Friday, November 28, 2014

Brrr Photo Op

This photo was taken two weeks ago, we are having a warmer time now but with a threat of cold returning next week.
Farmers Almanac said that we are to get a long cold winter, mid November and we had ice everywhere. At least we don't live in Buffalo New York, seven feet of snow with people freezing to death in their stranded cars. And now all that snow is melting they are going to be washed off the map.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Photo Op.

Mt. Hood in her quiet splendour.
MEMA shot this photo the other day using her new iPad Mini.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dead People Hanging About

My father is passing family mementos down to his son's and daughter in preparation of emptying out his house, the house that he and my late mother shared.  Winter he flies down to Arizona where he has his own room in my twin brothers home.  Summer he flies back to Oregon where he will now have his own room at my younger brother's large house.  When we all lived in England back in the late sixties our neighbor in the village of Ardley became a good friend.  Mrs Bond lived in a lovely thatched roof cottage.  One of her hobbies were brass rubbings and before we moved back to the U.S. she gave my parents two of her rubbings, which they had matted and framed.  The largest one now hangs in the Arizona house, a perfect place for it as it stands at about five and a half feet.

The second one has come to live at Menagerie Manor and is much more manageable at slightly less than four feet tall.
The inscription on both are in Latin and I failed to take any notes on the one in Arizona so I will ask my brother to send me any part of it that can be read by non-Latin speaking heathens as ourselves.  The one here at Menagerie Manor clearly reads Paul and Margaret Dayrell, so I got on the Internet and did some perusing and voila, here is what we have.
Paul and Margaret Dayrell
From the Church of St. Nicholas, Lillingstone Dayrell, Buckinghamshire.
The inscription translates to
"Here lies Paul Dayrell, knight and Margaret his wife; this Paul died on the 29th day of March in the year of our Lord 1491; upon whose souls may God have mercy."
Paul is shown in armor of the early Tudor period and his feet rest on a lion.
 Margaret is wearing a
 fur-trimmed gown, gathered at the waist and a variation of the "butterfly" headdress, in the
 fashion of that period.  Margaret Dayrell (Priest) was born in 1438, married Paul Dayrell in 1473 and died in 1491.
 Unfortunately the guest room that Paul and Margaret will be occupying does not have picture rail in it.  Picture rail is a must in old houses that have lath and plaster walls as when one attempts to hammer a nail into it, the nail will just pop out.

The rest of the rooms have the original picture rail as can be seen in this photo of one corner of the parlor. We have dozens of the fancy little hooks that hook into the rail.

And other rooms have picture rail and plate rails that we can sit some of the unframed photos
of grand kids and cherished pets


So I will be calling those carpentry geniuses that just finished the roof on Menagerie Manor to come in and put picture rail in that room and the Master bedroom as well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Devastating Loss

It is with a heavy heart that I post this bit of sad news from Menagerie Manor.  Last night I lost all but three of our beloved koi fish from our big pond.  Saturday afternoon I had gone out to scoop leaves out of the pond and noticed one of the smaller fish was not well.  I called the local pond shop and described the fishes condition and then asked if they had a supply of rock salt which is a tried and true old remedy for bacteria infections in pond fish.  The young lady told me they just sold the last one but that she didn't think that that was the route I needed to follow and suggested that I dose the pond with a chemical that they had on hand.  So MeMa and I made the long trip out and picked it up.  While there I asked when they would get more salt in and she once again said that the chemical would most likely take care of things but if I wanted some, the feed store down the street sells it in 50 pound bags.  We stopped on our way and purchased one bag to have on hand.  When I got home I immediately put the chemical into the pond and went indoors hoping for the best.  Monday evening after work the dark purple that the chemical turned the water had dissipated and I was able to see the bottom of the pond.  That is a sight I will never forget as all but three of our oldest and dearest fish lay dead at the bottom and the three remaining looked as though they would not last much longer.  After netting out the dead fish I then grabbed the bag of salt and mixed the entire bag into the pond.  This morning I woke expecting to see the three remaining fish to have died during the night but they seem to be resting comfortably in different areas of the pond and not huddled together in misery as they did the night before.  Koi are like elephants in regards to family members, when one gets injured or ill another family member will stay with them giving comfort and sympathy.  Years ago I had a koi that was blind and the other fish would swim next to it directing it to the surface at feeding time.

Elmer (left) and Minikui (right)

Norman (top) Azul (bottom)

Confucius, the oldest at 28

Shimo the platinum Ogone one of the youngest at about eighteen

The three survivors thus far....

A rescue fish that has yet to be named.


Wednesday November 19th  - I have mixed in the last 50 pound bag of salt and so far they are responding to the tried and true treatment that I should have done from the beginning.  Now I just keep my fingers crossed that these three survive the 21 days that they must remain in this salty environment.  I don't hold a lot of faith in dumping chemicals into a pond and am broken- hearted at the great loss of so many cherished members of our koi family.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Head Spin And On To The Next Holiday

Franklin high school where MeMa works as the Text Book Clerk, is next on the list to be remodeled and updated.  Built in 1914 it still has the original flooring as my late mother once pointed out when she attended the 100 year celebration.

Staff and students will move to what used to be Marshall High for the next three years while the school goes under a complete modernization.  All this meant that MeMa had to inventory and box up the many thousands of text books she is in charge of.  She spent many hours of her own time doing all this because her regular working hours were spent doing.....well.... her regular job.   Then there is life away from Text Book Clerking!  Every Thursday is a busy day with the "Little Terrorists"- Taeya and Lucy that starts with a long drive to their house at 07:00.  After parents dash off to work leaving her to get Taeya ready for school, breakfast, pack a lunch and then walk her to school.  Then stop by the "Dark Park" so that Lucy can swing or slide on the play structures.  Then back to the house were she tidies up the entire house, dishes to wash and put away, vacuum floors and mops the kitchen.  During this time she feeds Lucy an early lunch so that she can nap before picking Taeya up at school.  While Lucy naps she makes dinner for them and a matching one that she brings home for us.  Then its down to the laundry room to do all the laundry.   She rings me at 7:00 or 7:30 pm to tell me she is headed home and to please have a drink ready for her in the half hours time that it takes for her to get home.  At our age exhaustion is nobodys friend.
Friday we are up again at 05:30 for what is usually our longest day of work.  Since we both work all week, Saturday and Sunday are spent cleaning and making things right here at Menagerie Manor.   With thirteen rooms and animals to be seen to its a full two days work.  There is usually not one day that goes by that I don't do a bit of work outdoors as the gardens here are (by choice) high maintenance. Then there is the greenhouse where I could easily spend an hour a day watering, potting or some other job to be ticked off the list.  And it is holiday season and dear sweet love of my life decorates the entire house for every holiday.  This means getting into one of the three attics and pulling out several large storage bins clearly marked for that specific holiday.  She then takes down the current decorations, wrapping each in tissue and boxing things up as she decorates for the next holiday.  We then carry things up and neatly store them away in the attics.  While this is going on I often think out loud how nice it would be to perhaps just put one or two items out and not create so much work to which I receive a stern glare and, "I do it for the grand kids, they love all the decorations."
This week we put away Halloween and now have Thanksgiving up.  Last Friday we had guests and family flying in for Uncle Tony's internment.  Our son Ian who manages the engraving department for Oregon Memorials  has put in long hours designing and engraving the the front of Uncle Tony and my twin brother Don's niche.  Uncle Tony passed just a few weeks after my mother last year.

Guest rooms had all been cleaned and then re-cleaned, I do help some.  Originally we thought there was only going to be immediate family so MeMa volunteered to have a dinner here after the ceremony.  That would have been around ten people....easy?  Well while talking with my sister who is going to be bringing some dishes herself, she informed us that my brother neglected to tell us that he invited all the many cousins and aunts and uncles as well.   I was sitting with my feet up enjoying a glass of my favorite scotch when I caught a look of total defeat come across MeMa's face as she talked to my sister on the phone.  When she hung up and told me I said, "Well I will call Ian up and have him add the date of death to my brothers bit on the stone," but she very calmly told me that "It wasn't like its everyone's last meal, if we run out of food they wont starve."  I love my wife!  So after she got home Thursday night.....late, she and I started making some of the dishes that could be made ahead and put into the fridge.
Friday went well, the gathering at the cemetery was very nice and after, there was plenty of food for all.  I keep reminding MeMa that half of this would never happen if she could just learn how to say "NO", oh there was that look again.  Think I will go pour a scotch and keep my mouth shut, after all Thanksgiving is just around the corner and oh yes, MeMa is making a full traditional Thanksgiving feast.  You can bet we will be back up in the attics the day after putting away Thanksgiving and bringing out Christmas....all twelve crates. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Getting Ready For Winter

Most of the gardens here are in that winter slow down stage with the exception of a few such as this giant banana which is still looking amazingly strong even after being pummelled a few weeks ago by 65 mph winds.

The dahlias and zinnias in MeMas picking garden are still supplying the house with cut flowers.

But winter is definitely around the corner so the Yuma Garden......... now crowding the greenhouse for winters duration.
And taking up Yuma's residence is my dwarf Ginkgo.
Which is just beginning to show some fall color

After burning up two pumps ($300.00 each) in the Koi pond I built screens out of plastic pipe and bird netting to catch fall leaves.
We also went up to the family cabin this last weekend and while the lovely MeMa climbed ladders and removed all of the leaves from the roof and cleaned gutters I cut this nice trailer load of Hemlock to keep the home fire burning.