This is good in many ways depending on how one looks at it. My father had what other hunters called the worlds smallest hunting club. Before the 1996 flood, we would get enough water behind the house to get loads of ducks and geese flying in for the winter. Now, the water flow has changed and we primarily have a great goose season, with a few good duck days of hunting.
The other way to look at our little slice of heaven is that we will never be surrounded by neighbors, other than one house directly next door. In the almost 45 years of my life, I have only had 2 neighbors. Harold and Muriel Cushman, or as I called them Milkman and Mill, I spent most of my summer days playing over at their house growing up. Their youngest son, of nine kids was a year older than I, and the only kid within a mile radius. Milkman, worked for the ODFW as a mechanic. You might be wondering about the nicknames. Harold had a couple of Jersey Dairy Cows, and would milk them. We use to get the fresh milk from him, and in my magical way called him Milkman, come on, I was little. The amusing part was that it didn't sound quite like that, as a child I had a terrible speech impediment and was missing the beginning and ending of my words, let's just say 90% of the population probably had no clue what I was saying. And for my most favorite woman growing up, Muriel, or Mill. She was a great baker and could cook, some mean fried chicken. My father always knew when the pie or cinnamon buns were fresh out of the oven! Sadly when I was about 16, it came time for Harold to retire.
My new and current neighbor became Jimmy. Jimmy also works for ODFW, and has become one of the family. He saves my bacon more often than not, and I will be lost without his and his families friendship. Jimmy and I spend a lot of time handing out in the back enjoying the beautiful view. Some of you have met his wife Denise, as she fills in at the Herbary on Saturdays when mom comes to the PSU Farmers Market with me. Denise also helps out watering and planting.
I think one of my favorite stories is how we had a tomato patch where the Herbary is planted. We grew over 300 tomato plants, and sold them picked and U-picked. The key to our successful tomato crop was that each plant had a tire around it! The tire warmed the ground, and supported the cage. The plants were planted deep so the stalks were always huge and strong. With the money we took a trip to Disneyland. I think we went the summer of 1975, I was 4. Everyday, when my father returned home from work, I would run out the door to meet him. Clutched in my hands was a beer, salt shaker and one of those tiny A&W mugs. Dad and I would patrol the tomato patch looking for a red tomatoes to sample. We would sit on the tires, dad would pour some of his beer into my mug and we would salt our 'mators.
We used the top part of our property in lots of different ways .... More stories another day.