The Last Homestead: Sept. 13

Tuesday, September 13, 2017, late afternoon, from inside the bunk house

Good evening, my dear. It’s about 5 PM.  No early notes today – I was either working or taking a nap. No pig admiration this morning either, which I regret. The Howes are back home. And Bella is in deep trouble. This morning she chased a deer and was chastised and penned up. Rose was harsh rather than merely severe, and she was unrelenting to Bella, who knew she had done wrong. It was clear that Bella had messed up big time. Later, allowed out, Bella followed Rose to the barnyard for the 10 A.M. feeding, but didn’t come up to me at all. She watched Rose at all times. Finally, Rose went back to the house after feeding was done and called to Bella, who (having gotten side-tracked by a smell), ran as fast as a silly dog can run, getting distracted only to recall herself to the task at hand, hurrying off to placate Rose.) I heard Rose say “good dog” to her, and both Bella and I knew all was forgiven. Still, Bella’s been leery of getting out of her place since then.


I’m writing this inside the bunk house. I need to trot down to the big house, where the internet signal works, and send it off. It was colder than blazes, although that’s a strange metaphor; just sayin’  it was hellishly cold this morning. I woke up and put on my heavy socks. And found myself wearing five layers, none of them winter-ready, but adding up to decent protection. The new hoodie is a joy and over it went my painting coat. Thank heavens for my gloves. It was 37 when I went outside about 8:30. By ten it had warmed up to 48 and the sun was beginning to feel like a sun should. And by this afternoon, it’s 65 or so. Positively balmy.

I have laid down the background on the two big painting boards. I have a rough sketch, but it’s, well, rough. So tonight I’m going back over my photos to see if I can pick up the extra info I need. I can’t seem to retain visual info very long, even though I’ve gone up the land and looked at that bluff (Monument Mountain) ten or so times. I did that when I needed a break this morning, but it’s all out of my head now. Cameras are a Good Thing.


The background, Monument Mountain, on the bottom panel of the 40” x 60” painting of the ponderosa  pine.

I’m cobbling together the mountain as it is viewable from up the lane, painting it as though it were behind the ponderosa. The background of the landscape is pretty much laid in, although the two boards (meant to be seen set on top of one another) aren’t reconciled yet, so that will be first chore tomorrow. That and getting rid of the insects and dirt that I expect to collect overnight. The two panels, finished top and bottom, are sitting in the sun right now. The first one was quite dry when I finished the second – I had painted them thin. I’m not sure where I will keep the two big pieces overnight, but I guess I’ll figure it out.


The two-paneled painting, drying in big lawn.  My “studio” can be seen under the juniper tree with the picnic table serving as an easel. The building to the right was not used or even investigated on this trip but its shape hints at its function.

Love you to pieces. Bella says hi, and why don’t you come and pay her the attention she deserves, since I’m being so cranky. I won’t even allow her to lick my knee — Rose never said nothing about licking knees.


Monument Mountain

It’s supposed to freeze tonight but there’s very little wind. Whew. I have found the heater in the living room and figured out the one in the bedroom. I will take out another blanket and put on my winter woolies, so it’s only the run to the bathroom at 4 AM that will solidify my toes. I seem to be well outfitted for the cold, or at least for such cold as is here thus far, in mid-September.

Darrell told me that yesterday’s trip with the 37 Chevy was merely to license it in Oregon. I guess that’s part of owning an antique auto. And very early this morning (3:30 AM according to Rose) all the cows got out. They were munching away at the grass in the Howe’s back yard. Rose said they must have gotten good shocks, going over the electrified fence, but that the wind perhaps played a part in their escape. I don’t quite understand, but then there are many mysteries of farm life that I don’t understand. Like, where are the squirrels and crows? All gone to the city for jobs, perhaps. I saw a couple of magpie today, and lots of little birds, chickadees and brown sparrows, but no crows. What kind of place is this where turkeys and hawks hang out but the squirrels and crows are absent.  Um, that sentence may hold a clue. No signs of snakes either, although as soon as I say that, one will appear.

Later — Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 6:17 PM,

Here I am, a bit later, back in the house yard. As Rose is home, all the dogs are being Very Good. Brandy gave a terrible bark when I walked up and was sent to the literal doghouse. Rose is embarrassed when her dogs act like watchdogs around her rental guests. So it’s been a hard day on dogs today. Brandy is much better behaved than Bella, and her bark went away just as soon as she figured out who I was, which was, alas, too late. I said maybe she was getting old and forgetful and Rose said that was no excuse. I allowed as how we could all use that excuse, which got a laugh from Rose, but Brandy is still in the doghouse.

I finished painting the background on the second big board. Tomorrow I’ll have to reconcile the two, one above the other, so they will form a continuous line. And tonight I’ll print out the reference photo, hoping it will help me figure out some of the less obvious stuff. And then to my warm bed.


Big painting, both boards, in front of wood pile for the night. This was where I decided to secure them at night.

Rose just came out with a bowl of grapes for me. A day ago she gave me corn. I have bought a couple of pork chops and a dozen eggs from her (I boiled six of the eggs this morning). So I’m not in any danger of starving. I have a half can of soup and noodles for dinner tonight, although I think I must also cook up the second pork chop, even if I eat it cold.

I guess I could give the corn husks to Mona and the piglets. Have I told you that the piglets are outrageously cute? Mona is outrageously ugly, but she probably thinks the same of me



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7 Responses to The Last Homestead: Sept. 13

  1. Kit Szanto says:

    All of this chat has me wanting to join in, as in the piglets are very cute – and older ones lots less so. (Unlike birds which are almost never cute as babies but are lovely once grown.) But, alas, rather like people who are often very cute as babies but often less so as they age (at least when they age to their seniors ages).


  2. Jerry Underwood says:

    Another good read. The painting is coming together. The dogs are developing like characters in a novel.

    Weather conditions seem to have been important to us all year, at least from September on. Cold there then and cold here now. At least it didn’t snow on you at the ranch.



    • june says:

      And I suspect that Rose and Darrell are snickering at the thought that I was cold in September — they know the difference between then and winter. I’m not sure the dogs develop so much as just have so much about them to understand. Bella did get in a knee licking when Rose wasn’t looking.


  3. snicklefritzin43 says:

    As I follow along on your adventure at the homestead, it does seem that the motivation to paint is stirred by the interaction with the environment, including cold middle of the night jaunts, and the animals, domestic and wild. There is enough activity to keep from slipping into a place of inaction with the paint brush. The big boards so far, what you show to us, look like the two part painting will be fabulous. The blue is electric and what I see as just the right background for the glorious tree.


    • june says:

      thanks, Kristin. I have not yet sussed out my motivation for going on these jaunts, let alone painting. Although the days did seem long and there was plenty of time to do everything. And I couldn’t let Rose and Darrell think I was just a lay-about, a do-nothing. Had to prove I was serious about _something_:-) Anyway, you will get to see the big painting in its full, um, glory, one of these days. Thanks for your thoughts!


  4. olganorris says:

    Bed socks for mitigating cold shocks on night excursions – that’s what you need!

    Liked by 1 person

    • june says:

      Indeed. I shall look into the possibilities. On the other hand, I could just stay at places that had bathrooms in the same area as the bedrooms. But then they wouldn’t have piglets, I suspect:-)


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