While waiting for more weather, redwood, springboxes, full moons, and other assorted miscellany

This, I guess, is sort of a test about how many characters I can put in the title frame. But it’s more than that. We’re awaiting possible snow tonight (it almost never snows here, and we’ve already had one massive storm this year), and while we’re waiting, a glorious full moon has risen from among the fir trees across the river. Actually, from the fuzzy edge, I’m guessing that it’s one day past full (I pay no attention to calendars on these things), but it is still incredibly lovely and bright.

Brenda and I went to Eugene today, partly to get redwood and partly just to fool around. We need some redwood, and it’s been very hard to find it here. Ralph brought the last batch up from northern California, but over the holidays Ben found an ad in the local agricultural paper for a lumber company that sells only redwood. I called them, they had in stock what we needed (and much, much more, but that may have to wait for another day), so today we scratched anything productive from the calendar and drove to find this place. It’s about a 2-hour drive.

Redwood is a key element in what is called a springbox. We have what may be the best water on the planet here. It bubbles up in various places along the ridge behind our place. After watching the geology lectures on ground water, we’re all guessing that our artesian springs travel underground from somewhere on Mary’s Peak, the tallest mountain in the Coast Range. Mary’s Peak is about 10-12 miles from here by air, much further by road, because the road follows the river.

If you’re lucky enough to have an artedsian spring, it’s coming not from the water table but from a deeper underground pool/stream of water that in places decides to escape from the rock it’s encased in. It bubbles up. Often the flow doesn’t look like much. But it’s constant. You develop the spring by digging out a little space around the place it bubbles up and inserting what is called a springbox.

A springbox is a sort of porous wood chamber that seems to serve two purposes: 1) It keeps debris from clogging up your intake, and 2) it creates a little safe spot where the water can accumulate and flow through the pipe and tank system you’ve built to where you want to use it. Water is very hard on wood, and most woods deteriorate rather quickly. Not redwood. Redwood is a mermaid in other clothing that loves to snuggle up to water.

Our first springbox was put in more than 20 years ago and feeds the system we use in the house. It worked perfectly with only an occasional cleaning of silt for about 10 years. Then, based on forensic evidence at the scene, a big elk slid off the bank and landed right in the middle of it. It’s been reconstructed a number of times, but it’s never been the same, and it was clearly time to replace it. So we needed redwood.

The redwood company was a trip. I will probably go back there just to exchange insults with the owner. When I mentioned that my truck had only a 4-foot bed, he suggested that I go out and buy a real truck and come back. Then he took me to the back room, grabbed one of his employees and told him, “This woman is clearly going to be a big pain, so I’m turning her over to you right now before I become rude. Here’s what she wants; take care of it.”

This wonderful guy spent close to an hour with Brenda and me finding just the right pieces of redwood and cutting them to size. Then he helped us get it loaded in my wimp truck, wandered around with us and showed us the terrific picnic tables they have, BSed for awhile, and disappeared. This was my kind of store. I don’t know how much redwood I may need in the future, but I definitely need at least two of those picnic tables, and I’m going to find reasons to need a lot more.

Then Brenda and I spent the rest of the day goofing off looking for kitchen stores, interesting stuff, and generally shopping for nothing, something I usually hate that was great fun today. I bought two bread/pizza boards and a pastry cloth. I’ve come to the conclusion that commercial pastry cloths are made for non-cooks, so later this week I’ll be headed off to Joann’s fabrics for some canvas to make my own. If I want to make strudel, for example (something I’ve never done but that is coming any day). I’ll need a cloth that covers my entire table. I suppose I could use one of my damask tablecloths, but I’d rather have the real thing. The one I bought will be good for pie pastry but little else. I want one for strudel, 36-inch noodles, and other monster things. I may learn to throw my own pizza dough instead of just patting it out on a pan, who knows?

My lord, this post has gone on and on. I’m going to bed.

But first, I forgot to mention that I stopped and picked up my new bread stones today. A granite sort of rock called India jade. It is so beautiful. . .So beans are soaking for tomorrow night’s bean soup, and the bread stones are going to get a good workout tomorrow with some baguettes applied to them. When I got home tonight, Ben said, “Your bread is so-o-o-o good. I’m afraid I did it some serious damage while you were gone.” Wonderful. I know how to make more.

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One Response to “While waiting for more weather, redwood, springboxes, full moons, and other assorted miscellany”

  1. Big, fluffy, noisy birds about 2 inches long and other effects of weather « Marianne’s Virtual Salon Says:

    […] intake system because of spring issues earlier in the fall that caused me to go out and have an adventure buying a humongous load of redwood and blah, blah, blah. Ben came in today when I was washing up the lunch dishes and said, […]

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