Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

From our home and hearts to yours, wishing you all a very joyous Christmas, filled with friends, family and fine food (and an Oregon Pinot, if you're so inclined)
 
 
Hoke, Sybil, Cricket and Gem waaay in the back

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dressing the Table

Practicing my decorating skills, such as they are, in anticipation of joining my pal Carla next time at the White House
 


Playing With Light

We often get people, when they hear where we live, ask how we can stand all the grey, rainy, gloomy days of the long fall, winter and spring seasons.
 
The answer is below.
 
This is what we see when we walk outside in the morning.  
 
Don't forget to click on the first pix to start the slide show and see this on a big screen for best viewing
 



 The play of light on the trees - utterly mesmerizing

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Good Bye to Boomer

Thursday was also Boomer's last day; he and Rango both left for Roberto's ranch just a few miles away.  We weaned him a bit early, but at 465 pounds, he was ready to leave momma Ruffie's side, much to his chagrin
 



Dovie's Turn

Two days after Willa's arrival, Dovie broke Rango's perfect record of 6 ewe lambs in a row with the delivery of her all black son.  He doesn't have a name yet, as the weather has prevent Juan and his kids from coming over to name him.  He is a gift to Juan for all that he has done for us over the years.
 
Like Kayla, Dovie is an awesome first time momma, and 'big' sister Willa is already laying down the law to little brother.  It's fun to watch them both bounce across the pasture, with Willa shutting the little guy down just as soon as she feels he's stepped, or bounced, out of bounds.  So far as she is concerned, anyway.  If you're a 'Baby Blues' comic fan, think Zoe and Hammie here
 

 'Big' sister Willa stalks over to check out the new kid

Willa and Daddy Rango

 Willa with momma Kayla at 2 days old.  She's a spunky little girl, this one!
 Daddy Rango, on his last day here.  He's moved on to a new herd of ewes just a few miles down the road

Dealing With The Rain in the PNW

So it's been raining for a coupla days without a break.  It's a fact of life up here.  That's why (except in the dry summer months) it's green as can be here. 
 
We deal with it by accepting it, finding things to do (most involving food, wine, beer or all of the above), and above all, cherishing those rare, sunny days as the precious jewels they are
 
 The BEST Pinot on the planet really helps out.  Even more so when it's grown and bottled just about 10 minutes down the road.  www.benton-lane.com
 Still raining.  Throw in some dark chocolate, caramel and sea salt fresh fudge from Cabela's.  Now, doesn't that make things better?
  
 

Water World, Oregon Edition

It started Friday afternoon late.  By midnite Friday, we had over 1/2".  By near midnite Saturday, an additional 2.30", and by 8 Sunday morning, another 1/3".  But hey, who's counting, right?
 

 Lake Nusbaum reflects the angry Sunday morning skies to the SE

Hanukkah 2014

Hanukkah this year saw us having two gatherings instead of our usual one.  For the first, on Friday, my Aussie pal Sally from Corvallis arrived with her friends and neighbours Tal and Miriam, who graciously agreed to guest host Shabbat (Sabbath) and Hanukkah both.  It was lovely hearing the blessings sung so joyously and beautifully (and correctly!) by Tal and Miriam.  Tal hails from Israel, and Miriam, Ohio.  We all enjoyed meeting them and having their company on such a festive occasion.  Plus, they brought amazing latkes!
 
Saturday night, Trent, Carla and daughter Jess joined us.  It started raining the previous evening, and 24 hours later, it was still raining, and raining hard.  We'd had over 2.5" by then in total, but in the Northwest, this is just another winter's night, nothing all that special.  We enjoyed the evening as well as we did Friday's gathering, and were especially flattered that Carla joined us commoners.  After all, it's not often one gets to host a person of her stature in the community.  You see, Thanksgiving week her and Trent flew to Washington DC so that Carla could hobnob with the residents and staff of some fancy house, I think the address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
 
Way back earlier this year, Carla had applied to be one of an elite crew of 75 people from all over the United States to come and decorate the White House for Christmas.  She was one of 100 Oregonians who applied - and the ONLY one selected!  HGTV filmed it from start to finish and it has aired several times, plus they sent Carla a DVD of the episode, which arrived the day of the gathering.  So we got to see the edited version of what she did for the 9 days she was there!  And she was even shown at least 3 times as well, which made it all the more special.  We were so proud of her here in Bellfountain that the church organized a fundraiser for her and Trent's trip - yes, only some of the meals were included, everything else was paid for by the people selected - to help offset the cost of the trip.  It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience that Carla didn't even hesitate to say she'd do again.
 
Hanukkah commemorates a joyous period of Jewish history (see www.chabad.org for the full story) and there's nothing more joyous than spending the time with special friends and family during it.  Too bad Hoke got too hot in his Santa suit and had to ditch it before pictures, but he and daughter Sybil still had a good time schmoozing with everyone (and hoping to score some treats at the same time).   
 

 Carla and Hoke, getting some quality chest rub time in

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Life Ends, Another Begins

I know I've mentioned before that ranching isn't all pretty meadows and frolicking lambs and calves and kittens under sunny blue skies.  There is always the spectre of death, either intentional or accidental, lurking in the shadows.  It's balanced by the arrival of the newborns, starting out on their great adventure, full of joy and wonder at their new world.
 
The dark side reared its scaly head Sunday afternoon late.  At feeding time just around dark, I went to close the door on Fort Hen when I saw that Miss Buffy, the littlest of the three Buff Orpington hens, was missing.  I checked her usual hangouts with no success so I grabbed a flashlight and started sweeping the maternity pasture.  As I rounded the backside of the round pen, I saw what was left of her, along with 3 piles of feathers that traced her final moments.  Hard to believe a coon could be so bold as to attack during the day, but one had clearly claimed Miss Buffy's life that day.  Anger and sadness that such a young life was snatched, and a renewed vow of no mercy for any coon caught in the trap.
 
This morning, Roberto came to pick up the 3 ewe lambs and look over Boomer the steer and Rango the ram.  We walked out to the south pasture to look at Rango when I saw Kayla alone on the hill - with a pair of tiny black ears poking up beside her.  Willa was probably only an hour or less old, feisty and full as a tick.  Kayla the Navajo-Churro ewe was a most excellent first time mom, and her daughter sure was a most colourful little girl!  Interesting as Rango is black and white while Kayla is red.  Looks like black does indeed trump red even in sheep!
 
 All that remains of Miss Buffy.  Well, there is more but not suitable for viewing
 Willa, probably two hours old here, with good first time mom Kayla

 Is that a face or what!!



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Storm Scenes

The storm that walloped California just gave us a little kiss on the way there, only an inch of rain the first day and barely a half by the finish of the second day, when these pix were taken
 
 Lowest barometric pressure EVER that I've seen!




Christmas Lights, 2014

Dale will have to use the 'good' camera to do the outside lights.  I've tried with my little S110 handheld, and it's just not pretty
 


Spooky Moon

From the bottom of the stairs, thru the east hall window a few nights ago