Saturday, April 23, 2011

A spring walk

 The farmer and I went for a lovely walk in the woods. That is him dimly visible, cutting a path through the stinging nettle.
 A mossy, fern covered bridge to get us across Pudding Creek. The water is murky and muddy, and I was very glad to make it to the other side!
 The last of the trilliums! I stumbled across another field full of them further on, but by them my camera battery had died.
Fortunately, I was able to get three shots of this before my camera died. We were slithering down a hillside, and I looked over and saw him perched on a branch in front of an old tree stump. I have never seen an owl in the wild this closely, and never in broad daylight. This totally made my day. He looked at us with such wise eyes, blinked a few times, and then swiveled his head so that we could just see the back. If you look at the bottom of the picture, you can barely make out his tail feathers. His back was facing us, so when he swiveled his head away from us, it was facing the right direction. In the next picture you will see he is looking right at us, which means his head is completely turned around, truly giving him eyes in the back of his head. I had heard that owls could do this, but never seen it for myself!
 The last shot before the camera died!
And, finally, home again!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

happenings around the farm!

It seems as if spring has finally sprung! The tulips are blooming, the fruit trees are in full bloom, and we had some sunny, warm(ish) weather this week. The blueberries are just starting to bloom, they will not reach full bloom until mid to late May, but it is nice to see a few blooms now. The electric company came by today and finished hooking up our new irrigation system. The old system had some electrical problems, and we have been working on the problem over the winter. These things are not urgent during winter, and so it made me feel as if summer were right around the corner to have them finish the job. As if "those people will need that irrigation system any day now-we had better get over there and finish that job!" The farmer has been finishing the job of digging bulbs (lily, gladiola, and dahlia bulbs, to be exact) and separating them, and then replanting them in the display garden. We have several long rows of gladiolas, and the hummingbirds love them. When I walk down those rows in the early morning or late evening, I see so many of them, and hear their cheerful humming noises. I sent off the deposit on next years strawberry plants today, and those plants will be shipped and planted sometime with in the next months. The busy farm season is fast approaching, and I need to spend some time getting my house in order before those long, crazy days of strawberry and blueberry season begin!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

 Currants are one of the only things blooming in the garden right now!
 The farmer hard at work!
 Mary in the garden. She is facing south, and in the summer she is surrounded by white flowers.
 One of the little girls picked this and stuck it in the tree. It would appear as if they were anxious for the tree to bloom......
 Fountain, surrounded by beautiful, old fashioned white roses. One of my favorite spots in the garden.
 Lonely gazebo, site of many tea parties in the summer!
 Imagine this path in summer,when the trees make a lovely canopy overhead and the flowers are bursting in bloom!
The oldest and the youngest in the garden! Stuart on the left, Graham on the right. We went for a long walk this afternoon (actually had a semi-sunny day with no rain, although it was still cold) and I forgot to take my camera. We saw a deer, three snakes, salamanders, frogs, and lots of lovely trilliums in bloom! My girls took me on quite an adventure in the woods which involved our boots getting stuck in gooey, swampy mud, waist high stinging nettle, and finding a secret path through the woods to a hidden cave. We never found the path or the cave, and I started to feel lost and panicky and tired of crawling under fallen limbs, so we left the woods and went back to the lake.  Tomorrow I am going to drag my canoe back to the lake and have a good row around, and clear the winter's debris from the overflow drain. If it doesn't rain!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

one day!

One day of warm(er) sunny weather. That is all we have had so far this spring. Spring in the Willamette Valley is usually rainy, but we usually have some days of beautiful sunny weather. Not this year. So far, we have had record breaking cold, record breaking levels of rain, and only one day that seemed warm and spring like. My new motto is "Don't complain", and so, with that in mind, I will say no more about the really cold, wet, gray spring. Really. In a non complaining kind of way, I am really praying for some warm, sunny days. We need the fruit trees to pollinate, and that will not happen if we do not get some warmer weather. Last year, we got almost no plums, Asian pears, pears, or quince. I was only able to can thirty six quarts of peaches, and those were gone by December. I think we are all feeling edgy and a little bit cross, as if we needed to get outside and run around soaking up some sunshine. So! I am off to make a big pot of soup to warm the farmer when he comes in. It is that cold!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

tree frogs!

Robert found this cute little frog while he was mowing the lawn yesterday. I love seeing the signs of spring and warm weather returning! This frog was very active, and it was so hard to get a picture of him-I have several shots of a blurry green object flying at my camera!

Monday, April 11, 2011


I drove out to the retirement home my mother lives in this evening. She is about 20 miles away from me, and as soon as dinner was finished,I loaded the youngest three in to the car and we took her tax forms for her to sign. We stayed and talked for a while, and left just has dusk was settling in for the night. By the time we got home, the sun was almost completely gone. As we got out of the car, I could hear two owls hooting back and forth to each other. I looked toward the large cedar trees in our yard, and there, perched on the very tops of two of the trees, were the owls. They were perfectly silhouetted against the dusky sky-you could even see their ears, and my daughter Evangeline caught a gleam of sharp owl eyes. We stood and watched them for about five minutes, and enjoyed hearing their conversation. It was the perfect ending to a busy, stressful day!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

beautiful skies

The truth of the matter is that I am still kind of a city girl at heart. I miss walking to Starbucks, the library, and my favorite stores. I used to walk through our old neighborhood of lovely old homes every day, with the children in a stroller. We had our route, and we would often loop back down the hill and walk to the library or our favorite bread shop. I like the noise and hustle and bustle of the city. But then, on the other hand, I don't miss it at all, especially when we are treated to a beautiful sundown like this. I go outside and can see the radiant colors from every direction, with nothing to block my view. All is peace and quiet, which seems like the proper setting for such beauty. This has a way of working its way in to your soul, and although the city holds definite appeal, I have learned that I must learn to be happy and content no matter where I live. So, yes, I guess you could call me a country girl!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

not much to report!

We are in that time of year when we are almost really, really busy and so are trying to get on top of our game before the bust days hit. I am trying to get through the last of our schoolwork with the children, cleaning out cupboards and freezers to make way for summer's bounty, and getting water samples in to Water Lab for testing. The farmer picked up lumber for the hoop house yesterday, once they are constructed it will be almost time to transplant the little vegetable starts. There is snow in the forecast for tomorrow, and as much as I like snow, I am really hoping this one does not actually happen. I am ready for sunshine and warm weather, not snow and bone-chilling cold! Where was the snow I wanted at Christmas time? The three littlest children have been playing outside a lot, and I have a nice line up of muddy boots in the garage! Love Stuarts tiny little blue boots lined up amidst Evangeline and Estelle's pretty pink boots!