Friday, July 31, 2009


Okay, I can't help myself. There are so many wonderful fences in the Hood River Valley that I'm back there again. Rural areas in general are great for them, I know, but the Valley is the ultimate earthly paradise for me, the place where my heart tends to linger long after I've gone home from a visit.

I loved the laciness of the fence and grass here, and the pale gold of the grass against the silvered wire.

This fence photo is just an excuse to take a picture of the hills in the background, because that largest one, Bald Butte, has fond memories for me. My brothers and I used to pack a lunch of a morning, and hike to the top of it. There was a fire lookout tower up there. I always wished I had the nerve to climb its skinny ladder to the top, to see the view from there. Never did though.

That hill always harbors one of my most thrilling and frightening memories. We had been to the top, this time with the church youth group, and were beginning the downward trek.

I was doing a sort of one-step jog, stop, one-step jog, stop, when suddenly the "stop" part of my gait didn't work, and I found myself running straight down the steep, barren, slope. I couldn't slow down, much less stop. In fact, with every step I went a little faster, but I knew when I reached the treeline, there'd undoubtedly be a very abrupt and disastrous halt waiting for me.

The only thing I could think of to do was sit down, so as fast as my mind hit on that solution, I jerked both feet up in front of me, which brought me down hard on my bum. I don't remember that it hurt, only that it didn't work. Instead of stopping, I began to roll. I don't think my maneuver even slowed me down.

And the last thing I'd seen before hitting the ground was the enormous boulder looming directly ahead, approaching with terrifying speed.

I was lucky, and our youth minister was quick witted and fast on his feet. He grabbed my hand as I whirled and tumbled past him. I'm probably lucky, too, that the force of his clutching hand didn't wrench my arm from its socket. As it stood, I was shaken up, but not hurt. (Thank you, Karl Love!)

Well, my granddaughter is painting a bird house, sitting next to me at her dining table. Time for me to grab a paint brush, too!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


It's still hot, though not quite a fiery as yesterday, which topped out at 106.3 degrees F (41.28 C). I'm trying to get work done, but trying to stay cool at the same time.

Ceili keeping cool under the bed

Somehow, hot weather seems to call for Jell-o, so I went looking for a package, and also some fruit to stir into it.

I came up with a small package of apricot Jell-o (yes, it was even that brand). Now then, fruit. Grapes? That didn't sound too good. Ate the last pear and banana yesterday. One slightly shriveled Red Delicious apple in the 'fridge, a donation to my lunch at an art show, of a variety I find inedible. (Which makes me ask: What has been done to the family of Delicious apples? They were really good when I was a kid, and we had them in our orchard.)

Anyway, I stood at the cabinet, shuffling cans, searching...cranberry sauce? Okay. Sure. That could work. Maybe.

I took pictures, so here's what you do:

Fix the Jell-o as per box instructions, and put it in the refrigerator to partially set up. While you're at it, put the can of jellied cranberry sauce in the 'fridge, too. An hour and a half or so later, take them out again.

Open the cranberry sauce, and cut four slices. Put a slice in each of four small bowls.

Divide the apricot gelatin (there, used a different word!) amongst the four bowls with the slices in the bottom.

Cut two more slices of cranberry sauce, and cut them into sixths.

Stand three wedges in the Jell-o in a line at the rim of each bowl, and your dessert/salad is done. Unless you have whipped cream or topping, which would be yummy on top.

The color combo is a little dark, a little creepy, but hey, marigolds come in that color combination, so it can't be all that bad. I'm SO looking forward to dinner tonight. Which reminds me to say: Put the bowls back into the refrigerator until you're ready to eat them.

Bonus Picture: Sandie and Coco surveying a flower bed full of Mega Blossoms at the Cracked Pots show.

*Click on any image to see it full-sized.*

Monday, July 27, 2009


Here are more photos from the recycled garden art sale at the Edgefield McMennamins last week, out in Troutdale.

These mosaics from Sandra Carlson caught my eye, with their happy motifs and bright colors. It's funny. I have no dearth of creative juices myself, but I look admiringly at mosaics, and all I can think is, I could never in a hundred years do that. Maybe that's why I'm such of fan of them, and of the artists who do create them.

Then there were the creative garden containers, with their lovely contents, put together by Ann Munson:

Now, this next is becoming something of an unlooked for tradition. Every year I go a-wander with my camera, grabbing photos of what catches my eye and heart, and every year I find something to love in the display of a man I know only as, "that guy who has the hotel down in Mexico." He hasn't been in his space since I first met him three shows ago!

That first year, I traded a piece of my art for a piece of his, a funky, funny head-of-a-man made from a plastic milk jug and plastic bottle caps. It has a solar yard light for a hat and stake, and it stands in my front flower bed, smiling, absorbing the sunlight by day, and smiling a glowing, incandescent welcome by evening.

This year, I really wanted to snag and bag this:

It's made from a metal fence post topper, and I think it's perfectly wonderful.

The other item from "the man from Mexico" that I yearned for was this:
If you click on the picture (or any of the others), you'll see the full-size, full-resolution version, and in that one you can read the "sign" over the birdhouse entry: "Gnome Tweet Home." Sweet.

Okay. That's it for now. The Artists' Challenge will be tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Well, I realized as I was going through my photos that one blog on the Cracked Pots at Edgefield was simply not going to be a good idea, so this will probably be a three-parter. Even at that, any show that easily takes a full day to see well could do with even more.

I got roughly fifteen minutes of time, zipping around with my camera, shooting one-handed, and chatting briefly with each artist, to get what I did before hurrying back to my own space. The flyers, posters, and website all say the show begins at 1pm each of the two days. Those of us who've done the show before know that's almost laughable. People come as early as 9am, or even earlier, for all I know, and this year I had folks ask if I'd sell to them if they showed up the day before, while I was setting up! What I'm saying is, even when I arrive early, it's never early enough!

Oh. It occurs to me it might be good to explain Cracked Pots. Cracked Pots is a non-profit here in Portland that encourages recycling. They do that by speaking in the schools, showing kids that they can create art by using things that would otherwise go into landfills, and once a year they host a juried art sale at Edgefield McMennamins. All art must be at made from mostly recycled materials (I think they've set the percentage at 70%) and must be for the garden. This year there were at least ninety artists participating. One of the really cool things about it is the lack of booths and tents. They encourage artists to blend their art with the grounds, which are beautifully landscaped, and extensive, as much as possible. It's a wanderer's dream.

I love the ideas people come up with for using discards in the garden!

The artist wasn't around when I snapped the pictures above, so I don't have info on him/her. I've tried to credit people, but it isn't always possible, for which I do apologize.

This whimsical art, painted on old boards, was done by Jean Hybskmann, of Troutdale:

I am absolutely in love with the mosaics Parris Foley does!

And isn't this garden furniture by Donna Mauch and Debra Shaffer, of 2nd Site, delightful? I can't decide which I like best--the potting benches, or the arbor made from a baby's crib.

And I think I'll stop here. More to come later!

PS Click on any image to see it full-sized, and at full resolution.

Friday, July 24, 2009


My fences are still coming from the Hood River Valley today. Nothing like farmland to make a person grab the camera and start shooting.

I liked this "bird on a wire",

and couldn't resist playing with it. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love my filters!

As usual, you can click on the photos to see them full-size, and, really, at their best. (To keep from leaving this page while you do that, you can right-click on an image and select "Open link in New Window" or "Open link in New Tab". After you've viewed the photo, close that window or tab, and you should be automatically returned to here. My apologies for not knowing the Mac commands to do that!)

Saturday, July 18, 2009


My Dear Husband and I had lunch at the Trillium Cafe in Hood River last Monday. It's fun trying new places, and when I spotted the name of the restaurant, that was all it took to decide it was The Place. (I'm a Trillium Artisans member, and years ago played in a flute trio called Trillium.) Besides, the whole front of the restaurant was painted with wildly colorful art. The inside, too, as we found, with the walls covered with gigantic Maurice Sendak characters from Where the Wild Things Are.

So we took our seats, ordered, and began to look around. There were paintings. The first one, spotted by DH, seemed to feature our little Scotty dog:

Then I noticed another painting, with what appeared to be a white picket fence in its background, deciding on the spot to make it part of a Friday Fence Post. I didn't see the slinking figure in the foreground until I got closer, and didn't realize until I looked at the photo I'd taken that the "fence" was actually the spaces between tree trunks. Doesn't matter. This artist has a vivid, and slightly spooky-tuned, imagination.

"Run, Jonathin Greenleaf, Run"

After that, I had to take a tour of the cafe, to see what other paintings Mr. Hartman had hung. There was just one I couldn't get a shot of, darn the hanging light fixture that prevented it.

Yow. What is that thing?

Another painting with a feature, a very long-legged person, that went unnoticed until I looked at my photo (Well, it was a dim room, and I was trying to shoot quickly!):

I love the way Mr Hartman does trees!

I'd like to thank Benjamin Todd Hartman for painting, and the owners of the Trillium Cafe for hanging his art so their customers could enjoy it!

Friday, July 17, 2009


I love this fence for so many reasons--its simplicity, its weathered patina, its zigzag meandering, its topsy-turvy stance, the whorls of the wood grain, the bolts used to fasten it--I could go on, but why not just show the pictures?

This is a low fence at Toll Bridge Park, near Parkdale, Oregon.

One last reason to love the fence is that it led me to this sign. I've taken quite a few walks through this park, and this fence is prominent. You have to pass it to get almost anywhere. But I've never seen the sign at its southeastern end. It says "TRAIL". Well, who knew? Not me! Next time we're there, I will explore that overgrown path.

Click on any of the pictures to see them in their full-sized glory.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Meggie and I went to Mom's yesterday. High on our priority list was an activity sure to please: Making ice cream.

It was all Mama and I could do to get Meggie and her cousin Ariel to eat lunch, much less wait until afterwards for the ice cream making. At long last, though, we gathered the implements and ingredients of desire, and headed for the deck.

I found this recipe in a magazine last week, and couldn't wait to try it. Ice cream in ten minutes, without a machine? Really? The DH and I gave it a shot while RV camping in the Hood River Valley. He declared it both fun and delicious. I declared it something wonderful to share.

You will need:


  • 1 cup milk OR cream OR a mixture of the two
  • 1 teas vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cups ice
  • 1/4 cup rock salt
  • 1 quart-size resealable plastic baggie
  • 1 gallon-size resealable plastic baggie
Good to have, but not on the ingredients list:

1 Great-grandma who will stand in the sun, making shade for you!

Step one: Pour the milk into the quart size bag. Putting the bag into a stiff container saves spills.

In goes the milk

Step two: Add the vanilla.

Ari adds vanilla

Step three: Add the sugar.

In goes the sugar!

Step four: Set the smaller bags aside, and switch to the gallon size. Put four cups ice in the big bag.

Is this why we have our gloves and mittens?

Step five: Add the rock salt to the ice.

It helps to take turns holding the bags open.

Step six: Put the sealed quart size bag inside the gallon bag, and seal.

One inside the other, both sealed.

Step seven: Shake like crazy!


Step eight: Assemble your eating crew, and divide the spoils!

And a good time was had by all!

As you may have gathered from the pictures, we made the recipe twice at the same time, with bags and ingredients for both Meg and Ariel. The two bags provided ice cream for four children and two adults, although they were small. When Bob and I did ours, we fixed a bag for each of us, and ate it all. On the other hand, we skipped dinner and went straight for the ice cream!

Now I want to do it again, with flavors. Peanut butter? That would be good. Chocolate goes without saying. Oh! How about peach-almond? Okay. My diet is in serious danger here.

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