Last of the Harvest!

Hello Farmer Friends!

Last Harvest Call:  We are looking at the end of our picking season for pears and apples!  Come soon (this week through the weekend)  if you’d like to share in this harvest.  There are about 6 pear trees that need picking, and still lots of apples.

There are a few things left in the garden also, including the best egg plant harvest we’ve had.  Lots of herbs left, and a smattering of tomatoes and cukes, squash and lots of pumpkins.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the bounty of the garden and orchard this year; we’ve certainly have enjoyed your company, hard work and enthusiasm! (not to mention the great lunchesJ)

Sincere wishes for a peaceful fall and winter,

Suzannamaria and Dario

Harvest

Harvest 2016

14021480_10207006803997224_8256913271998100128_nHello  and warmest of greetings!!  (hee hee)

There is so much to pick in our garden and orchard now!!  Come help yourselves to this bounty. The pears have never been so good!  Pick all you want, store in fridge and take out a few at a time to ripen for a day or so on the counter.  Apples are

Beginning to be ready – especially the yellow Chehalis about ½ way up into the left side of the orchard. If you want to know if an apple tree is ready, pick one, taste it.  Too tart?  Wait… Plums are delicious!

The garden:  herbs, tomatoes, egg plant, cukes, CORN! Beans, squash, peppers… Pick to your hearts content!  If I’m not home (as I am frequently out and about)  just make sure Bella is fenced in.  She loves to wander up to Bill, or Mary’s, or Francis…

Thanks for all your work this season!   All we do now is pick, pick, pick…

The bees are great!!  So far we have a very lively couple of hives, and I’m feeling very optimistic they will make it through this winter.  They are fascinating to watch.

All the best,

Suzannamaria

 

Garden, Harvest, Orchard

WeedFest 3.0 – HARVEST!

Hello Summertime Gardeners!

WeedFest 2.0  - 2016Our last weeding party for summer is coming up Saturday, August 13.  We’ll weed, prune and pick until lunchtime.  Bring a dish to share if you’d like to potluck with us!

WE HAVE HARVEST!   The tomatoes are ripening, cucumbers, zucchini, beans (look for them in the corn patch!), beets, carrots, parsley, basil, dill, kale, potatoes, and some squash, etc.

Apples, pears are good this year, and the picking will begin soon, also.  I tried some apples, and they are still quite tart – need more summertime.  They take until fall to ripen, really.

Come on over and take away all the “fruits”  of your hard work!

I picked the ripest tomatoes – they are on my counter with fresh honey we scooped out of our hive! Yum  J

Thanks for all you wonderful spirit and enthusiasm for this gardening adventure.

Suzannamaria & Dario

 

Garden, Harvest

Two Weeks

The thing about working out is that you need to keep the schedule regular.  It’s bad enough that you find new muscle groups during regularly scheduled workouts that can seize you up for days at a time.  But taking two weeks off means you have a whole new empty slate of muscle groups ready to make you pay dearly in the very depths of lactic acid hell.  And so I missed the first week due to a business trip where I had no time to find a gym or pool.  The second week I was down and out, recuperating from a spinal injection procedure on my lower back.  My trainer, Naome walked up to me as I lay on a mat stretching my reticent muscles; she smiled coyly and said “Hey you, it’s been a while”

I grunted as I yarded my ass off the mat “Two Weeks” I said.

The pleased look on her face from that point on was like she got a new puppy.  “Ok” she said as she clapped her hands together “We gonna work upper body or lower?”  I put my hands on my lower back and tried not to whimper “Lower” I said… “but we need to take it easy on the back and…”  Naome interrupted “We’ll slowly graduate each superset toward those muscle groups in your lower back and see how it goes”.  I kind of protested a bit with a “but, but…” she interrupted again  “Let me know if you get any kind of shooting pain down your leg and we’ll back off”… I nodded my head and started following her around the gym like a puppy that’s been whacked with a neatly rolled newspaper.  

“Two weeks” I whimpered.

We went through several supersets and gradually worked our way to planks.  Now there are a number of variations on planking and their creative sadistic artform seems limited only loosely by the laws of physics.  So Namome had me do several variations interspersed with lunges, lunges and more lunges.  By the time I got into the pool I couldn’t feel my legs but my back was just fine.  Crap!… I hate it when she’s right.  After thrashing out 20 lengths of the pool I staggered back to the sauna, anticipating a nice long sweat with my eyes closed.  I didn’t see the sign as I walked right into the -nice and cool- sauna… as I turned back I saw it.  The sign said “Closed for Maintenance”  … well shit.

Two days later I was back in the gym, and having significant trouble getting my sore legs into a stretch position when Naome greeted me with “Hey you, how are you feeling today?”  Between squeaks and grunts I indicated that my legs were in business for themselves.  “Ok, so it’s the upper body today”.  Little did she know I was in a lousy mood that morning because I still wasn’t over the cold broken sauna; and there was a bit of an incident in the locker room where I became the unwilling viewer of an old man BA as he bent over to get a drink out of the fountain.  I closed my eyes in a defensive move and pivoted right into an open locker door.  Then while I sat rubbing my head in front of my locker, the old guy walked over and proceed to unlock his locker; it was the one directly above mine.  So there he was fumbling like a toddler with his combo lock, with his bare ass booty right at my face level.  “Oh for the love of…” I mumbled as I turned away – much more carefully this time, so as to avoid an additional contusion.  No amount of painful stretching could help me unsee this.

But Naome didn’t even seem to notice my foul mood… “Ok then, let’s get cracking” she said as she turned and walked off toward the weights section of the gym. Meanwhile I was still on the floor, pulling my legs somewhat under my body and belly crawling up the wall in order to stand.  I made my way over to the bench where she was waiting with a 25 lbs barbell.  Geeze, I had no idea there were so many ways to make a 25 pound barbell seem like it weighed 100 lbs.  By the time she was done with me, I could hardly lift my arms without them shaking like I had the DT’s.  

“That’s enough weights for today” she said, “…follow me to the training area”  I staggered somewhat following her over to an exercise ball.  “Now I want you to do a standard plank but I want your elbows balanced on the top of this ball.” she ordered… “Do you think you can do that?”  I just shook my head and placed the ball in front of me.  While still on my knees I placed my elbows on the ball… then I lifted my knees.  My elbows sunk down into the ball and it made that familiar noise with air and rubber looking for a way out of the whole situation.  The shaking was sudden and violent as I struggled to maintain my bridge and balance that friggen ball.  Then very suddenly and very forcefully, the ball left the scene.  I mean it shot out from under me like somebody squeezing a watermelon seed between their fingers.  There was a crazy “Pfffffffffffttttt”, sound as the ball seemingly broke the sound barrier, striking Naome in the head.  There was a very distinct “whap” reminiscent of the old dodgeball days and, I remember this; a “Squeal”.  I do not know if it was from the ball for from Naome but the whole gym turned their collective heads to see what was happening.  Then of course, with no ball to hold me up I hit the floor like a sack of old hams and added another lump to the lump I already had on my head.

So there we were – me on the floor, too weak to lift my arms to cover my lumpty lumps and Naome on her butt rubbing her pink splotched forehead.  “Are you Ok?” she asked as I lay there.  “Yes – Sorry but my arms are jello.  I couldn’t keep my balance on that dam’d ball.” I quipped.  “Well I think we’re done for the day…  See you in a week.  Try not to make it two…” she said while looking down at me as she past by, on her way to her desk.  

After a moment, I managed to get myself up off the floor and limped back to the locker room.  I changed and headed out to the pool, hoping the cool water would calm my arms down a bit.  While I managed to complete my 20 lengths my arms refused to acknowledge any feeling whatsoever.  As I swam, all I kept thinking about was the sauna.  The lactic acid was pooling, prepping my body for days of stiffness and soreness so I was looking forward to the relaxing warmth and the total lack of activity and/or contusions.  

As I turned the corners to the hallway where the sauna was I could see the sign was still there… “Closed for Maintenance”.  I just hung my head and shook it.  About that time a nice young janitor man walked into the hall.  “Excuse me” I said “Can you tell me how long the sauna is going to be down?”  The young man turned to me, shook his head and said “Two weeks”

Two Weeks!

© Copyright db 2016

Thoughts on the Swing

WeedFest 2.0 – 2016

Garden, Harvest

WeedFest 2.0

Hello Fellow Farmers!

Another harvest and weeding day coming up this Saturday the 16th – and we will be working from 9am to 2pm, or until the mood strikes us to quit!  The garden is beautiful, and we have a lot of garlic to dig up and braid!

There will be enough for all to pack home and hang in attics, garages, basements and bedrooms to keep all the vampires away!   There are some plums in the orchard, and in the garden:  spinach, beets, carrots, kale, herbs, zucchini

and berries are still thick on the vines.  I picked the first few cherry tomatoes, and look forward to tomato season, which is still very early.   Come help out and pack your baskets full of produce!  If you’d like to join us for a meal, it is pot luck as usual.

See you Saturday!

Suzannamaria and Dario

Garden, Harvest

Picking up the Load

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It was the smell that struck him at first. LeRoy motioned to the wounded Forceman to lay still as he reached for a bit of rope from his backpack. He thought he recognized the young Canadian man but he couldn’t be sure. As he looped the rope around the soldier’s shattered leg he looked around for a something to tighten the tourniquet. It was the smell; the mortar smoke; the steaming mud; the blood and the burnt flesh. All around were the chaotic sounds of mortars, burp guns, bullets singing and a young man’s cries of pain, but it was the smell that had Roy’s attention. This was Roy’s first true battle and he was separated from his platoon.

After setting the tourniquet, LeRoy had little choice but to continue with his backpack. He marked the spot as best he could in hopes that members of his regiment coming back down the slope would find the wounded soldier and take him back to the supply staging area. As he negotiated the flats below the mountain slopes, he avoided following other Force members into the trees. He had already seen some of his buddies cut to pieces when a mortar round turned trees into deadly swaths of jagged splinters. No, even though he was in plain view of the German spotters above, it was better to be out in the open where the mortar rounds would sink into the wet ground before detonating.

Above him were the slopes of Mt La Difensa. The clatter of weapon fire was intense from the summit; the 2nd regiment, had scaled the northern cliffs to the summit the day before and surprised the Germans from behind their defenses. Now it was the 3rd regiment’s job to haul supplies and ammo up the slopes to the base of the cliffs in support of the mission; it was too steep for the mules. LeRoy strained for each and every step, fighting the ever increasing slope of loose rock and slippery thick mud. More than once he went down to the ground only to have that 80 pound pack beat him and drag him back down that awful slope.

Only hours after the battle had started returning Forcemen from the 3rd announced that the summit had been taken. Shouts from the 3rd could be heard all over the hill side as the news spread up and down the slopes. But there was little time for celebrations; the Germans would counter attack and this ragged supply chain consisting of men and heavy packs was vital to holding the newly won summit. And so they kept hauling, one pack at a time. LeRoy turned and leaned into the hill; the cliffs were just a bit further ahead; he could get rid of this hateful pack for his trip back.

Late that evening LeRoy was headed back down the slopes; by this time he had lost count of how many trips he had made up that hillside. He never found out what had become of the Canadian Forceman he attended to. If he survived he undoubtedly would be headed back home without most of that leg; A life long wound.

It was getting dreadfully dark. At least the night provided a bit more cover, but it also brought an sereal intensity to the fight with flashes of artillery, tracers and flares. The darkness also made the trip back down the mountain paths treturous under the cloud shrouded skies. As he walked he realized he hadn’t seen another Forceman for some time. To make matters worse, a bitter cold rain kicked up. Roy decided to try and get some rest before continuing back down. There was no comfortable place on that slope; just a rocky and barren ridgeline with little cover. He pulled his jacket up and tucked his cold wet hands underneath. As his head lay back, his helmet found a slot between two rocks to cradle his head. By now he hardly noticed the sounds of weapon fire and the percussion of mortars; totally drained, he drifted off to sleep.

The approach of the mortar round pried Roy’s eyes open to the sting of cold rain. The flash and concussion of the blast found him rolling in a desperate attempt to take cover. Instantly he felt his left foot go numb as rocks and shrapnel ricocheted all over the ridge line around him. As the deadly shrapnel slowly turned back to the torcherous rainfall, LeRoy realized he was afraid to look down at his foot. Is this how he would go home?… foot blown off while napping? He slowly sat up; his heart was racing and he still couldn’t feel that foot. For the longest time he didn’t want to look. As the cold wind whipped another squall of rain up the mountain side he finally heard the voices of other Forcemen. He had to get back to the mission.

Slowly Roy lifted his leg to look at his foot… it was still there – numb, but he still had a whole foot. What was missing was the bottom of his boot. It appeared the mortar round had cleanly blown the sole of his boot away leaving a good portion of his foot exposed. The faint light of morning was beginning to highlight the mountains to the east so Roy cut a chunk of his jacket pocket and tied the material to the bottom of his boot. He then proceeded to hobble down the mountain, into the misty, rain soaked, smoke and fog… to get another load.

LeRoy taught me a great deal about carrying loads. He was not my real father but Roy became, and always will be, my Dad. LeRoy was my step dad, but the reason we share the same last name is because he started out as my uncle… He was my father’s half brother.  At some point during my parents failing marriage, Roy fell in love with my mom.  It was not a pretty process but trust me when I tell you it couldn’t have worked out better for myself and my siblings. This man stepped up and took on the 5 children of the woman he loved. He often told me that’s when his life really started.

For me, it was a turning point too; but I was too young to fully realize the importance of that juncture. I was caught in the swirling emotion of our family struggles and I risked losing my way many times. Through it all Roy became the steadfast anchor in my life. Through it all he was there to take me aside and calm me with that steady, soft voice, that was like a blanket – warm and safe. “No matter what’s going on around you son, it’s important to keep your wits about you.” he would say. “It’s all too easy to despair”.

Roy knew a little something about despair. For years after the war he wandered… from job to job and relationship to relationship. During the days he was simply my uncle, he would visit our home in Toledo and help my father with the ongoing construction of our house. In those years it was common to see him carrying a gallon wine jug throughout the day. He never talked about the war unless someone else brought it up… even then he wouldn’t say much. I didn’t see it then but now I know, he was hurting from that war.

I do not know exactly when my mom and Roy fell in love. Frankly I’ve never really cared about the timing. All I know is that after the divorce of my parents, Roy asked mom to marry him and the wine bottle disappeared. I suppose in a way it was much like that day when the mortar round blew off the bottom of his boot; finally deciding to look at the wound, he discovered he could continue. He realized he had a new family that desperately needed a steady supply line of love and stability… something he needed too. All he had to do was, pick up the load.

For LeRoy, my Dad

© 2016 Darrel Boyd

Thoughts on the Swing

WeedFest 1.0

Hello Summer Gardeners!

We’re looking forward to a couple of things here at the Co-Op:

  1. Eating the fresh veggies!
  2. Cleaning-up the weeds and “eating more good food day” June 18!

We’ll start the weeding at 8am on June 18. Bring your gloves and a weeding tool if you have one.  We will be thinning fruit again, and may get to the grapes and raspberries – depends on how many helpers come.   Join us throughout the day until 3pm quit time.  We’ll stop at noon and pot luck together, so bring something tasty you’d like to share!  The bees are doing well, and they were quite happy to do their bee-thing on planting day, and did not bother the gardeners.

Harvesting now:  Butter Lettuce, scallions, mustard greens, beets, a few strawberries, gooseberries are starting, cherries! Pie cherries up in the orchard should be good this coming weekend.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed this taste of summer!  Back to the Oregon weather channel Thursday

Take care, and hope to see you in the garden!

Suzannamaria

Garden

Planting Day Video

Garden

Swarm!

After checking my gopher traps this morning I needed to fetch some plastic bags; I managed to trap 3 gophers in a rare trifecta.  On the way back to the house I decided to take a quick look at the bee hives to see how they were doing.  We’ve been a little worried one of them was about to swarm.  As I moved around the hives I keep looking directly at them.  There seemed to be a lot of activity of bees in the air, but the hives seemed otherwise normal.

As I moved around a pear tree that is just 10′ from the hives I suddenly noticed a lot of bees in the air.  That’s when I looked up and in front of myself to see a huge swarm ball of honey bees bivouaced just a couple of feet from my face.  Needless to say I stepped back rather abruptly.  After taking a few photos I rushed back to the house and called our bee keeping mentor, Ken.  He dropped everything and rushed over to give me a hand.

Ken helped me break into the hive I suspected these bees belonged to.  The good news was the population in that hive looked great.  So this is most likely a stray colony that decided to pay us a visit.  So we grabbed a brood frame from the hive and placed it in a nuc box we had laying around.  Once we sealed the hive back up we proceeded over to the tree and placed the box on the ground below the bee ball.

Ken took the brood frame and placed it under the bee ball.  Slowly the bees started moving down onto the frame.  It was like he was painting the frame with live bees; simply amazing to watch.  Once we had enough bees on the frame we placed it in the box below.  Ken grabbed hold of the limb above the bees as I cut it off the tree with a set of loppers.  A bunch of the bees fell directly onto the ground so Ken scooted the box a little closer to them.  I trimmed excess branches from the ball and Ken placed it over the opening of the box.  Slowly the bee ball melted into the box as the bees moved down on the the brood frame.

About that time, Eric and Janet (who have been waiting for a swarm alert) arrived.  They were very excited to get these bees for their new hive in Portland.  We transferred the brood frame to their hive boxes and are waiting for the bees to calm down.  They will be taking them to their new home in Portland later this evening.

When I woke up this morning I didn’t expect anything like this.

Bees