These few photos are just a taste of the desolate land reflecting the mountains and low lying grasslands of the San Bernardino Mountains in California. When I visited this park about a month ago I was taken by its enchantment and simplicity. Once the homeland of early native Americans -- Mexican and European folks began to move into the area in the 1800s. In 1893 this area was designated a National Forest.
Within the park I found a sizable marsh where the wild marsh grass was providing food, nesting, and cover for many birds species. I spent most of my visit watching the riot of different birds fly, float and dip over the area. I am a country bumpkin at heart so such an opportunity to sit beside this wild "show of life" was a treat beyond words!
Taking a long distance travel trip, be it for a few days or for several months in your vehicle, can be both invigorating and/or tiresome. You still have vehicle care, oil changes, tires checked and all other things automotive. Also, bills follow you as you go merrily down the highway. But it will be invigorating from the standpoint of the wonderful experiences you will enjoy. What I am trying to say is that organized travelers enjoy their trips better when they do a great job of trip pre-planning -- weather one is travelling alone or with passengers. I am mid-way on enjoying my long adventure of travelling with only one passenger -- my dog Daisy. We have been on the road for a couple months now. She rides shot gun in my passenger seat. She is a large friendly black lab but some folks back away when they saunter too close to my parked Toyota truck and suddenly spot her in the passenger seat staring at them. I like that -- she provides a safe feeling as I travel. Right now I am taking a long break from my extensive highway adventure. Not sure how long my break will be -- two or three months perhaps. Hopefully I will keep up better with my blog. Staying with my daughter and husband who are involved with a renovation of a historic California bungalow. They plan on selling it. So I take care of their dogs, errand run etc. Thinking of heading to the Midwest at the end of this stay here in California. But please don't hold me to it. I just might spot a small town on my cross country trip -- staying there for a while to soak up their culture and take some photos. It's all on the table
Lately, I've been visiting my daughter and son-in-law while in California. Lots of sunshine and beautiful mountainous sites. One area that I found particularly intriguing was a small back-country
settlement of folks. The roads were dirt and were lined with interesting, mostly small homes, all of different designs closely aligned with each other. The homes were older ones. The main road through the tiny hamlet was lined with quaint storefronts.
Winding down one of the roadways we came to a dead-end. In front of us was a well worn stone cottage sitting forlornly on an incline with its back up against a steep hill. No sign of humans surrounded the cottage and obvious age was working its way around the place.
We got out of the car to take a few photos of the place when suddenly a woman with her dog appeared outside her home which was closest to the cottage. We began to ask her questions about the old place. She had some information on it -- built in the twenties, landslide several years ago brought lots of dirt against the place and that the place was once going to be torn down.
The folks in the neighborhood had rallied and the place was not torn down. Now, she told us that occasionally artists and photographers come to the cottage to paint or photograph it. It is off limits to walk through -- the place was knocked off its foundation by the landslide and now is deemed very unstable.
We left with many questions. Yet thankful that we got a bit of background on this lovely cottage. Overall it was like finding a jewel in the woods.
Wildness has a mind of its own. It is barbarous and crazy in the eyes of most folks -- they feel that it should be admired for its conformity not wildness. Lawns, landscapes, and mono-cultures are typical examples of this conformity.
When I was young, a very long time ago, I used to play in fields and woods mostly for what I could discover. Almost everyday I journeyed into that canvas and discovered something new -- usually in the plant and insect world. These places rooted me into the natural world. I would sit on logs and observe the natural interactions of the wind, rain clouds and overall movement of the woods and fields.
Part of my collection
I set up collections of nature's miscellaneous remnants as did my good friend Billy who lived near me. We had no idea who owned the fields and woods -- we felt we did.
Dew drops after a rain.
Today, many, many years beyond my early experiences I still have my roots planted there. And also in other places where I have lived since. Finding wildness has become more difficult. It's parameters seem to be shrinking fast.
Wild asters from a field
Here is a passage from a recent book I read, The Abstract Wild by Jack Turner:
"Thoreau's famous saying "in Wildness is the preservation of the World" asserts that wildness preserves, not that we must preserve wildness. For Thoreau, wildness was a given . . . (his) personal effort . . . was a project of the self."
"Now since I am a dog and a pretty darn good one I better help the Parks and Rec. Dept. by watching for dogs off leash. The green metal sign says all dogs must be on a leash beyond this sign." "I'm thinking this place must get lots of dogs as the Parks and Rec Dept had to post this official sign in this park. Right now there are no other dogs in this huge park except me."
"Well, I think I will take a snooze as no dogs seem to be using the park today. I know it is terribly hot and humid so maybe that is why no dogs have shown up. Or maybe their human handlers are just too hot to enjoy the park and don't want to leash up their pets. I don't blame them. As they say this weather is not fit for man or beast (like me)." Stay Cool -- from your friendly beast -- Daisy
Recently I roamed around a small town populated with about 4000 residents. I was looking for some representative homes that were mostly small in size, early 1900s, colorful, and had various plants around their front yard. I found these four homes that were fairly close to what I was looking for. I call them granny houses as they reminded me of the graphic storybook homes that were featured in the books I used to read to my children when they were young.
This small town has not been touched by a lot of of development -- thankfully. The town's commercial strip is made up of older buildings -- many one storied -- and all of different design and materials.
Most of the houses in the town are individualistic from each other with lots of rural character. Some need a little TLC but most are kept up very nicely.
Weeds don't have a bad reputation in this town. They live together with many different types of plants. Overall I felt like I was viewing a storybook town. One that appreciates its housing history.
In contrast to the world news -- I have begun to think about what most of the world's folk must be like -- excluding those that bomb, shoot or do other unspeakable harm to others. I feel that we as everyday common folk go about our life in a friendly and pleasurable manner. I believe the news media and our political bodies are one large machine that perpetuates scare tactics. This machine attempts to influence our way of life. Their negative remarks trickle down and influence some who are living a good life. I believe we all have ways of coping with the waves of violence that we know is going on around the world. One of mine is to limit news programs to a tiny minimum. Otherwise, smile, hug, dance, and sing. Life is good for most folk. I believe the world of good folks can undue the influence of the news and political bodies' negative pronouncements. Just turn it off. Reference: Christmas 1914 World War One
Front facade of Denise's home with her climbing roses flowing over her natural picket fence.
REPOST FROM -- 6/15/14
Small towns offer so much texture to our regional landscapes. Textures in the form of flowers, trees, architecture, personal landscape touches, fencing, small home veggie gardens plus other unique configurations. All containing the personal touches of the town folk. Yesterday, I was out and about with my son -- visiting a small town that had a nice little bike shop. My son is a biker and needed some special repairs to his bike. He gets great exercise riding his bike to work in Portland every day -- twenty miles there and back. But getting back to the small town. I, personally, was looking at the houses of the town -- the unique representations of its housing stock. Down a small residential street I found one that I was smitten with. I call the home -- Denise's place.
Denise's raised garden beds with her garage in the background.
Denise was out front in her yard when I happened upon this cozy wood framed house. I didn't see her at first but as I stepped out of my car she waved me over to her yard. It was a friendly meeting of two senior ladies -- her and I -- and I felt her warmth from the start. She talked about her house with affection explaining she moved there ten years ago. She also explained that the house had only 600 plus square feet inside. I thought to myself how wonderful. Less to take care of when one is retired. She also explained that her house is over hundred years old. Wonderful, built when houses were built with solid materials -- not thin plywood like some today that suffer damage in strong winds.
All the time we talked Denise's large beautiful calico cat sat on the railing listening and watching us. I just had to a photograph Ms Calico as she seemed so regal on the porch railing.
Denise has added many small touches that make a home personal. Like the old wagon and trike that sit with flowers under a small tree near her front roadway. Also she has a clump of four very large conifers sitting on the corner of her property that are notations of the its natural history.
Oregon is rather an eclectic state that invites one to practice different occupations. The bus with critters prominently displayed on the cab, and all of his bus sides really, belongs to a free spirited man. His business is travelling the Pacific Northwest selling fresh Halibut and Seabass.
Thought his vagabond bus style offered a spirited atmosphere to those who admired his artistic artwork. My header above is a photo of his whole bus.
It was a nice sunny, dry day and the roofers had just left for the day. Delores had just appeared out on her porch with her broom to sweep away the roofing debris.
Earlier in the day I had spotted an old well cared for building as I rode into the small town of Tangent, Oregon. Now later -- leaving Tangent -- I noticed this genteel looking woman working her broom diligently. along the long porch of this old historic structure. Stopping in front of the old building I asked her who owned the building. She said rather firmly, "I do'"
Delores immediately sat down on her porch bench and gave me a look, that I read as, "lets talk." So I bounced out of my truck and sat down with her and talked. Our subjects were wide ranging. She told me that her and her husband moved to Tangent from the Midwest when they bought this old building. The building had a living residence plus a post office and convenience store. The convenience store was run by Delores after their move-in. Then they gave up the convenience store part of the building and rented it out to a restaurant. Now the latest restaurant endeavor had just moved out. She told me that was the last of rentals for her.
She told me she had lost her husband two years ago. Now at seventy- seven she wanted to relax and work in her gardens. As you can see in the photo above a small flower garden was growing by her backyard entrance gate -- a large vegetable garden was in back.
I found it amazing that one can be out and about and run into folks such as Delores. Sitting together on the porch bench, discussing all kinds of subjects with this woman I just met -- gave me a peaceful feeling in this world of turmoil.
Most barn photographs are of front exteriors. The photos on this post are all of backside exteriors of a large gambrel-roofed barn and its few remaining farm outbuildings. No farm house in sight. A busy highway road roars by the farm's frontage.The surrounding rural land is mostly large tracts of acreage belonging to farmers. If one discovers the small entry road along the back of this farm's property one can pull in with a vehicle, park for a few minutes while imagining its past use and if for more than a few minutes invent some farm stories about the place. Together, the structures stand straight and appear in good condition. Are they vacant ? -- perhaps. One would expect to see some tools of the barn world in this back area -- hay wagon, truck, tractor, and perhaps an old harrow. But no -- the place has been "swept" clean of all vestiges of farm implements.
The farm's "backsides" have become backgrounds for beautiful wild plants of various hues. The one and only modern item I noticed in this environment was a wooden stake driven into the ground with a posted paper sign saying "No Trespassing."
The rusting steel roofs combine nicely with the old natural wood buildings capturing a nice contrast with the wild ones growing tall in the soil. This photo above reveals that very few, if any, humans have walked by this way lately.
Even the robin-egg blue of the old corrugated siding of the barn felt right at home with the unpretentious plant colors.
For whatever reason the overcast skies, the old patina of the buildings along with the various hues of the wild plants took me back to some of the farms I was familiar with from my past.
Except for the whizzing noise of the highway I felt very peaceful here.
Peaceful yet sad as I felt this beautiful place just might not have a bright future ahead? What do you think?
Driving along rural Route 34 near Corvallis, Oregon one passes by a fruit stand that you cannot help but observe. Its main attraction, at least for me, is its size with hand painted art work on the structures along with painted lettering found on most exterior surfaces. Yesterday I was driving Rt 34 and decided to stop and and take some photos. I had not stopped at Jim's Fruit stand, as it is called, since I lived here for a few years in the early 1990s.
I found full sized art jumping out from the building surfaces everywhere I looked.
More art above. . . .
Jamie, who works at the stand mentioned that the original owner sold the business many years ago but then bought it back -- and has owned it to this day. How old is Jim's Fruit stand? At least 25 years old but probably more.
A red barn dominates structures on the property. All the hand lettering attracts folks to stop at the fruit stand.
Bunches of various flowers and vegetables
wander throughout the property.
Hollyhocks are in full bloom right now at Jim's. Fruit and/or vegetable stands come in different sizes and textures offering a multitude of offerings. I have noticed other smaller stands in my area -- I'll have to stop at some of them
"FREE STUFF" BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD -- NATIVE AMERICAN OIL PAINTING
Some days just seems different from most. Yesterday was one of those days. I walk my dog Daisy at a very large open field across from where I live. Yesterday I was there sitting on a wooden bench enjoying the sun and mild breeze. No other folks were in the area. Perfect day I thought. Then a large shadow loomed over my head -- I quickly looked up to see what it was. Oh -- it was a large turkey vulture riding thermal air waves over my head. He (or she) was marvelous to watch. We became a trio -- dog, woman, and turkey vulture enjoying the sun and accompanying breezes. Then after about 15 minutes other vultures began to soar out from the woods behind the field. They were catching the wind and soaring as a pack. Like dancers they twisted and turned in the air just above the field. Such beautiful entertainment. After a short period folks began to enter the field area with their dogs -- the vulture show came to a stop and disappeared back into the woods. I gave them a soft clap as they left their "stage." My next stop after I left the field was an unexpected one. About a quarter of a mile down the road I spotted some old furniture and a few odds and ends by the side of the road. A make shift cardboard sign held the word FREE! As I came closer to the stuff I noticed something that I thought I might like. Parking my truck I walked over to the item. Yep, it was a lovely older oil of a native American in a very fine frame. Now, I have had an interest in native American culture for years therefore I knew right away this oil was going home with me. The first thing I noticed when I got it home was that it was signed in its bottom corner -- "FERTHERWIND" Shirley McLoughlin (spelling by artist). Then I took the time to take a close look at the oil and noticed that the native American man in the painting was wearing what seemed to be two turkey vulture feathers as a headdress! If I was superstitious I would think turkey vultures had some meaning in my life. But for now I look at this day as one that brought unexpected pleasures! Reference: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Turkey_Vulture/id
Been very hot here in Oregon. One would think it was August rather than the beginning of June. I spotted these watermelons sitting outside the little co-op I shop at. Didn't buy any but was tempted. I took this photo instead. My mind is rather rusty after my long hiatus from blogging. Will slowly join all of you that blog as well as any newcomers. Stay cool!
Doorways can be a metaphor for many of our actions that we take. Be it a doorway to a new career, marriage, a change in philosophy, and more. I imagine you have opened many doorways in your life both good and not so good. Doorways teach us so much of life. I have been absent from my blog for a month or so simply because I have been looking at some changes that I want to make. Experience has taught me in my long life to go slowly -- so that is what I have been doing. Blogging for me will be rather spontaneous over the next few months. On occasion I will be stopping by and reading your wonderful posts and of course enjoying each and everyone of them. I look at this as my migration time. Like the Canadian Geese in my header -- seeking the familiar yet finding something new. Will be back in due time.