Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nothing Much

I have not had wild fun times on my break yet.

I went to the lake on Sunday.  I went on Sunday despite knowing there would be crowds because it was supposed to cloud over the next days and it did.

I didn't get off as early as planned and once I did get off, there was brief incident on 34th street.  I was headed up 34th street when suddenly I see a toddler in the yard to my left.  I'm in the right lane and as I pass, the toddler is crossing the sidewalk headed for the street.  I'm staring, in shock, now in my rear view mirror, as the baby waddles out into the street, sucking a pacifier.  This prompts me to slam on my breaks and throw the car into reverse.

My ice chest, carrying mainly bottled water, slams from the seat against the dash with the sudden braking.  A white SUV is coming the other direction and they're going slow enough already and when they see me in the other lane, stopped, then going backwards, they slow more.  They see the toddler, pull to the side.  The guy gets out and the baby runs right to him and at that moment a young woman exits the house and comes running.  She is distraught and the man hands the baby over.

Whew! I'm thinking.  Close call.

The lake was fine but very very crowded.  I got one of the very last parking spaces.  People in trucks and SUV's pulling boats, some large, some small, were lined up in the lane that leads to the boat ramp, waiting to launch their boats.  There are two lanes at the boat ramp, with a dock between that extends from land out into the water.

It takes me awhile to blow up the raft, with a pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter and is noisy.   Then I roll it down to the boat ramp with a two wheel cart I strap beneath the back.  I could put the boat in the back of the car to drive it to the ramp but then I'd lose my parking spot no doubt.

The two outhouse bathrooms were busy and the one I tried to use was horribly filthy with shit all over the seat and I could not use it until I returned to my car, got my cleaning gear, (spray clorox, paper towels and latex gloves) and returned to clean off the seat.

There was no toilet paper either, but I take my own.

Other than that, the day was pleasant.  I stayed mainly to the lake edges because the center was full of speeding boats and jet skis.   At one point I swam but because no beach or bit of open bank was free of people, there was nowhere to beach the raft for a swim, so I pulled it along behind me.  When I left, I again had  to wait out long lines of vehicles waiting to pull out speed boats.

I'm trying to grow patches of grass in the cat yard, filling in large indentations made by the cats when they nap out there.   I pour the potting soil, which I had found on sale at the Salem Walmart, to fill and level the lawn area, wet it down and then add seed, which may as well be gold, for the price they charge for it, here, in the grass seed capital of America.  It's an indignity we bear here.  We're supposed to support an industry that surrounds us, yet charges upwards of $7 a lb for grass seed that often doesn't even take.    I cover the small areas I have filled in and seeded with wire mesh from old cage sides to keep the cats off it for a time and water it everyday.

And like I said, the seed is so expensive I can't do more than a small area and often the seed never sprouts or thrives.

So its a wishful thinking operation.

Grass seed along with other seed crops are popular in the valley.   You don't have to water the grass as it grows.  They plant new seed by fall, let it grow all winter and spring, harvest in late June early July using windrowers then columbines, often this phase being contracted out.  Then the soil gets churned up, tilled, from the comfort of climate controlled cabs, throwing out great clouds of dust to fill the air and everyone's lungs, beginning usually in August. This is the hardest time around here for me, because of the billowing dust clouds and my allergies.

Here's what a windrower is for those of you who may not know.   They maim and kill so many animals and birds in their path that I call grass seed harvest time the season of death and I don't like to look at the fields full of these machines.

The worst maiming I personally witnessed came with a call from a lady in Shedd, saying there was a black cat under her deck and seemed hurt and she'd gone camping but was afraid for the cat.  I went out there.  She'd rushed home, unable to contain her guilt at not helping him before she left.  The cat belly crawled out when I called.  I was in shock to see him.  He had only one full leg left.  The other three had been chopped off at various points and by now were black with gangrene and full of maggots.  I sobbed as I gave him a last plate of food and rushed him to the nearest vet clinic.  They were angry too, as they had just had to euthanize a fawn in similar shape.  The culprit---windrowers.

I've trapped at a lot of seed warehouses over the years and know a few seed farmers whom I've thought were about the nicest people I've met in the valley.  I have nothing against the farmers.  The allergies I have created by the industry are something I have to deal with living in the valley.  My younger brother has such bad allergies he can't be in the valley in the spring and summer.  Miss Daisy was dumped near a seed farm and found in a ditch when a very kind catman seed farmer walked down to the road to check his mail.  Juno came from a seed farm south of Corvallis.  I was blessed to live 17 years with Miss Daisy and Juno is one of the happiest cats here now.  There's good and bad to be found in everything in life.

I am growing sunflowers out front again and they do sprout thrive and grow, with little effort.

Sulu will leave next Monday, I hope, although he's a love, and easy.  I hope my friends actually adopt him.  They didn't want him til after their son and his small kids, who are not well behaved, come and go this weekend.

Oregon has gotten serious over texting and calling while driving.  The fine now for first offense is $1000 and by third offense, you can spend six months in jail.  I suspect the increased fines are more a windfall to cities, counties and the state police.  This amount of money must make strapped police agencies, like the state police, drool in anticipation.   Whatever the motive, I can't think of anyone I know who would dare risk such a fine as it would bankrupt them, myself included  Distracted driving wrecks have vastly increased and I suppose the increase is justified.  However people still drink and drive. 

An Albany woman just described her horror over a wreck she endured in WA state.  She was driving home, her friend in the passenger seat, her baby in the back and her dog too, when a drunk driver smashed into them, going the wrong way on the freeway.   Her friend in the passenger seat died, as did her dog.   Her friend who died had been hit by a car in Albany, as a pedestrian, only a year ago.   The man has six or seven prior convictions for driving under the influence.  I hope they lock him up forever.  As she started, he has no right to be among us, because he just doesn't care about anybody but himself and his alcohol.  I agree.


  1. Wow! Nice job helping save this baby. ~hugs~ And what a horrible find to see any animal in so much misery. As for grass, I would really like to see traditional lawns go away. Unfortunately, I have zero support from SO just wanting to fit in and keep neighbors content. Also, to be honest, it would cost a lot of money to replace the lawn. ~sigh~ We're spending a chunk of change just keeping the house from falling apart (who new rain was so hard on brick! We're paying to have the entire outer structure sealed). Sorry that toilet was so disgusting. That would probably make me sick to my stomach and might just ruin my day. Ugh... Be well, my dear.

    1. At least the parking was free there, at the boat ramp with the filthy bathrooms. I was up at Sauvie Island once, at the beach, maintained by Fish and Wildlife. You have to pay $7 just to park. So you'd think, with the place crowded, and that high a fee for day use, they could keep the bathrooms up. But nope, they were so bad. That made me mad!

  2. Thank you for taking that poor, poor cat to be released from the pain and the horror.
    And for braking for the toddler.
    And for being you.
    I hope there are many more pleasant days at the river in your near future. More days which are pleasant (and better days too).

  3. I can remember as a kid that when the grass was cut for hay, there was a toll on wildlife, especially quail. I am not sure how it could be avoided. Good to hear at least one state is getting serious about phone use when driving.

    1. I don't know how it could be avoided either, Andrew. I had a kind hearted seed farmer friend who fretted over coming up with a solution, said its hard on the drivers too.

  4. I'm glad you got our with your raft because you enjoy it so. Too bad that it was so crowded. Is there anytime during the summer that is not quite as crowded as your recent visit?

    1. Yes, I love being on the lake or river. It is a bit less crowded during the week or if its windy or cloudy, and I don't mind being out in the wind under cloudy skies. So usually I watch for days like that to go.