Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On the side...

While we were caught in the loop that is harvest, there were a number of other things going on in our world.

Caitlin bought a horse! It has been 8 years since her dear old Sammy passed on, too long since she had enjoyed equine companionship, so she decided to go for it. She found Sadie, a Rocky Mountain Horse, 17 years old -- which means she has lots of life left in her, but very little foolishness. Cait can just get on and ride...perfect! Interestingly, Sadie had lived all of her life on Orcas Island -- and had to be moved across the water to her new home. Dillon and Tiffany took on this adventure with Caitlin, with our pick-up, and a trailer that Cousins Gary & Cindy graciously lent for the occasion. All went well, and Sadie took up residence on the mainland for the first time. She is boarded at the Wiersma's stable, just a short hop from Cait's house...Can't tell you how much all of us are enjoying the smell of horse again...really! Leather, sweat, horse...it brings back good memories.

Here are the lovely girls:

Neither can I tell you how happy it makes me to see Cait on a horse again...

Beautiful Sadie...

Down in The Big City, Jess is getting to enjoy Big City Events -- like SeaFair. I have to say I was quite jealous when he sent me this picture of the Blue Angels whom he was able to watch from the 520 bridge...

And thanks to his boss, he also gets to enjoy some uncommon perks. Here is his view of the Mariners game...from the owner's suite!! Lucky guy...


Dillon and Tiffany were able to go with her family to Hawaii in a last minute turn of events! It wasn't a long trip for them, but much enjoyed and much appreciated. Dillon sent me some pics -- familiar to us because we had stayed in the same condo complex on our first trip to Hawaii.


 You know how it is...When your kids are experiencing wonderful things, it's almost better than doing it yourself...

{I said ALMOST...}

Back at home, Daisie was healing very well from her surgery. She was pretty much back to normal, and more playful than she had been for at least a year...But then one Sunday morning on our walk, she got a good look at a coyote -- closer than she had ever been to one -- and she decided to catch it. She, of course, did just what she was NOT supposed to do and burst into top speed down the rows. She was gaining on it when the coyote decided to take evasive action across the rows. I tried to keep track, but lost them. I assumed I would find Daisie on the other end of the field, but never caught up to her until I arrived back at the house. She was lying in the back yard, and I could see that she had been licking her surgically repaired leg...bad sign! I was so busy looking over her leg that I didn't see right away the bleeding wound between her eyes. Her face is quite dished there, so I couldn't figure out how a coyote could have torn her up -- and no obvious teeth marks to boot. As we looked her over more closely, we could see that she had probably made contact with a post hook as she flew through the rows...Yeesh! It hit her between the eyes, peeled off the top layer of skin as it traveled upward, and no doubt gave her a whopping headache. As for her leg -- it seemed to be fine, {sigh of relief!} though as the day wore on she began to limp -- on her formerly good leg...{visions of a second surgery}So far, she tends to favor it when over-used, but for the most part she is still walking pretty well. I am hoping to stave off the next surgery for another year...we'll see.

Of course, there remains much to tell about Olive...

There was the work day where Olive decided not to greet Daisie as usual when she came into the house...No, she decided to run underneath her out the door and begin a chase that lasted for 15 minutes. Once again, the instigators were the barn swallows, and Olive was obsessed with capturing them, and oblivious to her surroundings. Of course, she ended up on the road. Of course, I ended up flagging down cars, and running, running, running trying to head her off. We ran the yellow line on the road. We had people stop and try to talk her into coming to them. (FAT CHANCE) Fortunately, 4 members of the crew and Randy were close to the yard and came to my help. Even an old man, on his way home from the casino, pulled on to the yard to offer Olive a cookie lure. {Olive ignored it. Daisie displayed her best manners and received it with graciousness...} The old man gave me the remaining cookie, and left. Olive actually paused for a moment when she discovered a dead bird on the bark bed. I picked up the bird and tossed it away from the road, and closer to the house. I threw pieces of cookie to slow her down...Meanwhile, the human corral was closing in. After a few more bird tosses -- and a few more Olive escapes -- she paused long enough for Randy to make a leaping tackle, and apprehend the fugitive. Breathless and silent, we all headed back to the field (and Olive, to prison), until I told the kids that it was okay to laugh. The whole incident WAS funny...and disturbing. The next day, invisible fences and training collars were the topic of the day.

Since then, Olive has spent a lot of time in the house...enough time to go through at least one toy per day. She loves to disembowel the stuffin's out of them, and is very efficient at this. It often looks like is snowed here...Fortunately, she doesn't eat it, so we let her go at it, as it keeps us free for a brief period of time. However, after 14 toys (2 weeks), she inadvertently discovered the ultimate tug toy...my living room couch...Ultimate in that it never quits tugging back, unlike Gram and The Boss.

The result?

I should note here, that Olive's Gram can be quite stupid. I should know that you can never trust a puppy, especially when it's been quiet for a while. Conversely, in Olive's case, you can probably trust that she WILL do something you regret...And she did, more than once.
I like my furniture, and don't want new, so I have a new project on my list...It will take some creativity, and currently, the living room is fenced off to give Olive time to forget her newest tug toys.

Fortunately, these things happened right around the time we went to visit these guys:


Brown's Beautiful Boxer Babies!
{1 little boy & 1 little girl still available!}
I wasn't even tempted...at least not much...I do live with an everyday reminder that they don't stay sleepy and lovey forever.

And that's a good thing, isn't it, Randy...

Monday, August 15, 2011

We HAVE picked happily ever after!


With the exception of .39” of rain that gave us a welcomed Sunday off, the weather has been very cooperative for the rest of picking season. We only have a few days left, and, contrary to our early expectations, it has been a good year.

The endless winter left us with the conviction that there was no way the bushes could grow large enough to support a normal fruit set, but the dry, (somewhat)warmer weather in June allowed them to grow like gangbusters! The continuing mild temperatures, though decidedly un-summerish, made the plants very comfortable and they set a lot of fruit, and a lot of that fruit grew large, and pretty! And once ready to harvest, there were lots of berries coming off right away. This made for challenging times in the processing plant as they had lots of fruit to get over the belt and into the pails each day.

We filled our orders a week ago. With plenty of fruit still on the bushes, we have picked into barrels since. Rarely do we pick for juice this many days of our season – but it’s all good, though we all are ready for the end. It’s time, too, as more than half of our crew is involved in the Fair this week, and soon football practices start, and really, it’s weird to pick this late into August.

The bushes look like this now...

...instead of this.


You can see the yellow leaves of this year's fruiting canes. They are dying down now, and the darker green is the primocanes that will become next year's floracanes (fruiting canes).

In our first year field, the primocanes have grown tremendously...See how far above the post they are? This winter these long canes will get tied and looped over to be ready for next year's harvest.

Even our older fields have very good new growth, which is hopeful for next year's crop -- though there is a lot a weather between now and then.

Of course, The Farmer spent a lot of time doing this: unloading & re-loading the machines. It kept him quite busy -- and that's a very good thing! He was happy to switch to barrels this past week, because then he could be busy pounding posts in the baby field, and that's done now too! A lot of pressure has been relieved.

A couple of days from now, picking will be finished. We'll miss seeing these kids who have been here as much, if not more, than they have been at their own homes. They are a hard-working, quality crew, and we are SO thankful for them...and we like them...and they make us laugh...and they keep coming back.

God bless them!


Despite the endless winter, and the downpours at the start of harvest, it became a great year in the annals of Honcoop Harvest History...We're thankful, and relieved,
 and ready for post-harvest life...soon!

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)