A rare day of sunshine and blue sky lured us out of Portland toward Catherine Creek. After a fabulous wood-fired pizza at Solstice in Bingen, we set off along our usual trail down into the ravine. Then we decided to follow the trail as it forks west through old oaks on a bluff high above Catherine Creek.
I hadn’t been that way for awhile and had forgotten how beautiful it was. And how steep. I’ve been exercising in Portland, but there’s nothing like the first steep hike of spring to remind me I need to get in better shape.
Something about these leafless oak had me snapping lots of photos.
Once we reached the ridge, we strolled downhill for a few miles with wide, open views across the gorge. It was bright, and it seemed everything I wanted to photograph was straight into the sun. I haven’t studied photography. My strategy is to take lots of photos and hope a few turn out alright. I don’t do much composing. I remember an admonition from somewhere that you should always shoot with the sun behind you. But with Mt. Hood looking like a whipped cream peak, I had to try. But the sun blazed beside it. I felt foolish snapping so many shots right at the sun. But, this does capture the Mt. Hood-in-your-face feeling from up there.
I’ve never had much luck with wildflower shots at Catherine Creek. But I liked how the light glinted off these grass widows. To capture the view behind, I had to shoot into the sun again.
And for a close up of grass widows, I shot towards the sun as well.
Turns out I like my photos shot into the sun better than any others.
After several years, we’re still exploring our acreage in northeastern Oregon. We’ve vaguely named some places through habitual reference: The Rocky Knoll, The Frog Pond. But there are other special places we just call “sweet spots.”
My love for cottonwoods has grown steadily over the last few years, especially in the spring when they smell so pungent and the fall when they splash yellow along the canyon bottoms. And now, I must confess, a movie — and a Western, at that — has inspired me to explore the beauty and poetry in winter cottonwoods….
After a busy day of dealing with car repairs and shopping for Thanksgiving food, I didn’t want to walk the dog in our nearby park. I really didn’t. But then I crested the top of Mt. Tabor and found this wintry late afternoon light with its long shadows burnishing the snow-dusted ground and trees.
I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen any sun for several weeks now (probably an exaggeration, but that’s how it feels)…
…so this glowing light and color seemed all the more special.
Out West, in the land of conifers, we don’t have the color spectacle that blesses New England this time of year. But our few wild deciduous shrubs and trees do add some lovely accents to our evergreen forests and browning grasslands (…)
People often ask me what it’s like to live in a yurt. As I wrote in an essay published in The Smoking Poet last Fall, much of the living goes on around the yurt rather than in it. And that’s as it should be with a shelter traditionally used by nomads. Take the shower. There’s […]
I’m ecstatic to be back on our property in Northeastern Oregon. There’s lots to do: organizing inside the yurt to make cooking and storage more convenient, building a spring box and laying pipe to get potable water into the yurt, putting in the garden. And there are many challenges: a muddy road, cars that get […]
I love how persimmons hang on the tree after the leaves have fallen.
Many persimmons need to be fully ripe before they’re edible. My fuyu persimmons are non-astringent and can be eaten when still crisp. I enjoy them most at that stage. I often grate them and mix them with lime (or lemon), fresh chili pepper, green onion, cilantro and salt for an Asian-inspired salad.
My persimmon tree began as a whip from One Green World and thrives in my temperate Portland garden. They can also be found at my other favorite source for fruit trees: Raintree Nursery. Consult either nursery to learn more about the differences between Asian and American, astringent and non-astringent persimmons.