I just saw animals going by two by two. . .

Just kidding, of course, but we’re now over 9 inches of rain in this four-day storm (or perhaps it’s really two storms–we did get a bit of a break very early this morning, the quiet woke me up). Our record, since we’ve been keeping records on our own, is 13.8 inches in the month of November. And it’s only the 6th, with four more days of rain forecast. . .

Ben asked me tonight if it feels weird not to be packing up and running off to town to go to work. And the funny thing is, it doesn’t. It mostly feels wonderful. It’s kind of like before I re-enrolled in school several years ago and could actually take vacations. Now I’m done with school, finished both that bachelor’s and the master’s as well, it’s all paid for, and I’m unemployed and have lots of free time to write (or will have, if I ever get finished moving in).

I know longer feel quite like Ma Kettle (for those of you too young to get this reference, please google it–I don’t have time to explain). But after ten days of unpacking, sorting, and two trips to the dump/recycling center and two to the local charity resale place, I have my guest room and living room pretty much back. My office is next. It’s usable, but it isn’t pretty yet, and it will be.

Over the years, I think I’ve been subconsciously planning what I wanted to look at. I realized after the first two full growing seasons that I couldn’t turn the whole place into a park. The brush grows so fast it’s just hopeless. So I had to be selective. But when I look up the hill from the house, what used to be an 8-foot wall of brush is now a garden. The green is broken up by a blue spruce, a Japanese red maple that buds out purple, becomes bronze, then green, and then a neon red in the fall, and a vine maple that I’ve had to fight a bit to keep. They’re sort of like weeds around here, and every man that sees it wants to cut it out immediately, but this year, for the first time (and I think thanks to some selective pruning and tree cutting around it) it turned that wonderful gold, the same gold as the tamaracks turn in eastern Oregon just before they lose their needles. As gray as it is with the rain now, it still just glows outside my window.

Below the house I have another Japanese red maple and a wonderful cedar tree. I rescued the cedar from an office building landscape bed. I walked out back and saw this little stick growing in the plantings, and thought, “That’s a western red cedar and the maintenance crew is just going to rip it out.” I called the building management and explained I wanted to dig it up, and they thought that was a great idea. It was about 10 inches tall, just a stick with a fringe on top. I put it in a pot and brought it out here and planted it, watered it, fenced it (in case the beaver got this far up the hill), and petted it occasionally. It’s now 12 feet tall and actually looks like a cedar tree.

Now it’s time to go cook some linguini to toss with the leftover roasted chicken, a cheese sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan, and add some steamed fresh vegetables. My stomach is growling.

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