Oh well, it is Oregon! But today, May 2, the sun is shining and it’s time to catch up.
Chapter One: A Garden is Born. Larry’s been pining for a real garden here, not just the raised beds he and Peter but together last year. So a space was designated, the grass mowed. Next job, rototilling. Larry and Bob-the-Truck drove off to the rental shop and returned with a rather weather-beaten, but serviceable, machine. For some reason it was supposed to be a good idea to unload the thing with these ramps:


I’ll spare you a description of how that went. Suffice it to say that neither man nor machine was broken, but the process was spectacular, and not one that the wife was happy to observe.

But as you see, the job did get done. Hard work! Larry says that next time he will rent a tiller and hitch it to the back of the tractor. Probably would have been a wise choice this time, but, here he is:


Chapter Two: I have always imagined that if I lived long enough I would be a tough old lady living in a cottage in the woods, long gray braid coiled atop my head, making choke cherry jam and playing my mandolin on the front porch. The long hair thing didn’t work out, nor did the music, but otherwise, kinda . . .


This is the pile of wood I may have mentioned earlier that we split one rainy day. Nice shot of the barn, anyway. Me in a flannel farm-shirt generously forwarded to me by friend Nancy when she gave up country life to move to Bend. Her hair never got long either, so what’s that about?

Chaper Three: Work done, Larry and I went to The Bark Place (which sounds like doggie day care, but isn’t) to check out soil amendments for Larry’s new garden. We had selected Option D from the bins, and found someone to help us determine how much we would need.
“Should be about 12 yards. We can deliver for ya.”
Thanks, but I’ll just bring my truck.
“Oh, you got one of those little Datsuns?” (Translation: You’re obviously not a real farmer.)
No, got a Silverado. (which apparently means something in certain quarters.) Three-quarter ton.
“Well, that should be fine. But you’re going to want a tractor to spread it.” (Translation: Dude’s got an okay truck, but he’s too old to be pushing 12 yards around in a wheelbarrow.)
Got a tractor, Larry says.
“With a bucket? Gonna need a bucket.” (Translation: This is unbelievable. Guess you can’t tell a book by the cover, hey?)

Larry puts on a little John Wayne swagger as we walk out of there. Always fun to confound expectations.

Chapter Four: Son Peter and Son-in-Law Tom arrived to run the half marathon in Eugene. Seattle kids and Jenny came along, and we picked up Amy at school to watch. Tom is a way-experienced runner, having completed 100 milers, in fact. So he offered to help Peter meet his goal of doing the half in under two hours. Which he did, and he did. Great fun!


After the race, everyone came back to Corvallis for a field trip to Wilco to see the baby chicks. Ooooh, so cute! Great disappointment when we learned that we could NOT pick them up for a cuddle. Later that day, Larry got a call from his college buddy with an offer to let us have the 6 chicks he bought for his grandkids’ easter surprise. His wife Jan won’t allow the birds to stay with them much longer. and they saw the perfect solution. Give the birds to the Viehls! Except that we will be cruising the Baltic in August, so unable to set up chicken farming just yet.

But here’s my suggestion: Anyone within the sound of my voice should contact us to learn about a farm stay vacation while we’re away. Wouldn’t that be fun? Chicken sitting?

Yeah, I thought so. Well, Peter has Whitman College business in Walla Walla, so we were lucky to have him here Monday and Tuesday as well. Of course we put him two work.

Chapter Five: Burning is allowed on Monday, and we’ve a huge burn pile just east of the barn. Everyone loves a big bonfire:



Now here’s where it gets exciting. While Peter is mowing away something causes the tractor to stop. Seems a hydraulic hose has been ruptured or disconnected in some way, and that’s it. Dead in the water. Larry calls the John Deere people and they come to haul Big Green (with its bucket) away. We have not yet heard when we may get it back, perhaps 5 weeks, as they are quite busy repairing tractors belonging to real farmers.


Chapter Six. Tuesday morning a crew of 5 men and two ATVs arrived to spray around all the 6600 trees and shrubs previously planted. This job takes them all day, but we are grounded with respect to any work we can do, as for example, sawing the wood from old downed trees. One very good note with respect to the infestation of poison hemlock we are currently suffering is that they agreed to spray the large outbreak in the pasture between the barn and Llewellyn. We have lazy cups of coffee, talk about life, and watch the flock of goldfinches that have come to visit our relocated bird feeders: (I believed the plural of goldfinch ought to be “goldfinch” but according to google I am wrong.)


You might have to squint to see them, but there are dozens of the little birds and it’s great fun to watch them squabble over this perch or that peg. Just like the chicks we saw — sibling rivalry across the species. A small flock of doves is also in the neighborhood, and we even saw an evening grosbeak at the feeder. Peter had the idea that it would be fun to drive up Marys Peak, and he was correct. We drove past several downed trees across the road, and into a cloud, so the view was limited. People in Corvallis are justly proud of the fact that our “mountain” is the highest peak in the Coast Range. The claim that you can see the ocean from the top has not been verified by this family, but I’m sure it’s true.

This morning Larry and I are off to the rental yard to see if we can rent a whole tractor. And bucket. Will let you know next time!


  1. Thanks! Like having the pictures and info. Would love to have flock of goldfinches flying around our yard. We have deer in the back and sometimes front yard. What a pleasure.

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