The Last Homestead: Sept. 15

Thurs, September 15, 2016

It’s another bright morning on the Triple H Homestead Ranch, which this morning feels a bit tired. Or maybe I am – tired, that is. It’s probably because it’s quiet. Usually along with all the animals, I hear Darrell working in his shop — it’s close to the bunk house and he’s always got some project going there.


Darrell’s shop as seen from the stable

It’s 8:36 AM, and I have had one cup (middling size) of coffee and am finishing one cup (honking big) of tea. I have also done my morning duty of frightening or at least moving along the deer. I frighten them only accidentally, of course, when I walk up the lane or down to say hello to Mona. One june-rule (like always having your camera with you) is “don’t mess with the animals.” But it’s hard not to scare the deer — they are everywhere. I saw some in the cattle pen this morning, having a bit of salt from the lick.


Fawns in lane, waiting to be frightened

And last evening, when I was reading on the porch, I looked up and there, maybe 10 feet away in the grass just beyond the bunk house porch, were three deer, almost as startled as I was. They joined the herd in the fenced pasture beyond the grass, which set off Brandy and Bella into a cacophony of barking. The herd then got conflicted about whether to worry about me on the deck or the dogs in the back yard of the big house. At last they ambled off with studied nonchalance, and when they thought they were safe, they sailed over the fences, disappearing into various gullies and trees. I actually got some photos of them – it was dusk, but there was still enough light and a gorgeous almost full moon shining above them.


The deer, just barely visible, in the dark

This morning I went on my daily rounds, with my humongous cup of tea in hand. If camera rule #1 is that you can’t get a good photo if you don’t have your camera with you, Practical Experience #1 is that you can’t take both the big cup of tea and the camera as you make your morning rounds. Sure enough, with no camera, the brindle barn cat finally appeared and took up a seat beside Lefty, the black-cat-with-the-bad-eye. They were both posed on the stoop of the back room of the bunk house, which gets the earliest sun. The wood there must warm up early, and the bit of carpet is perfect for cat sitting. The two of them would have made a perfect photo, but alas – I had my cuppa tea instead.

That’s the first time I’ve seen brindle cat for any length of time. She is darkish, but mottled with lighter orangish fur. Whereas the black cat is friendly, the brindle cat has been pretty much unseen since I got here.


Brindle Cat, in the stable rafters, one morning when Rose was about to feed her.

This morning it’s relatively warm – vest and two other layers weather. So painting shall proceed anon. Maybe I’ll venture into the woods, too, in the middle of the day. I don’t think I can take another photo of deer – I already have more of them than of pigs – and pigs have been my favorite subjects. The piglets are impossible to compose properly because they don’t hold still – I don’t think I have a good picture out of the  60 or 70 that I’ve tried. They are not too difficult to actually catch in the lens — the fence is low – it’s just that they love running around and up and down the farrowing yard, chasing each other and rolling around in the dirt. The chickens are behind a tall fence and have to be photographed between the chicken wire, but I actually have a couple of good photos of one or two of them. Very photogenic creatures with all those nice feathers and colors. Unfortunately chickens are also boring as story material. The horses are easy to capture too, but rather banal; everyone has photos of big-eyed horses. The turkeys reside in their pens next to the chickens and are a bit more fun to photograph, although it still has to be done through the wire. But they do have magnificent heads.


Photogenic Chicken


Proud turkey

Well, I think I’ll have some breakfast. I’m well-fed, a bit like the deer. Or maybe Mona. Who loves corn husks, but not green peppers.

And now it’s 2 PM. I breakfasted on the muesli and blueberries and milk and yogurt and the rest of the pork chop. Being on the farm makes pork chops for breakfast quite proper. Then I went out up the lane and tried once again to get interesting photos of the horses. I am now into framing with trees, trying the old compositional tricks. I also am determined to deal with (i.e. try to get good photos of) the rest of the animals (again). horseswateringtrough2

Horses at watering trough with Luke on the left

I was walking back down the lane about 10 when Rose and Darrell returned. We exchanged greetings, and I felt my house sitting duty to be over. This is an absurd feeling, of course, since Brandy was a perfectly good sitter all along. No need for me.

Tomorrow I will follow Rose around in the butcher shop and take photos.

I painted over my badly painted boards to OK effect, and after a little lay-down, I shall go on with the big project. I won’t get to the big tree today, but I may finish off all the background. Time is getting short – I only have a few more days here.

6:07 PM

Well, here I am again. I’m definitely brain-dead — took my nap, got up, and did a good 2 1/2 hour session of painting outside in the sun. I have now laid the background for my tree and unless the sky really needs more work — oh these blasted huge eastern Oregon skies — I’ll start on the big tree tomorrow. I am pleased with the mountain and the middle ground with the distant trees. The ponderosa will fill 2/3 of the side-to-side picture plane, and the whole surface top to bottom, but because the tree branches are spaced far apart, the background, sky and butte, through the trees will be very viewable. Sigh. And good night.


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10 Responses to The Last Homestead: Sept. 15

  1. Catching up on my reading. I’m about three days behind you it appears. Would anyone have any idea anymore that saying “Hubba Hubba Chick Chick” to your chicken would be mildly funny and anachronistic? Maybe not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think “scaring” and “frightening” are not exactly what is happening with the deer. “Spooking” them is more appropriate I think. They are a skittish bunch out of necessity of survival, and I can’t believe how quickly the ones that amble past my back deck take off in flight when I get up off the couch. Do they see that movement through the sliding glass door? Certainly they can’t hear anything can they? Oh, but they DO have those giant ears so maybe…


    • june says:

      Lovely giant ears, of course. And they certainly didn’t find me terribly frightening. But you may be more spooky –snort– Thanks for checking in.


  3. Kit Szanto says:

    The chickens photogenic – but have to admit, my fondness for deer and these ones, barely visible in the dark were magical. Thank you. And I too am waiting eagerly to see your ponderosa come into full existence.

    Liked by 2 people

    • june says:

      Jer was quite fond of the photogenic chicken. Just sayin’ –snort– Somehow they didn’t grab me as much but that may be because I was looking for companionship. These chickens weren’t all that into relationships. Thanks for checking in, Kit.


  4. olganorris says:

    It’s great reading of your perambulations and doings. One tip from someone who now has to keep a hand free for my walking stick when in the garden: wear an apron with an easily accessible pocket for the camera. The stick/mug of tea can be set down and the camera taken out when opportunity arises.
    Like Kristin I am agog to see the painted ponderosa.

    Liked by 2 people

    • june says:

      Ah, alas, Olga, I got uppity and bought myself a fancy new camera, a mirrorless DSL. Which is bigger than my pocket, even when it isn’t stuffed with tissue. I should have been wiser, but sometimes snobbery wins:-) The painting will come, fear not.


  5. snicklefritzin43 says:

    What a wonderfully grand ponderosa. Most of those on my daughters land along Lolo Creek do not have the broad, expansive fullness of your tree. Looking forward to seeing it come alive on the newly painted background boards.
    The animals and their personalities are well crafted in your homestead stories…and they seem now to be my friends as you speak about them each day. The busy piglets may be a challenge to photograph, but perhaps well worth a special “photography session” to capture their delightful antics and cuteness…piggies are really so very cute, in my opinion.
    Looking forward to your last days of story telling, walking around and painting at the homestead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • june says:

      thanks, Kristin. The ponderosa has always been a tree of wonder for me — I grew up in the pines of PA and never saw a ponderosa until we came far west. The first I remember one was in a park off I-80 through the Sierras. I can’t resist their bark and cones, and find that I take a cone home with me even when I tell myself I’m not going to. Of course, they only grow at high elevations with, I suspect, a certain amount of moisture, so they are special as well as specialized. And to get these forms, as you note, they need even more specialized environments. I realized while doing this painting that I am truly a lover of trees. And have come to be a painter of them, too, although I keep trying to hide my sentimentality.

      Liked by 1 person

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