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Published: September 4th 2009
Moving those blackberries and thistles!
We had a 26 day gap between the end of our house rental in NE Portland and our younger son Lucien's flight back to Australia. During this time we luckily hunkered down in an A-frame chalet on a large property on a ridge in Deer Island, about an hour north of Portland—yes, there is life beyond Scappoose and St Helens.
After all these years, we finally got ot live in an A-frame.
We had a majestic view down across the Columbia River Valley and on the rare days unsheathed by clouds, mists, rain or smoke we could see Mt. Hood, with its ever-shrinking snow patches.
For the first week I was very busy checking the proofs of the last chapters of my book on video production, then we began in earnest with the field work we had traded in lieu of some of the rent.
Farmer Phil uses the tractor to remove stacks of hand-yanked thistle and wild blackberry to the burn pile.
Piemaker Martha harvests those amazing huge blueberries which hung in clusters thick like grapes.
I gained an understanding of how Sleeping Beauty's castle could be entirely overgrown with impenetrable
In the evenings we each had a ritual gin and tonic (a throwback to 30 years ago when we lived on a Grose River property at Yarramundi, NSW, Australia) and gazed around the edges of the woods for the mother doe and her twin fawns on their way to their night shelter below the lower paddock.
Many scores of crows would fly up the ridge each night, stop in the treetops, jump up into the air and windsurf a bit on the strong evening breezes and then head to their resting place further west. Later in the night we sometimes heard the coyotes yipping, but never saw any bears, though there was bear scat around.
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