Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Historic barn original to the old Finley property -- now known as the Finley Nature Reserve. Benton County

Deep within the bowels of old barns are stories from our past. Many of the stories are dormant but many are still active in small pieces of human memory. 

As I often travel through rural landscapes my thoughts are given over to possible events that  could have happened  in and around these rugged barns. Of course my thoughts are not created from reality. Just from possibilities.

But yet, sometimes I would I run into old timers that would tell me a story about certain barns.  

The story I remember the most happened several years ago It was told to me by a woman who lived in a large white farmhouse that had several outbuildings on her farm land. I was lost and needed some directions -- this brought me to stop and knock on her front door.  She was elderly -- answering the door with a look of sadness on her face.

I felt I was being intrusive yet she was very openly talkative. Somehow I got around to mentioning her large barn with a nice silo attached. She then asked me if I knew about the barn.  

I didn't know about the barn and told her so. So she told me the tragic story of her husband and son working in the silo about a year ago when they were overcome by methane gas. She told me they immediately passed out and fell to the bottom of the silo -- killing them both. 

Old metal type barn near Amity Oregon on 99W.

This story she was telling me was grim by any measure. I was speechless and just listened to her sad story. Was  this actually a true story? 

Her story haunted me for days until I decided to find out if the story was true. I asked around the area and and indeed found the story to be true.

Deep in the rural area along route 35 in Lane County

Not all barn stories end well.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit
~ ~ ee cummings

Thinking of everyone as we go forward into the New Year
barbara and her dog daisy

Thursday, December 15, 2016


These few photos are just a taste of the desolate land reflecting the  mountains and low lying grasslands of the San Bernardino Mountains in California. When I visited this park about a month ago I was taken by its enchantment and simplicity. Once the homeland of early native Americans -- Mexican and European folks began to move into the area in the 1800s. In 1893 this area was designated a National Forest. 

Within the park I found a sizable marsh where the wild marsh grass was providing food, nesting, and cover for many birds species. I spent most of my visit watching the riot of different birds fly, float and dip over the area.

I am a country bumpkin at heart so such an opportunity to sit beside this wild "show of life" was a treat beyond words!

Thursday, December 8, 2016


California bungalow front porch

Taking a long distance travel trip, be it for a few days or for several months in your vehicle, can be both invigorating and/or tiresome. You still have vehicle care, oil changes, tires checked and all other things automotive. Also, bills follow you as you go merrily down the highway. But it will be invigorating from the standpoint of the wonderful experiences you will enjoy. 

What I am trying to say is that organized travelers enjoy their trips better when they do a great job of trip pre-planning -- weather one is travelling alone or with passengers.

I am mid-way on enjoying my long adventure of travelling with only one passenger -- my dog Daisy. We have been on the road for a couple months now. She rides shot gun in my passenger seat. She is a large friendly black lab but some folks back away when they saunter too close to my parked Toyota truck and suddenly spot her in the passenger seat staring at them.  I like that -- she provides a safe feeling as I travel. 

Right now I am taking a long break from my extensive highway adventure. Not sure how long my break will be -- two or three months perhaps. Hopefully I will keep up better with my blog. Staying with my daughter and husband who are involved with a renovation of a historic California bungalow. They plan on selling it. So I take care of their dogs, errand run etc.

Thinking of heading to the Midwest at the end of this stay here in California. But please don't hold me to it. I just might spot a small town on my cross country trip -- staying there for a while to soak up their culture and take some photos.

It's all on the table

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Old Rock Cottage

Lately, I've been visiting my daughter and son-in-law while in California. Lots of sunshine and beautiful mountainous sites. One area that I found particularly intriguing was a small back-country
settlement of folks. The roads were dirt and were lined with interesting, mostly small homes, all of different designs closely aligned with each other. The homes were older ones. The main road through the tiny hamlet was lined with quaint storefronts. 

Winding down one of the roadways we came to a dead-end. In front of us was a well worn stone cottage sitting forlornly on an incline with its back up against a steep hill. No sign of humans surrounded the cottage and obvious age was working its way around the place. 

We got out of the car to take a few photos of the place when suddenly a woman with her dog appeared outside her home which was closest to the cottage. We began to ask her questions about the old place. She had some information on it -- built in the twenties, landslide several years ago brought lots of dirt against the place and that the place was once going to be torn down. 

The folks in the neighborhood had rallied and the place was not torn down. Now, she told us that occasionally artists and photographers come to the cottage to paint or photograph it. It is off limits to walk through -- the place was knocked off its foundation by the landslide and now is deemed very unstable. 

We left with many questions. Yet thankful that we got a bit of background on this lovely cottage. Overall it was like finding a jewel in the woods.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Wildness has a mind of its own. It is barbarous and crazy in the eyes of most folks -- they feel that it should be admired for its conformity not wildness. Lawns, landscapes, and mono-cultures are typical examples of this conformity. 

When I was young, a very long time ago, I used to play in fields and woods mostly for what I could discover. Almost everyday I journeyed into that canvas and discovered something new -- usually in the plant and insect world. These places rooted me into the natural world. I would sit on logs and observe the natural interactions of the wind, rain clouds and overall movement of the woods and fields.

Part of my collection

I set up collections of nature's miscellaneous remnants as did my good friend Billy who lived near me. We had no idea who owned the fields and woods -- we felt we did. 

Dew drops after a rain.

Today, many, many years beyond my early experiences I still have my roots planted there. And also in other places where I have lived since. Finding wildness has become more difficult. It's parameters seem to be shrinking fast. 

Wild asters from a field

Here is a passage from a recent book I read, The Abstract Wild by Jack Turner:

"Thoreau's famous saying "in Wildness is the preservation of the World" asserts that wildness preserves, not that we must preserve wildness. For Thoreau, wildness was a given . . . (his) personal effort . . . was a project of the self."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


My dog Daisy at the park 

"Now since I am a dog and a pretty darn good one I better help the Parks and Rec. Dept. by watching for dogs off leash. The green metal sign says all dogs must be on a leash beyond this sign."

"I'm thinking this place must get lots of dogs as the Parks and Rec Dept had to post this official sign in this park. Right now there are no other dogs in this huge park except me."

"Well, I think I will take a snooze as no dogs seem to be using the park today. I know it is terribly hot and humid so maybe that is why no dogs have shown up. Or maybe their human handlers are just too hot to enjoy the park and don't want to leash up their pets. I don't blame them. As they say this weather is not fit for man or beast (like me)."

Stay Cool -- from your friendly beast -- Daisy

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Old Farm Silo
circa early 1900s

The only farm structure left on this farmstead -- it 
stands as an icon to its past glory.