Some days are more interesting than others — take Monday, for instance. We looked out and saw our new shed, towed behind Andy’s South River truck, moving up the driveway. We’d seen nothing of the building, just a list of dimensions and choice of color. But it’s so cute!

This photo is out of order, but my phone had, of course, run out of juice just as it arrived, and I wanted you to see it before we move on. I know, we didn’t get it for its visual appeal, and both Andy and Larry looked bemused at my enthusiasm. It is so cute!

We wondered how Andy could move the thing to its landing spot behind the orchard (see last blog) without a crew of piano-movers or similar. But engineering saved the day.

It won’t stay this clean and perfect for long, but before we can start moving stuff over, we have to have a ramp. Larry’s on it, planning materials, tools, shopping, happy to have a shiny new project that doesn’t involve dirt, weeds, chickens or cows.

Off to Google, because maybe one could purchase a ramp? What fun would that be? We found a YouTube site called “build your own ramp.” Perfect. This woman, April Wilkerson, is awesome. Thirty-something, got tools, whips together a ramp in a couple of hours, after first dislodging heavy rocks, sawing down the overhang on the shed doors, placing cement support blocks, whistling Dixie for all I know. And her next post offers ways to optimize storage inside the ramp for, for example, her motorcycles. Wow! Do not mess with April.

And speaking of cows, no sooner had we put away the lunch dishes than we noticed a cow uproar, again. This time, caused no doubt, by Scott’s truck. He marched through the — what shall we call it? the middle pasture? — to check on the watering tank. The cows know what’s up and gather, mooing to their children, by the barn gates:

A cattle drive for our afternoon entertainment!

But something is wrong. There’s no current in the hot wire along this new pasture. Jake has to find the interruption and, no surprise, it was found at the place where a post had been moved to accommodate the new shed’s arrival. A cowboy wears many hats!

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to go through the torture of trying to edit this image. I believe I now understand that I must always shoot photos horizontally if intended for the blog. God. So annoying.

Anyway, in conversation with Scott while this was going on, we learned that he had been director of the Eugene and Corvallis livestock auctions for many years. And in fact, when the Great Quarantine has lifted, we should come on down for the show. Cattle, horses, goats, not sure what else. But they have a cafeteria, great food, and lots of action. Why ever not? You want to come with us?

Just a note from the kitchen. At David’s suggestion, on hearing that I meant to expand my repertory, here we have our first tofu fingers:

That’s slow cooked broccoli and coconut-lime rice on the side. Verdict? Edible, but I won’t bother you with the recipe. Tonight we’re going to support a local restaurant by ordering take-out. Yes, that was a sigh of relief you heard. From both of us!

I want to leave you with a word of love and hope for Teo Praslin, Allison’s cousin, who is fighting for his life today in Huntington Hospital. He’s been a physician’s assistant for twenty years, and in the course of his work, contracted Covid. We owe him and his colleagues so much. Get well, Teo.


Busy around here this week. Starting Monday morning with a call from a neighbor: Your cows are stampeding!

Right. And what are we supposed to do about that? I looked it up later. Apparently one is supposed to ride alongside them — stop right there. Ride what alongside them? These momma cows weigh about 1200 pounds each, they’re protective, they’re lactating, which provides a somewhat cumbrous gait but does not slow them down, and they are on their own.

Whatever caused the ruckus, by the time Larry got down the road on the ATV, they had all stopped running, reorganized themselves, and resumed grazing. Just a thought: maybe the neighbor shouldn’t walk her dog in that pasture?

At around nine o’clock, Andy from South Shore Structures arrived with a back hoe on board. He was here to clear the site for our new shed being built for placement behind the orchard. Looks kind-of tiny!

He came back later in the morning with a truckload of rock for the foundation. Which he carted by the wheelbarrow-full across the new sod under the homestead tree. Much appreciated. Apparently the completed shed itself will be delivered Monday next. I guess that agricultural infrastructure is permitted under the Corvid closures, though I didn’t think to ask. I do know that Andy is glad to be able to work.

Tyson Whitehead’s crew drove up next, well masked and gloved, to begin work on bringing our internet capacity up to speed. We’ve had line-of-site from a company tower 75 miles away, one click better than dial-up. Honestly, I wouldn’t care — and we would not have begun this project under present circumstances, but Tyson is persuasive, and the equipment had been secured, was good to go. Computer work, he says, also exempted from the closure.

For the next two days, these guys camped out in the garage closet, squeezed through the crawlspace under the house, trenched through the lawn, put up a disk, showed us how to finally use our Sonos speakers. It’s strange to think that we know them only from their eyes above the masks, and when Sam, the tree-trimmer rang the doorbell, we thought it was Owen from Tyson’s crew. Both tall, dark-haired, masked men?

So what was Sam doing here? We’d called on him earlier to prune our new maple trees, and he’d explained that he’d closed up shop and couldn’t help. So what changed? Bored, he said, and ours was a job he could do by himself. Plus, he, no surprise, needs the work. I do not know what rule might apply to him, but if house cleaning crews are allowed, so might tree pruning be?

And speaking of house-cleaning crews, mine phoned to say they were ready to work, but I asked them to wait another two weeks, and see where we are. Meanwhile, I’ve had opportunity to remember life as it used to be, before I ever had anyone else clean my house. I can do this, I tell myself. Of course I can, but I had forgotten to clean the guest bathroom, used by all those guys the last couple of days, and ugh. That was a shocking wake-up.

Guess you didn’t need to know that. Okay, so I’ve spent this morning trying to make masks for Larry and me. Should be easy. I know how to sew, have my machine. I even have some nice white fabric backing from some older project, a pack of elastic — stuff I’d hauled down here from my “office” in Portland because what else would I do with it. Three hours later. Much humbled, I produced one mask. But it’s a prototype and now I’m good to go tomorrow. We do have commercial masks we’ve been using, just so you’ll know, but I thought it would be a fun project. Ha.

Escaping outside, I sanded the picnic table and benches which had spent the winter outside, unprotected. With an electric sander, of course. We plan to bring our hand-painted tile table, secured on a long-ago trip to Florence, to the patio here when/if our condo sells. But the sale looks to be a long time coming, so this summer we’ll enjoy our tired old wooden furniture again and count ourselves lucky on days like this when the sun shines and the birds sing.

Ten thirty and time for bed! Sleep tight!