had expressed an interest in the book. So I ended up mailing one to Mapleton, and some folks who lived nearby, stopped by to pick up a copy. I dropped off books for friends in Florence and a writer friend I was having lunch with in Newport bought one. The fellow who came to replace some windows on Monday bought one before he left. And today, I had a hair appointment. Yep! Quinn bought one too. Not quite like hotcakes, but I’m pleased.

There’s been an article in the paper, posters appearing around town, and info on the radio about my PowerPoint program about the history of Florence in the Bromley Room at the Siuslaw Public Library this next Saturday. So tomorrow, I will devote the entire day to that. I have selected the photos and written the edit. But the edit needs more fine tuning, and I need to match up the photos. Then I need to load the photos into the PowerPoint program on my laptop. When it’s all together, I’ll time it, prune it, and practice it. Tomorrow will be a very full day.

Last Wednesday, a funny thing happened––twice––on my way back to the house after visiting my greenhouse. Every day, I walk around the yard and note what needs doing when I go down below to open the greenhouse (and count the green tomatoes—12 as of this morning).

A garter snake similar to this one only stretched out to its full 30 inches and trying to go through plastic netting that did not give.

A garter snake similar to this one only stretched out to its full 30 inches and trying to go through plastic netting that did not give was in my bush beans.

In one of my areas where I have netting over bush beans, a 30-inch long garter snake had become entangled in the netting. To make it worse, he had eaten and the telltale bulge was just making matters worse. He had been there some time and was totally stressed.

I’m not a wimp when it comes to snakes, I used to have them in my classroom for my first graders to handle. I rather like snakes and think they’ve just had a bad rap over the years. If you have the chance to handle them, like all my students did, you begin to realize that they are really cool critters.

Anyway, I went down to the greenhouse and got some scissors, but they were too thick. So I went into the house and got my fine sewing scissors and the pick used with the nutcracker. I was able to pick under the almost embedded plastic netting then work in the scissors again and again until enough netting was cut through and loosened to allow the snake to work his way through. The sun had come out and he would’ve baked had he not been rescued.

Then I rounded the corner to the front of my house and saw the purple poop bomber run attack made by a flock of blackberry-eating Canada geese. It took three attempts with lots of soapy water, numerous paper towels, and a small brush to remove all of it. I’m glad I caught it in the morning while this side of the house was still in shade. My house faces south and that metal door gets too hot to touch in the afternoon and the cedar siding gets plenty hot too. After baking all day, I would’ve had permanent purple poop blotches across the front of my house. What a lovely thought!

I took this photo Wednesday evening, the day before he got sick. I call it his I'm-pretending- to-be-a-rabbit pose.

I took this photo Wednesday evening, the day before he got sick.Hw seemed perfectly fine then.

By Thursday, Grouch seemed to have a problem getting a hairball out––again. This had happened in the spring of 2013, so I didn’t mess around. After a day of not eating and endless vomiting with no hairball action at either end, I called and took him to the vet last Friday. After spending a day there with a couple barium radiographs and many doses of hairball laxative, Groucho seemed to have the same problem he had before but not as bad, as it had not turned into a blockage yet.

I took him home Friday evening and continued the laxative doses every eight hours. A little bit happened on the back end each day, and he started eating Sunday night and Monday morning. I took him back to the vet Monday, and they took one more radiograph. Most of the hairball mass had moved out. They kept him and continued laxative treatment. I picked him up about 4:30 p.m. this afternoon and will continue monitoring him. I’ll call in the morning. Thank goodness, he seems to be on the mend.

Sorry to be so late with the blog. I’ll blame it on such an interesting week. I hope this week is less so. I just want to get my PowerPoint presentation ready and not embarrass myself on Saturday––or on Sunday with my canopy! Next week, I’ll let you know how it all goes.

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
This entry was posted in Around Florence (Arcadia Press Images of America series, Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, The Crossings Guide and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to #148––Book launch, snake rescue, purple poop & Sir Groucho sick . . .

  1. Judy Fleagle says:

    Thanks for all your support! Sir Groucho is doing much better, and the PowerPoint is coming along nicely––should have it ready by Saturday.

  2. Evelyn says:

    My goodness, never a dull moment in Judy Fleagle’s life! I laughed at your “canopy malfunction” story. Probably happens more often than folks want to admit, even to people who write blogs. 🙂

    So sorry about Groucho, and very happy he’s on the mend. I have a “recipe” for hairball prevention which I’ll send in an email. It seems to work for my 2 long-haired girls.

    The best of luck with your PowerPoint presentation this Saturday. And congratulations on your book sales!

Comments are closed.