Monthly Archives: July 2013

Tales of Daring Doe


The Original Flower BarrelMy sister, Anita, also has a blog about her home, Thornbush.  Her last entry, Turn,Turn,Turn asserted that everything does not necessarily happen one thing at a time, but sometimes, especially summer-times, all at once.  I almost titled this month’s summary, “It’s Always Something” but I couldn’t pass up “Tales of Daring Doe”.  Her story didn’t happen all at once, but regularly all month.  It started one evening when I went into the back yard and there she was, not 20 feet away, looking at me.  I talked to her conversationally for awhile and still she didn’t run.  Finally I went back inside.

The next morning Cheryl looked out the front window at her beautiful half-barrel of pansies and cosmos. All the flowers were eaten off.  The Daring Doe was dining outside the kitchen door.  Well it was a busy month for trimming plants even for humans.  I’m in the last stages of digging out the grass around an acre of grape plants, trimming out the suckers and fertilizing with fish emulsion and goat manure tea.  I’ve been thinking about my grandfather,Chopped Pansies Tony Barreca.  He is a principle figure in the first chapter of my father’s autobiography.  I sent out the first draft at the end of May.  Dad talks about how his father used a sapoono, a big cast iron hoe, to cultivate his grapes and garden.  I’ve been doing the same working on my grape plants with an American version of a sapoono.

I’ve also been transplanting grape plants as they develop over 2 years before I sell them as part of my Northeast Washington Grapes business.  We had a few rainy days in June.  I would get up early to transplant before it got to hot outside.  One of those mornings the Daring Doe struck again just as the pansies were recovering and moved on to more flowers nearby.  It was time for action.  I had some crude ideas involving wire fencing but Cheryl stepped in with a clever combination of nearly invisible black bird netting and a tomato trellis.  It has worked so far and can be adjusted as the cosmos grows.

Pine DropsNot only is the business of growing grape plants growing, Barreca Vineyards is now a licensed winery!  There are still a few hoops to jump through to get official labels.  Our tasting room is still just an office and tastings will be by appointment only, but having a license opens up lots more possibilities and of course more work to go along with them.

Pansies were not the only thing in season.  Pine Drops spouted where I had cut some brush.  Normally they prefer shade.  Rhubarb, strawberries and cherries are all ripe. Rhubarb CloseupSo it is pie time for the 4th of July.  The weather has been over 100 degrees the past couple of days.  We also got to see some Northern Lights again after the June blog.  They were long slow moving white streaks in the early evening.  Not super but still impressive.

Speaking of slow moving.  The doe appeared again at the top of the driveway.  We tried to get our dog, Gretchen, to chase her off.  Gretchen was more interested in chasing her rubber ball, but finally took a pass at the deer.  Daring doe took a swipe with her hoof back at Gretchen and the dog turned tail immediately.  I walked up withing 5 feet of the deer and threw a few pine cones.  She finally got the idea and bounded off a safe distance.  Gretchen even chased her for a hundred feet or so, trying to save face I guess.
Gretchen at the Auction
Gretchen was just as shy a few days later when relatives of my neighbor Clarence Tieszen held a farm auction at his place across the road.  They didn’t tell Clarence though, feeling that he would be dragging everything they were taking outside to sell back into the house and shops that it came from even though he hasn’t lived there or needed any of those tools or equipment for a couple of years.  They drove him out from Miles City, Montana a week or so later.  He was trying to figure out how he could buy all those things again for when he moved back here.  In truth he can’t pass a driving test and can’t live here without driving 11 miles to Kettle Falls almost every day.  He’s doing fine living with family on a Montana horse ranch.

We got to live with family for a dayMother and Childor so.  My daughter April, her fiancé, Tony, and our new grandson, James Anthony came over for a visit.  April on her own is a regular neighbor magnet.  Add in a new baby and it was neighbor city here for a couple of days.  One afternoon after that, we spotted Daring Doe on the fringe of the meadow below our house.  Suddenly there was more movement.  It turned out to be a fawn catching up with mom – and then racing ahead.  So Daring Doe is living with family all the time.

She's still out thereAfter catching up with mapping trails, printing books and crunching numbers for the final report of our Crossroads on the Columbia Digital Archive, I stared work on this blog.  Realizing that I could use a few more pictures I took my camera down to the rhubarb patch.  I heard a noise while crouching down for a closeup and turned around to see – you guessed it – standing under the apple tree, and not going anywhere.