Blog — sarah greenman year 6 electricity unit

Eagle Creek Orchard is an organic orchard under the incredible stewardship of Linda and Rob Cordtz, two of the most gracious, curious, interesting people I’ve ever met. I first started visiting their orchard around 2011. Every year, I look forward to eating their beautiful peaches, cherries, apricots, apples, and pears.

The orchard specializes in tree-ripened and hand-picked fruit. The fruit trees are watered from Eagle Creek which flows clear and cold directly out of the Wallowa Mountains. 1200 fruit trees cover the five-acre orchard which has been Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth since 2008.

This year, since I’ve moved into the area, I offered to help with their orchard tasks. I told Rob, "I don’t know what you need, but I’m a quick learner". So they brought me on board! Now, I’m part of a team that will thin and harvest pit fruit through the summer and maybe into fall. This morning, standing on my ladder, shears in hand, I felt really connected to my food source and so appreciative of the gorgeous fruit that Eagle Creek Orchard produces every year.

This is my first spring in eastern Oregon. I’ve been coming to this valley for twelve years, but I’ve never been here at this particular time of year. Here in the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains, spring seems like an impossible magic trick. Four weeks ago there was ice on my walkway and snow on my eves. Now the days are growing long and the whole world smells like river water, warm pine needles, lilac, and cut grass. Daffodils and Tulips were an overnight fireworks show in flashy primary colors. And just this week, every tree limb has gone pink and white and purple with fruit blossoms. It’s astonishing.

My own yard mostly consists of grass, dandelions, eight towering pine trees, and a few horrible rogue Elm trees. I’ve been strategizing about what, if anything, I might like to plant. The house, which is a traditional craftsman, screams "cottage garden", but with so much shade from the trees and the acidic soil from the pine needles, a cottage garden isn’t really possible. So I’ve been researching forest bed foliage. I’d love to try a lush shade garden!

It turns out that hydrangea do pretty well in acidic soil and can tolerate low light situations. So I’ve decided to plant some in the front of the house. And this weekend a couple of neighbors gifted me some transplants: Fiddlehead Ferns, Lily of the Valley, Silver Dollar Plants and two Lilac saplings. I also got my hands on some Day Lilies for a sunny spot along the front fence. I’m so grateful for my generous neighbors and this new opportunity to start a garden on my own. Everything in this valley grows so beautifully, I think it will be much easier than my garden adventures in Texas. Wish me luck!

This is a game changer for me, friends. My livelihood depends 100% on my art, writing, and organizational nonprofit work. To do all three of these things, I need a space. I was spoiled in Dallas with my rented studio at the Continental Gin Building. When I moved to rural Eastern Oregon, I quickly realized I still needed a separate space to work. And the basement just wasn’t cutting it. The addition of this studio space is a stretch for me, but one that I know will pay off.

I have always dreamed of having this kind of a space – a studio right next to my home, but separate. There is no commute. I can work in the wee hours. I can roll out of bed in my PJs, grab a cup of coffee, and disappear into the studio. I can be called into the house if my family needs me. I can still pick up the WiFi signal when working online with my colleagues at Statera Foundation. And I can walk away from a project in mid-process and know that it will be right where I left it upon my return.

This is a dream fulfilled, friends. And I can’t quite believe I was able to make it happen. Thank you to my clients, patrons, and supporters. You are intimately connected to this new phase of my art career. Some of you have purchased art from me. Some of you make a monthly pledge through Patreon. Some of you simply wish me well and share my work with your communities. You make it all happen! I am so deeply grateful. Thank you.

I awoke this morning around 5:45 to the sound of a low sliding crunch. My bed is tucked right under the roof and when snow is sliding off the roof, over the eaves, and into the yard below, it makes quite a ruckus. A fresh layer of snow settled in the valley overnight.

According to the trusty locals, we’ve had a very mild winter here in Halfway, OR. I know this to be true because there is evidence of last year’s hard winter everywhere – barns down, damaged roof lines, and dented outbuildings, collapsed under the weight of heavy snow, yet to be repaired. I’m lucky. My initiation to winter in the Eagle Cap Wilderness has been merciful.

Never-the-less, as soon as I realized that we have a snowy walk to school ahead of us, I popped out of bed, threw on my boots and headed down stairs to fetch the snow shovel. My son Charlie uses a wheel chair and he and I need a clean path from our front door to the street. Once we’re in the street, we just pop-a-wheelie and push through. But the 7 steps to the sidewalk can be a doozy if its icy.