This is Andrew, First Grandkid. From the bemused look on his face, you will intuit that a chain saw does not define him. If he were to lean his elbow on a Koenigsegg, for example, his smile would be different.

Yeah, I’d never heard of a Koenigsegg either, but it is a hypermegacar, (which means the thing goes really, really fast) one of which is currently on sale on line for $3,000,000.00.

Andrew and his dad, Peter, had come to the farm for a couple of days, bringing some SoCal muscle to the project of clearing the fence lately smashed by a falling oak tree. They put in a good two-days work, not only on the fence, but the trees stacked on the ground from the earlier copse-clearing as well. Hooray! More firewood!

I do not suppose that a hypermegacar is in Andrew’s near future, but he has a passion for autos of this class, even having recently spent hard-earned money for one time around a track — with a pro driver, of course — at some fund-raising affair. He shared a movie-length video of various aspects of these things, the sound track of which can be imagined. It’s not a passion that easily translates into realization, but, who knows? I suspect there is much more to Andrew behind his easy smiles than has yet been revealed.

I came into the kitchen on Friday morning to find him sleeping on the sofa. He’s a long drink of water, maybe 6’2, but apparently he couldn’t sleep in the provided bed. Hey, Andrew, if you see this, I spent Sunday night on that bed. Yikes! Like sleeping on a slab of concrete. Okay, I didn’t spend the whole night, fortunately having my own bed to which to retire. Grandpa and I hauled a 2-inch foam pad down here from Portland, and next time, you should be able to sleep comfortably in the thus-augmented guest bed.

Changing the subject, obviously, here we have a photo of the Samoan piano movers shoving my piano up the stairs at the farm. This is part of a project to reconfigure the Chickroom/Snug/Attic as an adult retreat, complete with sofa and TV. Against the day when we sell the condo, I thought to move the piano so that I can enjoy it now. I mostly use it to work out chords on my banjo, but I do like to play it and suppose that when my banjo picking’ days are behind me I will still have a way to make music.


Who but the former front line of the Beaver football squad could get the 800 pound gorilla up the stairs and around the corner, with smiles on their beautiful faces . . . Love these guys!

New boy toy to report:


Not as easy as it looks, says Larry. Hmm. Does it look easy to you? Didn’t think so. But he has now the means to begin work on the 2019 Vision Garden. Onion sets have already arrived in the mailbox. We may hope that the green beans will germinate, the tomatoes prosper, and most particularly, that the zucchini will be sweet.

With two days of sunshine, we hauled chairs out of the garage and stretched out in the newly warm air. This move unfortunately revealed dead flies, rocks from the driveway, dirt, odd lumps, one of which turned out to be a deceased frog, in the space formerly occupied by the chairs. It was a little frog, but still. Ah, spring.



When you’re a kid growing up in the soggy Willamette Valley and it snows, you’re just happy. When it snows for a week, it’s a miracle. What about when you’re a grown-up living in Corvallis? Yep. Miracle.


This is the sign Jenny gave Larry for Christmas, all dressed up:


Okay, backing up here. When last seen, the chickens were huddled in the coop, reluctant to go outside even when tempted with treats. No surprise, when I discovered this guy, lying athwart the coop wall:


It’s a Kestrel, a small hawk. Look at his beautiful, intricate markings. Mysterious Mom Nature at work:


But he’s too small to hunt a chicken, isn’t he? Well, no, according to the man at Shonnards, who is our source of most farm-related info. Chickens, he tells us, are at the bottom of the food chain, with no defensive mechanisms, thanks to years of domestication and selective breeding. Even a Kestrel can take one if he’s lucky. Which apparently ours wasn’t, who died trying. Or so it appears.

However, Shonnards tells us, that wasn’t a hawk that killed your birds anyway. No hawk will go inside a coop, nor would he leave the dead bodies tucked in, as ours were. Nope. Got yourselves a rat, he says first. But upon receiving more information, changes his diagnosis. Yeah, no, that wasn’t a rat. A weasel, or mink. Maybe a raccoon, but the m.o. clearly points to a weasel. Hmm. I didn’t like the idea of a rat, but a weasel takes our chickens? No romance, no Mom Nature sacrificing one bird for another. What do we know about weasels, other than their very bad reputation? Excuse me while I turn to Google. (Went to Mental Floss, in case you want to see photos.) They’re cute, vicious, bloodthirsty killers, provisioned with a skunk-like stink gland. Well, no wonder Rhodie has been paralyzed since the attack. So how do we protect our birds, going forward? Grant, Fence-Guy is coming over on Sunday to assess the possibilities for an outdoor run inside the orchard for the chickens. To protect from hawks and owls, we supposed. Free range, yet alive, chickens? How far do we go?

Changing the subject to the Department of Having Fun: We took a long weekend to go to Astoria with our buddies Vik and Gordon for the Fisher Poet Festival. This is a long-standing celebration (21 years) of a community of which we knew about exactly nothing. Fisher folk comprise lobstermen from Maine, salmon, haddock, crab, and halibut fishers from Alaska, a brotherhood which includes a serious component of women. Wasn’t so much “poetry” as stories, a window on a seductive, dangerous, compelling way to make a lot of money (or not) in a short span of time.

On Monday, while Larry is in Portland having breakfast with his work-friends from back in the day, going to the dentist, to the symphony, I remain snow-bound on the farm, unable to travel to the city for my own dentist appointment. Oh darn. I receive an invitation from neighbors to come over for a bowl of soup, then, when it gets dark, out to the hill in back for some night-time sledding. With two artificial knees, some activities are pretty challenging. Like getting into or out of a bathtub, for example. What about flopping down onto a sled? Yeah, not so easy. So I took just one run, for my pride, and called it perfect. Side bar: when we first met these neighbors, Larry enjoyed regaling them with our life history, complete, incessantly, with dates. They could do the math, and while I’m not so bloody eager for everyone to know just how old we are, he revels in it. Apparently. Result, these neighbors treat us gently, as one might, treat old people. Sigh.

Now we turn to the dark side of this snow. On Tuesday of this week, Larry and I took a walk around the western/southern perimeter of the property. And found this:



Larry sounds dismayed, but I believe he is secretly enjoying the prospect of more sawing! We have five fallen trees! he exclaims, but when I suggest hiring Sam to come and take care of them, he says no. Ah. I get it. But this particular tree is unfortunate in the damage to our brand new fencing. As no cows are here at the moment, there’s time to do the work. Weather permitting, which it isn’t. And of course, even Larry knows he can’t mend the fence. That will involve Grant who, as I pointed out earlier, will be here this weekend.

So this morning we wake up in the month of March. Fog, temp below 32, our cell phones inform us. But there is work to be done in cleaning the garage, always a favorite. We’re on it!