Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Ms Chicken Little is waiting for the school bus. She and her friend  -- who took cover when he saw my camera come out -- like to come down the road to the school bus shelter and wait. Wait for what; the children? a fox? a hawk, the sky to fall,  -- who knows?

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Just prior to my move to the coastal Oregon area my daughter came for a visit. She loves to go antiquing so we decided to take in the small town of Aurora, Oregon with all its many small shops. First stop was an old railroad depot that has been an antique shop for a number of years. My daughter has her hand on the item she bought there -- an old railroad lantern. 

Next stop in Aurora was an old mill that has become a salvage shop. We totally expected the shop to have the salvage just piled around in its interior. To our surprise it was organized and beautifully laid out. 

Most anything vintage seemed for sale in the mill.

Old numbers and letters lined the wall  -- marching up a staircase.

So many rooms of nice salvage to use in commercial establishments or a home

We had a great time perusing and suggest if one ever gets to Aurora, Oregon that they stop and have a look. You can't miss this mill as you drive into the little town of Aurora.

After a late lunch we drove home hoping someday to return to this quaint little town.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Lysichiton americanum
A skunk-cabbage -- native plant

Driving along a two lane highway yesterday I noticed some bright yellow spots in some shallow waters beside the road. I stopped to check it out and realized it was skunk-cabbage plants -- a harbinger of spring. Although it wasn't the typical maroon-ish color I was used to seeing -- I knew right away it was skunk-cabbage! I snapped a few photos and went on my way. I was familiar with this plant from when I lived in Michigan so it was a wonderful surprise to find it here in Oregon.

Several skunk cabbage plants glowing in the water.

When I got home I grabbed my new book I had just bought titled Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and MacKinnon. On its pages I found out that Oregon's skunk-cabbage was a glowing yellow and can be found only along areas of the Pacific Northwest coastline. And that is where I was driving -- near the coastline. 
I also did some searching online about the skunk-cabbage plant and found a fine article written by a Craig Holdrege that thinks highly of the skunk-cabbage plant, you can find it here.

And a bit of a native American tale was provided by Pojar and MacKinnon that I will share with you:

In the ancient days, they say, there is no salmon. The Indians had nothing to eat save roots and leaves. Principal among them was the skunk-cabbage. Finally the spring salmon came for the first time. As they passed up the river, a person stood upon the shore and shouted, "Here come our relatives whose bodies are full of eggs! If it had not been for me all the people would have starved." "Who speaks to us?" asked the salmon. "Your uncle Skunk Cabbage," was the reply . . . (Kathlamet tribe, Native American, Haskin 1934 )

So the skunk-cabbage tale can be included as a type of folkway as it became a traditional story within a defined community over time. 

For those of you that live out East where there is still snow -- the skunk-cabbage can grow right up through the snow to wish you a happy spring. So keep looking for possible signs of skunk-cabbage pushing through the snow in natural areas such as a wet meadow. They usually will be a variegated maroon rather than the flashy western yellow. 

Monday, March 9, 2015


Positioned along the Siuslaw River is an old one-story building that once served as a school but now serves its community for various organizational uses. One use is a two room lending library of which one room is dedicated as a children's library. 

Recently the children's library received quite a treat -- walls filled with smiling animals, all of original design, painted by a local artist named Marcy.

Above is a close-up of the first photo above. All these photos and more provide an animated gleeful feeling when you walk into the room -- even for adults like me.

These photos are sections that I took of the walls in the children's library. Notice how she paints some the dog's bodies around the corner of the room.

All four walls in the room have animal characters painted by Marcy. Here is one that has two sweet flying squirrels flying off the top of the room's door molding. 

These bright and happy birds are painted in such a way that they look like they are perched on the molding which is located toward the top of the room. Notice how she achieved this look by painting their feet like they are perching on the molding

This is a lively and oh so powerful painting of these bounding leopards. Of course with smiles.

"And look at me hanging upside down," this cockatoo would be saying if he could talk. 

Dogs smiling at all the fun the surrounding animals are having.

Above shows how she ran together room corners of her paintings. 

A huge smiling turtle with her children.

Fortunate are the children that have all this original art surrounding them in their library.

Friday, March 6, 2015


As some of you might recall I lived in Kentucky for several years before moving to Oregon. One of my favorite folk representations of Kentucky were their many rock fences.

Above and below are a small collection of photos showing the variety of rock fencing to be found on Kentucky's rural landscapes. 

Hope you enjoyed these fences. There is some concern that someday there will only be a few left due to neglect and/or encroachment of developers. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


It's almost Spring! 
March 20 is official date in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Screen doors provide fresh air circulation 
for stuffy closed winter homes and buildings. At least that is how is used to be before air-conditioning. Now screen doors are a bit outmoded in some areas.

Above is a hand-made folksy screen door on a coffeehouse that has been in business  for 40 years in Mapleton, Oregon

Monday, March 2, 2015


Dorthea Lange
Library of Congress

Dorothea Lange began her career as a documentary photographer by signing on with the federal Resettlement Administration that eventually became the Farm Administration/Office of War Information. Her paid position, as it was for many other artists, was created by President Franklin Roosevelt to get people back to work during the Great depression that began in 1929 and lasted until 1941 when WWII began.

Her main assignment was to record the California migrants that were poring into the state looking for work. Depression unemployment figures reached a high of 25 percent in the U.S. In 1929, when the depression began,  60 percent of the country's wealth was held by the top 1 percent of the population. Sound familiar?

Florence Thompson with two of her seven children in a California migrant camp
Dorothea Lange -- Library of Congress
Dorothea was soon photographing folks that were the homeless and unemployed. The above 1936 photograph  known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and some of her children in a California migrant camp.

In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience:

"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields and birds that the children killed.

She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of a quality about it."

( From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).

Mississippi Delta Children -- 1936
Dorthea Lange -- Library of Congress
Dorthea continued working as a photographer through the Depression taking photos mainly in the southern and the western parts of the country. Her focus continued to be on the folks that suffered economically or for other injustices. 

Dorthea Lange --Library of Congress
Ms Lange's ability to capture the toughness of these folks that were trying to survive is amazing. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1960 for her excellency in photography.

Library of Congress
Dorthea Lange
In the photo above Dorthea captures determination and dignity in the face of an ex-tenant farmer. The emotions that she knew to focus on in her photos is touching.

Japanese children at a California public school participating in a pledge to the flag -- 1941
Dorothea Lange -- Library of Congress
In 1942 some of the Japanese children in the above photograph would in all likelihood be put into Japanese Internment camps with their families. Contradictory to this possibility was their sincerity of pledging to the American flag while their faces glowed in this Lange photo of 1941

Dorothea was not just a photographer recording people's  plights during the Depression -- she was gathering up the emotions of the folks that were the victims of social and economic injustices. The folks spoke back to her through her photographs releasing bold emotions in the face of adversity.

Dorothea Lange:  May 26, 1895 -- October 11, 1965 

this is a re-post from my 4/22/11 blog
 photos from Library of Congress archives