Why I live in Oregon

16 03 2015

Written Sunday –

Since December, the weather has been awesome. I mean really sunny and much warmer than usual with very little rain. It is the best kept state secret that the weather is so much better than anyone would guess. 

This winter has just been outstandingly beautiful… until yesterday.

Now, I am not saying it was apocalyptic by any means. That would be what we had in the fall when our huge carport and small greenhouse tried to go to Oz attempting to take two turkeys with them. Those winds were just plain scary. 

Naw, we just had some rain. Steady rain starting yesterday and going through the night and off and on today is what I’m talking about. Two inches or so total, but the ground was pretty parched and maybe a bit hard packed. We passed many fields today that had water sitting on top making swampy grass. 

Then the winds picked up a little. Nothing horrible, but some decent gusts, so the streets were littered with tree bits and parts. Portland experienced some power outages, but our area was mostly mild.

We had been out and about running errands and arrived home about 5pm. As we were passing the turkeys, our neighbors flagged us down from their parallel driveway. Their arms were flapping and we could see a brain trust of three analyzing a tree. 

They were talking about how it was leaning and that it was going to come down one way or another. We offered our help and went to park the car. Now, while we were talking to them, we couldn’t really quite see the problem because we were looking at the tree straight on. Then, as we went further down the driveway, we could see that it was really leaning directly toward where we stopped the car on the driveway…you know the car that we have purchased most recently and hope to keep for a long time. Oops. The neighbors must have thought we were nuts to stop there! LOL! 

Anyway, it was leaning quite a bit and the direction it was falling was not good. The tree’s crash path was including, the neighbor’s driveway, our fruit trees, our driveway, and the turkey enclosure. Explains a lot about why the turkeys were attempting some interspecies birthing – they were having a cow! As we came back out, the neighbor had been working at cutting the tree as high as they could reach with a chain saw, so that less of it would fall on our property. We got to them after it had just fallen and had knocked the stuffing out of our almond tree and come within 5 inches of the fence of the enclosure. 

Had they not cut it high up, we would have all been chasing turkeys and maybe chickens in the wind and rain. Mark grabbed his chain saw and the five of us started in on dissecting the 50 foot tree. Oh yeah, did I mention this was no city tree? It was a mere babe in Pacific Northwest terms, but pretty darn tall…I mean long at this point, as it was now horizontal. Now, overall, none of this was that scary or upsetting, just life in the woods. You count your blessings that power lines were not touched, driveways were both intact and clearable, animals were not injured, and only the neighbor’s tree and our tree were casualties. Great, but this is only where the magic begins. 

We had just gotten going on clean up, when a second set of neighbors emerges from their house across their acres and joins in to help. The way it works is that our road and property border our neighbor’s easement (driveway road for those who don’t know) and their easement is a strip of road that borders this other set of neighbor’s property. So now we had seven adults cutting and clearing the tree and getting the debris chunked up and put on the back of a truck to move it all to a wood pile and slash pile. 

The work ended up not taking that long, but, during the work, conversation ensued. I had the one set of neighbors with the easement telling me that the almond tree didn’t look like it was going to make it and “since their tree caused the damage” they could replace it and help dig the old one out. Then the neighbors on the other side of the easement started in. They started with wanting us to come and give them the bill when we replace the tree that “their tree had caused damage to”. The tree that came down was right there on the border between their two properties, probably part of the easement, but BOTH families were jumping in to lay claim on the tree that fell. 

The only finger pointing going on was to point out the damage the tree had caused and point to themselves as the people who would take responsibility. In a world where NO ONE seems to want to take any responsibility these days, where fear of being sued causes people to point the blame at others, here were people jumping and fighting over to be the ones to take ownership. 

Meanwhile, Mark and I were telling them that the tree might live and, if it didn’t, they were not expensive and we had no problem taking care of it. Add to it that we are all working together. The feeling was foreign, but could only be described as true community. We equated it to something like an Amish barn raising. A community coming together. Stop and think about that. 

When was the last time you made solid eye contact with your neighbors and exchanged more than a “good day” or “how’s it going?” and were invested in their response. Don’t get me wrong, we have had a couple of nice neighbors that we enjoyed talking to and such, but what we experienced was community. Nobody, shut the blinds and looked away. They grabbed their muck boots and tromped out in the mud and didn’t think of how they could avoid dealing with the situation. Words can’t describe it. 

Just another addition to my list of why I live in Oregon.


Run chicken! Run!

13 10 2014

Sunday was set to be glorious. The first day that we had the ability to sleep in, or at least stay in our jammies. No place to be. No appointments, classes, or anything. Of course, the dogs can tell time and when 7AM rolled around they demanded their breakfast. That was okay and expected. I am a master of going back to sleep after that as long as the puppies don’t get whipped up into a frenzy – then lord help us it could be 2 hours before they wind down. Well, I didn’t even get that far.

Before the dogs get to eat, they have to go out to do their “business”. That is when it all went to poo. Sigh… I walked out with the puppies and stood on the deck to, you know, survey my land. There was movement down the hill near some blackberry. It was a chicken. Crud! It was wondering around calling for her friends. Was it ours? No way to tell at the distance, but it was a barred rock and we have two of those.

Not wanting to have Mark miss out on the morning festivities, I woke him up with the chicken emergency news. As soon as I could feed the dogs (they will not be ignored!), I went down to the chicken and Mark went to the coop to see if anyone was missing. Sure enough, one of the barred rocks – Mickie – was not there. We worked to herd her to a place where Mark could grab her and we got her back to her friends. She must have had a heck of a night because there were two piles of feathers from her (animal attack?) and she was soaking wet.

End of chicken emergency and end of our ability to go back to sleep…though I tried!

For those wondering, the puppies are quite happy. They are totally hard core playmates. There are no untugged toys in the house. Every one has been the subject of a playful puppy war. Faith has been getting more comfortable and has even started sneaking over and sleeping on Journey’s pillow and the two sleep very close at times or lay on each other to get our attention. The very latest thing was that I heard a dog grunting for water. Grunting is a Faith thing. I came from around the corner only to find Journey and hear her grunting at me exactly like Faith. SO WEIRD!

K is back to school. She is taking several classes: PE, Psychology, Oral Communications, chemistry, and a 4 week seminar in procrastination and time management. The chemistry is a biggie because there are two class sessions and 4 hours of lab work every week. The big news on the K front is that she is getting the courage up to start learning to drive! I long for the day that I no longer have to drive to all theses classes. She won’t be able to take a driving course until next term so you all can wait to be very scared to be on the road! LOL!

Yep, I’m a Slacker!

15 09 2014

Many many blog posts have been written…in my head. They never made it to the computer. I feel remiss, so let me do some updating here.

First off – K went to the State 4-H tournament for .22 rifle. She had scored better at other matches, I have to say, but we are talking just a few points in variation. There were some pretty experienced shooters that she was competing against and two had gotten a higher score than Kaylee in the regional level. After competing, the participants could look at their own targets and protest for any changes. K did contest a score, but it was low key and not intimidating. It was a long and hot day. The awards ceremony was hot and very sunny, but we stuck it through all the different disciplines and all their awards. We waded through and were able to cheer on a few of the kids from K’s club; one of which scored high enough in shotgun to be invited to Nationals in 2015.

Finally, the rifle awards came around – LAST! of course. They started going through and calling kids up – target score were not being mentioned, just placement, so we had no idea where she stood. In addition, there are different age groups. Finally, they got to seniors and they called the white ribbons up, then the red ribbons up, then they started on the blue ribbons – so it was looking good, but there are a fair amount of kids. They keep calling names and K’s is not one of them. Finally they get to the Reserve Champion (2nd place) and it isn’t K… is your heat skipping a beat? Mine was! K ended up being the Senior and overall Champion and qualified for an invitation to next year’s National 4-H shoot! Holy Cr*p! She won a really nice rifle case and additional bag and now we are planning a trip to Grand Island, Nebraska (I know, you are so jealous because you have always wanted to go there!) The highlights according to Trip Advisor and all other travel sites are a water park and a shooting range…and that is about it. LOL! Now K’s job is to help find ways to finance the trip. So far, she is looking at applying for a grant from her rifle range where she practices and participates in her adult league. From there, she will need to see what she can do within 4-H for fund raising.

Next – We have a new – old dog. We have raised 4 guide dog puppies. One career changed to do search and rescue. One is our puppy Journey – she career changed to our pet after stressing out at the last moment of guide dog training. The other two became guide dogs. Faith, our third trainee, worked for over 8 years for a young man who was going to college at the time he was paired with Faith. Over the course of those years, they became best buddies. It was a very difficult decision, but he retired her this past July. One of his hardest issues in letting go was feeling good about her placement. He remembered when we meant him at their graduation that we said we would take her when she retired, if he couldn’t keep her. Knowing we would take her back and love her, helped him make the hard decision.

We agreed to take her back and we planned for August. Then the detail figuring went into full swing. How to get her to Oregon? The simplest way was to fly her back in the cabin, not in cargo. That is something that working guide dogs get to do and puppies in training sometimes get to do. Retired dogs, do not have the same privileges. I took a chance and called Alaska Airlines. I was connected to a very nice booking agent in Arizona. I explained the situation of the dog being in California and needing to get to Oregon. The agent was not sure of the policy, but decided it was her mission to find out. She put me on hold and talked to her supervisor. She kept me on hold, checking back to keep me on the line several times. Finally she came back and said, “Guess what? I’m authorized to make that kind of decision! I say YES!” She took all the info down to make a detailed record of it.

From there, here is my account from that day:
“Today, Faith and I got to the Orange County airport about 11:30. We walked in the terminal door and were right there by the Alaska Airlines check in I was just starting to input the information in a kiosk and then planned to visit the desk to make sure the flight was going to go smoothly. Within a minute an Alaska Airlines employee rushed over and asked if we were going to Portland and if the dog was Faith. I said yes and printed out my boarding pass. the employee then took my boarding pass and went to a computer to make sure that all the appropriate information was in the computer so we would not have a problem at the gate.

From there to security, Faith and I were able to educate several people about the program and the TSA agents were thrilled to practice their protocols for taking service animals through the check point. After security, we were within feet of the gate. There we met several other people who had questions including another puppy raiser for a different program who had raised approximately 50 guide dogs. We then took a short walk and double checked with the gate staff that they knew we were there.

A few minutes later, another employee came over to find out more about Faith and her history. Each employee was quite emotional about the sacrifice that Christian has made in letting Faith retire and about the work that Faith has done. Before I knew it, the terminal had an announcement going over the general P.A. system that they were paging Faith and I. They then went on and explained Faith’s history to the entire terminal and invited her up to the gate. Our walk over to the gate was met with a standing ovation. At the gate, the flight crew and gate agents were overcome with emotion as they proclaimed that this was Faith’s retirement party. They gave her a fresh flower lei, a gift bag of toys and a goodie, and took pictures. The gift was a handmade card, a treat, and a toy — ALL came from the booking agent in Arizona who had helped us get the flight. Then they honored her by letting us have special boarding. The flight crew were stumbling over each other to be the first to offer help, greet Faith, and talk to me to hear more about the program. Everybody on the flight was excited to have us aboard. I met and talked to more people who wanted to know more about the program or congratulate Faith for her years of service. Really there were few dry eyes in the plane.

In all the excitement, I was able to get out a message to Mark and a Facebook post before the plane took off. While I was in the air, tweets about Faith’s adventure started spreading over the internet and Alaska Airlines even commented on how happy they were to make this Faith’s special day. We made sure that everyone was thanked and recognized for making it a great flight for Faith.

By the way – Faith slept soundly for most of the flight. She only woke up to eat her inflight goodie that the airline provided her.”

Since then, the news spread and found its way to the President of International Guiding Eyes, the parent organization for Guide Dogs of America. He requested a picture of Faith. My guess is that she will be making the next newsletter.

Journey and Faith have both been learning to play with other dogs, neither seems to be proficient yet at figuring the other out. Journey does seem to be able to see that Faith needs to be treated a little gently and encourages her to play. When Faith is feeling frisky, she has less finesse and grunts, giving Journey nudges and the occasional stomp on the belly. Journey is very tolerant. They have had some rip roaring playtimes…as evidenced by all the coffee table clearing they have done with their tails as they have run by. Crazy puppies!

What else? Well we are finishing a major kitchen remodel. As weekend warriors, it has taken us a looong time, but we are in the finishing touches stage. Tired of kitchen stuff and needing to finish other summertime projects now means we need to cram here at the end before the rains start to come. An added unanticipated job was added last week when the winds came whipping through and destroyed our canopy carport. It was getting old and brittle, so it is not terribly tragic, but it is not going to be an easy job. First, the carport was flipped around WITH cement blocks attached. It landed nearby, slightly down hill in a bit of blackberry bush. K and I were able to pull it up and move it to a level area of our yard. We took off part of the canopy so it wouldn’t catch wind, but we are talking serious winds – much like the Santa Anas in California. I headed out after that only to get a call from K. “I got your good news and your bad news,” she said. “Well, the good news is that it isn’t moving anymore. The bad news is that it caught a big gust and flipped and flew down the ravine into the really big patch of blackberry.” Crud!!!! Yeah, it is going to take some thinking to get it up and out without killing ourselves in the insidious vines. UGH!

Okay, that was a long post. Next happenings include the fall term for K in her quest to do early college. Cross your fingers that all will be smooth sailing!

Break time’s over!

1 04 2014

Well, I guess it is the school of hard knocks. K finished winter term on Friday, had one week off, and is back to school as of yesterday. Winter term grades came in with 2 A’s and 2 B’s – one of the B’s should have been an A, but she just missed making that jump in her Algebra III class. Yesterday, she started out her term with Geology Lab. She was quite delighted to find out a friend of hers also has the same lab class. Today is a bigger day. She had Business Law at the brutal hour of 8:00AM for 2 hours. With 10 minutes in between, she went on to Algebra IV for 2 hours, and her day will end with her Geology lecture. The one saving grace with her early class is that the same friend is also in that class. With only 10 minutes between each class, it is not an ideal schedule and she has to repeat it on Thursday with the addition of a 3 hour PE class later that day. I don’t know why, but figuring out a schedule was extremely difficult because about 95% of the classes she could have taken to meet requirements were only offered in one time slot – the same slot – on Tuesday and Thursday. It was crazy! There literally was only one class choice that she could have substituted for one of her current classes in her schedule that would have worked and given her the minimum credits she had to have. Last term, she had more classes that had on-line components. This term it is a lot more time with her bum in a classroom seat – 7 hours of it just for science! Hopefully she can suppress her inner squirmy monkey and be successful. She has some tough classes, but having a friend in 2 will help her enjoy it.

Last week was K’s last adult match for the season. She had two good things happen in the last couple nights. The first was that she finally hit a perfect score in prone position….on her warm up target! She was extremely pleased, but it was a groaner because she missed the same by 1 point during the match. She is still chasing that one a week and a half later. On the last night, the second one happened – she finally had a score that counted for her team. Basically the top 5 scores in each position are what represents the team. She has come close and been knocked out at the last minute, but she finally had her prone score of 99 (out of 100) count. It was a nice way to end, though she really wanted to represent with that 100. Her team is really really good, so getting a score to count typically means a perfect score. Her team is so good, that they took first place in the league. YAY! Now she has until next November to start perfecting her techniques and getting more scores on the board.

In other shooting news, in looking at her 4-H scores, we already know that she has scored high enough to go to the state competition in June. If she continues on this path, we would not be surprised that she will be invited to nationals in 2015. She has the scores to qualify her, now it is a matter of being within the top 4 shooters. Cross your fingers!!! Nationals are in Nebraska in the remote area of Grand Island – I am sure we can make an interesting vacation of it with lots of stops at Cracker Barrel along the way! Well, she is not there yet, but we can hope. Additionally, with a year to continue to practice, she would make a better showing. It is all fun and she enjoys the challenges she sets for herself.

Chickens!!! Lordy, it is like child birth: you forget how crazy it is. We have chickens. A lot of chickens. FORTY CHICKENS in 3 different age groups. We may be crazy (NO comment from the peanut gallery!) We already had our 6 laying hens. They are still healthy and happy (despite their on-going daily griping). After losing a couple over the last year, we decided we needed to up our flock with a few more. We planned on three and then the farm store sent me a coupon that gave me some freebies, but ended up getting us four…Mark and K just can’t help themselves. They are like kids in a candy store when picking out chicks. So that brought us up to 10. March rolled around and our newbies were growing – currently, they look like miniature versions of their breed because they are so young, but fully feathered. In March, one of the feed companies does an evil thing – they give you free meat chicks with the purchase of their food. Enter 30 more chicks for our annual chick raising freezer filling event. Five of the chicks are for our neighbor – after trying our hand raised chickens last year, they were on-board for some of their own this year. So now we wait for these chicks to get feathered out so we can get them outside….they are smelly! We start them out in the house, move them to the garage, and finally out onto grass. You would think that would make them happy to free range, but meat chickens are a mutant breed that only recognize their feed as food and don’t eat grass and bugs like normal chickens. It is crazy, but only lasts for about 6 weeks and is only once a year.

If that was not enough, the turkeys are laying and I need to get on incubating eggs because I already have a waiting list of people who want my babies. Basically, I juggle poultry! LOL! Some inside, some out, some hatching, lots laying, and all eating and pooping!

And if all that was not enough, pennies were saved and finally we have dug into our kitchen for a long needed redo. Doors have been falling off for over a year, most left are falling apart. Yep, it is confirmed that we are nuts! It wouldn’t be so bad a remodel, if it were not for the length of time you have to wait for cabinet orders to be filled. We are further put off because the old cabinets have to come down before that order is placed because of some mysterious places in the soffits. I am looking at a long period of time where my crock pot and BBQ are going to be my best friends and doing dishes will be a challenge.

When it rains, it pours, but what doesn’t kill us, will enrich our lives in all of this. It will help keep us young…I hope!

Stealing Croutons?

28 02 2014

K has been gearing up for this week for Oregon’s Youth Education Summit. She found out a couple weeks ago that she needed to take the essay she wrote and convert it to a speech. I thought she might totally freak out be a little uncomfortable with the idea of giving a speech. In addition to having to speaking, she found out that it was going to be a room filled with state Representatives/Senators. Surprisingly, she only had a moment of anxiety and then she exclaimed that she could “totally nail it”.

She rewrote elements of her essay to make it easier to read and added the niceties that would make it a speech. Then she practiced a bit, but in private. The essay was about the Constitution and government, so she did some more research to help aid her in conversations she might have over the three days. She was feeling pretty good.

Yesterday I dropped her off. From observation, it appeared, but was not confirmed that one of the finalists decided not to come. She may have come later – I will have to ask K next time I talk with her. The other girl that was there, sadly, looked terrified. The kids were just hanging out in the lobby and she just looked like she was ready to bolt. K said she later warmed up and was able to give her speech. The rest of the five finalists consisted of 5 boys – most looking well polished and clean cut. It sounded like everyone was getting along, though they are all competing for scholarship money and 2 spots to go to Washington DC to compete for additional scholarship money.

The activities from yesterday included taking a detailed tour of the capitol building and watching sessions of state congress. K said she enjoyed the tour and the group was treated like VIP’s and introduced during the session. Next they went to the state archives. They were able to go into back rooms and examine important old documents that were being preserved. After that, they went back to the hotel and cleaned up for dinner.

Dinner began with their speeches. They drew numbers and K’s was the second speech. She was a little intimidated because the first speaker had memorized his entire speech. She said she did fairly well and was feeling good and about her performance. One of the youth speakers started to give his speech and became flustered and was unable to finish. She said she felt really bad and gave him a hug right after and tried to make him feel better —- no matter how she did, it mattered more to me that she cared about the well being of the boy. It sounded like the rest of the kids came together to console him and they are, despite the competition, becoming a team. K did say that the boy made up for not being able to speak by being personable during the day, so she thought he had maybe not gotten counted out.

During dinner, K sat next to one of the Senators (forgot his name). They were talking and eating and (Mama shakes head here) she noticed that he wasn’t eating his croutons. She commented on it and he said he wasn’t a fan of them. Probably seeing the agast look in her eyes, he then asked if she wanted them. Now — she started out our phone conversation by EXCLAIMING “I stole a Senator’s Croutons!!!” Which just made us get screwed up looks on our faces. I felt better at the full explanation, but shook my head. Prior to her leaving for the trip we had discussed that the first night was a FORMAL dinner and what kind of expectations would be part of that. I guess I neglected to mention that salivating over your dinner companion’s salad garnishings was not really something that I would encourage…especially if it was a high ranking state representative. Note to self – explain more details next time!

Today, the kids are going to a water park as a special treat, but only for a couple hours. Their day is very full and includes two museum tours in addition. Hopefully it will be a good day to blow off a little steam from the stress of the previous day. Tomorrow, they are going to be doing some shooting at an Olympic style range and go through an education program. The three days culminates with a final meal (parents invited) and awards ceremony. This is when we find out about exact scholarship awards and who is going to DC. Very exciting!!!


9 02 2014

The title pretty much sums it up.

Mark and I had a really bad idea talked this morning about working on getting the driveway a little clearer, so we can get to the main roads. The plan was that Mark was going to take the Hulk and fish tail around trying his best to get stuck drive on our road a few times to make wheel ruts that would melt quicker. Since it is about 40 degrees, it just seemed like smooshing it would get things going.

Mark went out while I was taking care of something else. When I had a moment, I looked out to see if the truck was back in its spot. It wasn’t so I figured he made it out on the main roads. Just then, I heard the doors open and close and he came walking in. The Hulk had made it down our driveway, up the big hill on our street, and onto the main roads. Then he turned around and came down the hill, turned on the driveway, and started up our hill only to do a little truck sledding slide back down. He was able to park it safely and walk back.

Together we grabbed the snow shovel (thank you previous home owners!) and headed back out. We started digging out the wheel ruts that the truck had made on its previous trek. Then Mark jumped in the Hulk and started up the hill again. He got up fine, so I joined him and we started going up and down our very long driveway making tracks that would hopefully melt. Well, it wasn’t melting fast enough and we must have gotten snow and ice packed into the tire treads. On our last trip down our road to hell the hill on our driveway, we completely started spinning where we had been fine before. We were in the worst possible place, going down hill in a straight line instead of making the gentle curve the road actually goes. The straight line path was taking us toward a small ravine…worse…we just barely were starting to turn at the last minute putting us in a perfect position to flip down into the ravine…. Even worse, neither of us were wearing seatbelts (very strange for us), so, if we flipped, I would have slammed into the door that was going to hit first and he was going to be on top of me…at least until we were upside down.


Yes, I saw all this in slow motion. In the moment I did ask myself if there was now enough time to get that seat belt on or??? The conversation with myself was cut short as we sort of slipped into the ravine, this time the ice helping us turn back to go straight down. Now it isn’t that far and it does level out to the main road, but we did sort of clear a path in the brush, the hard way. At the bottom we came to a stop before going into the actual street.

While we checked our shorts caught our breath, we watched a car come slowly down the street’s hill; my one thought being ‘please don’t let it be our neighbors who always catch us doing the silliest/stupidest stuff. It was at the point that it passed that I was simultaneously thrilled to not be crushed in the Hulk with the fire department needing to come out with the jaws of life as well as happy as a clam that it wasn’t actually our immediate neighbors catching us in the act of mass stupidity. From the bottom, we were able to drive out on the street and turn back up to our driveway and onto our house. I couldn’t have gotten out quick enough and we both voted to crack open the 50 pound bag of de-icer.

Oh the worst part of being potentially stuck upside down in the Hulk waiting for help? A stupid mouse has again gotten into the main cabin and has peed like crazy. It smells so bad and we could have been trapped and breathing mouse pee air. GROSS!

We’re alive!!! Yaaaaaaaay!


9 02 2014

Well, after four years it finally snowed to a sleddable level….then it snowed more.

The big snow came on Thursday, but it all started on Tuesday. On Tuesday, there were weather repots talking all about the snow coming later in the week. What they forgot to mention was that it was actually going to snow on Tuesday. Now it didn’t snow everywhere and it didn’t snow much, but our area snowed all afternoon and evening. It was warm, so only about an inch stuck around, but it was there the next day. The result was a feeling of “Meh, give me something to sled on.” It was just inconvenient because you didn’t want to go out and get stuck in it. K did have to walk across her campus in it. Being a spread out college campus, it was quite the walk.

Well, Thursday came and by 10:30 the roads had swirling white bits of snow starting to collect. Not wanting to get caught anywhere close to the city center, Mark left work at lunch and worked the rest of the day from home. It turned out that it was a real good idea because people ended up with massive commute times, ran into accidents, and even got stuck. Traffic maps showed that all roads and freeways were red – Portland became crazy town. That night we got 3 or 4 inches.

Friday, we looked out and saw that it would take an emergency for us to try to drive off our property. While the nearby roads had been de-iced taking care of some of the snow, our street and our driveway were covered. Knowing our animals would need water, we filled up their waterers with warm water and made them warm oatmeal with peaches. Topped with scratch, the chickens and turkeys came running.

The turkeys had been walking around stomping on the snow and doing their best to ignore it, but cried out for us as we walked up with goodies and water. The chicken were basically hanging out in a small area that hadn’t gotten much snow and, conveniently, was also where their food was. The ones not in that spot were in the old dog house we have in their run. The chickens there could hear the feasting on oat-y goodness, but were skittish about making the run for it through the snow. Finally they couldn’t take it anymore and made a run for it.

After chores, I took a moment to try a bit of sledding. It was what I had been hoping for. I mean if you are going to get snowed in, you should have some good sledding. Well, it was…okay, but not great. I could get going on one hill, but it lead to the street where cars were sliding down the hill, so it wasn’t making me want to do more than an experimental run. While we were at the bottom of our driveway, we found that many cars had been on it. Apparently our driveway was the place to turn out when you car was either going out of control down or uphill. Looking at the big deeply grooved 4X4 tires from cars that weren’t able to make it, we decided that it would be awhile before we were going anywhere. Just to cement that in, a big red 4×4 truck came down the hill. He started sliding and turned away from our driveway (maybe because we were in view) and he started going across the way to the neighbors driveway. Well, we nearly watched a disaster because he didn’t quite make the turn and nearly went into a deep ravine. The truck could have easily gone over and rolled, but stopped at the very last second, spun for a bit, and then retreated to the neighbor’s driveway. Very scary!

Saturday, the turkeys were about the same, but the chickens were in their coop and growling at us. They stopped once I put their warm oatmeal in the coop with them, but they were not happy. While we had gotten very few eggs in the past week, we suddenly had 9 from both Friday and Saturday. It was either a case of just wanting to stay in and there was nothing better for them to do or they were trying to appease the weather gods. Either way, they were not amused, but we had eggs!

Sledding on Saturday was a complete dud, even though we had five more inches of snow. Anyone attempting it got on the sled and sunk into a hole with no hope of getting down a hill. So after chores, it was back in the house. Saturday, we survived, but all plans were out the window and munchies and TV were the main sources of entertainment.

Now it is Sunday. Overnight, we got freezing rain. Educational moment — I once had never heard of freezing rain. I mean, isn’t that just snow? Hail? Then I saw pictures of cars totally coated in water, frozen over completely. Roads that looked more like bobsled chutes. The term freezing rain strikes fear in peoples faces and, once I saw those images, it caused me fear as well. So now everything is coated in a super icy, yet snowy blanket of day-4-house-bound-hell. The good snacks are gone, there is no hope for sledding, and no hope for getting out in the world. Not that there is anything to go out to. Portland and areas from much farther south up into Washington, just shut down completely.

We are not sure when we will get out because the temps today are only about 35 degrees and there is a pretty big base of snow and ice. It wouldn’t be so bad, but with TV as a source of entertainment, the commercials are reminding me of the places I can’t go…and there are a lot of pizza commercials…and now I am wanting pizza in the worst way. AHHHHH!!! Even the stupid Taco Bell commercials are starting to look appetizing. The snow is just starting to drip, but with single drips, it is going to take a long time. Even K is saying she hopes to go to school – she actually likes her classes, so that isn’t a totally backwards statement….though I do question if she is going snow-insane because Mondays are Algebra III classes (YUCK!).