Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Day Off

Harvest continues on the farm. Expecting frost any night, I brought the squash in.The hybrid squash have just been given baths in the photo above. I planted acorn squash seeds I saved from last year, not realizing that all acorn squash are hybrids and it's anybody's guess what their seeds will produce. Mine produced acorn squash/pumpkin hybrids and acorn squash/zucchini hybrids. (As near as I can tell by looking at them.)

Below is my entire harvest of ripe acorn squash that really are acorn squash. A few not ripe remain in the garden.

I did better with Delicata Squash. This is a five gallon bucket of them.

I'm still canning tomatoes and they are still ripening in the garden. Between all that, I've been trimming hooves. But yesterday I took a day off and drove to the coast to bird with my friend Dawn. The plan was to head south toward Newport and birding sites I've not seen.

The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry, as my mother used to say.

But all started well with a stop at Boiler Bay. I love the sight and sound of waves crashing on rocks. Just what I needed to soothe my soul after all the produce harvesting and horse and goat hoof trimming I've done over the last few days/weeks.

Next stop was Depoe Bay. I took Dawn to an overlook Johnny and I had found this summer. A sign near the entrance told how far to Japan. Hi Yoko!

From the lookout, we could see dozens of Brown Pelicans on their "painted" perch.

And then our planned journey took a different turn. As I drove out of the area and onto Hwy 101 to continue southward, I felt a very decided kathump, kathump coming from what felt like, and indeed was, a very flat rear tire. I pulled over, opened the trunk and dug down through boxes of Teaching Company CDs, bird brochures, boots, blankets, towel, fire extinguisher  (you never know what you might need) and finally arrived at the spare tire. Then I plowed around some more and found jumper cables, tow chain, extra windshield wiper, tire chains, a mouse nest and 3 dead baby mice. Finally I found a jack. I did not know how to operate this weird jack with two part handle that had to be assembled but Dawn did. She put it under the car and began jacking it up.

I tried to take the lug nuts off but was not sure which way to turn them (lefty loosey, righty tighty... but both directions seemed mighty tight to me). Happily a young man and woman stopped and he asked if we needed help. I said "We sure do!" Bless his heart (and muscles), he changed the tire for us. However, the spare was low on air so we had to drive a short distance to a gas station and pay a dollar for air (after putting all that junk back in the trunk, minus the dead baby mice which I had donated to crows who were standing hungrily by).

Not wanting to drive with a spare of unknown quality, I opted to head back north to the nearest Les Schwab dealership. They were busy and said it would be about 45 minutes so we walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch. When we returned, the car was almost ready. It turned out the tire had a massive hole in it and was ruined. But the good news was that it was a Les Schwab tire (I love Les Schwab) and under warranty. We had put 20 pounds too much air in the spare tire having misinterpreted the manual but the good people at Les Schwab lowered the pressure. I'm very glad we did not explode the tire.

The whole fiasco cost me nothing but lost birding time... and a lot of stress. I do not know what I drove over to create such a chasm in the tire but I am very glad for the kind gentleman who came to my rescue. And for Les Schwab. And for Dawn's calm and able assistance.

With half the day gone, Dawn took me to a closer area that I had not been to before: Schooner Creek. She had found a Dipper feeding young there earlier this year. We birded our way upstream to a fish weir she had told me about. Very cool!

On the way back down, we found Dawn's Dipper. Any day I see a Dipper is a good day, flat tire or not.

Dawn next took me to a beach access I did not know existed on the south side of Siletz Bay. Looking southwest, the view was lovely. That person you may or may not be able to see walking away in the distance, in the center of the photo, is Dawn.

Our final stop of the day was at the Cutler City Open Space. I never would have guessed there was a rhododendron-filled woodland and wetland so close to 101. We made a quick hike around the perimeter trail. There were many criss-crossing trails that I would get hopelessly lost on if I tried it on my own. It seems to be a favorite spot for dog walkers and those were the only others we met on the trail.

Although we did not end up going where we had planned to go, it was a good day after all. And now I have a brand new tire and know how to use the funky jack and how much air to put in the tires.

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