This is the way we started our work week. What the heck? Just all stretched out in front of the shed, pretty dead but not eaten. Another one curled by the side, not shown. Don’t hawks eat their prey? Don’t cats? Maybe we’d better get those seeds over to the Finley storage, we’re thinking, but no evidence of mouse damage to the seed bags was found.

Oh well. Country life, I guess. So long as they stay out of my kitchen! This is Mike and his Mighty Machine. A graple over a bucket. Note the size of the spoonful it’s about to address:


A close-up:


Larry and I spent the day watching, astonished, as great swaths of berry canes, fallen logs, scrap metal, were collected and piled in what Mike calls “burn piles.”


How are we going to burn these behemoths? Just us and the Philomath Fire Department? Mike advised Larry to drape the piles with tarps, secured against the wind, so that the material will dry enough to ignite and burn. Done. Now we’ll wait until some cold day in February and have ourselves a wienie roast. Grandkids want to apply?

Seems like about time to throw in a selfie. I know, I don’t take selfies, don’t much like to be photographed at all, but its only fair, after all the Larry shots. So here I am:


My God, she looks just like her mother! True. Don’t laugh, children, look at your moms and see the future. Or your dads. Either way.

Here’s what the land looks like A.M. (After Mike) Practically a park! Don’t worry, Ryan says. I’ll graze anything you don’t want to mow.


When I look at these photos and see the property through your eyes, I get why you question our sanity. So try to see it through my eyes, with green meadows, wild flowers, bright, clear streams, the 300 year-old oaks who themselves have seen these things in the time of the Kalapooia and maybe before. I have a favorite oak I pass under on my walks down the road. Has ferns growing on the limbs and up the trunk, has mistletoe in the highest branches, a carpet of fallen leaves below, and today I saw that one of its branches had fallen against the fence newly built in its domain. Not to get all kumbaya, but it’s good to have a 300-year-old friend!



Starting today with some photos taken by Alli Ederer, our Seattle granddaughter who, with her family, spent Thanksgiving with us. She had an assignment in her art class to take landscape photos. Talented girl! No description needed for the above. But next, the ATV tracks across the wet pasture looking back across the road:


Okay, backing up here. We weren’t going to have the whole family with us this holiday, but the Pasadena branch of the tribe made an impressive showing on the Tuesday before. Margie, my co-grandma with the Peter Viehl kids, came to visit that afternoon, along with a cast of Allison’s cousins, uncle, sister and brother-in law, with an assortment of kids as well. It was fun to have them all, and to get a chance to visit with Blair, Allison’s uncle. He has a nursery in Coos Bay and brought us two pots of bedding plants, our first, and will be a great source of advice when we get the “landscape” going next spring. Margie also brought a load of Amy’s laundry, and she and Angie loved playing mom again. “Is it okay to put Lulu Lemon in the dryer?” We decided that the answer is no. Amy wasn’t there to advise us, as she stayed in Eugene to study. Smart girl!

Jenny and family arrived Wednesday evening. Long drive from Seattle! We got up early to get the pies baked (only the one oven in the house, see) and grandson Will was a great sous chef for the pecan number. Which joined gravy as the menu feature requiring close supervision of over-use by family members. The turkey was a triumph, new technique involving dismemberment of the bird.

On Friday, Jenny, Alli and I went out and about to see what Corvallis looks like, and to get provisions for a batch of Grandma Viehl’s Christmas cookies, Melting Moments. Oops, forgot the corn starch, so Alli and I, determined to bake, went back into Philomath to pick it up. To find Bell Fountain flooded! We paused at the south end of the river flowing across the road, watched cars at the north end turn around. When one of them chanced passage, and succeeded, we chose to make the attempt. Alli, at the wheel, got us through. Adventure! On the way home, we tried another route and this time, were cautious enough to retreat, and finally got home the safe way. When we told the others how we had seen cars swept away, the helicopter rescuing motorists standing on their roofs, no one believed us. You shouldn’t either.

But speaking of floods: Another of Alli’s landscapes. Muddy Creek at flood stage: (I love the light in her photos)


Next day, we women went to Eugene to check that town out — found it a bit more interesting than downtown Corvallis. Also wandered around the campus and looked up Amy’s sorority. Amy, of course, was at home in Pasadena, but we did get a sense of what she’s experiencing.

And the men, meanwhile, were hard at work. Will and Larry built a firewood rack for the shed. Pictured below. Larry says Will did all the work while he supervised. Important to train a new generation in the skills a farmer will need.


Tom, meanwhile, mowed the “lawn” under the homestead tree, and I would like to give him credit for all the other stuff he did, but I don’t know what it was. Good job, Tom! There.

So it was a lovely inaugural holiday in the new house. Here’s to many more, here’s to family, here’s to home.