On July 9th, I returned to Silverton, Oregon, to go on a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright house. When I think of simplicity in architecture, I think of Frank Lloyd Wright. I recently featured a view from the road of the Gordon House. Limited tours of the inside are available by reservation only.
Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright House
Our 45-minute tour began in the great room. Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass doors flanked towering ceilings. They opened to allow a welcome cross breeze on this warm summer day. As in all Wright houses, a fireplace served as a focal point. Red concrete slabs with radiant heat covered the floors, and they made the walls from concrete blocks. Built-in cabinets, desks, and tables are in nearly every room.
The design featured the fretwork seen here on the interior and exterior of the house. One of the workers joked how he’d gone through all the router bits in the state cutting the house’s fretwork. That was long before laser cutters!
I saw this grove of lovely maidenhair fern near South Falls, at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. The 7.2-mile Trail of Ten Falls wanders through forested lands where you get great views of the waterfalls. You’ll also see many types of fern.
The genus name of maidenhairs is Adiantum. It comes from the Greek word for “unwetted” since this plant sheds water without getting wet.
Here’s a picture I took of some growing near Upper North Falls in the park. On this image, I increased the contrast, giving it an almost black background.
This fern, with its delicate, arching fronds growing in fanlike arrangements, is one of my favorites. I experimented with developing pictures of it in black and white when I first became interested in photography. Here’s a picture from my archives.
It’s time once again to share a piece of my artwork for the First Friday Art prompt. I created this watercolor painting yesterday afternoon. This is a cholla cactus in bloom. For my inspiration this month, I looked in my own backyard.
We have a few kinds of cactus growing in our landscaping. You have to be careful when working around them or you’ll get poked by the barbed spines. I held my phone out at arm’s length and snapped a picture, but I couldn’t see the photo I took. It turned out surprisingly well, I thought. I like the how the spines radiate outward from the magenta blossom.
Several chollas grow in my backyard. I started a couple in the front yard by placing a cactus stem on the ground. There was no drip irrigation going to those parts of the landscaping, but the plants grew anyway.
Here’s one of the propagated cholla plants blooming. It’s doing great, and currently measures about three feet across.
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
Visitors from near and far converged in Burns, Oregon for the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival in mid-April. I signed up for six tours and events spread out over four days. I already featured the Downtown Walking Tour in a previous post, but this time I’ll focus on the bird-related tours.
Basin Big Day Tour – North of Highway 20
Though I have participated in this bird festival several times, this was the first time I was able to register for the Basin Big Day Tour. Eight participants, guided by Brodie Cass Talbott and assisted by Duke Tuffy, met at 6:00 am at the Fairgrounds for this tour. We returned at 7:00 pm. The goal was to see as many species as we could in that time frame.
One of our first stops was in front of someone’s house, northeast of Burns. We had permission to scan their feeders for birds. We saw lots of White-crowned Sparrows here and elsewhere that day.
A bit farther north, we stopped near flooded fields. A few days before my arrival, snow covered these fields. That’s unusual. Our guide said the weird weather meant fewer birds were being seen, but there was more diversity. More species was what we were looking for so this could work out great for us.
This week, as part of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, host Ritva Sillanmäki asked us to show a photo of our favorite cup. My favorite mug features a wraparound image of Grand Prismatic Hot Spring at Yellowstone National Park. It’s beautiful, like its inspiration, and comfortable to hold. I also like how there is printing inside the mug near the rim.
Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is especially photogenic. Though I can’t get a drone shot like the one on my mug, I have taken many pictures of this hot spring. Here are a few that show its gorgeous colors.
My Grand Prismatic mug reminds me of this special place in Yellowstone everytime I use it.
This Deschutes Brewery mural was on the outside of their main factory on the westside of Bend, Oregon. I liked how they used different shades of rusted metal to make this work of art. The mountains reflect the peaks and foothills of the Cascades, near the brewery.
To learn more about one of the tours I recently went on here, see Barrel House Tour. Lots of tasty beers to sample while you’re checking out the Deschutes Brewery mural.
There are currently two food trucks in front of the brewery. I enjoyed the lunch I bought there recently from Da Nang Vietnamese Eatery. I later found out it was awarded the 2023 Food Cart of the Year by the Source Weekly. It was a well-deserved recognition!
Today, I’m featuring photos from the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site kitchen. I’ve posted about this historical site in John Day, Oregon, before. It was boarded up for many years when the doors were finally opened, it was like a time capsule inside.
Whenever I visit there, I think about how good the various shapes and textures would look in monotone pictures. However, the vibrant colors are also interesting. Since I was unable to decide which way to process the photos I took, I’m showing both color and monotone sepia versions. Move the slider to compare them. I used a dark vignette effect on all of the photos.
The first one shows a wood cooking stove with a small shrine behind it. I like how the orange color glows in the color version.
The second photo shows various products in this kitchen of the past. In this one, I like how the labels stand out in color.
This Frank Lloyd Wright house in Silverton, is the only one designed by the well-known architect in Oregon. The Gordon House was designed in 1957 and completed in 1963. When new owners wanted to tear it down in 1997, it was moved from Wilsonville to Silverton. It was carefully refurbished and opened to the public in 2002. It looks right at home, surrounded by stately oak trees.
This house was designed as part of the Usonian series, structures meant to provide affordable housing for working class people.
Though I only looked at the Gordon House from a distance, private tours are available of the inside for a small fee. For a higher fee, up to four people can spend the night in this beautiful house.
Here’s a peek of the inside and outside of the house. I hope to go on the tour soon to get a closer look. 🙂
The High Desert Museum, in Bend, Oregon, is currently hosting the Creations of Spirit exhibition. The pieces on display include historical artifacts and works by contemporary Native artists.
The beautiful pieces are enhanced by quotes throughout the gallery. I will let their words tell the stories.
Throughout the process, you continually impart yourself in the creation of that object. And when you’ve completed it, it takes on a life of its own.
Philip Cash Cash, Ph. D., Weyíiletpuu (Cayuse) and Niimpíipuu (Nez Perce) tribes
I wanted to have my own story in the baskets. I wanted to keep the traditional form and the shape, but I wanted to add iconography that talked to the present.
Joe Feddersen, Member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
Root bag with multiple figures by Plateau artist (early 1900s); Basket with animal figures by Umatilla artist (mid-1900s); Round Dance pitcher & cup by Joe Feddersen, 2002; Berry-picking container by Vivian Harrison, (StuYat), Yakama/Palouse/Wishram, 2002
Most of my designs are from the petroglyphs along the Nch’i wana [Columbia River]. I love and appreciate where our people came from, and our people left animals as stories in our pictographs and petroglyphs. That’s why I want to instill them in my baskets and keep them alive. I want people to know that we’ve been seeing these animals for tens of thousands of years.
The sculpture of Crazy Horse in South Dakota stands out along the horizon as you drive north from Custer. We visited the site earlier this month, near the date of its 75th anniversary, to view the progress on the immense sculpture.
Crazy Horse Memorial
The Crazy Horse Memorial includes a Welcome Center, a gift store and restaurant, the family home of the sculptor, rotating exhibits, indoor and outdoor sculptures, the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, and the Indian Museum of North America. I’ll feature photos of the Museum in a later post. The nonprofit also manages the Indian University of North America.
One of my favorite things was a 1/34 scale model of the Crazy Horse sculpture. The size of the finished sculpture carved into the mountainside will be 641 feet long and 563 feet tall.
If you stand in just the right spot, you can capture an image that includes the scale model and the current sculpture.
I saw this little bit of everything garden on the High Desert Garden Tour in Bend, Oregon in July 2022. The long, narrow yard at this house included fruits, vegetables, and lots of flowers. The homeowners have been working on it for 22 years.
The owners created large, elevated raised beds from wood and tin roofing. You can see sweet alyssum blooming near the front edge. Hummingbird feeders hang near them. They’re growing pear, cherry, and apples on espaliers behind the raised beds.
This raised bed was at ground level. It included red lantana, yellow petunias, orange ganzia, purple salvia, and dark pink snapdragons.
This tiered bed surrounded a tree. It included common sunflowers, orange marigolds, and golden celosia.
Earlier this month, we took a long journey to go fishing for fossils in Wyoming. We had reservations for June 2, but thunderstorms dumped rain on the site and the owners shut it down. The last seven miles of the dirt road to the quarry turn into a slippery mess during rainstorms. We drove to our next destination in Vernal, Utah and returned to dig fossils the next day.
The FishDig Quarry is north of Kemmerer in southwest Wyoming. Visitors can make reservations ahead of time or just show up. FishDig opened for the season a week before we arrived. Be sure to check their website for hours and fees.
When you arrive at the site, you’re given advice on what to look for and how to split the rock. The helpful staff will try to identify things if you ask. Unlike other fossil-digging sites nearby, you get to keep everything you dig–-except for pieces worth $100,000 or more. In those cases, the owners keep 50% of the value.
A rock hammer and chisel are provided for free. They will cut your rocks down to more manageable sizes for no charge. As I’ve mentioned before, rocks are heavy so having less bulk to transport is helpful. Note, they do not provide anything for you to carry your fossils home in. Bring boxes and something to wrap them in, like bubble wrap or newspaper.
This Oregon sunshine bouquet was growing in my yard. This plant is common in a variety of habitats in western North America.
Oregon sunshine, Eriophyllum lanatum, is a shrubby perennial that grows well in light shade to full sun. They’re obviously drought tolerant, since I don’t water this part of our High Desert property at all. These plants reach a size of one to two feet wide and one to two feet tall. I like their bright yellow, long-lasting flowers. Pollinators and birds like them as well.
It grows so well here, I end up pulling most of the plants like weeds. One year, I decided to just let them grow in a large gravel-covered area. The thick “lawn” of plants, shown below, prevented some of our common weeds from growing.
After waking up one morning, I stumbled into my darkened kitchen to make coffee. I almost stepped on this Jerusalem cricket in the middle of the room.
The Jerusalem cricket, Stenopelmatus fuscus, also known as the potato bug, is a slow-moving desert creature that has an almost prehistoric look. Though they look harmless, they’re capable of delivering a painful bite with their strong jaw. They feed on plant roots, decaying matter, potatoes, and other insects – including their mates!
I carefully scooped up my unexpected visitor with a piece of cardboard and took it outside so it could hide under a rock, and not under my bare feet. 😉
To learn more about this strange insects’ mating ritual, watch this video.
I did a lot of looking up in Burns, Oregon on my trip in April 2023. The main purpose of my trip was to look for birds on Harney County Migratory Bird Festival tours. However, I arrived a day early to participate in the Downtown Walking History Tour.
A very short history of Burns, Oregon
Burns was officially established in 1884 and incorporated in 1889. The Northern Paiute, or their ancestors, lived here for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers. Harney County, where Burns is located, is the largest county in Oregon and ninth largest in the nation. This sparsely populated county is 10,226 square miles in size. The population of Burns, its largest city, was 2,757 in 2021.
Our tour guide told us about the history of buildings along the main road. Sometimes she pointed out areas where no building currently exists. Unfortunately, fires destroyed many buildings in years past. It is ironic that the town of Burns had so many fires.
Looking up in Burns
While I listened to facts about many of the buildings we passed, I kept looking up in Burns. My attention wandered, and I focused on the architecture overhead.
Some of the buildings had fallen into disrepair.
Others retained parts of the original structure with updates, like modern windows.
The Federal Building housed the Post Office at one time. I think it was once the tallest building in Burns.
The Hollinshead Park gardens in Bend, Oregon include a community garden and a water-wise garden.
Hollinshead Park Gardens – Community Garden
The community garden at Hollinshead Park is managed by a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University Extension Service, Central Oregon Master Gardener Association, and Bend Park and Recreation District.
Local gardeners grow fruit, vegetables, and flowers on 90 reserved plots.
Gardeners plant in concise or freeform patterns. Some use various supports or covers.
It’s a great place to take pictures throughout the year.
In February, we went to see firepits at Winterfest at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, Oregon. You never know what kinds of things the participants of the firepit section will come up with. The firepits used to be on display on park service land along the Deschutes River in Bend.
This one looks like a Viking ship, complete with dragon head and tail.
Here’s a closer look at its head. Look at those teeth!
Flowers and forest firepits
This firepit looked like a round flower, full of flame.
I saw this dressed up tree in downtown Bend a few days ago. I learned that this form of street art is called “yarn bombing.” Local crafters create unique knit and crocheted pieces to cover trees, statues, benches, bicycles, and other structures. Their work certainly brightens up a cloudy day.