All three pairs of Black Oystercatchers at Road's End have chicks now, so I've been dragging Johnny out to the coast since he returned from California to help me monitor there and at two other sites. In between bird monitoring, he works on the new barn, sorting and putting away all the stuff he brought up from California, and catching up on three weeks worth of newspapers and mail while I work on weeding and planting. But it's not all work. One day we went up Agency with two crack birder friends, Carol and Paul, to hunt for a bird they "needed" for their 2012 Yamhill County list. Here's Johnny's "hunting" technique.
Mostly, I weed and plant. After three tillings this month, the garden was finally ready. Well, first we installed the netting over the top of the whole thing to keep the peacock and other avian seed eaters out. On Father's Day, I planted corn, beans, squash, melons, cucumbers, beets, parsnips, etc., etc. ... plus more spinach, lettuce, and peas that are already up and producing in the raised beds (boxes, manure spreader, and horse wagon). Actually the peas are not producing yet but they would be if the chipmunks would quit eating them. How I'll keep chipmunks out of the big garden, I have no idea. Maybe I'll have to borrow a cat to put in there. The gophers will be a problem, too, as they are already making mounds in the dirt I so kindly loosened for them.
Everyone I've told that I planted on Father's Day said, "Oh, that's awfully late. Will you get anything to produce?" Hmmph. Last year I didn't plant until the 4th of July. Thanks to a long frost-free fall, we had enough corn to freeze plus eat fresh. So there. I realize other people are eating tomatoes now while my seed-grown plants are still struggling to survive in their tire raised beds. But last year we had lots of tomatoes to eat... by August... although not many for canning. A person has to have faith. An extended warm fall helps, too.
And we have the perennial fruit. The fig tree spilling into the garden, in spite of the winter's cold, kept its figs on from last fall and we'll have ripe figs soon.
And papayas! We've been eating papayas for over a month now. Not outdoors but in the jungle room. This tree came from a seed I forgot I planted. It grew into I knew not what but a nurseryman friend told me it was a papaya. If it turned out to be a male or female tree, I would need one of the opposite sex to get fruit. But as luck would have it, my plant turned out to be a hermaphrodite and we have papayas! They don't, I'll admit, taste like papayas but they're refreshing and tropical tasting... and seedless. And they just keep coming.
Now about that roller skating in the title of this blog entry... It's not me who does the skating. It's long time friend Hazel who moved to Washington from Oregon this spring and began revisiting her childhood passion of artistic roller skating. And did so well at it that she qualified for the Regional Championships in Portland. I went to watch and videotape her this week. Artistic skating is a lot like dressage. Except they don't have horses. What I mean is the same things are important: timing, position, correctly performed elements... all of which take correctly built muscles.
It was tough getting photos of a fast moving skater, so I took these still captures off my videos. I like to think of them as arty rather than blurry. In the middle photo, taken the second day of competition, Hazel is prescribing a perfect circle on the floor both forwards and backwards... at least, that is the ideal in the "figures" portion of the competition. It's much like riding a 10 meter circle on a horse except the dressage ring has no lines on the ground to follow... and we don't circle backwards! At least, not deliberately.
The other two photos were taken the first day in the "dance" competition where the skaters perform prescribed patterns, just like the prescribed patterns in dressage tests. See? It's very much the same. Hazel qualified for Nationals in both dance and figures. Pretty impressive to me since I can't even stand up on skates for long without falling.
But I can hike the cliffs on the Oregon coast without falling... very often. Here are some of the rocks that Black Oystercatchers nest on at Road's End. It's definitely worth the long steep climb (and occasional stumbles) to get that view.