11-30-2021 November Journal

After such a hot dry summer, and a beautiful sunny October, it was as if someone turned the switch in November.  Early in the month, the rains began and only let up as the month progressed from rain to cold, wet fog.

Mo and I had a few details to attend to with the MoHo, and finally had an appointment with Mock Ford here in town to get her in for a 120,000 mile tune-up and a coolant leak repair.  We had to park the rig outside in their parking lot with assurances that it would be about a week before they could complete the work.  Long story short, after many calls and much frustration, we paid what we owed for the unfinished work and pulled the MoHo off their lot in early December.  We had a trip planned, and determined that we could deal with the slow leak rather than putting up with the MoHo being stored outside on an unlocked lot as the temperatures got below freezing.  We don’t winterize the MoHo because we travel in the winter.  Needless to say, we were NOT happy with the local service, but finding an appointment anywhere seems nearly impossible.  We did finally find a place in Medford that made an appointment for us in early January.  I’ll see how that goes, but I am feeling optimistic.

In early November, the leaves are coming down in earnest, and it is a big annual job to get them off the ground and loaded for hauling to the local compost facility.  Folks often say, “why don’t you compost them?”  Nope, not an option with an acre of oak leaves.  Those leaves have weird tannins in them that hinder plant growth.  Great for piling up somewhere nothing needs to grow, but not in the gardens!  I learned that the hard way one year when the rains kept us from picking up some big piles we had made on the pasture grass.  Nothing grew in those spots for almost 3 years.  So we haul the leaves.  Every year when the job rolls around, I remind myself what a treasure our huge old oaks are to have in the heat of summer.  I do love those trees, and try not to complain about the leaves…at least not much.

This year I had even less reason to complain because Mo did a much higher percentage of leaf raking than I did, although I did manage to do a bit.  We take about 15 trailer loads to the facility each year, a pretty 20 minute drive along the Rogue River toward the west where it is located.  Amazing what qualifies for entertainment during wet, rainy, foggy November.

Mo had an outdoor project that kept her busy in between the rain.  She added the black lattice screens underneath the new deck extension.  I bought some new small herb plants to plant along the edge to replace the huge plants we had to remove when the deck was extended.  They should catch up in a couple of years, especially at the rate that herbs grow in this area.  Those rosemary plants to the left of the stairway were just 4 inch pots 3 years ago.  Rosemary loves Grants Pass and I love rosemary.

Early in the month the everyday stuff was set aside for a fabulous visit from my friend Jeanne from Vermont.  She flew west to visit several of her friends who live in Oregon and Washington and we were thrilled to have her here for three whole days and nights!  We were thrilled that the weather was good enough that we could enjoy a bit of wine tasting, with plans to go to Schmidt Family Vineyards. 

Even though the website said they were open, we arrived to no one in the parking lot and a feeling of doom as we walked up to the darkened tasting room.  Still, it was nice to walk around the grounds for a bit before we traveled a bit farther south on Upper Applegate Road to the Troon Vineyard.  Happily, they were open and we settled into the heated courtyard for wine flights and a charcuterie board filled with several menu choices.  I somehow didn’t manage to get any photos of that part of the afternoon, maybe the wine was too nice and the warm heaters too delightful.  I had my first taste of some kind of gourmet salami and discovered how much different it was than all the regular Gallo stuff.  What a treat!.

On another day while Jeanne was here, we went downtown to favorite little restaurant, the Bohemian Grill.  There we had fabulous cocktails.  Jeanne loves martinis, the real kind, and her order was perfect enough that she impressed the waiter.  I guess it is a bit like knowing how to order a good espresso from Starbucks.  A love of good martinis is a class level above me for sure.  I’ll take some lemon and lavender with mine, thank you.

After our sweet respite with Jeanne, Mo and I went back to the ongoing leaf raking and hauling until a short little visit to Brownsville broke the monotony.  Daughter Melody was singing in the Albany Civic Theater version of “All Together Now”.  The performance was a collection of Broadway hits that was shown at theaters all over the country to help fund the local community theaters.  For that one performance, the charges for using the music were waived to help support the locals. 

By the time we got to Albany on that Saturday afternoon, Melody was already at the theater.  Melody’s Robert drove us to Albany in his big brand new 4 Runner and we went to dinner together before the show.  The Italian restaurant was just a block or so from the theater and our wait time wasn’t terribly long to get a really nice upstairs table.  The food was fabulous, some of the best Italian I have had since Italy.

The show was nice, and as always I love hearing Melody sing and seeing her onstage.  We slept in their upstairs guest room and were treated the next morning to a great breakfast before we headed back south to Grants Pass.  It was a quick visit, but still great to see Melody once again performing at ACT.  She has been involved with that theater since 2000 or so.

I have to laugh at my lack of photos for this part of November.  I used to have the camera out all the time, and somehow it has become less of a priority.  I have a few of the four of us relaxing in the big recliners in the tv room, but they are definitely not for public consumption.  Didn’t get a photo of the show, of course, because it wasn’t allowed.  And how in the world did I miss taking a photo of our fabulous dinner at Gamberetti’s.

We returned to Grants Pass on Sunday, and on Monday I had a thrilling appointing with a new doctor.  How can a doctor appointment be thrilling?  For one, the new neurologist/neuromuscular specialist I am seeing is right here in Grants Pass, associated with my current doctor at Asante, ten minutes from home.  No more travels to Portland to OHSU for specialist visits.  It was a good visit, with a bit more information about what I am dealing with, a prescription to help with leg pain, and instructions to come back in a year for updated evaluation.  I guess that shows just how much the specialists think they can do for this slowly progressing muscle disease.  Not much.  The prescription is helping a lot with night  leg pain and isn’t any kind of narcotic.  So far, it is helping and no side effects.

I raked the lower pasture under another big oak and Mo loaded up the last of the leaves for our last visit to the leaf dump on November 8.  There are leaves in the flower beds we never managed to get up before the rains started in earnest, but not enough to cause any real problems until we can get them up in late winter when the sun eventually shines once again.  Mo mowed the pasture one last time on November 18.

Thanksgiving was approaching and this year it was my turn to have the entire family here for the holiday dinner.  I decided to set up the “Christmas” village before Thanksgiving.  Who says the winter scenes in the bookcases can’t be a Thanksgiving Village.

This year we actually had our family dinner on Thursday, the real Thanksgiving Day!  Melody and Robert drove down from Brownsville, with Axel and Xavier driving in their own car with Axel’s partner, Py.  Daughter Deborah drove from Shady Cove, and Maryruth and Gerald drove the long distance between our house and theirs, a short mile.  Maryruth and I laughed about all the years we drove to each other’s homes for Thanksgiving celebrations when we were young and often those trips were hundreds of miles.

Grandson Xavier, Daughter Melody, Grandson Axel

A favorite photo of Robert and Mo

Maryruth and Gerald, and Mattie who adores Gerald

Xavier and Deborah

You would never know it from this face, but Mo and I LOVE Robert’s deviled eggs, a holiday tradition.  I had to include the photo so you could see all the pies on the counter, the appetizers and the table set ready for dinner. 

The last photo here is a fun little thing from Py, who brought a Polaroid camera to the gathering.  The photo is tiny and grainy, but so much fun.  I haven’t seen an Polaroid shot like this in yeas.


Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

10 thoughts on “11-30-2021 November Journal”

  1. A very busy November indeed. Glad to hear you finally found a doc in Grants Pass that can treat and monitor you. Looking forward to reading about December. Happy 2022!

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    1. Very happy to see you two home again safe and sound. I look forward to having some time to catch up on all your posts as well! Although I will have to write that December blog first. 🙂

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  2. So glad to read that you and Mo are still traveling around. That was good info on the oak leaves and their effect on gardens and plant growths. Love the photos of your family. Now I have pics to put with your texts. Have a peaceful and healthy 2022!

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    1. Yeah, that photo made me laugh even though I did look rather silly. We do love our kitchen. We planned this house for two full years before we even started actually having it built. The kitchen was a big deal. And yes, Daughter Melody’s pies are legendary.

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  3. Never thought about the leaves killing that beautiful lush lawn. Maybe that’s why I don’t landscape, the leaves would just rot into the soil. I love that family came to you for the holiday, everybody looks happy to be together, and all that food looks divine. I love the last shot that takes us back in time.

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    1. The beautiful lush lawn in the photos with all the leaf piles is actually completely non-landscaped, non-irrigated pasture on the lower half of the property. Leaves rotting into the soils is a very good thing, if they are the right kind of leaves. Glad you enjoyed that little polaroid. The thing is actually about 2 x 3 inches.

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  4. Oh, such fun and special times with family and good friends! You always have the best celebrations. I know exactly what you mean about the oak leaves…we had at least three raking marathons every year from only three trees in our little yard in Ashland. And the acorns…OMG. But like you, I always reminded myself of how grateful I was for the abundant shade those trees provided in the hot summers.
    Wishing you and Mo all good things in this coming year. Hugs to you two and Mattie!

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    1. Oh yes…you remember the acorns! I didn’t write about them but what a true pain in the whatever. Heard that an acorn crop like that one bodes for a hard winter. Might be a good prediction! The acorns were so thick on the gravel driveway it was like walking on marbles. Couldn’t rake them up very efficiently either because they got all mixed up in the gravel. They are still out there…a bit smashed, but still looking awful. Thanks for the good wishes, Laurel. Truly blessed to know you.

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