Thursday, December 18, 2014

EGGS IN A GLASS JAR




Photography became a real interest to to me when I began blogging in 2008. I started with a point and shoot camera that my eastern daughter gave me for Christmas. From that little camera I became hooked on photography. I started devouring books on photography and watching online photography videos. This eventually led me to buying a new Rebel T3i camera that required me to practice  the tricks of using it. Then my son gave me a Nikkon Coolpix that is smaller than my Rebel but is great when it comes to capturing subjects -- good for on the go use. 

Anything goes when I am shooting. As an example, I took the above photo of farm eggs a few days ago. My son had put the above eggs in Kerr canning jars as they took up little space on the fridge shelf. When I saw them sitting in the fridge I brought them out to a window ledge where they reflected the sunlight. To me they looked rather funky in the jars. I snapped their photos about 20 times before I got the one and only that I liked.

I have found that photography is about your eye and your feelings as well as the mechanics of using your camera. I don't pretend that I will ever be a famous photographer Why would I do that --  when I am having so much fun just playing with my cameras.

Monday, December 15, 2014

TRANQUILITY -- UNTIL. . . .


I spent my weekend reading, writing and (and no not arithmetic) cleaning up my blog a bit. I read many blogs that were new to me and many that I have followed for some times. Such pleasure I receive when I take the time to read blogs that cover many topics and are from many parts of the world. Hurrah for the internet -- it enables us to discover the rest of the world as well as our own. I discovered subjects that are important (at least to me) that I don't find being addressed by news services such as MSNBC and CNN to name a few.

Tranquility was the tone of my day.

Until I decided to read the major news sites.

I found some disturbing news to me personally. It  was that American worker's pensions are under attack by Congress. They want pensions to be reduced. There is a law in place that pensions cannot be touched by law yet Congress apparently has found a way around it hoping that U.S. citizens will not notice it until they get a notice in the mail saying -- sorry we just can't have you receiving the money that you paid into your pension plan. 

I know this will mean reductions for over a million folks especially older ones that worked and paid into retirement plans for many years, feeling secure it would be there at the end of their employment.

I feel there is a Congressional dark side to this whole reduction fiasco. Click here to read how this all came about also, how it will be carried out. 



Saturday, December 6, 2014

WEEKEND THOUGHTS




Guernica
Pablo Picasso --  Spain, 1881
(Credit: Museum of Modern Art)

As I sit here this morning, many thoughts run through my mind about our nation's plight over recent current events in our nation. I turned to arts and literature to emphasize what we are up against today in the U.S. The painting above by Pablo Picasso was painted in Spain, it is rather generic -- it was his plea against barbarity. 

And in literature I found this:

Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is... we cannot expect things to be much better in this world... We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity. ~~ Rachel Carson (credit: Hay Quaker)




Sunday, November 30, 2014

HENRY'S TAVERN -- UNUSUAL OUTSIDE DINING



Henry's Tavern has an unusual spot to dine attached to its usual inside dining. Its in an alleyway.


Henry's is located in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon -- a hipster type of environment. 



As you can see in the photos above -- their outside dining is located in an alley with towering buildings surrounding patrons. 

How's that for an unusual experience.

(What is a hipster? Click here )


Monday, November 24, 2014

A WILD THANKSGIVING


A THANKSGIVING TRUCE
THEODORE ROOSEVELT
FROM POLK MAGAZINE
Library of Congress

HAVE A WILD THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TENT CITY FOR SALE



On a corner lot in a major downtown area, you will find a fenced-in area that is presently home to the many homeless in Portland, Oregon. I found this spot in my wandering of Portland recently. The homeless tenants appear to be well organized with tents erected in the interior of the lot with homemade fencing surrounding it. On a portion of the homemade fencing one can find the sign above, "For Sale." This corner lot is rented by a homeless organization in Portland however its future is not secure. If the lot is sold they are to move from here. If they cannot find enough money to rent the lot in the future -- they are out of here for sure.




This photo shows the entrance to the tented area. Portable johns and water are provided to the tenants. Large tents with cots are lined up inside this fenced area. I did not go inside as I felt that would put me in the position of a voyeur.




Along the one side of the lot is this rather unique folding fence that provides privacy to those within. It is built with old doors donated from a demolition company. Community folks have painted the doors with various words of hopes and dreams. 



Here are some examples of the community art work painted on the doors.



More doors . . . .


And more . . . .




I thought the above door represented a far fetched dream -- social justice seems to be rather rare in this country lately -- those with the most money in this country appear to have turned their backs on the less fortunate as they buy their jets and build their huge mega homes. Also, our politicians and justice systems are rather twisted.

For an excellent accounting of the number of homeless types and conditions in the U.S. put out by the National Coalition for the Homeless click here

Monday, November 10, 2014

COMMUNITY GARDENS -- CLOSING UP THE SEASON




This past summer I wrote a post on the Fulton organic community gardens that are located here in Portland. The post can be found here .  So this past Sunday I decided to wander through the many gardens again and observe how some of the organic gardeners were closing down their small individual plots for the coming winter in the Pacific Northwest. 

Above is a raised garden covered with burlap bags. Burlap is nice as it helps maintain the soil at an even temperature while letting moisture soak through into the soil bed.Weeds are minimal under this burlap blanket. 

Tomatoes rest just outside this raised bed -- apparently leftovers that the gardener had no use for. Probably the small critters that live around the gardens will be checking them out.




Sunday was quite cool and I was glad that I had worn my winter vest. It was late afternoon, overcast mostly, with the sun popping out occasionally.

The above sunflower silhouettes were about eight feet tall -- all aged with brown stalks and leaves. It was the end of the trail for them. But even with that being the case they stood regal against the sky.
  



These entwined bean vines had been picked over and left to show their beauty as they bared their gray branching. 




This gardener had cleared out her garden plot in preparation for next spring's plantings. The gardener had topped the bed with some additional peat and laid leaves upon it -- forming a nice cover to the soil below -- one alternative to burlap mulching.




More burlap used on a small plot.




This watering can was left hanging near a straw (or hay) mulched bed -- another fine alternative way to mulch a plot for the winter.

About five gardeners were out working in their gardens -- out of the hundred or so that had been planted. 

I have always felt that community gardening was a wonderful way to get to know other gardeners and to share knowledge. Plus the extra benefits of getting exercise, and to leave stress behind..

Friday, October 31, 2014

DOUBLE RAINBOWS OUTSIDE MY WINDOW


Double rainbow

Working at my computer table a couple of days ago I took a moment to gaze out my window with my thoughts. Appearing outside my window were a pair of magnificent rainbows streaming in the sky over the Willamette River in Portland.  Rainbows enthrall me everytime I encounter them, especially if they are double rainbows.

I thought to myself that there is such beauty all around us if we just slow down and use our dreams and thoughts to realize this. Of course this is difficult to do sometimes when all we hear from the politicians and media is bad news. I am not advocating to play pollyanna and tell yourself that all is right with the world. It's not.  

My window thoughts brought me to the conclusion that as one person I cannot solve everything that is wrong. I cannot carry the worries of the world on my shoulders. I can only solve, hopefully, what is before me personally. 

And if I can reach out and help someone through a doable act -- I will do it. Such as helping a young boy tie his shoe, giving a young woman a jump for her stalled car in a parking lot, dropping money in a street musicians guitar case, helping a friend in a time of tribulation -- all are -- examples of personal reality and not the drama politicians and media expect us to buy into.  

Perhaps you believe as I do? 



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 -----