Rural Commercial Building -- Lane County, Oregon

Monday, April 13, 2015


Laundered Rag Lichen blown off a tree 

A few days ago I found this funny looking raggedy thing about the size of my hand. I picked it off the ground and thought what the heck is this? I had no idea what to call it. 

However, my curiosity unfurled.

 Underside Laundered Rag Lichen  -- with its red fruit (not edible)

Over the next couple days I researched for the possibilities of what I had found. Its texure and size reminded me of a leaf -- a fallen leaf possibly?  But then eventually, from my research, I found out that it was a lichen -- presumably the common name of this particular one -- Laundered Rag lichen (Platismatia norvegica). 

Some important things I learned from researching lichens is this information below from Wikipedia:

"Lichens may be long-lived, with some considered to be among the oldest living things. They are among the first living things to grow on fresh rock exposed after an event such as a landslide. The long life-span and slow and regular growth rate of some lichens can be used to date events (lichenometry). Many lichens are very sensitive to environmental disturbances and can be used in cheaply assessing air pollution, ozone depletion, and metal contamination. Lichens have been used in making dyes, perfumes, and in traditional medicines. Few lichen species are eaten by insects or larger animals." Also that lichens cover 6% of the earth's surface. And lichens come in all different shapes, colors and sizes.

Later stage of Laundered Rag Lichen

I am sure some of you find oddities in nature that you set aside until you find out what it actually is. Puzzles of nature can bring us many pleasures while sharpening our brain powers.

If I am wrong in designating this lichen Laundered Rag  -- I would appreciate if you could let me know the correct name.

 Some Online References:

Monday, April 6, 2015


The wild Siuslaw River

Dave is retired now. To him retirement just means he can do more of all the many things he enjoys. First and foremost on his enjoyment list is fishing for salmon and steelhead. He lives along the Siuslaw River where long about October of every year the river fills with salmon returning from their ocean wanderings to spawn in streams that are along the Siuslaw. He told me that you can actually see them in the river swimming in droves after a rain -- fighting their way back to spawn. 

Dave moved to his river home about 20 years ago from an Oregon farm in central Oregon. His, new to him, river home was originally a school house built in the latter part of the1800s. He told me the floor beams under the floors were fir with the bark still on them and were round rather than square. He has spent many years -- since moving into his home -- designing a garden and making all types of objects out of wood. 

He also picks his blackberries in the summer to make jams, cans sweet pickles, and cleans salmon on a special tray that he built off his river deck side where he cleans all his fish.  

Dave's cleaning tray

He has a large workshop on his property where he appears to be able to make anything with his hands and imagination. He told me that creating with wood just comes to him naturally -- he is self taught. 

I counted at least 20 birdhouses on his property. He also had a few bat houses placed near some of the birdhouses. Both bird and bat can live near each other he told me. "At night," he said "the bats swoop out over his property looking for insects."  

Neighbors -- Birds and Bats

He has lived in Oregon all his life. 

His drinking water comes fresh from a mountain spring, clear and cold, that is not far from his house.  

One thing stood out while I talked to him at his home -- that he is a kind man that loves nature and the outdoors. 

Before I left he gave me a jar of homemade blackberry jam, a jar of his famous sweet pickles, and a frozen piece of fresh salmon out of his river. I made this visit to Dave's home a week ago and guess what, I have finished off all the goodies he sent home with me -- DELICIOUS!

Thanks Dave!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Ms Chicken Little is waiting for the school bus. She and her friend  -- who took cover when he saw my camera come out -- like to come down the road to the school bus shelter and wait. Wait for what; the children? a fox? a hawk, the sky to fall,  -- who knows?

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Just prior to my move to the coastal Oregon area my daughter came for a visit. She loves to go antiquing so we decided to take in the small town of Aurora, Oregon with all its many small shops. First stop was an old railroad depot that has been an antique shop for a number of years. My daughter has her hand on the item she bought there -- an old railroad lantern. 

Next stop in Aurora was an old mill that has become a salvage shop. We totally expected the shop to have the salvage just piled around in its interior. To our surprise it was organized and beautifully laid out. 

Most anything vintage seemed for sale in the mill.

Old numbers and letters lined the wall  -- marching up a staircase.

So many rooms of nice salvage to use in commercial establishments or a home

We had a great time perusing and suggest if one ever gets to Aurora, Oregon that they stop and have a look. You can't miss this mill as you drive into the little town of Aurora.

After a late lunch we drove home hoping someday to return to this quaint little town.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Lysichiton americanum
A skunk-cabbage -- native plant

Driving along a two lane highway yesterday I noticed some bright yellow spots in some shallow waters beside the road. I stopped to check it out and realized it was skunk-cabbage plants -- a harbinger of spring. Although it wasn't the typical maroon-ish color I was used to seeing -- I knew right away it was skunk-cabbage! I snapped a few photos and went on my way. I was familiar with this plant from when I lived in Michigan so it was a wonderful surprise to find it here in Oregon.

Several skunk cabbage plants glowing in the water.

When I got home I grabbed my new book I had just bought titled Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and MacKinnon. On its pages I found out that Oregon's skunk-cabbage was a glowing yellow and can be found only along areas of the Pacific Northwest coastline. And that is where I was driving -- near the coastline. 
I also did some searching online about the skunk-cabbage plant and found a fine article written by a Craig Holdrege that thinks highly of the skunk-cabbage plant, you can find it here.

And a bit of a native American tale was provided by Pojar and MacKinnon that I will share with you:

In the ancient days, they say, there is no salmon. The Indians had nothing to eat save roots and leaves. Principal among them was the skunk-cabbage. Finally the spring salmon came for the first time. As they passed up the river, a person stood upon the shore and shouted, "Here come our relatives whose bodies are full of eggs! If it had not been for me all the people would have starved." "Who speaks to us?" asked the salmon. "Your uncle Skunk Cabbage," was the reply . . . (Kathlamet tribe, Native American, Haskin 1934 )

So the skunk-cabbage tale can be included as a type of folkway as it became a traditional story within a defined community over time. 

For those of you that live out East where there is still snow -- the skunk-cabbage can grow right up through the snow to wish you a happy spring. So keep looking for possible signs of skunk-cabbage pushing through the snow in natural areas such as a wet meadow. They usually will be a variegated maroon rather than the flashy western yellow. 

Monday, March 9, 2015


Positioned along the Siuslaw River is an old one-story building that once served as a school but now serves its community for various organizational uses. One use is a two room lending library of which one room is dedicated as a children's library. 

Recently the children's library received quite a treat -- walls filled with smiling animals, all of original design, painted by a local artist named Marcy.

Above is a close-up of the first photo above. All these photos and more provide an animated gleeful feeling when you walk into the room -- even for adults like me.

These photos are sections that I took of the walls in the children's library. Notice how she paints some the dog's bodies around the corner of the room.

All four walls in the room have animal characters painted by Marcy. Here is one that has two sweet flying squirrels flying off the top of the room's door molding. 

These bright and happy birds are painted in such a way that they look like they are perched on the molding which is located toward the top of the room. Notice how she achieved this look by painting their feet like they are perching on the molding

This is a lively and oh so powerful painting of these bounding leopards. Of course with smiles.

"And look at me hanging upside down," this cockatoo would be saying if he could talk. 

Dogs smiling at all the fun the surrounding animals are having.

Above shows how she ran together room corners of her paintings. 

A huge smiling turtle with her children.

Fortunate are the children that have all this original art surrounding them in their library.

Friday, March 6, 2015


As some of you might recall I lived in Kentucky for several years before moving to Oregon. One of my favorite folk representations of Kentucky were their many rock fences.

Above and below are a small collection of photos showing the variety of rock fencing to be found on Kentucky's rural landscapes. 

Hope you enjoyed these fences. There is some concern that someday there will only be a few left due to neglect and/or encroachment of developers. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


It's almost Spring! 
March 20 is official date in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Screen doors provide fresh air circulation 
for stuffy closed winter homes and buildings. At least that is how is used to be before air-conditioning. Now screen doors are a bit outmoded in some areas.

Above is a hand-made folksy screen door on a coffeehouse that has been in business  for 40 years in Mapleton, Oregon