No, we haven’t gotten our shots yet. Yes, both my sisters, plus all Allison’s California relations and friends are protected. “You have to be proactive,” they tell me, which is good advice, of course.

No, one can’t be vaccinated at the mass event in Reser Stadium without documentation of a place in the chosen hierarchy. “Just stay on the line and an informed respondent will be with you momentarily,” promised the pleasant voice on the Benton County vaccine help line. For an hour. Wait, what does “momentarily” mean?

Terwilliger Plaza, the old folks’ home with whom we’re registered for down- the-line-emergency/ just-in-case lodging when and if we ever sell our condo or one of us falls off the tractor, can’t get the vaccine. Because we’ve decided, apparently, to vaccinate teachers before old folks in this state, this county. I think this is wise, and proactivity can do nothing to alter our place in the queue.

So we wait.

In the meantime, it snowed! I still get a childish jolt of euphoria when I wake to a white wonderland. A girl of the rain-drenched Willamette Valley. Guess the same thrill doesn’t occur to the boy who grew up in Minnesota. I had to beg him to come with me for a walk. These are sheep across the road from us, and a lonely hawk:

But the snow didn’t last a day. I claim that winter isn’t over, which is true, even if winter holds no further guarantees.

The Lorax? Dr. Seuss? Okay, I didn’t quite remember exactly what Seussian figure it is, so had to check with Amazon after this cute little truck showed up at our gate Saturday.

“I speak for the trees,” the Lorax says, “because trees have no tongues and cannot speak for themselves.” A quick trip further into the literature and I learned that a town in California once banned the book in their schools because it portrayed logging adversely, unfairly. Adversely for sure, if not unfairly!

But our Lorax was here to saw up and chip the oak tree that fell by the road last month. All was going well, until. Well, it is mud season and the Lorax got very adversely and unfairly stuck.

The Little Tractor That Could to the rescue. I won’t accuse Larry of enjoying the opportunity to get out the chains, but what man doesn’t like using his toys?

And here’s the result of the job Andy and his crew completed after the equipment was safely parked on the road:

Come the spring, we’ll rent a splitter and haul it over to this sweet pile of firewood. Andrew, Charlie, Will? Come on down/up to the farm for a few days of hard labor and cousinship bonding? The pay’s good.

The drama for Larry continues with the solar panels on the barn. Seems whatever device is meant to be monitoring the power extracted and added to the grid has failed. This has to do, unfortunately, with a computer and modem specific to the job, and Larry has been unable to decipher the instructions he gets from the system’s creators somewhere in Minneapolis. So, neighbors Ted and Patrick to the rescue. These are both engineers of one sort or another, and well-certified for handling this problem. I wish I had crashed the party down at the barn to take photos of the head scratching which went on for a couple of hours before the discovery of a way forward. I’m pretty sure, given these guys, there were not a few laughs. But I waited too long, and we will all just have to use our imaginations.

Today’s challenge has been the attempt to get ourselves subscribed to the local newspaper, the Corvallis Gazette Times. The offices of which in Corvallis are closed. But it’s owned by the Albany Democrat-Herald (where do they get these names?), so we thought to take a road trip over to that city while our cleaning women did their magic here. Only to learn that these offices are also closed, in this case, by the pandemic. But a phone number on the door roused a woman inside who took our info and handed out a copy of today’s edition as well. It feels settled to have an actual newspaper in hand. And think of all we use old newspaper for! No idea if there is a political slant to the news we’ll find on board.

And in the course of the journey, we identified a coffee shop to investigate, come the day. Vik and Gordon tell us about the coffee shops they’ve discovered and patronized in various towns in the area, and this appeals to our sense of travel well executed.

Mitch and his bro-in-law Chance have arrived to have a look at the extension for the chicken run they will build for us. Going to get those birds out of the orchard proper while still allowing for hawk-protected free ranging.

And it’s raining. It’s okay. Water in the well! See you next time.