Acorns once fell to the earth, put down roots and then, three to four hundred years later, crashed as giant oaks back to the earth. Wind, rain, ice, old age? Here’s the most recent windfall, came down last weekend. You can see that it’s been dead a while, and that the acorn woodpeckers have turned it into a granary tree. Each of the holes stuffed with acorns.

And that’s one way the story ends. Across our fence, you will note, and onto the neighbor’s property. A big clutter, and we are grateful to Mitch and Chance who like to earn auxiliary cash on some weekends by sawing, bucking, stacking.

But last year, the trees which fell were more statuesque, with long, straight trunks which Allen wanted to salvage. Remember Allen? He’s going to build a mill in his back yard and plane the trees into planks which he will use to floor his living room. Allen is also the one who built the stone work on our patio, who raises bees under the oaks in our Fish and Wildlife acres.

He had stashed 10 trunks from last year’s windfalls by the barn, to season for a year, or maybe to wait until he built his mill. He came by this weekend to collect the wood. A little photo essay:

Does he just rent that equipment, I ask Larry this evening while I’m typing this. “No, he owns it.” I guess someone who is building his own mill will have the necessary. That’s Larry on the John Deere, btw, his John Deere. Always fun to put it to such manly work, right?

The story of these trees isn’t ending in ignominy across a scrappy fence.

Mitch and Chance have indicated that they’d like to try to sell the firewood they’ve cut these past two years. They’ll have to rent a splitter, find the customers, haul it away. Why not? You’ve seen that we have already a century of firewood split and stacked in our barn,

Another ending to the story:

This is tonight’s fire, in front of which, Larry sits reading. Dark Star, by Alan Furst.

But I expect you’d like an update on our Gracie? Who lost her feathers? She has been reunited with her flock, and her feathers are growing back. This photo won’t make it clear, but we are optimistic that she’ll fully recover:

A little family news: Charlie has arrived in Vienna for his semester abroad. His sister Amy thinks Grandpa Larry should hire a private plane and fly us all to Austria to visit him this spring. Grandpa Larry has shown no enthusiasm for this plan, but I have to admit I like the sound of it. Just kidding, Larry!

Charlie has a story. He went to a cafe and, trying out his brand new German, asked if he could get a coke and fries. “Is that what you really want?” asked the waitress, presumably in English, “or is that just all you know how to order?” Busted.

So life has resumed, despite Omicron, despite the weather? We had tickets to the Oregon Symphony’s concert in Salem Friday night, and there, huddled in the seats of the Willamette U’s concert hall, masked up, of course, heard Scheherazade. Gorgeous. I wish you had been there, too.

After a week of cold, blue-sky weather, the rains have returned. I’m going to find my book and join Larry by the fire. Reading Ann Cleves’ Blue Lightening. Just a cozy little mystery story sited on Fair Isle, Scotland. Perfect for a rainy Sunday evening.

Gracie, and etc.

It’s my fault. Of course it is. Because my newly-straightened toe wouldn’t fit into any boot (except the orthopedic one), I haven’t been out to see my chickens in several weeks. Don’t worry, Larry has been cleaning the coop, gathering the eggs, but he doesn’t actually interact with the birds. So a day ago I set out to have a little chat, tell them they might want to get back to the business of laying eggs, now that the molt is over, and found poor Gracie, practically plucked clean:

When she flaps her wings, you can see that the rest of her body looks just as naked as the back of her neck.

A quick trip to Google told me that chickens may be plucking their own feathers in response to mites, boredom, whatever, or another chicken may be bullying her. Well, I don’t believe any chicken could be plucking the back of her own neck, see above, so have to assume one of the other girls is doing the damage. Don’t know who started the fight, but it’s clear we need to separate them.

Larry and I got to work yesterday in a lull in the rain. We have these built-in planters in the orchard, and one of them would be the correct size for a little quarantine time. An over-sized pot turned sideways, some bedding material, the outdoor watering can, and she would be good for some days.

Yeah. Try catching her. I explained that we were helping her, but she chose not believe me and escaped into the orchard. Modestly said, I do believe this would have been a good little video for YouTube. Over the fence, into the weeds, a box of treats in my one hand, a larger box for capture in the other, and around we went. She eventually made a break for the coop, the door standing open, and I was able to trap her heading up the ladder to the nest.

But she couldn’t live outside in the rain. A tarp would be good:

You can see the enthusiasm on Larry’s face.

Out of the rain, probably not warm enough without a full complement of feathers, but secure, we thought. Looks ugly as hell, but, oh well. Temporary, right?

We made a quick trip to Wilco for some further accessories, like a suspendible feeder, some bungee cords to hold the tarp in place; a trip to the barn provided hands-full of straw for the floor of the new “coop.”

Today I went out to check on her, and found her perfectly immobile.
“I think she’s dead,” I told Larry. Yes, her eyes were open, maybe it’s just a coma. Happy to say, I just came back in from another look, provided with some dried worm candy, and she came to life, pecked at the treats. Hope she makes it.

Meanwhile. What else is going on? Today is planting day. Integrative Resource Mgmt. is planting 500 new trees in the fenced stream beds across the property. One hundred willow, and assorted aspen, choke cherry, oak and ash. Probably just twigs, but it’s fun to imagine their future.

And, backing up, we spent a couple of days at Black Butte, one night in the company of the California Viehl boys, up north for some skiing:

For those of you who haven’t seen them in a while, that’s Andrew on the left, Charlie on the right. Among the trivia we’ve learned is the sad fact that pizza restaurants are closed on Mondays. Not just in Sisters, apparently world wide. Who doesn’t know that? We made do.

Peter brought me some Meyer lemons from their tree back home. Gorgeous, and I am, just at this minute, engaged in making some marmalade. Waiting for the dishwasher to finish sterilizing the jars. Meyer lemon marmalade is essentially just sugar dolled up to look like jelly, so, therefore, I expect it to be delicious.

In closing I’d like to point out that, for the first time since writing the blog, I’ve utilized a semi-colon. So proud. Hope I used it correctly!😙 H


I walked the road for the first time in my hammer-toe boot this afternoon. Cold, fresh air, sun on the green grass of the pastures, the holy oak trees wondering at the fuss. What does 2022 mean to them? Who tried to catch time and imprison it on a calendar?

But December has been a curious month, what with Christmas in Seattle (great), the snow (beautiful, after we got safely home), and the realization that Larry and I no longer have any urban mojo, whatsoever. It may have been, in my case, the incident with me, the drug dealer, and my parking space in the condo garage.

So 5 or 6 years back, we had an electric outlet installed next to my parking space in order that I could keep a charge in my little hybrid car’s battery. A month ago, our realtor noticed a car parked in my space, using the electricity to charge his beautiful Tesla. She left a note, he texted me an apology. The end. Until we arrived in Portland the following week to find the car, still in my space, still using the electricity, for which we are billed.

I sent him a quick, friendly text. “Hey, you can use the outlet, no worries, but use an extension cord, don’t park in my space.”

“Oh, sorry, I’m out of town, but will have my partner move the car. 100%.”

Next week, still in my space. “Hey, thought we had an understanding. You can use the electricity but NOT my space. Going to be really pissed if I have to park on the street because you’re camped out on my property. Who are you, anyway?”

“Sorry, I’m out of town. Won’t happen again. My car was broken into and I have to take it to the shop.”

Not sure why that’s relevant, but okay. Windows were smashed in the car. A Tesla, remember. “Sorry about your car. Bummer. Listen, maybe we can arrange to have the outlet moved so you can charge it in your own space.”

Now we’re up to last week. Larry and I drive up to Portland on Sunday and there’s the Tesla, in Larry’s space! And in my, adjoining, space, another, apparently unrelated car. Oddly, Tesla-guy is right there as we drive up. WTF? I’ll just move the Tesla, he says, gets in, and drives around the garage.

I write a note to the stranger’s car. “Don’t park here! You know this is private property. If I find you here again, I’ll have you towed.” See, I’m getting urban here, no longer Ms. Friendly, oh-go-ahead-and-use-my-electricity.

Turns out this is Mr. Tesla’s car as well. NOW HE’S USING BOTH OUR PARKING SPACES.

I write him one more text. “You can’t use our spaces. Do I have to contact management?”

He writes back: “I moved the car and I hope I never have to talk to you again.”

Don’t you love it? He’s the aggrieved party and I’m a bitch.

“Duh,” my friend Vik points out. Let’s add it up. ” Expensive car in a very ordinary city rental loft building. Broken windows. Out of town. A drug dealer, dummy.”

She’s probably right. I’m being all sweet and friendly to a drug dealer. Get an edge, Janie girl.

The following Monday, we have the day to spend in Portland. I get the bright idea to drive out to the regional shopping center for lunch at a hot, new Taiwanese restaurant. It’s the week before Christmas. A shopping center. Traffic jam for miles. What made me think we could even find a parking space, should we ever eventually even get to the shopping center?

We have lunch instead at a restaurant just down the block from our condo the Ten Barrel, a brew pub with a seat-yourself vibe. The menu’s a QR code. I don’t have a reader activated on my phone. Turns out, Larry does, but by the time we figure out how to use it, we’re not even hungry any more. Couldn’t you just write the menu on a chalk board? Burgers, fries. Simple..

Sigh. Time is passing us by, but more slowly here in the country, flock of sheep across the road, blue herons in the vernal pool, Muddy Creek at flood stage. At the moment Larry is upstairs in his “office” watching the Rose Bowl. I’m knitting a sweater for Alli. Ripping it out and knitting it again. Harder than it looks!

Anybody have any good resolutions? I do, but I think I won’t say them out loud. It’s a brand new chance to get it better, if not completely right. Yes, I know I won’t/can’t keep them, but the idea did put me to sleep last night (finally) when I wasn’t able to solve the question of why the new year starts 11 days after the solstice. I mean, new year? Time? I’ll ask my sister, Mary, the bio-physicist. I’ll get back to you.