Saturday June 24, 2017
Today was a long day. I heard a motor out front this morning and snuck up on it. The new neighbors across the road were driving around their property with a UTV. They were too far away to see the people. They did have a white pickup like rancher Bob's.
I hiked half way up Cell Hill to call my Dad. I didn't get him. They were out "Joy Riding."
I did more weeding. We hiked over to the corrals. The sheep I've been hearing were right on the other side of the fence. Lots of sheep. I went over because I heard the LGDs barking. I thought they'd be further away.
It was also "Supply Day." I enjoyed my company, but I was exhausted by the time they left. I've been resting and knitting. I went out to push laundry. Rosie was sniffing and looking anxiously t'ward Huckleberry Hill. I sniffed: Rotting meat. Ron says if there's a carcass I should expect evening and night time diners. This could get interesting...
Sunday, June 25, 2017
I slept in! Clear 'til 7:30 a.m., and I slept hard. If there was any growling, howling or carrying on, I missed it. The only thing I did hear was a bunch of wheezy honking by a deer, around 10:00 p.m. just before I went to bed. How disappointing. 😒
Rosie and I finally went out this morning. Its already too warm. I pushed laundry while Rosie took care of her business. I did something I've never done before. I put out the big awning. The refrigerator side gets the full morning sun and it causes the refrigerator to lose cold too fast. Usually I haven't used the big awning because its something else I'd have to spend time taking down in a "toxic emergency," like the cows. But I think everyone's on board with this being our place now, so there shouldn't be any more toxic exposures (They took down the for sale signs yesterday). Anyway, I read how to do it years ago. I couldn't remember all the directions, but I figured it out. I'm quite pleased with myself. ☺️
I couldn't smell any rancid meat this morning. I want to go take a look, but I'm still tired from yesterday. I think I'd better rest. I wouldn't want to run into trouble in a depleted state.
Ron bought me a really nice macheté for hacking weeds, better than the one I had as a kid. I'm eager to get out and use it. This one has a serrated edge on the backside of the blade. Nice! Still, I need to rest. I have to be good and wait. Maybe this evening, when it cools down a little, and I'm rested up, I can do a few.
I talked to my Dad this morning. He sounded tired, though he was coherent. Debby had taken him to Dairy Queen on Friday and out for a ride yesterday. It was good for his mental health, though physically taxing. He was cognizant that there were things he wasn't remembering. That's an improvement.
Monday, June 26, 2017
I spent yesterday resting, knitting and pushing laundry. I'm at the point where they say, "Weave in ends." Not my favorite part.
Rosie and I smelled the rancid meat smell again yesterday, at about 6:00 p.m.. We didn't smell it at 5:00 p.m.. So either there was a significant wind shift, of the "rancid smell" itself is mobile. As in "a bear." I asked Ron what a bear smells like but he said he'd never smelled a bear. He's had several bear encounters over the years, so he should have smelled them. Dead nose. We should know something later this morning, after our breakfast/colding up the refrigerator routine, as I'm feeling ready to weed.
We did see 6 cow elk and a yearling calf at dusk yesterday. It was so dark the pics didn't turn out very good. The camera had a hard time focusing. Here's the best one...
(Animals were closer than they appear) I lightened the pic so you could at least see the "elk blobs." They didn't come through all at the same time. They straggled through. Just when I'd think they were done, here'd come a couple more. The naughty little yearling went through way behind the others.
Whew! I weeded for an hour (which is fantastic for me). Then we walked out Violet Way with a garbage bag an picked up the Houndstongue we'd weeded the other day, until the bag was full. They hadn't seeded out yet, so they were o.k. to leave in piles. I have one or two more bagfuls up there, and plenty more to hack down, then dig up their roots. I didn't dig up or pull very many today. I focused on hacking off the seeded tops and stuffing them in garbage bags. I did half the area where we're going to put the house. My new macheté made it super easy! Did I tell you Houndstongue like full sun and disturbed areas? I know I told Ron that.
We didn't smell any rancid fat or rotting meat while we were hacking weeds. That's the direction its been coming from. Maybe its a bear coming down to the cattail pond for water in the evening? I looked at one end of the pond for tracks in the mud, but didn't see any (Rosie went wading). I'll look around the rest of the pond later. Rosie showed a lot of interest in going up Huckleberry Hill, but I'm not up for that yet.
I hauled 2 black garbage bagfuls back from the house site. I left one that still had room left in it for tomorrow. I was too hot to keep working. When we got back to the RV I had to bathe my face and wash up. Toxic sweat, as well as over heating. My body still can't regulate its own temperature yet. After I got my body temp back down I brushed out Rosie. She had lots of Beggar's Lice, grass seeds and dirt. Then I shook out the throw rugs and swept the floors. Pretty good morning's work for this old lady.
Now for some breakfast. 😋
We had a downpour, with thunder. After it poured for 30 minutes we got some lightening. Mostly sky lightening. It continued to rain. We did get one strike. Either on or behind Cell Hill. After most of the storm had passed we got gusty wind. I went out and put up the awning. While it was pouring I collected 3 gallons of water for clothes washing (off the awning).
Good thing I put up the awning when I did. The wind really came blasting through. It was a real tree bender.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
I slept in again, waking up around 7:30 a.m.. The sun was already beating on the side of the RV with the refrigerator. I jumped up and threw on a T-shirt and sweat pants. Rosie and I went right out to unroll the awning. As soon as we were out the door we heard very loud whimpering and whining. Like a puppy. It was right behind our guest trailer, 30 ft. away. Rosie wanted to immediately investigate. I ordered her to leave it alone. The last thing I wanted was for either Rosie or I to get between a mother wolf and her cub. I didn't even have my gun. Rosie obediently went off to do her business and the whining quit abruptly. I'm guessing the momma slipped up and collected the pup. I took care of the awning. Rosie climbed the bank by the pond. She watched something for a moment and then came racing back, very excited. She must have seen a critter at the pond.Everybody needs water. We'll investigate after our morning routine.
I filled my leftover bag, plus 2 more. Since it rained yesterday I pulled roots on the smaller ones. The tap root can get up to 3', so I didn't bother on larger plants. We finished with all the blooming and seeded plants in that location. Tomorrow we'll start machetéing them on Violet Way. I didn't go collect the rest of the pulled weed piles from Violet Way. Too pooped. Too hot. Maybe this afternoon, weather permitting. I picked Begger's Lice out of Rosie's fur again.
My sock's had their own collection.
I did walk around the pond looking for tracks and sign. Nothing. I looked behind the guest trailer, too. Nothing. In movies there are always tracks. But densely weeded meadows, with rocky soil and deep pine needles don't leave obvious tracks. There is disturbed ground, but not in any way that I can determine what disturbed it. In our walk around the pond I watched a squirrel try to chase two Hungarian partridges out of his tree. He'd run right at them, where they were on a branch. If they didn't move, the squirrel would shove them, or bite at them. They'd fly to another branch. The squirrel'd get so mad, he or she, was cussing up a storm.
We went out Violet Way to pick up the piles. I ended up hacking a few more that had seed heads. I needed to fill my bag. I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Sometimes I feel pretty useless. I just sit around and barely do anything. Today I worked both morning and afternoon. Thats better than I was doing.
We went out and weeded along the road to the west of the drive. We'll try to do the east side tomorrow.
8:00 p.m. The elk were grazing across the meadow again this evening. I got a better pic.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Today went pretty much according to routine. I machete'd Houndstongue on Violet Way. I only did one bag. Thats a long way to carry a full bag of fresh weeds. I went up Cell Hill to post a chapter and call my Dad. I took weeding supplies since I knew there was Houndstongue. On our way up the hill I spotted an LGD on our property. I hollered to run him off, since I didn't know if he was pesticided. The sheep were pretty close to that fence today. We weeded our way back down the hill.
When we got back I called the forestry management company that holds the title on that property, to get the name and number of the sheep owner. I talked with the grazing lease manager, Mr. McClellum. I explained why I wanted it. He was a little hesitant, but finally gave it to me. Then I asked him to notify me when they spray. I got a peeved lecture and was told that I had no business even buying property right next to a timber operation. I (amazingly) stayed calm and polite. I stated that I'd been looking for years, there were timber operations next to all mountain properties, and had researched properties from Spray to north of Waitsburg. I'd found that this was the best option. He continued to complain, so I just repeated myself. I asked him again to please notify me as I didn't want to get hurt, or "walk into it." He did not take my contact info...
Then I called the sheep owner. He doesn't use chemicals on his livestock, or his dogs. He produces for the "natural" market. He only gives the mandatory vaccines. He wants to rent summer pasture for his longhorn cattle from us, after we close. 🙂 We talked sheep, wool, shearing and cattle.
I was a little stressed from my call with McClellum, so I stayed in and worked on my knitting. Still weaving in ends.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Last night just before dusk morphed completely into darkness, the elk advanced (closer than ever before). Four cows and a calf. They'd screwed up their courage; they were set on investigating this strange invader (the RV). It was the most bizarre behavior I'd ever witnessed. They danced. Some parts of their movements resembled the minuet: step forward, nose reaching high, step back, step forward, high nose, mince back, pivot, stumble back, curtsy. It must be a behavior similar to the wounded bird routine, when a bird is attempting to lead a predator away from its nest, because the next part of the elk's dance involved hobbling, limping and leg dragging. The lead elk would turn her flank to me and appear to nearly collapse, then stagger away. Everybody behind her would move up and back and pivot with her also, looking back over their backs to see if a predator took the bait. Sometimes she'd repeat the whole presentation several times. Then they'd all run off a few steps and conclave to discuss their next move. Pretty soon they'd be back and somebody else would take the lead position and they'd dance the routine again. I can just hear the elk's discussion in my mind,
Elk 1: Well. What do you think? Safe?
Elk 2: I don't think you did it right Francine (for that is Elk 1's real name).
(Elk's 3 & 4 get big eyes and inch backwards, out of the line of fire.)
Francine: What do you mean "...didn't do it right?" I did it perfectly. Only a dead eater or a rock could resist my dance! Do you think you could do better Melva (Melva, being Elk 2)?
Melva: In my sleep! Honey, you just don't have the haunches for it. Your's are all skin and bone! Now mine, umm, umm, umm, um, uh, uh, uh!...
Anyway, thats what I imagined them saying. They danced for an hour before darting off leaping and kicking like frolicsome steers. It was pretty cool! I've named this part of the meadow "Elk Dancing Lawn,"
with a nod to C.S. Lewis.
I saw fat bats winging past the window while the elk discussed their next move. Very fat bats. They're doing an excellent job keeping down the mosquitoes!
I filled my last trash bag. I didn't finish hacking the Houndstongue on Violet Way. I have to wait for more bags. After we delivered that bag to the pile at camp, we searched the Eastern Pine Wood (east of the drive) for a stout, long pole with a forked end. I need one, or two to replace the cement board under the generator. Did I mention it was browning the grass underneath it? I was concerned about it eventually catching fire. So I asked Ron to bring me a piece of cement board. Then I had him fasten a removal cord with baling twine and put a stout stick in it for a handle... This sounds really familiar! I could swear I shared this, but I read back over the week and didn't see it. Maybe I erased it, as it wasn't relevant to the discussion at the time. Anyway, I found a few long poles with forked ends that might work. I can't leave it there when I have to leave, because if I drive over it I'll break it. So I have to pull it out. I don't want to get that close to the stinky generator, hence the need for a long pull cord with a handle. When I get everything arranged so Ron doesn't have to do it, I want to be able to put it back without exposing myself. That's where the forked poles come in. I can push the board back in with those. I also had Ron put a small log as a roller under one side of the board, to ease it in and out. 😉
I hadn't previously explored that part if the forest, so that was a good excuse. I found old bear scat. Yesterday when I was on the net I downloaded a bunch of bear scat images. Some of those piles of poo Ron told me were "elk diarrhea," and "elk poo," aren't. I'm assuming he just didn't want me to be alarmed. There's a lot of bear poo!
After that hike I still wasn't ready to go in. I decided I needed to take a trip out to the corral and check out things on that end. I found that someone had used the fire pit that someone else had made right by the corral.😠 I strung up my downed barbed wire. They were obviously crawling through there to gather fire wood. I'd smelled smoke yesterday. Now I know why.
I hiked down the road to look for weeds. More Houndstongue. I need more bags. I started feeling puny, and decided I better come back for breakfast. On the return hike I discovered fresh bear scat. Looks like the most likely candidate for the rotting meat/rancid fat smell was a bear. The poo was only a few days old, upwind of the trailer by a couple hundred feet. The smell would come from blood and guts left on the bear's fur after eating. Bears being messy eaters and all. Mystery solved.
Friday, June 30, 2017
Yesterday afternoon they burnt slash piles on the timber property. They only burned for a couple of hours.The wind was blowing from that direction. The smoke smelled of diesel. I had to stay in. Later that evening and during the night I got painful skin reactions. I'm going to have to amend my notice request to include burning. I figured I'd have to make a formal, written accommodation request anyway, since Mr. McClellum basically blew me off.
I contacted ODFW about spec.s for burn barrels, and found out there is a permit notification site on ODF. I signed up. I'll get notified when anybody files for a permit for forest activity, like burning and chemicals. 👍