May 12, 2013

Another coop tour

The 2013 edition of the Bend (Chicken) Coop Tour was yesterday.   This time I decided to take it easy and visit only the coops closest to my house, in the central part of Bend.   I enlisted friend Jane, and, fueled by good coffee and an Ocean Roll from the local coffee roaster, we headed out on a hot (for early May) day -- 80 degrees and sunny -- with coop tour booklet in hand.

I had plotted a route, highlighting our selected coops on the map and was confident Jane could guide us hither and yon.   When she initially claimed she had no sense of direction, didn't know the town at all, and would probably get us lost within seconds, I just laughed.  But she was right.  Not only that, but she had somehow forgotten her reading glasses, so she couldn't read the booklet all that well, either.   Luckily, she was, as always, fabulous company and adored all the girls, gardens and coops as much as I did.

But I had cleverly chosen coops (mostly) in town, and ended up getting to show off my Bend Old Fart knowledge, as we visited the various 'hoods.  I only made one bad turn, and that was after we had enlisted the help of Grace, my GPS.  I failed to consult Grace on the way home from a distant coop, and had to apologize for doubting her original circuitous route on the way out.   She was right.   There was a dead end.   Jane tactfully bit her tongue and just made encouraging comments.

Of the 9 coops we toured, our hands-down favorite was ........ a garden.

Tucked away on the west side of town was this jewel of a back yard.  Converted from an initially sage- and bitterbrush-covered slope by the energetic homeowners, into a compact, terraced garden full of vegetables and fruit bushes.  The coop was nice too, but the garden was wonderful!

There were many other fine coops and gardens (I consider the coop tour a stealth garden tour).   One lovely home sported a tasteful welcome sign.

A surprising number of gardens contained beehives!
something I have fantasized about having in my garden for years and years and years.

Probably the most impressive coop had several sections.   Here is the outdoor lounging area for the ladies.   Check out the umbrella and flowering window box.

All in all, a most satisfactory tour.   After dropping off Jane I headed home, re-inspired to spruce up my sadly-neglected spring garden and give my ladies some treats.

May 5, 2013

Harmonious Spring Activities

Courtyard striding ......... Check:

Leisurely morning strolling ......... Check

Sitting in scenic kiosks ........... Check
As per 16th Century Traditional Chinese Medical advice, see previous post here I have embarked on a program of Spring Health Promotion During the Wood Season.  Determined to nourish the liver network, let down our hair, raise our spirits, and honor the qi of spring, my sweetheart and I decided to seek forests, gardens and scenic kiosks along the Crooked River, 40 miles east of Bend.   It being our 42nd wedding anniversary and the weather forecast propitious, we took the Pinecone (teardrop trailer) attached to the new Cute Car (Oliver) and made it an overnight trip.   And despite the fact that we have camped hither and yon, at all times of year, since before we married (we met in our college's hiking club), we can't remember ever camping on our actual May 1 anniversary before this.   So we are calling it our first Campiversary.

We arrived around 7:30 pm, after a full day's work, and had the place to ourselves except for one distant fisherman.  We spent a quiet night with only the sound of the nearby river to keep us company.

Camping in the bottom of a river canyon means the first job in the morning is to make coffee, start a little fire and wait for the sun to reach camp.

Hmm, sun still on the other side of the river.   Should I get up?

Looks like the sweetheart has the coffee ready ....

And a wee campfire made ....

Here comes the sun!

And breakfast is coming... must go kiss the cook

Decades of practice have taught us the importance of eating a proper camping breakfast:

with concessions to modern healthful, organic 'glamping' practices, the bacon is uncured, natural, gluten and casein free; the eggs are locally pastured, and the pancake mix local and organic.   The salt .....
well, the salt is not just pure, it is 'the purest salt on earth' and is, in point of fact, primordial.  You can't get much better than primordial.   Morton's salt, in the big blue box with the picture of the cute girl holding an umbrella, never claimed to be primordial.

Breakfast under our belts, we headed for the courtyard striding.   Our destination:  Chimney Rock, up on the canyon rim.
 Along the way, we came upon our first scenic kiosk, with the full crookedness of the river displayed below us, along with our local Cascade peaks in the distance.
The second scenic kiosk is right at the base of Chimney Rock.   Sitting on this bench, facing away from the canyon, I watched swallows hovering right in front of me, hanging in the wind pouring over the ground at my feet, in the shallow pass between rock tower and canyon wall.

Following that advice to 'roam through gardens and forests, taking in the tranquil sights of nature', I admired the 'forests' up here, which are pretty sparse, consisting of widely spaced western juniper, interspersed with bunch grasses, sagebrush and those gardens....

Every spring is dry in this desert, but this year perhaps a bit drier than most.   Desert wildflowers are fairly restrained to most eyes, but they are all the more welcome and beautiful to ours.   Native creeping phlox, townsendia and an early clump of lupine:

After a quick telephoto shot of our wee trailer down in the campground,

we headed back to the canyon floor.  Back at the trailhead, we crossed the road to check out the local fisherman action.  Crooked River is a local hotspot for fly fishing.
And with this final view, we hooked up the Pinecone and headed for home.  A most relaxing and harmony-enhancing expedition!   Honoring the qi of spring 'r' us.