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I had spent the past few hours in town doing a little shopping and just enjoying the beautiful afternoon.  It had started out in the low 50’s this morning, but was now almost 70 degrees.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.  I love the Autumn colors – though I have to admit with all the conifers instead of hardwoods, there isn’t a whole lot of color here.  Now, driving back home through the rolling hills, I think of how beautiful the South would be right now…especially the Smokey Mountains.

I pass the the forks of the Umpqua River and notice the fishermen out in their boats.  Occasionally, I’ll see a brave fisherman on the large stone boulders casting his fly fishing rod.  There are huge salmon and trout in this river.

Next, I see the farm that hugs the river with the acres of brilliant green alfalfa; and then one of my favorite spots on the route home…the run-down farm with the herd of mares, fillies and colts.  I keep promising myself to remember my camera to take photos before the horses are sold.  I love watching the “babies”…

I turn left at the house that has been converted from an old one-room school house with a bell tower.  Country Home or Country Living magazines would like to see this one; so would I.

Here I see the sign that indicates I’ve reached the last two miles before home.  It’s paved part of the way – the rest is gravel.  Once the road climbs higher, there is a steep drop-off to a treed canyon below.  That part of the road is gravel and I always force myself to slow down.  I’ve heard the stories about the drivers who have wound up in the canyon below.

It’s an interesting two miles as I drive past the acres of grape vineyards, the historic vintage home with the sheep and llamas and then the small cattle ranch.  On the left is a little turquoise house that belongs to a 80+ year old widow who has lived alone there since her husband died 40 years ago.  She leases her land to the cattle rancher.

Another half-mile down the road on the right is a large two-story house.  It is sheathed in wooden shingles painted brown with crisp white trim.  With its angles and porches, it looks out of place on this mountain.  It reminds me of the large beach houses my family saw on the Outer Banks of North Carolina when we vacationed there.  This is a horse farm with two large horse barns and two riding arenas – an indoor one and an outdoor one.  These horses are beautiful and obviously expensive.  I’m inclined to think these may have “papers”, but I think I like the horses at the poor man’s farm even better.

Almost home, and I pick up the mail before heading up the drive.  Once, just as I reached into the large rural mailbox, I saw the back half of a skunk scooting under the culvert right beside the box.  Thankfully, he wasn’t interested in me and hurried off.  Now, I’m always careful and check for black & white! 

Just as I round the bend and pull up the drive, I’m greeted by a whole family of four-legged visitors who’ve made themselves at home in the juniper bed.  They have systematically helped themselves to all of my geraniums and every other summer flower I’ve had and NOW they want the junipers!  Hmmm…I don’t think so.  Nope.  Isn’t going to happen!  Just imagine…I used to think they were so cute!

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My Southern Heart...the Stories blog is about my life growing up in the South in the fifties and sixties. It was an amazing time...a time of falling in love, getting married, having a family. A time of history in the making, political unrest, rock and roll. Come along on my life's journey. It's a chronological story, so be sure to start at the beginning. It will make a whole lot more sense that way. Check out: My Southern Heart...the Stories