In the path of totality: 8.21.17

It was a much anticipated celestial event.  And it didn’t disappoint…

The Great American Eclipse of 2017.  Here in Oregon, the day dawned clear and warm – just the way that an August morning should.  Amid all the hype, we managed to find a special place to witness natures most beautiful sight.  Hubby and I hopped on the motorcycle at 7:30 am and rode into Woodburn. It was a perfect morning for a ride.  We skirted around the busy highways and stuck to country back roads.  We did run into a bit more traffic on the way home after 11, and gridlock continued into the evening hours on Oregon roads.  We spent the morning in the garden of a friend, among her family and friends.  We had snacks, and afterwards a scrambled egg breakfast.  And there was even a small wedding ceremony, under the waxing eclipse, to the surprise of our host (and mother of the groom) The story continues with the photos below:


There are times that a photo can’t tell the whole story.  This is one of those.  As we watched the glow of the sun being swallowed by the shadow of the moon the very air around us began to change.  The first thing we noticed was a change in air temperature.  It was a fine August morning, and the sun had begun to heat the air toward the eventual 90° temps we enjoyed that day.  But as the moon made it’s way across the sky, the air began to cool, and at totality there was definitely a chill in the air.

Did you know that light has a temperature too?  That also began to change as the shadow grew.  At first it was just a dimming of light.  At about the 50% point we began to hear the crickets calling, and noticed the bees sleeping on the flowers in the garden.  The quality of the light went from the usual warm white to a more golden, dimmer feel.  At almost total the light had an eerie blue-green quality – almost like we were under water, or looking through a screen of some kind. We were all watching the sun, but every once in a while someone would remind the group to look around at the garden.  We were amazed with each moment that passed.

And then the eclipse reached totality.

The sky had been getting darker and dimmer with each moment.  At the moment of the total eclipse the sun went from black to a pure, bright white light around a black hole in the sky.  Everyone exhaled with amazement at what we were witnessing.

Simply the most beautiful thing I have ever seen with my own eyes.

Nothing can prepare you for seeing such a sight, and the emotion that it invokes – we were IN the experience like you can’t be by looking at a photo.  The cool air on our skin, the glow of the sun on our face, the sound of the night insects and birds and shared expressions of awe. It was a complete body experience, and communion with each other and nature.   And one I can’t wait to have again.

Below are the humble photos I was able to take with my little SLR camera and special filter.  I hope you enjoy them, and feel just a bit of the awe that I did as I was pressing the shutter that morning.

(if you click on one photo a slideshow will appear to view the photos with)


A rainy walk through the Cecil & Molly Smith Garden (of Rhododendrons)

Today it rained.  Not a big deal, really, if you live in Western Oregon.  The thing is, yesterday and the four days before were sunny an beautiful!  With nothing to do but play in the garden yesterday, I was looking forward to the monthly meeting with my HPSO study group.  (Hardy Plant Society of Oregon).  And naturally, the weather took a wet turn.

But we are a pretty hardy group, and a little rain will never stop us from coming together to enjoy a great garden, landscape, nursery or lunch spot!  So this morning we met underneath dripping leaves, holding umbrellas, to walk through a little gem of a garden in St. Paul, Oregon. Cecil & Molly Smith Garden is planted under a canopy of native Douglas firs.  The many pathways take you on a tour of wooded views featuring the over 600 rhododendrons and azaleas.  Under-planted with myriad woodland species – there is something beautiful to see at every turn.

From the entrance we walked under towering trees, around corners to hillsides planted with ferns, false Solomon’s seal, bleeding hearts, hellebore’s, trillium, and even Jack-in-the-pulpit (arisaema triphyllum).  We admired the new foliage on these amazing plants, oohh’d and ahhh’d over blooms ranging in size from a thimble to the size of a teacup.  We even spotted a lovely banana slug, which was duly admired by myself and a Master Gardener friend that specializes in educating the public on slugs and snails.

It was a beautiful day – even with the rain.  In fact, I would have to say that the rain enhanced the beauty of the grounds and the foliage in the forest.

Enjoy the photos – to view the photos in a slideshow format simply click on the first photo and go from there.

*S.   If you need me, I will be in the garden

1000 Mustangs*

The Mustang turned 50 this year.  An American Classic that has been loved by millions, including me and hubby.  And my Dad in his time, too.  He owned an original Pony car, the 1964 1/2.  I remember seeing photos of it, though I was too young to remember the actual car.  His was white with a red interior.

parade poster


We have owned a 1965, 1978, 1995 convertible and now a brand new 2014 convertible. So you could say that Pony Car is in our blood!  Shopping for our new car last weekend we heard about the Northwest Celebration happening in Woodburn, we decided to check it out!  One of the goals of this Parade was to break the worlds record for the largest parade of Mustangs. I am pretty sure they broke this record easily! (the previous record was 621)

It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Enjoy the following photos with captions telling the story of the cars we saw.




1404 Mustangs_004 1st shot

We arrived about mid-morning.  The Woodburn Drag Strip was already teaming with Mustang enthusiasts; the lanes of the drag strip lined up with 4 rows of cars sparkling in the sunshine.


1404 Mustangs_012 50 years grilles

It was fun to see the similarities and the differences side by side.  These two blue beauties represent the original generation Mustang along side the 2014 Pony Car.  50 years, side by side.


1404 Mustangs_013 Pony gascap

It was fun to get up close and take a look at the details of the cars assembled here.  We are all so familiar with the Mustang Icons: the Pony logos, the Ford insignia and the lines of these cars. Remember when the gas caps were on the rear of cars?


1404 Mustangs_041 Rusty Blue emblem

There were a lot of pristine automobiles at the is get-together, but who doesn’t have a memory of that rusty, faded icon on the side of the car. Even though these cars were less than perfect, they were more than worthy of being part of this amazing group of cars.


1404 Mustangs_054 reflection on black

This car’s mirror-like paint did a good job reflecting me kneeling down to photograph the Pony emblem.


1404 Mustangs_074 rusty red pony

Another imperfect beauty.


1404 Mustangs_052_ 1st gen white tail lights

This familiar tail light is from the same generation of the first Mustang that we owned, a 1965 model, white with red interior.


1404 Mustangs_068 90s taillight

And this tail light is the same as the 1995 Lazer Red convertible we owned.  Ours had a white leather interior.


1404 Mustangs_048 1st gen white grill

I love the way the grille of the Mustangs has evolved. But there is just something about those early models, I can’t resist capturing.


1404 Mustangs_045 Black grill

Love the way the sunshine sparkled on the chrome.


1404 Mustangs_044 Rusty blue

Even the rust can’t take away from the authentic look of this American classic.


1404 Mustangs_020 70s gen grille

The 70’s grille, still features that classic Pony.


1404 Mustangs_021 Lindas Turquoise Mustang Grille

As I was bending down to take photos of this Turquoise 1964 the original owner walked up and began to talk to me.


1404 Mustangs_032  Lindas Turquiose Emblem

Her name was Linda; she had purchased the car in Lake Havasu, Arizona.


1404 Mustangs_034 Lindas turquoise

She told the story of how she had the car painted by Earl Sheib at one time.


1404 Mustangs_029 Lindas Turquoise Mustang Steering Wheel

And she added the air conditioning, which froze her out, but was better than driving in the heat.


1404 Mustangs_035 Lindas Mustang steering wheel

Thank you Linda, for sharing your beautiful Mustang with us.


1404 Mustangs_057 Blue Pony under hood

There was lots of fancy paint and striping to admire.


1404 Mustangs_064 Roberts Mustang

We ran into Robert with his 2007 Mustang.


1404 Mustangs_067 Happy 50th

Everyone there was enthusiastic about the cars and the reason for the parade, Mustang Turns 50!!


1404 Mustangs_078 parade begins

This shot was taken just as the parade began.  It took a while for the rows to file out.


1404 Mustangs_085 red and white x 3

These beauties caught our eye, red and white all in a row.


1404 Mustangs_088 line of Pony Cars

Something I am sure I will never see again, a rainbow of Mustangs in all styles and colors.


1404 Mustangs_096 driving out

Cars filing out, on the right of the photo and the 3 rows waiting to begin the parade.


1404 Mustangs_123 1st gen white

Classic White Mustang speeds by.


1404 Mustangs_080 American Classic

For me, it’s like looking a memory when I see a classic white Mustang.


1404 Mustangs_103 taillights

Here you can see the way they style has kept true to it’s roots:  Classic 60’s in the foreground with the 2000’s generation on the road ahead.


1404 Mustangs_135 racing Robert

Mustang isn’t just about looks and styling, it’s about the way they drive!  That’s Robert racing by with a wave.


1404 Mustangs_164 10 miles of mustangs

It was rumored that the cars lined up for 10 miles, twisting through the Oregon country roads.  Here you can see them shining in the distance, the chrome and paint reflecting the springtime sunshine.


1404 Mustangs_185 return line

And when they returned to the Woodburn Drag Strip we had the chance to see them all one more time.



1404 Mustangs_200 Robert

Here comes Robert, racing in with the rest of them.


1404 Mustangs_210 Robert



1404 Mustangs_211 Linda

And this is Linda, in her sharp ’64.

See you out on the road this summer. We will be in that Race Red Mustang, top down and hair flying in the wind!


Walking down the garden path * a Portland, Oregon garden

Walking down the garden path: an occasional series. 

One of the groups I belong to has a monthly outing related to our common passion of gardening.  Last week we were lucky enough to be able to tour this beautiful garden, located in an established Portland neighborhood.

garden from the street

It was a late morning in June, with overcast skies and sprinkles of rain drifting down on us, reminding everyone gently that even though the calendar says summer, we are not quite done with the rain.  Our host was very patient with all our questions about her wonderful gardens and the unique plants that we found there.  We walked around looking, taking pictures and chatting with each other.  What a perfect morning!

I will let the photos tell the story from here ~ to view the pics full size click the first image to open the slideshow.

And of course I can’t resist the opportunity to play a bit, these photos have been stylized: just for fun!!

a day at the beach*

Summertime has left the Northwest, leaving the golden days of Autumn to take her place.

We had a really great summer here, lots of nice days, plenty of hot days (and don’t tell anyone) hardly any rain.  Really it was the perfect Northwest summer.

On the 88th day of summer I decided to take a drive …. to the coast. The ocean had waited for me all year, thru late winter and all of the damp spring, I didn’t want summer to slide into fall without some sand between my toes.   And the weather was forecast to be perfect; 70’s with no wind!

The pup and I jumped into the truck and went for a drive taking us through our small town, into the urban area around Portland and finally to Sunset highway; US 26 that ends at the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon.  The drive was part of the reason for the journey.  It’s pretty scenic, running through the field and hills that usher you into the coast range of mountains. I think the summit was around 1500 feet.  The winding road is a pleasurable challenge, and the traffic was nearly non-existent.

I reached my destination a bit after 12 noon, Canon Beach, just south of Seaside.  The town was pretty crowded with shoppers strolling the sidewalks and chatting in the late summer sun.  We headed out of town and found a street to park on with a path to the beach, just south of the landmark Haystack rock.  We had found our spot for the afternoon!

In the 3 or 4 hours that I was there I walked on the sand to photograph the rocks, ate the lunch that I brought with me, talked on the phone to hubby who couldn’t be there with me, walked the pup on the sand ….  you get the idea.  We talked to many others out there enjoying the calm, 70 degree day; a woman from Ohio visiting her son and seeing the Pacific for the first time, an elderly man visiting his daughter, and when Rayne decided to chase a long-haired Chihuahua I got to talk to a newly engaged couple; she was from North Carolina and he was from Beaverton.  We had a nice chat about the dogs and the sites to see on the coast.

My intention was to leave before the sun went down, and I did manage to tear myself away. But not before one more stop, to the viewpoint at Ecola Beach State Park.  The winding road to the park was worth it, when I get to the cliff overlooking the water the sun was just beginning to dip into sunset mode, and I captured some great pre-sunset photos.

As I drove away I realized how relaxed I was from my short day at the coast.  There is something about the light of late summer, and the sun moving so much faster across the skies.  I just love it.

Here are some of the photos from that afternoon.  Nothing too dramatic; just the blue sky, the rock formations and the surf against the sand.

* Ecola beach is where the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled to see a beached whale, accompanied by Sacajawea.  They called the beach Ecola after the Chinook name for Whale.

link a matching post:  *snapshots at the beach

* snapshots at the beach

Some of the fun snapshots I took on my day at the beach… enjoy!

link to the matching post: a day at the beach* 

ladybug larvae * garden residents, or visitors?

Last month I welcomed visitors to my garden; both my gardener friends and these tiny red and black insects.  As I waited for my human visitors to arrive I was taking photos of the new rose we planted this year (it’s called Ketchup and Mustard) and noted a very large Ladybug larvae cruising around on the buds and blooms.  He stayed for both days of my Open Garden, and I was able to get out my Lupe and share the magic of his visit with  my guests.

My macro lens captured these photos, to record his visit for all time.  I am sure that he has grown up by now and become the winged Ladybug he was meant to be, but I was entranced by his movements on the roses.  I have seen his brothers on many of my roses since then, taking care of the aphids that have moved right in this summer.

I love watching the magic that is my garden, the blooms of the plants unfurl, the small plants get larger, and the insects come and go.  Of course I can do without the aphids, and I know the spiders are beneficial and all, but I don’t really care to walk thru the webs every morning.  But I know….it’s all part of the cycle of life, happening every day, every season with or without me.

I was very impressed by this series of photos.  The plants, the bug, the lighting; the lens that captured it perfectly.  It’s not hard to be a good photographer with such a beautiful subject in my viewfinder!

Enjoy the photos, without captions or interruptions. You can either scroll down the page with the thumbnails or click the first image for a photo carousel of larger images to click through. 

*Sharon ~ from my garden