Sunday, December 21, 2014


Credit: knowth.com

The following YouTube video was produced by tubelookjohn. The video was shot at the prehistoric New Grange structure is Ireland. His accompanying beautiful music captures the sense of spirit and mystery of our Winter Solstice.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


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


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


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 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


Library of Congress


Thursday, November 20, 2014


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


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 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


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 -----

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Gathering to discuss this past summer

Saying goodbye to old friends

Some last kicks by taking turns 
sliding down the rocks,

And all -- eventually -- settling in to a well deserved rest 
 after a summer of catching the light

Sunday, October 12, 2014


barbara judge's photo collection

Taken in the latter part of the 1800's, this vintage photo can tell you much about fashion as well as a certain type of quilt pattern that was part of the material culture at the time. The children are dressed to the "t" in undoubtedly early machine stitched clothing or even possibly hand sewn? The young boy has some type of straps on his long stockings, perhaps to keep them from slipping down his legs?

Perhaps the quilt, that was draped over the chairs was of special importance? Could it be one that was created for the photo taking session or perhaps made by a relative that the family loved? What stories can you conjure up in your mind with the various clues in this photo?

It was common to have photos taken outside as appropriate lighting was not available inside. One often finds old photos taken outside during this time period - usually taken by itinerant photographers who traveled the countryside. The background appears to be some type of canvas drop? 

Quilts have always fascinated me. Especially the old ones. June Calender's blog discusses many types of quilts that she either creates or visits at quilt shows. Her latest adventure with quilts is teaching the History of Quilts at her local Academy of Lifelong Learning. Also visit Mary's blog about her many quilt projects and then take a look at Kyra's Black Threads blog that features both old and new quilts and their creators. 

A neat way to date vintage photos is to examine its fabrics (if there are any) using a book on old fabrics for comparison.This will give you a close approximation of its date. Here is a reasonable priced book that can identify fabrics and their dates of manufacture, Dating Fabrics, a Color Guide - 1800 to 1960. Also a good book on early printed fabrics is one by Barbara Brachman

Monday, October 6, 2014


Fall native snowberries on Joanne's hand woven towel

I received a present today! Joanne is a weaver -- and -- she sent me two lovely woven hand towels as a gift. Joanne's blog is interesting to follow as she goes about her daily activities in small town Ohio. Check out her blog, Cup on the Bus -- right now she is planting fall bulbs on her blog and has help from her granddaughters Emily and Laura. Thanks Joanne.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Today's trip to downtown Portland was to pick up some groceries from Whole Food Grocery -- of course I had my camera with me. I spotted this smiling dad with his two daughters who was entertaining them while confining them to a  public bench as traffic whizzed by them. 

I spoke with him briefly as I could see he had his hands full with his two beautiful and delightful daughters. The one daughter instantly told me she was four and the dad told me the other was two.

The dad and daughters were waiting for mom who was in a nearby store. In the meantime dad was keeping them smiling and safe. Good dad!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


When I am out and about I cannot help but stop and pet a dog -- I've lived with dogs since I was young. I lost my beautiful Golden Retriever, Sal, about six months ago and I still miss him. What a great companion he was. I am waiting until I can find an apartment that will take dogs before I get another one. I find dogs are the greatest companions for retirees. 

I met this young bulldog featured in this blog's photos in Multnomah Village, a neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. This bulldog was a real sport -- friendly and curious. Not that I am particularly considering a bulldog -- its like I mentioned -- I just like to stop and pet dogs. Keeps me in touch with different breeds.

So I am researching and observing what type of dog I should get that is around 40 or so pounds. My Sal was almost 100 pounds --  I realize now that so many pounds would be rather tough for me to handle.  

I am absolutely undecided as to what kind of dog I should get and would welcome any suggestions from you folks out in blogger land. I would like a friendly breed that likes children. Preferably an older dog. Any dog that fits that description from mutt to whatever. I will keep petting and photographing dogs at least until I find the right apartment as dogs add pleasure to my outings.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Artistic detail of old brickwork on the historic H. W. Einhard Ice and Power Plant. Built in 1906 -- before refrigerators! Being an ice and power plant meant probably ice was stored in the facility. As far as "power,"  I imagine it was limited to essential commercial buildings as by 1925 only half of the homes in the U.S. had electrical power to light there lamps. Does anyone out there know how this plant functioned?

Very few folks today remember the delivery of ice to their homes for their ice box, which was an early form of refrigerators. 

I could tell a lot of history resided in this building but could not find any that related to the Einhard building online.

The photo above is from the front facade's upper story. Building is still standing and has new tenants in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Fall is moving in fast. Love this season. Even though the plants turn inward from life at this time of year they are still beautiful in their transition. 

Fall is a great time to photograph plants and also to collect them in their dried state. A large beautiful tied bunch hung on your exterior doors is a wonderful greeting to visitors and you alike.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Mellow yellow is painted on these old vertical boards of this vintage tin roofed barn. Located near Hood River, Oregon upon one of the many farms that grow hundreds and hundreds of fruit trees for commercial use and also a place where you find many commercial vineyards. A lovely rural area. It still has a rustic feel to its landscapes and has a very low population of us humans.

An abandoned side-of-the-road building -- use unknown -- added some flavor as I passed through this area. What was its original use? 

Haven't you passed these remnants when you are out in the countryside and wondered about their former life?

Monday, September 15, 2014


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


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


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.