Funny Things Are Everywhere

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Weatherwise, May has been very nice–not too hot, or cold and not too rainy.  Bruce is getting lots of gardening done and I’ve been puttering around–definitely not gardening.

Despite the nice weather, it has been an oddball kind of month, starting with a sudden influx of these—

MayGopherSnake2 MayGopherSnake

Bruce saw this snake out in the garden.  I’m thinking it is a gopher snake which is non-poisonous.  But they sure are long.  They can get to be 7 feet in length, but most are 4.5 to 5 feet.


I found this snake on the east sidewalk of our house on my way to take the garbage out.  After seeing him, I let Bruce take care of the garbage.


We don’t know how this snake got into this predicament.  I was watching a bird out in the yard and he was flipping around something large.  Bruce went out to see what it was and came back with this poor guy.

MayKnottedSnake2 MayKnottedSnake



One evening I looked out the window–looking for the elk–and saw this guy waddling through the brush–


Sometimes I think we are living on the animal superhighway.

Speaking of brush, we finally decided the grass was tall enough and probably should be mowed–at least around the house.  Well, I used to mow the grass in California so I volunteered for the job, using the brush mower.  The first problem was that I didn’t want to have it go in reverse–the mower is so big that it has gears!  Then I thought it was way too slow in first gear, so I cranked it up.  It’s quite a ride when the edge catches on a small tree.  Wheeeee….

In the end, I did about half of the space and Bruce did the other half–then he spent the next 2 days raking and mowing some more.  But it sure does look nice now.



Some guy came out to look at our well and told Bruce that we could water day and night and never run out of water.  I guess Bruce decided to test that theory and watered the grass for days…and then the water ran out.  Oh dear.

It’s kind of strange to have no water.  Bruce called the people who fix wells and she said no one could come out at 9 o’clock at night and that Bruce would just have to “get his pioneer spirit on”.  Ha, Ha Ha!

We went to the store and bought some water for drinking and it was all okay until I realized we had a field full of crops and no water and no one scheduled to come out and fix the problem.  Welcome to farming!

The next day we did get a guy to come out and the problem was that a part of the pump motor power breaker had shorted out because a frog jumped onto it and got fried.  So it was an easy fix and we now have water.

On the “pioneer spirit” side of this event, we learned that the float at the bottom of the criterion, which detects that the criterion is empty and protects the pump at the top from trying to run when there is no water, works as it should. This float almost never gets used so it can go bad and we would never know it until something like this happens. Also, as it took less than 2 hours to fill the criterion, I can estimate that the well is still producing at least 12 gpm (gallons per minute) as it did when it was first drilled.  We now know that all of the components of our water system are operational.  One less thing to wonder (read: worry) about!  (This paragraph is Bruce’s contribution as I have no clue how the well works).

What else?  Oh, Bruce and I have been taking a class every Tuesday since April to become Master Food Preservers.  We are almost done with the class–we just need to do a 5 minute demonstration and do the take-home test.  We’ve learned all about safely preserving food in all sorts of ways–canning, pressure canning, freezing, drying…We also learned how to make sauerkraut.  We then had to make something at home using sauerkraut and bring it in for a potluck.  Can you guess what I made?


Hard to believe, but it’s Sauerkraut Spice Cake.  And it was actually very good.



So, it’s been quite a strange month here, but I have to say–it’s never boring!


P.S.  I am posting this a week after the original write-up–due to a visit from Bruce’s folks, adverse effects of medication and preparing for that demo…but we passed the Master Food Preserver’s Final Exam with flying colors and we both survived the required demo.  Mine was about the kitchen scale and Bruce’s was about how to make Habanero Gold Jelly.  We each got a spiffy name badge made in the shape of Oregon and a cool black apron and of course, the certificate.  Now we need to fulfill 60 hours of volunteer work.  PLEASE don’t call the hotline this year!!  🙂  Thank you, Maureen, for pointing us in the direction of this class–we loved it!




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