Saturday, September 26, 2020

Quarantined Again and Again

Yesterday I drove MeMa over to the hospital to get her pre-surgery Covid test which went off with out a care. She was in and out in record time, then it was back home for the two of us so that we could both quarantine until she had surgery. At 9:45 PM we received a phone call telling her that the Covid test was contaminated and that she would have to go in first thing this morning and have another test. It was all very frustrating because when we got there ten minutes early there was already a line. Forty-five minutes later we were heading back home. We are now quarantined until surgery day, the 28th. 
We went out into the garden where life is just the two of us, my love and I. She went with clippers in hand into her picking garden as I surveyed the debris that last nights heavy rain knocked out of the redwood tree and covered all the gravel pathways which I had just cleaned after the big wind event. I was just about to feed the Koi when I noticed all the redwood floating so I cleaned that out before feeding Athena and her little companions. By time I had finished MeMa came down the steps from picking garden struggling with a large pale of fresh picked flowers for the house. I left the pathways untouched, the redwood will keep till another day.

MeMa's latest "Porch Post" for the dog walkers and passer-by's


Thursday, September 24, 2020


 With the news of upcoming heavy rain my first concern of the day was to clean all of the rain gutters, they are full of debris from our giant redwood. MeMe came out and joined me when I got to the second story gutters, she insisted on holding the ladder. Next door the “Crazy Cat Lady hissed a loud ,“What are you doing?” that caused me to grab the ladder and give a shudder of fear. MeMa talked to her while holding the ladder, I on the other hand finished the job and carefully got down to solid ground. The next thing I found out was “we” have volunteered to clean C.C.L.’s gutters as well......hisssss!                                            

Hibiscus bloom lasted two days.

I am trying to get some of the big jobs done and mostly outdoors jobs completed before this Monday when MeMa has her surgery to remove the cancer. I don't want anything left undone that will take me away from her side as she makes her recovery in hospital and at home. They estimate around six weeks of recovery and then three more rounds of chemotherapy to follow. She has a very good attitude towards everything coming and has endless energy that makes me tired.

The neighbor said she will come over and take care of the greenhouse which is one duty that won't survive uncared for.

During surgery which will last four hours I will have to wait in the car, thank you Covid. Her Doctor will call my cell phone as soon as she is in recovery. Our eldest son Nathan will be with me keeping close watch on the mental state of this old gardener.

Lucky for this old gardener the rain will take care of most of the watering.

The "Yuma Garden" will have been moved back into its winter quarters in the greenhouse.

Once MeMa is in her hospital room I will be allowed to spend day and night with her if that is what she wants. But I have heard her worrying about our sweet Roxy having to sleep alone for the first time so that whole situation is still a debate.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Rain At Last

So while our Roxy snoozed in her favorite chair with her best blankie.

This old gardener took advantage of the little break in the glorious rainfall that we have desperately needed and did some cleanup out in the gardens. The horrific wind storm that is the cause of most of the forest fires that are destroying our beautiful green state also created a mess in the normally tidy gardens here. 

My banana trees were a tangled mess so I started there, unfortunately almost all the beautiful green leaves had to be cut off leaving just the large stock. But after removing the mess I was surprised to find a flower for the second year in a row. 

I spent about an hour cleaning up debris before it started pouring down rain again. While putting my tools back in the garden house I noticed my Kiwi berries looked ripe so I picked the entire crop and brought them in for us to enjoy. They are about the size of a grape and are completely edible, no fuzzy skin to remove.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Celebrating Happiness

What better way to celebrate then with ice cream. Today we went for a conference with MeMa’s oncologist to hear the results of last weeks CT scan. Great news, the tumors had shrunk tremendously and she has been scheduled for surgery on the 28th of this month.

Until there are no fires burning our beautiful Oregon,  no riots night after night, no Covid and no cancer. There is only our love.

Friday, September 11, 2020

"Wind Event"

An emergency weather alert was sent out that a major wind storm that only happens every 100 years would hit hard in Oregon and Washington at around five pm. The predicted wind event happened and along with it came fires all over Oregon. Firefighters have been scrambling to contain them but with the extremely strong winds it has been a losing battle. 
After Covid, MeMa's cancer diagnosis, the riots that have turned our once beautiful city center into ugly boarded up businesses and covered in graffiti, my annoying little battle with bladder cancer, now this. Dear Lord can someone cut Oregon a break. A good friend of ours sent photos of her family's homestead that included three houses which are a total loss. All that remains are the cement foundations.

This morning at 7:30 am the next morning we received a call from our daughter-in-law that they are out of power and the power company did not expect to get power back on until 5:00 pm. I told her to pack up and come spend the day here, where there was all the comforts available. I had just started cleaning up the debris from our giant Redwood when I heard all the commotion in the drive as granddaughters, granddogs and a couple very disheveled parents poured out of their truck and into Menagerie Manor.

Grand-dog Jupiter was so excited to be back, ran around sniffing and showing their new dog Minnie, all things fun for dogs.  

The Redwood I planted in the north garden will guarantee this old gardener will always have work to do.

...........and do

........and do.

We had a great day of laughter and good food. Then my son received a text that power was back up. And once again we returned to worry of what turmoil the high winds and so many fires getting out of control. Entire rural towns evacuated and many burnt to the ground leaving everyone homeless.

Day three and the winds are still pounding all around us. Around four in the afternoon we had eight firetrucks roar past the Manor. Several stopped and blocked entrance to our street, the majority went three blocks passed.

A neighbor at the end of our street lost his house to fire. 

A total loss and the neighbor on his left received major damage to her garage. A very nice firefighter who stood guard in front of Menagerie Manor to keep cars from gaining access to the neighborhood received a communication on his radio that the roof was about to cave-in. He had been commenting on how beautiful our home and gardens were and warned us to be aware of sparks and debris may fall so asked us to stretch hoses out leaving them easy access in case we should see fire.

MeMa said it was time to set up our fall display on the front porch, maybe it will bring some rain.

Friday - September 11 - Update

There are so many raging forest fires around us now that have completely burnt entire towns to the ground. The air quality here in Portland is very unhealthy that we are now sequestered by the air Covid and Cancer, what next?
We have been very worried about our little cabin, the "Big Hollow" forest to the near east is burning out of control. With the high winds the heavy smoke has made it impossible for firefighters to gain control and totally impossible for water air drops. 
This morning we received hopeful news that the wind has shifted so they may be able to attack it with the water air drops.
The air here in Portland is still unhealthy keeping everyone sequestered. We spent the afternoon with some wonderful neighbors, playing a board game and occupying our thoughts.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Pretending Life Is Normal

We took a small risk and pretended that life was normal, for the first time since the pandemic and cancer made us complete shut-ins. We had a lovely lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. They sat us at an outside table far from other guests. Roxy was quite comfy on her blanket and the nice bowl of water they brought her.

MeMa's latest porch post for the dog walkers and passers by

MeMa picked this lovely lemon from my lemon tree. Think I will make her a teeny weeny lemon drop.


Friday, September 4, 2020

Bulk Shopping and Dredging

 Up at 06:45 this morning, showered and dressed and sipping a cup of coffee when Roxy came bounding out of the bedroom ahead of MeMa all bright eyed and ready for her breakfast. The Costco near us has an early shopping hour for seniors and First Responders so at 8:30 this old gardener and his beautiful lady were greeted by the staff as we entered a bulk shoppers paradise. We head right over to the pharmacy were we find almost everything we need but at great savings. I picked up a huge potted chrysanthemum for MeMa's fall porch display. We were in the car and pulling out of the parking lot at 09:00 with not one item that would put us in that bulk shopper category. 

Back at Menagerie Manor our eldest son called and said he was headed to the Manor to help dredge the pond of items that needed retrieving. I quickly hooked my sump pump up and drained about 1,200 gallons to make it easier for Nathan to retrieve. The first item was a cement paver that mysteriously appeared in the bottom of the pond last year perhaps even two years ago when I did some major deconstruction around the existing pond.

Athena who is about a foot and a half long and her smaller cohorts are extremely curious and constantly were under foot

The second item sadly, was a large pot of the most beautiful yellow flowering water Lily. All that remains is the large pot with a few large rocks, no soil and not a speck of water lily. Consumed by the voracious fish who for some reason decided after ten years water lily was on their menu.

The outside temperature was 90 degrees but Nathan was happy with his hip waders that made the cold water bearable.
Once again the bottom of the pond is clear of interesting items. Athena and her cohorts bid adieu to Nathan and his colorful hip waders. Nathan  who works  from two AM until ten AM heads home in order to spend time with our grands, fix dinner that his wife prepares before she heads to work at noon. Nathan usually heads to bed between four and six. Life is so much simpler being retired and quarantined. I was going to join MeMa on the front porch with a glass of lemonade but Roxy beat me to my rocker.