It’s a Zoo Out There!

When you move to the countryside, I suppose you should expect to see some wildlife.  We live fairly close to the town, so we weren’t expecting life to get too wild.  Reading the newspaper, though, we found that there are quite a lot of cougar in the area, but surely they would be up in the hills.  Our neighbors came over to visit one day and told us there was a bear in the area.  We’ve looked for signs but haven’t seen anything.  They also later told us they saw a cougar entering our farm.  Well, what to do?  We bought a night vision camera and set it up between us and the cow pasture because there was evidence that something was traveling under the fence.  We got shots of deer and raccoons, nothing too worrying.  Then we set the camera up along the vegetable garden fence to find out what has been going under that fence into the garden.  One year all our plums were eaten off of one tree and this year there are huge piles of thrown-up fruit–inside and outside of the garden.  What could be eating all that fruit?

This is what we saw on the camera:

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This is proof that there is a bear and that he somehow got under the fence and into the garden–at least twice that night.  Here’s the space he squeezed into:

holeunderfence2  holeunderfence

We are mystified; the hole is not that big.

We have since found two other places, one at the garden fence and another abutting our property that he uses as entry points.  Bruce piled a load of logs at the one on the far end of the farm, but he pushed them aside.  So, I guess he is here to stay.  We’ll have to be more careful about cleaning up the old fruits and vegetables during the growing season.

We haven’t seen the cougar yet, but here are some of the other more friendly critters who have found their way onto our farm:

tree-frog  snake  may-gophersnake2

Tree frog; Gopher snake

lizard  swallowtail4  painted-lady

Lizard; Swallowtail; Painted Lady

swallow  red-shafted-flicker2  redbreasted-sapsucker

Tree Swallow; Red-shafted Flicker (he eats our house); Red-breasted Sapsucker

quail1  oregon-junco  hummingbird

Quail; Oregon Junco; Hummingbird

barnswallow2  bald-eagle3  canada-geese

Barn Swallow (they love the barn); Bald Eagle; Geese

americangoldfinch2  americangoldfinch  bluebirds

American Goldfinch; huge flock of American Goldfinches that flew in one day; Bluebirds

redshouldered-hawk  skunk2  jan-squirrel

Red-shouldered Hawk; Skunk; Squirrel

tomturkey  mamaturkey  hare

Turkey- Tom, Hen and Chicks; Hare

justinbeaver2  bucks  deardeer

Beaver-we named him Justin; White Tail deer-Bucks and Doe

coyote2  coyote

Coyote-okay, he’s not so friendly, but we love hearing them at howl at night

christmascow  christmascow2

Neighbor’s bull/steer that wandered onto our farm on Christmas Day.  He enjoyed the grass and water.  Occasionally they come through the fence to visit us.  

novemberelk  mayelk3  mayelk2

mayelk  elk3  elk1


Elk–we had at least eight sightings this year.  The last photo, from the night vision camera, caught an elk calf.  Now that’s rare sight for us!

It’s a real treat for us to have so much wildlife on our farm.  While we would like to encourage some to not return, we welcome them all and hope their sojourn is a beneficial relationship for us both.









Professor Plum in the Conservatory with the Knife

For the three years that we have lived here, we have had a bit of an eyesore at the front door, in an otherwise gorgeous setting.

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see seating area at lower right

For some reason unknown to us, the cistern (domestic water tank for the well) is located about 20 feet from the front door.  Built over the cistern is a large, wooden, orange platform with wooden, orange seats and a table/footrest of sorts.

It wasn’t comfortable to sit there, and we never did.  Since we didn’t like this structure we began to think up ideas of what could replace it.

Last spring we went to the Eugene Home and Garden Show, and viola!  There it was!  The most gorgeous greenhouse we’ve ever seen.  I told Bruce that that was the very thing that could replace the orange structure and it would be beautiful, even though it was right at the front door.

We put down an order and Bruce set to tearing down the orange wood.  There was so much wood, but we threw it all in the truck and took it away, forever, to the dump.  Never to be seen again!

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Bruce hired a crew to come out and build a beautiful new platform, with easy access to the cistern, and stairs.

And we waited, somewhat patiently, for the greenhouse.

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It arrived on a beautiful, hot summer day.  The company builds and assembles the house in their facility, then partially dismantles it and reassembles it on site.  It only took them a day to set it up.  We had a bit of a problem with a couple of the screens, but other than that it is beautiful.  Since that day we have added a daybed and large rug and hope to soon have some electricity for lighting and heating.

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This little conservatory is a beautiful alternative to the previous structure, and a much more fitting addition to our gorgeous surroundings.

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img_1155 inside-front inside-back


The company that made the greenhouse is Retro Custom Greenhouses, http://www.retrogreenhouses.com/