I cannot believe it has been one full year since we left the big city and moved to the Great Northwest. So much has changed in the last year. We’ve learned so much of what it means to live in the country, and I think our lives have changed pretty drastically, but for the better not worse.
1. Blackberries – harbor many critters. Always look before you pick. As you may remember it was while trimming these tenacious vines that I freaked out over a bug and broke my foot. You will often be investigated by bees and wasps as your fingers become stained while picking.
2. Foliage -Do be sure to trim blackberry vines back and other overgrown foliage because you never know what you will find. Case in point I have found the following – I have a pear tree I didn’t know I have, along with an apple and 5 cherry trees. Also found – an old VW Bug with no engine. A bumper to another car, a family of nutria, a pheasant nest, a skunk den (kept well away from that!) an old metal trash can and assorted bottles. Man that must have been one hell of a party!
3. Trash – you really must recycle everything you can. We don’t have trash pickup so we have to go to the dump. And everything must be sorted, glass – green, brown and clear. Cardboard – corrugated and non. Aluminum cans, tin cans, plastic bottles over here, and plastic containers over there. Newspapers, metal scraps, wood scrapes on the top side. Batteries in the shed and last but not least garbage. But that is a lot of stuff to haul to the dump. So come October thru May we burn everything we can, which is a lot. Below are the steps to a bon fire. Which can be a big shindig for some. People will actually ASK you to bring them your clippings so they can burn them. They stand around, drink beer, tell stories and burn stuff. Seriously it’s an event! I’m actually looking forward to hosting one. And I can’t believe I just said that haha.
Must have emergency equipment available. There is also a hose attached to the well house.
You can really feel the heat from just this small of a fire.
Time to feed the second pile to the first pile and bank it. Now it may seem this takes a while, but if you start piling all the stuff up over a period of time it dries up. So these piles go up like balsa wood. Takes about 3 minutes to burn it all down and if you’re not careful you might be painting your eyebrows on for a week or so. But once banked the bigger pieces on the bottom will smolder for 24 hours or more.
4. Rain. It’s going to rain in Oregon. Not near as much as I thought it would, but much more than down in California. This brings you to proper clothing and an understanding that water will get into things you don’t want it to and thus you have to deal with it. Proper rain attire in Oregon, a light jacket or vest, boots and hat (heavier coat if it’s a cold winter day). If you pull out an umbrella you’re not from around here. There will be large puddles so make sure you boots cover your ankles.
If there is a space for a molecule rain will get in, like a car in places you never thought of.
This is what happens when you hear a sloshing noise as you’re driving. And for a week you’re trying to figure out what is wrong. You go out one day and come home to take your groceries out of the trunk to find them soaked. Seems water had been leaking into a small hole under hood near the windshield wipers. This small stream (not drip) of water has been slowly filling every crevice under the under the carpet panel. When it got to full it spilled over into the trunk, but again under the carpet. It wasn’t until it reached maximum capacity that it started to soak the carpet. We are talking gallons of water. So much so that –
We had to start jacking the car up and tilt it on its side as much as we could to spill the water out. This was as we started the tilt. So water can be a real problem.
5. Wildlife! And no I don’t mean the cows that live next door. Although, being from CA when we first moved up here they were fun to watch and I did consider them sort of like wild life. Then I learned what a pain in the butt they are. Did I ever tell you about the one that ‘crawled’ under the fence and ran amok in our yard? Well I had to wrangle that POS by myself down to the end of the property, through a large gate and back into his own yard. Boy do their feet cause a lot of damage. Anyway, back to wild life. So far it’s been just amazing to see all the different animals that come to visit us. We’ve had deer, geese, a skunk, a family of nutria, turkeys, a fox, ducks, osprey, a hawk that lives in our giant pine during the spring, a wild cat (that we do not have) and a bee colony of all things. Why it’s like wild country safari around here.
6. And I think this is the most important. Friends. I have been so fortunate to meet new friends and start enjoying their company. We have Kish Doyle and Anne Wickersham, Rick and Velda, Terry and Dianna and some wonderful neighbors Phil and Kimberly.
Life is pretty good up here in the Great NorthWest. Including the views. This is sitting in my chair looking out my living room window. My window is much bigger, just focused on the middle and those gorgeous clouds.
So often after rain storms I can go out to my back patio and find a rainbow, and in this case two!
I have finally started to feel like I really live here and not just staying over for a long visit. I no longer catch myself driving to the grocery store ‘remembering’ how I used to go to the store or how I used to shop. Now I think about my day in Oregon distance, uncrowded freeways, no graffiti and friendly folks. I ponder the weather more here than down South and the old phrase “..if you don’t like the weather wait 15 minutes…” has become a familiar saying.
We have been so fortunate to retire here. Here’s to many, many years!