Camp Estrogen, you know, where the six of us run away for a few days and laugh and eat Cheetos for breakfast and play miniature golf, Camp is over. It’s Monday. I’m tired.

Camp was at our house this year and of course it was great fun. So the kitchen electrical outlets didn’t work and we had to set up the coffee pot in the living room and the waffle iron in the living room? And Sue couldn’t get in the gate so called me and my car wouldn’t start when I went to let her in? So I had to take the ATV, but the reason my car wouldn’t start was because I had forgotten to take the keys to the garage? No, we hadn’t had any wine yet, but that situation didn’t last too long.

But let me catch you up first. I was showing you that field along Llewellyn where the field had been mowed overnight. It was cut again for some unknown reason, and then this showed up one morning:

Threshing, we supposed. And then again, over night, the great machines came and gathered up the sheaves into bales, stacked them, and drove them away before I could record the action.

The young, green rows of fescue, hidden beneath the hay, have emerged looking like success. I don’t know if the product is hay or straw, because don’t know if the seeds were gathered by that threshing machine.

But back to today. We spent an overnight at Black Butte on Sunday to run a check on the place after two weeks of occupancy by family friends. Had they unplugged the circulating hot water, turned off the hot tub, and so on. While there we met with friends Tom and Dorsey for drinks at the Pub. Dorsey asked me if I was ever bored. What did I do with myself these days? I thought the answer to that question might be my next blog. Yes, I’m aware that the threat of boredom hangs over the project for you who may read this. What do I do all day?

At home this morning, I jotted notes as the day began.

Larry wanted to water the new maple trees, which involves some hose gymnastics. We don’t want to use precious house water for outside projects, so had to uncouple, unwind, rewind, attach, two unrelated hoses. Have you ever unwound a hose that didn’t kink, stall, wrap itself around a standing flower pot and overturn it? Right. That wasn’t boring.

Now that we’re living in an entirely new climate zone, it has become necessary to do any hard work in the cool of the morning. First thing was to thin the apple trees. Again. For the second time. The trees are determined to mount a huge crop which a.) we can’t use, and b.) will break limbs under the weight. We dumped the culls over the fence where the yellow jackets are welcome to them.

They may look ripe but they’re not.

Once, during Camp, Maddie, one of our chickens, somehow escaped the orchard. She would have to have flown up onto one of the planting boxes, and from there flown over the entirely fenced orchard. Like 6 airborne feet. She could do that, no problem. She always follows me, so it’s not a problem to get her back into the orchard. But when we were unloading the car on arrival from Black Butte last evening, there she was, out again. Don’t know for how long, but she’s demonstrating the size of her intellect. She apparently can’t fly back into the orchard from the ground and therefore has no access to food or, more important, water.

But if she’s going to fly out, and if we don’t know it, we can’t leave the girls the run of the orchard any longer. They will have to live within the coop and the run we’ve built for them. The only problem here is that they can’t then hunker down behind the planter boxes where it’s cool. Can’t be pleasant to be a chicken when it’s 90 plus degrees outside. I had the bright idea of filling a plastic box with all the frozen do-dahs we use to move food in a cooler. Put it in the coop where it would provide at least a spot of cool for the girls to enjoy. Larry rolls his eyes, and I can see that you do, too. Oh well, I’m used to it.

After settling Maddie and the others, we crashed on the North porch with a coffee when we heard yelling. Or maybe just the cows. No, that was definitely yelling. I could see the cows down below gathering, so understood that Scott was moving them. We were losing our cows?

Down the road to check, and there they were:

Happily grazing in the new, Llewellyn pasture. Full circle. Mommas and their babies. I love this!

Then it was ten a.m. Larry had his workout with Nancy at 11, and he was advised to stay OFF HIS WOUNDED SWOLLEN KNEE. Duh? He decided that one way to stay off it was to drive to Baumann’s farm, an amazing country farm store somewhat north of Salem. A couple hour’s drive. It was going to be a hot afternoon, and the idea of a drive in the air conditioned car was sort-of pleasant. Plus this farm store! OMG, the peaches and cherries? The cukes are ready for pickling, but we decided that was a bridge too far, so satisfied ourselves with the fruit and some outrageous marion-berry scones.

We listened to his new Pandora station and just chilled for the afternoon. Sat on the patio before dinner, debated (argued) about buying a refrigerator to use as a root cellar for all the potatoes, cabbage and onions ripening in the garden. A quick trip to the Googleator (thanks Vik) told us that we couldn’t store the onions and potatoes together because the onions would cause the potatoes to sprout. But we could put the apples and potatoes together. What about the onions? Didn’t get the issue resolved.

And now I am really tired, and am off to bed. But I’m not bored. Usually. Not today, anyway. You?


Let’s start here: last Saturday night at 8 p.m. we packed up and headed north for Portland to check on the condo’s air-conditioner, reportedly non-functioning in the bedroom end. It was. Non-functioning, that is, but we were not able to correct the situation, and slept on the miserable convertible couch in the “den”, rolled together like two mismatched sausages in the cooler side of the apartment. We were later to learn that the cause of the failure was a practice of the manufacturer to send equipment to the Pacific N.W. that could not cool when the temperatures reached 100 degrees plus. Because, you know, it’s always cold and rainy in the Pacific N.W. and why offer capacity that will never be needed?

But we can give all the plants outside a huge drink of water, against the coming 114-degrees-in-Portland. In the morning, we left at daylight to get home so soon as possible and found that the field of fescue turning golden in the Llewellyn pasture had been transformed to:

Wow. Overnight? Guess the harvester likes to work at dawn, these hot days, anyway. Good. We made breakfast and prepared to spend the hot spell comfortable inside our conditioned farm house.

Which is exactly when we discovered that we have no internet connection. Well, so what? We have books, we can watch Netflix, we can . . . or no, we can’t. Watch Netflix. I can’t work my Spyder solitaire. I can’t download something on Audible. I can’t Google a recipe for all that escarole from the garden. While I can get my mail, thanks to a personal hot spot on my phone, Larry can’t get his. We become somewhat crabby, and send a text to our tech guy Tyson, even though it is Sunday. We’re stuck inside. It’s too hot. Poor us.

Tyson can’t get back to us until today, which is Thursday, July 1. We learn just how dependent we are on our “devices.” Pretty dependent, and we’re not even on Tik Tok or similar, the names of which I don’t even know, don’t know what I’m missing. Facebook, say, though I am there. For all the good it has done me this week.

The days crept by, we stay married, only barely, maybe. We catch up on our reading. Larry catches up, as best he can, on his investment stuff, which is his post-retirement profession.

Then we had a call from Kate, the gardener who has created and maintained the “rooftop garden” at the condo. She has time to meet us there on Wednesday, and we can attack both the wild overgrowth of everything and repair heat damage to same. By then, the temperature is back to normal and we spend a pleasant, albeit challenging, 5 hours or so, trying to ready the property for another attempt at a sale. We decide to remove 8 of the pots, finding a home for them somewhere at the farm.

For this project we’ve driven the truck, and all goes well until we try to lift one of those overgrown pots up into the truck bed. Not a chance, even with the added help of Kate’s assistant, Nev.

But Larry has begun the job of power-washing, and Kate has a plan to move the pots when her partner, Mike, can assist. She’ll put them into her truck and deliver them to Corvallis on Friday. We’re good.

Those of you who know Larry are aware that he has been suffering an onslaught of coughing, lasting at least 6 weeks. I can tell you how many friends and passers-by who suggest that he should see a doctor. Seventeen, at least. He has already seen the Urgent Care folks, who have ex-rayed, poked, measured, and found nothing to offer but some cough-suppressant capsules. His primary-care doc cannot see him until July 28, even though Larry NEEDS to see him.

But. When we get back to Corvallis he has finally had enough. We buy an McDonalds ice cream cone each and head for the Emergency room at the hospital.

You know how that goes. Sign in and wait. They take two chest ex-rays and he returns to the waiting room. An hour goes by, and they finally have a room for him. At least they let me stay with him now that things are looser Covid-wise. He gets into the charming gown and they hook him up. All normal. It will be awhile before a doctor can see him. Like another hour. Fortunately we have our devices and they have internet, so we occupy ourselves catching up.

“They’re not going to find anything and I hate this.” Larry says. This is not a suspense novel, so I can tell you that they did not find anything. But they sure tried. Maybe he has a pulmonary embolism? To find out, they perform ultrasound on his swollen leg. Nothing. His leg is swollen from an injury. They suggest GERD and hook him up to a breath treatment. They take a blood sample. It will take at least an hour to get the results.

They show me how to find a cafe where I can find coffee for Larry and a sandwich for me. Plus some necessary chocolate. Luckily, I have a story on my phone, so I pull a chair over and we listen to “Norwegian by Night.”

At midnight the doctor comes with the results. No embolism. Nothing from the blood test (they spared us the knowledge of that for which they were searching.)

We got home by 1 a.m., fell into bed, and this morning, Tyson, Computer Guy arrived to restore us to the digital world. I sit at my typewriter, tired but certainly happy and relieved. Larry has a prescription for Prednisone and an inhaler. (!) And, while we were away, this is what happened to the field, see above.

They have collected the grass seed, and will bale this when time and weather permit. Probably some pre-dawn morning when I won’t be able to watch, but will certainly photograph the stacked bales when and if.

Thank you for listening! See ya next time. 😎Jane