Monday, December 30, 2013

Padre Island

Padre Beach looking south
 In November, 2013 I took a trip to Texas to visit my good friend, Marlis. Due to technical difficulties, it has taken me a while to post these photos. These are images of Padre Island National Seashore which is south of Corpus Christi where we stayed for a few days. Padre is 70 miles long, and there is no road. So you drive on the beach. It's a bird refuge. The sandhill cranes were just arriving for the winter. Corpus is a nice place to winter so there's lots of Texas snow birds come there. It is always humid. Summers can be unbearably hot.  Camping is permitted on the beach on Padre. And the Gulf of Mexico is blue. Good place to go for winter vacation in your RV to play a little music, eat good seafood, listen to the sea.

Beach looking north

In Corpus we took a look at the harbor. Lots of vanes for the big windmills come into Corpus. There were unloading one the day we were there. One vane is as long as the ship.  Great sea walk along the north shore. Missed the aquarium.  Laid back town.  And as everywhere in the state, friendly Texans abound.
Lots of shore birds and a crane

Crane on top of sand dune

 When the weather is windy and cloudy at the beach, sit and watch the waves and the birds with a box of dried okra at hand.
Marlis at the visitors center

Pelicans overhead on a cloudy day

Beach vegetation at Padre

View of Corpus Christi from Omni Hotel

Waves on a cloudy day at Padre

Two old broads enjoying a night on the town in Corpus

Fountains in the street

Marlis with her favorite drink

Container ship coming into the harbor

Sunset from the room balcony looking east over the bay

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

A spontaneous Christmas  tree in the field  near Crane, Oregon
From all of us to all of you, have a wonderful holiday. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

The real thing

It ain't gonna be me

What the heck is that?

Man, there gotta be an easier way into the yard

Where's that darn owl?

I'm glad I'm not a turkey.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

photo by Tegin Helton

From Hootie and the gang at the Lazy J.  Remember the Saints on All Saints Day and decorate the graves of the departed on the Day of the Dead. 

Monday, October 28, 2013


A snow storm blew in this afternoon. It started as rain. We're to get one to two inches till it is over tonight. It is so welcome because we are so dry. It's colder, and our beautiful Indian summer is over. This is the turks first snowfall. The other evening I caught them watching the sunset from the garage roof.

Portland Youth Philharmonic

We had a special treat in Burns on Saturday night. The Portland Youth Philharmonic came all the way to Burns to put on a superb concert. They did four pieces, one of which was the Grieg piano concerto in A minor and a very little person, Hannah Moon, played the piano without music, and she was incredible. These kids are high school age and very dedicated musicians. The PYP has a special connection to Burns because it was started in Burns about 1910 by Mary Dodge who taught kids to play the violin. She moved to Portland in 1919 and in 1924 The Portland Junior Symphony was born. The picture does not do the group justice. The concert took place in the high school gym for Burns has no performing arts center. But there is a very energetic group working to build a new Performing Arts and Education Center. All but a few curmudgeons love the idea. It will take a while, but we are looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hootie's Ladyfriend is Back

This morning I was sitting in the living room about dawn, and I heard our resident hoot owl hooting away. Hoot, hoot, hoot.  This is unusual. We never hear him hoot except in owl mating season and, guess what, it's hoot owl mating season. So when the sun came up I looked out the dining room window into the elm tree and there they were. Hootie found his ladylove again.  She was here last year but left in the winter to find and nest and have the owlettes. Hootie lives here year round. I tried to take photos, but have you ever tried to take photos of an owl in a tree with leaves without a telephoto lens?  The owls just look like two brown blobs in the tree.  Male Hoot owls are smaller than the females. They have great gold eyes.

Hootie the other day, solo, in Russian Olive tree

Brown blob on left, Hootie; Brown blob higher up, Ladylove, in Elm tree

I finally got some photos of our bummer calf, Guido. Bummer calf means he was an orphan and had to be hand fed. Our neighbor gave him to us for boarding their horses on our pasture this summer. Bummer calves inevitably are small, so Guido is very small for his age. He was born in April.  John says he is our emergency food supply.  He's really a cute, and his day consists mostly of eating and laying in his house or in the sun.  

Guido outside the door to the feed shed

Sun is nice. Ear tags are for identification.

Guido and hen friend

Waiting patiently for John to come out of the shed with his alfalfa and wet cob

We traded two of our four Tom turkeys for two hens. Our neighbor had four hens and we had four Toms. I wanted some hens. They are a cross breed, half of which is Bourbon Red. I like these guys much better than the White Broad breasted we raised two years ago. These are good foragers. They like to fly and have been seen on top the garage walking around. Maybe we'll have some poults in the spring.

Toms having a drink. They walk like dinosaurs. Thunder lizards.

The new hens

The four. Two hens in the middle. The Toms are about double the size. The Tom on the left is doing the fan dance.


Hope everyone is enjoying fall weather. We're enjoying Indian summer here, which should last another week.  It's mighty dry here.

CJ, our boarder, and JT


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Uh-oh. Snow.

We've had rain (Yeah!). I awoke around 4 AM and listened to it on the roof until about 5 AM when I fell back to sleep but fortunately it kept raining. This is badly needed precipitation and the ducks LOVE it. The cloud formations have been awesome, and by early afternoon we've had alternate sun and awesome clouds. I was sitting in the living room around 2 PM and looked out the window to the east, toward Stinking Water Ridge. The clouds had cleared and there was snow, a light dusting on the ridge.  First of the season that I know of and it is September 25. It looks like a line of white under the gray of the clouds. Stinking Water Ridge is about 600 feet higher than we are on the old lake bed which is 4200'. Possibility of a freeze Thursday night. We've been harvesting snow peas, spinach, turnips, beets, radishes, tomatoes and lettuce. John has the tomatoes covered and the potatoes should be ready to dig soon. The cooler weather has been refreshing. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Around the Ranch

Cows going to winter pasture
Starting to feel like fall here. We had a light freeze last night and weather today is sunny, breezy and in the 70s. Our ranch neighbors, McBain and Toelle, moved their cows to winter pasture. Many friends came to visit while I've been recovering from surgery.  Today I'm starting to feel like my old self. It's been a month. Having folks visit always cheers me up. The turks are getting big. We think we might have two hens and two gobblers. We all know what happens to gobblers. They are entertaining. This morning they flew up on the chicken shed and were walking around. They tend to travel in a group. They are great foragers and love bugs. Okay with us. Tegin, Sam and Bella came through on the weekend on their way to San Jose, CA to seek their fortune.  They left Portland behind and will call the Winnebago home for a while. They want to play music. They are both very talented and resourceful artists. We know they will do well. We might hook up with them this winter down south where it is warmer. Their cat Bella always travels with them and she was a great hit with the turkeys. Thanks to all of you who keep in touch and wish me well with my recovery.  Happy Fall!
Diane comes to visit and coach Qigong

Turks watch oncoming storm. Hey, what's that on the ground, you guys?

Tegin and Sam start their next big adventure

Road Warrior Winnebago is their new home

Old Bella travels along with them

Sunday, September 1, 2013

St. Charles Medical Center, Bend, Oregon

Main Entrance
Life on the Oregon Frontier may include the occasional visit to the hospital. On August 20 I paid a visit to the St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon which lies 150 miles west of the Lazy J ranch. The purpose of the visit was total hip replacement surgery performed by Dr. Michael Caravelli and his surgical team. Included in the team was anesthesiologist, physician assistant, scrub nurse and someone who managed all the tools. 

A week before the operation I met with a physician assistant in Dr. Caravelli’s office as well as his assistant. There were the usual X-rays, blood work, and other evaluations necessary before major surgery and a visit to my doctor in Burns who helped arrange for some of the tests like chest x-ray and EKG. There’s a huge cadre of people needed to make an operation like this happen. My experience with all of the people involved was pleasant and efficiency was the word of the day.
Dr. Michael Caravelli

In the recovery room the Nurse Ruth was very businesslike. I on the other hand was very chatty, chirpy and singing which was a little unusual for me. I had had a spinal block and light sleep for the surgery and a various times could hear banging, clanging and whirring but it didn’t register. I could care less what was happening. The surgery started at 2 PM, I was in recovery by 4 PM and by 5 PM I was in my room. I had a light salad for dinner. The nurse had me sitting on the edge of the bed that evening.

The next day I was up and walking in the room, then down the hall in the afternoon. I discussed my body functions with more people in three days than I have in a life time. And for some reason, maybe the pain meds, I would not shut up. Anyone who came in the room was fair game. I had my own room on the Ortho/Neuro floor with TV which I didn’t watch but there were two music channels with lovely, soothing music to listen to. When I wasn’t  having meds administered, vital signs checked, physical therapy, occupational therapy, meals, visits, and phone calls, I’d nod off.
Donna, RN, and Julie, CNA

The hospital experience itself was exceptional. I loved being waited on. Three shifts of RNs, CNAs, PTs, OTs and more attended to the needs of the patients on their floor.The food was spectacular. It was healthy! Even vegans would be pleased. I ordered what I wanted from a room menu and it was delivered anytime I wanted it between 6:00 AM and midnight. (Not like the old days where tray of questionable food came only at specified times.) 
Kelly, Physical Therapist

Karen, Radiologist

Beth, Day RN
St. Charles is well laid out and easy to navigate. Volunteers help if a visitor becomes lost. There’s a deli and a cafeteria that serve wholesome food to visitors and staff. There an organic dish of the day in the cafeteria, a resplendent salad bar and healthy entrees. I was very impressed. My husband could find good food while he waited and there is also a beautiful chapel and airy garden space for visitors and staff. And I loved my hospital bed because it adjusted up and down so easily.
Vince, Night RN

Laura, Floor Supervisor
 Everyone was kind, helpful and courteous from the admitting officers to the surgery team. Thank you Dr. Carvelli and crew and the folks at St. Charles Hospital for a positive experience. Recovery is in progress. 

(I took lots more photos, which didn't come out because I was rather fuzzy at the time. And I hope I got everyone's name right.)