My daughter and boys grew up swimming in places with names like Deep Creek and Secret Swimming Hole on Pistol River near our home in southern coastal Oregon. Today we went to Deep Creek, an isolated spot several miles up Pistol River. There were only two families there, one of which we knew and the other, with four small kids, we got to know. Deep Creek is a friendly place.
It’s just great to be home. My own bed, sitting quietly on my deck and listening to the wind whisper in the firs.
I have work to do: already mowed the week’s-worth of grass, watered the garden, and gone in town to solve a few publishing problems for Annie. But there are structural jobs — rework a shed and build a garden hot bed. They’ll be fun.
It’s the solitude during the day I like best. I let out a Tarzan-yell and no one hears but my kids. They are good Tarzan yellers themselves. I’m ruining them for citified society. They’re going to need an occasional Tarzan-yell for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes you find a gem in spam. I deleted about 300 pieces of spam before I discovered the following, which I thought was worth sharing:
A Butler, Missouri, car dealer named Mark Mueller is giving away an AK-47 with every new truck he sells, and this CNN reporter throws every liberal cliche at him in her interview. Doesn’t faze him for an instant! If you’re for gun rights, you’ll enjoy this video. A few seconds of it appeared on Fox, but the good stuff is here
Chickens are kind of dumb. If they weren’t protected by humans through domestication, I think they might become extinct in a few years. But I really like them, and not just because our chickens have given us a steady supply of healthy eggs for years. Chickens are just fun. They are not only friendly and like to follow you around, but they do all sorts of weird things just like other pets do.
This time of year our chickens free-range, but they are so used to interacting with my family, dog, and cats that they poke their noses into everything, including our house. A few days ago I chased a Barred Rock out of our kitchen after I caught it eating a plate of leftovers it had knocked off a countertop. This afternoon I found one nesting in a box of screws in the garage. I had opened the garage door in the morning because the temperature had climbed to 60 degrees.
Unfortunately, while I went to fetch my son, Jake, to show him where this dumb chicken was nesting, he had jumped out of the box of screws and broken both eggs. Maybe I was dumb! I should have grabbed the eggs first.
We have a lot of big trees in my area of Oregon. My three sons play in them often, sometimes alarming Mom with how high up they can climb. I wandered the woods with my youngest son, Sam, for a couple of hours yesterday and got a lesson in the various names they have given different parts of the forest, mostly names borrowed from the movie, Lord of the Rings. The backwoods is really a wonderful place for kids.
Patriots by 17 over the Giants. This even if Eli matches his stellar performance over the last four games. The Giants can obviously score on the Patriots’ defense, but the Patriots will simply explode on offense. Moss will have over 100 yards, including a long touchdown. Welker will go wild with short passes. Maroney will run for a 100 yards, and Brady will pass for more than 300. You can’t fight destiny.
I was the cook this morning at our house since my three sons had a day off from school for teacher conferencing. Lenie went to work. I don’t know much about cooking but I make delicious fried potatoes mixed in with fried garlic, onions, carrots, and home-grown scrambled eggs.
“Did anyone check the skunk trap?” my wife, Lenie, asked.
“Oh no! Darn, we forgot!” I said.
“I’ll go check it,” she said.
“It’s past midnight,” I protested. “It will keep until the morning.”
She put on some boots and her coat and headed out the front door.
“The trap’s off the back deck,” I said. “Go out through the slider.”
“No, no. I’ll go this way.”
“Why?” I asked incredulously. We have a big long house and she was going out into the moonless night by the front door, so she’d have to walk completely around the house, on an uneven path, through bushes and trees, to get to the skunk trap under our back deck. And it was raining! Women have always puzzled me in the way they do things. At least she took my powerful Nakita flashlight, the one that works off my drill motor battery. Its beam is like a car headlight.
“If you’re not back in an hour, I’ll come looking for you!” I said jokingly. She laughed and walked off into the darkness, the Nakita beam preceding her.
After only a couple of minutes I walked into my study at the back of the house and opened the window.
“You okay honey?” I yelled. No answer. So I walked to the back deck, where the skunk trap was.
“You okay!” I yelled. No answer. So I went to the front door and yelled, “Are you okay?” No answer.
So I went to our side deck and flipped on the flood lights, opened the French Doors and yelled loudly, “Are you okay?” No answer!
So I quickly ran around the house turning on all the floodlights, then went outside and headed toward the barn, just in case she went there looking for the skunk eating the cat food. I met her where the barn meets the house. She had just gotten up off the ground.
“Ohhh!” she said with a look of pain on her face. “Do my knees hurt!” “I tripped over something between the barn and the house. I was laying there for quite a while.”
I felt like lecturing her, but I said nothing. Experience with a stubborn wife is a great teacher.
An examination in the house revealed a deep cut on one knee, a bruise on the other, and a sore palm on one hand. My Nakita flashlight was broken. While she bandaged herself up, I poured her a Hot Toddy. She sat on the couch and sipped it. Her knee obviously hurt like hell.
I did not recount my remonstrances about her checking the skunk trap in the dark, from the wrong end of the house, and she was good natured about her injury, even laughing about how much it hurt.
The skunk is still free to steal our chicken eggs and stink up the house. For tonight, it was Skunk 1, Lenie 0. But Lenie won’t give up. She’ll do it her way, but she’ll get it done. That skunk is toast.
It’s just after midnight here and snowing and blowing like crazy. I realized something was up when my internet satellite signal wouldn’t work, so I turned on the lights outside to see a beautiful snowfall. Of course, I had to wake my wife who had just gone to bed. Then Jake, my 16-year-old who loves snow like I do, woke up from the lights and came out. He said, with great exaggeration, “Hooollly coooowww!”
I’ve always loved snow, even though I’m not a skier. I especially like to look at it come down in the reflections of the outside house lights at night. It’s easily as pretty as a sunset over the ocean, or a full moon on a night when an occasional cloud walks across its face, or a hundred billion stars and a clear Milky Way on a totally black night. You can touch snow. It’s like a telegraph wire to the heavens and across the entire storm to wherever else it’s falling.
Lenie and I went back to our bedroom, cautioning Jake to turn off the outside lights when he goes to bed — “and that should be within 10 minutes.” We didn’t dare turn them off. We know Jake! He needs to soak in this midnight snow, commit it to memory so he can sleep with a clear vision of it. No school and sledding in the morning is what he wants to dream about.
I’m older so no longer need to sled, so I go back to my study and sit by the fire. It’s these simple pleasures I love most.
Well, my predictions are only fair so far. Three of my four NFL picks won. I thought I got it right on Ron Paul being invited to the Fox debate too when I watched part of what turned out to be a replay of Saturday’s ABC’s New Hampshire presidential debates. There was Ron Paul in the debate. But the Fox debate was Sunday, and Ron Paul was not invited at the last minute as I had hoped.
If you watched the ABC TV debate, you saw both John McCain and Fred Thompson smirking and almost laughing as Ron Paul answered questions, even though Paul’s answers about America’s bullying foreign policy and reasons for inflationary health care costs were right on target as far as I’m concerned. For you Libertarians hoping Paul will be able to change the Republican Party from within, you’re going to have a long wait. The Republican Party wants nothing to do with Ron Paul, or with Libertarian ideas.
Football was more enjoyable to watch anyway. A very wet snow blocked my satellite reception for the second half of the Giants game so I missed seeing most of Eli Manning’s heroics. But that’s okay; my three boys got to play in the snow. We have an ice storm on our mountain right now. I drove one of my sons’ friends part way down the mountain to meet his mother because I knew she wouldn’t be able to make it all the way to our house in her two-wheel drive vehicle.
Claire Wolfe emailed me her article for the March/April issue today. Great piece of writing. Claire’s articles for the print issue of Backwoods Home Magazine seem to me to be very different from her impressive internet writings over the past few years. They are, I think, more personal, and they add a new dimension to the magazine as well as to her writing. She is less political, more into living her own life. If you’re a Claire Wolfe fan, and I know there are legions of you on the internet, you should check these new articles out. If you’d like to read a couple from our last few issues, click here and here .