The affair, of course, became a triangle

I suspect my readers are generally pretty smart (especially since I know a lot of you personally), so I’m sure you’ve already figured out that my slightly sappy reminiscence of yesterday was only part of the story. The kind of thing that warms the cockles of your heart (what a silly expression–the clams in your chest?) but really doesn’t convey much information. But since you’re such an intelligent bunch, I think you already know that there was a third entity involved in all of this–the farm. It’s time to tell you about “the farm.”

We live on 100 acres of what might be the most beautiful property I’ve ever seen. We’re in a little valley that runs off the west slope of Mary’s Peak, the tallest mountain in Oregon’s Coast Range Mountains. At something approaching 4,000 feet tall, Mary’s Peak isn’t much by western U.S. standards, but it has a wonderful distinctive profile. It looks a lot like a humpback whale rising up, and when it’s surrounded by these sort of seafoam-like clouds (as it often is), the resemblance is striking. And it’s visible for miles in almost any direction. When I see Mary’s Peak, I know I’m almost home.

Ben bought the property in 1969. It was newly logged, so the first thing he did was clean it up and plant it with trees. I don’t know how much you know about coastal Oregon, but we’re in a sort of subtropical rain forest, and it’s nothing for a Douglas fir (which is really a variety of pine, but that’s another story) tree to grow six feet when the buds break.

Pause for a weather update: As of 4 p.m. this afternoon (the last time I could see the rain gauge clearly) it had rained 7.5 inches in less than 72 hours. That’s more than a tenth of an inch an hour. I rest my case.

The trees he planted then are marketable. Kind of like a long term annuity sort of thing. But they’ve logged so much around us that it’s great to be able to just let them grow.

We set out, about a year after the New Year’s Eve dinner, to build a 16×16 tool shed. We now have about 2300 square feet of house and several outbuildings, including the shed we originally set out to build, which of course became much, much larger. The house is much larger than I ever wanted, but when you’ve acquired 4-5,000 books (I quit counting at 3,500), there’s nothing to do but build a room for a library. Someone once commented that we had more books than some small branch libraries. At the rate at which libraries are being de-funded, that’s probably a good thing. We may be the only branch library some of our neighbors have in the not too distant future.

But I digress. We built the house about as far from the entrance to the property as you can get and be on reasonably level ground. Most of our property is mountainous and really only suited for growing trees. But we have 5-6 acres between the house and the river that’s fairly flat. That’s our “golf course,” although it also includes an orchard and a 60×100 foot garden that’s deer fenced (a necessity here if you want any produce for yourself).

There are 5-6 springs on the property. We’ve developed two of them, one for the house and one for the garden. The house water is like a little miracle. It comes from somewhere very deep in the earth. The flow doesn’t vary much year round. And it’s cold and clear and its like drinking fresh air. The garden spring is a little touchier. The trees steal more of its water, so flow in late summer can become an issue.

When we were young and feisty, we did everything by hand. Now we have two Kubota tractors, one with a backhoe and a slightly smaller one that tills the garden, digs postholes, and does other necessary things. We also have a riding lawnmower (for the golf course), an RTV 9000 (think 4-wheeler on steroids and wrapped in mink), a gas-powered golf course maintenance cart acquired second hand–great purchase, runs us around the place with all the necessary tools for about a gallon of gas a month–and assorted cars and trucks.

I’ll post some pictures before long, but right now they’re all on another computer, and I don’t have time to go dig them out. But I’m running out of chatter. If there’s something you’d like to know, post a question or shoot me an e-amil, and I’ll try to answer.

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One Response to “The affair, of course, became a triangle”

  1. Brent Says:

    I look forward to the photos; I don’t envy you the rain

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