January 5, 2008

I’m writing this entry from a valley outside Ashland, Oregon, to which place we journeyed during little breaks in the Big Storm. That’s because we’re nuts…every year we come here to visit a dear friend and celebrate Ken’s birthday, and almost every year it’s during the Storm of the Year that we’re trying to travel.

Really, we were very lucky. The only drama was the last five miles of the drive, through increasingly heavy snow. At night. During a power outage. So, we had a little problem during the last 50 feet of our trip. We hadn’t been told that the driveway had not been plowed in…a while, so we drove past it in the dark, not realizing it was a driveway. We had to shovel out a space in 2 and a half feet of snow to get our friend’s Ford Expedition off the road. That was fine, I actually like limited snow shoveling, but right after we left the spot we were working, CRACK and a big tree limb crashed down. We missed being clobbered by about 30 seconds, and now we had to move the tree limb. Anyway, it all got done and here we are. I spent last night reading the 1909 Sears and Roebuck catalog and the 1943 Chicago Mail Order Co.’s midwinter sale catalog. They certainly had their views on the construction of brassieres back then…”Cotton poplin, stitched for graceful, firm up-lift, extra control”…..oh, my. Gotta be uplifted, I suppose. Anyway, our farm had an UGLY day of it yesterday. Power was lost at 8 am. A huge almond snapped at the crown of the roots and fell on our turkey pen fence. Our outdoor 20’ tent from COSTCO was hurled like a toy and came to rest on our grape arbor in a mess of broken pipe. The greenhouse had a shelf against the south wall, with all my hundreds of plastic pots, and most of what was on the shelf was shoved off by the wind bowing the wall…the vents on the roof were flapping and had to be tied down from the inside, various poultry shelters were blown over, and local flooding was considerable. Water blew in through the cat door, and there was a big puddle I had to go out at one point to try to do something for the birds, and was trying to recall if even the worst storm of my years-ago sailing adventure had been like this (no). All the chickens were in good shape and had the sense to get under cover, while every turkey just stood there and got soaked. There is nothing to be done with those birds, they are just so stupid that they won’t get under a shelter when it’s provided. Once again, I am really glad we don’t rely on electricity for heat. Our woodstove lets us get plenty of warmth and we can even cook on the top of it, if needed. I have no idea how the garden came out. We have raised beds with good drainage, but how well the lettuce and other things fared against those high winds remains to be seen. So up here in snow country I have all my seed catalogs with me, and I’ll keep my annual tradition of reading every one of them to decide what to grow this summer. Gotta find those new varieties of striped green eggplant and pink zucchini someone discovered in a remote corner of the Amazon…we hope that everyone had a happy New Year!

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