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Thursday, March 24, 2016

PASSING THROUGH DOORWAYS



Doorways can be a metaphor for many of our actions that we take. Be it a doorway to a new career, marriage, a change in philosophy, and more. I imagine you have opened many doorways in your life both good and not so good. Doorways teach us so much of life.

I have been absent from my blog for a month or so simply because I have been looking at some changes that I want to make. Experience has taught me in my long life to go slowly -- so that is what I have been doing.

Blogging for me will be rather spontaneous over the next few months. On occasion I will be stopping by and reading your wonderful posts and of course enjoying each and everyone of them. 

I look at this as my migration time. Like the Canadian Geese in my header -- seeking the familiar yet finding something new. 

Will be back in due time.  



Monday, February 22, 2016

JOINING A COMMUNITY GARDEN



Community gardener harvesting a bit of greens from his plot.

Last November I decided to join a community garden here in town where I now live. There were a few spots available of both small and large plots. These plots were available for a twenty-five dollar donation no matter the size. I opted for the small size -- figured I could handle it better considering my ancient age.



After I paid my donation I took a stroll through the garden. All the plots had been pretty much bedded down for the winter. But I did spy something of interest to me. A tree stump that was being used as a sitting stool in the corner of one of the gardens spots. Why was the stump of interest to me? It was the sapsucker holes that surrounded the stump forming circular rows up and down the whole piece. I saw it as an example of nature's art in the garden created by a Red-Headed Sapsucker.


Here is a close up of the stump. View this excellent article (lots of fantastic photos) by Bird Note of the Western Red-Headed Sapsucker doing the things that Sapsuckers do. The most interesting part of this article is their relationship with hummingbirds. Enjoy.



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

FOGGY SKELETONS




Most mornings, when I wake in the winter season, my apartment complex is surrounded with a gray fog of varying densities. With the fog one notices the outlines of trees with their skeleton branches that seem to be reaching out for one another presenting a mystical look for viewers like me. The dark branches are leafless at this time of year, Most of the trees that I view from my apartment are Big Leaf  Maple -- a very common tree in Norhtwest Oregon. 


By noon usually the fog has cleared but not always. Sometimes it hangs around all day. On those days my favorite thing to do is to curl up inside and read and read and read. Above are the skeleton looking branches, again, of another Big Leaf. Behind is a large Douglas Fir that even though it is a beautiful green seems gray from the fog.  Everything seems enclosed like you are living in a small world. 



As the fog lifts some color can be seen on the trees again. Above are some patches of vivid green moss climbing up one of the Big Leafs. This particular tree is right outside my door. Lately a western red headed woodpecker has been visiting every day in the morning -- checking out the moss. I think it holds insects for him to consume. Just maybe. 

References:

Gathering Moss -- A  Natural and Cultural History of Mosses.  by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner and Ellen Huhlm



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

SNAIL MAIL --- BOXES


Apartment Complex Snail-Mail Boxes

Located at the edge of a medium sized small town in Oregon is a complex of four hundred apartments -- this is where I presently live. Trees are abundant here as well as birds and other critters. All to my liking. 

Culturally it is a laid back complex consisting of a diverse community -- many of them students at the local state university. Here one is allowed to have dogs. Thanks for that as I have Daisy my big black lab. 

The complex has located our snail-mail boxes along the entrance road where one need only walk a small jaunt to pick up mail

Each time I take a stroll to pick up my mail I smile at the industrial looking boxes standing all in a row. They do the job well of keeping our mail safe but I always equate them to one-legged robot distributors. I miss my old mail boxes of Kentucky that always had an air of character about them. 

 Here are some examples of Kentucky mailboxes that I would see as I rode around enjoying the scenery.



Hand painted mailboxes were quite popular. 


One of the mail boxes above is my old Kentucky box which was located along a dirt road. A cow pasture was behind the boxes and I would often say hello to the cows if they were near my box.



A gathering of old Kentucky mailboxes above are  full of character. I often wonder if someday we will no longer see these old boxes along the roads as we travel. Do you think we will ever see the day when everything will be digital mail?



Friday, February 5, 2016

SPRING IS SPRINGING


Daffy-down-Dilly 
Has come to town 
With a yellow petticoat 
And a pretty green gown
Daffy-down-Dilly.


Nature Report from Oregon. 

My first sign of spring -- daffodils -- February 4th -- rather early I would say. 
A true sign of hope that nature will perform her bountiful  pageantry again for us to enjoy. Sometimes winter just seems like it wants to stay forever. Are you always glad when you discover your first signs of spring?


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

NO BOX STORES ON MAIN STREET IN SMALL TOWN BROWNSVILLE, OREGON


Then (left side of photo)
and 
Now (right side of photo)
photo credit: City of Brownsville, Oregon



Take a stroll down Brownsville's main street and be introduced to hometown shops. 
A strong sense of community is a hallmark of the town.


Here you will find about 1700 residents located in the southern part of Oregon's Willamette Valley.



Town settled in the 1840's.


Commercial area dates from the 1850's to the 1920's.


And while you are there stop and enjoy a cool one 
at the Brownsville Saloon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

WESTERN WEAR IN AN URBAN CITY



Western wear is still going strong at a store in Portland, Oregon. I took this photo some time ago and thought it portrayed the still on-going culture of the West. Here in this widow display it stands humbly before the reflected high rises of Portland. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

WEB THREADS


Was out roaming a natural habitat area on this past Christmas day with my camera and my son. He also had his camera and we parted ways when we arrived. He was headed toward a large wetland area to take photos while I just wanted to roam haphazardly to find photos to take. We both ended up at our meeting place after about four hours. Just as he was wrapping up his photo session he dropped his camera accidentally and broke his view finder. Now he has to deal with a minor repair which usually is not so minor when you see the price quote from the camera repair company. But aside from that unfortunate incident he felt lucky that his lens did not break. 

Above is one of the photos I captured that day. The thread between the pickets were web threads made by some spider. The threads marched from picket to picket for at least twenty feet. 

The web threads reminded me of a William Stafford poem I found in a book titled  Nature and the Human Soul, by Bill Plotkin. I have borrowed it placing it below.



The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among


things that change. But it doesn’t change.


People wonder about what you are pursuing.


You have to explain about the thread.


But it is hard for others to see.


While you hold it you can’t get lost.


Tragedies happen; people get hurt


or die; and you suffer and get old.


Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.


You don’t ever let go of the thread.