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Hello, I'm Mary. Book 14
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Mary



Joined: 18 May 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:56 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

This morning I woke hearing owls talking in their single syllable call. The youngsters use that a lot, and the adults talk to them and sometimes to each other using it. "Who-who" is more of a mating call according to the bird expert that I see at the co-op. Of course this had me wondering... and so....

After daylight I did more looking around, wondering where a nest might have been, because if that was youngsters talking this morning they would not be mature enough to do much flying, surely not half a mile without trees in between. At this age/time of year, they are just hopping from branch to branch and flying very short distances.  I stood and looked and wondered, and just when I was thinking that the high crotch of one of our old cottonwood trees might be deep enough and secure enough to house a nest, my eye caught something in the willow tree and I realized I was being watched by an adult Great Horned Owl. I looked up and saw not only that owl but also a youngster with softer downy feathers. At that point I left so that my presence would not disturb them.

Later I looked from the bedroom window with the binoculars and saw a second adult, all in the old nest tree. The pair might have been here all along and were just not as vocal as the old pair that we had for years. So, at last maybe at least part of the owl mystery has been solved. I'd really like to climb up there and be able to look into likely nesting places. Don't worry, I'm not going to do it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are home again after a whirlwind trip packed FULL of activity! We went to see our daughter and her family where there is always plenty of action and fun!

The library shelves and rolling ladder went with us in a 12 foot box trailer we borrowed from a neighbor. Our son in law met us in a church parking lot and guided us in to our granddaughter's house. A grandson in law came to help unload all of the pieces and the tools Rick brought along to do the installation. We left our truck and trailer there and went to the home of that grandson in law and our granddaughter. It was nice to see the improvements to their back yard where they have raised beds for vegies and berry plants, and an assortment of rose bushes and fruit trees around the perimeter of the lawn and trellises to make the lot private. We stayed the night there, then went to install the library shelves at the other granddaughter's house on Saturday, a job that was not without a few challenges. In the evening we had dinner where we had stayed the night before. Now the real fun began!

It was our daughter's anniversary, so her husband took her out for a nice dinner and they came to the granddaughter's house (where we were staying/hiding out) for dessert. Several other relatives from out of town were also there, and she was genuinely surprised when she came inside and we all yelled SURPRISE! We went out to the patio for visiting and dessert. A bit later all 4 of the granddaughers who had disappeared quietly came out carrying a bouquet of balloons, and a plate with burning candles and singing Happy Birthday. Hold on, this is an anniversary party??? It was happy birthday to me because they will all be in Romania for youth camp ministry when I have my birthday. The cake was several flavors of cheesecake! I chose chocolate with vanilla ice cream. They gave me a nice assortment of gifts, mostly garden related. Cool, huh? And then we quickly picked up our traveling bags and all the rest and loaded it in our daughter's car for the trip to their house where we spent the next two nights.

Sunday morning we went to church with them. The granddaughter/grandson in law couple with the new baby had him dedicated to the Lord during the service since there were a multitude of out of state/ out of area relatives present, and then after lunch we started preparing food for the party. We chopped vegies, set up tables and chairs down the hill by the river (same location as the corn processing event last summer) and at 5:30 the first of about 40 guests started arriving for a sit down/white tablecloth dinner by the river! The menu was green and pasta salads, bbq beef tri-tip, pulled pork that had been smoked to perfection, and a lemon birthday cake with raspberry filling between the layers! Ummmm, good! After the guests had departed we had a private party on the patio with the opening of gifts. And then the clean up started and went far into the night. It was finished this morning to clear the kitchen for the ceramic tile installer who was supposed to have come the week before but had to reschedule because of an injured hand. While our daughter made breakfast I finished washing big bowls and pans.  Somebody else cleared counters and put coffee pot etc on a dining room table, and we were ready to eat breakfast on the patio about 2 minutes after the tile guy arrived. Whew!

And then we loaded our things into our daughter's car and said a few goodbyes, and she took us across town to get the truck and trailer. We made it home in 7 1/2 hours which included a stop for a sit down lunch where I had a yummy salad and enough tea to fortify me for the rest of the trip home. On the way we drove through a strong thunderstorm with rain so heavy it was hard to see the road. We prayed, we are here!

Can you believe that I'm tired?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should clarify a couple of things. On Sunday evening the big sit down dinner was for our daughter's birthday which will also occur when they are in Romania. About a month ago we received an invitation in the mail to a surprise party for her, but since the party was at her house they had to let her know it was happening. Part of the surprise party the night before was that she received the same invitation for her surprise party. It was either that or somebody had to kidnap her for all afternoon on Sunday and bring her home to find the party happening. Since it took all of us to pull it off, we just worked around her and she enjoyed seeing the preparations without having to be responsible for anything. The gifts that she  opened after the dinner guests had departed were her birthday gifts, some of which were brought by the dinner guests and some from the family.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday was hot, 102. It's hard to get much done but working early when it's cooler is my strategy. Today will be about the same so this morning I ran the weed eater between the grapes and strawberries, mowed down a messy corner with BIG weeds including Scotch thistles which can grow into huge plants, then went between the strawberries and the Boysenberries where the weeds have gone crazy because of the fine spray from the soaker hoses. Yesterday when I was watering the Boysenberries with the hose and hand sprinkler, I thought I have to do this soon, really soon! The job is not pretty but it does give the weeds a hard time! After a day of baking in the sun they won't look much like their former selves. I wish I had put down drip lines. When these strawberries get replaced or the runners planted in a different row I will do that. Drip lines watered most of the rest of the garden while I ran the weed eater, moved sprinklers in the yard and cooked breakfast.

Patch has been mowing the grass along the lane between our house and the road. I close the pipe gate at the top and have a rope at the bottom. He gets to eat for about an hour and a half, then is lead back to his pasture where there is a treat waiting in his feed pan. He has eaten all the good grass and weeds there and my hay supply is very low, so this feeds him. He's too busy eating to plot an escape. This morning his treat was a mushy pear I salvaged from the co-op write-offs. Last week he got carrots, apples and green grapes. We thought the grapes were too sour for us. Patch loved them.

I'll soon have fresh zucchini to eat! There is nothing like fresh food. I might get one more picking off the peas. This hot weather will surely finish them off. Later this month I will be starting to dig the garlic and onions. Today I noticed that I failed to cut the scapes off the Turkish Giant garlic. I need to get that done today so that the bulbs will grow larger. I'll work in short sessions because it's already hot.

Our fire danger has reached the high level as of about a week ago. It won't take long for it to get into the extreme range. There have already been some lightning fires and probably some human caused ones. So far they have been relatively small compared to what we had last summer.
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Last edited by Mary on Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mary



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When we replaced the garden fence to make it deer proof, we saved the woven wire. It's the kind that is commonly used for sheep. For the past several days I have been cutting it into 5 ft lengths and bending them into a circle to make support cages for the tomato plants. This morning I did the final placing of them and inserted the fiberglass poles to secure them against the wind. The first year I used cages the wind blew several of them over and it took the plant with it, ripping some of the roots out of the ground. Our wind means business! I started water in the drip lines, hooked up some old pipes to use the spring water for watering the rhubarb clumps and got a start weeding the raspberries. That will be finished in the morning when it is cooler. The drip lines had made the soil a bit too wet for good weeding and by the time I started weeding on my hands and knees it was just too hot to stay there for long. Tomorrow the soil will be just right to get weeds out easily without taking too much soil with them. The winter squash are starting to ramble, so I cleaned out the area where I want them to go and redirected a few of the runners and used the scuffle hoe between the rows.

This week I picked the last of the snap peas. Peas and hot weather do not go together. The garlic has some dry leaves on the tops and tips, none near the bottom of the plants so I know it is not time to dig them yet. I hope I have room in the dark shed to hang them all in bundles to dry... and then there are also onions that need drying space. I might need to leave the onions in the ground while the garlic dries. Onions can handle sun, garlic gets bitter.

Our little resident cottontail bunny is seen somewhere in the yard or around the buildings most days. This evening it was on the porch, saw me and froze, then hopped quickly away when I looked away. Zip, into the flower bed. Animals instinctively know about eye contact. I suspect that I am seeing more than one. As I have said before, bunnies do not come in ones.

A few days ago I saw one of our young foxes starting to cross the road, then changing his mind and running back into the tall grass. I hope the little guys are careful now that they are starting to explore.

It's haying season and perfect weather for it. Hot, dry and breezy. Big haystacks are appearing all over, and machinery runs from just barely daylight until after dark. We only get one cutting of hay up here in the dry hills. Down in the valley just a few miles away some fields are cut and baled 4 times. The difference? Water for irrigation or the lack of it. Our irrigation water is running very low now and will be off in another few days. It's creek runoff from snow, and the snow is all but gone. There is no reservoir on our system. Below us in the valley they have water rights to use the river water. Water makes all the difference here.

Tomorrow, July 13, our daughter and family are off to Romania for 2 intensive weeks of youth camps. Please pray for safe trips, all of their checked luggage to arrive with them, for open hearts, for energy and good health, for wisdom and safe travels while they are there visiting missionaries on the weekends and traveling on the ground.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A cooler air mass has temporarily replaced the hot one. Last night at bedtime the temperature finally got down to below 75. I opened the windows and went to bed. During the night the breeze became a wind, temperature dropped into the 50's and the house cooled nicely. Today is forecast to be in the mid 80's. The hummingbirds are very active now and put on a good show near the feeder. We try in vain to count them. Five for sure, probably several more. Home port seems to be the lilac bushes. Hummers appear and disappear but also sit on twigs in other places and wait to ambush another bird near the feeder. We'll have them to enjoy for about another month and then one day they will be gone. Hummingbirds are one of the small joys of life.

Our family has arrived safely in Romania and are busy with youth camps this week and next week. Kids camp had 95 kids the first day. It's a 3 day camp and will be up to about 115 by the end of it. The kids go home at night. The first couple of years they just had too many cases of homesickness and it was a disruption. Kids in Romania don't do the sleep overs that are common in the US, and it was just too much of an adjustment to be away from home. Next week is a 5 day teen camp with all of them staying nights at the campgrounds. Larger dormitories and more showers were built over the past two years, so hopefully they will not have to turn anyone away for lack of space this year.

The corn is growing taller by the day. This morning the first planting was up to the middle of my thighs. In another week I might be seeing the beginning of tassels. I picked a large zucchini to fry for our dinner, and see several tender yellow summer squash that will be ready tomorrow. At least one gopher is still doing damage and filling the traps with dirt. So far this year I have only caught two of them.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our family is on their way home from ministry in Romania, and by midnight PDT they will be back to Portland, Oregon where they will spend the night and then go home the next day. It's just too much to try to drive about 2 hours home after doing their nonstop camp ministry, visiting and ministering in area churches, a 6 hour van trip to the airport, plus about 24 hours travel time which includes 3 changes of planes plus going through customs. The return route this year is from Romania to Germany, then to San Francisco and finally to Portland. Oh, yes, on the front end of this was the trip to get there which has them arriving quite tired. They run on adrenaline and prayer! The camps were good this year.

Over the last week I have dug all the garlic, bundled and hung it in the shed to cure. Rick helped me with the bundling and handed them up to me so I could hang them from nails along the roof supports. I'm better on a ladder than he is. The softneck garlic was such a pain to get out of the ground that I decided to not grow it next year. The stems were quite fragile and I had to be very careful not to break them off while trying to get the bulb out of the ground. The hardnecks were much easier, I just loosened  the soil and pulled straight up.

Some of the onion tops have fallen over, a signal that they have stopped growing and want to go to sleep. Most of them are still standing tall, so I keep watering. Getting them out of the ground and into the shed will be easier and faster than the garlic was. Maybe a two day job. Not all day, just working early in the morning until my back gets tired, usually about an hour is enough, then taking a break and doing the bundling and hanging before the shed gets hot.

A herd of about 200 cows with calves were moved to the place next door last night a couple of hours before dark. They were doing a lot of mooing this morning. Calves that hadn't found mom last night were hungry this morning, and cows with full udders were wanting relief. Ryan and his wife may not have slept much, the cows are in the pasture just above the house and the old sheep barn. The perimeter fences have been rebuilt and many of the old cross fences have been removed, so the 320 acre piece is now just 4  pastures of about 80 acres each. This herd belongs to the new owner who lives about 20 miles away in the valley. The cattle were driven about 15 miles a month or more ago, and the trip up the hill was a short one yesterday. It takes several people to move a herd that size.

Tomorrow is my co-op day again and my best helper will not be there. I will have a lot to do and will probably put in a couple of extra hours.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here we are in the middle of August already. Where has the time gone?

Last week we went back to the Willamette Valley where our daughter and her family all live for another wedding. We left home at 6am on Thursday, arriving about 1pm and were immediately up to our necks in preparations for the big event. I cut broccoli into bite size pieces which went into large plastic bags to be held under refrigeration again until Saturday when they went into salad with other vegies, dried cranberries, nuts and a light creamy type of dressing.... maybe yogurt? My next task was to separate 36 pounds of grapes (green, red and black) into small clusters of 3 or 4 grapes with a little bit of stem so they could easily be picked up. Those were for appetizer trays along with cheddar cheese which I cubed and stored in bags in an ice chest. The next day I was cutting pieces for and assembling paper sunflowers, then doing a fancy folding job on the napkins.

While I did those things, Rick was busy helping the men set up tables, finish building a raised platform for seating the wedding party, stringing lights and ?, probably more that I didn't see. This was all happening down the hill from our daughter's house, in the field by the river where we processed most of 200 ears of corn at about this time last summer.

Friday night was the wedding rehearsal and a dinner at a nice Italian restaurant which was paid for by the groom's father. I had to dress up for that and wore one of those dresses I bought during the crazy thrift store shopping trip last spring, months before the engagement was ever announced. We knew it would happen!

On Saturday morning we started decorating tables and placing clear plastic flatware and the folded napkins, unfolding and placing chairs in the right places while the people who had brought the sound system were hooking up and testing all of that. I had to leave before it was all finished because I needed to be in my other "new" thrift store dress and ready for pictures at 1:00.

The wedding was at 3:30 that afternoon, and then everyone went to the reception dinner. The food was catered but it was quite affordable  because most of the preparation was done by the family and friends... the broccoli cutting, etc was for that. The family owns a lot of things for putting on large dinners in style! No doubt you have seen large rectangular stainless steel containers on a stand kept hot by little candle things under them. I don't remember the name. They own several of those, and also the large tent/shelter where the food was served, other serving pieces and many decorations. Some of the tables and chairs were rented, others were borrowed from the church. White tablecloths were bought for $3 each... it would have cost $4.50 to rent them. Now they have them for other events such as the next wedding which we expect to take place next year. What I'm saying here is that having a very nice sit down dinner for over 300 people can be surprisingly affordable when supplies are already on hand and many people are willing to pitch in to do the work.

We went to church on Sunday morning, then had lunch at the home of friends who are on the Romania Outreach Mission board of directors. The annual business meeting followed and lasted all afternoon. And then we all went to a Chinese restaurant and had dinner together. After that dinner we went back to our daughter's house and ate wedding cake which none of us needed!  Food, food and more food seemed to be everywhere we turned and we were expected to eat it!  

Yesterday morning we were involved in loading tables onto a trailer and returning them to the church, and after that we were loading other things that needed to go back to other places. Before noon we said our goodbyes and made the 7 hour trip back home, arriving before dark and being greeted by a very happy kitty who has hardly left my side all day. Usually she is happy to just find a sleeping spot and disappear for the day.

This morning was my usual co-op work day. Thankfully it was not all day.  Smile Tomorrow I will begin getting the onions out of the ground and I am sure it is time to pick beans again. I picked them the day before we left and Ryan watered them and the rest of the garden while I was gone.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This morning I finished getting the onions out of the ground and will get those bundled and hung in the shed today. I took care of one variety on Wednesday, another on Thursday and will be finished with onions today! The next job is getting the tall pigweed out of the row so it doesn't go to seed. Actually it has already started and the seed heads are loaded. A paraphrase of the Bible verse that says the poor will always be with us could be that the weeds will always be with us. Adam and Eve started it and the rest of the fault is mine... I should have kept up with the weeding, and therefore I have a big mess now. I also have smaller onions than I should have.

Sad


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