Thursday, August 12, 2010
Dog Days of Summer
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On the week-end we went through the freezer and got rid of everything that was outdated.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.