Sunday, April 27, 2014


Located in a residential area -- even though small in size -- this home stood out with its refreshing color of green. A home well taken care of -- its age is about one hundred or so. Vernacular because it was the popular or traditional style of its era. Sweet place found in Camas, Washington!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Cold snap

About two weeks ago a friend who is a native Kentuckian and gardener, Sue Tribble, sent me an email that talked of four different kinds of winters. 

These were folklore winters whose names that have been passed down through generations of Kentuckians. I was unfamiliar with this concept.

I gathered that the word winter in the folklore names meant cold snaps produced with the blooming of redbud, locust, dogwood, or blackberries.  Their blooming being a signal to the gardener that it is possibly safe to start planting.   Below is her explanation. 

"About Winters -- I learned my knowledge of the Winters & many other things from my Grandmother. She was THE gardener! Could grow beans under a rock..and there is a story to that..for another time. You know how Mar. gives us hope for some warm weather but may have snow by night. April comes & the younger generation rush out to buy flowers & garden plants..just because it's warm today & the garden centers have a nice display. Grannie would just shake her head & mumble something about ''they have more money than sense''! She would never put anything out more than cabbage & onions before the first week of May.

The Winters she (my grandmother) talked about was Redbud Winter, which is beginning to bloom right now They grow wild. . . .

Redbud blooming

There is a Dog Winter-- that's when the dogwood blooms. Locust Winter..again just when the locust blooms.The last one to bloom is Blackberries..that usually is the coldest Winter but after it blooms you are safe to plant.

Right or wrong..that's what I do. Mainly because Granny knew a lot about everything & I always think of her as I plant. She also planted & lived her daily life ''by the sign''..."

My interest in the folklore behind the four winters was further explained by Daves Garden as follows.

" Dogwood Winter occurs about the time the dogwoods bloom, usually between mid-April and mid-May, varying from year to year. In some areas, Blackberry Winter and Dogwood Winter occur at the same time, while those living two or three states away may experience two distinct, separate cold snaps. Dogwood Winter, like most of the "winters" mentioned here, is a somewhat predictable weather event of the thermal currents making a short reversal of direction, bringing a few days or even a week of cold weather, sometimes with frost or snow and potential damage to garden plants. Weather forecasters know it is likely to occur, but it's not predictable enough to say on what day. The oldtimers knew it usually happens when the dogwoods (Cornus florida or Cornus nuttallii) are in bloom. With the possibility of frost happening during Dogwood Winter, they also knew to wait until after the dogwood bloomed to plant tender vegetables and annuals. Native Americans watched for the dogwood blooms as the sign to begin planting corn and other crops. Oldtimers also knew that blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) need a cold snap to set buds on the blackberry canes, so as sure as night follows day, there will be a cold snap when the blackberries bloom, called Blackberry Winter. It comes with a somewhat less severe return of a continental polar air mass after the maritime tropical air masses have begun to dominate the weather.[1] In some areas, a late cold snap occurs with the blooming of the locust trees (Robinia pseudoacacia) usually before the dogwoods bloom or the redbuds (Cercis canadensis). So you have Locust Winter, and Redbud Winter happening after the first flush of warm spring days and before Dogwood Winter and Blackberry Winter. According to Buster (my neighbor and folklore old-timer), Locust Winter generally isn't as long or cold as Blackberry Winter. Here at my elevation, the redbuds bloom before the dogwoods, and the blackberries bloom after the dogwoods (in most years), so we get to have Redbud Winter, Dogwood Winter, and then a Blackberry winter. As a matter of fact, we are having a Redbud Winter right now as I write this (April 6, 2009). Yesterday I worked in the garden in a sleeveless shirt, and this evening it is snowing. I noticed on the way to the store this afternoon that the redbuds are starting to bloom! There's also Linsey-Woolsey Britches Winter, a term not used so much anymore, and then the last gasp of cold weather is Whippoorwill Winter. Linsey-Woolsey Britches Winter was once a popular term, back when winter clothing was homespun of linen/wool, and winters were harsher. It was the last time in spring that you'd need "long johns" before trading them for short sleeves, and it usually came about the time of Blackberry Winter. However, I never read how one would know Linsey-Woolsey Britches Winter if you lived where there were no dogwoods nor blackberries, except you'd be cold. The last named winter, Whippoorwill Winter, is actually a herald of warmer days coming to stay for the summer. The whippoorwill (Caprimulgus vociferus) migrates from wintering in Mexico to their summer range farther north in late May to early June. Whippoorwill Winter not as cold as the other "winters" but still a bit of cold snap lest we forget. If the oldtimers are correct, I can expect two more cold snaps (Dogwood Winter and Blackberry Winter) in my area before it is safe to set out my tomato plants. Take a look at the trees blooming in your area with the late cold snaps and see if you can identify the cold snap by name!"

We have had a tough winter in many parts of the country so perhaps this little bit of folklore will help with getting your garden planted safe from cold snaps -- perhaps yet to come!


Monday, April 14, 2014


Such  beauty in this small wildlife refuge in Clark County , Washington -- twenty minutes from my abode. It was a first time visit yesterday. Took a few pics of the passing panorama as we walked the trails. Above was a cattail pod in the foreground that redwing blackbirds were enjoying. Off in the far distance is Mount Hood peeking over the mountains. 

The mountains you see in the background are the Cascades. The forefront is open wild grassy land where many birds can be observed. My intent was to just walk and enjoy all that nature had to show. Just walk and observe -- it was a beautiful day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Covered bridges are beautiful in their own right but they can also be beautiful for their community. Built in 1932 the Crawfordsville covered bridge became a working bridge, enabling folks to travel across the Calopooia River by foot, wagon, truck or car.   

However, in 1963 the bridge was bypassed with a new highway along side of it. But as luck would have it from that change forward the bridge became a beautiful walkway for pedestrians plus a nice picnic area with a view of the river. 

 Photo: Facebook

Plus the bridge became a new celebratory arena now known as Bridge Day. It happens once every year during the summer --where the locals get together festively enjoying socialization, food and vendors.

All is good that ends well. At age eighty-two the bridge remains an icon of the community.

For more particulars on the Crawfordsville covered bridge: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BRIDGE/docs/covbrdg/Descriptions/crawfordsville.pdf

Bridge Day set for August 23, 2014, Saturday

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Large wooden climbing-steps up to a slide

Rain drops on the downward curving slide

When was the last time you were on a slide?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Old storage area outside old commercial building.
Screen door is open to catch a spring breeze
Brownsville, Oregon

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Sallie Tomato loved to splash through the water

It has been a week since Sallie Tomato passed -- it happened so fast. He passed suddenly from a heart problem. He was dancing in the morning and by dinner time he was rushed to the vet and within two hours he had left this world

Dogs are family. Sallie Tomato came to live with me six years ago after my youngest son passed. He had this big Golden Retriever that nobody could take -- but I had room and I took him home to Kentucky. He was a warm friendly dog that was so easy to handle. My older son loved to take him out on walking trails.

My granddaughter loved to play and pet Sallie as she did my other dog Lil.

 I walked Sallie almost every day at the city park near where I now live in Vancouver. The children that used the park loved to come over to Sallie -- petting and talking to him like children love to do with animals. Sallie loved it.

Sallie Tomato we miss you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Out on the country road just before you enter the small town of Brownsville, Oregon you will spot an old truck sitting by the roadside. It looks very content among the trees and tall grass. 

I presume it serves as an ad board for an antique shop in Old Town. I don't know where Old Town is but I believe that it might be what the local folks call Main street in Brownsville?

The Oregon licence plate that is still attached to this old truck is dated "85" -- almost thirty years ago. I take it that this is the last time the truck was driven, legally that is. I gave the exterior a once over as I felt that the truck might have been painted by a local impressionistic artist who had created patches of colors residing all over its entire body.

However, my final conclusions were that the truck's body colors were its original -- blue faded to aqua -- then painted a second coat of red now faded to a rose color. Then as a deluxe touch mother nature eventually stepped in and flourished it with golden lichens. It really is a piece of work -- a positive work that is!

I wonder what age this old truck is?