So far, December has been delightful in Jawbone Flats. And very cold! For about 16 days, the temperature only reached 35 degrees! Hoarfrost covered everything that never saw the sun and it accumulated for about two weeks! It is mid-December and we have seen very few days of rain this month – a rarity even for May! The sky dumped 12 inches of snow on us the weekend before Thanksgiving, but it melted quickly and we haven’t seen an appreciable amount of snow since then. For two or three weeks, the high pressure system that you all have been experiencing in the Willamette as unseasonably nice and sunny weather has been upon us. Unfortunately, Jawbone Flats is located just north of Stony Ridge, therefore directly under its shadow. As strange as it sounds, all of us up here are getting excited for the more severe weather to come. This is my first winter here in Jawbone and I am more than excited about it. I have visited Opal Creek in the winter before, but this is my first long-term stay. After a successful season as a Science Instructor, I was lucky enough to be hired as one of the Winter Caretakers Since I have skills that suit the job, I am quite enthusiastic in this new position.
From the stories I have heard from people like George Atiyeh, Adam Mims, and our own Katie Ryan and Brian Campbell, I know that winter up here is always an adventure. From having to sleep under your truck after fallen trees block you from going anywhere, to being snowed in for four months, I am excited for what I cannot see coming — for the challenges that bring the crew together. This kind of excitement and potential harshness is what brought me here in the first place and what has kept me here for the wintertime.
We have been catching up on some deferred maintenance and landscaping around town. We have been limbing dangerous trees and rearranging rocks and gardens. Also, we are slowly acquiring pieces of our new water filtration system that will conform to Oregon Department of Health standards for an organization like us. The building process will begin as soon as we get the final bits that a huge project like that requires.
As winter rolls in, I am ever-grateful for supporters and visitors to Opal Creek. Members and non-members alike, the energy and support we get from you all is imperative to our survival as an organization. So thank you! And although it is not sunny and there are only frozen mushrooms up here, we love visitors and it’s a glorious winter wonderland. So come on up and we’ll see you in Jawbone soon!