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Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Birthday

Today I had a birthday. Sadie tells me I turned 45. I have no idea as I lost count a few years back. I used to love birthdays. Mom always made a big deal out of them. You always got to pick your birthday dinner and what kind of cake. With Mom gone it doesn't seem to be quite the same thing. It would not do me much good to ask for the sort of fried chicken, green beans, and potatoe salad that Grandma used to make as there is no one left who remembers what Grandma used to make. So, I just tried to ignore this last birthday. I asked for no presents, as they just cost money and frankly I don't need anything but new socks.
Last night we went out for dinner with some friends. We don't do that a lot. Sadie stayed with the cousins across the machinery lot and we went out on the town. I gave my friend a planting job that turned into 600 acres and in return I told him I wanted a steak dinner. This was my payment. I had prime rib. It was good. Not spectacular. I think the Golden Valley Brewery is fairly over rated. Still it was better than the two steaks for $19.99 at the Blue Moon.
Afterwards we went to the Hotel Oregon and had dessert. We split a Mudslide. This was a chocolate concoction with several layers. Kind of an ice cream pudding, chocolate kind of thing. It was very good.
This morning I had a hard time getting out of bed. Sadie coughed all night. We didn't get a lot of sleep. I don't know if it is allergies or a cold. I woke up late. I just lay in bed and pretended to sleep. Too many decisions. We have to find someplace to attend church on the Sundays our church does not meet. I just don't seem to like anywhere we have gone. Sometimes I just don't feel like getting out of bed and facing life.
But I did.
Wife wanted to take me out for breakfast. Sadie presented me with a box wrapped in her blanket. It was a new pair of work shoes and I had to give the blanket back. Wife gave me a giant coffee cup for a joke. The question was raised as to what I wanted to do for my birthday. I usually try not to make decisions on Sunday. I just play Lego's with Sadie or take her down to the river. Today I needed to drive to Gopher Valley and get a GPS map of my fields so I can get them sprayed with round-up before I plant. This did not seem to be that popular a plan and I was going to just say whatever and I thought, who cares if anyone wants to go, I'm going and we are going to have a good time. My plan was to take a good map and try and find our way to the coast without going on a main road. There are all sorts of logging roads and secondary roads through the hills that all end up towards the coast.
So we loaded up a cooler, and a metal detector, and a map and away we went.
We stopped at the Amity Cafe for breakfast. I had the buffet for $8. This was not so good. I think we were a little late for top quality. I should have just ordered what I wanted to eat. Two eggs, two bacon, and fried potatoes.
Then we went to Gopher Valley. I mapped the fields and talked to my land lady. Wife looked for treasures with the metal detector. Didn't find anything. Sadie was not so happy. She wanted to play with her cousins.
I have no idea how to put a map on this blog so I suppose you could look this up on GoogleEarth if you were so inclined. We took Thompson Mill road to Rock Creek road. This took us along the ridge overlooking my Gopher Valley farm. We saw some Mexicans on horses. There seems to be some sort of Mexican Rodeo outfit up there. That is pretty interesting. But, is another story.
From Rock Creek we took Buck Hollow road over to Willamina Creek road where I saw that the fescue I planted for Phillip this spring was growing. We went up Willamina Creek to Bible Creek and then we saw a small brown US Forest Service sign for Niagara Falls.
Now this is kind of unusual. I've lived in this area all my life and I've never heard of Niagara Falls Oregon. So we took the road. It was narrow and graveled, with lots of potholes and the sign said 11 miles. I think it was Forest Service road 8533. Sadie was having some coughing spells and we nearly turned around. But she recovered and away we went.
The scenery is pretty amazing. We passed through a clear-cut where the road ran along top of a steep mountain side. It looked like you could see all the way to the coast range. The horizon was purple mountains over miles of green fir trees. The road got narrower and steeper. The sign said Niagara Falls, closed because of hazardous conditions. Sadie was a little worried. Her and her Mom walked on ahead and watched for hazards. I waited in the pickup till I got bored and the followed. It was a pretty steep down hill but I put it in 4wd low. It was not so bad. After a while they got tired of walking and we drove some more. After going through a Birch thicket with the branches so close over the narrow road that they nearly formed a tunnel, at last we came to a clearing and a parking area with a sign that read. Niagara Falls, 1 mile. This meant we had to walk. I suppose I was hoping for a viewing area where I could sit in the pickup. Just the same we had come this far it seemed silly to turn around so we trouped down the trail.
It is never a good sign when the trail starts out going down hill. That means you will have to walk up hill to get back. I could see the torn warning sign that said the trail was closed but I didn't say anything. I figured we would deal with the hazards when we saw them.
It was a long and winding down hill trail. There were a few benches strategically placed for the uphill battle. After following a ravine for what seemed like much more than a mile we heard a faint gurgle of water. Sort of like a leaky water faucet. There was a bridge over a nearly dry creek. And there was the hazard. The trail had washed out in a mudslide leaving a narrow ledge to walk and a good 60 foot drop through rotten logs and rocks to the creek bed far below. After much discussion we braved the bad section of trail holding hands as we edged across.
At last we heard rushing water.
The falls were nice. There was not a lot of water. It was a long walk, I could see how someone could say they did look remotely like the real Niagara Falls. Like, if you were looking at Niagara Falls from space, or from the wrong end of a telescope, or if you had only seen Niagara Falls in a photo, a really small photo. Sadie was having a good time and it was a nice walk.
I found a Coorslite can at the base of the falls. I'm not sure who would lug a six pack of Coors Light down that trail but someone obviously did. As my wife pointed out, it probably was not so heavy as it is "lite" beer.
The walk out was much harder than the walk in.
But we made it.
On the way out we missed our turn and ended up on Forest Service Road 1400. After a while all the trees look the same. The road looked well traveled so we went on for quite a way until we noticed our compass was reading WNW instead of SE as it should have. We looked at the map and had quite a discussion as to whether road 1400 was the same as road 14 which went to Hebo. In the end we turned around as we did not want to drive from Hebo down Hwy 18 on a Sunday afternoon. Way too much traffic.
We backtracked and found the little side road we missed and soon we were back to Bible Creek road, then Willamina Creek road. We avoided 18 and went home through Willamina and Sheridan. Along the way we stopped for a look at the Organic Peas I planted for the fellow with the distillery at Willamina. It looks more like Organic Bentgrass than an Organic Pea field. I guess i pretty well saw that one coming.
I feel better than I've felt in months. That 2 mile walk made me feel much better than taking a nap. Who would have thought. I may have to take up exercising.
So that was my birthday. Not a bad one.
I do miss my annual birthday party. The famous Daily Strumpet Birthday Bash, featuring the Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo players from Iowa. I miss our old house with the fire pit and the lilac trees. That was a fun party I think. But times change, people pass, it was not our house, whatever...
Tomorrow we chop silage!


  1. A fine adventure well told. I could smell the forest, hear the echoes of snapping twigs. Thank you. And any of us who were there miss the fire pit birthday bash of old. Sic transit gloria party.

  2. Where will I ever hear Bonaparte's retreat? Or get the chance to play my washtub base?


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