July 29, 2010

I Understand, Just Can't Stop

If my postings of the sites from the Northern and 
Southern kitty-corners of WA start to bore you at this point, 
well, I understand, just can't stop. 
This is the time of year for oohing and aaahing. 

Letting summer sights imprint to retrieve in deepest winter

Appreciating deeply established roots

Finding the patterns that mingle

And following the light along it's chosen path 

July 26, 2010

Ever So Slowly the Seasons Go Round

Many of my favorite sights in Sequim 
are those that may vanish before I return. 
This old up hill shed on the grounds at the herb farm for one. 
Like humans, buildings seem to share the ability, 
though weathered, to show a stable face when needed. 
What we can't see is that the building 
now relies on it's face for that stability. 
Turned around, it's boards are taking leave.

Inside the shed another fleeting beauty rests. 
Made with love and care, it does it's job well. 
But it will grow weary from exposure and erode. 

Rust will track time here and the metals, 
once extracted from the earth, will return to it.

While ever so slowly the seasons go round, 
bringing the sights and colors that make each passing a pure delight. 
I woke this morning with THIS song playing over and over in my head.

July 25, 2010

Vacation Friday in Sequim

Vacation Friday took a turn. No trip to the movies, but instead a wonderful visit with my dear friends in Sequim, WA, where the lavender is in full bloom everywhere. Last years shots were a bit later in the season and many places had already sheared their plants. Love those shapes but it was fun to see all the color this season and OH MY the scents. There was much more to the day that I will be posting, but here is a taste of the late afternoon at this garden. 

July 21, 2010

Catching Shadows

The Palouse was a fun place for catching shadows. With the grain storage and transport needed regionally, silos of all shapes and sizes near rail stops are plentiful. And as is common across the country, where the trains stop, so grow the communities. Great fun to drive around small, small "towns" early in the morning. They give the appearance of just coming to life, yet farmers and the businesses supporting them always get a good head start on the day. Much to be done while the shadows are long.

July 20, 2010

Distant Cows

Cows from any distance make me smile, even when a bit blurry.

July 19, 2010

A Little More

A little more early morning light.

July 18, 2010

Sunrise to Sunset

One of Mother Earth's greatest gifts, to my way of thinking, is the light of sunrise and sunset. Never the same; day to night, location to location, light air to heavy.

It brings into sharp or soft focus all senses in it's flowing moments of transition. Always different and always a gift.

The Palouse; a True Visual Treasure

There is a good deal of ground to cover in Eastern WA. Some images of the dual purpose journey I made there in May are in earlier posts. With hundreds of photos taken on the trip, the process of sorting them out has been, ah... interesting. There are quite a few more in this post so BEWARE, it may be overkill.

The afternoon I made the trip over the Cascade Mountain Range to Yakima, weather changed with the levels of elevation as expected. With the high temp reports for the East side, I didn't expect it to be cloudy there. By the time I got to the rest stop and gorge, just outside of town, (see the bridge in earlier post) the sky was looking dramatic and making for some fun light. Thirty minutes later, after checking into my room, this sunset with thinning clouds greeted me. It was a fun way to begin the trip.

My reason for being in Yakima was a two day Up Stream Fish Passage workshop. The first day we met in the local museum for an all day lecture. Day two we were in the field visiting a variety of examples of successful, and less than successful projects. I've included some photos from our first site visit at the Roza Diversion Dam on the Yakima River. 

Roza is one of seven diversion systems in the US Bureau of Reclamation's Yakima Project. The earliest project in the Plan was started in 1906. Roza began in 1939. Consideration for fish and wildlife, along with the redesign necessary to accommodate them, occurred in the 80's with completion in 89'. The seven diversions are primarily for irrigation purposes with some providing power generation as well.  

The photo below is looking down stream below the dam. Main stem to the left, diversion channel to the right.

The next photo (two below) looks down on the fish ladder. If you refer again to the first dam photo, the fish ladder entrance (dark opening) can be seen to the far right. Typically the greater number of fish move upstream along the river sides. Less pressure on them and places to rest. The next photo (one below) includes a debris barrier to stop the flow of natural and man made "treasures" that find their way into the river. Much more elaborate filter systems are placed before the entrance to the diversion channel.

Behind the dam and fish ladder is a building designed for fish monitoring. At the upper portion of the fish ladder is a fish catchment area where many (not all) are diverted. After being raised in a tank, they are sent, one by one, down a chute and into an area where they are track chipped, weighed, DNA sampled and more in the blink of an eye. Most are returned to the river. Some are transported to the hatchery for breeding. 

The folks working the monitoring system are amazing. Their schedules flow with the fish. The day before we visited, they processed 350 plus fish in 12 hours. It is a physically exhausting job requiring a high degree exactness and speed. The combination of the fish ladder and the monitoring support have increased fish numbers from almost non-existent to significant.

I'll stop the fish chatter here. Just thought you might like to see a bit of what's going on in the area of re-engineering structures of older design to meet today's needs.

Following the workshop's conclusion, I headed East again, making my way to the Palouse farm lands. My destination was the small town of Colfax. It ended up being a great home base from which to roam the countryside and return when needed. Having never been there before, I had no idea how long the drive would actually take. My goal was to be in the area before sunset to catch that wonderful light. 

As I raced by sites like the first photo below, I was going nuts trying to decide if I should stop and make some images or keep going; continually asking myself "what if". What if...the scene around the next bend is more amazing than what I'm seeing in the moment. Ultimately, the next two days would reflect the same conundrum. Do I stop? Where can I stop? And more often than not; how am I going to take photos through the windows, while sitting still, moving, window open, window closed, etc. The reality is, there was almost zero traffic the whole time I was there. And I swear I didn't do anything dangerous. What I did do, I'm sorry to admit, was go through a LOT of window cleaner. The Napa guy in Colfax, who very kindly filled the cleaner container for me, was stunned when it took a full gallon. He was sure I couldn't have gone through that much in the three previous days. 

As I've gushed in previous posts, the Palouse in the spring is just lovely to see. Yellow crops cover so much of the area in summer, it must be breath taking. One of my main goals in visiting the Colfax area was to be on Steptoe Butte for sunrise or sunset. My better judgement prevailed when I saw it from a long distance. (photo above) One way or the other I was going to be going up or down a narrow, primitive and unfamiliar road in darkness. I talked with a few locals who suggested it would be better not to make the trip alone. Next time.

It was the perfect pause before saying good bye to the Palouse and heading home. The drive took me back through a variety of dry to heavy rain areas. All beautiful. There is definitely another Palouse journey in my future. Just have to time it so my husband can come too. I hope this finds you enjoying something new in your region as well! If you're in the area, do visit the Palouse. It is a true visual treasure.

July 12, 2010

Remembering California

My cousin's house is a joy to wander through and around. If it weren't rude to take pictures non-stop while visiting, I would have done just that. She has created the kind of house that would ALMOST make me want to live back in the land of hellish summer heat. 

She enjoys telling a story about our childhood that either is or isn't true. I do hope it isn't but... she tells great stories and never ceases to make me laugh. In this case she swears that when we were little kids and she would come to visit, I would only let her use my white crayons! 

After this visit to her home, I decided if the story is true, I'm grabbing some credit for developing her skills for making magic with a limited color pallet. 

And how nice of the place we stayed the last night in town to plant Birds of Paradise at the front door. They stood like silent, glowing sentries, keeping watch while we slept. They eek summer. Sure hope yours is going well!

July 4, 2010

Symbols of Freedom

Nisqually Tribe Elder and Veteran, Bob Sisons, 
offers a blessing for the return of the Salmon in Roy, WA

The Eagle

The American Flag

July 1, 2010

Pondering the Health of the Palouse Soil

The weekend is nearing. There is a tug o' war going on to see which of the many neglected chores rise to the top of my list for doing. Pruning back the spring/summer growth which is trying to steal the driveway may win out. 

Bless our recycle center. I love knowing our yard waste will shortly be part of the dark, cooking compost nurtured there in grand piles. We've been cooking compost here at home for decades, but this time of year, the volume of debris far exceeds our space and time for working it down.

This is another of the areas compost centers. Once the big piles inside the building have been heated, moistened, turned, heated, moistened, turned and on...they are moved outside to be spread, moistened, turned as needed and further worked until done. 

Down the road a bit is one of the paper and plastic recycle centers. The trucks just keep coming and dumping, round the clock. Post dumping, moving and sorting, the resulting compacted bundles are trucked off to other centers to be reduced and reused. 

Worthy efforts to be sure. However like so many things we deal with on our over worked, over grown globe, the cycle of waste needs reduction. What better time than this weekend, during this celebration of our history, to commit ourselves to being more responsible dwellers? 

Yeah, I think I'll start with the driveway pruning and work out from there. I'll be pondering the health of the soils of the Palouse, seen in the top photo, as I trim.
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