I know. But I’ve been busy? So I’ll start with spring chores: Here’s Larry busily pruning the grapes on the arbor:
There. Now you’re all caught up. See the nice blue sky? Lovely life on a farm.
This morning we went for our newly scheduled “longer” walk. Our regular exercise routine, in which we worked out with our trainer, Nancy, twice a week, has been upended. First, when we discovered the luxury of an actual gym in the local golf-course buildings, exercise on the dirty floor of our garage lost all appeal. All those shiny machines, mats, balls, weights, pulleys, bars, and no one else there using them in the real gym? Seriously, just Larry and me and the morning sun on the beautiful green golf course out the windows? See photo. You’ll understand:
Okay, it’s true, sweet Nancy is not there on Zoom to remind us to keep our knees bent, or whatever, and we do miss her. There’s just not sufficient wi-fi coverage in this beautiful new gym to make Zoom work on the computer, and the tiny screen of a cell phone didn’t make the cut, either.
But if we’re to be on our own, we have to absolutely have a schedule and one of us has to enforce it. That meant the walk is Tuesday morning. By “longer” I mean down to the first bridge and back. We can’t see Muddy Creek from there, but there’s an eagle’s nest in one of the straggly oak trees in a copse just off the road. Often enough, as we pass by, we can see the white heads of the adult pair, and hope soon enough to spot the babies.
This walk nets about 3,000 steps for me, fewer for Larry, obviously, and offers us an excellent opportunity to discuss if Pete Buttegieg should have gone to Ohio earlier, even if on paternity leave. Paternity leave?
And what could have been done to avert the banking crisis, given the warning signs. Passing motorists move to the middle of the road and wave, so that’s nice, but we haven’t determined the answers to the above. Sorry.
On the way back up our driveway, we stop at a the sound of rushing water in the first creek. There hasn’t been water in that creek for three or four years, so it was a welcome surprise. Especially as we’d just experienced our own water crisis. Yep. The well ran dry last Monday. This is an absolutely existential fear of mine. Without well water, no farm. Period. So, it’s been my job to monitor the water level in the cistern and adjust use accordingly. On my defense, this rainy year? But, when we checked, no water to be seen.
Here’s how the water system in the house works: You wouldn’t want to drink water from our well just out of the ground, so we have this reverse osmosis machinery in the shed which delivers clean water to the house, and leaves the outside water as is. The plants don’t care and neither, apparently do the chickens: (Yes, the black thing is a Traeger, has nothing to do with water at all.)
So the first thing we do is call “No Drought” in Lebanon (about 20 miles down the road). They could bring us 1,000 gallons of clean water to fill our reservoir, for $400. Obviously, that’s not sustainable, so the second phone call goes to Oregon Pump. Jake, our Water Guy, could be here in the afternoon to discover what was going on.
The well and the pump served the original house down by the barn, which we’d torn down to build here up on the hill. We were assured that it was a viable, dependable well, been operating without fail, apparently for dozens of years. Not to keep you in suspense, it was the pump, Jake found, which failed, not the aquifer. A pump can be replaced, which it was the following week. It turns out a family of two can live on 1000 gallons of potable water for a week. You might find that useful to know. But you do have to limit the number and duration of showers, and hand-wash the dishes. The laundry has to wait.
Because I haven’t written for a long time you might be wondering what, if anything of importance, we’ve been doing. Besides pruning the grapes. So Larry has been busy outside building next year’s garden. First these cute boxes, created with help from Mitch:
These are made from cedar planks, will obviate the necessity of crawling about on hands and knees to harvest the coming bounty. Next, the dirt necessary to fill them:
Larry has filled the boxes first with mulch gathered out by the little shed. Including, of course, the detritus from a year’s worth of cleaning the chicken coop. That’s got to be good stuff. So when this lovely compost from the Tack Shack gets layered on top, should be some darned fine tomatoes. Right?
My turn. What have I been doing? Remember all those onions we gathered last year? We haven’t perfected an onion storage practice, but I was able to sort out still okay candidates from a burlap bag hanging in the garage. I learned you can freeze onions easily, but decided they needed to be chopped up first.
Got them in small plastic bags after they were frozen, and now have a great supply, if the creek don’t rise . . . I’m referring to the freezer failure of earlier in the year which lots of our fruits and veg from 2021 were thawed, and thus destroyed.
We’ve been watching a hilarious show called Clarkson’s Farm, in which farming disasters are filmed. No, it is funny, and painfully familiar.
It’s not a farming disaster, but our ATV had to go in to the shop today. This means a trip to the rental shop in Philomath for a trailer, then back to load up the ATV and on to Albany for repairs. The kind of annoying chore that can eat up a day. But, Larry decided he needed more potatoes to plant, and after dropping off the rig, went on to Shonnard’s Garden Shop. What would have been a good episode for Clarkson’s was filming Larry parking the truck with trailer attached in the busy lot of the garden store. Or rather, trying to back out of the parking space with trailer attached.
However, our lives aren’t only about the farm. After the condo sold, we’ve been road-testing various hotels in Portland. Last Thursday, I had a massage at noon (I know, I’m totally spoiled with a once-a-month visit), went to a movie with my Chicks friends in the afternoon, and then hung out in our newest hotel candidate, the Paramount while Larry went to a meeting. It’s been the nicest so far, but I have to report that the burgers we had for dinner in their restaurant weren’t that good, and the bar where we went for dessert after Larry got back, was loud and not that comfy. So. Here we are.
Our new place at Terwilliger, the Old Folks Home, won’t be ready for occupancy until next January, so we still have more hotel visits to enjoy while in Portland. Or not.
We’ve cancelled our planned trip to Boston to see Charlie direct the latest B.C. musical, after learning that we wouldn’t have that much opportunity to actually spend time with him. We do love him and are sure he will have an amazing career. I promise we will attend his first opening on Boadway, or off-Broadway, but the problem is, Boston/New York just doesn’t get any closer to Corvallis. At out ages, we have the crotechety attitude that maybe our beautiful grandkids should travel to see us. I don’t know. Some old people like to travel. Or so I’m told.
Music? We’re both in our separate banjo/guitar worlds, trying to sort it out sufficiently to enjoy participating in a bluegrass jam we discovered that meets every second Wednesday. So far our participation has been just frozen terror that we may get called upon, and pure fun being part of the music. Today, for Larry, it’s Cherokee Shuffle, and mine, Don’t That Road Look Rough and Rocky. The trick is to memorize the music and be able to play with/in front of others. You can look up those songs up on YouTube and see what we’re up against.
That said, the sun has set, dinner dishes done, and it’s time to practice! See you next time!