Monday morning and I’m leaving for Portland. Sister Martha has been here for the weekend; we’ve visited some apartments in Charbonneau (wrong on many counts, cross that off the list), been to the ballet in Eugene (Romeo and Juliet, fabulous), talked, laughed, you know. But my appointment is at 11:00, so after a smoothie for breakfast, I leave first. On the fence around the orchard, I see a hawk sitting just above the chicken coop, so I madly honk to scare it away, then drive off.

I get to Portland and call Larry, as per, to check on any items he wants me to bring home, but his phone goes straight to message. Rats. Okay, I’ll text him. My phone rings, it’s Larry, but if he hears me, he doesn’t respond. Double rats. Oh well.

But then my phone rings again, and this time we’re connected, and I hear the sad news. Henrietta and Sally are dead. Rhodie has survived, but she isn’t talking. The bodies are in the nest, so apparently the hawk has crawled in through the little light-sensitive door and attacked the birds inside.

Larry asks if I want him to dispose of the bodies, or wait until I get back. Uh, no, dear, you go ahead. Brave man, who has gotten a few laughs in discussions of what we’ll do if. But needs must.

When I get back I go to visit Rhodie. She’s numb, has stayed on the nest all day, but when I call her, she manages to get down the ladder. I can’t tell if she’s hurt, nothing visible, but she’s in shock for sure. I’m not sure if she needs a companion chicken, or if we just enjoy their silly behavior, but we determine to find a replacement chicken. Does that sound heartless?

Craig’s List, we’re told at Wilco where we go to enquire after our options, and, of course, to admire the new crop of chicks. They are desperately cute, but we’re not that desperate. And sure enough, Craig’s List does have pullets for sale. Lots of them. So we won’t have to wait until the next farm Faire in April to find our new Henrietta or Sally. Just one or the other, for now.

We find someone with Novogens for sale, so, Henrietta then. We’re to meet them back at Wilco with $20 at 10:00. To prepare, Larry decides to clean the coop, put down new bedding, clean the water, etc. We’re pleased to see that Rhodie is more responsive, and I go inside to take a shower.

Full disclosure: I pretty much don’t take my phone with me wherever, so that would include the bathroom. I search the closet, take my shower, take my time, and am just reaching for the blow-dryer when I hear Larry’s ring tone, out in the dining room.

“Hi. What’s up? Just drying my hair.”

“Think you could wait on that and come out here? I’m locked in the coop.”

What!? (This is me, trying not to laugh.) See, there’s a little mechanism that should prevent this sort of thing. A cord threads through the hook and into the coop. Should the door accidentally close, the human inside can simply pull on the cord and unlatch the door. But the cord has become tangled and the device doesn’t work. He’s stuck. Rhodie doesn’t care.

Fortunately, he HAS taken his phone with him, on this day, anyway. “How many times did you call me?” I ask.

“That was the fourth.” Oh God. Don’t laugh.

Everything sorted out, we head for Wilco and Henrietta II. She’s too young to be laying yet, be another month or so. With the shock, Rhodie isn’t producing, so for now, we’re eggless. But here she is, hiding behind Rhodie in the newly-cleaned coop:


Don’t know where you are, but it’s been raining non-stop here. Muddy Creek is looking like a river for sure, the roadside ditches are full. We did the prosaic stuff: trip to the post-office, the grocery, and heard people talking about floods, power failures. Just like last week, when it was about the huge snow storm that didn’t. We’ll see, but in the meantime, it’s a really good excuse for postponing any farm work. Like planting bulbs?

Now I would like to respond to Vik’s comment on my last post. If you haven’t seen it, go there. You are all welcome, who come here, to have the pleasure of knowing that at long last, the driveway is behind you. You have survived the hawks, the cougars, the black feral cat, the starlings, the geese, the egrets and herons and sheep, the huge snakes that ply the fields, the cows, if cows there be, and yes, have arrived! Hooray!

Brr, just came in from siting the ill-chosen foundation plants from last spring. The 6′ rose that crowded out the gentle lavender, the catmint ditto, the peonies that bloomed alright, but not in the peony shape that we’d expected. Sigh.

“Seems like replanting is something you “farmers” could manage on your own. I mean, you self-prune trees, and so on.”

True, but it’s more complicated, in that the auto sprinkling system is involved, and the guys are here anyway.

“If you say so. What guys are we talking about, anyway?”

These guys:


Allen and Vaughn, Landscape people. The spent several days last week working on the path, which looks beautiful under the recent blue skies. We thought a bench would be a good idea, and the amazing Allen just climbed a downed branch with his chain saw, and created a slab for the bench seat.


Here’s the path going around the corner:


But what they’re doing in the first photo is completing the original driveway scheme whereby there will be a line separating the driveway gravel from the “courtyard” gravel, with two Japanese cherry trees on either side. I put quotes around the word “courtyard” because it suggests something far more genteel, perhaps European, than is actually the case. Like, we’re in Corvallis?

I was describing this to a massage therapist to whom we’d been referred after our Portland practitioner abandoned the field in favor of her on-line jewelry business. I know. She made more selling jewelry and teaching others how to make it than she could rubbing knots out of client’s muscles and bones? Guess so. Anyway, the new practitioner down valley, as they say here, reacted to my description of the path. “Is this something for the public? Like trails or something? For walking their dogs?”

Well, no. Just for us? I’m afraid so.

I need to talk a bit about our weekend. What with one thing and another, we had Saturday off and decided to use the time in service of answering the question What Next? On the previous Saturday we’d had a meeting in our condo with a Portland realtor to help us establish a price, should we actually decide to sell it. This accelerated the necessity of deciding Then where we’ll go when we need to be in Portland. As our long-suffering friends will attest, we’ve been all over the map (literally), from Mirabella (retirement home) to a new but smaller condo in one of the many buildings going up around us, to an apartment in Charbonneau (village 30 minutes south of Portland), to Touch Mark (another retirement home) to the idea of just staying in a hotel as needed.

So, we took a tour of Touch Mark earlier in the month, and accepted the invitation to stay in one of their guest rooms for a weekend to give us the idea of what life in such a place would actually be like.

Readers. Those places are full of old people! Very friendly, welcoming, for all I know interesting, but it’s still a shock. The guest room was exactly like a hotel room, and was therefore helpful in illustrating that the hotel option probably won’t work. I forgot, for example, to bring socks and had to wear my boots barefoot all day. Annoying. We wanted to assess the food situation, and I have to report that lunch in the pub was delicious. But, $350.00 each per month? When we’re planning to use it as a weekend get-away?

Stay tuned. And yes, we do know that we are old people too. Thank you.

Now I’m looking out at the fence around our yard, where the old plants have been newly planted. Looks quite nice! The peonies were already sprouting new growth, which means that I need to get busy and plant the many bulbs we’ve been saving for the last couple of years. Problem is, I no longer know for sure which are tulips, which daffodils, as my sorting system has been the victim of heavy usage of the shed benches for tools, etc. And I want to go to the library — no, let’s be honest, I’ll be going to the book store — to find suggestions for foundation plants to fill the newly dug holes.

Lunch time. With Larry in Portland, I have an opportunity to clean out the refrig/freezer. I claim that I’m a good cook, and it’s fun to use my chops on all the left-over stuff. Which usually gets turned into soup, but today I’m looking a a remnant of frozen pigs-in-a-blanket from some long-ago appetizer, and some home-made, also frozen, Chinese dumplings. This is not promising for soup. Sort of a tapas meets dim sum? Oh well, it’s only lunch for one. Yum!