Friday, August 22, 2014

A Visit from Suue

My since-high-school friend Suue (I pronounce it suey but she is known to most others as Sue) left Thursday morning to return home to Maryland. It has been a wonderful few days (she arrived Monday). But, alas, she didn't get to see the night-blooming cactus. I never took her out into the jungle room because it was a mess: I had not had time to clean it up. After she left, I did clean it... and saw, hanging high above, several spent blooms of my night-blooming cactus... and several about to open. If I had only looked the day before, Suue would have seen and smelled those gorgeous, fragrant flowers that only last one night. I counted 7 blooms in one stage or another... either having bloomed within the last night or two (while she was here), blooming now, or about to open.

But Suue had a good time anyway and so did we. After bringing her home from the airport on Monday, we gave her an EZ Go tour of the arboretum. I love having company who appear interested in all my trees. Then we hiked her to the creek, which was more walking than she should have done on her bad ankles.

The next day, we went to the coast to show her my beloved Black Oystercatchers and her beloved ocean. (She had lived at Seaside years ago.) Our first stop was Fishing Rock, where I was pretty sure we would find my birds. And we did.

Along with a beautiful butterfly...

And Surfbirds...

Our next stop was North Depoe Bay where we saw lots of basking Harbor Seals...

And one preening Black Oystercatcher (BLOY)...

We continued on to Depoe Bay and the whale watching station where we saw several whales but did not manage to click the camera at the right time to catch them in view. We also saw Black Turnstones, more Surfbirds, and, of course, BLOY...

We ate at the Thai restaurant, as usual, and, as usual, had plenty of yummy left-overs to take home.

But that was the end of the fun and games. We had work to do and Suue helped. First we needed help treating our dog Shirley's ears for fungus. It is a three person job as Shirley hates having that stuff put into her ears. She almost escaped from the three of us but Johnny got her in a bear hug, I put the medicine in and Suue took the picture. Shirley did not want much to do with any of us for the rest of the day.

Other projects were less traumatic for everyone... harvesting garlic and picking and sorting pears...

 Lots of pears to ripen slowly and be canned as they ripen...

Best of all was the grape vine harvest. I pruned back the vines... again... to give sunshine to the many grape clusters forming.

And mentioned to Suue that I ought to make my Christmas wreath forms out of my own grape vines but did not really know how and it would take a long time and it was easier to buy metal forms. Suue said, "Well, let's try and see what happens." So she sat on the ground and stripped leaves from grapes as I cut the vines and piled them in front of her. 

When she whittled her pile down, I gave her more.

 Then "Do It Now" Suue started curving the vines into a circle and weaving them together. It looked like her wreath forms might work! So I sat down and made wreath forms out of vines, too. We ended up with enough for all the Christmas wreaths we send to the relatives... plus Suue who, of course, will get one this year. I'll have to use florist wire to tie the greens to the grape vines, but that will be the only part of the wreath that is not from the Fink Family Farm. Pretty cool! ... If it works.

Here they are hanging to dry inside my "workshop" (the stock trailer). Last year was the first year I made wreaths instead of buying them from friend Jim. See story here:

"Do It Now" Suue, a dog person, had noticed early on that Shirley's toenails were very long and one dew claw was poking into her foot. Suue said she would trim them. I have a doggie toenail clipper but have been afraid to do it for fear of hitting the sensitive area. That's my excuse, but really I avoid doing anything that entails restraining Shirley as she flips out. And now, after the ear treatment, Shirley wasn't coming near me. But McCoy was captive in his pen and submissive so Suue did his toenails instead. This time, Johnny took the photos.

McCoy was a much better patient than Shirley. Anything resembling attention is fine with him. Good thing because he is twice as big as Shirley and there's no way we could hold him if he didn't want to be held.

But it was Shirley's toes that Suue really wanted to work on. And Shirley was not getting near us. On Thursday morning, just before Suue was to leave for the airport with Johnny, Shirley came up to the house. Suue was in her traveling clothes but changed quickly back into her farm clothes and came out to pet Shirley. Johnny and I grabbed the poor dog and held her for Suue's toenail clipping. Shirley was having none of it and almost escaped. This time I landed on my back with a bear hug around the struggling dog while Johnny tried to stabilize each paw as Suue clipped. Rather fortunately, I think, there was no one to take photos.

Suue says we should do it again in two weeks because she didn't clip them very short thanks to all the wiggling. Hah! Not unless she flies back from Maryland to do it.

All the while we were tormenting the dogs and grape vines, picking pears, etc., we were talking and laughing. There is something wonderful about having such a long history with someone... over 50 years with Suue... high school friends, college roommates... she even lived with us for a time after college... a forever friend. Hopefully she will visit again. If so, I'll clean the jungle room first in case the night-blooming cactus are in bud.

Maybe if we promise her more days at the coast next time... and less work...

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