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September, 2006 | Scuff Productions

deer fence breach

Bloged in garden by mark Wednesday September 27, 2006

At 4:30 this morning we were brought wide awake with a dog barking loudly from a window in another room. I went to see what I could see but the dog would only follow me……….not “lead” me to the troublespot.

We tried to go back to sleep, but you KNOW…………….once you’ve slept that long, you do NOT go back to sleep really. This dog further asked for trouble at 6:00 AM by coming right up to my face laying facing the wall and licking intensely. I pushed him away, he began again….and again. I gave up, got up, and let him out to watch him RUN to the one corner then DOWN into the forest. I KNEW he was following the trail of whatever had awakened him in the first place.

I laid back down and tried to sleep, yeah, right.

I kinda forgot about the event until I went out to see if I could see something and found that it was a deer MAC was barking at inside the fenced garden. The deer obviously panicked with the barking and in the dark corner of the garden he was in, misjudged the height of the fence:

And from another view:

SO. The poor guy landed hard enough on the wire to completely bend the steel pole 45 degrees.

The fence came down today and is now packed away. We’ll see what’s been eaten by tomorrow morning (hoping Mac doesn’t impose notification of said dining event before daylight).

Other stuff? Moved more wood into the woodshed, organized the woodshed, disposed of lots of starter plastic pots, moved the metal dog run behind the woodshed, moved more of the berm onto the lawn where the 2007 woodshed will go, came in for lunch. Tonight I just finished cooking more of Paula Deen’s famous Southern Fried Chicken, Yummy!

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival

Bloged in Oregon by mark Tuesday September 26, 2006

The annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

Apparantly this is something we MUST do next year according to a sheep expert……..

I think this sounds like a DAY of fun.

A Quaker Wedding

Bloged in General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Monday September 25, 2006

We were lucky enough to be invited to our friend and neighbor’s wedding Saturday afternoon. As luck would have it, and this was an outdoor wedding, our usual “Indian Summer” returned just that morning (the warm weather supposed to be around for the whole week, yeah!)

Peter McGovern and Jeanne Levasseur were joined in a Quaker “Worship for Marriage” Ceremony that far different than any I’d ever been to, but beautiful. The Quakers write, “The right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priest’s or magistrate’s; for it is God’s ordinance and not man’s. We marry none; it is the Lord’s work, and we are but witnesses.”

As we all know, the Quakers can hardly stand the last 5 years of rule in our own country because of the war (yeah!). Peace is one of the primary tenets of their faith. Hence, a wedding ceremony here involved NO preaching (Yeah!). Family and friends sat together for a period of silent worship. Peter and Jeanne then stood on their own when ready and exchanged vows, then rings. They signed a wedding certificate that was read to us all and that was followed by a period of silent worship once again. In this silent period though, anyone who felt spiritually inclined stood and spoke of their love and affection for these two people beginning this new portion of their life as wedded couple. It was a beautiful and so personal ceremony, I loved it. As things closed, everyone shook hands together and a fabulous buffet was opened with lots of beautiful spreads, breads, meats, fish, veggies and an open bar. I got to find out what a Potato Knish tastes like, finally.

Peter grew up in New York City and is Jewish. Jeanne is from Bellingham, WA and is not. So we did have two absolutely different families here that shared the BEST quality anyone can: HUMOR. I don’t think anyone who got up and spoke didn’t show that trait. One guest stood up, and then I recognized her husband from a web page for Haggen Grocery. Yes, the CEO of Haggen and wife canceled an international trip to be here for Jeanne. Jeanne had worked for them a few years, and they absolutely love her as we all do.

The day started with our joining the Smiths who had been hosting some of Jeanne’s family for breakfast. Karen prepared fine waffles topped with warm syrup OR…..fresh baked apple dish. Her brother Pierre and wife Rita were here from Austin, TX. ALL these folks were fun. Since Jeanne had admitted pirates were involved in the family genealogy, we plotted to somewhere along the wedding day to be able to break out with Baird leading a “Yo Ho Ho”…… be followed by “And a bottle of rum, AAARGH!”

That plan sort of muddled into the silent worship, but the “aaargh” came back big time when pictures and preps for cutting the wedding cake came along. I loved it that one of Peter’s NY cousins found the “AAAARGH!” so captivating, she couldn’t quit saying it and for quite a while, after every tiny thing that happened, we’d hear her, “AAAARGH” once again. Fun fun fun.

Out swim instructor Holly showed another one of her talents by doing all the flowers, and they were absolutely beautiful both in arrangement but in color coordination as well. The wedding was at LEACH BOTANICAL GARDENS here in Portland, a landmark for natural and organic gardening. Sitting above a lovely stream, the reception area was so very lovely. The link can only take you to a “temporary” web site as they are still preparing the permanent web page this park deserves.

Thanks Peter and Jeanne for letting us share in your joyful wedding celebration!

Deer Answer 2006 Garden Question

Bloged in garden,Nature by mark Friday September 22, 2006

SO. We raised the deer fence this year hoping to deter them from jumping the 5 feet barrier they jumped last year….. and chewed down pepper vines, lettuces, tomato plants. That fence had been up for a few years so it was a surprise when they finally leaped gingerly over and finished our garden year early. This year it sat about 6.5 feet high and we made it through the whole summer safely (except for the raccoon incident).

This weekend, it began to rain, we had cool nights, and it seems their eating habits change as the year changes. I hadn’t been out there since the rain started (about 4 days ago). Today I had 3 big bags of coffee grounds from Starbucks to lay down as mulch and went out to lay it down on the bare soil exposed now that the corn’s gone. Here’s what I saw first as I stepped into the garden:

Realizing the lettuce was gone, I quickly looked at the pepper vines and saw this:

I looked down to see deer prints everywhere. I had just walked dogs with Karen and talked about apples…..wondering why the deer hadn’t eaten ones that are falling off our tree. Now seeing the lettuce and pepper, I looked over at the tree. All ground apples gone but one and it looked like this (Mac was chief inspector):

So, the 2006 BIG Garden question was finally answered. A 5 ft deer fence isn’t high enough and a 6.5 high fence isn’t either. Some say it must be at least 9 feet tall !!!! Next year it may have to be those big rebar sections used for pouring concrete turned sideways and mounted on the fenceposts.

SO amazing that these deer will delicately jump over 6.5 simply to snack on some vines and lettuce. Not a tomato plant was touched.

At least our mysterious but reportedly delictable Long Island Cheese (is it a squash or pumpkin?) looks like it will make it to harvest:

Oh well. Nature wins again.

A Proper BLT

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out by mark Wednesday September 20, 2006

I have finally accepted that I am a “BLT” snob. No Denney’s Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwich for me. It all started when we finally became more and more successful growing tomatoes and having the ability to pick them soft and clear, juicy and rich with flavor right off the vine.

Add to that, after ten years of learning to bake bread, feel a sense of what, for me, anyway, goes well with what.

So. I just remembered the other day, that last year during the summer I had eaten at least two or three dozen “Bacon, Lettuce and Garden Ripe Tomato” sandwiches on different kinds of home-made bread when that time of year was here. Immediately, I made a fresh loaf of the Pulla Bread (Finnish–the recipe’s posted here in the Recipe Category on August 8) and decided I finally had the finest BLT a human can eat.

What a joy to find something simple and be able to relish it during a last week of summer.

Oh yes, I have eaten 3 more since that…………… So. Next time, don’t accept a BLT on Wonderbread with a two week old tomato. Try it with some Italian Country Bread, an Heirloom tomato from the finest store, some good pepper bacon…….and THEN……..tell me what you think.

a Gay Cuban Refugee all alone in Portland

Bloged in Gay by mark Friday September 15, 2006

We attended the reception at the Mariott as described below. At the reception, one waiter seemed to quickly pick us out of the crowd and kept trying to give us Apple Martinis. His English was horrible and he was hard to understand. As we listened though, we came to discover a kind of sad story.

Pedro is from Havana. Grew up there, lived there until he was 44. He is gay, always worked in the food business and loved to dance. Well, if you’re GAY and out in Cuba, you are often jailed with no explanation. You can be harrassed, tortured, and held for years. So, Pedro, of course, kept hoping he could escape and with 3 million Cubans living in Miami, why not dream about it?

He heard there were a few openings to leave at the American Embassy so he applied for political asylum. Failed, Tried again and again, and guess what? They said, “YES, we have a chance.” The U.S. Embassy shipped him to Portland, OR! He’s now lived here a year. At first under the sponsorship of an older woman whose objective was to become a dancer and expected him to create a dancer from her untalented stiff body. He has had work at the Marriott, goes to English Class, and finally has a tiny old apartment in Old Town. He knows NO one, has no friends and only has been motivated to get to work and English class. He has found Latino folks who even treat him as an outsider since Mexican Spanish and Cuban Spanish are completely different. Cuban Spanish is closely related to European Spanish while the American Continental version has so much Indian language in it, that he understand English more easily.

So, we gave him our phone number and must now see what we can find for some Cuban resources here in Portland. Do you know any? We’ll have to report later what we find.

He was obviously very lonely……………………….

NOW. What to do.

Wicked, the Musical

Bloged in Scuff Boys by mark Friday September 15, 2006

I HIGHLY reccomend you take time to take in “Wicked the Musical”. This was the finest theater piece of seen in Portland, beautiful stage sets, lighting etc. All that was missing was good audio. I KNOW, audio is important in a musical! Since so much of the pieces are solo, you actually CAN understand the lyrics, so this time, Keller Auditorium almost worked. Sadly, when more than one person’s singing, you lose clarity. BUT, as I said, so many solos, such fabulous sets, lighting, and then: A FABULOUS STORY, you can’t help but be thrilled.

Here’s a story that tells more about the magical land of the Wizard of Oz and how so many of the Oz characters came to be. SO, you already know and recognize half the things going on when they happen. Where did the tin man come from? The Cowardly Lion? How did the Wicked Witch of the West come to be and why is she green? Was she really evil or is hype? ALL these truths revealed in Wicked the Musical! Don’t miss it.

Therein comes the funny part of this story. We had just purchased tickets in NYC for the Broadway production of this musical one week ago. Rodger this week was given an invitation to attend a reception at the Marriott for work with Wicked Tickets as an attraction. How about that? We’re now anxious to see this in New York.

Fall Garden

Bloged in garden by mark Friday September 15, 2006

Lovely lettuce coming up about 2 inches high. Cilantro among the lettuce. Lovely. Watered it yesterday then thinned out corn stalks, etc. Picked a lot of tomatoes.


Racoons had never taken advantage of the deer fence before but then, it was never raised above ground level. This year it WAS raised because the deer jumped it last year. So, in 2006, there’s a 2 foot gap underneath the fence that’s open and they finally figured that out. They destroyed all the lettuce. No, they didn’t eat it. They dug up all the loose wet fresh soil around it to get at grubs & worms ! They left nothing.

To make matters worse, they simply moved 20 feet over to the tall fir, pooped everything they could, climbed the tree and slept it off. Bastards.

HOW do I know it was raccoons? Maybe this pic isn’t plain enough, but THIS is a Raccoon pawprint?

Today, with rain having fallen in the morning and more due, I cleaned out the corn ears, pulled out and removed the stalks, to freeze the last of the corn, can 5 more pints of tomatoes, and am making apple juice.

So that’s my lovely account of fall gardening. SHOULD I plant more lettuce?

A MAC Mystery

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday September 12, 2006

We have ended up leaving Mac alone inside the house when we’ve had to since he gets a little panicked in the garage.

When we return, he always comes to the door just waking from sleep after having passed out on the couch!

Do you think we have we uncovered the mystery?


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