Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel are co-authoring Rainy Day Thought. New posts will be on Saturdays and otherwise randomly as a subject arises. Comments are always welcome-- invited, even begged :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

Oregon is still in what are called the dog days of summer (although it doesn't seem right to name the heart of summer something like dog days), which sound like an unpleasant time which it is decidedly not. It's named thus for Sirius, the dog star, which rises and sets with the sun during this period. In late July, it is in conjunction with the sun (if you are into astrology). So twenty days before and after that event are astrologically the dog days. It is also a time, in the northern hemisphere of hot sultry weather and many consider it to last beyond the official mid-August into September.

In the Celtic or Pagan calendars, Lammas, which fell August 1, was the beginning of the harvest and harvest we in the Pacific Northwest are indeed having with our gardens finally reaping produce-- in some cases so abundant that we either freeze, can or give some away. Soon the pears and apples will ripen on their trees and the blackberries will be ready to pick across the creek.  A few miles from us, the wheat was harvested last week. The second crop of baby birds are leaving their nests to face the dangers of the world. In some cases, their mothers are having to encourage their leaving. With the new bird box, I am enjoying watching the process from my bedroom window. It looks to me like they are fighting territorially over the box and we need to consider buying two more such boxes.


I am not remotely ready to think fall is soon to be here especially since it took so long for summer to arrive. I am though, in a small way doing a laundry list of little things that are harvesting their own rewards.

On the week-end we went through the freezer and got rid of everything that was outdated. I always hate to do that because it seems wasteful to admit I have let some things stay too long. It's also, however, wasteful to have food there which cannot be eaten. My only consolation is it will make using what is left more effective and hopefully I'll do better in the future.

Then I went through my oil paints and got rid of the tubes that had been almost used and were too dry to get more from them. I should have done this before I ordered new paints as when they arrived I see I now have way too many greens. Although green is not my favorite color, living in western Oregon, I do use a lot, but enough is enough. In the future I will stick to ordering colors I cannot mix. At least though I got things organized better after purchasing some inexpensive plastic bins. Now the paints that should be used next are in the top bin and below them, double wrapped, are the tubes where I have two... or more.

Then I tackled my clothes closet. I didn't even look at the shelf above the hanging clothes. I'll save that for when I have to make a seasonal change... maybe. Dog days of summer don't have me feeling very ambitious; so all of this is a bit here and there and nothing big at one time.

For awhile I thought that this would be the week I stacked the cord of firewood. Since my back is bothering me just moving irrigation pipe, and it's supposed to get back up into the 90s again by the week-end, I think that job will be put off; but Farm Boss did get all the hay into the hay barn as he finally had the backhoe repaired and working. You do not lift those big round bales any other way and he stacks them two high.

I also visited the dentist for a teeth cleaning and check up. I had put that off for economic reasons but it's foolishness to do that at my age as gum disease causes more loss of teeth than decay. I got the good news my gums are healthy but the bad news that I will soon need another crown or worse a root canal if there isn't enough enamel left for a crown. How can dentists say things like that with so little feeling for what it sounds like to us? She said it as if a few thousand dollars is no big deal. Since we lost dental insurance, we do put aside so much money every month toward dental work (a crown for Farm Boss took that this winter) but that's expecting a crown yearly and not adding in a root canal and post!

Last week-end, Farm Boss and I enjoyed meeting a fellow blogger at the Farmers' Market in Corvallis. He has commented here under Annotated Margins (and is in my blog roll alongside). Although he lives in a nearby town, we hadn't physically met before-- although you do get to feeling you know fellow bloggers just from their writing and photos. It's when you shake hands or hug that it becomes more real and for me that has always been in a good way

Saturday we had another chance to get that coyote but once again a combination of things went wrong for us and benefited him. I had gone out with the gun I am now carrying, a .22 Winchester Magnum with more power than my old faithful .22. I knew Farm Boss was moving hay but thought I'd just check how the sheep were. I opened a gate and walked quietly alongside the fence toward where I could see them grazing.

To my disbelief, there was the coyote in between the cattle and looking toward the sheep, apparently using the cows as part of his subterfuge. The sheep were more or less ignoring him; so it was working. Maybe they thought if the cows think he's okay, he must be.

Because I didn't realize Farm Boss was in the barn with his gun pointed at it, I yelled for him to get his gun. My .22 magnum wouldn't have the range and frankly he's a better shot than I am. It turned out that he had been waiting for it to get closer, but it seeing and hearing me was the end of that chance. The coyote ran. Farm Boss got off a shot but missed as the range was probably 300 yards which even for his 30.06 would have required a lot of luck with a moving target. Us -- 0. Coyote no recent kills but another escape. I couldn't believe how the cows just accepted it between them like no big deal. Traitors!

When Farm Boss went over to the neighbors to pull a goat kid that was a little too big to deliver without assistance, they discussed this nervy coyote. She said it brazenly crosses their fields nearly every morning. It's a big one, on that she and I agree. She wondered if it's mixed with dog, but they say that's genetically impossible. Whatever the case, it's large and determined to eat domestic animals when the opportunity arises. We are still in a standoff with no clear victor. His win is every time he kills one. Ours would put an end to the killing-- for at least him.

All photos from August and in our sheep pasture.

13 comments:

robin andrea said...

I can feel the change of seasons already here. We're expecting a blast of hot air over the weekend and the next few days too, but already the nights are very cool. I love this transition from summer to fall.

It has always blown my mind that medical insurance doesn't cover teeth, eyes, or psyches. As if these things are not essential parts of the human body.

That coyote sounds very smart and determined. Bummer.

Annotated Margins said...

It's been awhile since T— and I have enjoyed the kinds of summer days that the Oregon skies have teased us with since June. We are glad that summer seems to be finally settling in. We didn't realize how much we missed days of summer sunshine. (I don't know, but I've been told, a good deterrent for your coyote problem would be to get a black bear!)

mandt said...

Hey, sounds like you have a chupacabra working your fields. Ah, cows aren't traitors in any real sense, They're just like the usual Republican, living in a reality devoid, herd-like dream work of sweet clover and denial. lol :)

Rain said...

or that part wolf one like i have read they are having on the east coast. And on the bear as a possible solution lol We do have them in the area, not in our fields so far but just above, but I figured something attacking my sheep was better than maybe attacking me *s*

Ingineer66 said...

Wonderful photos and story. Apparently your voice is specially tuned to scare coyotes away.

Down here the ranchers are mixing in Texas Longhorns with their cattle to help keep the mountain lions at bay. Since the hunting ban went into affect, the young lions are coming further and further down into populated areas because the old lions are controlling the traditional habitat.

Come on mandt, you had to get political? And not even close to accurate. Unless Obama is a Republican because he is the one who is telling us how wonderful things are going with the economy when in reality it is still getting worse and will be for a few more years. And with his policies maybe more like 5 years before we see real recovery.

Rain said...

we have quite a few horned cows but maybe the longhorns would have a different temperament. That's the problem you face with small farm herds. You don't want them too feisty for your dealing with them but then they aren't tough enough for the predators. The first cattle we had on this place were good at chasing off coyotes. They can come to us as range cattle and they knew that coyote packs can be dangerous to calves too. These don't know that yet anyway. I hope they won't actually as I'd hate to lose a calf that way but coyotes can kill them if the herd leaves them unprotected.

Rain said...

they 'came to us' not 'can come.' sometimes I really do wonder about my typos. Is there a logical reason behind them???

mandt said...

"or that part wolf one like i have read they are having on the east coast." Yep! The are called Coidogs Oh, and Ingineer....Obama is a Republican, certainly doesn't behave like a Democrat.

Ingineer66 said...

No he does not. At least in the old school Democrat way. And he is certainly not a Republican. We believe in limited government and self determination. He is more like a totalitarianist. He wants a strong central government to control every aspect of everyones lives.

Rain said...

Ingineer, I suggest you save these arguments for Rainy Day Things. What mandt said was a casual joke. You are wanting a political debate and this is not the place for it. I will say though that you are wrong about what Obama has done or wants to do. You are drinking the kool-aid and whether you admit it or not, you are getting it from radio, websites and TV because that's what they want you to believe. This debate though belongs elsewhere. It's not mandt is thrilled with Obama either but for different reasons. What you on the right have to understand is that Obama was elected to do what he has done by a majority and if the majority changes their mind, then the country will go back to Bush's way where the rich get all the tax advantages and corporations have no rules and we fight wars with no logic behind them while we don't pay for them. You can have what you want. You just have to convince enough Americans your way is right.

And see that's what happens when the debate is brought here, I get carried into it also. Anything more on this will be deleted as it has nothing to do with this topic... And there is a place for the debate, where it will be appreciated.

Ingineer66 said...

OK Sorry Rain, mandt started it :)~ I know this was not a place for political debate and I will refrain from it.

Rain said...

Well I think it's a good thing to discuss; so I took the pertinent parts of this conversation over to Rainy Day Things for anybody interested in discussing the political parties in this country. Partisanship is an issue today that is more so than it was when I first began to vote. So for anybody interested in such a debate, go to the link and add in your two cents ;)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It sounds to me like you got a LOT done....I do nothing. I just don't have the energy, so I applaud you for each of those "chores" that you accomplished.

That Cayotee is one determined cuss...But, so are you and Farm Boss. Me thinks the Cayote's days are numbered!
I'm staying tuned....(lol)