The geese are flying these October days, and so I wonder. Geese fly south in the winter, don’t they? A quick trip to Google and I learn that yes, they do, but for many birds, the Willamette Valley IS south. The vast majority in the winter flocks are Cackling Geese, followed by Ganada Geese, Snow Geese, and so on. They circle around our property, heading, no doubt, for the Finley Refuge a few miles south. Cackling Geese? Yep, you should hear them!
But it seems that these fellows are not so welcome in our agricultural county. “Ten geese will eat as much as a cow,” says an area farmer whose wheat fields become home to thousands of the birds every year. And here we are, planning, with the help of USF&W to build vernal pools on our wetlands, to attract water fowl. Wait a minute! The situation is complex, having to do with hunting, a river delta in the tundra in Alaska, an international treaty, and the geese’s preference for Oregon over California.
Maybe Larry will have to add a shotgun to his list of farm equipment, and I’ll have to learn to cook a wild goose. Just kidding, of course, but obviously, we’ll have to dig a little deeper before we launch our conservation program.
Which is stalled at the moment anyway. I picture harried government workers hunched over their desks or investigating streams and swamps and hillsides all over Benton County, having little time to get on with Steve’s wonderful Conservation Plan. Meanwhile, we wait for the fields to green up — so that they may be sprayed, unfortunately, to eliminate the invasives and make room for the natives. Hard to be patient when we see all that has to be done. Example: Steve told us he was walking one of the fields and saw tens of mice or rodents of some ilk scurrying before him. What? Where are our raptors?
The house is proceeding apace, though. Photo below:
On Wednesday, we met with the electrician, doing the walkabout necessary to place light switches, in-ceiling cans, plugs, etc. Details for which we have now become responsible. Determining to avoid the mistakes in our present home (by which I mean digital controls which are complicated and malfunction often), we will without a doubt create new, unforeseeable problems and learn to live with them. A shout-out here to Gordon, who gave us the benefit of his experience and smarts. Everyone should have a Gordon in his life! (And a Vik as well, who has been holding my hand throughout this project!)
Met with the cabinet maker, conferred with the plumber, with Rod, our talented architect, with the butcher — (ha! just seeing if you’re paying attention.) And when it was all done, hands shaken all around, Larry and I were free to go. Guess where. Yes! Pepe’s, which is the John Deere dealership:
Just look at those little beauties! Larry had been told he might benefit from a “grapple” instead of a scoop in order to pick up all those piles of downed branches, berry vines, firewood. Great idea. Would require the purchase of the 48 horsepower model instead of the 32, in order to have front-end hydraulics. And how much would that cost? I’m sure you can imagine. So, no grapple. Much head-scratching and anguished brow-furrowing later, he wrote the check and walked away the proud owner of his very own tractor. It will be delivered next Wednesday when he’ll be given a tutorial on site. Don’t worry, Tyrone told him, he can teach him what he’ll need to know. (Tyrone is kind of a genius who can apparently do anything.) A new tractor has to be a real guy-magnet. I’m sure Eric and Doug would also stand by, except those guys (along with Moise, who may or may not be interested in tractors) work really, really hard. No time for kicking tires and offering advice.
First job: shoving the crib-cleaning detritus from the barn floor out into the back field. Where, with the rains coming, it may become rich fertilizer to work into the orchard next spring. You think? It’s a theory.
We go tomorrow to clean out more cribs (only 14 left), and because we’re promised a sunny day, and there’s no golf game. And Larry wants to saw and I want to rake over the trench dug through the forest and what could be more fun?