Friday, September 12, 2008

Landed in Oregon XXX


Good Morning -

Where has the year gone?

The main theme of the year has been our next door neighbors, Gay and Ray. They have had a manufactured home situated on the upper and lower pastures. They just recently moved in. Their contractor told them they would be in in March. So they sold their home in Yakima and moved. They were living in their camper. Now, that’s a story. Maybe one or two volumes worth. Maybe three.

This has been the year of the gopher. Year before last they came up in the strawberry bed, looked around and departed. Last year I dedicated a bed to artichokes. The gophers disagreed. They like artichokes and cleaned me out. This year they started with the romaine lettuce, knocking off six heads in one bed. Then they shifted to another bed and cleaned out the peas. Then another bed where they cleaned out the zucchini and squash. Then they went to another bed where they sampled the green beans and passed on them. To another bed where they cleaned out two rows of carrots, some radishes, then shifted to broccoli and then to two peppers. They left the bed with two pepper plants standing. What did they not eat? The potatoes did fine. The tomatoes are doing okay. One bed was dedicated to A.J. and her flowers and cocktail tomatoes. She also planted a lima bean plant. These all did fine. But this bed also had the zucchini and the squash mentioned above. So, I have been discovered. It is time to redesign the beds.

A.J. grew the lima bean plant in school. We gave her one raised bed. She planted tons of sun flowers, tomatoes, snap dragons. It was a jungle. She also planted the lima bean plant. Did I mention? It now has one pod about seven inches long.

For Father’s Day Daughter Jennifer got a bargain on some trees. She didn’t count them. There were 75 Ponderosa Pine. Now, this is a formidable problem for that time of year. Too hot. I gave 35 away to the neighbors, planted 20 on this side of the creek and 20 on the other side. I have been watering by hand. I have discovered this is a very healthy practice. The other side of the creek is a hillside. It takes an hour and a half to water the 20 there. I have two watering cans, two gallons each. I fill a small ten gallon barrel and the two cans. I make four trips up the hill and one trip along the creek where I water trees I planted last year. In July I would return sweat soaked. So far I have lost two trees on each side of the creek.

By the middle of August, the days are getting shorter and the trees are less desperate for water. I am hoping I lose no more.

After our neighbor’s construction the theme of the year has been our renovation. Not necessarily in this order we moved the laundry room to the sun room, put a new roof on the sun room, leveled the floor in the kitchen, put down new linoleum, put a new entrance into the kitchen and expanded the deck by 100 square feet.

We bought a wood stove and it is scheduled to be installed next week. In clearing land for the neighbor’s home, there were some trees given to me. With the help of Ray I was able to buck them and have been cutting up the rounds for wood. Out in the scar are a few rows of cut wood.

This was also the year of the lizard. They arrived early, multiplied rapidly, and are everywhere, scuttling across the grass, driveway, raiding garden beds, trying to get into the house, Annie’s cage, porch and on and on, little, big, some skinks, some alligator, some curious, some fearful. I think they have reduced the fly population.

We also have fewer bees. Almost no homey bees. Few bumble bees. The mid sized ones seem to be holding their own. Few wild black bees and few yellow jackets. I think there are fewer of the last two because of the ground that has been churned up. I expect they will be back in full force next year.

Sun flowers were planted in a few of the raised beds. Most are full grown now. Solitary heads, multiple heads, colored heads. The chickadees come in, light near the head or on the head, pry loose a seed, then scamper off to a nearby tree to eat their prize. Then back again. Two jays are also showing up. We have two feeders with sunflower seed. This time of year, the birds prefer fresh.

It has been a slow year for tomatoes. The Brandywines are just now coming on.

It has been hot. And dry. I remember working in hay fields and watching any stray clouds and praying for rain. It is the same. I yearn for rain, the sound, the humidity, to join in the sigh of all living creatures.

Have a good week,

Sharon & Marc

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Landed in Oregon XXVII

Good Morning -

February 18, 2008

A dog named Buddy
Came to live with me.
He moved to the country
Where he could run free.
He likes it here
It’s plain to see.
Lucky dog. Lucky me.

by Sharon Rivers

February 19, 2008

Sharon sang her song to Amelia. Amelia sang the song, ending “Lucky dog, Lucky flea.”

February 20, 2008

Sharon’s birthday. Emeralds.

February 21, 2008

Raining. Started digging post holes for Buddy’s pen.

Last week of February.

Flu, stomach flu, intestinal flu. Diarrhea and vomiting. At the same time.

Getting better.

Sharon, sitting in her chair, looking Buddy in the eye: Buddy, you’ve got to stop drinking out of the toilet or I might have to stop kissing you!

March 3, 2008

Expect daffodils to start blooming mid week.

Have a good week,

Sharon & Marc

Monday, February 18, 2008

Landed in Oregon XXVI

Good Morning -

February 12, 2008

Walked up to get the mail. 100 yards. In the trees near the top of the hill live the doves. They like the dirt road. I think for gravel, dusting and sunning. It is hard to believe (like quail) that in some states doves are game birds.

Yesterday Buddy chased the turkeys. They saw him. He didn’t see them. I kept pointing. He would look at my finger. Finally I held his head. After a long while he saw them. They nearly got away. He closed the distance quickly. They squawked and flew. He loved it. Saw nary a one today.

February 13, 2008

We have woodpeckers working the snag in the lower pasture. We also had the arrival of a dozen reconnoitering robins. Buddy chased them both.

February 14, 2008

County official arrived today to look over the lower pasture holes that are soil samples as part of the drain field system. Buddy and I went out to say hi. Like so many people he said Buddy was a good looking critter. But Buddy would not be petted. Earlier, he would cringe. This time the kept out of reach more like a puppy.

When we got him he would heel closely -- like Shadow. Like a teenager he runs -- galloping like a herd of horses -- Gallop. Herd. He runs full out -- like a Jet, or even a Black Jet or Flash. Gotta Run. Watching Sharon and I eat he drool Drool. When put in the garden he tries to dig out -- Digger. He loves to walk in the creek -- Wader. He can’t just stay in one room on the house. He got to check what I’m doing, and Sharon, and Manny and Capper. Nosey. When he checks, he doesn’t just go and do it. He sneaks. Sneaky. He also has got to itch. Gotta Itch. He was clearly abused as a puppy. He fears lots of things. A Scaredy Dog. He is still too much of a puppy to be a vain young male. Soon enough.

He discovered the squirrel that raids the bird feeders. The squirrel evades him. He loves it. He now watches for the squirrel and other critters. On his own today he went out to the squirrel path and peed. First time on his own! (Embarrasses me to say it.) We have been holding his paw -- so to speak. He patrols out there. Very proud. Big chest. Ears cocked. He wants to do the same with the cats in the house. We disappoint him.

February 17, 2008.

Yesterday and today, clear skies. Above sixty. First yellow crocus today! Cut stove wood from some of the downed trees. Plan to plant peas before end of the month. Sharon is walking Buddy several times a day. Good for both of them. She has had what is probably the flu. It is going around. My theory is that some viruses migrate each winter. They go from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. There was a time when the Isthmus of Panama did not exist and the viruses would just follow the current. Now they must travel overland. They hitch rides with people. People are just bags of water so the viruses travel from person to person. They can’t be too deadly because then they would lose their source of transportation. Our winter influenza viruses are the original Snow Birds. There was this virus named Sam...

Have a good week,

Marc & Sharon

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Landed in Oregon XXV

Good Morning -

December 17 & 18. Training in Ashland. Across the valley 50 miles. This morning the egrets were clustered. Sometimes they spread, tiny, single white dots.

Mornings in the low 40’s. Rain. The creek is starting to rise. With Pass Creek it has to do with saturation of the ground. At the beginning of winter we can have a lot of rain. The creek will barely change. Once the creek starts rising then it also will be very responsive to the rain. It rains: the creek rises. The rain stops: the creek falls.

Lunch at the Dragon Fly in Ashland. A “fusion” of Mexican and eastern foods. Quite good.

While we were away, the boys, either in play or in freaking out, tore the house up a bit. Stuff off shelves. On floor. Some broken.

No evidence yet of house construction stuff to the north.

December 19, 2007

Stocking are all hung on the mantle. Tree has been up since last weekend. Christmas cards are all mailed. Sharon has been a ball of fire.

December 27, 2007

Shazam! Time flew. A.J. and Jennifer and Heather for Christmas. Mike for a second Christmas. Presents galore. A dusting of snow. Three days and a roast, a turkey and a ham. Don’t know what we will eat for New Years. (Leftovers, maybe.)

Received Buddy, a black Lab, from the Eagle Point Raders. Little A.J. leading big Buddy around.

A forked horn went by the day before Christmas.

Slept in this morning. Starting last night, the snow is accumulating. This afternoon the snow level is forecast to rise.

A present from Jennifer is Blake or Bailey or who knows, a year and a half old black lab mix with some other dog. From the pound. He has the big bones of a lab. Presently he is about half the size of a full grown male lab. We gave him several names. Currently we are calling him Buddy. Although he has shown no interest in felines, the cats are not happy. He knows several commands and some we do not know.

January 2, 2008

Cappy and Mr. Manners will come into the house when Buddy is there. They ignore him and he “does not see them.” Buddy had kennel cough when we got him. Much better now. Pleasure to watch him run. The cats now look at Buddy like he is really, really ugly.

Buddy is a pack rat. When inside during the night, he collects stuff and carries it to his bed. He doesn’t chew on it. We thought of calling him Thumper because of his Lab tail. Maybe we need to call him The Collector. A retriever.

Buddy heels very, very well. We are thinking of calling him Shadow.

His coloring is that of the original Labradors. Fishermen would use them to pull their nets in. Actually he has the weight of a mature Lab, but their weight can go well above 100 pounds.

Mrs. A. started the new year by cleaning the bathroom. What does this signify for the new year? It was a quiet day. We put away Christmas stuff.

This was the year U. of O. won the Sun Bowl. Michigan also won their bowl. As did U.S.C. win the Rose Bowl. It was the year, earlier in the season, that U.O. beat both U.S.C. and Michigan. Therein lies a tale.

Mornings have been running at 25. Annie is doing fine. She enjoys her slice of whole wheat bread like I do my morning coffee.

January 6 or so. Snow. Five inches.

January 7, 2008. Rain, but cold enough it did not melt much of the snow.

January 8, 2008

Heard Buddy’s first growl. He was having a nightmare.

You know, sometimes I have nothing to say because there is nothing to say. Then there are times when things to say are there, but I am not. And then there are times when there is too much to say. I am in one of the above times.

January 25, 2008

Brat has gone on to a greener pasture. Nearly exactly a year ago his brother Dini (as in Houdini) died. It was a rainy, snowy day. I buried him in the lower pasture. Although the weather was miserable I had heard that the surviving goat would not do well, and so I dug another hole for Brat. I marked it with a white stake. Today I filled the hole in. John the contractor knew we wanted to keep Brat or find a home for him. He talked with his crew. His carpenter had a grandfather who had 80 acres, fruit trees and blackberry vines, and other goats. The carpenter’s name was Chris. He came today and picked up Brat. In the pickup, with a bucket of grain to eat from, Brat put up no fight at all. Sharon sent a letter to the grandfather, requesting visitation rights. Chris assured Sharon there would be no problem at all.

January 26, 2008

Tree cutting started in earnest this morning.
Jennifer and America visited this afternoon. The roads were clear from the highway to the house. Amelia, touring the lower pasture with Grammy, looked at the stumps and downed trees and said, “The trees are sad.”

January 31, 2008 -- Shazam! The last day of January. Time fleets. Shazam!

The upper pasture was filled with all kinds of markers, little red flags. Next slide. They drilled a well. One day. Fifty gallons a minute. Next slide. We boxed Brat into a smaller pasture. I salvaged metal gates. Cut off the electric feed to the barn. They took out the barn. But the shed was attached. It came out too. Time for Brat to go. He retired to 60 acres of apple trees and black berry bushes. I filled in Brat’s pre-dug burial hole. Next slide. We have a couple of piles of debris and a couple of deep holes for drain field purposes. Next slide. We mark trees. The cutter comes. A logging show. Next slide. A stack of logs. Next slides. Loading dump trucks to haul away piles of debris.

It rained and filled the wheel barrow. Then it froze. Then I needed to use the barrow to haul hay from the barn that was going to be demolished. I dumped the ice on the ground. That was two or so weeks ago. The ice is still there. All kinds of weather. This week we are receiving a new storm each day.

For weather change fans, in January California, Oregon and Washington each received gusts of wind above 100 miles per hour. In northern California, one gust reached 167 miles per hour.

Buddy does not know how to retrieve.

I have never thought about it before, but for Buddy I learned it was a good thing that that family took him to the Pound. Some persons should not have pets.

We are going to have Neighbors to the North. They will own the family sequoias. Should I plant two more, a Gay Sequoia and a Howard Sequoia?

January 12, 2008

A colonoscopy yesterday. They just knock you out and wake you up and send you home. Awaiting testing on polyps. Get a call in a couple of weeks.

While purging, learned again of my addiction to coffee. While signing in at the hospital found myself entranced by the clerk’s coffee cup. Newly learned that I have picked up habit of (more) snacking. While purging found myself initiating thoughts and behaviors directed getting this snack or that snack.

Ham and eggs tonight! Life doesn’t get much better.

Have a good week!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Landed in Oregon XXIV

Good morning!

December 13, 2007

Snot nose. It is really hard to look around earnestly when one has a head cold. So far, going better than expected. Starting to get into the cabin fever stage -- impatiently awaiting clear nostrils.

Every morning I cut a little grass for Annie. This morning I found some fine dandelions. Then I noticed the greenery of a few carrots. I pulled a few. I kept one for Sharon and myself. Mighty sweet.

Reflecting on winter. Think like mid November to mid February. In the writings of the English nobility, this is the Grease Season. Definitely a meat season. Venison and beef and sheep and nice fat geese. All coupled with parties. Not much mention of running around outside. The hunting season was earlier.

But over in Russia the peasants spoke of going to bed and staying there. A way to keep warm, reduce the need for fuel and for food. Three months in bed.

A recent book mentions the poor in France who lived in caves. Much the same as the Russians above. Reports mention up to a dozen persons in one bed.

What do you do when it gets cold, snowy, and the prospects of food-on-foot sparse? Time to go to the hoard. Probably not much variety. Did story telling begin in a bed? At this time the English nobility (think Queen Elizabeth the First) bathed maybe once a month. The Russians and French less. I wonder how far away one could smell human habitations. These English were the same that said the Irish were savages.

I do notice days getting shorter. I do not welcome the arrival of winter. I have never understood people who like to ski. I tried ice skating but my feet got cold. The bonfire was nice. Maybe it is because my family burned wood and I was the wood cutter?
Nowadays one can watch TV. Not much variety. Two months to go!

December 16, 2007

Temperature starts at 31. When we went to bed it was 29.

This is my first day without some kind of medication. My nostrils are clear!

Saw a coyote in the upper pasture this morning. Walked up the road to get a closer look. It was gone.

It cleared early afternoon. The boys wanted to go outside. They go to the door, look out and then look at me. They don’t meow. They are waiting for me to catch their idea. Cappy spent about half an hour up a madrone. Manny raced down to the gazebo. Then both crossed the creek. Manny up a tree. Cappy across the creek on a fallen tree. Cappy under the coast redwood. Manny under the redwood. Cappy races out and collides forcefully with my leg. Up a tree. Further up the tree. Out on a limb. I cannot look and come in. Half an hour later Cappy comes in. Manny hunts mice on Strawberry Hill. He comes in half an hour later.

The rain started late afternoon. Snow warning for above 2500 feet starting at midnight. This is our first winter storm. Generally by Thanksgiving the Ashland Ski Resort has skiable snow. Not so this year. They are asking for donations.

Forecast is for wet snow on the 24th and 25th. I am gathering dry wood for the Yuletide bonfire.

Have a good week.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Landed in Oregon XXIII

Good Morning!

December 3, 2007

How do you spell relief? Annie eagerly took her bread this morning.

Temp. 47 degrees. Rain. Heavy at times. At Cape Blanco, on the coast and a couple of hundred miles from here, the wind hit 113 today. Here, we had some mild wind. Not enough rain to flush the creek of its leaves.

Turkeys in the rain.

I noticed a couple of leaves on the magnolia tree. Also, on the apple there are some lower, newer branches, that still have solid green leaves.

On the supposition that Annie loss of appetite had to do with the gourmet rabbit food I bought her last week, today I bought some fresh good old fashioned alfalfa rabbit pellets.

Report on the Tacoma. First change of tires: 76,000 miles. First change of battery: 7 years. Replaced one back brake light: 8 years. Replaced one broken headlight: 9 years. The camper shell Sharon bought when the Tacoma was new has been flaking off its color for two years. It rear lifting window’s hardware for holding it open and closed stopped working this year. Replaced them today. Sometime, when I still smoked and Murphy rode with me, I stepped on the brakes and Murphy slid off the seat and broke the ashtray. This would have been like when the pickup was 3-4 years old. That was when the ashtray was replaced.

December 9, 2007

If you have a question, the answer is that I have one fulltime head cold. No room right now in the head for anything else. (Except for you.)

Have a good week.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Landed in OregonXXII

Good Morning!

November 26, 2007

Little warmer this morning: 32. No riotous robins. Gave Annie some bread and Brat some grain. Later in the morning I cut madrone for Brat. Annie I gave different seeds and nuts. I think she is becoming partial to blanched raw peanuts.

Cleaned Cap’s and Manners’ litter boxes. Read about operating a chipper. Fixed the pulley on the weight bench. Leveled the washer. More active outside. It was not all that warmer. Maybe I am becoming accustomed to colder mornings?

First thing, Sharon to Eagle Point. Met a locksmith who worked on the door of Daughter Number One. Met an appraiser. Asked me to do research on rottweilers. Amelia’s dad bought a puppy.

This evening it started to rain.

November 28, 2007

Across the valley today to Ashland. Huge banks of fog at the base of the western hills. Ashland was crowded. Market of Choice was delightful. Basque cheese.

A lost story: A squirrel destroyed the finch feeder some months ago. The finch have moved on. I miss them.

Another: The coast redwood behind the gazebo continues to race skyward. When initially planted, before the gazebo, there were two. It was an exposed area -- hot and dry. One died. This one turned bushy, creating its own shade. Once its roots reached water, it was off and running. It is starting to overgrow the gazebo, but has not yet started to push the gazebo over. Off course, once the gazebo was built, for a few years the gazebo’s shadow sheltered the redwood.

Another: Remember last summer and we cut Cappy’s fur and now mornings are cold? It grew back nicely. And, like last year, when it starts getting colder Cappy starts eating. I think he is about 5 pounds heavier.

November 29, 2007

There are two groups of snowy egrets. One group, about a dozen birds, is partial to the fields near Heather’s Corner. The other group, about two dozen birds, works the field across from Fort Vanoy school.

December 1, 2007

Today was Abber-Jabber’s birthday party. She will be three on the 11th. Don’t ask. This is the third party. All of the kids are getting older. The party went smoothly. I think the parents are also getting more experienced at these things. It will soon be time for games and prizes. Her father gave her a battery powered jeep. Equivalent to giving me a D8 Caterpillar tractor.

December 2, 2007

Rainy Sunday morning. Warm rain. Annie is off her feed. Found a dead mouse in her water bowl. Maybe that is it? Fresh water. Tried green grass and hay. The hay seemed to interest her. Stay tuned.

Have a good week,