Friday, November 30, 2018

The Doctors Chickens

My lovely niece Carly was away visiting her brother Nick, my nephew. 
Ottawa Canada or there about. 
My niece is doing her residency at the Hood River Hospital. Hood River is east of Portland with an easy hour drive if the weather is good. It’s usually not, this time of year.
Last night I received a call from my sister.
Calls from my sister are rare so my heart always does this funny little thing, it stops.....until she answers. She wanted to know if I could drive to Hood River with her to check on Carly’s chickens? Relief and heart beat return, I tell her that would be great! Seems our niece is a bit worried about her chickens and is sure one is not long for this world.
When Carly got her chickens I thought how foolish, but I didn’t tell my niece how I felt because Carly has always shared my love for animals. When she was a little girl she loved coming to Menagerie Manor because it was like visiting a zoo. All through life we make and sometimes learn from our mistakes. Carly is a very intelligent young lady, so I am hoping she won’t be in the chicken business for long.
Thanks to GPS we were able to navigate the winding back country of Hood River to find her rented home and the little chicken house. Turns out the chickens were in fine fettle, a bit surprised to see us. They were in late molt which can be a bit of a health risk but all was well.
My sister treated me to lunch out on our way back to Portland. It was a lovely place at the base of the Bridge Of The God’s. You can just see fishing platforms used by the Native Americans on the far north bank of the Columbia River. And commerce is alive and well in lumber country.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Natural Remedy

We have several Anna’s hummingbirds that depend on a constant supply of nectar all year long. These diminutive little busybodies have been a constant source of enjoyment.

The back gardens would be the logical place for these birds to hang out and feed in peace. But logic is something they choose not to indulge in. If I hang feeders in the back gardens they are ignored. Our front porch is where they must be.
Unfortunately the family across the street brought home a cat. I love house cats just as much as the next person, but as the name implies they should be house cats.....indoors. Better for the cat and even better for our dwindling number of native birds. Saturn is a very sweet cat and I’m sure his three little boys love him dearly and would think me a horrible old ogre if I was to lodge a complaint.

The cheeky little bugger was right there sitting on the front porch this morning as if to say, 
“What ya going to do about it? You can’t hurt me, I’ll tell my little humans and they will hate 
you.” This old gardener might be a bit slow at times but eventually I get it together.

My beautiful monkey puzzle tree has needed a bit of pruning for a while. But pruning one of these trees takes careful consideration not to mention a good hard hat and some even better leather gloves.
I made quick decisive cuts with a limited amount of bloodshed, mine that is.

I covered the porch rail with the spiny trimmings, under the watchful gaze of a hummingbird. I went back into the house and it wasn’t ten minutes before Saturn appeared.

And it was about another five seconds before Saturn decided Anna’s hummingbirds are not on his menu.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fall? No Thanks.

Retirement is a big job! It has been tough to find time to just sit and do nothing or to sit and read or even blog. I really enjoy the summer and am truly not ready for fall, but the garden is telling me that fall is coming regardless of this old gardener love of sunshine. I was out pulling a few weeds and noticed the Japanese anemones are starting to bloom, a sure sign of change. 

The kitchen garden is in its final glory, with a nice crop of beans to be picked and packed into the freezer. Three more heads of red cabbage and four butternut squash will close down the garden for the year.  

This window box is in denial and like this old gardener screams, “Give me more summer!” But most chores now are around the house instead of in the garden.


 The front porch was a week long project that required sanding the majority of it down to raw wood.

MeMa loved the new look and that’s all that matters.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Down Memory Lane

On one of our recent trips to north Portland MeMa noticed the marquee sign in front of Lombard Animal Hospital announcing an open house. In 1972, I had applied for the position of kennel cleaner. As I was being introduced to the staff the surgery door was quickly opened and out popped this little pixie of a girl with long hair and straining under the dead weight of an unconscious dog. When she got to the door leading to the recovery kennels the Doctor doing the introductions said “and this is Marjie,” she turned and smiled just as the dog lost it’s bladder soaking her light blue surgical smock. I jumped toward her asking if I could help, but she kicked the door open and said “nope, you’ll get plenty of your own.” It was love at first sight and still is after 43 years. Our late employer’s plaque hangs next to Marjie’s head in the photo and the second photo is note she received with her first paycheck, $1.80 per hour. The new doctors and staff were thrilled that we took time to come today and gave us a tour of the recently remodeled facility, they also took a couple of photos of the letter.

Sunday, June 24, 2018