Saturday, August 5, 2017

It's Too Darn Hot


Cole Porter's song, "Too Darn Hot", keeps going through my head. We have had over 90 degrees for weeks and over 100 for days. Yesterday it was 107. That is too darn hot. Today it "only" reached 85... a cooling spell! So for the first time in ages, I worked outdoors in the afternoon. Usually I water and work early morning and late evening. In fact, I've been watering the garden after dark, by moonlight. Johnny, on the other hand, works outdoors all day, off and on. He comes inside periodically to cool off and take a nap. He is made of tougher stuff than I am.

Last weekend, before the siege of 100 degree temps arrived, Jessica and Ian came for a visit... and cooked lots of good stuff for us. They both like to cook and neither of us do so it's a perfect situation (from our point of view). 

As always, we had to measure everyone. Ian is almost up to where his dad was last time we measured him... . Ian says he's taller than his dad. I think in a year or two there will be no question. Ian, almost 16, has not stopped growing. His dad, Kevin, is shrinking, as are Johnny and I.  Johnny has to stand on a chair to measure Ian.


We all went to the beach on Sunday. Ian found my actual starting point for my beached bird survey by GPS coordinates. I am GPS challenged. So now I know where I'm really supposed to start my "Bob Straub Park South" survey. It is quite a ways before the "dragon's head", a stump sticking out of the bank that looks like the dragon's head on the prow of a ship. Well, it does to me. I have been starting after the dragon's head most times, although last month I missed it and probably started at about the right spot... by happenstance.

Here is my actual starting point, by a "whale bone" log rather than a dragon's head.


 Can't see the whale bone? Here it is...


It's a long beach. I had reversed the starting and ending GPS points of my 1 kilometer survey area, so we had a much longer walk than anticipated before Ian figured out my mistake... and was able to convince me.





 Back home the neighbor's guinea hen that has decided to move into our farm kept us all entertained. Well, entertained if you like nonstop chatter (comeback comeback comeback) and a bird that doesn't get out of your way when you drive up the driveway... It (she?) is still here, perhaps discussing the weather? (too-hot too-hot too-hot)


 Once a week... or more...  I still escape to the cool coast for a Black Oystercatcher survey at Road's End.


Johnny and I both trekked north up the coast one day to look for BLOY at Short Beach and then meet our good friends, the Woodhouses for lunch in Netarts. Lovely weather that day. That's Cape Meares at the north end of Short Beach.


Tuesday of this week, I was back at Road's End enjoying the beautiful view from The Thumb and the mild 70 degree temperature while our farm baked at 100.

Not wanting to get home while it was still hot, I visited another BLOY site where birds are on their third nesting attempt... a new record. I then went to the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I was amused by the poster inside their outhouse. The Aug. 21 Total Solar Eclipse is coming to the refuge and I guess they want to make sure everyone knows the hours the refuge will be open. Some estimates have a million people coming to Oregon for the eclipse. Why, I don't know since the eclipse will be across the whole United States, not just Oregon.




The irony of all this Oregon eclipse hysteria is that the coast will likely be in fog for the eclipse and the rest of us might be in clouds. But it will get dark and cool for a couple minutes even if we can't see the eclipsed sun. And cool would be much appreciated!

I drove to the parking area at the top of the refuge road and hiked up the trail to the lookout. From there you can see Haystack Rock and Cape Kiwanda a long way away.


But I had my long range Nikon Coolpix P90 which brought the rock up amazingly close and clear.



And that very distant and very small looking dune at Cape Kiwanda came up close, too.


 Looking east, I could see the Little Nestucca River as it wound its way down to the bay.


Eventually, I had to go home. By the time I arrived, the temperature had cooled from the hottest part of the day, but it was still... too darn hot.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm...


The day after Johnny's return from California, friends from Maryland arrived. Suue and I were high school horse-crazy pals, then roommates at college. We married forestry majors in college, but Suue parted company with her partner, went through several others until settling on her forever mate, Kit. (Not all of us get it right the first time.) It was wonderful having them here... just wish it could have been for longer and hope they come again soon! (Like us, they have to get an animal sitter if both of them leave at the same time.)

From Road's End park, Johnny (my forestry major and forever partner) is pointing out "The Thumb" in the distance where I hike weekly. Johnny and I rendezvoused with Suue and Kit in Lincoln City at Jasmine Thai restaurant for supper, then showed them the ocean. ...Although Suue had missed the turn to our house and had already taken them to the ocean by Pacific City and Cape Lookout! A road trip with Suue (aka Sue) is always interesting...




 At the farm, finally... Kit and Suue holding the newest goat kids.






Here is the kid that Kit was holding... a week later with his mom. He is a naturally polled (hornless) kid who will be a herd sire for another goat farm friend.




This photo that Johnny took startled me because the gray-haired woman on the left looks just like my mother... but it's me.


Kit up close and personal with the llamas. 


Johnny took this photo of some old gray-haired lady in my overgrown garden.



This was a ceremonial picking of the first ripe tomato... in mid July. (Same old gray-haired lady.) We cut it into 4 pieces and shared it with Suue and Kit.


The garden (with help from the chickens) supplies daily, colorful salads. Johnny took a photo of this one.


Every week, (when I'm not home watering garden, etc., trying to keep things alive in this dry weather), I still climb The Thumb to check on the BLOY nesting on the seastack at the left of this photo. Tough job, but somebody's got to do it... in the lovely sunshine and comfortable 60s while the farm is usually smoldering in 90 plus heat...


I took this photo on my way to The Thumb... on the right... where I sit and watch BLOY... and eat lunch... and enjoy the view.





 The South Rock, where the BLOY nest. None of the other nest sites I monitor were successful this year.


 And here's the guard BLOY, with the nesting mate out of sight. They change places about every 50 minutes. One of these trips, they'll have chicks, hopefully. They lost their first nest and had to start over. It's a good thing these birds can live 40 years because they sure don't successfully fledge chicks very often.


This early morning, friend Michael took me on a hike to Cliff Creek Falls. It is not a falls that should be hiked to. We survived and it is beautiful. But I'll not do it again.




Here is the view from the beach where that waterfall is hidden from all (or almost all) except those who come by sea. A lovely scene and why I keep going back to the coast. It nourishes my soul.


Meanwhile, back on the farm... I finally have enough milk to drink, make ice cream, custard and mozzerella cheese. I love mozzerella. It was originally made from water buffalo milk but I use goat milk, not having any water buffalo... yet...


Friday, July 21, 2017

Johnny's Trip to California


Never one to pass up a chance to work on "projects" at one of the kids' homes, Johnny spent a week this month in California. With help from Steve and Munazza, he redid a bathroom floor (which involved more than the floor), readied the garage for cabinets, helped the kids with building more pieces for their parkour course... and did "play" things, too.

In fact, the first day he arrived they all attended a music fest with this Beatles' impersonation ...



 
And a dance class at a new studio... with one of their favorite teachers from the recently closed studio...   That's Kestrel in blue...


 Back home, the kids were sorting their school papers from the past year. Johnny told them it would be easier if they wore their "sorting hats" from Griffindor House. So they did...


Then it was project time. First, the bathroom.

These are "before" photos of the floor with the rug and toilet removed...




And then the new subfloor...


And Steve laying the tile...



Munazza finished up the last two squares...







Looks nice, but the subfloor did not stick the way it was supposed to, so Johnny and Steve had to take tiles up and add nails to the flooring.

All this took a lot of Grandpa's time and at a family meeting, the kids said he wasn't spending any time with them, so... the next day they all worked on the kids' parkour course.

Cedrus is rounding the edges on an adjustable ramp for one of the obstacles that was a little too high to vault over...




And here is the completed ramp...




Kestrel is working on a triangular seat for their play structure, now known as the literary corner, I think. It's where they sit and read (among other places.) Kestrel, especially, is a bookworm... much like his father before him.


Cedrus painting the seat...




Cedrus tries out the seat...



Kestrel is removing nails and bolts from boards to repurpose them for a later use.




Working with Grandpa is fun but... tide pools are fun, too! So they spent a day at the beach...











Cedrus practiced cartwheels on the sand...


And participating in the Fink family tradition of jumping a bull kelp...


At a park nearby was a wonderful old Magnolia tree for climbing...


 Johnny took no photos of the garage project. He said that Munazza and Steve did a monumental job of getting tools/etc. sorted and out of the way of the wall that Johnny insulated and drywalled. Two big cabinets and a set of shelves will go there. Eventually, the garage will be a game room as well as tool and laundry and storage room.

Always more projects. Johnny will be ready for more. He had a great time.

I was sure glad to see him when he returned on Amtrak. The farm had projects waiting for him, too...