Oh My God! Look!

He’s standing at the front window, and I look out. I see the camellia loaded with buds, I see the grass newly growing on the driveway, I see — Oh My God. The Heritage Tree.

See the stump, at the base? Where we had a tree service take down the original main trunk of this beautiful Oregon White Oak, as, apparently suffering from rot, it threatened the site of our new little house-to-be. We used the massive chunks of wood to create an artistic installation in front of the copse, called “Oakhenge,” hahaha. And now the remaining half of the tree is on the ground.

We’ve become resigned to seeing the oaks fall, but not the giants. Not the iconic hundreds-of-year-old giants with names of their own, who were here in the time of the Kalapuyas. Memento Mori? For sure.

We practically have Mitch on speed dial, and have called to see if he’s available on Sunday to bring his chain saw. (The rural way to “call Maintenance?)

Speaking of Mitch, here are he and Larry dispatching a cherry tree in the orchard. This tree succumbed to some sort of tree virus and had to go, but we’ve learned that growing cherries is just a complicated way to feed the local flocks of birds. We’ll replace this tree with some other, more defensible fruit next spring when the bare roots are available. A bad week, apparently, for trees.

If you live in the country, you’re going to need a pick-up. The older and more beat up, the better, at least for cred down at the hardware store. Thus, we have our Bob. Bob-the-Truck, who featured in an adventure the previous weekend. Delivering this pile of split wood (from yes, another downed oak.) to our place at Black Butte.

All going well until the return trip when, after a quick lunch in Monroe, the battery died. Triple A, a couple of hours sitting in the cab, and we made it home.

Fine, until this Monday when Larry had a breakfast with the boys in Wilsonville, where he was to collect a used walk-behind weed whacker from friend Tommy. Breakfast got cancelled, Larry didn’t get the message, called me from the freeway about half way home. Bob-the-truck once again non-functioning.

This time he got towed, got a ride with the driver, deposited our Bob at the local Chevrolet dealer and came home with the determination to find another beater truck which actually ran on demand.

Okay, but what’s been going on in the country kitchen? Mostly freezing the production from the garden. Like all the apples, tomato sauce, tomatillo sauce. That one for the first time, and it’s really good. Not sure how to use it, I mean, sure, enchiladas, tacos maybe, but I’ll have to do some research. I haven’t yet found a good way to use up all those 30 pound Napa cabbages, but we’re whittling away at them in the raw. We’ll see how long they can last in a refrigerator.

There must be a thousand cooking blogs out there, and I like to read them, but I’ve not yet found a recipe for left-over French fries. So I’m a genius maybe, because I sauteed some onion, tossed in the fries from yesterday’s pub lunch, chopped some left-over grilled pork tenderloin in the processor, added some chicken broth and let them all simmer for awhile. The stuff is delicious. I’ll spoon a dollop of sour cream on top and whistle Yankee Doodle for dinner. I amaze myself.

We’ve been enduring a plague of flies, generated, it seems, from the application of chicken manure on the pasture across the road. When we bought this property, we had to sign a document from the county to the effect that this IS the country. There will be farm activity, noise, smells, associated with the practice of agriculture about which we cannot expect redress. The smell of the manure was bad enough, but each day, lately, we watch flies bat against the windows, never really knowing how they all even get inside. Where they eventually die, even if we don’t swat them. Larry is particularly besieged by one species of tiny fly which is fatally attracted to his hair. Don’t laugh! (okay, I kind-of do.)

Then came the lady bugs. By the millions, I swear. Migrating? Dunno. But they’re called lady bugs because Europeans once prayed to the Virgin Mary to protect their crops. The lady bug swarms arrived and ate the insects threatening the farmers’ crops. A miracle from Our Lady. So we must appreciate them, even though they lie dead on the porches each morning, after failing to gain admittance to the house. The flies get in, why can’t they?

But now the really big deal. This blog is really meant as a log of our move-to-the-country while old, so I have to include for future reference the news about the still-potential sale of the Portland condo. Eight more days til closing, and so far, it’s looking almost on. We learned today that all contingencies had been removed — which means if they walk away, they leave the earnest money behind. Yeah, this is huge alright. I don’t need to include details, except to say that there are a lot of details to clear out of drawers, off of shelves, under sinks before the day of their occupancy, Nov. 18. I don’t have photos to share, not yet, but you can imagine. Right?

This evening, Larry and I are going to an actual movie! I know, seriously? It’s a documentary at the Darkside Cinema, called Elemental. But that being so, I need to make a salad (Napa Cabbage of course) and get that soup stuff on the table.

Next time we are together, perhaps our condo will be but a memory. I will let you know.