Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sculpture Along the River Bank

 There is a wonderful sculpture in a park here by the Deschutes River. It is fascinating and so well done. Worth a mention here in my blog.
It is depicting our logging days here in Bend, with a draft horse...
pulling two logs behind it. Of course you can see it is made from metal, but what you can't see is that it is all made from old reclaimed metals items from the past.
Now, you can begin to see some of the things inside the horse...
and here even more. If you click on the image to expand it you can see even better. There are over 100 items in this horse, most I could recognize and some I still can not. There is a listing on a sign close by that lists the items, and it is really fun to stand here and try to find everything. It is like a puzzle. There is a lot of old farming equipment, saws and wood working tools, but some domestic items too like an old sewing machine and vacuum. The logs behind have the same, their insides filled with other items. There is an old chain saw in there. 
What a fascinating sculpture it is, and what a wonderful idea by the artist!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Colors and Textures of War

I have been reading a book about pharmacists and pharmacy tents in W W II, watching a bit of the documentary on Viet Nam on PBS, watching a movie about the sinking of the Indianapolis in W W II, and then the finding of the ship Indianapolis on PBS. My thoughts have turned to war, a hard topic. So I am going to write down a bit of my rambling thoughts today.

Colors of War
  • The GRAY of rain dripping off the rim of a helmet, rain blocking out the forms of hills, mountains and valleys, rain pouring onto tanks, guns, ship decks and tents, muffling everything and everyone.
  • The BROWN of mud squelching up over boots of marching soldiers, the sand and rocks of beaches under bombardment and of foot lockers, locked.
  • The khaki GREEN of uniforms, clean or dirty, the rusted metal of gun turrets, hand grenades whistling silently through the air, gas masks, and sloppy food.
  • The deep RED of bloody wounds, tongues hanging out of screaming faces, dripping blood, the Red Cross crosses on white tents, and sunsets through the smoke.
  • The SILVER of heroic medals, of officers stripes, of bullets piercing, of bombs dropping from silver enemy planes, and ocean swells topped with navy cruisers.
  • The YELLOW of another sunrise, a nurses curls, flashes of lightening, or a stray flower in the dirt and grimy mud.
  • The BLUE of dress uniforms, ink on endless paperwork, the wink of a blue eye, or the calm in the storm.
Textures of War
  • The SHARPNESS of shrapnel, the corners of mess trays, of Sargent's barking orders, the edges of torn off limbs, bugle notes piercing the darkness of morning, barbed wire topped walls, and the taste of fear.
  • The ROUGHNESS of rocks being scaled, of a thin wool blanket, of choppy seas and heaving stomachs, of crawling on bellies in the dirt and flying blind through thunderstorms. 
  • The WETNESS of tears, of a puddle in the bottom of a foxhole, the rain drumming on tent tops, wading ashore, and never having dry feet.
  • The SOFTNESS of a hand clasp or a salute, free moments to write home, sucking mud in the the bottom of trenches, wet clothes, marching through snow and canned green peas.
  • The CROSS HATCH of confusion, exhaustion, moral turmoils, disrespect, fear, blind orders, singing, comradeship, buddies dying, loyalty, principals and duty.
  • The SMOOTHNESS of a flag lifting in a breeze, a swallow of brandy, a team effort, a bomb being released or the arc of a shell in the sky. Smooth decisions handed down from politicians and officers, and smooth words from home to soften hardened hearts.

Thanks for listening to me release some of my pent up thoughts. Is there any answer to war? Many people much wiser than I have never reached a conclusion. May God have mercy on us.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Kids and Grandkids


I have a couple of photo boards around the house and change them up as I have time. This one is right over my dresser, where the insurance man and I see it every day. I thought it would be fun to be seasonal this time, and so I searched for for fall family photos through the years. I am loving it. So fun to see different grand kids at different stages. I think they will have fun seeing it too.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Happy Pretend First Day of Autumn!

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
George Eliot

I am pretending that today is the first day of autumn, instead of tomorrow. It was so beautiful this morning. Crisp and chilly, bright blue skies and sunshine, and a hint of wood smoke in the air. A few bushes and trees have a touch of turning color. 
I put on some beautiful music, and proceeded to decorate the house with my autumn things. It was wonderful and I even had a second cup of coffee to celebrate. I enjoy the cooler weather, and we do have beautiful fall days in Central Oregon.

In the afternoon I got a cup of tea (with a scone of course) and got out my Brambly Hedge book for Autumn and re-read it. Such lovely stories, drawings and books. I also put out my Brambly Hedge Autumn plate, tumbler and teacup and saucer. A great thing to do on the first day of autumn, don't you agree?
 Crab apple limbs in front of the pine trees.
A little pinkish red, which I can see from my front window.
And gorgeous plum colored crab apples, that the birds haven't got hungry enough to to find. 

Happy Pretend First Day of Autumn!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Country Scenes and Children's Dreams

Like I promised, we are at the edge of the arena at the fairgrounds in Burns. The insurance man took the day off and we went and took his mom to the fair. We started by looking at exhibits and seeing the theme of the fair in every one's handiwork. The theme was ' Country Scenes and Children's Dreams', a theme I really liked. We visited with friends, had some hamburgers with grilled onions, and then we decided to go into the grandstands and watch horse roping and some horse races as well.
Here are all the cowboys all lined up on horses, waiting their turns to rope a wild horse. Harney County is still one of the cowboy capitals of our country. Lots of ranchers here.
Just waiting for the next riders. 
They rope in teams of two, one around the neck and one to capture a back leg.
They are pretty good with their ropes, but only a few teams actually got their ropes around both the neck and leg. Beautiful horses. I especially liked the gray and black horse in this photo. Enlarge the photo to see it better.
While their Dads and Grandpa's were roping, some of the little cowboys were having a grand time in the dirt. Complete with hats and boots.

We had some fair food while we watched. Mom had an ice cream cone and the insurance man and I split a root beer float. We also ate some 'funnel cake fingers' and split an order between the three of us.

There are also plenty of cowgirls out there too.They are very good at their horse skills. 
We watched two or three horse races, and enjoyed that before going out to look at the 4H animals. 
Really cute calf that came along with his mama, so that she could be judged.
We decided we were tired, so went home and fixed dinner before relaxing for the evening.
On Saturday morning, we got up early and went to the 'Cow Ladies' breakfast. The ranchers grill steaks, flip big pancakes and fry eggs on outdoor grills, while the we follow the line and end with an offer of brandy. (Too early in the day!) The breakfast was yummy (love that steak) and it's all for a good cause, college scholarships for the 4H kids. My mother-in-law loves to visit all the people who have come into town, and a good time was had by all. After that, full and stuffed, we went downtown and put up chairs for the Fair Parade. A friend of ours was named Grand Marshall of the parade, and there were children in droves, exited to pick up the candy. This family was next to us, and the candy they snagged should keep them going until Halloween.

The insurance man and mom, the empty chair is for the lady snapping the picture!
The honor guard came first, and we all stood to recite the pledge of allegiance. You gotta love small town America, where there are no protesters in sight....
Then we all sang the National Anthem while some old cars went by. Beautiful.
And the parade was wonderful, with a visit from Smokey the Bear, no less. 

Another great fair to celebrate!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fun in the old town tonight!

Today it feels a bit more like Fall outside. We continue to have thick smoke and dangerous air quality, but today is a bit cooler with some clouds. They say we might even have a thunderstorm this evening. Rain would be good, lightening most definitely not. Our hearts are sore for the loss of our forests, hiking trails and beauty due to many wildfires. It doesn't quite feel like summer is over, and yet my yard and garden are acting like autumn is approaching. Plants have a way of knowing when to turn each page of the year.
September is a time when I feel like closing things in to home and all things domestic. More cooking, and more creative juices flowing. I feel powerful impulses to clean out cupboards, finish up older projects and start new ones, decorate inside and out, read a new book, bake some pumpkin nut bread and even go to the Harney County Fair.

 At the first of August we took some friends of ours with us to our local Deschutes County Fair. This is Emily age 16, and Abby age 12. We are 'glowing' in these photos, as the temperature was in the high 90's.
We had fun looking at all the animals, and the girls had friends who were showing their 4-H animals and staying at the fairgrounds for the week of the fair. A soft bunny below, and some pretty pigeons above. They make the most peaceful coo-ing sounds.
We ate fair food, and watched a children's ventriloquist while we ate. We saw exhibits, people, (lots of people) photography, vegetables and flowers, quilts and cakes. 
But we waited until sunset to go on rides.
It was cooler, and so pretty with the lights all lit up. The girls had never been on rides, so the insurance man and I had so much fun watching them enjoy it for the first time. Just like when we were young, and enjoying rides.
I think they decided that this was their favorite ride. Sort of a long boat that rocked back and forth, higher and higher.
And finally we all went on the Ferris Wheel together. The seats were enclosed capsules that held four people, perfect! We had a beautiful view of the skyline after sunset, with the Cascade Mountains standing out against the night sky. So much fun!!

But now it is September, and time for the Harney County Fair. It is always the last of the County Fairs for Oregon. So we are headed across the High Desert of Oregon to Burns, and will spend a few days going with my mother-in-law to all the fun small town fair activities. A local parade, ranchers and wives pancake breakfast, and the fair itself, which includes a rodeo and horse racing events. Lots of fun in the old town tonight! 

Hope you are enjoying September and the first taste of Autumn in your world!

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Diversity of Oregon

One Saturday in July we decided to check out the back country of Deschutes County, where we live. In the past when we wanted to go out into the High Desert of Central/Eastern Oregon we would go to Burns and out into Harney County. But this day, we wanted to see what was in our own back yard. Obviously, lots of sagebrush, juniper trees and views.
We drove on various dirt and gravel roads and took a picnic lunch along. We found that most of the land was fenced off  and posted private, no trespassing, which surprised us. We didn't know so much of it was privately owned, since it is mostly desert space. We found several old homesteads, long abandoned and derelict, but with a kind of haunting beauty of their own. This one was in a fairly green valley with several little springs of water dotting it. 
We found this big barn, really large by High Desert standards. It looks pretty good from this side...
but not so good from this side. We got out and walked around it, and admired the original workmanship. It won't be standing too many more years. 
There was a nice little spring just down the road, and we could see where they got water in the 'old' days. 
Many dreams and stories are abandoned out there, and the trees were quick to invade this little house and call it their own.
We did find one nice large farmhouse, still housing a family and farm, far from 'civilization'. Shady and green in it's little valley it seemed an oasis in the midst of sagebrush. We also encountered a sheriff deputy, who pulled up alongside us and seemed glad to chat about the area. He said that the land owners wanted a law enforcement presence known, to quash any vandalism or theft, so routine cycles were driven once a week or so. Interesting. Oregon is a state of such diversity. From the ocean, to the fertile rain-filled Willamette Valley, to the High Cascade Mountains, to the High Desert. 
We are planning another trip out to view another section soon as we love exploring our state.

We'll take you along too....