Sunday, May 24, 2015


Along River Road in Mapleton, Oregon you will find these "painted ladies" old store fronts -- now standing as reminders of a time long ago. Then this small business area left and moved to highway 126 in Mapleton. However the "painted ladies," remained along the river front even though they no longer served the community of Mapleton for commercial wants. Located in a scenic riverfront area I'm sure these ladies are content -- they played their part in establishing Mapleton long ago. 

Mapleton population census 2000 -- 918 people

This is a portion of the storefronts that moved to highway 126  --years ago. In the background at the top right one can see the second story looming of the old yellow painted lady on River Road. So essentially the painted ladies sit on the old commercial River Road while the stores that replaced the painted ladies now reside on the old but updated highway 126. The old ladies sit back to back with the not so old. Confusing? Come to Mapleton to see how it all works.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Look for the woman on the dock in the above photo, she has a fishing pole in her hands. She has the place all to herself. I spotted this woman not to long ago, fishing leisurely along the Siuslaw river. She must be a dedicated fisher-woman I thought. So I walked down the long non-skid metal ramp in order to get a bit closer to her  -- hoping to get the "skinny" on why she was out near the river in a non-populated area. 

She told me that she just bought her fishing pole and was learning how to use it. It was a beautiful day and the river was calm so why not try it out. She was perfectly content as she plied the waters with her pole. 

Now, if you are wondering how to spend your holiday this weekend just try a relaxed approach like this woman. Find a hammock or a picnic table and make it simple. Walk a trail in the city or in a natural area and take your camera or a notebook and record your findings. Or just sit on a bench or rock in some quiet area and notice your surroundings. So many ways to have a good holiday without the rush, noise, and shoulder to shoulder people. Make it your own special holiday. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


This structure is looking rather cozy on its present location. It is now and has been in retirement since the early 1970s -- around forty years ago.  This very large structure is known in Oregon as a wigwam burner -- named for its shape of course. 

Burners were used to burn waste wood and/or sawdust at the many wood mill plants around Western Oregon. The burning created a lot of polluted air around mills and neighboring areas which led to their demise. A law was laid down that these burners could no longer be used beginning in the early 1970s. 

Now the few that are still standing are like large lawn ornaments on the landscape. I don't know how many are actually still in place. I took this picture at a former mill site named Davidson Mill Industries near Mapleton, Oregon.. I am glad the wigwam is still there as it represents a historical period when logging was a major industry in Lane County, Oregon as well as other counties. Although logging the land had its positives and negatives, it forced us to take stock of our clean air and develop laws to protect it.

Here is an old photo of a mill site with a wigwam burner that is in Oregon's Salem Library archives. The photo was taken by Ben Maxwell in 1963 in Independence, Oregon. Notice that nasty plume emanating from the wigwam burner.

AND -- Get a look at those fins on what appears to be an old Chevy (or Oldsmobile)!

More information:

My South Lane - Mapleton Wigwam Burner

The Columbia River -- Wigwam burners (great history)

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Deep in the Oregon Coastal range is a small cluster containing two buildings that represents the town of Blachly. Unincorporated, it serves the folks that seem to live out of sight in the mountains. Population of Blachly is 542 folks with six people per square mile. 

Hanging from the post office overhang is an original 
old tin sign identifying the Blachly post office. The post office was established in 1892.

And the second of Blachly's town buildings is the now defunct old General Store residing to the left of the post office in the photo above  and was built in 1918 by Arnold Myers grandfather. And who is Arnold Myers?

Arnold Myers caught leaving the post office while I was snapping some of the old post office photos. I asked him if he was a local and he assured me that he was by telling me he had lived his entire life in Blachly. 

He did say that the building next to the post office was built by his grandfather in 1918 and became the first building in Blachly that was a dedicated General Store. It was sold 20 years ago to a marketing firm. 

He told me that the store's architecture had not really changed although I noticed the place had new windows and siding. Arnold told me the porch still was the same design as when it was built. Also he added that parties and dances used to be held in the upstairs. 

A General Store with that many years of operation surely has many stories to tell about the community

Arnold said there were no official historians of the town. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Healthy standing trees are a tribute to our natural environment. But even in their fallen state on the ground, trees perform nobly as re-generators of our forest environment.

When one of these beautiful trees falls in the forest either from storms, age or intentional human intervention it usually begins a new life as a nurse log

Above is a portion of a log that has become a nurse log. It has probably been lying in this spot for many years. As you can observe the tree bark is almost completely hidden with growth -- it's top growth leaving little to see of its bark near the ground.

One can be found just down the road from where I live. I will take you along to visit the fallen forest tree and all its goodness that it provides for the environment.

nurse log with beginning plant life

Here is how a nurse log begins. Eventually, over time a soil mat begins to build upon the log from decayed material. This encourages other life forms to visit and adds nutrients to the mat. 

Fungi and moss on a nurse log

Soon a diverse growth pattern can be abundantly found on the log as it works in a symbiotic way with nature. Wildlife reacts with the decaying log -- such as insects and spiders. Birds interact with the insects for food while using the decaying wood for nesting materials. 

Symbiotic relationships are active within the log community securing the survival of the dependent wild users. There are so many interactions within this one small community that I cannot really cover them all in this post.

wildflowers on nurse log

Wildflowers emerge on the log to attract insects

Brown and gray Bracket fungi

One very important wild user of the nurse log is the bracket fungi. They begin to emerge along the log's trunk or branches consuming the wood. They are more diverse in old forests than in younger managed forests or tree plantations.  (Wikipedia)

semi circular multi-colored Bracket fungi

Bracket fungi often grow in semi-circular shapes. Many develop beautiful multi-colored circles that are annual growth rings. They are dependent on trees for survival -- deforestation causes decline in their numbers and diversity. Some are near extinction. (Wikipedia)

No two nurse log communities are alike it seems. Next time on one of your trails look for a nurse log -- they are full of all kinds of natural surprises.