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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 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

FULL OF LOCAL ATMOSPHERE -- CORVALLIS FARMER'S MARKET


Vendor with his old Studebaker truck parked beside his canopy.

Corvallis, Oregon has a farmer's market that has grown from a few vendors when it began years ago to probably fifty plus vendors today. Now it is a thriving community of vendors, families, street musicians and more. It still remains true to its initial intent of offering fresh garden produce and quality crafts.  Located along the Willamette River,  it provides a natural scenic avenue filled with trees and other plants plus benches and picnic tables placed along the market way.  

I took some photos that illustrate the energy that one would would run into as they walked along the market-way  -- see below. 




Bikes parked along a railing at the edge of the Farmers Market



Families enjoy the passing crowd while enjoying 
some farm fresh food. 


A Corvallis mother and two sons delighted me with
 some smiles and some nice conversation.


Dogs were everywhere  at the market -- with their owners -- strutting their stuff and being friendly with anyone who gave them an occasional  pat on the head. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

VINTAGE ROLLER RINK BUILDING COMPLETE WITH SWALLOWS



On a hot, sun blazing Saturday afternoon I spotted this old skating rink from my car as I drove away from Corvallis, Oregon after I just learned that I had to dish out some money to get some expensive repairs done to my Toyota truck. But that is neither here nor there. 

I now was occupied scanning the area for some opportunities to take photographs when I spotted this old building. The old sign out by the road appeared to read, "Roll-Away Roller Rink." I knew to turn around and pull into its dirt road for some quick shots. 

It stood rather forlornly in a large open field. Swallows were very active flying around and I think in and out of the building. When I got out of my car a couple flew low at me -- I guess to either scare me off or just to inspect who this new critter was. 



The old wood building had some vernacular charm but was hinting abandonment. Some TLC was needed soon or else it would start having some really bad problems. Yet hope can spring eternal for old buildings.



And hope is alive. After my photo session with the building I went home and researched online for some information on the rink. I found out the building with rink was built in 1923 which makes it now about 90 years old! Apparently a group of women skaters bought the property recently for a very reasonable price and are planning to restore it. My heart is with them. We need to save our old buildings.

P.S. Hopefully, the swallows will gently be encouraged to relocate!



Click HERE for Corvallis Gazette Times article on the roller rink's future. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

MY MORNING VIEW


Mt Hood wears many faces as it shows itself throughout the day. This morning my window view was layers of gray -- soothing and cool in its appearance. However, the sun with hot rays will soon be arriving to again scorch my earthly space. Another hot day in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, July 28, 2014

FULTON COMMUNITY GARDEN -- 100+ ORGANIC GARDEN PLOTS

Community gardener working in her plot.

Do you like to garden organically? Do you like to commune with nature in a healthy active way?


I am not familiar with this artichoke looking 
plant but found it beautiful.

Portland, Oregon answered the above questions by providing community gardens for its citizens in 1975 -- that have become very popular. All gardens across the city are grown organically -- all 50 of them. A small  plot fee is charged for the garden season.


Water -- the jewel of life for growing.


Some city gardens are small as few as thirty plots in them -- the largest city garden is the Fulton Community garden which has over a 100 plots for gardeners to sign up for. Many of the different gardens around Portland have a waiting list.

 Some gardeners spell out their feelings 
about nature by hanging Buddist prayer flags.

I recently visited the largest community garden in Portland with camera in hand to try and record its beauty. It was early evening and a few gardeners were out working their plots. 


Healthy zinnias

Chairs are scattered throughout the garden for gardeners to sit a spell or also for visitors to do the same.

A gardener's personal work station in their rented plot.

I bumped into a gardener named Ashley that I had met a few days before when I visited Fulton to see what the gardens were all about. During that visit she gave me some fresh chard from her garden -- During my recent visit to take these photos she sent more greens home with me -- such hospitality!


How can anyone look at sunflowers and not feel better?

Does your area have organic gardens available for its residents?




Saturday, July 26, 2014

SMALL COLORFUL ALLEYWAY BUILDINGS


Old hollow-core clay tiles compose alleyway exteriors of these three small buildings. located in the small 
town of Brownsville, Oregon



Monday, July 21, 2014

ROCK OF AGES


Rocks have a magic all of their own -- they support and naturalize 
their surroundings without effort.


Friday, July 18, 2014

VINTAGE MICHIGAN HOUSE PHOTO -- THOUGHTS


Early settlement home in Harrison, Michigan
circa late 1800s

I found the above black and white photo on cardboard many years ago in the state of my birth -- Michigan. Printed on the photo were the words Harrison, Michigan but did not identify the family. Although taken many years before I was born it still resonates with me. I like that it speaks to me of my interests -- vernacular homes, history, Michigan, early photography, family/folks, landscapes and more. 

It was common, when this photo was taken, to have itinerant traveling photographers knock on your door asking if you would like a photo taken. If you agreed, he (not known if women took to this trade), dragged out his big tripod and huge glass plate camera and the household gathered before their home and soon they were frozen in time via a photograph. 

Today, a photo is taken in an instance with film or as digital. The way of life for those many glass plate itinerant photographers disappeared with these advances. 

I have moved recently to Portland Oregon. Can't say how many times I have moved around the country since I was young except to say MANY times. 

Now I am my own itinerant photographer taking my own photos with my own digital camera as I move about.

Below are a few shots of my current "new to me" home.


Mount Hood taken from computer work space window

Apartment complex was built in 1941 by a German immigrant architect -- it still feels like it probably did when it was first built. Not a large complex -- it is surrounded by mature trees and prolific gardens.  Several windows look out toward Mt Hood. 



Apartment gardens



Apartment's wood floors

Would love to find some old photos of this place. Will be doing some snooping around the area to see if there are any to be found. Maybe the Oregon Historical Society might have some?