Happy Summer Solstice

This Summer Solstice morning brings us abundant sunshine and a flock of goldfinches here at Ocean Shores.  Earlier, I was sitting at my desk and, below in the garden, I  heard the gravel crunching, as it does when someone is walking around outside.  I imagined Rick out there admiring the garden on this fine day.  But hey, wait…Rick was sitting at the table downstairs!  I looked out the window and could see a very well-fed plump full-grown doe comfortably and happily munching on my hydrangeas!  She had already eaten most of the white roses and was making her way across her breakfast buffet. The garden is deer-proofed with a state-of-the-art wooden enclosure (constructed by Rick) meant to protect the tender plantings that would otherwise be devoured by the deer.  For oh so long, we have seen the deer devastation in our inner garden, but have not been able to figure out how the deer get in!

I alerted Rick and within seconds he was outside, entering the garden from the back gate.  I witnessed how the cheeky doe lifted her head, acknowledged Rick, and went right back to fearlessly and voraciously eating the hydrangea leaves and blossom tips.  Rick kept his distance, but, using his voice, gently prodded her to leave.  Mostly, we wanted to observe how the heck she gets in and out!  Well, did you know not only can deer jump, but they can also do a great combat crawl??  Yes, we watched as she went towards the latched gate near the steps leading to the porch.  From there, she gently stepped over and between the ferns, ducked her head low, got into a crawl position and gracefully and quickly crawled under the deck, a very low space, stepped down, wedged her full-grown ample body through the recycle and garbage bins..and voila, she was out of paradise and we finally knew her secret!

Our inner garden at Ocean Shores.  I can't even imagine how much fuller the garden would be if the deer weren't sneaking in from time to time for a snack.

Our inner garden at Ocean Shores. I can’t even imagine how much fuller the garden would be if the deer weren’t sneaking in from time to time for a snack. Note the lack of white roses!

Rick’s chore today is to block the newly discovered deer entry way.  Why do I have a feeling this is not the end of the “marauding deer” story?

We just received a box full of birdhouses! My brother-in-law Jim Brechbill makes these wonderful birdhouses:

Jim's birdhouses!

Jim’s birdhouses!

Jim is a cancer survivor.  He had non-Hodgkin lymphoma and suffered damage to his spinal cord, which left his lower body paralyzed.  His sons helped build him a workshop so that he could continue to do his creative wood work and make these welcoming birdhouses.  Opening up the box felt like Christmas in June!  Jim and my sister Zina will be coming out for a visit in August, so we will be sure to put the houses up throughout our property.

And lastly, we spent a few days in Ashland, Oregon last weekend with our friends Barbara and Denise.  I love Ashland for its sunny climate and its four solid seasons, its nearby Siskiyou mountains and its proximity to California and the Redwood Forest.  Lithia Park, the many hiking trails and the  bike trails, the great eateries, the Shakespeare festival (!!) and the variety of plays being shown every year, and the many used and new bookstores (at least 7 of them in this small town with a big punch of culture) are all great draws for us to make our annual pilgrimage to southern Oregon.

We saw three great plays:  Richard III, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, and Water by the Spoonful.  Each play seemed to be progressively more powerful until the last play, Water by the Spoonful, left me quite emotional, replete with shaky legs when I stood to give a standing ovation!

I leave you with photos from Ashland, Oregon:

This is where we stay when in Ashland. It is the sweetest motel ever with a great swimming pool and gardens.

This is where we stay when in Ashland. It is the sweetest motel ever with a great swimming pool and gardens.

The garden area of the Palm Motel.

The garden area of the Palm Motel.

We took a hike to Grizzly Peak on a glorious day. All the wild flowers were out!

We took a hike to Grizzly Peak on a glorious day. All the wild flowers were out!

Wild flowers...by far, this is already on my top list of favorite hikes to do mid- June in Ashland!

Wildflowers (succulents)…by far, this is already on my top list of favorite hikes to do mid- June in Ashland!  I have NEVER seen so many and such a variety of wild flowers on a single hike in my life!

Rick stops to admire the view while on our hike.

Rick stops to admire the view while on our hike. Grizzly Peak sits at an elevation of 5922 feet.  There is an outstanding view of the Rogue Valley and Ashland below.

Indian Paintbrush (everyone knows the name of this wildflower)

Indian Paintbrush (everyone knows the name of this wildflower), also known as Prairie-Fire.  Its scientific name is Castilleja.

More wild flowers and the remnants of the 2002 forest fire.

More wild flowers and the remnants of the 2003 forest fire.

Barbara walking at the peak.

Barbara walking at the peak’s edge.

More forest fire snags

More forest fire snags

And back in Ashland, Rick stands with Roy, the owner of the best used book store in town (in my humble opinion), The Book Exchange.

And back in Ashland, Rick stands with Roy Laird, the owner of the best used book store in town (in my humble opinion), The Book Exchange.

 

 

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