Ok where to start. First read about Covid happening in China in January. Read the existing health research on Covid generally, the SARS material. It’s dangerous. But we know where it is and surely the borders will be closed and we and the rest of the world will be protected. That didn’t happen. Thousands were allowed out of China, no tests were done and then the nightmare began. Cases occured in NY, hundreds. Surely we will shut the state borders and protect ourselves. But that didn’t happen. In early March several elderly people in senior care facility in Washington state got sick, and died! It took another month before it occured to anyone to isolate these facilities and test everyone who works there, wait it took two months to test all workers. By then thousands across the country were dead. The rest is in the news, but at home it meant I had to isolate because of my existing pneumonia condition I couldn’t risk getting this new version of CoViD, CoViD-19. Over the next few months we would create “pods”. PODs of family members who we could count on to take all the necessary health safety actions and stay safe and keep us safe too. It worked! Masks work!
Months Later:Ok, here is what happen. It’s summer and thing got nuts.
First the garden needed tending, but I couldn’t start that until I had both the garden shed and green house ready.
Ok green house ready, garden shed ready now for the actual garden.
First weed and add soil amendments to the beds. Then plant what I started way last May.
Purchased a ton of plants at the Clackamas County Garden show, love that place, but now I have to do something with all this stuff. This year I had a plan: easy only. If it is too hard to grow — DON’T.
So, with that plan in mind what happen? Well nothing much changed except even easy plants need tending too So, I planted just Eight tomato plants, only twenty kale, and a few onions and garlic. Everything else is a perennial.
So, then I harvest my crop of horse radish, which grows amazing here by the way, and the culinary sage. Also harvested some thyme and then planted more thyme varieties around the tomatoes and in pots on the Deck.
That’s all, nothing special just that. And while I got to use the remodeled kitchen for the first time, and it is terrific, I still had to do maintenance on everything else.
Maintenance around here isn’t easy. Because we have such a great wet climate everything grows, alot. That means pruning. Prune the clematis, the honey suckle, the raspberries, the winter dead wood, the twenty roses, or was that thirty roses. The tunnel arbor needs binding up the climbers and more triming was required everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all of this but the days just fly by and the next thing I know it’s time to hay.
HAY SEASON: now I don’t actually have that much to do. I take my husband, Rick, food and water while he cuts, rakes and bales. It only takes a week from start to finish. But getting started is the problem. We must half five days without rain, not any rain at all. A warm breeze would be nice too, but no rain is essential. In June in Oregon, we just don’t know when that will happen and waiting makes everyone nuts.
The hay season involves coordination with our daughter and her family because they help us pick up. But they have city jobs and we have to work around their schedules too. Fortunately they both work for companies that appreciate our situation and are flexible. Thank you!
This year the weather was weird. The weather people couldn’t predict anything. They kept saying it would be clear and then it would sprinkle. So we would get all set to go and then nope, stop everything, we have rain. We just wanted to scream. The worst of it was that it wasn’t even useful rain just enough to make haying impossible.
Of course while we wait the hay is getting ripe. How ripe is too ripe, well it has to stay green, it has to be at least a nice clean green when we cut. If it gets over ripe there won’t be any grain left and the stems will be straw. No food value left means our cow will not be able to eat it. That’s bad!
We didn’t get to pick up until the fourth of July weekend. Normally that is, well, normal. But this year the hay was ready early.
Anyway that was how hay season went. Best part was having the two year old grandson helping. With his grandpa’s hat and riding the tractor he made great effort to lift and load. He likes to help so much that he makes the work fun for everyone.
After getting through hay season I still have to plant and harvest greens. And water, and water and then water again. The tomatoes are not doing well. Not sure why…
The weeds are pulled in every bed save the one over run with Russian seaberry. That stuff is invasive and won’t die. After cutting is out last year to try to stop it from spreading it’s roots just moved north with more trees. Cherries are bad, they spread too, but cherries don’t have one inch thorns.
No! Apple season is upon us. We only have forty trees. Some are small and some are in the back field, which we leave mostly to the deer. But the Yellow Transparents are ripe in mid-late July and then we will have another tree variety ready every week right through fall. The Foster Farm will take a freight box full. Family will come each week to harvest more. Rick’s family was especially helpful making several trips. And they blessed us with a lunch each time they came. What a blessing!
That brings us to Fall. Pears are in the cooler, paw paw sorbet is in the freezer, quince is still in the box, not yet ready but I will get to it. Apple juice is canned and the berries are in the freezer. I think that’s it for now.
Now it’s fall and tomorrow I will but the garden to bed. Finish cold stratifing some seeds and finish off making raisins if the grapes in the fridge haven’t gone bad. Try to get my hands on this house on Wednesday.
I voted today. Filled the ballot out and will drive the ballots up to the box in Colton. I like the ease of voting by mail, but miss the community that voting involved when we voted at the grange. We voted and were fed at the same time.
The best part of this entire season, summer and now fall was get to have Aiden here every week. It was only for a day but it was such a joy. Rick and I spend more time together when he is here too. We both have so much fun with him! He just reminds us how much fun the farm is. Yes it’s work but look at all the cool stuff. Cows, horsey, goat, chickens, dogs, birds and they all get to be fed and watered – what fun! And we get to give them treats of apples and carrots and carry these treasures in a special animal bucket where we can also put the treasures we find on our walks through the woods. How could life be better.
Aiden is right, it can’t be much better. And this week We will get to do it in the rain! Oh boy.
Ah, winter is coming./pre>
It’s been a year since I wrote here. 2019 was a very busy year. Filled with our Grandson Aiden. He turned four in October. He is a big boy now, not a baby at all. Very quiet, like his grandpa and daddy. His smile is the best!
Today is a whole new year. 2020. Both kids are doing well. Beth has really become immersed in health care just like I was at BLM and then BPA. Funny how work shapes our interest and expertise. Rick and I are working here on the farm. But because of my health I will focus on the house until I can get around better. Oh yeah my health. Got sick from pneumonia from Thanksgiving right thru Christmas and New year. Also put my back out just before Christmas. So have been dealing with both back pain and breathing for about seven weeks. There now back to the house. Since Christmas I have barely been able to walk. Now its a big day to put a load of laundry in the washer let alone get the Christmas tree down or anything else constructive. I will prevail!
Just the truth, so help me!
Pergola in the side yard, put together by hubby, Rick.
Our Farm was purchased by Boone Issac Potter and Ina L. Burris-Potter after their only son Frank Jay Potter, named for the pictured fellow above, after he was killed in WWII in the “Pacific Theater”. It was gifted to my mother, Delia Jeanne Potter and then to my brother Jan and me when she died, via a gift from her husband Keith.
Things like death can bring out the best or the worst in people, so it goes most times. I was lucky! Jan and I had a great relationship with our step father, Keith Cooper. Our family farm could have gone to his new wife after his death, but he and she, our wonderful great grandma Joanie Cooper, gifted the place to me. Why me? Good question! Again, only luck and fate. At the time I was living in Prineville and Jan was unable to financially take on the farm. Jan agreed that if Rick and I took over the farm we would see to it that he would inherit our Grandparents place up the road and I would take care of our Aunt Fran. To accomplish my part I moved Myself and daughter Beth to the farm. Rick would see to selling our Prineville house, and see if he could get a hardship transfer to the westside. I didn’t have a job. It would take a year to accomplish both Rick’s move and me finding good job. But we did it.
Fran was ok at this point, she had been diagnosed with emphysema, she would eventually decided to sell the old farm and move to town. This was heart breaking. She put farm up for sale, the house and remaining 10 acres for $60,000. In 1990 we were in no position to buy it and do the extensive maintenance required. Jan couldn’t buy it either. She sold it on a private contract and that was that. When she passed Jan did inherit some funds but it was sad compensation for the old farm and the memories from our childhood.
In the end we have Jan to thank for the opportunity to build this farm as we have for the last thirty years. Thank you!
The old farm and why we miss it: The Potter’s were a rugged bunch, a bushel of boys and a couple of girls. The original Potter farm was up the street a bit at the sharp turn. By the by that turn was created to reduce the cost of electricity installed from the road. I still have the coffee pot and toaster PGE gave my grandparents when the power was installed. Grandpa had to by the milk cooler for the dairy, as the law required. I don’t believe he would ever have bothered with electricity if the law hadn’t require it. Any who the Potter boys owned everything from the BLM lands to the Hwy. once. Lee and Roy had moved on when I was little but Boone stayed, I am sure he intended for his son, or my brother later, to take over the farm. That’s why I would get the lower 40. But he hadn’t figured on his daughter Francine needing a place after he was gone. But Fran sold the original farm so she would have money to live on. To bad too, I really loved that place with the log house, the beaver dam and old prairie barn. But things don’t always workout. I hope he rest well knowing that this place is still in the family and will go to his great great grandson. At least I hope it will, God willing and the creek don’t rise.
So, this brings us to Tawney’s Red Gate Farm. From Potter, to Cooper (my mom), to Abeita (my maiden name), to Tawney (my married name), to Lagler gen 1 (our daughter) and gen 2 (our grandson).
Its a beautiful piece, twenty acres of woods and 18 acres of farmable land. Two good barns, vegetable garden with shed and a little cedar green house. A 1962 1000 sq.ft. ranch house with a 1990 1000 sq.ft. addition. Its surrounded by gardens, deck, patio and orchard. A view of the Mountain to the East. Covered in wild flowers, hay and pasture fields, our animals enjoy abundant feed year round. This blog will cover what goes on thru the seasons. Maintaining, building new, keeping living-things living. Finding joy in the every day and the luxury of retirement… hope you enjoy these little tales.