By Lynn Harlan
Our air conditioning unit was freezing up in the hot days of July. How can coils and pipes get coated with ice in 98 degree Fahrenheit weather?
After two visits from the repairman, it was determined the unit wasn’t getting enough air. Somewhere in the depths of our homes’ underbelly, a duct was askew, or some other problem. We gave up and headed to the Oregon coast the last day of July.
There was record heat inland in Oregon, but the coast was cool and foggy. The hot temperatures trap marine air over the coast.
We had one 58 degree Fahrenheit day with light rain, and we didn’t have on a jacket. It felt good.
Bob had been invited to a sheep meeting on the southern Oregon coast. We are familiar with Oregon as we have sent lambs to the Willamette Valley to graze on the rye grass fields. It’s pronounced “Will-AM-it.” The weather is perfect for grass seed production, and lambs graze the grass in the winter allowing for a strong plant to grow in April.
There was a tour of a sheep operation along with the meeting. We had been to this farm near Cape Blanco, Ore. in the farthest west point in Oregon. The pastures look out over cliffs plunging down to the sea.
The eastern upper part of the farm is New Zealand-like with its green steep hills. We were there on a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze, but they do get plenty of wind and rain in the winter months.
After the meeting, we headed inland to visit with our sheep farmers. The grass seed was being combined and the straw baled.
Most of the straw is compressed and repackaged for export to Asia. The straw has five to six percent crude protein and is an inexpensive source of fiber in ruminant diets.
Business was done and we headed back to the coast for our ongoing quest of discovering the best fish and chips. We went back to an old favorite, Luna Sea Fish House, in Yachats, Ore.
Another strong contender was up north in Rockaway Beach. The bite of fried battered halibut was so fresh – we could watch the man in back cutting it up.
We were driving on U.S. Highway 101, also known as the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. We started south with the sheep tour at Langlois, Ore. with relatively few people and cars. We would end up at Astoria, Ore. at the northern end, and cross the Columbia River into Washington state.
We saw the sea crashing into craggy cliffs, long sandy beaches, huge hydrangeas, old lighthouses, bridges crossing large rivers and smaller steep gorges.
We saw many trees and greenery. The Oregon coast is spectacular, and we were blessed with cool, breezy days in August after a hot month at home.
Not ready to face the multitudes in Seattle, Wash. where we were flying out of, we stayed west and drove around the Olympic Peninsula. I had envisioned a damp, dripping vista, but the summer months are dry. We were touring in a canopy of trees with magnificent old growth Douglas fir, spruce and red cedar.
We have been fortunate in our married life to visit much of the West Coast – our son lived in California for a time, trips to Oregon with lambs, a beloved niece in Washington state, national sheep organization meetings, along with lamb feeder schools. We’ve had many memorable visits, but the Oregon coast remains my favorite.
Back from our trip and barely time to unpack, I turned into an outfitter for a week. I gathered up a camper and three horses and headed to West Tensleep Lake to enjoy the Big Horns. My brother from Texas and my brother-in-law from Colorado were the honored guests, along with visits from Bob and the rest of my family.
We had kayaks, fishing gear, saddles, campfires and the beauty of the Big Horns. The men had a campfire going morning and night and did most of the cooking – I haven’t cooked a meal for most of the month.
Our trip culminated with the last night in Buffalo in the middle of Longmire Days – totally unplanned. My brother-in-law (a fan) got his picture taken with Robert Taylor himself. I just have to say, I’m a heck of an outfitter.
Now, it’s back to work with three sheep shippings down and pregnancy checking the heifers this week. Still plenty of summer left, but there have been a couple of days with a tinge of fall in the air.
Fall, my most favorite time. I hope we have a long one.