Friday, July 29, 2016

29 July 2006 - 29 July 2016

10 years.  It's been 10 years since we eased the Holiday Rambler Imperial motorhome we'd been living in since May into our driveway for the first time - taking out a fence post with the side of it - and parked it in front of the house for the first time. 
 
We met our very good friend Don for the first time shortly thereafter.  A well-used Ford SuperDuty rolled past the house, screeched to a halt, backed up, roared into the driveway, and an older gent stormed out of the truck, tire iron in hand, and demanded to know just who the hell we were.
 
It was the beginning of a fabulous friendship that continues to this very day.  We got him back by giving him, as a gift, the most expensive free dog he's ever had, sweet little Calamity Jan, Sybil's sister.  Our realtor and very good friend Tanya, the one who tried so very hard to show us the ranch in spite of our complete and total resistance to doing so - too old, too big, two stories, none of which was on our 'want' list - came by with the keys on that scorching July evening, and a goodie basket that was our first introduction to Oregon Pinot Noir wine.  So I can blame her for my little wine habit.  She too ended up with a puppy, Sybil's younger brother Tazz.  Guess I got my revenge there too.
 
In those ten years, there's been more than enough blood, sweat, tears and four letter words shed.  This is a 'short' pictorial history of some of the adventures we've been on in the course of those 10 years.
 
We've met some truly awesome people that we are so blessed and proud to call our friends.  We've entertained friends and family from all over the world.  Heck, Shelly from SoCal practically lives up here!  We drag everyone who visits all over Western Oregon, from Tillamook in the north, to the King Estate Winery southwest of Eugene and everywhere in between.  Wine tours, with Dale as the DD, are our most popular attraction at the ranch, along with eating.  We do a lot of that too.
 
We do miss our long time friends back in the San Diego area, and are always so very glad when they make it up for a visit.  We miss the San Diego of old, the San Diego we remember from the late 70's on up until we left California for good in May of 2006.
 
There have been cows, and sheep; goats, chickens and the ancient horse, Pony.  We've lost dogs and gained dogs.  There's been absolute joy, and crushing heartache.
 
Through it all, we've had each other, and our close circle of friends, and of course, the ranch itself, with it's rich history, starting when it was built in 1879.
 
Today, to beat the heat (not nearly as bad as that day 10 years ago, but bad enough), we took a long, scenic drive to the coast for lunch.  On the drive, we reflected back on these past years.  Hard to believe, but that was a full year before Apple introduced the iPhone!  The housing market was about to go belly up, along with the economy.  The first half African American would be elected president, and a businessman and a woman would secure their party nominations for president for the first time.  The market dived to the bottom of the ocean, then resurfaced and reached for the sky.  Chevrolet changed the looks of the Corvette, and then did it again.  'American Idol' ended.  Digicams became popular, then became really good, then became passé because cell phone cameras went from not worth having to out-performing them by miles. 
 
One word - Pokémon Go.  I don't get it, but millions do.
 
The world just kept on going those 10 years.  Bad things, good things, things in general, all the things that make up people's lives.  And we just kept on going too, because our lives since we moved here have changed so much, and for the better, mostly.  Being responsible for all our livestock, and dogs, and each other, means we are always busy, and in a good way.
 
Here's to the next 10 years!!
 
 The moving van arrives!!
 Wow.  It used to look like that?
 Chaos in the kitchen.  The refrigerator didn't fit, so we had to move a big cabinet
 The dining room wall, before the water feature went up

 13 year old Jazzee in the front yard, looking towards Bellfountain
 With the help of Big Red, a shovel and a chain, the mighty hunter slays the ugly, nasty shrubs
 A true test of friendship is when your best pals John and Jane tow your trailer and Viper 1000 miles, stay 2 days and go home again.  If we didn't say thanks, guys, THANKS!!!
 Not long before we lost that giant oak tree
 Repainting the old red barn
 Dale shovels snows for the first time, 2008
 6 month old Gem, Dale's Border Collie puppy, 2009
 With our good friend and top notch contractor, rebuilding the inside of the old red barn, 2009
 Gary repainted the house for us, 2010
 He did a great job!
 We had twins
 Jazzee celebrates her 14th birthday, 2007.  We would lose her the following March
 Ed and Laura gave us our first piece of Oregon yard art
 2010, Cricket blesses us with our first Oregon born litter (and our first litter in 9 years)
 We lose our first calf, and graft a goofy replacement onto Dawn
 Lambs.  Always lots of lambs
 We baled hay with Ed's help, equipment and expertise
 Took visitors (Jim and Pam, Massachusetts) everywhere
 Rainbows.  Lots of rainbows
 April 1st, 2013, Ho's last ride in his beloved puttputt
 The epic February 2014 snow
 Just before Xmas 2011, we lost Gizmo to a great horned owl
 Got a visit from Evelyn, who grew up here in the 1940's.  She gave us tons of valuable information about how the house looked in those days!
 Built a new dog room onto the back of the shop/garage
 Visitors got to see Camp 18.  In this case, it's just Shelly.  She kinda lives here anyway
 2014, we finally fenced and gated the last piece of the property to make it complete
 2015, Dale finally gets his spa
 And the Legacy Oregon White Oak literally explodes one morning, for no reason
 January 2016, we added an new family member in Rosie from Texas
Sunsets and sunrises are epic here
 
 
 
 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Danny at 5 Months

It's always a game with Danny.  I walk, he tries to sneak his 600# bulk up behind me for a bit of a pull on my shorts.  Somehow, I always know he's there, and then he does that whole 'Who, ME?' thing
 

Double Surprise!

This is the first day of the expected week long heat wave (for us, anyway, mid to high 80's and possibly a 90 thrown in by the end of the week), so we started going out fairly early in the morning to train with Cricket and Rosie on the stock.  As Cricket and I walked down to the working arena this morning, I saw vultures circling the south pasture, where Pony the ancient Saddlebred gelding, Georges the ram and his harem of ewes, young and very old, hang out.  I expected the worst - not Pony, because he was standing at the gate, impatiently yelling for his breakfast as usual, but maybe my old girl Twyla or the even old Pogo.
 
So imagine my surprise, when I looked out and saw a lump not far from the gate, and upon closer inspection, I saw the first picture - Willa, trying to hide her newborn twin ewe and ram!  She gave us her very first lamb JANUARY 10th, meaning that she was literally bred back on her first cycle after lambing for the first time!
 
After we worked for a bit, I put Cricket up, went and got my stuff (iodine, Elastomater and a coupla Cheerios, not knowing how many, if any, ewe tails I'd be banding at that exact moment), went back out and picked up the two lambs.  One ram just got a spritz of iodine for his navel and cord dangle, and the ewe got that and her tail banded as well.  After which, she decided I was her momma, and ran after me, yelling and bumping into my legs when I stopped.  Willa finally convinced her that I wasn't her mom, and she ran back to mom.
 
I was going to sell her this fall; now I'm thinking of keeping her after all.  She may be a pain in the butt any time you need to do anything with her like shearing or trimming feet, but what a phenomenal ewe she is!
 
 Maybe an hour or so old, first sighting
 Daisy the ewe lamb standing, David the ram lying down still trying to hide
 David the white speckled ram lamb


 Pretty much perfectly matched in size

Whimsical Rain Chain

Dale came up with this new set up for the rain chain by the bedroom window.  It's so cool, but I couldn't get a good shot of the water flowing thru it, so you'll just have to use your imagination!
 
Purely whimsical as well as totally functional!
 


Deb at 5 Months

It's so hard to get a good shot of Deb.  She LOVES the camera, which means I can't get her to stand still or pose nicely, because she always wants to come see me and that thing I'm holding up in front of my face.
 

Chelsea at 8 Months

She was standing there all perky the other morning, watching Cricket, that I just had to take the shots
 


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Terrible Loss for a Young Farmer

Late last Friday afternoon, we heard what sounded like every siren in Benton County rolling.  A quick scan of the skies confirmed what I thought was a big house fire, or maybe even downtown Monroe on fire, which is what it looked like from our vantage point.
 
It wasn't.  It was the Bounds Hay Company just NW of Junction City, losing over 15,000 tonne of hay and straw, along with 2 of the massive barns.  Owner Jesse Bounds, 33, started his business 15 years ago, as an ambitious, hardworking teen, and now had a multi million dollar enterprise that employed 30 people.  He exported most of his products to the Far East, and luckily, didn't lose the $2million hay press that he used for the export part of his business.
 
The fire appears to have started in a waste straw pile that spontaneously combusted, and with the high winds we had on Friday, spread burning embers far and wide.  Fire crews from all over Benton, Linn and Lane counties responded and did a magnificent job, saving the hay press and other buildings as well as nearby residences and fields.
 
Nearly a week later, and the fire still smoulders.  Anyone involved with hay knows that it's almost impossible to put out a major hay fire; you just have to let it burn out.
 
Jesse has no plans to quit; he's already set up a GoFundMe site and is negotiating contracts for export products to replace those he lost in the fire.  This young man knows that farming is almost always guaranteed to break your heart and try to break your spirit at some point.  People like him take that in stride, waste no time crying over what can't be undone, and move forward.
 
He'd be an awesome young farmer to work for.
 
 Late Friday afternoon, shortly after the fire started, looking SE from the maternity pasture
 Early Saturday morning
 From Old River Road, about 10 miles NE of the fire site

 Ferguson Road, where Bounds Hay Company is headquartered
 The equipment yard.  The hay press is in the beige building on the far right of the picture
 Smouldering piles of hay, still burning today

One of the new hay barns, a total loss