The Valley Gorge HUB mural, in The Dalles, Oregon, is one of my most favorite murals. This mural was painted in 2018 by Blaine Fontana, with help from Toma Villa, Jeremy Nichols, and Jeff Sheridan. This long mural is on E 1st St.
I took pictures of each section so you can see it more closely. This part features a Trout, Salmon, and Sturgeon.
This section shows a Black Bear, Bighorn sheep, and Cougar. A Yellow Warbler photo bombed this one.
This part shows a Yellow Warbler, Osprey, Blue Jay, and Raven.
The last section shows a Monarch Butterfly and a Chickadee. There’s a mural by another artist around the corner on this end of the building.
I’ve visited The Dalles in the past and didn’t realize the Valley Gorge HUB mural wrapped around the building. Here’s the mural on other parts of the building. You can see a Mule Deer, Red-winged Blackbirds, and an Egret.
Where do you go when you’re looking for a quick recharge? To the National Neon Sign Museum in The Dalles, Oregon, of course!
On the main floor, you’ll see a rainbow of neon colors. The signs on display are from the late 1800s through the 1960s.
Do you recognize any of these iconic signs?
How about this wall filled with Coca Cola signs?
You can see car dealerships and gas station signs here.
The flying horse from Mobile has always been one of my favorites.
The one from Cadillac is colorful and classy.
Some make you smile.
Even when not lit up, the artwork is impressive. I liked these three whimsical signs.
In another section of the main floor, there is a brief history of the process.
Signs from businesses line this room’s walls. I especially liked the 3-dimensional Regal cowboy boot.
French engineer and inventor Georges Claude is credited with inventing and commercializing neon lighting. He obtained a patent on his System of Illuminating by Luminescent Tubes on January 19, 1915. Claude held a monopoly on this type of product until the early 1930s.
The photo below, taken at the 1910 Paris Motor Show, shows the first public display of neon lights in the world.
The first picture below shows an early sign for the Claude Neon Sign business. The second shows the Claude Neon Float in the 1929 Shrine Electrical Pageant in Los Angeles, California.
National Neon Sign Museum Ballroom
Upstairs, there’s a large room, set up to look like an old town, called the Ballroom. As you may have guessed, you can rent it out for events.
You can see Medich’s BBQ restaurant and a shoe repair business below.
This picture shows Town Pride Frozen Custard restaurant.
Here’s a Philco store, complete with the iconic dog.
This shows a hat store, the BBQ restaurant, and the Vincent Hotel.
When we visited a week ago, they told us to stay tuned for big news. We just learned the National Neon Sign Museum was selected as the new home for the historic Jantzen Beach Carousel. Since the carousel uses more than 1,300 lightbulbs, it’s a good fit for the Museum.
Once restored, it will be placed on a lot next to the Museum. This large carousel measures 67 feet across and 28 feet high.
This carousel was located in Venice, California in 1921, then moved to Portland, Oregon in 1928. It operated at Jantzen Beach, and at another location nearby, until 2012. The carousel was donated to Restore Oregon in 2017. They will work in partnership with the Museum to repair and repaint the carousel’s 72 horses (and 10 spares).
These three sandstone formations are located in Tillamook Bay, north of Garibaldi, Oregon. Known locally as The Three Graces, they’re also called Crab Rocks. If the tides are low, they’re a great place to explore when out kayaking. Check tides before venturing there.
The Oregon coast has several seastacks near the shore. These are smaller in stature, but still very photogenic.
I saw this Burns Times Herald window in Burns, Oregon last April. Paintings of birds by schoolchildren decorated the Herald’s windows for the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. Colorful paper streamers hung in the background.
I found paintings of ravens, jays, waxwings, eagles, hummingbirds, kestrels, warblers, and nuthatches. Can you find them?
I also liked the newspaper’s motto on their window. “Covering Harney County Like the Sage Brush.” The Burns Times Herald has been serving this community since 1887.
Do you need to weed? It’s not something we want to do, but it’s something we have to do.
Some weeds are pretty, but spread aggressively. I call this one the “Root of all Evil” because it can be hard to pull and develops seed heads almost as soon as it pops out of the ground.
About an acre of our land is planted with landscaping, fruit, or vegetable plants. We need to weed often, especially in the spring. Today I’ll share some tips and tools that may help you when you need to weed.
Need to weed tools
I have tried several seats while weeding, and this is my favorite. You can sit on it as a seat or flip it over and kneel on it.
My dogs like when I sit on it because then I’m at their level. Shelby thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to play fetch with me.
“Monkey tree can’t pinch me!” I remember saying that as a kid every time we drove past one of these odd trees on the way to our grandparents’ house. We would try to be the first one to pinch our siblings before they could pinch us. Did anyone else play that game?
Monkey puzzle trees, Araucaria auracana, are native to Chile and Argentina but grow well in many parts of the world. In their native habitat, they grow to a height of 100-130 feet, but in gardens in North America mature at 30-40 feet.
Their common name originated in 1850 when Charles Austin, who was visiting a friend’s garden in England, remarked, “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that.” Those triangular leaves have sharp edges and tips!
I took this picture of a foggy day at Boiler Bay, Oregon a couple weeks ago.
In 1910, the J. Marhoffer schooner ran aground here. Its engine caught on fire and the fuel tanks exploded, sending debris everywhere. During extremely low tides, you can still see its boiler, for which this site is named.
Fluttering into a wild iris meadow White-faced Ibis alight Curved bills preen and probe Iridescent feathers catch fading light Casting rainbows over dusty hills Awakening dormant wildflowers Yearning for an opportunity To shine
I saw this beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail on a penstemon flower in my front yard recently. We try to plant flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. We’ve seen LOTS of butterflies this year.
Earlier this month, we went to the local Summer Festival here in Bend, Oregon.
If it’s a summer festival, you might see fairies walking down the street, right? Are those blurry spots behind them spots on my windshield? Nope, I’m pretty sure that’s a cloud of fairy dust. 😉
As the sign says, this festival features music, food, and art. It takes place downtown on three city blocks, plus a couple side streets. It’s estimated that 70,000 people attend this two and a half day festival.
The art booths have everything from jewelry and landscape art, to pillows featuring an image of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Various businesses feature their products and services in the Bend Business Showcase section.
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.
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 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. 🙂
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.
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.