Thursday, September 11, 2008


Photo: Our singlewide trailer. Soon to be replaced with our singlewide creamery.

Woke up at 5:00 AM this morning from a dream where I was misting the greens on some freshly harvested radishes and little purple scallions. The song "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream," was going through my head while I drifted back into the waking world. Hmmm. Life has seemed like a dream lately. Our little 12 acre plot in the Red Hills of Dundee is stunningly beautiful. I can just sit on the deck for hours and just watch the swifts dart overhead, eating invisible bugs, laugh at the hummingbirds fight over rightful ownership of the glass feeder, and yell at the fat squirrels, scampering across the castle-rock retaining wall, their cheeks protruding, stuffed full of our hazelnuts and seeking a safe place to store them. Haven't killed one yet, but I shoot them angry thoughts and evil looks.

Photo: Our potting shed. It's a two-holer!

I dream of building several raised beds. I want to have a big veggie and herb garden. The soil around here is bright red clay. Not easy to dig, but great for growing wine grapes. With raised beds, I hope to increase the likelihood that I'll actually eat what I plant, and have more food growing year round. Oregon's climate is mild enough to allow for year-round growing. I've been reading/watching Garden Girl online. I like her raised beds. They appear to be easy to cover should I want a small greenhouse, too. Plus, I can fit a Chicken Tractor over them!!!

This is all a dream, because once I'm up and running, making cheese, finding time to garden will be a luxury until I can build a staff of other cheesemakers and apprentices. Oh yes, I plan on sharing the love of cheesemaking. I believe in giving back, as others have given to me. There are very few secrets in cheesemaking. What makes a good cheese is good milk from happy animals, a talented cheesemaker, and a nurturing environment for aging cheese.

Photo: Big leaf maple and Douglas firs at our place.

We're slowly moving forward on our plans to build our cheese facility. I'm currently seeking a builder who can help us bring my dream into reality. Not an easy task. I wish I had the skills to do this thing myself. I'm sure I could saw, hammer, and glue things together, but I'm not too sure the structure would last more than a week. Jim's skills aren't much better. I know I need help.

Sometimes I look around this place and get overwhelmed. What the hell have I done? I'm not handy. I don't know how to string an electric fence, or repair a broken valve on the sprinkler system. What was I thinking? My parents didn't have those skills and there was no one around to teach me handy things. (Sorry Mom.) They believed in hiring skilled labor. I enjoy watching and learning. If someone is willing to show me how to do something, I'll give it a go. As my father always told me, I'm pretty mechanical. I'm also very visual; I can see spatial relationships. I can see how things go together and what will fit where. This makes me a master packer. If I had been in a touring band, I'd be given the task of packing the van. I can make stuff fit where other can't. Someday this skill might serve me well. I'm hoping it will help as I plan my cheese room and aging suite.

Being new to a community has forced me to challenge many of my fears and general way of existing. I have to ask strangers for advice. I don't have a network to lean upon. What vet do I use? What dentist do I trust? Where can I get a good burger? This move has shaken me to the core. I've got to build everything from the ground, up. I feel as if I'm becoming a new person. Perhaps I'm evolving in to what I was always supposed to be. Who knows? At the very least, I've found a pretty good spot where I can spread my wings.

For your listening pleasure, I heard this song on the radio a couple of days ago and can't get it of my head. Here's Paul Westerberg singing the folk song, "Mr. Rabbit" at Amoeba Records in Hollywood in '02. Thought I'd share:


adriane said...

When I was growing up, we had a book that showed and described how to make basic repairs around the house. I learned a lot from that book, and am pretty handy now.

I think it was called How to Fix Almost Anything, but I only really remember the cover and none of the listings on the internet seem to have a picture of the cover. If you know where the local library is, though, you might check it out.

Best of luck!

Sairbair said...

Thanks Adriane! I'll see if I can find a copy. Powell's here I come!