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)

 

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The flowers of spring

As our seasons transition from spring to summer I wanted to share some of the beauty from the season.

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We had a really dreadful winter, with record rainfall, ice and storms.  When the calendar gave us spring, we had hope for warmer, drier weather. But alas, Mother Nature had a different idea.  We continued to have record wet weather through March and April. It wasn’t until early May that we finally saw a reprieve.

Of course, the plant world doesn’t mind a few wet, gray days.  And we were very ready to welcome any sign that spring and summer was really on the way.  From the early tulips, trillium, columbine, iris, flowering currant, lilacs and even iconic dandelions that we can always count on came the hope for better days ahead.  Rhododendron, snowball bush, viburnum, lupine and may-apple signal mid-spring is briefly upon us.  Some early summer flowers tease that summer will arrive soon –  poppies, clematis,  and old garden roses.

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

 

 

Road Trip!

It’s been almost a year since I last climbed into the passenger seat to join Tim for an adventure. We had the chance to take a load of Oregon Christmas trees to Texas this year, so away we went!

San Antonio is home to his extended family, so we made plans to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at their table this year. The trip takes us over 3 days, and since we were hauling a pretty heavy load it was 4 very long days from door to door.

We ran through rain, sunshine, mountains, desserts, interstates and two lane roads. The scenery was amazing, seasoned by the color of autumn clouds as we drove through Canby CA, Reno NV, Tucson AZ, over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam area in AZ. We saw rainbows as we left OR, in Indian Wells NV and a Fire Rainbow in Tuscon AZ.

After we arrived there was plenty of time for taking walks with the pup. We checked out the neighborhood. And I loved seeing all the beautiful plants in the southwest gardens. There was even some early holiday decorations!

We spent a few hours at the San Antonio Botanical Garden the day after Thanksgiving. The plants and landscaping in the Botanical gardens were amazing! We strolled through the children’s vegetable garden with festive scarecrows, saw amazing cactus gardens and super cool demo areas with exotic plants like frankincense and myrrh, and a cocoa tree.

I hope you enjoyed my story, we sure had a good time. See y’all next time!

Two Oregon tourists in Florence, Italy

It was a week ago that T* and I flew out of our little corner of the world, looking for some new views, & to make some memories.And so far we have done both!

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But I must say, this tourist gig is darn hard work! Between getting to our transportation on time (after figuring out how it works, that is), seeing the sites, then keeping up with all the photos we are taking to share with you all I am exhausted! But every night I fall asleep with a smile on my face, because we are in Italy!

And you can follow along on our visit. Enjoy the photos, and the story.

Our Florence adventure began when we opened the door to the B & B where we spent 3 nights. The house was built in the 1300’s. Holy wow! And the street it was located on is the oldest in the city.

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Florence is built alongside the peaceful Arno river. The famous Ponte Vecchio spans the river, with it its shops and throngs of tourists. Our room was a block away from the river, and we found ourselves crossing the bridges countless times during our stay. We watched the sunset, found the famous Love Locks and even watched fireworks with the crowd.

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There was so much to see in the many piazzas – modern art, centuries old churches with their classic domes and towers, a carousel, and so much people watching! Each hour the city walls echo with the music of the church bells tolling, and at night the historic buildings are bathed in light. We heard street music ranging from solo guitar players to an acapala mens group and symphony music. Chalk artists spend hours re-creating masterpieces on the ancient brick sidewalks, only to wash them away at the end of the night.

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We spotted graffiti in many places. Of course there was the usual writing on the walls. Florence is home to a French graffiti artist called Clet. We spotted his work and enjoyed his sense of humor, no translation needed.

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The views are classic, the buildings timeless. Even everyday views seem special in the jewel light of Florence.

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On our first day we visited the Basilica of San Croce. It was breathtaking. Here are a few teaser pics. I have much to say about our time there, so I will devote another post to our visit.

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Bonneville Salt Flats*

The drive west on I-80 in Utah is so strangely picturesque. The Great Salt Lake accompanies you for miles, then gives way to the Salt Flats. We had a wonderful blue sky day with high topped clouds in the background. The sand and salt mix comes right up to the road bed, and some creative drivers stop and write greetings using stones and bottles. There are also many tracks leading from the road to the horizon. We even saw some people stopped to walk on the surface. It didn’t look like they were leaving any tracks!

In the distance I could see a pavilion on the side of the road that turned out to be a rest area. “What a wonderful opportunity” I thought. So we stoped for about 45 minutes. There were many excited people enjoying themselves, and we happily joined them!

Walking on the salt, it was soft and crunchy, and the water was so warm and silky. I have to say, this was a favorite stop on the road trip. So if you find yourself traveling I- 80 outside Salt Lake City make the time to stop and play! (They even have a foot wash)

* Valentines Day

A definition of Valentines Day, paraphrased from Wikipedia: The day was first associated with romantic love in the 18th-century England. It evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). 

It’s the day when the whole world turns red and pink.  Tokens of our affection are handed out in the form of sweets, cards and flowers.   We decorate our world with heart shapes in all colors but mostly traditional reds, pinks and whites.  Retailers began reminding us there is money to be spent just after the clearance tags were put on the un-sold Christmas merchandise.

crochet heart

This week I have been observing people as I go out on my errands.  Actually, it’s mostly the men that I have been watching.  I have seen them quietly thumbing through greeting cards at the gift stores, hovering around the candy displays at the grocery stores, and choosing bouquets of  all kinds in the warehouse market.   The are alone, they are moving like ghosts or shy children, unsure of what to choose.  They don’t speak to anyone, and the expressions they wear on their faces is all the same: a kind of shell-shocked, am I doing this right kind of look.  Mostly over 30, they obviously care very much about getting it right: the once a year public display of affection.  It’s priceless!

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This week I also paid a visit to Youngest Daughter.  She was making a Strawberry Valentines cake to share with her co-workers at a Sweets potluck.  She is so into holidays and creating things for her friends and family; I love watching her create!    

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And of course I can’t resist the opportunity to create a photo to share in my own way, too.  For the grand-kids there are heart shaped boxes of candy and craft kits to deliver sometime this weekend, and Saturday Hubby and I will spend the day together running errands and sharing a nice meal with all the other Valentine couples.

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Tomorrow the moment will be gone, and clearance stickers will mark the unsold candy and gifts at the stores.  Florists will breathe a sigh of relief that another year has come and gone, and count the receipts from all the dozens of red roses sold.  The boxes of chocolates will be opened and shared, the valentine cards displayed for a week or so, and new jewelry proudly shown off.  

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I feel so fortunate to have my family and friends, and love having days like to this to reflect on how blessed we are; and to express my feelings publicly.  I hope you find some love in your little corner of the world! Happy Valentines Day.   ♥

Summer Artwork*

It’s been a while since I have added any new images to my printed portfolio.  I took some time yesterday to sort through some recent images; I even had time to work up another sunflower!  Some of these you have seen before ….

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Next up:  Beginning to work on the 2014 Calendar!! Stay tuned.

*S.

The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies * Gertrude Jekyll