Right. Been awhile. When we last talked, a screech owl was looking at you. To continue the theme:

This is Rhodie. Their names have become known, and they are Rocky, Rhodie, Lacy, Gracie, and Black. If said in the correct order, there’s a certain poetic lilt, even if we are talking about chickens. No longer cute, little, fluffy.

Rhodie is my fave because she will come and eat out of my hand. The others can’t be seduced. Yet. But they were here preparing to move to their new home. Choice of the new site had become challenging, as each of us, Larry and I, had our own opinions about the better option, and had retreated to our corners. Fortunately, neighbors Ted and Marjorie offered the use of one of their vacant dog crates as a possible home site, to be inside the orchard, but safe from Gracie.

This was promising, and in fact, proved quite helpful in carrying the birds, but during our on-the ground examination, it became obvious where they should go:

Of course. The plant box Peter and Larry had built several years ago, this year as yet unplanted with the tomatoes which would follow. You can’t see, but the top is screened as well, and water can be turned on to fill the canister which would now be hung from the top. Brilliant!

With them settled, let me back up a couple of weeks. Larry had planned to go on a trip with The Nature Conservancy to Southeastern Oregon, on May 23, specifically to Fields, a wide spot near the more well-known Burns. I had meant to go, but learned that 1.) I would be the only woman on the trip, and 2.) that there would be no bathroom facilities during the 8-hour or so excursions into the mountainous back country. How was that going to work?

On further thought, I guessed that Larry would enjoy the trip without my companionship, and settled in to spend the few days at home on the farm. Complete with running water. However, he had been on the way for about 10 minutes when I paused, reconsidered, put on my big-girl pants and called him. Could I change my mind? Could he come back and get me?

He could. The country is glorious, empty, vast, and certainly worth the money and attention the Conservancy is spending to influence the way the land is used. It is currently grazed, (over-grazed, actually) and planted with alfalfa. Which is mostly sold to Asia as fodder for the cattle raised there. Does that even make sense? Yes, economically. But otherwise?

Here’s the buggy in which we were to spend the next couple of days:

Not the most luxurious! Here’s the terrain:

What they mean by back-road, off-road travel. I know. But I would not have seen this stunning landscape without having manned up and gone along.

In the evenings we were fed delicious food cooked by — shout out here to Garth Fuller — East Side land manager for the Conservancy. The bedrooms in the newly acquired farm house were fine, and if the slope to the ceiling caused Larry a few head bumps, he soon learned.

The talks after dinner taught us what the program hoped to accomplish. Here’s one innovation. They can attach a sensor to the cow’s neck collar, which controls her/him by a virtual fence, as defined by a satellite. No literal post and wire and electricity fencing necessary. Sort of how your i-phone knows where you are. That’s the limit of my understanding, but it did give me pause. How soon before they learn to control women in the same way? Okay, just wondering.

Another photo of the moon rising over the desert:

Back home, Larry packed up and left for 5 nights at Black Butte for the famous B.B. Invitational. Men only. This time I did not pick up the phone and ask to be included.

Five days home along flew by. I was busy binge watching Netflix to find a movie for the Chicks and Flicks to watch this following Thursday afternoon. This is a way I usually do not spend my time, but it was fun and relaxing. No dinners to cook, hence no clean-up. Not much laundry. Read until my eyes closed in the evenings. As I have been disappointed in many of the books I’ve been reading, I did find the same lack of depth in the films. Fine. Entertaining. But.

Then Larry came home and daily life as we know it resumed. Work to be done. I’ve decided that we don’t really live on a farm. We live on a ranch. Cows and all. Not that we have to do anything with/for the cows. Still. See what I mean? The garden is providing its abundance and I am back in the kitchen wondering what to do with all that escarole. The berries are ripening. I made a batch of kumquat marmalade, which didn’t set up and thus must be reconsidered jar by jar as we come to them. The kumquats, btw, did not come from this ranch, but from our son’s tree in S. CA. Just so you know.

And now it’s lunch time. We leave for Portland in an hour for a performance at Portland Center Stage, and an overnight in our “apartment” in Park View. I told Peter I’d include an in-progress shot of the little sweater I’m knitting. Here you go, Peter:

Pretty sure it’ll be cuter with the sleeves.

Til then, see ya!

One thought on “CATCHING UP”

  1. Those other chickens are going to be VERY sorry if they don’t succumb to hand feeding. I suspect you will be offering up some pretty tasty morsels!!

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