Monday, January 30, 2012

Bellfountain Game Feed 2012

The annual (no one seems to remember how many have been held, possibly between 4-7) Bellfountain Game Feed, as usual expertly coordinated and put on by Romella and her crew of merry kids, was held last night at the historic Bellfountain School. Pastor Greg was the emcee for the evening and the offical duck caller (you'll have to attend once to find out what that is all about). Our featured speaker last year was Bob Welch, a local newspaper columnist for the Register-Guard (Eugene); this year, it was hunting legend Scotty B, friend and neighbour. Scotty shot the world's record Rooseveldt elk ( just a few miles away in 2002. 'Brutus', as he's known around these parts, stands proud and tall at the new Cabela's in Springfield, and this was the first year that he hasn't been the star attraction at the Feed. He's engaged there for a 10 year appearance, so if you're going by the Gateway Mall right off the I-5, do take the time to stop in and see Brutus in the Cabela's.

The food tables were groaning with this past year's hunting harvest, and as usual, it was all outstanding. The idea is to showcase local hunters young and old and how to sustainably harvest meat from the wild while remaining staunch stewards of the same. After Scotty's talk, the microphone was passed along to everyone who took their first game last season. Several daughters of local hunters got to tell their stories with their proud parents lending encouragement and support. One young lady, the little sister of another young lady with her first kill also, was about 8 years old and was too shy to tell her story so her dad told it for her. It's a wonderful tradition being passed along out here, father to daughter and son, and it's not just about making the kill. It's about woodcraft, caring for the environment and all the inhabitants of the wilderness hereabouts, knowing when to take the shot safely and when to pass, how to walk the trails of game in safety and watching out for your hunting partners. How to use as much of the kill as possible with as little waste as possible. Very valuable lessons for youngsters to learn early in life from teachers who also learned those same lessons at the same age.

There was also a gun/bow room set up with hunting guns and bows and other hunting equipment as well as mounts from local hunters. Dale had two tables, one with his prized Cooper and his first handmade, custom .243 as well as a table displaying his collection of 62A's from all different years. His buddy Steve had his tables full of his Ruger #1's in different calibres. There were tables of Indian artifacts from local Northwest tribes and a fully functional (including a live hornet!) tree stand.

It was a great evening full of friends and great food, and this year we had over 100 people - a new record! We always look forward to this once a year event, and maybe next year, instead of just bringing my locally famous beer bread, we'll have some game of our own to share.

Enjoy the slideshow!

Enjoying fine food and conversation, country-style

Trent and I converse with Marissa and Shane (out of sight to Marissa's right)

This is one of Scotty's more recent kills. This momma cougar had killed his daughter's prized 4-H goat and was trying to drag it over the fence, but when she saw Scotty, she decided that a big guy might be a better meal than a little goat. Her mistake, and her last one. She starred in last year's Feed, in a delectable lemon-pepper sauce

The food table, with Greg's wife Corinne making sure it's all perfect and ready for the hungry horde

Scotty (orange hat at podium) tells the rapt audience of the hunt that took down Brutus, the world record Rooseveldt elk. As you see, this wasn't a fancy dress ball out here

Dale and his buddy (another Rooseveldt elk) with his gun display. I think that's Denny with his back to the camera

The gun/bow room

Denny's bow display

Dale's 62A display

Steve stands with his display of Ruger #1's

Dale and his pal

The custom Cooper (rear) and Dale's handmade custom .243

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Frosty Foggy Morning

Some just gorgeous shots of yesterday morn, right after getting back from the 24 degree packwalk, and one shot of the previous day's set up for that right chilly start

The set up, Friday afternoon. Note the time and temp, and no, this isn't the midwest or northeast or even eastern Oregon - it's WESTERN Oregon! This was as warm as it got

Saturday morning, looking south at the centre fenceline of the north pasture

The dancing mist

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Website Updated

I finally did a little updating, especially on the Litters page, on the ol' website ( Of course, IF I had some better, more recent pix of the Hoke X Cricket kids, there'd be a better update going up, but hey, got a few good shots of the kids up for you to take a gander at.

So, how many of you remember who THIS is, eh? Can you believe this Aussie would have been 22 years old this February?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A River (Shouldn't) Run Thru It

Winter made a comeback this week, and I don't just mean the snow part. As of this evening, we've had nearly 6" of rain since Tuesday afternoon when it all started. The temps rose, the snow melted, the rain came down in buckets, and by this afternoon, all the local rivers were almost at, at or above flood stage. Florence (on the coast) had evacuation orders as did parts of east Springfield (Eugene area) along the Mohawk River and Philomath (west of Corvallis, north of us) where the Mary's River reached an all time historic high. For us, it was minor stuff; a lot of runoff shooting thru the pastures, a few ponds, a bit of the big silver barn roof trying to depart and some muddy cows, sheep, goat and horse. The ducks were happy; the hens and cats, well, not happy, I'm sorry to report. The dogs have been in the house except for the morning packwalk, potty breaks and feeding time. One of our neighbour's house flooded (picture below), and all of the Nusbaum's pastures are lakes. Dawson Road was flooded east of us down the hill for a time this afternoon from the Nusbaum's pastures draining over it because the ditches were full to overflowing. Oliver Creek to our south was at the bottom of the bridge and Don's pasture was a lake that flowed over Foster Road. Reese Creek was near the bottom of it's bridge on Dawson as well, and the Long Tom River in Monroe was over the top. Now, there is a reason we chose NOT to live on a creek or river. This is the worst flooding in decades; the last big floods were the '95 floods that did devastating damage all up and down the Willamette Valley, from Portland to Roseburg. Don and I took a drive out Old River Road east of us, in the valley, a while back, and he pointed out where the river had gone wild, and where on the various homes along that road the water had reached up to - some were submerged up to the windows.

We are getting a little break in the action, but more heavy rain is expected the next several days, possibly out to next weekend. Right now some of those flooding rivers will get the chance to go down a bit, but any more rain like the past few days, and they'll be right back up again.

There is something to be said for being up high on a hill, believe me!

Temperature going up (love that temperature graph!) and the rain comin' down. That rainfall amount is from about 2 pm when it really started

Tuesday mid afternoon. Snow starting to really melt now, as it's lightly raining

Dale's insulation job on the one side of the garage/shop held its snow load very nicely compared to the uninsulated roof of the other side

This morning, looking SE at the Nusbaum's pastures/hay fields. That's all water, as far as you can see, where there shouldn't be any

Looking east down Dawson Road. The water had receeded quite a bit by this time. The Nusbaum's pastures are to the left, and the furtherest one you can barely see is almost completely under water

The corner of the barn trying to escape. Dale came out with portable drill and screws and put it back together again. Turned out that it had no screws in it at all, which makes it a wonder it lasted as long as it did

A perfect shot of a perfect rainbow (and some of our ponds in the pasture)

Don's new lake in his north pasture

Looking south on Foster Road towards Don's place. This water was quite deep and really moving across the road

Sybil poses at the corner of Don's flooded pasture. Given the opportunity, she would have gone swimming, however I didn't want to have to give her a bath, so she had to stay on (semi) dry land

This is Don's pasture north of Oliver Creek. That's part of Oliver Creek left of the fenceline. Normally, it would be well to the left and not visible from here

This was a cool shot of the muddy, swirling waters of Oliver Creek where it met the stagnant water from the pasture and ditch. It flowed like this while we stood and watched - muddy on one side, relatively clear on the other

Headed east on Dawson. Nusbaum's pasture to the left

Nusbaum's new lake to the left

Neighbour's flooded home

Mark, this is the house that was a foreclosure, next door to the flooded house. The water only reached the garage portion. Now, aren't you glad you didn't buy it after all?

Nusbaum's new lake. Not sure that fence will do much to keep the fish in/out

Back to Oliver Creek again (I switched cameras). It's normal course is to the left of the trees that are to the left of the fence

Looking east up Oliver Creek from the bridge. Normally, you wouldn't be able to see the water at all from this point unless you looked way up the creek. I'm estimating it's a good 15' or more above where it normally runs

Don's pasture, house and barns

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow Doggy Sybil

A truly beautiful shot of Sybil in the snow in the south pasture

Yes, More Snow Pix

A good overnight snowfall, plus some sunny breaks, plus a bunch of dogs having the time of their lives, plus the son of a good friend doing some snowboarding in the south pasture equals a LOT more pictures. Enjoy the slideshow!

Sunrise. Romella stopped by on her way out with little dog Tango for a five miler and remarked that it just 'looked like a postcard' out here. We get that a lot

Looking west towards Green Peak (just visible over the trees in left centre) just before sunrise, when everything was so hushed and still and quiet and the dog pack had not yet left their marks all over the pristine blanket of while powder on the ground

Nearly the same shot a little bit later when the sun broke thru the clouds. I thought it was a neat comparison shot

Don't ask me. I just thought it was a cool shot

The same Christmas tree field that the helicopter shots were taken just a few months ago. Now that's what I call natural flocking on the remaining trees

On Park Road, headed back to the ranch. Cricket, foreground; Sybil and Gem the BC up ahead; Hoke, well, somewhere out of sight as usual

This ancient Oregon white oak just screams 'take my picture' every time it snows. There just simply isn't a bad shot on the ranch. Just bad photographers and cameras

Ah yes. The unopened bottle of Vino Noceto Frivolo on the wine cooler. Just love that label, don't you?

Looking SW from the dog run - a gorgeous series of shots with the sky and snow and trees

Panning to the south

And the oaks and lone Doug fir (and a coupla madrones) to the SE

Yup, tryin' to be all artsy again. The black walnut in the dog run against the sky

The power departed around 0745, with an estimated return time of around 11ish. At 28 degrees, Dale needed his pellet stove AND coffee maker, not at 11, but right now. Plus, without power, the well doesn't do a whole lot for the water situation in the house or for the livestock. When Jason of 360 Electric in Harrisburg rewired the garage/shop last summer Dale had him install a switched outlet so that in the event of a prolonged power failure (very rare out here), we could plus the genset into the outlet and power at least the well and freezer (actually, the entire garage/shop, but those most importantly). This is the first real actual useage of the switch and genset, and it worked perfectly. Dale ran an extension cord to the house, plugged in the pellet stove and coffee maker, and we were back in business. The power returned around 10ish

Looking east towards Bellfountain, and three snow doggies - Gem the BC, Sybil and Hoke's butt

LeeLu (dun) and Vicky Cristina head for the barn. They tend to think that food will magically appear in the bunks if they just visit often enough

Looking NW from the snowboard run in the south pasture. Another postcard shot

The Legacy Oregon white oak in the south pasture. Another totally photogenic tree, very dramatic

Northwest Standoff. Sybil eyes Pony and his gang in the south pasture. She appears to have forgotten that she's on ski patrol while Charley is out snowboarding

Pony and his gang of sheep and goat

Saddlebred in the Snow. Goat way off to the left side of the pix, neatly blending in with the scenary

The Legacy Oregon white oak

Another postcard shot, complete with snow doggy Sybil

A neat shot of the homestead from the north pasture