Friday, January 21, 2011

A Visit from Jeff Fink

After weeks of rain and cloudy weather, the morning that Johnny's nephew Jeff was to arrive dawned sunny... but foggy. Gradually the fog burned off and allowed us to see a Bald Eagle sitting atop a big fir across the field from our barn... a propitious beginning for what turned out to be a very fun two days. It's always fun to spend time with someone like Jeff, who is interested in and appreciates everything.

Naturally, we hiked him around the farm. The paths to Agency Creek are no longer inundated with water and the creek is back within its banks, although still high.

Jeff seemed particularly partial to the ornaments on the outhouse Johnny built. He insisted on having his picture taken with this pair of antlers, (there are many on our outhouse), thoroughly covered in moss. I think he was trying to show that the antlers have more hair than he does.

We also took this long time Illinois resident to the beautiful Oregon coast. Jeff was excited about all the new sights we showed him from Lincoln City southward to Rocky Creek. Junkman Jeff scraps out vehicles... and turns some of those metal scraps into improbable artworks, so we took him to Freed Gallery at the south end of Lincoln City. He was intrigued by the outdoor wind sculptures, along with the other fine art inside. I would not be surprised if Jeff, back home, creates his own versions out of old car bodies.

Of course, I insisted on showing Jeff one of the sites where Black Oystercatchers often hang out, Fishing Rock. We found no BLOY there that day but we did find a flock of Sanderlings, Surfbirds, and one Black Turnstone. I had loaned Jeff one of my spare pairs of binoculars, hoping to turn him into a birdwatcher. I think Jeff loved the sight and sound of waves against the cliffs more than those little birds and, like any tourist, took lots of pictures with his cell phone.

We were all delighted to see gray whales at the Depoe Bay whale watching center. It was nice of the whales to perform so well for Jeff. Although they were miles away on the horizon, their blows and flukes were easily visible with binoculars and we all earned whale watching stickers for successfully seeing them. The whale museum is a great place to watch whales because the people working there spot them and tell you exactly where and when to look. Plus, and this is a big plus, you're inside where it's warm and dry looking out through huge picture windows. They even have a camera they adjust to catch the area where the whales are at that time so you can watch the show on a tv screen.

I, of course, was excited about seeing Black Oystercatchers on the rocks below the whale museum and on the sea wall nearby. This one was preening as I took its photo.

We ended the tour at the famous Mo's where we ate clam chowder and watched the sun set over the ocean. Pretty exciting stuff for an Illinois kid... and plenty of fun for us.

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