2.16.2017

On the side of a road...



This barn on the side of a county road blended in with the winter sky today. Its pristine metal roof protects a herd of dairy cows, and the 2-story walkway at one end allows the cows to walk from one pasture to another. It's a barn design I've not seen anywhere else, and that makes it one of my favorites.

A couple of weeks later, I woke to clear skies, so grabbed my camera bag and tripod and headed south to try again. With blue skies and frosty pastures, the farm looks completely different. It's a difficult barn to photograph because of where it's situated close to a road. Today, I tried a different approach. I parked on the side of the road, opened my door, and stood on the threshold. It gave me another foot of height and let me exclude the road from the picture.



Linking up with the Barn Collective today. Hope you enjoy seeing other barns from all over the country.

2.14.2017

Valentines...



Sometimes the days you don't plan turn out to be the best days. We spent the afternoon in one of our favorite places, the Enumclaw Plateau. I love the farms, the rural landscapes, the views of the mountain. And it's one of our favorite places to grab a casual dinner. Today being Valentine's Day, we had no expectation that we'd find a place to eat, but gave it a shot. We ended up at a friendly pub on the outskirts of town that we knew had great food, and hung around for an hour+ for the prime rib, which was fabulous.

Valentine's Day is for lovers... and for great food. I hope your day was amazing!

2.13.2017

Dawn's early light...

My camera gear was packed and waiting by the door when I went to bed last night, hoping that the weather forecast was right and the morning would dawn clear and rain free.

I was late... the mornings are coming earlier and first light caught me off guard. So I hurried, and my clear morning turned misty, then foggy, the further south I drove.

The fog provided a frame for my favorite farm, and heavy frost turned the pastures white.


I stood and watched as the light grew, shivering in the 25 degree temperatures, then turn to walk back to my truck. And in the pasture across the road, a group of horses walked across the frosty field toward the golden light, the mist rising.

2.12.2017

Green Valley...

    This Dutch gambrel barn is still part of an active dairy farm

Tucked between two high bluffs, with the Green River and a perfect sports car road snaking through it, Green Valley has always been a haven for dairy and horse farms. I remember it flooding a lot when I was a child, but a flood-control dam built in 1962 pretty much put a stop to river flooding. I picked strawberries one summer very near this barn; the narrow valley is still home to dairy barns and vintage farmhouses, but the strawberry farms are long gone.

Linking up today with the Barn Collective today.

2.10.2017

Vintage...



The guest room is full of country charm... antique quilts, a brass bed with marble finials, and a stack of books on the nightstand. It's quiet and peaceful, with a view over the lawn to the old orchard and well house.

I bought this 1940's quilt from a quilting friend, and it's a perfect addition to my guest room. And though I wish it was in perfect condition, I never turn down a beautiful old quilt. I can always find a way to display them. The green and white quilt on the corner table has a bad stain that ate through the fabric, but it's hidden underneath the white cloth on top. The teddy bear was made from a Grandmother's Flower Garden cutter quilt. And with careful handling, the floral quilt made from tiny hexagons will be beautiful draped across the foot of the bed.

There are other antique quilts in my farmhouse... perhaps I'll pull them out for some photographs on the next rainy day.

2.08.2017

Barns and mountains...

It's easy to get spoiled, living within reach of six of the highest peaks in the Cascades, all of them standing high above the surrounding mountains. The jewel in the range is Mount Rainier, which I can see from just about everywhere, every day. My old farmhouse once had a view of the mountain, before the trees in the valley grew too tall.

So it's only natural that I'm just a bit addicted to barns with a mountain in the background. It's where I would have built my farmhouse and barn, given the chance.

Recently I found several barns on the Enumclaw Plateau with Mount Rainier in the background. And that reminded me of this gorgeous broken gable barn in Parkdale, Oregon... with Mount Hood in the background. I love how the roof of this broken gable farm mimics the shape of the mountain.



The barn is part of a historical museum, complete with an old cabin and several outbuildings, and a lot of farm equipment. It's worth the visit. So is the Parkdale Tavern, with local brews and great food, and this picture-perfect view out the back door.

Linking this one on  Tom's Barn Collective.

2.07.2017

Hidden...

It was back in 2002 when I first explored this old cemetery, once part of the coal mining town of Franklin. My work schedule gave me every Friday off, and when the weather was good, I'd be off in my Explorer, driving the backroads and looking for photographs to take.


That long ago December morning I set out toward Mount Rainier, armed with my Pentax SLR and a stack of CDs I'd picked up from the library the day before. I popped in a new one from Brooks & Dunn, and on the first track I was hooked. Singing along with "Only in America," I turned off the highway toward the old Green River Gorge bridge.

Looking idly out the side window, I slammed on the brakes. There, just beyond a small clearing, I could see the top of a pointed headstone. I found a wide spot to park in, and hopped out with my camera. As I walked toward the headstone, the details of this wooded place started to show themselves, among the tangle of blackberry vines. Tall concrete pillars on either side of an old gate, and a sagging chain link fence. Headstones that peeked out from underneath a tangle of brambles and brush.



I pushed my way through the overgrown grass and brambles, looking at the inscriptions and thinking about how these people must have lived (and died) on this remote slope of a mountain. Many died young, and were most likely employed in the nearby mines.

On that cold winter day, I snapped a few photographs then left as quietly as I came. This is a peaceful place, not at all haunted.

I never stopped to see the cemetery again until a few days ago. I came down the winding road, and noticed that the parking area had been cleared out, so I pulled in to have a look. The cemetery was a beautiful oasis of green grass behind the saggy chain link fence.



The blackberry tangle was gone, and the headstones were standing proud. And those beautiful concrete pillars were still there, still covered in moss.


Whenever we take a road trip, we always try and stop at the old cemeteries in the small towns along the way. I love the windswept hillsides, the towering trees, the history of a community. It makes me think about my own passing, and whether my own history will include the name my parents chose for me, chiseled on granite.

To those who walk the cemeteries and record the history found there, for the knowledge of the rest of us... you have my heartfelt thanks.

Shared today on Scene & Story.

2.06.2017

Winter white...



The snow started in the early evening, and kept on all night. Each time I woke up and rolled over, I'd look outside to see the pasture and trees gradually turning white, and the night growing brighter. At 7:00 this morning, I dressed and pulled on my boots and grabbed my cell phone and a ruler. Eight inches... that's a lot for us on this side of the mountains.



It was too dark for my Nikon, so the cell phone had to do. Not venturing past the patio, I snapped some pictures of the cedar trees, weighed down with snow and touching the ground, and dwarfing the well house. And the orchard from the kitchen windows, with every branch outlined in white, and the camellia bush looking as soft as a cotton ball.



Schools were canceled and people stayed home from work, and when we went out to find a cache this afternoon, the roads were deserted (except for the cars that had slid into the ditch). Our pond has flooded our road and backed up into the pasture, and the snow has stolen all the sound from the world, leaving only silence.

To me, winter isn't a season without snow. And just snow falling isn't enough. It has to snow long and deep, and stay around for at least a few days. Long enough for the roads to clear, and safe enough to drive around, so I can see all my favorite places dressed in winter white.

2.04.2017

Franklin ghosts...


Twice a year the local historical society does a guided tour of one of the many coal mining townsites in this part of the county. Franklin was a busy place in its heydey, with a thousand residents who lived and worked and played together on the steep hillside that hid some of the best coal deposits in the state.


There are a few structures remaining from the many mines that stretched across this hillside, 400 feet above the Green River Gorge. And nothing remains from the hotel, school, saloons, various halls, and houses except a few concrete foundations.


Two cemeteries, one at each end, are tended: one is still in use, and stands alongside the county road. The other is wild and old, with slick paths that go from one headstone to the next.


It wasn't the best weather for a steep hike up the hillsides to the remaining structures, but we learned a lot about the history of Franklin, and even snagged a geocache along the way.

We saw no ghosts today... maybe the cold rain kept them away.

2.03.2017

Rain... the frozen kind

At 4:00 this morning, I heard it... the patter of ice hitting the bedroom windows, blown in from the northeast. Bummer. My plans for Friday were set, or so I thought. Freezing rain will derail them. Oh, well.

Yesterday I started going through all of my photographs on my laptop, making sure folders and files were named consistently, before I upload everything (again) into Photoshop. So today I'll keep the fire going, and watch the wind blow, and catch up on Once Upon A Time. On a sloppy wet and cold day, a much better plan than my original.

Best of all, I got to watch Madison play with a twig she stole from the kindling bucket. She batted it all around the living room until it finally sailed under the media cabinet. And she went right in after it. I still don't know how she got back out again.