Spring also brings rain, this year, record-breaking rain. Enough! Please! But no-one is listening, and we are pinned inside for the duration, it seems.

Me: “Something’s wrong. I can’t get on line.” I have two default reactions when my computer fails me. Immediately call someone, or Give up and do something else.

Larry: “Yeah, I can’t get on, either. You connected to the Wood?” Larry has but the one reaction. Keep trying. Swear a little, maybe, punch buttons, or keys in this example.

He usually succeeds, but the process is painful to watch, and so I have wandered off and pay no attention when I hear him talking to someone on the phone. “Okay, you can get on now,” he calls down from his office.

Here’s what happened: Our new internet company, Alyrica, seems to think it’s okay to send the customer’s bill ’round on line. No paper, duh. Which would be fine, I guess, if they happened to have the correct on-line address for any given customer. Viehl has an “h” in it. Such a small oversight, but these Viels haven’t paid their bill for two months. Cut them off.

NOT OUR FAULT! Our kids just laugh. Sigh.

Several weeks ago I got an e-mail from a friend, Mary Crane, from Minnesota days in which she sent a photo of our first house. A sweet little two-bedroom with a finished attic where we tucked the boys when Jenny arrived. See, kids, this is where life began. Remember? I know Jenny won’t, but Peter and David should:


Thanks, Mary!

Here’s what’s going on today at the present Viehl house:


Finally getting started on Larry’s fire pit. The area behind the arbor will be paved with stone, a wall eventually built, and an as-yet un-purchased steel barrel/pot/thing installed. The idea is to have a place to rest in the evening with a glass of wine, watch the stars, which are pretty spectacular here away from the city lights. Warm our feet by the fire. Maybe roast a pig from time to time? Catch some rays on a sunny day (what sunny day, you ask). The arbor will be planted with eating, as opposed to wine, grapes, and some herbs–I don’t know what all–set artistically around. Going to be room for a picnic table, too. All this is good because we’ll have no grass around the house for the foreseeable. Nice to have somewhere outside to park, mud being the only other option this year, looks like.

As it isn’t actually raining at this very moment, we’re heading out to do a little sawing. Everything else, conservation-wise is stalled until the ground dries out. I walk down to the barn every morning to greet the trees, the birds, the grass which is certainly getting too tall to be grazed now. Seems cows like tender, new grass, not the old, seedy stuff. Oh, farming. Not as easy as it looks. The ancient apple tree, entangled in years of blackberry vines stands forlorn in the rain. The banks of Little Sometimes Creek, crowded with vines, an old oil barrel, rusted farm fences, wait for rescue. Patience. But we are getting older each day and do not have the far vistas of time we once enjoyed. Patience is a virtue for the young, I think.

Oh for heaven’s sake. Go saw something and stop being maudlin. Check.


“There’s a perfect example of the difference between us,” Larry says. We’re walking to the car from the hardware store.
“What? My boots?”
“Yes. They have chickens on them. I would never wear something like that.”
“Of course not. You’re a guy.”
“Even if I were a woman I wouldn’t wear them.”

Okay, this is coming from outer space. I’ve been wanting simple rubber boots for mucking about in the mud and there they were. A nice lady helped me, and these yellow ones were the only pair in my size. Even with my new understanding of gender fluidity, I still maintain that he can’t know what he would or wouldn’t wear, as a woman. As a farm woman.

“I think they’re cute,” I say.
“You hate chickens.”
“These aren’t real chickens. They’re representations of chickens. Anyway, I don’t hate chickens any more.”
“We should have shopped at Home Depot. They’d have a better selection.”


Happily squabbling, we head for home.

So what else has been going on? First, the lovely Gordon Davis is back at work helping us. We plan to have a shelf in the dining room, and Gordon has a good idea. Which he’ll execute. This involves selecting a plank from the reclaimed lumber warehouse in Salem and turning it over to Denali, a furniture manufacturing place Gordon knows about in Portland. Larry and Gordon both love poking around in moldy old warehouses, apparently, so one Saturday morning they headed down and picked out three candidate planks for my approval. The following Thursday, Larry and I stopped and chose the best one:


This is not a photo of the best one, just an example to show you the sort of think we’re looking for. Gordon, meanwhile, has been manufacturing the brackets which will hold the plank onto the wall. I’ll post a photo when complete.

And spring has finally arrived in the valley. The wild flowers are carpeting the oak copse. These are fawn lilies. Don’t know the name of the little blue ones.



Spring has meant bulbs, these last few years, provided by Kate Bryant, who has turned our rooftop in Portland into a real garden. She phoned to say she’d deliver this year’s tulips and daffodils, except, oops. Our rooftop has become a demolition site, courtesy of a leak in the apartment below us. No place to put the spring flowers, so I asked if we could have the pots at the farm this year instead. Happened that she had a reason to be in Corvallis anyway, and would deliver the flowers in the following week. So when we arrived this Thursday, here’s what we saw:


Almost looking like someone lives here. Still only mud around the house, of course, but beyond the fence, the oats are at least an honest green.


Don’t think there’s enough for a cow to eat, so we probably won’t have the funny calves for another month, if at all. We have a new fence along Llewellyn, we have an engineer planning a watering system using the old well, so I suppose they’ll arrive in good time. If I’ve learned anything this year, it is how to wait for it!