A hundred years ago, surely, bread was baked and tomatoes stewed on her.
This beautiful wood-fired cook stove with nickel plated legs and trim sits idly by, while the new gas range gets all the first-team reps.
The warming oven stores bread and chips. Wine bottles are laid on their sides and chocolate bars in foil wrappers.
Stove top is counter top, denizens changing daily.
Honey pot and sugar bowls —morning cereal, and canning jars coming up.
Plenty of available space, maybe today's mail or a small vase of late summer flowers.
The oven is storage for cast iron pots; their heaviness matches the stone solidity of
THE BACK STORY:
Not sure at all how she got there.
In a barn on Barrett's Cherry Ranch—out Mill Creek.
I accept without comment,
the notion that cherries are not farmed, but raised on a ranch.
At least in The Dalles.
The fruit was always picked by migrants.
Back in the day, they came from Oklahoma and Arkansas; the remnants of a dust bowl diaspora that saw thousands of displaced farmers spread across the agricultural west picking the crops by season.
Cherries, apricots, peaches, pears and apples.
South to north, as the fruit ripened in the sun. Families, for the most part.
Little kids picked the bottom branches, while dads handed the wooden ladders to their wives and set 30' spikes for themselves to get the cherries on top.
Back to the story:
Was picking cherries with Paul Hasbrook on Barrett's Ranch in The Dalles—
up Mill Creek Road.
I looked in the window of a old barn and saw the stove.
Asked Jim Barrett if I could buy the stove and he said,
"Yeah, for $50."
I told him I would come back in the fall to pick it up.
When I got paid, Jim made out the check, but for $250 too much.
I asked him about it, "Are you sure?"
He said, "Yes."
Paul elbowed me and said,
Before I left town, I opened a bank account and put the $250 in it. Just in case.
We took off.
Went to the beach and to the Meadow.
In the fall of that year, Jim Barrett wrote to say he changed his mind and wasn't going to sell the stove after all. "Sorry."
Because I was feeling guilty about being overpaid, I wrote Jim a letter stating I still had the money from which he overpaid me. I gave Jim my new address since I was moving to Colorado.
Three months later, I needed the money to live on (Ski bum days). Used it all.
In the Summer of '71, I got a letter from Jim Barrett stating they discovered the
"Will you please return the $250, but as a reward for your honesty—you can have the stove."
So, I immediately came back from Colorado and worked in Aubert's orchard in Parkdale;
picking pears to make the money to repay the Barretts.
Meanwhile, Phil Swaim and I had time off to drive down to Eugene to see the Grateful Dead—the band members were friends of the folks at NANCY'S HONEY YOGHURT - the Springfield Dairy.
We ran into Julie Price and she said, "Hey, why don't you guys come down to Otter Rock?"
So I finished picking pears and paid Jim Barrett in full.
Picked up the stove, but had to store it at Dave & Sherry Jackson's place in The Dalles until they moved it up to the Mosier house in 1974.
During those years, I had gone to see Julie and her brother Bruce Price.
Bruce asked me if I wanted to fish with him on The Anastri in Newport.
"Of course I do," I said.