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July, 2010 | Scuff Productions

Chet – Rodger has escaped!

Bloged in Family by mark Thursday July 29, 2010

Chet DID return from the hospital yesterday, with new awareness of the “tender” condition of his post-surgery body. Saying, “No, I understand my big drinking days are over!” …………….he settled into taking pills, eating a bit, and adjusting to post-surgery behavior…………. with THAT working well, so far, RODGER ESCAPED while he had the chance!

He spent the night in Ripon with Aunt Paula……….so I’m sure they had a fine time together………. “shopping” . . . . (oh, oh!!), eating, laughing . . . something Rodger needed!

This morning he departs via/ US 101 up the coast and will probably stay in Ashland, OR or environs this evening.

ME? I pick up our friend Bill H. at the airport this pm….and we’ll sit and torture Mac until Rodg gets in tomorrow mid-day or so. Perhaps Bill and I will have to make a batch of jam ………..or tour somewhere close by. He’ll have lots of tales to tell as a long-time resident of Manhattan WHO, just moved into the Greenwich Village……..

Looking forward to seeing Bill, AND………..getting Rodger back home!

Chet – (and Oregano!)

Bloged in Family,garden by mark Monday July 26, 2010

Rodger’s Dad Chet had a partial hip replacement and although he had an odd time coming out of anasthesia, made it okay and was determined to git himself out of that damn hospital. Rodger had to go round up the required list of items Chet would have to have before his release. He and Paula ALSO had to CLEAN the double wide for 2 days in an exhausting effort. We’ll leave some of the details out about what that involved……SOME of that’s worth excellent gossip.

So, with little sleep, Rodger & Joyce brought Chet home Saturday afternoon . . . ….. HE fell coming into the place, but managed to do it w/o injury, and perhaps that’s okay… taught him he DOES have to slow down. So, it appeared that things were coming to a fine finish….. Joyce would stay and take care of him (along with a few appts with a home-health nurse).

Not so. He developed severe gastrointestinal issues somewhere between trying to take all the pills and getting some food down…..NONE of that stayed down. He was admitted very late last night back into the hospital. Tests await……. At least they’ll be able to rehydrate him with an IV, and get the meds adjusted.

This complicates when Rodger will be able to come home …………. as he’d like to do. I’m feeling somewhat sorry I’m not in CA helping Rodger out, I know he’s exhausted.

At least I’ve been busy……… I DID finish getting the first round of Oregano picked, dried, and finally into the kitchen to be cleaned (It had been hanging to dry for a week when all this happened):

There WERE a few stems left afterward:

All of that became this:

And why does that matter? At least half of that will go into making Tomatillo Salsa in late August …………. hopefully……………

HIGH Summer – some are leaving us

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Passerines by mark Sunday July 25, 2010

High summer is a fabulous time, no argument. It’s also the time some of our loved short-timer songbirds already LEAVE us to begin heading back to So. Ca., or MX.

Our beloved Evening Grosbeaks just fledged their 2nd nest youngsters this week.

They are, by nature birds that live in flocks and they nomadically travel in flocks…sometimes up to 20-30 . . . . . . . IT IS ONLY during the nesting season that they split up. At first sight of them this spring, we counted 15 at the feeder….within a week they’d split up into pairs, most leaving this neighborhood. We had about 3-4 pair nest here.

Last Monday, that very nesting “group” began a rather new “chortling” whistle call between themselves, a call to “gather the flock, it’s time to leave“… . . . . . . it got more active by Tuesday when I NO longer even saw them appearing at our feeders. By Wednesday morning? NOT a peep and not one since. They have gone! I’m a bit saddened when THIS cheerful, confident, beauty of nature departs us until next late April.

Most robins have departed.

The Black-Headed Grosbeaks, the other favorite, are just NOW fledging their 2nd batch-o-kids, and I expect to see them disappear in the next week or two….THEY will be going all the way to Mexico, so need a good start.

ALL our Adult Rufous Hummingbirds have been gone a bit, and very FEW juveniles are even here. Feeding volume has dropped from 2 1/2 quarts a day to about a 1/2 now……..and will reduce even more when most of our Anna’s will leave for the valley as soon as summer’s over.

Goldfinches are just finishing their 2nd nesting…… and although they’ll stick around until it begins cooling, they’ll begin to lose their colors.

Oh well………I will miss the Grosbeaks.

Chet gets surgery and nature shows another side`

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday July 21, 2010

Rodger’s Dad has held his own for 81 years, not slowing down much, still partying with many who are lots younger than he. He’s always been a straightforward guy, doesn’t mince words, and says what he thinks. He was quite the young navy man, eh?

Nonetheless, the call came yesterday late morning. He’d fallen two days prior and was in severe pain, but refusing to go to a doctor. A friend who was in home-health care was there trying to help out a bit and it took Rodger a few tough words to get him to know he HAD to go to the emergency room.

Once there, it’s found he’d broken a hip……….at 81, a heavy smoker, and a drinker too…..surgery isn’t a good thing to face. Rodger immediately came home, packed, and drove away……… Surgery is today at 1:00 pm in Concord, CA, near Sacramento.

Chet was still singin’ in very recent times:

***Now, we wait for word from the surgery center…..several family members will be there, and we’ll hope for the best. . . . . . ..Whew!

One Maple Down! New Light for garden

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Saturday July 17, 2010

So. We finally took down one of the 4 maples in front of the house. It’s not like they’re giant old things, probably only 20 years………….since that’s how old the house is. But it’s a bit of work and planning.

We removed the most northerly one since it’s brushing up against the firs, and shading too much of the vegetable garden in the morning.

So, I got everything ready, but we would never let a tree fall that big with only one of us around. This one seemed to lean a bit to the west following the light……..SO, ropes were attached around it and it’s winched to the tree a ways east so we can “pull” it toward the fall direction wanted when that time comes.

***I KNOW, it looks like a little sissy weak rope that couldn’t possibly help, but it doesn’t really take much when the tree’s being cut, and reaches that point JUST before collapse, you can EASILY sway which way it goes. Kinda fun…..to be pulling on that winch.

SO, Chain saw, cleaned, fueled, chain oil filled, NEW chain, and someone’s ready to sing, “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m okay!”:

THE FIRST cuts are from one side….putting the “pitch” into the slot so the tree will FALL, hopefully, in the direction of that pitched spot:

Then we let the saw cut in straight from the other side, and I pull on the winch, the tree begins to “give”, and then a loud “whoosh”…….it’s on the ground.

And the work begins……….working from the top, getting all the smaller leafy branches off and moving them so I can strip them and move ’em to a perfect composting are (the slope of the hill…….):

This tiny trailer HAS come in handy over the years:

It’s amazing once you start stripping out leaves and smaller branches, the size of a tree gets smaller quick. Here I’m ready to cut off larger branches I can pile up and SPLIT in a day or two:

And the end result, MORE LIGHT exactly where we need it:

Day TWO: split up all the small branches and hauled pieces over to and threw OFF the slope into places the hillside needs sheltering from heavy rains.
CUT off large branches, piled ’em up in back and will split on day 3 when I’m not so tired.

Day Three: Split the rest, stacked it, and now just some lawn cleanup to do. Watered the veggie garden…a nice comfortable task after the tree work.

WARM afternoon. Time to relax with some Raspberry Ice Cream!!!

It’s LATE summer for the Songbirds: Nesting #2.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday July 15, 2010

This is quite a time for us when songbirds arrive in April/May and awake these forests with such beautiful calling ….some mornings it’s a cacophony that is really overpowering……………

ALL winter it’s just us and the quiet calling of our little brave year-round residents. We wait for the arrival of the beautiful migrants and their 4 month visit that happens in stages……….

Usually Males arrive first to set up territory. They are soon calling from the highest trees to show off for the arriving hens ……. promising “they” know the best feeding places in town. Females arrive, mating happens, nests are built, and things get quieter for a while, although Males CONTINUE to whistle brightly and regularly for any single lady who has not yet gotten the “call” to do that tough life thing: mate, nest, incubate eggs, raise young.

You can usually simply LISTEN and KNOW when hatchlings are leaving nests for a “day out” with the folks. Never is there MORE calling with different sounds than now with parents issuing all kinds of instructions and caution calls. If you hear it, simply sit, wait a few minutes, and you’ll likely see a parent feeding a fluffy youngster…..or three. It’s thrilling. We’ve watched that this year with EVERY kind of bird that visits us or lives here.

It’s such a brief time these fledged kids are allowed to be babies for many birds…. Some extend the family time: Chickadees fly around in a family group for weeks, but then again, THEY are here year round, no need to hurry. MOST of the visitors quickly, say, “Goodbye, kids, you’re on your own.”

Not out of selfishness, but rather to maximize the time spent here in the nesting regions….They quickly lay the 2nd set of eggs. HERE is when you KNOW your summer is moving WAY too fast. THIS second nesting period, the bird sounds/calls get VERY quiet, feeding stations go quiet.

Even hummingbirds aren’t seen much…..other than juveniles who are buzzing around with any seeming purpose…………. although they’re fun to watch take a bath in the bright waters coming out of a sprinkler.

The SAD part is the realization the one KNOWS that once this second nesting is completed, the babies fledged, then almost all will begin their southerly migrations……for that long trip back to So Cal, or Mexico. Male Hummingbirds are already gone. If you see a male now, he’s obviously a juvenile. Whew! I was just settling into the enjoyment of this peculiar human hobby of watching/listening to these guys.

Ok, we move on, summer is still moving fast. I like getting “confirmation” that I’m happy the deer fence is up around the vegetables…………..when I see that they’ve been IN the yard munching the raspberry plants:

***and I don’t worry about all the lettuce……………….

Ah, summer……….you’re so powerful an influence on ALL life.

*****UPDATE July 17…..…I watched a baby Evening Grosbeak Female last night feebly following Mom around to feeder, birdbath, learning to fly. It was with a tiny bit of sadness KNOWING in about 2 weeks, she, along with “family” will be leaving us until NEXT May. . …….……..

Sunny weather. . . . . no time

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Sunday July 11, 2010

We’ve been VERY busy, non-stop work/play. Summer’s an amazing fabulous time. Perhaps we ARE not the “Portlanders” we may have been, since we want MORE months of THIS weather than we get. It’s EASY to recall our whining in the last 3 months when the gray dark humid cool weather settled in, and even now, the millions of mosquitoes that weather created in the aftermath are …… not fun.

No time for detail’
*John / Toni came up for dinner Friday evening. They’re fabulous people, brilliant, active, outgoing, gentle, loving, kind, sharing, what MORE could one hope for in a friend? We cooked an old favorite: Pork Chops in Burnt Butter Garlic Sauce . . . . . and more. Fun

*Saturday – go to John / Toni’s place for their last “Pre-Baby-arrival” gathering. Even though I always arrive a little shy wondering how this gathering of younger athletic people will react to the old gay guy, it never ends that way. Their friends are a very diverse interesting group, and the evenings BEGIN in fast chat that continues even when you finally say good nights late in the evening…… **THIS evening we took a seasonal favorite, a BIG batch of SUMMER PUDDING …. the berry dish we’ve loved for the last 20 years.

**Today, probably joining Emilio / Elena at Cafe Umbria in the Pearl for a gathering of a lot of Spaniards who live in this area to watch an exciting World Cup Finale.

*Garden life: MOLE battles continue EVERYWHERE in the yard. One Trap the mole simply tunneled next to it and BURIED it in a pile of dirt. Varmints everywhere, and they continue to try and kill the garden. . . .

*Mac care . . . . walks get done, and I’m never sure if I’m doing it for HIS health or because it’s good for me. He’s getting good River swims about once a week….has learned to jump OFF the dock at Cathedral Park for a nice DIVE into the river.

*Rodger’s getting back into the details of Grant Preps at work…not too fun…..

*July 4 – the neighborhood gathering turned out just fabulous…People walked into the dining room, got a drink, and NEVER moved for 2 1/2 hours all gabbing as fast as we could through dinner/desserts…… Nathan presented us with a nice finale’ of some spectacular sky-high bombers.
**There was MORE Summer pudding there, HAH!

*Jammin! The strawberry jam is DONE, local strawberries finished up quick when heat arrived. I’m about done with the RASPBERRY cooks as well…..are 60 1/2 pints enough to get us through the winter? The Blackberry/mixed jam season will begin next week.

Yard work, deck work, plans to paint inside, etc etc….. but it’s fun to face all that when the SUMMER is here.

Who was that masked varmint?

Bloged in General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Monday July 5, 2010

The raccoons (we think there are TWO controlling our immediate “territory” . . . a little young one and a determined mature. As much as I was annoyed with it, I WAS getting curious just HOW he WAS getting things “cleaned” out at night and even throwing out the screens in the tray feeder digging for every last seed. To this day, we try to leave a bit of seed at night for the flying squirrels, and they still come IF…..those masked bandits don’t get there first.

I wired a bit-o-fencing in back of said feeder to see how this “determined” animal would deal with a “block”. He would of course not see it until he would climb the tree in back of the fencing….confront it, then have to get around it.

I went to bed. This is what was there in the morning:

Sure, I was frustrated, but in wonder myself of just how this guy could get all this done and not wake us 20′ away…..or at LEAST the dog.

Other things wonderful just seen this week:
*the Great Northern Flicker Mom bringing kids to the suet post feeder.
*the Stellar’s Jay has young because of the AMOUNT of feed she’s coming after. She is coming in often and doing it quietly …. She lands on the post:

And in seconds, after swallowing many pieces, then fills up the beak and takes off for feeding young:

*the hummingbirds on 2nd nesting season 2, so feeding volume is reduced. They’re being very low-key when nesting, as all birds are….. But also, the days are WARMER, more bugs are available, the MALES have all left town (sigh) and flowers they love are EVERYWHERE. We see them all the time now at these beauties:

This week, lots-o-little tasks await, but we won’t forget last nights neighbor/friend get together for a long time.

On the menu:

*Deborah’s wonderful fresh corn salad.
*Home-made Potato Salad …. rules are strict on THAT dish!
*Black Bean Corn Salad (thanks Nancy!)
*Guacamole
*Hummus
*Jeanne’s delicious Deviled Eggs
*Rodger’s grilled Burgers & Brats w/fixins…lettuce from the garden, our home-made pickles, cheeses, etc etc
*Summer Pudding
*Our homemade Ben & Jerry recipe for fresh Raspberry Ice Cream (thanks, Doug!)
*Rodger’s homemade fresh Raspberry Sorbet –a crowd favorite
*Karen’s cookies!!!
* Arnie’s spectacular huge brownies slathered in a cream
cheese/coconut frosting and loaded with walnuts.

I meant to get pictures, but you know how a hosting job happens…you almost have the camera out when the crowd arrives, and the next thing you know that last thunderous Firework explodes in the sky! A GREAT night.

I think I’ll have another Costco Ice Cream Bar……if you haven’t had one, you better ASK me about them. They’re fabulous, better than EVERY and ANY commercial bar in any store and half the price:

Rodger can thank Janice from his work for this possible new source of addiction! Hah!

Heat Wave coming! I can’t wait to see a garden explode in growth.

Summer: TOO many “to-do’s” . Birds think so too.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday July 1, 2010

Isn’t that summer? I can hardly take time to write anything.

After a wonderful visit from Homer, we were lucky enough to get a visit from Doug & Leon . . . .who we’re in town on business…so we got a day with them at the beginning and end of their trip:

We never stopped talking, and at the end one of the most fabulous trips to the gorge was enjoyed by all. The Weather was perfect, rainy season just over so everything still impossibly deep green, water at it’s peak, and crowds were smaller than I expected for June.
*We visited Bonneville Dam……ON THE WASHINGTON Side! We had NO idea there was the same visitor sites there that Oregon has, except FEW people…. at the fish viewing windows, we were allowed in with the fish counter who was a jovial gal…LEARNED a LOT about how they count….saw some regular fish, and a few huge Chinook Salmon…thrilling.
*Stopped at EVERY fall on the return…..and I haven’t gone through pictures, but there are some good ones. Hope to save some here soon…..
**IT WAS very interesting to be in the gorge with two scientists who taught us much about certain plants…………..

*Came home, enjoyed wine and a homemade dinner….LOTS more talking. THIS was just great, and, HOMER . . . . .SORRY it was still raining when you were here.

The BIRDS are in FULL family making mode, and most beginning their second broods…. MOST arrived in May, brought first fledged young to feeders early in June / mid-month, chirping loudly the whole time….. NOW, it’s gotten suddenly quiet again, because all are back on the nest.

THIS is prime time of the year for raptors…..and some have succeeded at getting juveniles…… it hurts a little when see that the hawks had some dinner, BUT I LOVE to see them, it IS NATURE. However, I’m not sure the hawks were even the predator on the robin here…..since it appears he was eaten on the spot.

*THIS juvenile robin was found near the Rhodies……
**wouldn’t a hawk take the prey somewhere else?

The Dove WAS taken somewhere, these feathers were all that were left:

*AND I HOPE this bit of Junco was a juvenile, not a nesting Mom:

**NOTE: A Mom Junco has started a second nest in the Smith’s lawn…Whew! We’ve got a shelter over her once again.

That’s all the time we have .. . . . . . . .with a July 4th gathering here this w/e, MUST get busy………I’m making several batches of that raspberry ice cream for it. Yum. Mom’s Potato Salad must make an appearance on the 4th, right?

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