It has been just over 2 months since my last post. What can I say? I have been working! The first big event occurred when my cousin Leslie and her family came for Thanksgiving. This included her husband John, and the adorable Emmett. They arrived from Salt Lake City two nights before Thanksgiving. We had a great time exploring Bend and the surrounding areas. We spent one afternoon at Smith Rock which is quite beautiful. We had great weather, and more importantly, we had a lot of fun. On Thanksgiving, John was able to find a way to watch the Detroit Lions even though there is no TV at the ranch. The beauty of the internet! We made too much food, and at the end of it all, the turkey was not done. Oh well…we had lots of other things to eat. On Saturday, we ventured to Sisters to see the Christmas parade. It was an adorable parade. I think I thought it was as charming as non-locals feel about the Granville 4th of July parade. It was a great visit! It is so nice that Salt Lake City is one of the few places that flies direct to Bend/Redmond. I look forward to their return!
Winter arrived shortly after my guests left. I was so excited to see the snow! However, the snow was accompanied by serious cold (much like what most of you are experiencing now!). On Friday, December 6, we got about 6 inches of snow. I decided to go into Bend that day. I was so impressed with how many people were out and about! These mountain people don’t mess around. When there isn’t snow on the ground, you can hear studded tires on the pavement. The roads are covered with cinder, not salt. I actually think it may work better. The snow was lovely.
The cabin was cold, but I have become so good at splitting wood and starting fires (in appropriate places), that I wasn’t worried about heating it up. However, on Sunday, December 8, this was the forecast:
I decided to sleep in the big house that night, thinking that I would be warmer. If I have a fire in the cabin, I am always warm when I sleep, because I sleep in the loft. I didn’t really think the whole plan through…hindsight is 20/20. I decided to leave a radiator-like space heater on low (while I stayed in the big house), so that the pipes wouldn’t freeze. There was heat tape around the main pipe, and an electrician just installed an outlet under the cabin, so that I could plug the heat tape in more easily. I wasn’t too worried. However, none of that proved to be enough. When I went into the cabin the next morning, there was no water. I know what you are thinking…Didn’t you leave the faucets open? Didn’t you shut the water off? The answer is no. Sunday I opened the faucets, and really got the place cooking – I think it was up to 90 degrees by the time I went to bed (TOO HOT! But I’m sure that sounds good to many of you now). Monday when I came home from work…no water. That was when I noticed that the electrician had in fact plugged the heat tape in, but the outlet had reset. So, I don’t think it was working! Tuesday when I came home from work…there was water! ALL OVER THE FLOOR! My poor dog was cowering behind the door as the water gushed out from under the sink. I panicked for about 5 minutes. I immediately called Julie (property owner/boss), I shut the water off, and cleared out all of the rugs that were soaking wet. Then I mopped up the water – it didn’t seem that bad or so I thought…the plumber estimates that 2400 gallons of water went through the cabin! I spent the next several nights in the big house. I had it on good authority that plumbers all over the area were slammed with calls of burst pipes, so it made sense to wait until it warmed up. (It turns out that the pipes did not burst, a cap came off – or something like that (I am relaying this second hand).
On December 20, I left for North Carolina! We had a great holiday. It began with Cirque de la Symphonie in Raleigh. This was fabulous! Strong men, contortionists, aerialists and a clown performing on stage with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. It was really something. Ella liked it a lot. We sat 3 rows back, so we could really see all the details. It was particularly intense when a woman in the front row decided to walk back to her seat (with her child in her arms) right as one of the aerialists was running off of the stage! He almost kicked her in the head. That would have made for a different kind of story. Kind of like last Christmas when David (brother), Ella (niece), and I saw a guy get hit by a car.
That night, Ella stayed with a babysitter, while the adults went to a concert. Dave, Kate and I met some of their friends at the Haw River Ballroom to hear Chatham County Line. What a great band! It was a packed concert, and I loved it. Such a cool venue, too.
The holiday season was in full force! We had several more social engagements, and then it was Christmas! Ella was a little overwhelmed by it all. She even said, “Christmas is just too much for me!” I think we all understand that feeling. She woke up extremely early on Christmas. 4:45am to be exact. YIKES! Needless to say, we all took naps (not Ella!) later in the day. We had a lot of fun while I was there. Ella and I had a slumber party a few days after Christmas. We had a great time – she even lost a tooth! Before her parents left, we made a list of all of the things we could do. The list included reading, watch a show, go to the playground, and Ella put “fiddling with my loose tooth” on the list. Singing was also on the list, which made me happy. In fact, it was really cute when Ella declared, “I want to sing like MC. I want to be a rock singer like MC!” That made me laugh. It is always nice to be a rock star in someone’s eyes! The next day we went to IHOP for breakfast (an annual event), and had a great time at the neighborhood park doing “underdogs.” I forgot all about those, but I am quite good at them as it turns out.
It is always hard to leave, but at some point we all have to try to get back to normal, right? I left on New Year’s Eve, connecting in Atlanta and Salt Lake City. We left Atlanta about 40 minutes late. While en route, I was on-line, because it distracts me from my adult-onset fear of flying. I checked the Delta app to see where we were, and there was a notice that because my flight was delayed they had other options for me (I am summarizing). I clicked to look at their proposal and it didn’t look any different than my planned departure, so I accepted the changes, because I didn’t think there were any. The flight was, in fact, leaving Salt Lake City at the exact same time. As it turns out, the pilot made up a lot of time – I think we were only 5 minutes late. When I checked the app again, I noticed that it said my flight from Salt Lake City to Bend/Redmond was not until JANUARY 1! I panicked for about 30 seconds, then decided I would just go with the adventure (I could hear my mom’s voice in my head, “Think of it as an adventure!”). I contacted my cousin Leslie, hoping they were free. Lucky for me it was New Year’s in Salt Lake City! We had a great evening, just hanging out and eating good cheese. Seriously! Oh, and some delicious treat that my cousin made involving graham crackers, peanut butter and chocolate. Of course, I am always happy to see Emmett who is now 1! My flight did not leave Salt Lake until about 5pm on New Year’s Day, so we had all day together as well.
I was anxious to get back and see how the chickens were doing. As soon as it got cold (about the end of October), the 5 eggs/day dwindled to 1. It was my mission to increase egg production. We decided to install a light in the coop. The only down fall to that is that the rooster sometimes gets confused, and I hear that big boy cock-a-doodling all night (very faintly). When the cold weather arrived, their water kept freezing. So I found a product that is essentially a hot plate for the water. It is perfect. It only comes on when the temperature drops below freezing. I also like to give them meal worms in the morning. They go crazy for the meal worms. Now they all jump out of the coop when they see me getting the container out. One day I was pouring a few meal worms out, and one of the hens flew up and landed on my arm (Falconer!). I think they are happy, because before I left for North Carolina, I was getting 4 eggs/day! I have asked that the chicken’s happiness be part of my performance review (I assume they lay eggs when they are happy). Yesterday I had a little scare with one of the hens. I was taking fresh water to the coop, and I noticed something black hanging from the back of the coop. It was one of the hens! Raven got her claw caught on the back of the coop, and she was dangling by her foot. Poor chicken. She is hobbling a bit, but she is moving around, so I am hopeful. Here is a funny video starring Big Red (the GIANT rooster):
Overall, things are going very well. I really enjoy living here, and I am looking forward to more adventures. Visitors are welcome!
*Shannon (the dog) is still doing very well. I found a great kennel for her (through a friend at work), and she enjoyed it. She promptly took her spot on the couch (No! Not my dog! Ha!). It was difficult to find someone as great as Leith (where Shannon went for 10 years), but I think this will do. It is a lot cheaper than sending her to Ohio or to my Aunt Mary in Michigan.
**Do I miss teaching? I miss the kids. I do get to see kids at the orthodontic office, but it isn’t quite the same. I miss the kids, then I am reminded of the many times I found milk in their lockers. That is a smell that is hard to forget. Why would you put milk in your locker? One year, when I had lunch duty, I had a kid who wanted to take his milk. I had to remind him that the lockers weren’t refrigerated, and that milk really should be refrigerated. Oh my.