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Sunday, October 26, 2014

NATURE IN A PARKING LOT



Walking through a wet Fred Meyer's parking lot today I spotted these long brown scaly leaves belonging to a Coastal Redwood. They are rather unique in shape and grow in Redwood canopies (the upper leaves of the Redwood).  

We had a very windy day yesterday and these leaves were blown out of their trees to do their duty for nature.

Immediately, I thought what purpose can fallen leaves have in a parking lot. Leaves in all their shapes and colors certainly have a reason for falling to the ground. They serve as homes for insects and other small critters plus they add mulch and fertilize the soil -- plus more. 

Why do we need so many parking lots all paved over with non-porous materials?  Not only are we erecting more buildings but then we surround these buildings with huge parking lots.

From Joni Mitchell lyrics, "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot."  I will now bow out and let Joni's words tell the story I am trying to tell. Here is her two minute song on Your Tube -----




Sunday, October 19, 2014

A FALL GATHERING OF LEAVES



Gathering to discuss this past summer


Saying goodbye to old friends



Some last kicks by taking turns 
sliding down the rocks,



And all -- eventually -- settling in to a well deserved rest 
 after a summer of catching the light



Sunday, October 12, 2014

VINTAGE 1800s PHOTO -- CHILDREN'S CLOTHES AND QUILTS


barbara judge's photo collection

Taken in the latter part of the 1800's, this vintage photo can tell you much about fashion as well as a certain type of quilt pattern that was part of the material culture at the time. The children are dressed to the "t" in undoubtedly early machine stitched clothing or even possibly hand sewn? The young boy has some type of straps on his long stockings, perhaps to keep them from slipping down his legs?

Perhaps the quilt, that was draped over the chairs was of special importance? Could it be one that was created for the photo taking session or perhaps made by a relative that the family loved? What stories can you conjure up in your mind with the various clues in this photo?

It was common to have photos taken outside as appropriate lighting was not available inside. One often finds old photos taken outside during this time period - usually taken by itinerant photographers who traveled the countryside. The background appears to be some type of canvas drop? 

Quilts have always fascinated me. Especially the old ones. June Calender's blog discusses many types of quilts that she either creates or visits at quilt shows. Her latest adventure with quilts is teaching the History of Quilts at her local Academy of Lifelong Learning. Also visit Mary's blog about her many quilt projects and then take a look at Kyra's Black Threads blog that features both old and new quilts and their creators. 

A neat way to date vintage photos is to examine its fabrics (if there are any) using a book on old fabrics for comparison.This will give you a close approximation of its date. Here is a reasonable priced book that can identify fabrics and their dates of manufacture, Dating Fabrics, a Color Guide - 1800 to 1960. Also a good book on early printed fabrics is one by Barbara Brachman

Monday, October 6, 2014

JOANNE'S HAND WOVEN TOWEL

Fall native snowberries on Joanne's hand woven towel

I received a present today! Joanne is a weaver -- and -- she sent me two lovely woven hand towels as a gift. Joanne's blog is interesting to follow as she goes about her daily activities in small town Ohio. Check out her blog, Cup on the Bus -- right now she is planting fall bulbs on her blog and has help from her granddaughters Emily and Laura. Thanks Joanne.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

DAD AND DAUGHTERS -- STREET PHOTOGRAPHY


Today's trip to downtown Portland was to pick up some groceries from Whole Food Grocery -- of course I had my camera with me. I spotted this smiling dad with his two daughters who was entertaining them while confining them to a  public bench as traffic whizzed by them. 


I spoke with him briefly as I could see he had his hands full with his two beautiful and delightful daughters. The one daughter instantly told me she was four and the dad told me the other was two.



The dad and daughters were waiting for mom who was in a nearby store. In the meantime dad was keeping them smiling and safe. Good dad!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SEARCHING FOR A DOG


When I am out and about I cannot help but stop and pet a dog -- I've lived with dogs since I was young. I lost my beautiful Golden Retriever, Sal, about six months ago and I still miss him. What a great companion he was. I am waiting until I can find an apartment that will take dogs before I get another one. I find dogs are the greatest companions for retirees. 

I met this young bulldog featured in this blog's photos in Multnomah Village, a neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. This bulldog was a real sport -- friendly and curious. Not that I am particularly considering a bulldog -- its like I mentioned -- I just like to stop and pet dogs. Keeps me in touch with different breeds.


So I am researching and observing what type of dog I should get that is around 40 or so pounds. My Sal was almost 100 pounds --  I realize now that so many pounds would be rather tough for me to handle.  


I am absolutely undecided as to what kind of dog I should get and would welcome any suggestions from you folks out in blogger land. I would like a friendly breed that likes children. Preferably an older dog. Any dog that fits that description from mutt to whatever. I will keep petting and photographing dogs at least until I find the right apartment as dogs add pleasure to my outings.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

ICE AND POWER


Artistic detail of old brickwork on the historic H. W. Einhard Ice and Power Plant. Built in 1906 -- before refrigerators! Being an ice and power plant meant probably ice was stored in the facility. As far as "power,"  I imagine it was limited to essential commercial buildings as by 1925 only half of the homes in the U.S. had electrical power to light there lamps. Does anyone out there know how this plant functioned?

Very few folks today remember the delivery of ice to their homes for their ice box, which was an early form of refrigerators. 

I could tell a lot of history resided in this building but could not find any that related to the Einhard building online.

The photo above is from the front facade's upper story. Building is still standing and has new tenants in downtown Portland, Oregon.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

FALL DRIED PLANTS


Fall is moving in fast. Love this season. Even though the plants turn inward from life at this time of year they are still beautiful in their transition. 

Fall is a great time to photograph plants and also to collect them in their dried state. A large beautiful tied bunch hung on your exterior doors is a wonderful greeting to visitors and you alike.


Friday, September 19, 2014

RURAL RUSTICS - HOOD RIVER AREA, OREGON


Mellow yellow is painted on these old vertical boards of this vintage tin roofed barn. Located near Hood River, Oregon upon one of the many farms that grow hundreds and hundreds of fruit trees for commercial use and also a place where you find many commercial vineyards. A lovely rural area. It still has a rustic feel to its landscapes and has a very low population of us humans.



An abandoned side-of-the-road building -- use unknown -- added some flavor as I passed through this area. What was its original use? 

Haven't you passed these remnants when you are out in the countryside and wondered about their former life?

Monday, September 15, 2014

ESCAPE TO NATURE


Yesterday, my son and I decided it was time to escape from the city. I raised my kids to appreciate nature and to hang out with it as much as possible. They spent part of their childhood years around the lakes and woods of northern Michigan.


Lost Lake near Hood River, Oregon was our destination, about two hours northeast of Portland, Oregon. A fantastically beautiful place where we used a canoe to paddle around its perimeter. My arms are sore today from three and a half hours of paddling. We did make a few stops along the shore to sit and observe nature. Above is what the shore lines were like -- stony and full of bleached tree roots as well as gigantic trees with water so clear you could see the bottom. I only fell in once while trying to exit the canoe to the shoreline. Oh well, it was a warm day and my clothes and tennis shoes dried quickly.



As we rounded one of the many curves -- we got a wonderful surprise. A great close-up look of Mount Hood. 




Few folks were out on the lake and at one section, as the above photo shows, there were no folks at all. So quiet, with soft fragrant breezes blowing from the many fir trees. Lots of dragonflies along with butterflies checked us out at shore stops. It was a fine day to enjoy nature.






Saturday, September 6, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

GUARDING PORTLAND'S CHINATOWN


Two ferocious guard lions, traditional figures to China, were given to the city of Portland, Oregon by a businessman in Taiwan  (officially the Republic of China) in 1986. Decked out in bronze they stand guard along with an ornate high rising Chinese arch that symbolizes ones entrance into Chinatown. 

But now that the Portland Asian population has mostly moved out of Chinatown -- do these Chinese guard lions protect its new residents -- the homeless?


Everywhere I looked as I passed under the Chinese arch I saw homeless people



Very emotional for me to take a photo of these homeless men



The morning after the night before in Chinatown. 

A homeless activist told me that there are 4000 
 homeless in Portland. 
This includes families with children.

For information on homelessness click here.

For information on the International Network of
 Drug Consumption click here



Monday, August 25, 2014

BUDDING AFFAIR -- MAN AND DOG

I came across this Australian Cattledog and his owner while they were eating their lunch outside at a bagel place (dog having fun eating ice cubes). Of course, I always like to say hello to a dog where upon a conversation ensued. I found out this little dog was only fourteen months old and is known as an Australian Cattledog. He will grow to considerable heft as he ages. He sure had a great personality! His owner picked him up and asked for a kiss -- the dog responded like he understood English, and I believe took the owner by surprise as the dog smacked a kiss on him. I was taking photos of the two and caught this on camera and thought I would share it with you all.




Owner, "how about a kiss." 




Dog: "you got it."



Owner: "hey this dog is smart, he understands English."

Looks like love to me.


Monday, August 18, 2014

OUR FRIENDS -- THE WEEDS



Large Piece of Turf 
1503 watercolor painting by Albrecht Durer

Since I was young I have always been fascinated by weeds. Their shapes, colors, textures, blooms, seeds, and habits were part of my interest in these warriors, survivors, and necessary purveyors of providing life for life.  

Born at the end of WWII, I was thrust into the newly emerging chemical war upon weeds. With the chemical tools of fighting one war, WWII, corporate America rolled over those chemical tools to fight a new war -- a war against weeds (and other wild life). Profits were its motive. 

These chemicals not only killed weeds, good and bad ones in one fell swoop, but also song birds, aquatic life, sickened humans, and fouled our water. 

We were sold a bill of goods about the chemicals.

Richard Mabey, a nature writer, a few years back wrote a book titled,  weeds -- in defense of nature's most unloved plants. He points out that weeds are essential to life and in our world's future might be all we have left in a much diminished natural planet. If you would like to visit his home page on Amazon click here