Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Walk Around the Farm

After sorting and canning pears on this blissfully cooler day, I escaped and took a walk around the farm...

Agency Creek

Mr. Smith

the goat barn

Jessie Ann and Nightingale
Milagro and Shirley

Monday, August 22, 2016

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm

The garden loves the hot weather. I don't. And I planted too much of almost everything, as usual.

One day's picking of cucumbers...

and of summer squash...

one lone honey dew melon of any size, so far, in the garden...

and one watermelon growing...

Delicata squash, lots of it, coming on...

And the first artichoke... hope there will be more!

Johnny and friends did one batch of cider yesterday (August!) with downfall apples. The trees are still loaded with not yet ripe apples...

So was the pear tree loaded but I picked them all yesterday... five big boxes full. They will get canned as they ripen, theoretically. Yesterday I also picked and froze one day's harvest of golden wax beans... about 15 quarts. Corn and pumpkins are coming on, tomatoes slowly ripening, lots of rainbow carrots. And more. I'll be more enthusiastic this winter when the garden is put to bed and the veggies are in the freezer or canned. Today I'm making bread and butter pickles with some of those over-producing cucumbers.

I estivate inside the house on the very hot days... we had three days close to 100 degrees this past week. Or else I go to the cooler coast to monitor Black Oystercatcher nests. Instead of reporting those trips here, I've started another blog to keep track of them for my own records.

It's supposed to get hot again in a few days. The garden will be glad.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Johnny's August Trip to California

Johnny took the Amtrak down to California for a few days of projects with Steve, Munazza, Kestrel and Cedrus. He took lots of photos of their Parkour course and lumber rack projects before his camera quit. I had never heard of Parkour but apparently everyone else has. I went to Wikipedia and found that it has become a popular urban sport derived from military training where one bounds, climbs, swings and whatever else is necessary to get over and around obstacles.

Kestrel walking across the top beam of the swing from their back yard play structure. I think it is better for me to see this in a photo than in person.

Cedrus walking the two by four. Brave children!

They took the short ladder off the play structure and turned it into a difficult to walk on bridge

Kestrel making it even more difficult by walking on the hand rails

And then he runs down the 2 x 4 to the ground. Oh my.

Cedrus walking the bridge

Those kids have good balance!

Johnny was amazed that they could walk down this skinny pipe.
 Well, it wasn't always a perfect success...

The zip line that Johnny and Steve installed some years ago is still a favorite.. and now part of the Parkour course.

Cedrus showed off another of his talents: painting.

Kestrel made a movie of the Parkour course. Here he is editing it, taking out pieces and adding music. Wow.

But they're still kids. Cedrus hugging his giraffe.
 After the Parkour course was finished, everyone turned their attention to building a lumber holder in one corner of the yard.

One of Johnny's jobs was to teach everyone how to use the new tools they had bought. Munazza learned well. Johnny said she did most of the sawing.

Here Kestrel helps his dad with the final touches

And there it is with the surplus pieces of wood neatly categorized and out of the way... ready for the next project.

On Johnny's last day, he and Steve remodeled the kids' beds as per their request, but his camera had quit by then so no photos. I think canopies were added and under-bed storage space. Johnny had a great time and it looks like much was accomplished in his few days there.

Obviously, Kestrel and Cedrus are not the kids you hear about who spend all their time glued to an electronic device. They certainly know how to use computers but they also swim, dance, camp, hike, play musical instruments, draw, paint, write, read, play games, design and build things, put on plays on their backyard stage... and now build confidence, balance and coordination on their Parkour course.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

July Visitors

My how time flies. Summer is always a busy time with gardening at home and bird monitoring on the coast at least twice a week. July this year had all that plus an attempt to catch up on hoof trimming (3 horses, too many goats), make lots of ice cream (too much milk) and visits from Johnny's nephew Jeff from Illinois and our grandson Ian from Washington. Alas, I took few photos of the visits. Johnny did a little better.

While I monitored birds at Road's End, Johnny and Jeff explored the beach at Cape Kiwanda. They found goose barnacles (thanks, Barb, for the i.d.!) open and waving.

Jeff examined something or other on the beach...

Back home, I modeled his position while hoeing the garden.

Jeff was here for the music fest near Willamina that he loves, so we can be excused for not taking many photos of him. Johnny joined him for a few hours on the last day.

Ian arrived by train the day after Jeff left. He came prepared to cook all our suppers and he did. They were delicious. Here he poses with the pizza he made.

The day after Ian arrived, we had a visit from Robin, the kid sister of Johnny's childhood friend, Ray Flesher. It turned out Robin had been a classmate of Johnny's nephew Jeff back in Illinois. She and her husband were enroute from Seattle back home to southern California, had read one of my goat books and decided to meet us and reminisce with Johnny. Of course, they had to visit the goats.

The next morning, a Friday, 8-year-old neighbor Kizer came to milk goats with me. He had decided he wanted to learn to milk this summer so comes every Friday morning to milk and help with all the chores. I took this photo on his first time... He used one hand at a time and did manage to squeeze out a thin stream of milk.

A few weeks later, he had become a pro with two hands.

Ian and Johnny, meanwhile, had a project to cure and smoke pork to send back home with Ian. Johnny took photos of the operation.

Ian stirring the brine

Ian hamming it up

putting meat into brine

cured meat hanging in the smoker, ready for smoking


Ian slicing bacon

Ian wrapping meat

Ian labeling meat
I presume Johnny worked, too, but the only photos that Ian took were of the kitty "helping".

The only photos I took were of Ian swinging a machete, cutting back underbrush, as we cleared trails in the woods...

... and sharpening the machete with a stone down at the creek...

 At Ian's request, I took photos of his small creature, I think he called it "Blake", on a rock pyramid that Ian built. Apparently, the goal is to take photos of Blake wherever he travels around the world.

I also took photos of butterflies and other insects we came across in our ramblings. I send the photos to web sites that identify them for me. This pretty beetle turned out to be a diurnal firefly.

Ian also accompanied us on a Black Oystercatcher monitoring hike, naturally. Here he posed with his binoculars... backwards. He's a fun kid. I would have liked to keep him all summer but his parents wanted him home.

At the very end of July, I drove Ian home to Seattle, picking up their good friend Bonnie, visiting from Montana, on the way. Here Bonnie works on origami projects in the Traumhof dining room. She had previously folded 1,000 cranes for Jessica, in hopes they would bring her joy and renewed health. You can see them hanging in 50 crane strings all around the dining room.

Jessica was showing horses that weekend. On Saturday we all went to the show to watch her ride. I forgot to bring my camera to the show. Duh. She did well at the show with Lily, the horse "Grandpa", my dad, helped her import. He would be so proud of Jessica and Lily, going up the levels together. Lily is a schoolmaster now, having retired as a Grand Prix horse, the first horse trained to Grand Prix at Traumhof. This year she and Jessica have placed first or close to that at every show at 3rd level. That's quite an accomplishment for Jessica, who has severe issues with using her hands and back thanks to spinal problems. But Jessica is a very determined woman and has an amazing rapport with Lily.

The only other photo I took on this trip was of the high garden fence that Johnny built last time he was there. Corn and zucchini and tomatoes and more are now protected from the ever present deer.

And suddenly it is August. My how time flies.