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A Rare Sighting

We squeezed in another short trip to Roseburg in January.  This time though, I was sick with a cold and didn’t have an interest in doing much of anything.  I didn’t even take out the camera because it was cold and raining and there was no way I was going to walk around outside.  But, it happened that there was one very compelling and irresistible photo opportunity that I just had to take advantage of.  Outside, in the yard, near the upper pond was the (not) very rare sighting of

Agricola rabidus,

AKA:

Bruce, the crazy farmer!

(click on photos to enlarge)

Jan Bruce

Jan Bruce2

He had decided some time back that he wanted to plant daffodils and crocuses, and he either had to plant them on this trip or they would go bad.  So there he is, in the pouring rain, digging holes and planting the bulbs.  Now, won’t it just be nice if the voles and deer don’t eat them.

The deer were checking out his progress.  Four of them were running around between breaks in the rain.

Jan Deer

Since I had the camera out I sat for a while in the living room and saw these other two guys–an American Robin and a Gray Squirrel.  They both look very well fed!

Jan Robin

The American Robin is a migratory songbird of the Thrush family.  It is the 2nd most abundant, still existing, land bird in North America.  It is active mostly during the day and assembles in large flocks at night.  The robin’s diet is beetle grubs, earthworms, caterpillars, fruits and berries.  It is among the first birds to sing at dawn, or hours earlier, and the last as evening sets in.  This bird used to be hunted for its meat but is now protected in the U.S. by the Migratory Bird Act. (Wikipedia)

Jan Squirrel

The Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus, is shy, and will generally run up a tree and give a hoarse, chirping call when disturbed.  They weigh about 14-35 oz. and the length, including the tail, is 18-24 inches.  It is the largest tree squirrel in the western coastal U.S. They forage on the ground, but prefer to travel from tree to tree.  Their ears don’t have tufts, but they turn a reddish-brown in the back during the winter.  The squirrel eats berries, pine nuts, acorns, seeds and the eggs of small birds. (Wikipedia)

_MG_2232              IMG_0095             IMG_0098

These are the happy flowers that we hope to see in the Spring…the reason that Bruce stood out in the rain and cold, diligently planting.  That’s what a gardener does, no matter the weather, in the hope that what he plants will become something glorious.


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New Neighbors

Our final trip of the year to the farm was a few days after Christmas.  The weather was still cold but not as foggy and the snow was mostly gone.  On this trip we brought our younger daughter with us for her first visit.  She didn’t think too much of the place at first, seeing it at night, but thought much better of it the next day.  Or maybe she was trying to spare our feelings.  We took a walk around the property and she pointed out a lot of interesting things that I would have missed.  Here are some of the things we found:

Dec Weed 

A weed dressed up with watery jewels.

Dec Tomatillo1

This beautiful lacy plant is a tomatillo husk with the fruit inside.

Dec Tomatillo2

Dec Mossy Path
A mossy green pathway in the garden

Dec Ground Bee Nest

We found lots of holes in the ground.  This hole was probably made by a ground bee which is non-aggressive and rarely stings.  They hatch from the ground in the spring and are beneficial as pollinators.

De Hole De Holes2

I think these holes were made by meadow voles, although we did think the one on the right was bear or cougar claw marks.  That’s a much more interesting scenario than a vole.

Voles are small rodents resembling mice with a stouter body, shorter, hairy tail, rounder head and smaller ears and eyes.  There are 155 species of them and they are also known as meadow mice or field mice.  They can have 5-10 litters per year of 5-10 young.  They eat small plants, dead animals, fruit, nuts, roots and bulbs and they will girdle small trees.

I am thinking that they may be a problem…or not, depending on how much farming and gardening we want to do.

There were a lot of holes, and they have a lot to eat.  But, they are also the prey of owls, hawks and coyotes which we also have on the property.

Bird Eggs

Bird eggs in the grass

Dec Tree holes

We found this fruit tree with rows of holes and I believe they were made by a sapsucker bird which is a type of woodpecker.  Everybody likes the fruit trees it seems.

Dec Bruce at pond

Bruce at the upper pond.

On our last day there we drove around the countryside and found this wooden bridge, the Rochester Covered Bridge on the Calapooya Creek.  It’s 80 feet long and was built in 1933 by Floyd Frear.  The design is unique among Oregon roofed structures with its curved-top windows.

Dec Wooden Bridge

We also happened upon some very friendly goats.  This little guy just makes me want to smile!

Dec Goat

Dec Goats

When we got back to the farm we managed to scare away three deer who were grazing near the house.  They, in turn, scared away the large herd of Elk who were over by the property fence.  They jumped into the neighbor’s property and slowly made their way up and over the hill.

Dec Close-up Elk      Dec Elk2    Dec Elk1

Those are some nice neighbors to have.  When they aren’t around we can always depend on seeing our other neighbors:

Dec Cows

As night fell I waited around to take a photo of what I thought would be a nice sunset.  I was instead rewarded with a spectacular sunset.

Dec Sunset

Finally, for a fitting start to the new year I will try to remember these words as I go bumbling about the farm doing my best to learn about all it has to offer:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
–Neil Gaiman