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 ...