First, let me show you how the project is progressing:

This was about 90%. If the rain held back, Allen and Chance would be able to start unfurling the sod the following week. As I’ll show you in a minute, it did, and they did.

Meanwhile, does anyone know how to keep Meyer lemons over the winter? The tree will have to spend the time in the greenhouse, as it has for the past years. Not sure how old this little beauty is, but we had it in the condo in Portland, and down here since, but it’s doing a fine job:

Of course I Googled the subject and learned lots of ways to “preserve” them. As in salt. In jelly. In Lemon Curd. But can they just go in the refrigerator and last several months? I guess I’ll find out.

And here’s the way our new lawn looks with actual grass on it:

The wall around the tree will have a stone facing and top, but it’s getting there.

So that’s what Allen and Chance have been doing. What about us?

A wedding at the neighbor’s home, which was gorgeous. Their son Everett married Katie. Out doors, just a little rain to bring its blessings, lights in every tree, great food (Vegan wedding cake — who knew that was legal?) and we met some new people from the neighborhood, whom we hope to see again.

Back and forth to Portland, it seems. We attended a Celebration of Life for an old friend from Tigard school days, and work, in Larry’s case. Jenny came down for the gathering, as Steve and Maxine’s daughter Jill had been one of her high school buddies. It was so sweet to see the other girls — women — who had been part of the circle. All grown up and married and moms of their own teenagers.

We learned, also, of the loss of another friend of those days, Renee Edwards. She and her family had lived next door to us since we first built our house on 133rd. So many stories of those times! Most of them funny and almost all of them true.

Yesterday we drove to Portland in the morning to attend a procedure at the Endodontist’s office. Me. Root canal. Not fun! But we remarked that soon (!) we’ll be able to break our trips up and down I-5 with a stopover at the new condo at Park View.

It’s 5 o’clock now, and getting dark. Sigh. Larry is outside somewhere raking the few last oak leaves, but the oven is turned on and soon we’ll be having dinner by fireplace light. And then, on to Altadena next week for Thanksgiving with the assembled family.

So what is for dinner? I just completed an inventory of the garage freezer. I have to make room for this year’s garden, and this will require discipline in the kitchen. While in Portland yesterday, we stopped at a favorite grocery, Zupans, and bought half a boneless ham. Been disappointed in the product labeled “ham” from groceries lately, and trusted that Zupans would be better. ( I remember ham! It used to be salty and dark and certainly not sliced and packed in water.) So we chopped it up Zupan’s ham and squeezed it into the above-mentioned freezer, with exception of the chunk for tonight. Which will go nicely, I think, with some Rumbledethumps (look it up) and zucchini. Fingers crossed.


What’s going on over there? An annex to the chicken coop? A pen for goats? A wall to keep the house from sliding down into the wetlands? I’ll get to the answer in a minute.

But no solar eclipse here this morning. A thick fog obscures everything beyond the first trees around the house. Nonetheless, a good reminder that the heavens go on turning, despite evidence here on the ground.

And, our family gathering this past week: Mary and Matt arrived in Portland from White Plains on the evening of the 2nd, drove to Corvallis on the 3rd. Martha also came over on that day, and the Eagleson girls were reunited. It’s strange to find yourself with women who look like you, but don’t. We remember things differently, but always laugh anyway. What Dad said that time, how old Grandmother was, Mom’s recipe.

The farm for a couple of days, the beach for a couple, and on to Black Butte. Here’s a shot at Black Butte — gorgeous weather:

I’m the sister in the middle. The way I remember things is always the correct way, of course, and you’ll just have to believe me. Martha is an inveterate photographer, and thus has evidence in her phone dating back decades, it seems. I don’t have any photos of the three of us, but if you check with Martha?

Right. So, what is going on here at the Wood?:

These are just the frames, of course, and concrete will be poured next Tuesday. I think these look pretty gorgeous as is, and am way impressed with the carpenter skills of Allen and Chance. But what they’re accomplishing is, in fact, a wall, which will be visible only from below. The curves will be stone benches around the maple trees, and the land, which does indeed slope toward the wetland, will be filled with the excavated dirt and replanted with grass. The idea is to reduce the amount of grass immediately around the house to a manageable degree, letting the rest rejoin the pastures. Mowing, watering thus greatly reduced.

Here are Allen and Chance. I should say that it has been raining during most of the time they’ve been here, but this was a sunny moment:

Why are we even doing this? Yeah, I know. It started with the thought that we could plant trees in the large patch between the driveway and the coop, thereby eliminating one patch of “lawn” to be tended. I mean, of the sort and size that would need to be professionally selected and installed. This means help from Bill Peterson, our “landscape” guy. But he’s really a landscape architect and he had a few other ideas for us to consider. Hahaha. We simply couldn’t resist.

Larry is out picking the rest of the apples for the year, the Braeburns, I think. They will join the others waiting in the shed refrigerator to be prepped for the freezer. He just finished washing and cutting one up for lunch. Said it wasn’t going to be easy, as they’re pretty worm-afflicted.

We’d get to work this afternoon, but are planning to attend the wedding of Katie and Everett, neighborhood “kids” at the Stuart-Barnses home across the way. So far, it looks like the festivities will be free of the rain that’s on tap, but so far hanging back. A wedding day to remember: the annular eclipse! I wonder if they planned it this way.

Ah. The Oregon/Washington game is about to start. Okay. Apples maybe tomorrow. But I have forgotten to describe our trip to have a look at the apartment being built at the Terwilliger Building’s Parkview. This was the first opportunity for a walk-through with our designers and the craftsman who will be building cabinets and etc. Larry took photos, but there’s not much be to seen except bare walls and this shot of the view we’ll have:

We will be able to “move in” in January, although we won’t exactly be moving in. What we will have is a place to stay overnight in Portland, and security for the future when/if one or both of us need more help than can be provided at the farm.

All for now. I believe this is my 98th blog post. Starting from 2014! Time. Marches. Almost 10 years, or will be if I wait until January to post number 100. I hope you’ll be with me!

Last day of September, ’23, and the sun has come back after a week’s rain. Maybe we’ll have our Indian Summer. Can we say that? Looked it up. Nope. “It’s disrespectful, and should be called Second Summer.” I think I disagree. It’s a beautiful time of year and perhaps may cause us to take a moment and think of the people who were here first.

On our return from England, we got ourselves facing the right direction and were lucky to have David for a couple of days all to ourselves after the golf function, and then a visit from Amy. In town for a reunion with her UO buddies for the Saturday football game, she stayed with us for two nights. Okay, yes, I am bragging, but our two granddaughters are pretty amazing. Amy, a little older than Alli, is establishing a career in New York City, working, at the moment for a fashion design company called White + Warren. They sell beautiful (yes, expensive) sweaters, and Amy is an assistant buyer and is in marketing. Yeah, I don’t know exactly what that means, but check out their website!

Today, because there’s a moment of sunshine, Larry has taken the opportunity to mow the field in front of the house. The threat of wild fire has prevented field mowing until now. After an hour or so of crawling around the barn floor greasing the brush hog, he’s glad to be back in the saddle just driving the thing. He’s carefully circling the young, two-foot high, oak trees which we hope will provide another generation of Oregon White Oak on this landscape.

In other farm news, here are the two new members of the flock family. We were able to persuade neighbors Tracy and Lyn to release a couple of birds from their several dozen. They, now named Goldilocks and Snow White, for obvious reasons, must be wondering why they were kidnapped from Paradise and sentenced to live under the reign of Miss Bossy Pants, ie, Grace:

I’ve been mostly in the kitchen, standing at the counter peeling, chopping, slicing, freezing. These are the peppers I brine to make pickled peppers, one of our favorites.

Tracy, she of the chickens, also lent me her steamer/juicer. Quite a contraption, but super easy to use. The question is, what to do with the first 6 pints of juice? It’s naturally sweet, tastes nice, but I am about out of storage space or I could keep going for days with this year’s grape crop. Someone suggested gummy bears, minus CBD of course, but seriously. Absent grandkidlets, who’s going to find that a special treat worth the work?

But now it’s my turn to get outside. Deadhead the dahlias, sweep the gravel off the side walks, pick apples? Yes. Or, wait. Maybe sit in the sunshine and read? I’m liking Mad Honey, by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Boylan. Good idea. I’m on it.

Larry’s in for a moment. It’s not so easy as it looks, he says. Now he just has to weed whack around those new trees and then he’ll be ready to watch more of the Ryder Cup this evening. No, late breaking news: he’ll do the rest of the field tomorrow and get started now cooking some ribs that have to over-night in the refrig. What a guy!

I’ll be in touch.


Been a morning already . . . starting last night when we discovered that we had no water into the house. I can hear you, Vik, “call Maintenance!” No, what you do in this circumstance, after surveying the complex RO water complex in the shed, is find a couple of buckets, hop in the ATV and head to the pump house down by the barn where there’s a faucet. This allows for manual flushing of toilets, albeit nothing else. It was a lovely, starry night, though. There’s that.

Anyway, we were out getting coffee this early morning (yes, Starbucks was open) when Jake, Pump Guy, returned Larry’s phone call from the evening before. Seems there’s a lever that activates automatic shut-off when pressure level is too low. This sometimes happens when there’s been no water activity in the house for a week, or so . . .

Every single time, when, on returning home from a trip, our plane touches down, I breathe, and claim NEVER AGAIN! Of course, there’s always an Again, as was the case here, when we traveled to London. So, how was it?

Must admit, it was pretty wonderful. Yes, exhausting, nerve wracking, but. The first surprise was the appearance of Jan, our exchange student from back in the day. (Pronounced “yawn” but that noun in no way applies to our Jan.) He’d “hopped over” from Dusseldorf where he lives with his family, to wish Larry a happy birthday. Wow. Really sweet. He’s a lovely man, taking time for us before a quick trip to India on business.

Next morning, we made the trip to Alli’s new student apartment in West Hampstead. The place was busy with student move-in, and we could check out Alli’s new people. She had hauled a year’s living across, which now needed to be settled into her new space. On the eighth floor. And the elevator was out of order. I know. Good to be young, right?

Here’s Alli at home, and also a shot of Jan:

We spent the next days with Jenny and Alli, putting thousands of steps on our Apple watches, and then the girls left for Paris, and Jan’s parents, Ursel and Epi arrived to pick up the slack.

OMG. The Schefflers are urban folk, unlike us, simple country people, and we saw London in all its crazy, people-intense, noise, history, richness. The Germans wanted to travel everywhere by underground, but I was firm in my psycho dislike of that MO. Instead, we got tix on a Hop-on, Hop-of bus, and that was actually great fun. Included in the program was a boat trip up the Thames. I don’t have photos of this part of the trip, but will just tell you that we saw As You Like It, performed at Shakespeare’s Globe theater. Pretty memorable, especially when we needed to get an Uber for a ride home and Ursel discovered that her phone was out of juice, that Larry’s was inoperable, and there was not a single taxi to be seen for us to hail. I didn’t have an app, but somehow my own sweet phone was able to connect us to a ride and we didn’t need to walk the 6 miles back to the hotel.

All things coming to an end, we left for home on Thursday. A nine-plus hour flight and we touched down in Seattle (NEVER AGAIN I said). And looked out at a thousand-plus mass of people trying to thread through 3 or 4 Pass Control stations. BTW, did you know there’s an app for pass control? Larry made a stab at working it, got the error message, but the sympathy of the line control person was somehow engaged and we were shunted over to a station and then through and out into the evening light.

Ah. A five-hour trip down I-5 and we’re there. Except, no. Got stalled in a one-lane construction zone, which took an hour and a half to thread.

Home, fell into bed, and woke up on London time. Stumbled through the day unloading, laundry, surveying the plants which had died from lack of water in the hot spell, and found . . . little tension in the plot line here . . . that one of our remaining chickens was missing. Feathers strewn about, with Gracie wandering about sadly clucking. I’m not sure her clucking was from unhappiness, but still. So, Trouble and Sorrow aptly named.

We’ve checked the web for replacement chickens, but it was Saturday and nothing was open. We’ll have to find some replacements, maybe on Monday. Then to bed again, hoping for a full night’s sleep. Ooops. No water.

As we speak, Larry is out searching for baskets into which to load our crop of lovely apples, now dropping from the trees. We also have a crop of prunes, pears, and plums, so the next few days are mandated for me. Which is okay, because Larry and the boys of the family are off for a golf excursion at Bandon Dunes, leaving me at home in perfect quiet to process not just the fruit, but the last week of London. And travel. Honestly, really, Never Again?


She’s the one who kept trying to escape? The little Speckled Sussex whose wings we’d had to clip? Yes, that one. Yesterday she flew the coop for good. This had been some days coming, and we had determined that we wouldn’t take her in to the vet, as one of the possible explanations for her torpor was that she had simply gone broody. Wanting to hatch her little family.

But no, she was definitely dead yesterday morning, and then came the hard part. Influenced by a book we’d been reading, Wilding, The Return of Nature to a British Farm, we wondered what would the most natural, reasonable way to deal with a deceased chicken? (NO! We couldn’t fry her for dinner.) We could put the body out into the pasture land and wait for an eagle, or more probably, a turkey vulture, to dispose of her remains. Wait. We don’t know cause of death. Maybe some sort of avian flu? Can’t risk spreading some unknown bird virus throughout the valley.

Just put her in a plastic bag and add her to the garbage pick-up on Thursday? No, don’t want to add plastic to the landfill. So a brown paper bag became her shroud and she’s on her way to her final resting place.

It does look a little thin out there in coop with just the two-bird flock, and when we return from England, we’ll see about a replacement.

Today we’re shrouded ourselves in the smoke from a couple of fires, the Lookout east of Eugene the most probable cause. This is along the Mackenzie River on the highway to Black Butte. With temperatures in the 100s the last couple of days, it has felt inevitable. So being outside isn’t an option, and what farm chores remain will just have to wait.

Okay, it isn’t all bad news! Last week, all our cows were moved to their winter pastures or barns. I think I mentioned the moo-ing last post, which had become a little challenging, and we’re glad they’re off to greener pastures. Not a euphemism! Really!

And we were treated to a bagpipe concert down in the oak grove behind the barn. Neighbor Terri had met a gentleman, newly moved to Philomath from Oahu, and somehow she had taken him with her when she walked her dogs over on the west pasture. He thought the grove would be a perfect place to play the pipes, and Terri set it up.

A bagpipe concert is a little hard to describe. You can’t really be sure what song you may be hearing, although Danny Boy did come through. But this Dan was dressed in his clan kilt, looked the part for sure, and we sat on our lawn chairs, drank lemonade, and enjoyed the somewhat rare event.

Peter, Andrew and Charlie flew into town for a short trip to Black Butte. We played golf, and learned that Andrew has a highly developed style of putting ambidextrously. This was good for alot of laughs. How does he do that? Good food, good stories, good to see them.

Larry got his first bee sting this morning. We had not realized how complex this bee keeping is, including the massive amounts of sugar water to be boiled and provided to our darlings. There are two types of bees, the Carnolian and the Italian. No we can’t tell them apart on the fly, but they each have their own hive, their own queen.

Our trip to England? This is mostly a celebration of Larry’s birthday, and the excuse for the event is Alli’s move to a years studying in London. Also an opportunity to meet with our great friends, Ursel and Epi, who will join us for a couple of days. Jenny has been busy making reservations for lunches, dinners, shopping, walks, etc. It’s nice to have a tour director as we feel a little overwhelmed with the transition from farm to, gasp, London. What would we wear? What shoes? How hot will it be over there?

Ah, it’s lunch time. I’ve been watching the clock, and now it’s legal. Larry has just made a new batch of his amazing bread. Wish you were here!

JULY 9 – 10

Surprise! Another post already? Right. It’s been an interesting couple of days.

Starting with my morning walk down the road yesterday. Just over the last rise before the gate, there was a calf looking at me. From my side of the fence. Hmm. How’d that happen? It’s momma was mooing furiously at both of us, though I’m not sure this was the actual mother or simply a busy-body from the whole herd.

Okay so I have no idea what to do here. No idea how he got out, and the fence is electric so I’m not about to attempt any return heroics.

I know what you’re thinking. First one of their chickens, now a calf? Yes, but to continue. The concern is amplified because our driveway gate has been stuck open the last few days, and thus Little Calf can get himself down onto Llewellyn and on into the great world.

Of course, I have my phone and immediately call up home to Larry with the news, and he calls Ryan, Cow Guy equally immediately. Who is, fortunately, still at home a couple of miles away, and soon on his way to us. Larry gets the ATV and heads down to help with the rescue.

Naturally, Ryan knows how to herd a wayward calf, and the baby is soon reunited with his mother and the other 50 or so in the herd. Sidebar: the herd, which has been 11 pairs, has been expanded to some much larger number. They have access to all the pastures, so we have no idea how many animals are sharing the 100 acres with us just now.

Ryan has a device which can tell him where the break in the circuit, which enabled the calf to simply slip through the fence, was located. Turns out the problem was up here by the house at an opening we use to get down to the bees. Problem solved, and Ryan was on his way.

And now the story becomes about the bees. But not our bees. A great swarm was blocking the way into our barn. Thousands, Larry says. Seems that in dismantling the hive apparatus, he’d found that some number of frames still had honey in them. They were boxed and left in the barn to await the time when they’d go up to join the hive up under the oak tree. But those marauding thousands had found this easy source of energy and were robbing the honey. That’s what it’s called. You honestly would not attempt to enter the barn or get within 10 feet of it. (Btw, I had to look up how to spell marauding — now you don’t have to.)

Fortunately, there’s a man at the neighborhood garden shop that could give advice, and the shop was open on Sunday. Larry had to suit up, plunge in, lift the trays out of the frames and shake the non-local bees off. Apparently this wasn’t too impossible, and seems to have worked. At least, we now have custody of our barn again.

Later that afternoon, Larry decided to pick berries and bring them in:

Found an onion, as well, you’ll notice. These raspberries joined a supply already in the kitchen and out in the freezer. I found a site on line promising recipes for 50 things to make with raspberries, starting with custard-filled chocolate eclairs. Well yes, that would use few berries, plus 4 eggs and a cup of chocolate chips. Delicious, I sure, but it seemed the only realistic thing to do here on Planet Earth was make jam:

Done. First batch. I’ll see what the site has to offer for the second thing to make with raspberries. Maybe tomorrow.

We’d decided we’d go out to lunch today, trying out The Brass Monkey, which had been closed the first time we’d attempted to learn a bit about our city and what it has to offer. It’s down on 1st, and wow, lunch time on Monday? Packed.

Here it is:

It was fun, good sandwiches, but didn’t feel like our place to settle in. Will keep looking. In a long conversation while waiting for our lunch, we had the thought that, in this post-pandemic, peculiar gender-confusing/confused era, no-one knows who he/she/they is, or is supposed to be. Thus has to invent himself (forgive un-sensitive use of pronoun) from scratch. Actually from birth on. Nobody to tell you you’re one thing or another. Up to you. Hence the girl with her face tatooed (maybe a girl)(person with a vagina?) Is this a good thing? Is everyone up to inventing himself? A tough job.

This is just for fun. You get to guess. How much money is in this mixed-nut jar? It weighs 10+ pounds. We stopped at the bank to get coin sleeves, and have begun the job of stacking the coins in the little paper envelopes. This will take a while.

I’ll let you know next time.


But first, a little P.S. Those picturesque hay bales from last time?


But yes, summer is here. First job today was to clean house after the little family of sparrows who chose to build a nest and raise their children on the roll of screening tucked under the eaves of the north porch. We watched them fledge and learn to fly. We counted four in the nest, but six eventually flew away, and we felt quite proud of them. Except, um, the mess?

Second on the list was to cull the developing apples from the 5 trees in the orchard. This should give you the idea:

I think I’m showing you the honey crisps, but the wheelbarrow is holding the excess from 3 trees that we had energy to thin this morning. It feels completely wrong to be picking those beauties, but the trees are too young to support a huge crop. Plus, I mean, I’m going to have to peel, core, slice and freeze the ones we can’t eat out of hand. Unless you want to come and pick some for your family? Which, yes, do, come on down. We’ll let you know when they’re ripe.

Okay, big mistake. I should have started this post by telling you about our triumph, dept. of chickens. So you know about this one Speckled Sussex who had become a little escape artist.

We thought we had 3 options. Off with her head, but neither of us could be the hatchet man. Take her to the vet and risk mortification at the spectacle of two cute old people bringing in their pet chicken for a clip and trim. Or, 3, put an ad in the Neighborhood News for a peripatetic chicken who only occasionally lays an egg. If you’re wondering why we couldn’t just let her be out, it’s because she doesn’t seem to be able to get herself back in at night. That would be cruel.

So, boot up You Tube. You can learn anything there, including how to clip your chicken’s wings. Here’s how that worked. We got her into a corner by handing out dried worms. Larry picked her up and, following the guidelines, spread out her wing. I clipped the flight feathers with my sewing scissors (the only sharp-enough ones we could find), and after flapping about in Larry’s unexpecting arms, she set about her business of unearthing bugs, unaware, we assume, that she’s no longer free to wander. (Where was my phone when I needed the camera?) Btw, one need clip only one wing; chickens can’t fly lopsided.

So far, three days later, she’s still confined to quarters. Excellent!

But I was discussing today’s chores. We had enlisted Mitch to build us some planter boxes for the north porch. He did, but the painter, his brother-in-law, never showed up (this happens in the country some times), so Larry undertook to finish the job.

Now this evening, he’s been at work filling the boxes with wood chips to be a base for the geraniums and etc. which we’d purchased earlier.

And the almost finished product:

They need a few more chips to raise the flowers, but that’s tomorrow’s job. Pretty, huh? Thanks, Mitch! And Larry!! Next year, Larry suggests an herb garden as well as flowers. Darn fine idea. Right?

Finale: Larry is out mowing the orchard, while I write this blog. Guess I got the long end of that stick . . . wait. Which end is the good end? The long one, right? Anyway, while he’ll be exhausted and will shower and fall into bed by 8 o’clock, I’ll just be a little weary. That’s what I get, weary. Not exhausted. And tomorrow is Sunday. The day of rest.

Sleep tight!


You can’t stay inside on a day like this! Highest pollen count in decades for Corvallis? Grass seed? Yes, but, my allergies?

I thought I’d left my hay fever behind when we moved from Minnesota and its ragweed. And then came the great wave of hazelnut (filbert, to some of you) planting in our valley. Corvallis, the Grass Seed capital of the world now has a second claim to allergy-generation fame.

But instead of sneezing and coughing, I get hives. Yes. Red, blotchy, itchy hives. I call my beloved Dr. Jen, and she suggests something called Zyrtec. Comes with all kinds of warnings, but hey. If it works? It doesn’t.

I see a product advertized. Allegra Hives. Yes! Specifically for hives. It doesn’t work. Not to feel too sorry for myself, but have you ever itched so fiercely that you can’t even try to sleep? All night? You can try Eucerin, but over your entire body? What would that do to the sheets?

I call Dr. Jen again and she recommends Xyzal. (A ridiculous name — how would you even pronounce it to the pharmacist when you call?) “24 HR ALLERGY” Take it, Dr. Jen says, with Pepcid AC. Today, I’m holding my breath because the hives, while still there, DON’T ITCH. I went outside in celebration, into the wind, the pollen be damned.

Okay, that behind us, let’s get on with the blog. Ryan, cow guy, has been busy. The west-most pasture had been planted in early spring to fescue, but to lie fallow this year. I like that word: fallow.

Then last week, came the thresher crawling over the field. I don’t have a photo of this stage, so use your imagination. Because next came the rake to gather the grass into windrows. Another word I like. Windrows. And this time, I have a photo:

And finally:

The bales will be stacked, then loaded onto a truck, and stored in one of Ryan’s barns. Next year, the plan is to plant sweet peas in this field, a legume meant to fix nitrogen, but which look and smell gorgeous as a bonus.

How are the bees doing? It’s a little hard to tell, but Allen came over to assist in settling the creatures into their new habitat. Here’s what that looked like:

We think they’re doing well. Apparently they have to be fed at first, before they set out to gather nectar and — pollen! For energy, the nectar, and for protein, the pollen. Who knew we’d have so much free protein for them?

Allen brought his family with him, and here are his two little girls making friends with the chickens:

It’s true that the chickens haven’t managed to enjoy the swing Larry made for them, but little girls know what to do with one:

We’re just back from a Nature Conservancy trip to visit Sycan Marsh, and learn about the fire management programs they’re implementing there. Their before and after photos are compelling, and the personnel are passionate and smart. The marsh is a mile-high meadow, and, speaking of words, I asked one of the staff the definition of another of my favorites, “fen.” What’s a fen?

Although both bogs and fens are similar types of wetlands as they are both considered peatlands, what sets them apart from each other is the source of their water supply. Fens typically are fed by a steady source of ground water whereas bogs are usually enclosed depressions filled by rain water.

Larry is standing at the sink, preparing to create one of his specialities for dinner, Szechuan Sweet and Sour spare ribs, when he says Hey! Look out the window!

Not sure why this photo came up super-sized, but it seems an appropriate ending to this afternoon’s blog. Wish you were coming for dinner — it’ll be delicious!


I should have taken a photo. Maybe I shouldn’t be left at home alone? What ev, here I am. Every morning for the past hundred years or so, I’ve made a smoothie for my breakfast. You know the recipe. Some frozen banana, frozen spinach, chocolate protein powder and etc. There’s always something in the refrig to be used up, half a cup of yogurt, some grapes, and in today’s case, a dismal chunk of tofu left over from a stir fry several days ago. Fine. Check. So why, dear God, did I fail to put a lid on it?

Standing there, stunned, it took a moment for me to realize what was happening, and when I did react and turn the damn thing off, I was saturated with, well, it. As was the floor, the cupboards, the oil painting on the kitchen wall, the ceiling, the machine itself.

And I had just taken my shower. Didn’t want to go that far back in the day, so I just peeled off my clothes, cleaned myself up in the sink, got re-dressed, and started in. Hands and knees and a scrub bucket. It took me an hour. I decided against getting the ladder up from the barn or the shed or the other shed and attempting to clean the ceiling. Larry will be home soon.

Started over. It was actually pretty good.

Meanwhile, I did just hear from Larry. Who is over at Black Butte for the famed BBI Invitational Golf Tournament. He says to ask if anyone is interested in a slightly used, left-handed, set of clubs? Apparently he has forgotten how to play, and instead of flinging the clubs into the lake, will try to recoup the loss. Bad day for the Viehls, looks like.

Chicken news: One of the Speckled has been repeatedly escaping the orchard to roam about the property, flinging bark dust from the flower beds, digging for worms or just having fun. She’s had her wings clipped, so theoretically can’t fly out. We’ve scoured the perimeter for her escape route, placed strategic chunks of firewood against the smallest possible exit, and yet. So the other day, Larry was driving past in the ATV when:

Apparently she can fly just fine. Or at least enough to flap up on the planter box and on up to the cross post. While the other two seem to be taking notes, neither of them have yet flown the coop. Hey. Maybe that’s the origin of that expression! Wow!

Now she’s supposed to be just a bird brain, so how did she figure this out? And how does she remember to do it again? Not so stupid after all. Except that she can’t get back into the orchard the way she gets out. For that, I have to go get some scratch in a cup and lead her back inside. Let me see. She gets out, and gets an extra treat to be herded back in. See? Not stupid.

If she insists on busting out, she and the other two will just have to spend their lives in the run. Where it’s narrow and there’s no shade and gravel to kick out onto the grass. It’s for their own health and safety. Inside the run, they’re protected from hawks, skunks, foxes, neighboring dogs.

Tomorrow Larry’s bees are set to arrive. Here’s where they’ll be living:

Of course when Larry gets decked out in his bee gear, I’ll be sure to send a photo. I can’t wait to see this myself! In order to take this photo, it was necessary for me to boot up, to crawl under the fence which is, unfortunately, hot wired for the cows. This was not an elegant site, as I am, as always, wearing a skirt. Which kept getting snagged on dead blackberry vines, unknown species of tall grass and flowers. Sigh. All for you.

I also was at work weed whacking the tall grass encircling the fruit trees where the mower can’t reach. Going just fine, until my machine ran out of line. I know that somewhere on these hundred acres will be a supply of fresh line. In a box, maybe? In the barn? The shed? Nope. Not going looking. Larry will be back soon. Ha.

Back inside, I’ve been experimenting with a recipe I discovered to brew non-alcoholic Kahlua, in order to recreate a coffee mocktail we found a few weeks ago. There are hundreds of recipes for coffee cocktails, not so many for the non-. But this seemed to be a good effort. Score: okay, but not what I’m looking for. Basically just brown sugar, vanilla, and coffee. I know. What’s wrong with that?

I’m heading over to the neighbors this evening for dinner. There will also be some friends from their time in Boise at the party. My family has been a part of Boise history, so I Googled my great uncle Ern. Here he is. Maybe you can make out the note that he was elected mayor twice. Nice toupee, don’t you think? See any resemblance?

I’m due at 6-ish, so better go do something about my hair.


Yes, it finally caught up with us. Moments after the gov’t. announced that the Pandemic was Over, Larry set out to prove them wrong. How he accomplished this feat is unknown at this time, but sometime before Friday, May 5, he apparently touched, breathed, swallowed a sample of the virus, and here we are.

May 5, is, of course, Cinco de Mayo, as well as our anniversary. Don’t ask or try to figure out which, it’s practically triple digits. Obviously our celebratory dinner has been put on hold.

We settled him into one of the upstairs bedrooms and he proceeded to sleep for the next 72 hours. Okay, I’m making that up, but for a long time. Fortunately, he seems to have a light case, and when I came home with the Paxlovid on Sunday, he declined to take it. This on consideration of the warnings administered by the pharmacist to the wife. As he didn’t feel particularly sick, why choke down those huge horse pills . . .

I just took this photo minutes ago to assure you that you don’t need to feel too sorry for us. Cows grazing in the tall grass, evening sunshine, light clouds. Ah, May in Oregon.

So what did I do while we quarantined? I was going to title this post TO BEE or . . . before being shamed by one of my readers. Cute, but I guess not cute enough. This refers to the fact that Larry has decided to engage in bee keeping. More about which later, but for now, it meant that I climbed up on my high horse about the possibility of spraying the weeds in our driveway. We can’t spray if we have bees!

And what this has about my quarantine activities is that I decided to weed the driveway. Here’s what I’m talking about:

This is a before and after shot. Weeds in the top half, weeds pulled from the bottom half.

Yes, I weeded the whole thing. Four days of quarantine. Just took out my little garden stool, sat down, and started pulling. What else was I going to do?

Anyway, here we are on Day 5. This afternoon, we saddled up the SUV, donned our masks, and drove to Eugene. I wanted to talk to the people in the Hult Center box office about some tickets we have for next weekend, and I wanted to visit Nordstrom Rack about a white, short-sleeved T-shirt. This is about a hundred mile round trip, really inexcusable for the reasons I’ve cited, but we were about to go house mad, so we went.

BTW, I’ve been testing myself — negative again this morning, so fingers crossed.

Now, about the bees. Here’s their prospective home:

Looks a mess. Larry has immersed himself in bee know-how, read three or four books, consulted with the bee lady at Shonnards nursery and, more important, with Alan, the former bee master and builder of this hive. The bees and a queen have been ordered, to be delivered in about two weeks. I’m sure there will be more to tell, stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here’s his latest toy:

I don’t know if the thing has a name, but it’s a wheeled, motor-driven, weed-whacker. This should be endlessly useful, and, once again, Larry has chosen to acquire a tool that is beyond my skill-level and physical capacity with which to help out. Damn. Kidding. Seriously?

And now it’s dinner time. I found a couple of chicken pot pies in the grab and go rack of our super market, discovered that they had no operating instructions what so ever. So they’re heating in the oven, and I’m hoping that’s adequate. Tomorrow I may start cooking again.

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