JUNE 2022

First, Peter came for the weekend. He’s discovered a start-up commuter airline which flies between Burbank and Eugene. Score, right? He came alone this time, bearing a surprise gift:

Three pounds of kumquats. And what does one do with three pounds of kumquats?

Make jelly, of course. The kumquat is a citrus fruit, and you may eat the whole thing raw, skin, seeds, and all. But the jelly is a process. You have to slice them and extract the seeds. This takes three grown adults about 2 hours total for this many pints. You chop the fruit in the processor, add sugar (lots of sugar) and pectin and boil the mix. The 7 1/2 pints you see here used about one fourth of the fruit.

Yum! I made another batch and will be passing this jelly on to friends, but I have another pound to go. Okay, I’m a good, inventive cook. First I used some in my morning smoothie. I’m thinking kumquat crisp? Why not. Salads? Sure. But it’s golden and I’ll freeze what I can’t use for the long winter ahead. Thanks, Peter!

Of course we put the boy to work:

Drive the tractor! So there was this mulch pile, right in view, out next to the shed. Grass clippings at first, but then garden debris, the shavings from the chicken coop, and, most recently, the broken daily broken egg that Maddie, Chicken Number Two, has been laying of late. Whoa. Getting pretty ripe in addition to just plain ugly.

I’m surprised we waited for Peter’s visit. Seriously. Sigh. Farming is a lot of work!

I take advantage, whenever I can, to ask one of my kids or grandkids for help in the brave new world of, for example, Instagram. Although I’m statutorily too old to participate, yes, I do know that, I asked Peter to set me up with an account. Wanted to follow Amy in New York, Charlie wherever in the world, and Alli off in Europe. And the rest of them wherever. Fine. I’m in. Now I’ve just read a book which was constructed entirely from Instagram posts, and it was actually pretty entertaining. Okay, no one uses blogs to communicate any more but what even is a hashtag, anyway? Just looks like a pound sign. Right? I’m afraid I’m stuck with the blog. Sorry.

To continue, when our little house in the country was being built, we knew we wanted to have a gate at the end of the driveway. Which is about a third of a mile away, and out of sight of, the house. And of course, the meant gate posts. Not sure what we’d imagined, but what we got was this:

Nothing particularly wrong with this, but the whole thing just looked completely out of scale. The cross-post had to be sufficiently high to allow the fire trucks to pass (surprising how much control the fire district has over one’s driveway). And so there it stood, relating to nothing.

Allen and Mitch, our go-to guys, were on it.

They repurposed all the wood, and here we have the result. This feels like a nice and quiet “here you are at the Viehls” instead of” THE VIEHLS!” or at least I think so. (And I’m the one who counts, in case you haven’t noticed 😘):

This morning, Marjorie-from-across-the-field took me with her to a nearby equestrian competition, and I’m going to try an experiment. If it works, here’s a video she took:

Um, nope, won’t travel across. But here’s a still photo, so you can get the idea:

We were sitting just off the edge of the grass, watching these gorgeous animals compete. I mean, the riders were competing — I don’t know if these horses sense any competition. Marjorie says the sport is a lifetime commitment, and she should know. She’s ridden for much of her life in events like these, and still would/could if she wanted to. Amazing.

I grew up horse-crazy, but for me it was riding Babe, a lumbering old swayback nag, behind my sister, dreaming of Zane Grey and the purple sage. I had no idea. You can only laugh.

Larry is just back from a few days with the Nature Conservancy at the Zumwalt Prairie in North-eastern Oregon. This was to have been a long-planned trip with friends Vik and Gordon, but. You know. First the White-Davises couldn’t make it, then I had my toe surgery and can’t wear boots, so Larry had a solo outing.

Next up, a trip to California on board Avelo Airlines for the 4th of July. We’re meeting Jan Scheffler, our exchange student from long-ago. He’s brought his family to show his kids the US. Apparently they wanted to see Malibu, Hollywood, Disneyland, instead of Corvallis. Huh. Going to be such fun to see them, and in the meantime, I’m going to try a re-learn how to send photos via text to recover the quality demonstrated in the jumping horse just above.

It’s ten o’clock, and my Apple watch has jumped around on my arm to get my attention. Wants me to pause and reflect a moment. Isn’t that so sweet? I’m kidding. Who asked it to be my meditation counsellor? The other annoying habit is to interrupt my walks down the road to observe that it looks like I’m exercising. Would I like to record my activity? I have pointed out that “I can just take you off, you know,” but it does’t listen. Do any of you have Apple watches? Can you control them? If so, let me know how.

Meanwhile, I am going to jump into bed. Try to win the Spider game for today, and then to keep reading an excruciating painful/brilliant book a friend loaned: Stoner, by John Williams. On second thought, maybe I’ll just listen to a Lisa Jewell book on Audible. Stoner breaks my heart. My Apple watch approves my choice.