Really, it could happen to anyone. Say you’re checking out at Costco and your old college buddy phones at that moment to wish you happy birthday and you get a little distracted. The wife has to sign, and she puts the Costco and Visa cards in your shirt pocket, she’s pretty sure, but when you try to pay at the service station which is 75 miles from Costco and 75 miles from home, your credit card is missing. You’re not wearing that shirt. Oh crap. So you use your wife’s card and here’s the fun part. You have to put a hold on the card until you can get back to Bend, and you will have to use her bank card any time you go shopping at the farm. Because you’re not on her account, you will have to take her with you when you go, for example, to the Corvallis Home Depot, and she simply can’t understand why it takes a half an hour to select the correct widget for your Whatsit. If she had just handed you the stupid cards like a normal person — but wait. You can only think that. Do not say it.
But it’s okay. He got the cards back now and we’re good.
On Sunday morning, early, Cory and Tiffany arrived to wash all windows and screens, upstairs and down. This was to take 6 or 7 hours, a big job. They were efficient, thorough, and we were glad Craig’s List delivered them to us. But why! does anyone name his/her child Tiffany? Think, people. It’s a jewelry store, could we just leave it at that?
Everyone is running ahead of the rain. On Monday, Bill and Allan, Landscape Guys, stopped by to discuss the trail through the copse. I put on my boots (Larry still not back from his trip to retrieve his Visa card) and we decided on the path, angling down to emerge at the base of the giant, old-growth fir tree which stands alone, an anomaly here, taller than any oak will ever grow. We decided that Allan will carve the path with his little one-man skidsteer, and mark the path with green tape. The marking will let Sam, Tree Guy, know which trees must go, which must not be touched.
Tuesday was the long awaited move-the-coop day. Adam, who is the Brush-clearing-along-the-fence Guy, and his dad would do the job. In preparation, Larry has leveled the new site, built a foundation, and lay and attached wire (he calls it cloth, but, it’s not) a couple of feet around the perimeter to keep foxes, etc., from digging under and into the coop. Yes, I am surprised that he knew how to do all this! Here we are:
Yes, that’s grass inside the coop. Nothing too good for our girls! But where are they, our girls? To be continued. Meanwhile, Larry has undertaken to read “Living with Chickens” from cover to cover. A little alarmed to learn that the author’s flock quickly expanded to 55. “That’s not going to happen.” he muttered from deep within his comfy chair.
Allison, daughter-in-law, has been here since Sunday, helping get her Amy established in the little house she and friends are renting for the school year in Eugene. I love having Allison here, and although she usually has time to organize a cupboard or two of mine (I’m serious, I love this!), on this occasion the task with Amy proved too great. Exhausting, because Amy’s room in the basement of the little Eugene house has proved to be, um, well, shitty. Her words, not mine. Amy keeps her off-season clothes and stuff here at the farm, which is great because she has a reason to visit us when collecting whatever. Good news, at the end of the day, Amy has secured an upstairs bedroom, and all’s well.
Wednesday: Sam Carter, Tree Guy, arrived with a reduced crew, to do what he could toward completion of the week’s work we agreed upon. Main guy out sick after pine-cone harvest-induced illness. Elk hunting with Dad, not to be missed. Meaning the week will extend well into late September. We actually don’t care. The idea is to clear one section of the copse of as many as 150 small oaks to provide living room for the older trees. (And for our path.) The trick is to maintain a level of canopy that allows the wild flowers underneath to thrive. Too much sunlight and the grasses crowd out the flowers. Too little sunlight and the oaks can’t achieve the natural, expansive shape with which we’re familiar.
After two day’s labor, here’s what we have:
While this was going on, a great cloud of dust began to fill the sky. This would be Ryan’s (Cow Guy) work, disc-ing the field along Llewellyn. You could see the dust, but not the tractor, and smell the dust, and see it settling on our newly cleaned screens, the porches, inside the house if we didn’t get all the windows closed. But, speaking of rain, where is it?
On Thursday, the rain finally arrived. As did Bill, to discuss the selection and placement of trees that will mark the beginning of the homestead place, end of the road, where the rough gravel becomes more civilized. It was a thought from the beginning, forgotten about, but we do like the idea. Also to be considered, some similar treatment down by the entry gate. Bill is promoting manzanita trees there. Sidebar: When I went to Google to have a look, the first entry was a selection of battery-operated, glittered gold or silver, table-top trees. Wow. Who knew? But no, we mean real trees. I always believed manzanita to be an Eastern-Oregon, high desert shrub. Trees. Hmm.
This was the day when Larry acquired the sod to go inside the coop. Home Depot is just a short hop from the chicken store we’d identified along the road to Albany, so let’s go check it out! Drove into the place where, indeed, dozens of chickens were roaming about. But it resembled nothing so much as that horrid Harris Ranch cattle feed lot down I-5 in California. Just dirt. A variety of birds, from turkeys on down, scratching about a few wooden coops here and there. Ugh. A woman, chased by a bulldog came to enquire if she could help. Um, we’re wanting a couple of chickens? Turns out, the sign advertising the place does say “chicken” not “chickens” and what’s for sale there are eggs and chicken meat. So this is what they mean by “free range?” Yeah. Don’t think so, but thank you. It’s probably too late, she advised us, but we could try the poultry exchange at the fairgrounds. Although that was last week. Maybe someone still has some birds for sale. Anyway.
This morning has been devoted to putting up the apple crop. Provided by just the one tree which succeeded in fielding a real crop. So. Perhaps 50% of the apples were afflicted with worm-age, but hey. My dad-the-DDT purveyor for the Willamette Valley, back in the day, used to tell me that if one objects to the use of insecticides, one should be willing to choose the wormy apples at the grocery store. Well, good point. I know I always try to choose the best specimens when shopping, but now I’ve raised these organic beauties and we’re going to eat them. Of course, I carve out the wormy spots, don’t worry.
Seven apples, 2.5 pounds, these will go into the freezer, and when solid, into a plastic zip-lock for a future apple crisp. Yum! Next up, the prunes. What am I going to do with them? I’ve learned that they’re not free-stone, so that means either drying, canning, or freezing them whole. Fortunately, there aren’t vast thousands of them. Any suggestions welcome!
Okay, lunch time. Gotta go. Up to Portland this evening for a nice weekend with Peter, dinner with friends, nice. See ya.