What do you do down there when it rains like that?
Good question. One fun activity is going to the dump. Here’s how that goes: You take the ATV down to the barn where Bob the Truck lives. For months, maybe years, we’ve been conducting what could be called an archaeological dig on the property, starting with the demolition of the original house, and storing our finds. Easy to toss most of the stuff into the pickup bed for disposition when the rainy day comes.
Many of the shards we collected were on the surface, albeit under tangles of ivy, vinca major, blackberry canes, mullein, thistle, am I forgetting anything? Kid toys, broken bowls, an autographed baseball, and many, many broken bottles strewn about. Broken glass has been a speciality of mine, and I’ve filled several wash buckets with beer bottle fragments, window glass, etc., along with a nice side collection of beer cans. Probably pre-dated the 5c return law, but too filled with mud and yuck to be worth the recycling attempt.
Old tires! Don’t know if the collection out on the back 40 are courtesy of a previous owner, or an opportunistic neighbor. We were reluctant to drive out to the far corner where there are maybe a dozen, fifteen, rounds mouldering away, but today we did have one lovely specimen still wrapped around its wheel to deliver.
The focus of this day was the excavation of a bike that lay buried beside a tree of undetermined specie — maybe a hawthorne. Larry thought he could chain up the derelict and haul it of the mud or clay with the power of the tractor. It would be my job to drive while Larry managed the chains. (Real women don’t mind getting soaked while steering a tractor.) After several failed attempts, we had to go to Plan B and scoop the thing out with the bucket. At this point, Larry took over command of the Deere. See photo.
This artifact joined another dismembered bike in the truck, and along with the side piece from some unknown farm equipment and all the debris we’d collected, was on the way to Powell Butte, the city land fill.
You drive your vehicle onto a ramp and are weighed. Your load is examined, and when a tire is discovered, you will learn that there is a tariff of $8.00 to dispose of it. And furthermore, you will be required to separate the tire from the rim in order that the metal can be disposed of in the metal bin. You think about those other tires in the back forty and realize that it will cost a hundred fifty bucks or so to get rid of them. Ah. This is why someone else chose to use our land as a dump. No cost to them.
Once again, site won’t let me upload photos! Damn! Try again later? I wanted to show you the fairy ring that bloomed under one of our trees. A perfect circle of white mushrooms (edible? wish I knew) caused, myth would have it, by shooting stars, lightning strikes, or, my favorite, wandering witches. Not supposed to enter the ring lest you be transported to the other world, from which there is no escape.
But back to the rainy day: this past week, a gang of Peter and Allison’s friends, parents of U O students all, came for a farm visit. (Why do so many Pasadena kids choose to attend U O? Why not OSU?) This day, it wasn’t raining! Blue sky! Gorgeous. Reinforcing the idea that it really doesn’t rain in Oregon, another myth to dissuade the hordes of Californians who would immigrate if they knew the sunny truth about our climate. In any case, the men all had ATV tours of the property, the women laughed and told stories, Amy, a little refuge from dorm life, took a long hot shower. It was nice to see the house come alive in this way. Lots of photos, so I won’t be visiting FaceBook any time soon to see what I really look like.
Conservation note: Two weeks ago, a woman from NRCS visited the property to survey the creeks to establish sites for “water breaks.” We had a long conversation with Ryan to help determine his views on the best water disposition for the cattle he’ll graze here. It has been decided to hold off on planting our precious heritage seeds until spring, and plant a cover crop of feed oats instead, which Ryan will graze before discing the land again, before planting the wild flower seeds. A little disappointing, though a field of green will look beautiful even if the butterflies have to wait another season.
Lunch with our accountant to discuss the creation of a separate entity for the farm. He’s opposed. Why? Thinks we can just fold conservation expenses into our family taxing. Okay, over my head, but I didn’t hear his response to my assertion that we aren’t grazing cattle as a money producing scheme. They are a conservation tool: we either graze our land, mow it, or burn it. Of the options, grazing seems the most eco sensible. He, the accountant simply responded that I’d make a terrible tax attorney. What does that mean?
I want to get this posted, though I’m bummed that I can’t add photos at this time. I’ll try to edit the post later and see if my new iPhone 7, my Seagate photo storage device, and my computer can play nicely together. Ha. Talk about a fairy circle and witches!