Once upon a time our country's back roads held thriving farm stands that brought in some extra cash for families and fresh garden and orchard food for the locals. What was in season could usually be bought for less than commercial stores could sell it for. Do you remember these farm stands? Farm stands were usually closed during off-growing seasons. Soon as the produce began to be able to feed more than the family -- it landed in the farm stand located out their door and down by the road where the it was visible to passing traffic. Stands came in all sizes and shapes. Above is a farm stand photo taken by a Mr. Pointer during the mid 20th century. Farm stands like the one above were usually run by the farm family and maybe a friend or relative The photo shows how serious some were about selling -- they went all out in presentation.
Today, it is rare to find a farm stand along a back road. Farms are busy mono-cropping for corporations. But if one is diligent one can still possibly find remnants left over from the past.
Above is a stand that I found recently while riding the back roads of Oregon. The crop being sold was hazelnuts both cracked and un-cracked. It was a family endeavor and the nuts came from the acres of nut trees on their property.
The stand was an old one -- refurbished forty years ago when they bought it from a family that sold flowers from it down the road.
Here is a look at the orchard of Spring Brook Hazel Nut Farm where I bought some already cracked nuts from the above farm stand. With nuts in hand I continued down the road smiling while I chewed down a few. They were delicious.
Covered bridges have always been fascinating to me. Almost fifty years ago I lived in West Virginia where my children and then husband would take rides in the country looking for covered bridges. We found so many back then -- wonder how many still remain?
Last weekend I discovered the above beautiful Chitwood covered bridge in Lincoln county,Oregon. Built over the Yaquina river it portrays an important part of the area's history. It is still being used for vehicle traffic.
The original Chitwood bridge was built in 1893 and was rebuilt with historic accuracy in 1926. Its name derives from that of an early settler that ran a general store near the bridge.
Vehicle weight restriction sign
I later found out that there are fifty-six remaining covered bridges in Oregon, fifty of them still used by vehicles.
Interior of the bridge
Over time I hope to discover the locations of other covered bridges in Oregon. ------ Note: to view old photos of the bridge and to read about its past history click here
Not far from where I am living is a large community garden. Patterns of rectangles set the garden in proper order. Dirt paths have become a menagerie of weeds yet still define the borders around the individual small plots Together all the plots appear to me like a college trial garden -- a little bit of this and a little bit of that -- a botanical community.
The Mammoth sunflowers were still standing tall when I recently walked through the aging plant plantation that was devoid of humans. The sun shown down on the garden giving the sunflowers some of their last breaths of "growing" light. Mammoth's stand very tall with one gigantic seed-filled head -- a bird feeding paradise. If the heads bend to the ground small mammals enjoy the bounty.
What I enjoy about sunflowers is their ultimate beauty as they age through the growing season. Fall brings their dark seed heads -- advertising to birds, "here is my sustainable gift to you. -- come and enjoy, I will give to you like the sun, rain, and wind has given to me through spring and summer."
They remind me that one can still give the gift of nurturing in the fall season of their life.
As I stumbled out of bed this morning -- out to the kitchen to make my coffee -- I glanced out my windows overlooking a treed space. There to greet me was a large hanging orb spider web -- filtering early morning light through its woven strands. I grabbed my camera and stood out on my balcony taking its photo as it was high up in a coniferous tree. I then thanked the spider for giving me such beauty to start my day.
Well, I have now been living in Vancouver, Washington for just about three weeks. I have been busy getting to know my "new to me" immediate area and am still getting lost in the various neighborhoods. This is a very populated area, unlike my previous residence in Kentucky where everything was either rural or small town and definitely fewer folks. The difference between the two sections of the country is like night and day.
This move is taking some "getting used to." I am labeling this period as "Transition."
This morning I got online, pulled up lots of material on Washington and Oregon. Portland, Oregon rides on the border of Vancouver, Washington. Western Oregon and western Washington have rainforest environments (which means lots of rain for my area). Both states reside in the Pacific Northwest. This is my geography lesson for today.
I am familiar with Oregon as I lived there off and on for several years I plan to write about and photograph it as well as Washington.
The tree bark above is a close-up photo from the tall tree shown at the bottom of this post. I took the photos when my son and I visited Mount St. Helen's last weekend. Being outstandingly handsome how could I not resist taking its picture.
Does anyone know the species of this tree? I looked it up in some inadequate ID books and thought perhaps it might be Silver Fir? It fits the description -- a dome top made up of horizontal branches -- also a smooth whitish bark -- growing very tall with only the upper third supporting foliage.
Lots to find out about the Pacific Northwest -- rainforest ecology, farming, lumbering, traditions, folkways, architecture, native culture, and much more. Should be fun!
OK, the government has shut down our National Parks. But, for some reason my son and I had forgot this and took off yesterday for Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. You know -- the one that erupted in 2000 that took out 57 lives and eradicated every living thing for 230 square miles surrounding its dome.
We had not checked the park online -- where we would have found this alert:
Funding Lapse ... all federally owned recreation sites are closed . . . we sincerely regret this inconvenience.
When we arrived at the park, specifically Ape Cave trail, we found many cars parked way off to the side of the main park road. Folks were smiling and talking as they walked to and from Ape Cave trail. As we approached this trail-head we found a large wooden sign saying, "Closed -- Do not enter." In spite of this sign folks were walking up the trail. Since there were no park officials to guard the park it was now really the people's park. Everyone was having a good time and being very civil. It left a very good feeling with me. Perhaps a little less watchfulness of big brother is a freeing experience for folks.
I sit here in the dark of the morning listening for the crows and ravens to begin their noisy flights between the conifers outside my window. The ravens in particular interest me with their thick beaks and grand stature. The complex where I now live, called the Meadows, is slowly waking up to this Friday morn. Everyone with their own personal agenda. I have found that this small complex contains an ethnic mix that results in several different languages being spoken. I hear them off in the distance as I begin my walk with my dog Sal on this overcast morning. But as I pass them we seem to have one language in common -- a smile. I contemplate my day as I walk back to my apartment. I know that if I watch the news on my computer this morning I will again witness the mess in Washington. Here in this little place where I now live, far from Washington, with people of different languages, we all seem to get along with just a smile or two. Is my thinking simplistic? Probably. But come on -- lets get the show on the road in our government -- you know a few smiles would not hurt anyone and might even get the ball rolling again.
Here is my new abode for now -- an apartment in a fairly new apartment complex. I do like it as it contains lots of trees, shrubs and other natural plantings. I took this photo from my bedroom window.
Since this area is all rather newly built I feel my search for old traditions is going to be a challenge. While previously living in Kentucky I concentrated on the old folkways for my blog. But now I know I will have to make some compensations while living here on the eastern fringe of Vancouver, Washington. Only time will tell what I can discover -- but I am up to the challenge.
As far as nature's material -- I don't perceive that it will be difficult to find as there is an abundance of it in this beautiful natural area. I expect to learn some new things from nature.
Whatever the area can offer in the world of art, nature and folkways will be my focus here. I have already spotted some nice public art work.
Yes, I will have to adjust my perceptions but isn't that always a refreshing trail to follow.