Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yet another bonus ...

As the evening sun sinks behind the mountains there is a soft glow across the skies. I am never disappointed when I look towards the top of the hill, where the sun has sunk out of sight.

This evening I can't help but capture the silhouettes of the horses on the ranch.

It's one of those sights you stop, and breathe deep, just feeling all the peace and serenity fill your entire being.

Applegate Lake

One of the most 'picture perfect' areas around here is the Applegate Lake area. I had been told of the pretty 'Applegate' area, and so drove to the town of Applegate one Sunday. Yes, it was pretty, and many places reminded me of the English countryside.

But I was not prepared for the Lakes area, which I stumbled upon a month or so later. The lake is situated in steep mountains that are heavily forested.

Definitely a summer activity place, as there are 'day areas' for swimming and such.
Now I love the beach, but to be swimming and relaxing in the water in such beautiful surroundings as this almost seems like paradise.

This photo is but one of the beautiful vistas - this is looking towards California - there is still a little snow on the distant mountain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm not at work today, as I've gone ELK hunting ...

Not me, but my supervisor.
I'm doing a temporary job, checking helicopter parts in maintenance manuals.
She didn't come to work today, as she went elk hunting (with bow & arrows).
It's a perfectly legitimate and usual excuse for NOT coming into work.


The coast is certainly one that conjures up images of pirates. So many interesting rock formations, with legends and stories attached.
This is but one of the very scenic views.

Port Orford, early morning.

As with any coastal region, there are the boats, either waiting to go out to sea, or having gone out, come back in.
This is from Port Orford.
I love the boat's name, shining in the morning sun. The distant rocks along the coast.
Amazing to think, that this is just a 'day-trip' from the valley.

Damned BIG trees ...

Last weekend we went to the coast of Southern Oregon. To get there we had to go 'down' into California. And on the way we stopped off at a 44 acre redwood reserve - dedicated to one of the pioneers of this area. The softness of the ground and the silence was amazing, as well as the size of the trunks of the trees.
I was told there is trees 3 times this size, further down the CA coast. But those I saw were awesome.
John is at least 6' tall, so you can kinda get the idea of the size, from this photo.
A magical place, for sure.
REMINDER: Click on the photo for larger view.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Skunks, Porcupines - critter life.

I could hardly believe it when told there was a skunk getting into the cat's food on the front porch.
Do skunks exist? I've NEVER seen one.
However the next night I looked out onto the porch at dusk and there was this truly HANDSOME creature eating from the cat bowl!
I didn't know what to do. Chase it out or what? By the time I summoned help it was gone. Another time I was going around back to the carport when I saw a black and white tail disappearing over the woodpile, only about 6 feet away. So I stayed off the deck all summer long as I had NO desire to find out what one might smell like. It's good looks surprised me - I was told it was probably a young one. And everyone I talked to seemed to have a skunk in their yard here anyway. No big deal it seems.

But the skunk is no more. I was told one of the ranch dogs found it half way down the airstrip, and tossed it into the air. Poor dog rolled it's nose in the grass as it must have got a bit of a blast, before the critter was killed.

In a way I'm sad, but guess this is just how life goes. I've yet to see the coyotes. The deer are out by the cars when I leave at 6.30am every morning.

Another encounter - I thought there was a mangy dog killed on the side of the road last week, but no, it was a porcupine. I didn't get up close to it. Raccoons I see all the time as road kill.

All just part of the life here.

Still lots of smoke from the wild fires (bushfires).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

S.W.A.T. - never be surprised at what you see ...

Well, I learnt that turkeys, really ARE turkeys!

But nearly every day has me wishing I had my camera along as I see something unexpected.

Living in the 'country' but in a valley of some 250,000 people within the communities there - Medford is the largest. It has 70,000 ... AND boasts an INTERNATIONAL airport!

Living on a ranch, I'm virtually 'in the country', you see. From here it's 3 miles to the road that leads into Medford (total of about 12 miles away).

So the other morning I'm heading out and pass by a deserted pear orchard. 2 miles down the road. The pear trees there got infected by some disease a few years back, and were all destroyed, so the land is barren. I hope it recovers and gets replanted as this is the pear capital of the world. I have NEVER tasted such delicious pears - the very same ones that come in Harry & David boxes as gourmet treats at Christmas time.

OK, where was I ... 2 miles down the road. Instead of a deserted old farm there is activity! A lot of cars parked down one end, and it looked like police directing traffic. As I passed the little workers' huts I suddenly didn't believe what I was seeing ... a barricade - with about 8 fully uniformed police officers hunkered down behind it with rifles aimed at one of the huts. Oh my! Should I be here? Should I duck down? What to do?

First, calm down. If in danger I think the road would have been closed off. But really, it made SUCH a sight! I wasn't gone long, and when I came back there was a sign "Police training exercise". Phew. I'm SO glad. I guess that 'dead' body on the ground by one hut was a dummy? I guess the yellow 'crime' tape that was draped between buildings was just for practice. Nice to know.

Anyway. I love this old orchard. I can imagine it at time of harvest. White-washed buildings with character. Coming from the opposite way you get to see Mt McLoughlin, but that is a story for another day.

These photos show the old barn, with lower table rock in the background, and the second one is before reaching the barn - the workers' cottages. The atmosphere here leaves such delightful colors at all times of the day.

These photos were from early spring. Instead of lush green, the ground is light brown of a sunburnt summer - through lack of rain.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Wild Turkeys ...

I came quickly up over a hump in the country road, but was able to slow down enough so that I didn't end up with Wild Turkeys as my hood ornaments. About 8 of these less-than-handsome birds straggling across the road ahead.

They weren't in a hurry to get anywhere fast, and never even fluttered a feather. I certainly learnt that turkeys really ARE turkeys!

I was glad they crossed when they did as the other way had a blind curve as the road rose, and the next few cars coming that way would have surely cleaned them up.

There was one (or two) recently in a jaunt into the surrounding countryside, close enough to take a photo, but can't find one if I did.

These scrawny lack-luster birds aren't the prettiest subjects for a photo, but they are still a unique part of the country here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back to Childhood

Sunday. A day of leisure.
Breakfast of poached eggs with bacon on a huge pancake served at the old farmhouse restaurant. Where you feel like you're eating with your friends and neighbors, just 5 miles away.
But then to take the 'long way' back to the ranch. Stop off at the local wildlife reserve with at least 3 different types of dragonfly buzzing around. But mainly to pick some blackberries. They are coming into season, and I haven't really done this since I was a child. I remember my Dad looking out for me - and pushing flattened cardboard boxes into the bushes so these bushes that have a habit of attaching to anything within reach are evaded.
I loved this time with my Dad - remembering the red stained fingers from the over-ripe berries. And of course the wonderful blackberry cobblers and other treats. The time I spent with my Dad was far too short. He died of tuberculosis when I was 18.

The Rogue Valley has blackberry bushes all around, so you can go help yourself without too much effort or search - and without worrying about having been sprayed with poisons.
* * * * * * *
The photo of the deer is from a few months ago. Taken just as I was going outside to the car. I only just spied them behind John's truck. The photo shows the beautiful light here in the valley. Click for a larger view.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

As Dawn Breaks ...

As dawn breaks I immediately look to the east, as I stir softly from my evening slumber. The warm peach glow from the horizon above misted hills spreads out across the sky.
I know the day will end up being a hot one, as so many are. Yet the day starts out in the 60s, almost tricking you into thinking that maybe it won't be so hot later.
"Shhhh, come look!" I hear John say from the kitchen. Peering out of the small kitchen window into the back of the house is a four-point buck. He's still, but alert. Just when you think he's about to turn and go, he lifts a hind leg to scratch his front. A magnificent animal, not more than 20 feet away. Graceful.
He turns and so daintily steps through the dry brown grass, almost like a ballerina on points.
"Oh look! There's two!" The female is there, too, by the white fence, probably looking to get through or over this obstacle.
And thus the day on the ranch awakes ...