Sunday, July 31, 2011

John's Firetruck

Well, it's not really his, but he's parking it in our farm yard for the Crane Rangeland Fire Protection Agency of which he is a volunteer. Friend Barbeleh made a special request to see the truck and here it is in all it's glory. John LOVES this truck. It is a l963 Studebaker 6 x 6  army surplus supplied by the US Forest Service to rural areas to help in fighting range fires. He's putting a new molded top on now instead of the rag top. Molded top is from  the local army depot. Photo to follow when it is properly installed. John and a bunch of men help to maintain these trucks and other types of trucks, and they are scattered around the county.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The ibis have descended on what's left of the marsh along Palomino Lane. The water around town where they usually congregate has dried up. They are black with a downward curving beak. They are beautiful especially when flying.


The yarrow in my garden this year is blooming deep red and purple.  White is blooming wild by the front gate. I love the lacy look of them.

Duck Egg

I love the shape and feel of eggs. This one is from my mallard duck. She's laying again. She sat on thirteen eggs and not a one hatched.


I thought this one was particularly cute and he stood still long enough for a photo.

Potato Blossoms

John thought the potato blossoms are pretty this year and suggested I post them on my blog. Here they are. These are red potatoes so the blossoms are violet.

Actors Lab

As some of you know, I'm polishing my latest mystery novel, Designer Detective, which I plan to pitch at the upcoming Willamette Writers Conference. I decided for a variety of reasons to turn it into a screen play so I could pitch that, too, since producers and agents from the film industry attend the conference as well. On Friday evening of the conference they feature an Actors Lab where aspiring screen writers who are selected can have some of their screen play read by professional actors. I entered the first 7 pages of my screen play and it was selected!  I am thrilled. It is such an opportunity to see how an actor would portray the characters one creates. There is a rehearsal Thursday evening which I will attend.  This all happens next week. I am busy polishing the manuscript, too. I'll pitch that to two literary agents and a mystery book publisher. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

John's 70th

Friends invited us over for dinner on John's 70th birthday last month.  Today is my birthday and we're off to a church potluck for my birthday dinner.  Weather is sunny, breeze, low humidity around 80 degrees. Bees are busy. Garden looks pretty good. Herbs are blooming, black duck is still sitting on a nest. The turkeys look like dinosaurs. Jurassic Park. The rest of the fowl all 46 of them are having a grand time eating bugs. We're fencing in a corral for the horses. They seem to be enjoying life on the Lazy J. So are we. Cheers!

Stay Cool

I know many people are sweltering in the heat right now. But if you were on the top of the Steens Mountain which is 60 miles south of us at 9500 feet you'd be in snow. The photo is the BLM plow trying to clear a path so folks can get to the top. There's a Steens Mountain run pretty soon and looks like they'll have snow for the event.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Elsa's Visit

Our neighbor, Marian, rode over one evening on her pony, Elsa, who is Harriet's mother. Harriet is our two year old pony who is not saddle trained yet. Marian swears by ponies for riding because they are strong and have lots of stamina. Marian left around sunset for the six mile ride home by moonlight. Our mares took great interest in Elsa and greeted and said goodbye with lots of whinnies.

Made in the Shade

Russian Olives Bloom

The Russian Olive trees started blooming late this year -- July. We have eight of them and the scent fills the air, something reminiscent of soft gardenia.  All the pollinators love these blooms and the trees literally hum with them. Besides bees, we have two kinds of bumble bees and then little bee like fliers in all colors. I couldn't resist lots of photos. The tiny yellow four pointed flowers grow in clusters. The seeds are autumn food for the birds. The chickens and the ducks jump up to the lower limbs for the leaves.

Bee Swarm

Last week our bees swarmed and we didn't get the swarm. They took off before we could even try to get to them from a lower branch of our elm tree. Next day we opened the three hives to see what was going on. (See photo of John with smoker opening hive.) The east hive was building queen cells so that was the one that swarmed. The old queen takes off with a ball of workers and the workers left behind make a new queen. (See photo with two queen cells.) We put on more "supers" which are 8" boxes instead of the two 10" boxes that are the bottom hives boxes reserved for the bees to make brood and honey of their own. Hopefully, the bees will have enough room for a while and will make us some honey. The photo with the black frame is a syrup feeder which we removed since the bloom is on. Other photos show the inside of the hive with the frames, a close up of capped brood and then the hives with the new supers all closed up. The hives are getting taller. The honey is light colored and delicious! Some of it is from the Russian Olive trees which are blooming. Photos in another posting.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wild Roses

The wild roses started blooming last week in yellow and orange. Lots of houses in Burns have them cascading as fences.  Ours are shaded and the cows chew on them, so they don't burst with blooms but they are lovely, none the less. The purple salvia and catnip in the garden are rich with blooms. Last night I went out to brush the horses and couldn't find them. They were hiding in the high grass and brush on the southeast corner, and I didn't see them. I walked the whole perimeter of the pasture calling them and looking for a break in the fence. They were totally gone. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Those horses just couldn't have disappeared. When I got back I asked John if he had seen them. And there they were standing in the southeast corner, big as you please. They must have been lying down when I passed. We brushed them this morning and they got their carrot treats. They seem to be settling in. This must be Pasture Nirvana for them.

The Sheriff from Wyoming

The writer Craig Johnson blew through Burns on his motorcycle and Annie, one of the Harney Basin Writers, got him to stop for lunch and a chat and sign his latest book.  He fit right in to Harney County. He has eight books out. The first is Cold Dish. If you want to spend some time in Wyoming with sheriff Walt Longimeyer try Cold Dish the first in the series. Walt and Craig are funny and good storytellers.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July

Last evening John and I took a bike ride along Palomino Lane and beyond that left our legs rubbery. We thought we could do a big rectangular circuit and got stopped by a ten foot across drainage ditch filled with about three feet of slow moving water. The water is draining the still flooded fields to the south of us. The seagulls have discovered these fields which are also filled with lots of marsh birds. We ended up having to back track and did about eight  miles instead of four over sandy dust and rock in some places. By the time we got home we were done in.  Fresh strawberries, blueberries and vanilla ice cream helped revive our spirits. The top photo is rye grass growing along the real dusty road, the middle is flooded pasture. Our place is in the middle far ground of the photo. The last is of the seagulls which you can't see. Sorry. Don't have a telephoto lens.  Happy Holiday!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Home on the Range

At last some critters who appreciate all our beautiful grass. Yogi, Harriet, and Fancy moved in this week.

Harriet and Fancy

John and Yogi

Heading for water

John leads the new arrivals to show them wear the water trough is. Pinto is Fancy. Harriet is half pony, half horse and we hope she is not pregnant.

All the Pretty Horses

We've now added three mares to our menagerie. Marta, our neighbor, needed homes for three of her rescues.  We needed some critters to eat down our grass.  The photo is Marta and John unloading Yogi.  She's the head horse, just weaned a colt, and we may be able to ride her.  John likes to ride bareback.

Grass, grass and more grass

The other evening I got into taking photos of the spectacular grass in our pasture with all the water we had this spring. Beside green and gold, some of the grass is rose color and all that waving in the wind is breathtaking.  Our neighbor brought us three horse to help chew it down. Photos soon of our three mares.


The greasewood right now is green and tender. It likes alkaline soil and has a salty taste. Cows will eat it in the spring. It has thorns and can be nasty.  I kinda like it.

Grass Taller than Sagebrush

Well, maybe you can't see this too well, but the light gray is sage and the green is grass.