When I go to Cove to visit my parents, I very rarely have time alone to visit places I love from my childhood. At the end of October, Harley and Katelyn attended the Girls in Science Camp at Eastern Oregon University, and parents were not allowed to stick around. My mom was in class all day – teaching for the Ford Foundation Community Leadership Program, and my dad was going to be officiating Cove’s JV Football game. After I dropped the girls off at EOU, I went to Cove, but instead of going straight to my parents’ house, I drove up Moss Springs – it’s a campground on the mountain behind Cove that leads to many hiking trails into the wilderness.
My parents’ yard is a place for adventure and imagination. There are funky, fun little statues that peek out from under bushes, secret gardens with hidden benches to sit and read on, and quirky items here and there to capture your attention. The girls (all the grandkids, really) love to play in the edges of the pond capturing snails, trying to see the fish, and sometimes finding frogs or salamanders.
One of their favorite things is the Troll under the Bridge and the Troll Toll you have to pay to keep the Troll from getting you. Each end of the bridge has a Troll Toll cup, and in order to cross the bridge, you take a coin from the cup on one side and deposit it in the cup on the other end. The cups and coins were there for quite a while before the Troll ever showed his face. Mysteriously one day the troll appeared, and while he hasn’t attacked anyone yet, we keep paying our tolls just in case . . .
My parents have grass – though not a lot – mostly they have shrubs, trees, and other plants that serve as habitat for wild birds and animals. Their yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat, and provides year-round shelter, food, and protection for many different animals. I love going there during all the different times of the year because there is always something new to see and discover.
Not only do they have good food for the wildlife to eat, they have a great garden, grapes, raspberries, and blackberries. Their blackberries are the biggest I have ever seen, and they frequently grow to be as big or bigger than golf balls. I do not have small hands, and the ones in my hand are not the biggest ones I’ve seen. They’re ginormous!
This is Voltaire the Vulture. He is made of copper, so eventually, he will patina and turn greenish, which will be beautiful on this gate my dad built. My mom had Voltaire made for my dad when he retired (I think that was the occasion), and he has been just hanging around waiting for his perch. This summer, my dad finally built the fence and gate, and Voltaire was finally able to move int his home. The metal gate was an anniversary gift from my dad to my mom.
If Aaron and I are able to get our yard looking half as nice as my parents’ yard – with lots of hard work and dedication, I understand – I will be blissfully happy!