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.

housebeforegreenhouse jenks1a

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/



Life on the Farm…

March 1, 2016

If you are squeamish, don’t read this post!

You never know, around here, what you will see when you look out the window.  We knew when we moved from a large city to a small town out in the countryside that life would be different.  Most of what happens around here is what we expected, but today was not.  I was looking out the kitchen window, while doing the dishes, and as usual the cows were out in the pasture.

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But, wait, one cow was not looking so good.  In fact, she was laid out on her side looking quite dead.


I got out my binoculars and discovered that she was, in fact, not dead, but giving birth.  Oh, wow!  I ran around and grabbed my camera, coat and binoculars, ran outside to get Bruce and we hurried over to the fence to watch and take photos.  Bruce decided to hop the fence and take a closer look, but I’m pretty leery of cows and stayed on our side.

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He came back and said that I should go get the phone and call the owner, because things didn’t look so good for the cow.  Bruce finally got a hold of the owner’s wife, who said she would try and get word to the son.  In the meantime, she says, could you pull the calf out?  Um…well, sure.  Good thing Bruce had gloves on.  I walked up and over the hill to get the son while Bruce tried his best to pull out that calf, without much success.

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I got almost to the barn, with unhappy cows and bulls bellowing all around me and decided walking between two bulls was not a good idea.  I went back to Bruce and told him to get the son.

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Those cows were amazing.  They kept coming by to check up on the mother and the calf and they really seemed to be concerned about the whole affair.  They just didn’t have any way to help her.


After a long while, the son and father drove up in their truck.  The son said the calf was dead and he tried to pull it out without success.  He then got out a contraption to pull it out, (one end is a ratchet, the other end braces against the mother and the calf’s legs are tied to it),


but between him and Bruce they weren’t able to make it work…they needed three people, and the father wasn’t going to do it, due to his age.  So, I volunteered to work the ratchet part while Bruce and the son held the other end up against the mother, and in just a short while I got that calf pulled out.  I have to say, it was pretty darn cool!  I just really wish that calf had been alive.

After the son and father left and the mother got up and walked away, a large group of cows came over and stood in a circle around the calf.  They seem like big, dumb animals, but I think they do care about each other.

This story doesn’t have a happy ending, but we feel good about helping out a cow in distress and taking part in something so miraculous.

While waiting for the son to show up, I did get some nice photos of our house, from a place I’m fairly certain I’ll never be at again–the neighbor’s pasture!

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Tiny Fruits

This is going to be the last post on the fruit trees–probably.  Most of the trees now have fruit on them and they are super cute!


May-Winesap                  May-RedGravenstein2

Winesap Apples                                                                            Red Gravenstein Apples


May-Quince  Quince.  Notice the furry skin.


May-Plum                 May-MontmorencyCherry

Plum                                                                                               Montmorency Cherries


Izu Persimmon.  It’s just now starting to blossom.  You can see a white bud in the center of the photo.


May-ItalianPrune  Italian Prune


May-Grapes3  We have grape trees and a grape arbor. May-Grapes2


May-GoldenDelicious                                 May-EarlyLaxton

Golden Delicious                                                                                                      Early Laxton Plum


Crabapples.  The tree is loaded with fruit.



This is the Black Walnut.  The tree I have listed in Fruit Tree Study Part 2 is not a Black Walnut…Bruce thinks it’s a Mulberry.


May-BartlettPear  Bartlett Pear


You may have noticed something odd about the Red Gravenstein apples and the Golden Delicious apples.  I told Bruce that I think they got mixed up on the map that I’ve been using, but he insisted that you never know what an apple will look like until it gets to maturity.

Well…does this really look like a Golden Delicious??


I guess we’ll just have to wait until Fall to find out.  Stranger things have happened.




Fruit Tree Study–Part 2

The fruit trees are in full leaf  with miniature fruits on them.  I’m hoping we will be able to make use of some of them in their fully formed size in spite of the birds, insects and anything else that will be competing with us for food.

I grouped the fruit trees by type and tried to get a sample of each one with leaves, buds, petals and fruit.  They didn’t all bloom at the same time and not in the order that I thought they would.  The trees on the south side of the garden bloomed later than the same ones on the north side.  My favorite tree is the Crabapple with such an incredible amount of  beautiful blossoms.  I don’t have many photos of the fruit, due to many factors, but I hope to get out soon to capture the mini-fruit before they get too large.




April 5


April 12

Apr12GoldenDelicious3 Apr12GoldenDelicious2 Apr12GolDelLowerGarden2



April 5

Apr1GrannySmithApr5GrannySmith3  Apr5GrannySmith

April 12




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May 1




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April 5


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April 5


April 12

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May 1




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April 5

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April 12

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May 1




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March 24

B1-Mar24Evereste Crabapple


April 5

Apr1Crabapple6 Apr1Crabapple3


Apr5EveresteCrabapple4 Apr5EveresteCrabapple3 Apr5EveresteCrabapple2


April 12

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May 1




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April 5

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May 1

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March 24

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April 5




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April 5

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March 24

mar24Bartlett PearNorth mar24Bartlett Pear5 mar24Bartlett Pear Mar24-2-Bartlett Pear

April 5

Apr1D3BartlettPear3 Apr1D3BartlettPear2

May 1

May1Bartlett Pear3




April 12

Apr12IzuPersimmon2 Apr12IzuPersimmon

May 1

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April 12

Apr12HachiyaPersimmon Apr12HachiyaPersimmon2




March 24

Mar24-2Early Lexton Plum Mar24Plum, Early Lexton

April 5

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April 12


May 1

May1Early Lexton Plum3




April 5

Apr1Italian Prune

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March 24

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April 5




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April 5


May 1

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April 5


April 12

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May 1

May1Havran Turkish Quince



April 5

Apr1SmymaQuince  Apr5H2SmynaQuinceMaybe


April 12

Apr12Smyrna4  Apr12Smyrna2

May 1

April 20Quince April20Quince May1Smyrna Quince




April 12



Possible Mulberry






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Vegetable Garden, March 2014, No. 3

Post:   3/30/2014

The last two weeks in March have been mostly raining and chilly.  I had a nice dry spell mid-month, which allowed me to get some mowing done and get ready to till in the new garden area.  But a problem with the Roseburg rental company I used caused me to end up with a tiller which was not up to the job and before I could get a bigger one the rain started and has not really stopped since.

I managed to build the “grow out” tables and get them installed in the garden.  I now have a two deck, 16 foot-long table setup.  This size table will easily hold 1000 plants in 2 ½-inch pots.  This table consists of two sets of “stands” that hold separate table tops and supports two 8-foot bridge table tops.  It all comes apart into pieces that I can carry around when I want to reposition it.

The seeds are for the most part germinating nicely.  I up potted the cucumbers and all but the really poky tomato plants.

All in all, things are coming along on or a bit ahead of schedule.


Tree School

Who knew you have to take trees to school?  The things you learn when you move to the country!  Susan and I went to Tree School this week.  I really enjoyed it although it could have been a lot more technical.  It did make me think about what I want to do with this place other than grow too many vegetable plants. Sort of back to that ecosystem idea.  Wildlife habitat, biodiversity, tree health, riparian  . . . . .


Plan:  by 4/6/2014

Build a temporary greenhouse over the grow out tables.

Continue to up pot plants as they grow up

Start moving plants out to the temporary greenhouse

Pray for no frost


When/if it dries out:

Till the garden

Break ground on the expanded 30’ by 70’ garden

Spread the remaining 5 sq. yd. of compost over the entire garden

Rebuild the rows after tilling



The garden has returned to a cold swamp.  It is so interesting that when it rains, water just stands on the ground for days, like it cannot find its way down hill.  Then when the water is gone the ground is ready to work.  I am certain this is all related and the solution is more compost!  More compost is always the solution to soil structure issues.

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Early March, 2014

Sara came to visit us in early March to help us move in.  We took a walk around the perimeter of the farm.  She said, according to her Fitbit Flex, that we walked 5000 steps, or 2.3 miles.  That was a fun way to get some exercise.  Here are some of the more interesting things we saw, which I’ve tried my best to identify.

March 2014Dipsacus fullonum, Fuller's teasel, common teasel  Fuller’s Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum).  This is the dried flower head.  I’m going to try and find them when they have flowers. The flower heads are used in the wool industry to raise the nap on cloth.

March 2014-Driveway  This is the entrance into our farm from the main road.

March 2014-Redbreasted sapsucker  A red-breasted sapsucker on a tree right in front of the house.

“Red-breasted sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) is a medium-sized woodpecker.  They drill holes in trees and eat the sap and the insects attracted to the sap.  Their breeding habitat is usually forests of pine, hemlock, Douglas fir and Spruce.  A sapsucker’s tongue is adapted with stiff hairs for collecting the sap. Red-Breasted Sapsuckers visit the same tree multiple times, drilling holes in neat horizontal rows. A bird will leave and come back later, when the sap has started flowing from the holes. Repeated visits over an extended period of time can actually kill the tree.  The insects attracted to the sap are also consumed, and not only by sapsuckers. Rufous Hummingbirds, for example, have been observed to follow the movements of sapsuckers and take advantage of this food source.”  Wikipedia

We’ve seen a few trees in the orchard with those rows of holes.  We haven’t seen any hummingbirds though.

Cedar3  Rows of Incense cedars on the northwest side of the farm.

Ranunculus occidentalis Western buttercup  Western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis).  I’ve seen these flowers in California and I love their shiny petals.

Spider  We transported our blueberry plants from California in large white planters.  There weren’t any spiders on them at the time, but they’ve appeared since we moved here.  They are numerous and their black bodies stand out against the white.  I haven’t ID’d them yet, but I’m hoping they aren’t poisonous or some sort of jumping spider.  I may have to catch one to figure out what it is.

March 2014-Gymnopilus bellulus  Mushroom (Gymnopilus bellulus)

March 2014- Madrone  Madrone ( Arbutus menziesii) aka madroño, madroña, bearberry or refrigerator tree.

Arbutus menziesii is an evergreen tree with rich orange-red bark that when mature naturally peels away in thin sheets, leaving a greenish, silvery appearance that has a satin sheen and smoothness. The exposed wood sometimes feels cool to the touch. In spring, it bears sprays of small bell-like flowers, and in autumn, red berries. The berries dry up and have hooked barbs that latch onto larger animals for migration.”  Wikipedia

March 2014-Apple blossom Apple buds–the first real sign of life on the fruit trees.

March 2014-Big chickweed Big chickweed (Cerastium fontanum ssp.vulgare), native to Europe.

According to the book, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, by Gregory L. Tilford, Chickweed ( stellaria media) has a unique characteristic that makes it easy to distinguish from all look-alikes: a line of minute hairs runs up only one side of the stem, switching sides at each pair of leaves.  Chickweed has 5 petals, each petal with a deep cleft that makes it appear to have 10 petals.  Chickweed blooms continuously, making it difficult to eradicate, or as some would say, impossible.  It is one of the most enjoyable wild salad greens.  The entire plant is juicy, tender and mildly sweet with a flavor similar to iceberg lettuce.  It is also used as an emollient, demulcent ( a soothing substance for the skin), refrigerant and diuretic medicine.  It is used to cool and sooth minor burns and skin irritations.

So, I think I have Big Chickweed, not the more interesting Chickweed, but next time I’m going to look for those hairs on the stems.  (Edit: 3/22/2015; Upon further study of the wildflower book, the flower petals look more like Chickweed, or Common Chickweed, Stellaria media.)

March 2014-Daffodils  There are daffodils blooming all over Roseburg, but they tend to have smaller heads, about half the size of these.  These were growing, here and there, off the side of the road on the farm.

March 2014-Grass  Grass that dried into a curly shape.  They reminded me of the rhythmic gymnasts in the Olympics.

March 2014-Redstem storksbill  Redstem fillaree or Redstem storksbill (Erodium cicutarium).

“It is a hairy, sticky annual. The long seed-pod, shaped like the bill of a stork, bursts open in a spiral when ripe, sending the seeds (which have little feathery parachutes attached) into the air.  Seed launch is accomplished using a spring mechanism powered by shape changes as the fruits dryThe spiral shape of the awn can unwind during daily changes in humidity, leading to self-burial of the seeds once they are on the ground. The two tasks (springy launch and self-burial) are accomplished with the same tissue (the awn), which is hygroscopically active and warps upon wetting and also gives rise to the draggy hairs on the awn.

The entire plant is edible with a flavor similar to sharp parsley if picked young. According to John Lovell’s Honey Plants of North America (1926), “the pink flowers are a valuable source of honey (nectar), and also furnish much pollen”.   Among the Zuni people, a poultice of chewed root applied to sores and rashes and an infusion of the root taken is for stomachache.”  Wikipedia

March 2014-White Flower  Grassland saxifrage (Saxifraga integrifolia)

March 2014-Cow Skull  We found some crunched up bones on our property and some on the property of our neighbor, who has a herd of cattle.


Chicken Farm

A few days ago Bruce and  I went to a class of sorts at a poultry farm, B & K Natural Farm, in Sutherlin, not far from our house.  It was more of a tour, but we saw how a small farm operates in the raising and processing of chickens.  Here is an excerpt from the internet:

           “Pasture-raised meat chickens offered fresh May thru September, frozen available while they last. We raise our chickens on pasture in open-air pens that are moved daily. Our chickens are raised without the use of antibiotics or other chemicals. (No arsenic, antidepressants or feeding back feathers and waste.) No chemicals are applied to the fields upon which the chickens are raised. The pasture grasses fertilized by our chickens are harvested and sold as animal feed.”  http://www.localharvest.org/b-k-natural-farm-M55379

We are interested in finding pasture-raised organic meat from small farms and thought this would be a good opportunity to see if this would be a good place to buy from.

The owners are Beth & Kerry Olsen and Kerry led the tour.  He first took us to see the chicks.  They are raised in pens for a short time–I believe he called them battery brooders–and they have worked out the best for him in controlling disease.

They are then moved out to the pasture and kept in pens that are moved every three days which keeps the fields fertilized and the chickens stay clean and fed.  This is called Chicken Tractor.

Poultry pen

The next part is fairly gory, so skip down to the dog if you don’t want to know how chickens are processed.

We were taken in to see the processing plant which is a two room facility.  The first room has the cones.

Poultry processing equipment

The chickens are put in them head down and their necks are slit and they bleed out.  They then go into the scalder head first and hanging by their feet.  They are dunked several times for about 15 seconds to facilitate taking off the feathers.  To remove the feathers they are put into a steel drum that whirls them around and removes the feathers.  It’s the white round container with holes on the left side of the photo.  Behind that is the scalder.

The chickens then go on the tables to be eviserated.

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After that they are washed and vacuum-sealed and frozen and they are then ready for market.

Equipment-Vacuum Sealer

Vacuum sealer on the right and scale on the left.

Kerry processes 20 chickens an hour, 200 chickens a day, and 5000 chickens a year.

It was an interesting tour, but I sure wouldn’t want to do it for a living.  Thank you Kerry for taking the time to show us around your farm.


This is Buddy, Kerry and Beth’s very sweet, friendly dog.

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Some Icelandic sheep in an adjoining pasture.

Chickens, Isaac Browns

Isaac Brown chickens.  They followed along on the tour too.

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My daughter told me that it is time to add a new post about arriving in Oregon.  She’s right, but we’ve been busy–or tired–or both.

The movers came on February 27th to pack and on the 28th to load it all in the truck.  California is having a record drought but of course it rained on that day.  We didn’t get going to Oregon as early as we wanted to, but we eventually made it to the hotel in Red Bluff, CA around 10pm.  Our cat, Annabelle, seemed to enjoy the ride, at least on the first day.  On the second day she wouldn’t even look at us.

It rained all the way up through most of California but not at all in Oregon.  What a nice welcome!  When we arrived in Roseburg there was a double rainbow hanging over the town.  Now that’s a fabulous welcome!

The movers came on schedule on Sunday and the rain mostly held off.  We had boxes everywhere, but I carved out a place in the living room so we could at least have a place to sit down.  We also got the bedroom set up because we sure weren’t going to spend another night in the hotel.  Someone had set up a BBQ on their balcony and smoked us out of our room the night before.

So for the past week we’ve been unpacking and unpacking, endlessly unpacking.  After awhile it starts to look like junk that you really don’t need.  Sara, our other daughter, came down for a day to help.  She was a great help with all the boxes in the kitchen.

The countryside around Roseburg is in full bloom.  There are numerous trees with white, pale pink and purple flowers that are some type of fruit trees.  The biggest surprise is the daffodils.  They are everywhere and they tend to grow in groups in the wild, so they are bright and cheery sights, especially on overcast and rainy days.  We don’t have any flowering trees on our property yet, but we do have some daffodils and hyacinths scattered around the house.  Bruce’s daffodils haven’t popped up yet.  If we had known how many wild ones there are, maybe he wouldn’t have been out in the rain planting bulbs.

We’ve been going into town much more than we thought we would–running errands for one thing or another.  We also went to the Umpqua Farmer’s Market.  It was inside at a school, but there wasn’t much in the way of vegetables to buy.  We found a booth run by a farmer who grows organic, pasture-fed lamb and pork  and she has free-range chickens.  We bought some breakfast sausage and eggs from her.  We were going to go on a tour of her farm today, but we couldn’t find the place.  We were in the right place, but there were no signs and no sign of any tours going on.  Oh well, it was a beautiful drive anyway, and we got to see the town of Dixonville.  At least, that’s what the sign said–there wasn’t much of a town.

We also went to a nearby winery, Abacela, and had a nice wine and pizza dinner.  We sat outside overlooking the vineyard.  When it isn’t raining, the temperatures are warm and it seems like Spring.  We met a couple at the next table over who have lived here their whole lives, and we enjoyed talking to them about Oregon.

So we are slowly getting organized and Bruce has been busy potting his tomatoes and peppers.  There are a few signs of life in the vegetable garden so we’ll need to go out there soon and attack the weeds.  All in all, we have had the best experiences we could have ever hoped for buying and selling our homes and we have decided that so far we made the right decision to come here to live in Roseburg.  We love the house, the farm, the forest and the people here.

Here are some photos from our first week in Oregon:

March 2014-Deer

The kitchen at its worst–but a good excuse to eat out!

March 2014-Deer3   March 2014-Deer2

The very bold deer right by our back door.

March 2014-Wood Stove

The very first thing Bruce did after the movers left.  Those logs have been calling to him for a very long time!

March 2014-Daffodils  March 2014-Hyacinths

Daffodils up by the main road and hyacinths near the house.  We have purple, pink and white ones.