Tag Archives: Farpoint

Achievements unlocked

It’s been a busy morning. I guess all the rushing around to get out to the woods early to hunt and cut wood has gotten us into a routine of getting up early and doing stuff. We looked at today’s forecast and thought about woodcutting, but both our bodies rebelled (okay, it’s been four days of woodcutting followed by marathon deer butchering day followed by another woodcutting day…we declared a day off). Rain is supposed to come in tonight and maybe be around for three more days. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, hubby did some chore stuff and then successfully set up the digital antenna. We’re getting ABC, NBC, three PBS channels, and a few more oddities. Broadcast TV returns to our lives…replicating my childhood experience where I never saw CBS shows.

While he was doing that, I cleaned up my office (a wild mess after the past two months of woodcutting/traveling/horse doctoring/hunting) and rearranged things so that I can be productive on both jewelry and writing fronts.

We have to pick up the deerburger from the Dollar Stretcher and wrap it yet today, and we’re contemplating a drive to Buckhorn Lookout this afternoon. As if we haven’t gotten enough outdoor life at the moment…well, we’ve been focusing on the Imnaha unit for hunting and woodcutting because that’s where we had our deer tags. Now we’re going to drive out north. It’s slightly different country with more rolling steppe-like/plateau country.

I’ve also decided to set up a Pinterest for pictures–not just for the County but for book locations. I need to sort pix and get my stuff in order, because I’ve got too damn many pix that are unorganized.

Time to head out.

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Adventures in woodcutting and hunting

Dang, the days are getting away from me again. We did a whirlwind trip to Portland, then came back to Enterprise for a whirlwind of prepping for hunting season and hunting camp. Our friend S. brought his wall tent that has a small portable woodstove in it and we did all the food prep. It’s been nearly thirty years since we last did this type of camping–nearly glamping in some respects–so there were some real questions about if it would work. Especially since last time we did it S and his late wife L lived here and did most of the prep. This time we were the ones prepping.

Camp turned out beyond our wildest dreams in many ways, except for one thing. The long hot, dry summer and warm fall meant that there were a lot of yellow jackets out and about. As long as there was daylight a low, persistent hum throbbed around the campsite. The yellow jackets weren’t attacking but they were persistent. I ended up eating some daytime meals in one of our pickup trucks to be safe since I’m allergic. But we ate well, slept well, and had a lot of fun for five days out in the woods. Granted, we ended up making a daily trip into town either for meetings, checking on the horse, or bringing a deer into the meat locker because the yellow jackets were just too aggressive. Still, that’s also one advantage to camping out near the house–being able to run into town during the day to take a shower and pick up other things we need.

In any case, we explored a couple of areas within our hunting unit. Another objective was scouting out locations for firewood cutting. We found some stunning views, some rough roads, and one opportunity to master some nuances of four wheel drive. Let’s just say I’m much better at shifting the pickup into four low now. Climbing a short steep hillside where I can’t look over the top of the hood helps, because you sure don’t want to run out of steam when attempting something like that.

This year we’ve seen more deer in our hunting unit than ever before, to the point where we’re recognizing family groupings of does, fawns, and yearlings. The bucks, of course, are more reclusive and have been that way all along. Until today, when we took a different route, we’d average seeing about twenty does and fawns. The buck spottings have been less frequent, but we’ve seen six of them…and killed two. At least out here where we’re hunting, it’s more of a challenge to find the bucks. And then when you find them, you have to hit them. Of the shots taken, only two made contact–the others were too long, or through brush which deflects a bullet, or a quick shot made while the buck was fleeing. Sometimes you don’t even get a shot, like what happened to my husband this morning. A forked horn hopped across the road, in a dense stand of young lodgepole pine. He jumped out and stalked it but was unable to get a clear shot (stand hunting is not as common when hunting mule deer; walking hunts or road hunts are the usual).

Still, we’re happy to even see the bucks, as we haven’t seen this many deer in years. Part of that is due to the reality that this year we spent a lot of time in our unit scouting for deer while cutting wood and looking at potential campsites. Being able to spend that time over several months as opposed to coming in for three days makes a huge difference. The mild winter is a factor in the deer presence for certain. The two bucks we got were yearlings, in good flesh. One of them might not have survived a harsh winter as though he was a sizable fellow, his horns were still in velvet.

Camp went from Sunday to Thursday. I had a reading on Friday night, so we didn’t go out that day. The last three days, though, we’ve gotten up at oh-dark-thirty and headed out for a morning of woodcutting and hunting. We got to see a dusting of snow on the mountains Saturday morning, thanks to evening rain. Some of it still lingers, but otherwise it’s been a warm hunting season. We’ve brought in a cord and a half of wood for a total of five and a half cords, and plan to cut at least another cord and a half if not two cords (we have permits which allow us to harvest up to eight cords). Our woodcutting has been going on around our campsite, because there’s a lot of dead lodgepole pine there which is the best burning firewood available in this area.

And…I’ve gotten some worldbuilding stuff done with a Weird West novel. Given the positive reception to a Weird West short story excerpt at the reading on Friday, I decided that maybe I should just get to work on that now.

So things are going along fine…just busy. Winter is coming, and we’re hustling to prepare for it. Deer meat is going to be in the freezer, which is good, and we’ll have a full compliment of wood for supplemental heat when things get really cold here.

There will be a picture post. I promise. Just…brain dead and tired. But that will be coming.

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Winter Preparations

With the onset of the fall rains and the maturing of the garden, we’ve launched full into winter preparation mode. The friend we garden with down on the Columbia came up to Enterprise this week with a full load of garden bounty, a bunch of it too much for us to eat before it passes its prime. So in the next couple of days freezing stuff is going to be happening. My canning tools are in Portland and they will probably need to go to our friend’s house for maximum usage. Guess I need to devise a preservation traveling kit.

But with the coming of the fall rains also means that we can be back in the woods to cut firewood for the winter. Between going out with our friend and going out ourselves, we cut 2 cords of wood in four days–basically a half-ton pickup load of wood each day. That filled our first firewood permit of 4 cords. We’ll probably cut more during hunting season but it won’t be as rushed now–this last stuff was lodgepole pine instead of fir, and lodgepole burns a lot nicer than white fir. We’d like to have about 6 cords to get through the winter.

While the guys cut wood I blocked out a short story about gnomes–or maybe brownies, I’m not certain which yet. I want it to be about gnomes but maybe a brownie would be more appropriate. I just don’t particularly want to use the term “brownie.”

Grouse season is open but we’ve yet to bag one. Not for lack of seeing grouse, but the ones we’ve seen have been skittish and quick, and we’re just getting up to speed on the hunting thing for the year. One of the factors of cutting wood with our friend is that we were also scouting locations for deer hunting season coming up in October. We decided where we’re going to hunt and where we’ll set up hunting camp. It’s been years since we’ve been out in hunting camp and this one is going to be luxurious–a wall tent with woodstove inside. Of course since we’re scouting for deer season that meant we spent two whole days out in the woods. Oh shucky darn. Being out in the woods after the first fall rains is SOOO hard to do–not! The huckleberry brush burns flame red right now and the aspens have been changing on a daily basis.

Since the boys wanted to go out all day, I had to rush to the barn first thing to work with Miss Mocha. The first rains were cool enough to leave a dusting of snow on the high Wallowa peaks, at least until the sun melted it, which meant I had really nice views when working on Mocha’s hooves or working with her. One morning we had a very nice and sedate ride in the arena and in the hay field.

The Girl is hairing up quickly. When I pat her back and rump, she feels like a fuzzy velvet teddy bear. Her ongoing aches and pains appear to be heavily arthritis and soft-tissue with hints of anticipation of pain shaping her behavior–nearly a week ago we hauled her to the vet for lameness testing. Results of hoof testers and flexion testing showed her as very mildly lame, nowhere near as bad as her behavior made me think she was. So we’re starting her on Adequan injections next week to see if that helps.

We’re going into one of the nicest times of the year to be in the woods, and I’m loving it. Crisp cool days with a hint of dampness, colors changing daily in the aspen, huckleberry brush, and tamarack. Moody blue-gray clouds over deep canyons, and the deep bellow of elk bulls in the distance or a coyote howl. Haven’t heard the wolves yet.

Winter is coming. But this season of preparation is one of the sweet times, and I’m enjoying every bit of it.


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A summer in the life

I’ve been hit and miss on the blogging front, because, well, moving and dealing with horse adjustment and moving and finishing novel/starting new project, and well, moving. Also, for whatever reason the new laptop picked up whatever security lock that a particular hotel triggered in the old one, so LiveJournal is basically useless on a laptop. I’ve been afraid to blog on WordPress and try to migrate it because I don’t think it will take…and since LJ won’t let me post comments, I can just imagine what a blog would look like (shudder). I’ve tried the logging out, logging back on thing, and it’s stubborn. I suspect it’s some sort of security lock thing. Annoying but oh well.

Still working on finding writing time with all the moving once I finished the novel, but at least the office is starting to come together. Even if I don’t have the right books in here yet, because at least half of them are still in Portland, it’s starting to fit. On our last trip we jammed the desk I’m now using (inherited from the son) and the stereo cabinet, along with other stuff.

Now that trip was epic. We crossed the Santiam Pass to have lunch with one of DH’s former bosses, then drove across the desert through Prineville and Mt. Vernon, then turned north to head through Ukiah to LaGrande and then home. It made for a long drive but we drove through the Blues near the Starkey Experimental Forest in time to see an epic elk herd–at least 200 scattered across the hillside, cows and calves mostly. But as we drove on, we saw smaller groupings and solitary elk, at least 60-80 more.

Arrived here late and unpacked bare basics, then crashed. Unloaded the rest first thing, then went out to the barn to find a relaxed and satisfied horse. She’s now decided that this is home and looks comfortable in her pen. That’s good.

It’s also much more pleasant to experience the heat wave here than in Portland. Temps are at least ten degrees cooler and we get some night cooling. And we’ve not investigated the basement yet, either…

The push pins came with me this trip so I’ve been able to get things on the wall in the office and bring out most of my office stuff–that’s here, that is. It’s all coming along slowly but surely. We got appliances delivered and all, so we’re getting unpacked. There’s still painting to do but right now we’re not in a hurry to do that.

We’re also starting to work our way into local cultural events. Today we ran up to Joseph to check out a Nez Perce traveling art exhibit–Nuunimnix Art Show, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Nez Perce National Park. I also discovered a book I’ve been searching for since I read it back in 1981–Grace Bartlett’s The Wallowa Country 1867-1877–one of the local definitive resources and the one I read before Alvin Josephy and Lucius McWhorter, both of whom used her as a resource. The copy I read in the local library was spiral bound with a paper cover–this one’s a hardback. But I’ve looked and looked and never found it, not even at Powell’s. The Josephy Center also has part of Alvin Josephy’s library, available for research on site. Mmmm. I think I know what I’m doing this winter.

Husband bought himself a big chainsaw, so now we only need the woodstove to have everything together for winter. En route from the Josephy Center to the Grain Growers to buy the saw, we cruised up Hurricane Creek to scope it out as a possible hiking trail with Mocha. We’ve ridden the trail before, years and years ago. The idea is that we use her to pack a light lunch, perhaps just lead her but get her used to the idea of going out. That’s kind of the next phase of her acclamation here–leaving the home place to Do Stuff like graze the lawn here, go hiking, and so on.

And then I came home and did more work in the office. It’s about ready for writing. Even if I can’t find my reference books, I now have a place to spread out and work when I’m not typing. Yay.

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We can haz interwebs niow

As of today, we now have Real Internet in Enterprise. Not hotspot, not coffee shop, but our very own Real Stuff. It involved stringing cable from a dish mounted on the house and all, but…yeah. Hello, we’re back.

It’s been a busy month here, without a lot of writing. We pretty much finished cleaning up the house in Portland for son and roommate, and now have lots of boxes to move. Meanwhile, up here in Enterprise, we’ve been painting and organizing, and are now starting to get somewhere. The house feels like home, even with loads of boxes around.

Writing hasn’t really been getting done, not until the past two mornings where I’ve dashed off 800-1000 words. I think I needed processing time and down time because the back-and-forth nonstop hustle in Portland and Enterprise was getting to me. But Miscon, and then friends coming to visit kind of gave us a break.

Dealing with Mocha has also been an ongoing challenge. She aggressively did not like the change and spent a good four weeks fighting it. Between not eating and pacing, she lost weight and condition. We had to modify Portland travel plans to come back and work with her, putting on a blanket and holding her with a rope at her manger so she’d eat her hay. While there were pigs on the place that distressed her, there’s been enough deliberate crossings-of-boundaries attempts to tell me that scared and frightened horse was now angry horse. So it’s been a long, slow progress of reestablishing training basics. Lots of groundwork–nothing fancy or showy, just lots of walk, whoa, back, pay attention to me, focus, yield, respect my space type of things. And all of it went to pieces around the pigs, who are penned next to the arena.

It all came to a head over the past week. First, Mocha was resistant with the new farrier. She’d start slipping into the old relaxed mode, and then he’d do something different and that would get her all tensed up again and resistant. A couple of times, he just reached under her neck and hugged her into him. He’s a big cowboy type, certified and works with a vet clinic. At last he thumped her in the belly. After that, I put a chain over her nose and between the two, she stood. The barn owner suggested that maybe the big line of sprinklers was bothering her so we made a pilgrimage to the sprinklers and she got a good look at the world.

She was a much quieter horse after that.

But. The next day, she pitched a huge hissy fit at the hitching rail. Now this rail is solid, a hollow iron rail set into concrete posts. I tied her up at a safe short length. She wanted to eat grass, and set about fighting the rope and trying to stretch it out. When she couldn’t do that, she started pawing and stomping at the mats, then leveraging herself around. She couldn’t whack the rail with her right hip like she really likes to do, and I wasn’t set up for this fight. She got poked in the butt with an apple picker a couple of times when she wouldn’t listen to the cue to move over. She would stand when being handled, but if I went out of sight to get something, she pitched a fit. What she needed was a long session of being tied until she remembered her training to stand quietly, but for whatever reason, that day wasn’t it. So I waited until we had a few moments of relative quiet, discussed the situation with the barn owner via text, and got clearance for what needed to happen.

Which happened the next day. I came prepared. Made sure the space was set up safely, then…tied Mocha and let her blow up. She pawed with both fores, tried to kick the post once, slammed her shoulder into the rail, screamed, and just threw a tantrum. But a very slow, careful, deliberate tantrum. That’s the thing. She never lost her head the whole time she fought that hitching rail. Never did anything to throw herself, kept her movements careful and calculated, never pulled back on the rope, just thrust her head down but very carefully not under the rail. Pushed things enough to search out possible weaknesses but not enough to hurt herself. Classic example of a trained horse having a complete and total meltdown.

Every time she calmed down slightly I’d go over and rub her head, feed her a treat, then walk away to see if she would start fighting and fussing again. I didn’t just want her to stand tied, I wanted her to stand tied when I was out of sight for a long period of time. It’s not safe otherwise and I foresee the need for her to stand tied to a horse trailer in the future. But there was more to it than that. This was one of the first lessons she was taught in her home barn. She needed to remember this fundamental lesson and grasp that even though we had changed locations long-term, the basic rules still held. I had come to realize that until she grasped that concept, we were going to have problems.

At last she quieted and I could see the change in attitude. So I put a long heavy lunge line on her and let her graze for a while, then walked her out to the sprinklers.

Things changed after that blowout. Since then, she’s been more relaxed. I can walk to the car and she’ll look for me but not fret. We’ve had several good encounters with the pigs. She’s still tense and looky in that corner, but today she startled them at one point and she realized she’d made them move and that changed her attitude. She’s had a massage treatment that she clearly enjoyed. She remembers more of her old routines though I’m still getting passive resistance at times–I’m going to be working on reinstalling manners in her for a while, it seems.

But at least things are on track. I’ve more thoughts about the move, but stuff is going to be happening for the next few days. We’ll see how it all shakes out.

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Thoughts while driving through the desert

There’s nothing quite like a drive from Portland to Enterprise on a moody, partly cloudy but mostly dry spring day. Hubby and I both drove the cars since it’s now That Time to move both vehicles up here. Originally, our plan had been to make this trip on Wednesday, but Princess Pony was throwing a hunger strike and we can’t dig razor clams due to red tide, so we made the trip today instead. We end up with an extra unplanned car trip because we have to make a flying overnight trip back to PDX, but that just means more boxes get hauled sooner. Not bad at all. And then there’s the trip from Enterprise to Missoula for Miscon. Hello, new life. Yow.

It was a gorgeous day for a drive. Started out with two idiots crossing multiple lanes of traffic to cut off hubby while trying to reach an exit, both within a half hour of each other, but once we got east of The Dalles, then things settled down. As well as got downright pretty.

Usually when we make this drive for Miscon, there aren’t as many flowers and the grasses have started to dry. We’ll see if one week makes a difference or not. This time around, the grasses throughout the Gorge and in the Plateau regions were still green, and tall enough to look like floaty green clouds. Add to that the mixture of clouds and sun, interesting light, and it made for a pleasant drive. I latched on behind hubby and just cruised. We spotted a huge herd of bighorn rams right by the highway, but not much else in the way of wildlife. I thought about a couple of short stories for an anthology call, but they don’t match the theme and it’s not one I want to play with anyway. But I’ll write at least one of them, because Princess Pony has been bad and she needs to get written into a story.

Seriously. Princess and the Pigs is evolving into a saga worthy of the original “Primrose and the Pigs” from the old Usenet group rec.equestrian. Mocha still freaks out about the pigs. Even though she’s been moved further away from them, if she hears them fussing, she gets worried. Heck, the barn owner’s fired up a chain saw right next to her pen and she’s okay with that. She’s okay with most everything–except. Pigs.

Oh. And she pulled a hunger strike. She hasn’t been eating. That’s what brought us up sooner than planned, because the report was that she was pacing a lot and not eating, losing weight. Barn owner had put her into a smaller pen and was cycling through everything she could think of to tempt Mocha to eat. Hubby and I figure that she’s missing a familiar contact.

So we show up. Immediately horse wants to eat. Eat Equine Senior. Eat grass. Eat the feeder full of hay that she’s been scorning. She’s been starved, Mom, STARVED.

Yeah. Right. We stood by the tire feeder while she scarfed up a flake of grass hay and some alfalfa. Basically, just held the lead rope and wouldn’t let her pace away from the feeder, but stand and eat like she normally would. She ate steadily but not frantically. As she ate, I could see her facial muscles relax and her eyes soften. We also put one of her familiar blankets on her (the spring sheet) and I think that helped as well.

ARRGH.  Well, I guess the horsie wuvs me. But geez, I’d prefer it to be without all these dramatics. Oh well.

So that’s the dispatches from here. I’m flailing away at Netwalk’s Children and hope to have the dang thing done before Miscon. We’ll see.

And there is some squeeable news on the writing front, but I can’t disclose as yet.

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Briefly emerging from internet semi-silence

Looks like my intermittent internet presence will continue until after Miscon, folks. Not that anyone in particular is missing me, I’m sure, but still…

No pix yet because I am not quite adventurous enough to try uploading some pix to the big computer with anything more than a personal hotspot, and etc, etc, etc. Nonetheless, we’re in the moving process and getting things figured out, worked in, and all that good stuff. Projections now are for chaos for the next few months as we work through painting at the Enterprise house, hauling the remainder of stuff to Enterprise, and etc, etc, etc. My current high-speed access is at a coffee shop where my phone doesn’t work (the joys of Bowlby Stone).

But. Good stuff is happening all around. We have successfully made three trips with horse trailer, two with furniture, one with horse, and today we embark on the monthly entertainment of hauling horse hay. Horse hauled well but she is currently in a huge snit because she doesn’t like living in an outside pen with pigs and stallions around, she doesn’t like being alone in a stall by herself, and she’s pacing and just ticked off at the world in general. Still–her feet look better than ever, she’s holding her weight and looking hard and fit in spite of the pacing, she is playing in the creek, and she’s back to normal under saddle. She’s also eating and drinking. And I’m riding my sweet mare at the foot of the Wallowas. Stunning views.

Painting is proceeding slower than we anticipated, but it’s still going along. I’ve made contact with the local Handcrafters Guild and plan to have a booth at their Christmas bazaar the first weekend in December. I’m also getting on the local school substitute list. I have placed books in the local independent bookstore, the Bookloft. Hopefully I’ll be a reader when the monthly Fishtrap readings start up in the fall. Making writer, teacher, and artisan connections slowly, starting on horseperson connections as well.

Netwalk’s Children is also progressing slowly but surely. The slow pace of the writing is helping me figure out some plot twists, which is good.

We’re also discovering some cool new places around here. The Lostine Tavern would not be out of place in Portland or Seattle, and IMO (but not hubby’s) it beats the pants off of McMenamin’s. Locally grown beef, one of the best gluten-free buns I’ve eaten, great fries, local brews…not to be missed. Speaking of local brews, if you’re quaffing a Terminal Gravity, then that’s brewed about a half mile from the house.

So connection and communication is intermittent right now. If you’ve got the phone number, though, feel free to text or call.

And now I’m going back to wrestling with ACX and approving the Alien Savvy audiobook.

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Painting, painting, and more painting

Painting, wind, and wildlife was the theme of this last Farpoint run. When we headed up to Enterprise last Thursday, we got hit by heavy rain and wind in the nastiest spot for it, a stretch of tight and narrow curves on I 84 between Dodson and Hood River. I swear the eastbound route is worse than the westbound…and without studless snows, the Dakota doesn’t quite ford massive freeway puddles as well as the Subie. Nonetheless, we trucked on and made it into drier and at the time less windier climes.

We arrived to discover shower in the bathroom. It had been a tough choice to tear out the old iron bathtub, but it was just too tall and too deep for us to get in and out of safely, plus it just dominated the whole damn bathroom. The contractor not only replaced it with a lovely angled shower which gives us room for a storage space (plus space within the bathroom), but he found someone to take the big ol’ non-clawfooted tub for a planter.

Cool with us.


It was mildly windy Thursday evening but NBD. We started to hang curtains and I found that I needed to rehem the office and kitchen curtains because they were too long. Better than too short. Tired from the drive and all, we crashed early. I slept fitfully and was awakened in the early morning first by a “thud” (later discovered to be a shingle that had hit the Dakota), and then the loud roaring of a freight train. My first thought was that the basement furnace was unusually loud, then “train,” then “no, this is Wallowa County not Portland–WIND.” Got up to see the pine tree’s branches dancing wildly, went back to bed…and then the lights went out. Tried calling Pacific Power, but discovered that power was going down over much of Eastern Oregon due to strong winds.  The lights came back on within half an hour, so we went back to sleep, flashlights by the bed.

Next morning, we had power, several shingles from the neighbor’s house in the yard, and stronger wind. Our tree danced and writhed gracefully, giving rather than resisting. I eyeballed our roof and we had solid shingles. Never did lose any, in part thanks to hubby getting up on the roof last fall to nail down some loose ones. The wind continued with some mighty gusts. We ate, then started painting. I made a quick run down to the Dollar Stretcher for supplies we had forgotten to pick up at Safeway the night before, and was astounded by the number of uprooted trees and broken limbs already strewing the town. But it wasn’t until I got out of the truck that I realized we were experiencing strong Gorge-level winds. I kind of muttered “this isn’t Crown Point, is it?” to myself before going inside the store…where I heard that the town of Joseph was still without power and had been hit pretty hard by the high winds.

Going back, I saw wind ripping metal roofing off of houses, but thankfully no trees falling or branches coming down right that moment. Little Farpoint seemed to hunker right down into the hillside and so we painted, painted, painted. I’d look up from primering in the living room and watch the stop sign and school warning sign get hammered by the wind in the next block down. The wind twisted the stop sign all the way around so that we could see the front of it instead of our usual view of the back, and it bent the school zone sign into a 45 degree angle. About that time I also noticed that Pacific Power had replaced our old power pole sometime in the last month, for which I was quite grateful–after watching it dance in a milder windstorm last fall, I think this one would have taken it.

But with every pause to watch the dance of the signs, I could see more shingles gone from houses in the neighborhood. I never actually saw those shingles go but every time I looked, several houses had shingles gone. We later heard from our contractor (who spent most of Friday and Saturday repairing roofs in Joseph) that the wind had taken out a lot of trees in Joseph, and ripped off at least one roof down to sheeting and fascia. I guess up there it was 60 mph sustained winds with gusts to 90+ mph. We came through it okay, and the friends we met up with on Friday did as well.

As far as painting was concerned, we now have the entire living room and kitchen primered and ready for final coats, including all the cupboards in the kitchen. Yay. The rest of it should be much simpler as we have only one more set of cupboards in the utility hallway and that will probably just be next winter’s project. Freshly painted kitchen cupboards are a bigger deal.

And wildlife…Thursday night, while talking to a neighbor, I spotted a bird that landed in a big neighborhood tree. Good-sized bird, but it was dusk and not the usual time for a bird that big to be passing through–and then I noticed the shape, upright posture, and tell-tale tufts of feathers poking up. Great Horned Owl. Pointed it out to hubby and neighbor, and we admired it. The next day, our friend who used to work for Fish and Wildlife told us it was most probably one of the birds associated with a nest down near the Fish Hatchery road. Then, Sunday morning, I discovered a big owl casting in the yard. Looks like owl is finding food in the ‘hood.

We also have a herd of about ten mule deer lurking around. Thursday night we saw six of them, does and fawns, wandering down the hill through our yard and into the neighbor’s yard. We spotted them again on Friday evening sampling branches from a fallen tree in the bed and breakfast yard. Then, Sunday afternoon, they came pouring off the hill at a determined and skittery trot, all ten of them including at least one spike-antlered buck. They crossed the street, held in that yard for a moment, then high-tailed it off across the next street and down, pretty much in a straight line, never breaking into the big high hops but at a good ground-covering trot.

IOW, yet another productive and yet fun time at Farpoint. Soon we’ll be able to do more than luxury camping there–there’s still more remodeling which has to be done, but we’re reaching the downhill stretch. Yay.

(and yes, writing happened as well. I’m hoping to have Valentine Disruptions done and up by Valentine’s Day, but damnit, Sarah and Diana don’t want to cooperate. Not so much pew-pew but definitely boom today. Will post snippet later. More boom today!)

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The remodel continues

At last I’ve got some time to write about the latest in the Farpoint remodel. We went up to Enterprise over New Year’s, and oh my, what did we find?


Floors. Lovely, glorious floors in the kitchen and living room. The tiles we hauled up in December have been laid down, and we hauled more tiles up on this trip to finish off the bathroom, utility hallway, and spare bedroom. Those are commercial vinyl tiles in white and brownish-gray tan flecks. Durable, inexpensive, and easy to maintain.

We also found this:


Sinks, counter and cabinet, oh my! We wanted to keep the old steel sink, draining board, and drawers console. It’s cool and the sink is big and deep. But. There’s only one sink. Rather than beat the bushes trying to find a double console (and pay the outrageous likely price), we decided to put in a second sink. Our lovely contractor managed to find the space to accommodate not just a second sink but a larger second sink, so I got a nice deep one. Then I picked out matching Delta faucets, big and tall to accommodate things like canning kettles easily, plus the new sink has a sprayer. The cabinet maintains the utilitarian style of the house and closets, and the counters…well, I failed to take a close picture of them. But they’re pretty. Really, they are. All vinyl, because…the theme of this house is utilitarian. With occasional touches.

Really, the floors have been our big holdup on getting work done at Farpoint. Now we can paint, hang curtains, and start organizing stuff. So we painted. Hubby got most of the living room primed, and I painted my office.


I think I’m going to put a four-inch band where the colors meet, and stencil something as well. If I get really crazy, I’ll do something further with the closets.

Our time wasn’t all about work, though. We knocked off on one day and drove up to Wallowa Lake.


No ice yet. But we saw deer, including bucks still running with a herd of does. Big bucks with four point antlers on each side.

The second day, we drove up north near Flora, and stopped at the Joseph Canyon viewpoint.


And I am really, truly stoked about our Dakota truck. For the second month in a row it hauled a heavy load of tile against a stiff headwind with wintry conditions and still made semi-decent mileage for a big V-8 from 1999. Plus it handles very, very nicely in the wind. Even the Subaru gets buffeted around when facing winter gusts roaring down the Great Wind Tunnel of the Northwest. But the Dakota? A few wiggles, but nothing more. I swear that big little truck just hunkers down and goes. Yeah, I’d like better gas mileage, but I don’t feel like paying the huge prices it would take to get a truck capable of pulling a horse trailer with good gas mileage. Or necessarily make any more compromises on the power and stability end of things.

This part of the remodel getting finished means that we can wrap up the activities known as “cleaning up the place” and move on to “moving stuff in so we’re not camping out.” OMG, the time is almost here.

Our final discovery was that the little retro table that we asked for as part of the purchase fits quite nicely in the now-opened-up kitchen.


That area where the table is? Used to be where the refrigerator lived, next to a wall. We were concerned about that heat register sticking out, but putting the kitchen table right there takes care of that issue. Plus we can now sit at the kitchen table and look outside. It can be moved around to deal with big cooking projects.

Oh, this is going to be so cool. Happy sigh.

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A quiet Christmas

In past years, I’ve spent Christmas running around doing this or that. When the son was still in school, I was also active in the church and doing Christmas Eve mass liturgies, either as reader or singer. Then, when teaching, there was always the crazy buzzing around as we counted down from Thanksgiving until Christmas. We had to do productive work, but whatever unit I brought on line had to be quick, easy to do, and fun. I did like turning the Christmas/winter picture books into one act plays (Jan Brett books are great for this) as a class writing project, but as test scores became more important and I got sucked into doing more paperwork stuff and test prep stuff, the plays went into the trash heap. Too bad, because I think the kids enjoyed doing them. Oh well.

This year was definitely a transition year. Sometime in October I suddenly switched out of Teacher Brain and into Retail Artisan Brain, otherwise known as oh crap I have NOTHING READY FOR CHRISTMAS PROMOTION. So, um, I’ve been fixing that. I know I’ve commented on this before, but between urgent rush production stuff, scrambling to meet some anthology deadlines, bringing horse back into condition, and other stuff, I’ve–uh–been busy and not being paying a lot of attention to the house and to the season. Knowing it’s a transitional year is also an issue, plus, damn it, the snow levels are such that I’ve not wanted to go up skiing yet (and, in fact, there’s not been enough snow to contemplate skiing unless I really wanted to turn my skis into rock skis).

Last week I also did something incredibly stupid and bricked my phone. Then I panicked, and went to my cell phone provider to deal with it instead of Apple. Needless to say, I’ve learned that going direct to Apple is the wiser course these days, and had many thanks for my son who helped me recover from the idiocy. But that was a day and a half or so lost due to dealing with those issues.

And then last Saturday, with a holiday book reading, was kind of the end of the promotional year. I did put Christmas Shadows out as a separate story e-book,  put it into Kindle Unlimited, set it to go free on Christmas Eve, and I’m now mulling over the results. Very interesting. I did make it into the Amazon Top 100 Free Under One Hour Romance list–well, okay, on last look I was still there. I think my highest was 45 and last look was 59. Hmmm. Food for thought.

Meanwhile, a good friend shattered her heel while setting up an artisan shop. I’m trying to pop in and see her a couple of times a week and help out when I can. There’s other local friends with issues. Plus the remodeling at Farpoint is now kicking into high gear, and we’re probably going for the home stretch big finale now. I have many things to do, and I’m scattered between all of them. Things like making curtains, buying construction materials, etc.  Shoot, the “buying curtain fabric” stuff ended up taking about three hours and two trips, in the long run.

So yeah. This year was a quiet Christmas. Yesterday, hubby, the son, and I went out for breakfast. Then hubby and I went to the barn while the son went to do tech stuff for a friend. We gathered in the early evening and had dinner, presents, and veged out. More vegging today with a nice breakfast, pizza for lunch, and then Peacock Lane and leftovers for dinner. I worked on a story I have due to an editor (rough draft almost done, yay) until I’d thrashed that thing to death, then cut out curtains before going to Peacock Lane. I worked a little bit on a show ribbon wreath this evening, and I’m now fading.

The year heads on toward its conclusion. 2015 is going to bring in a new era. Damn, I hope I can pull some of this stuff off.

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