Friday, December 29, 2017

OREGON COAST September 2017 – Part 2—Gardens and a Fest

In my plan to avoid all huge highways, I went on to Silverton, Oregon; a small town with plenty of history, architecture and home to The Oregon Garden. This part of the world has a perfect environment for growing things and there are 80 acres in Silverton with 20 different gardens including a rose garden, water garden, conifer garden, and a children’s’ garden.

The water garden alone with its mazes and bridges took quite a while to explore.

“Using treated wastewater from the city, the garden is one of only a few installations in the United States that reuses wastewater for a water feature. Even in the summer months, the garden does not draw on drinking water supplies, instead relying entirely on wastewater treatment plant effluent.” Wikipedia

I caught the open tour shuttle and listened to the driver tell us about the history of the land which was originally part of a horse ranch and Christmas tree farm.

A 25-acre native Oregon white oak grove includes a 400-year-old Signature Oak. 
Coming from high, dry Idaho, I loved seeing the varieties of trees and plants.

That afternoon I made a stop at Bauman Farms to shop for local produce.

There was an abundance of fall squash, garden vegetables and apples.

Their cider operation was in full production.

I couldn’t leave without Marion Berry pie and fresh apple cider.

The next morning I arrived early enough in Mt. Angel to find a parking place for a visit to their Oktoberfest. This community is largely composed of descendants of German and Swiss immigrants and their folk festival is a big one.
Many of the attendants wear Bavarian-inspired attire. There is plenty of bratwurst, sauerkraut, a biergarten and wiener dog races.

This young man was proud to pose by the polka bandstand to show off his lederhosen.
Beautiful children everywhere—

--and they just know what to do when they hear fun music.

Along with all the partying in the street, there was a concert in the historic St. Mary Catholic Church-
--and at the top of the hour I waited with the crowd at the foot of the 49-foot-high Glockenspiel on the corner to put on its show.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

OREGON COAST September 2017 - Part 1 - Waterfalls and Bridges

Once again I drove my trusty Subaru across Idaho and Oregon for a gathering of watercolor artists in September. I gave myself extra time so I could do some exploring of the Willamette Valley before I continued on to the ocean. This time I had my cell phone g.p.s. set up and ready to use to help me find my way. My first destination was Silver Falls State Park just east of Salem, Oregon.

To say the park is scenic is an understatement. Even in this summer of unusually dry weather the huge spruce and Douglas fir trees kept the campground shady and cool. After staying overnight there I took the Trail of Ten falls which is a little over seven miles long. Unfortunately the streams which fed the waterfalls were low. One of the first falls, Winter Falls, was nothing but a wet cliff.

Lower North Falls dropped 30 feet and was amazing even in September.

Double Falls is 178 feet high.

Middle North Falls was much dryer than shown in the brochure photos but was still worth the hike.

This is only the upper part of the cascade and there’s a trail behind it so you can stand and look through a curtain of tumbling water.

I got caught up in taking photos and ran out of time so I only saw seven of the ten falls before taking a shortcut back to my car.

Early the next morning I did a tour of the covered bridges of Linn County while the light was still at a low angle. Oregon is said to have 51 covered bridges. They were built by early pioneers with covers to protect their floors from the rainy weather.

I drove through rustic farm country and came first to Shimanek Bridge. It’s the only red bridge along the route.

It is also known for its gothic louvered windows.

Hannah Bridge was very picturesque in the morning sun.

This is Larwood Bridge. It was built in 1939 over Roaring River. Not so roaring in late summer. I could almost walk across the stream on the exposed stones.

Hoffman Bridge was scheduled for restoration and Gilkey Bridge was closed and off its base while construction workers were giving it a face lift.

Even though the weather was sunny the skies were hazy and full of smoke. There were forest fires to the south in the Three Sisters Wilderness and another wildfire burned to the north along the Columbia River just upstream from Portland.

To add to the smoke, farmers were torching their grass-seed fields after harvest to clean them of disease and weeds. Eastern Oregon is well known for its soggy, mossy wet weather but this wasn’t my experience this trip.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


I finally put together the story of The 2017 Eclipse from our house.  Thanks to Cindy and Ann for sharing photos.

There were twenty people in our back yard -- give or take five or six – on the morning of August 21, 2017.

Gordon had a Dutch oven full of riblets he was barbecuing for lunch.

Bob had his smoker ready for another rack of ribs.

I was working on getting a once-in-a-lifetime photo or two.

And everybody had their stare-at-the-sun glasses.

EVERYBODY. Some even had more than one pair.

Then at around ten a.m. we could see the shadow of the moon cut a notch out of the sun.

It was super exciting.

The neighbors brought over a shamrock plant to see if it would fold up like it does when evening comes.

Time passed.

And the moon and sun moved more.

We continued to watch.

However, it was difficult to tell if everyone was truly focused on the event.

We put paper down on the grass so we could watch for the eclipse shadow bands
and also use it to show up the effect of our pinhole cameras.

We began to notice a weird darkness and there was a marked cooling of temperature.

The light shining through openings such as tree leaves turned from round to crescent.

Bob and Gordon kept one eye on the sky and the other on the barbecue.

Some tried looking through Gordon’s welder helmet to see what that was like.

Most were glad to pose for a “look amazed” photograph. Some, not so much.

The sky got darker and the air got cooler.

Almost totality!

Darker, colder. The shamrock started to fold up. The street light came on.

Cindy yelled, “shadow bands!” and then,

The Diamond Ring! We could see stars!

I was so excited I took two photos of total darkness before I remembered to take off the filter.


Solar flares

And in less than two minutes the sun began to reappear.

Then the sun and moon began to part ways.

The ribs were ready and so was the Dutch oven cobbler.

Warm sunshine returned.

The table was spread.

Everyone helped themselves to the picnic.

Nobody went hungry.

John and his friend stopped by. They’d chosen the rim of the Menan Butte to see the show. They’d also seen the shadow rushing across the land toward them.

After totality most out-of-towners hurried to leave hoping to beat the crowds so the highways turned into parking lots.

John, and Ann and her family tried to get to Utah but traffic south was bottle-necked into a crawl. The Simiskeys gave up and went back to stay overnight with Cindy in Idaho Falls. They made the trip to Logan the next morning just fine. 

John and his friend hung in for the duration and didn’t get to Salt Lake City until after midnight.