One of our goals for the visit to the other side of the river was to help some people on Find-A-Grave.com locate their relatives. I got some nice photos in the beautiful late-afternoon light (Cold day, though! Very cold.) but due to bad planning on my part, we may have missed the one they wanted most. Lee tromped all over the cemetery looking for a particular name that I hadn't had the foresight to locate before we left. Actually, the marker may not be there, as others had failed to find it. So, that's a mystery to follow up on - an excuse to go back to Ilwaco on another beautiful day (with better planning).
I did take some really nice pix of markers for the graves that we did find and soon I'll be uploading them to Find-A-Grave. This is a cool web site where you can locate your ancestors, relatives, genealogical search subjects, or conversely, supply photos and information for others looking for someone departed in your part of the country. You can enter requests for photos and info from far-away locations, or you can put yourself on an e-mail list to find graves of people in your area.
January 1, 2012: I've just discovered "Taphophile Tragics" thanks to Clytie, so am linking this post to it today. Thanks, Julie, this should be interesting!
Astoria-Megler Bridge to Washington ~ December 2, 2011
I may have shown this view at some time in the past on Astoria, Oregon, Daily Photo, but it's always a thrill to see that wide expanse in front of you and wish you could drive 100 miles an hour over the hump and down the other side. Let me guess - I'm sure some of you have done it, but you don't have to admit it! Today we were just enjoying the view. The tide was low and the sand bar was in full view. On either side of the bridge you can just see dramatic ripples in the mud. I'll post another photo on another day showing them more clearly.
Here's another of the critters living in Jewell Meadows besides the elk seen in an earlier post. I couldn't have told you what a sapsucker was until I looked it up, but a sapsucker is a kind of woodpecker. The "woodpecker" part I could have guessed. Take a look at his handiwork on that tree! The red-breasted sapsucker lives all along the West Coast of North America from the southern tip of Alaska to Baja California in Mexico.
The gas pumps at this store probably saved our tails on the way back to Astoria from elk-watching near Jewell. We were so enthralled with the scenery and conversation we weren't paying attention. . . . I'm sure many of my readers know this place.
Although I took this photo on November 21st, it could almost be today. After days of cold sunshine, it's been raining and everything outside my window is deep gray.
I don't mind, but I had thought of taking product photos today for my online store, and the lighting didn't cooperate. My overhead "daylight" fluorescent does a pretty good job, but it helps to have some light from the window. I guess I'll take the day off and get the photos another time.
Of course, this beautifully-situated tree with Saddle Mountain in the background is what first caught my attention. It's an idyllic setting, and we have a chance to see Saddle Mountain from the side opposite the one usually seen from the Astoria area.
Then I noticed there was something beneath the tree. In its scenic and exclusive location is a memorial to Craig W. Holznagel who died at the age of 42. The plaque indicates that he must have loved the elk here. The text told me that the plaque was a collaboration between Craig's family, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation. I figured I could learn more about Craig when I got home and looked him up online. Not so. The only places where I found his name either wanted to charge $39.95 for information that might not be relevant or a monthly fee for something similar.
With such a prominent memorial, I thought there should be more. Can any of you help me with this? I'll post the information on this blog and Craig will be able to be discovered from today forward. Thanks!
While it's unusual to see a Chinese junk on the Astoria waterfront, it's not the first time this little fishing sailboat has been here. Details of the junk, Flying Dragon, can be seen in this ad as she is shown and described for potential buyers.
Thanks to info from Joanne Rideout, the Commodore Hotel, Elleda Rhiannon Wilson, Twitter, and Facebook, I learned that the boat was rescued off of Clatsop Spit by the Coast Guard on Monday after the junk had taken on an awfully big drink of the ocean.
Both of the links below are fascinating and full of information. The podcast link will tell you more about the Flying Dragon and The Ship Report is always a great source of info about current shipping events.
Our local Roosevelt elk are certainly among nature's most majestic creatures. Almost the size of domestic cows, they are quite a bit larger than deer. Check out the video on this page to see them in action and listen to a description of the reserve. We did not see the herd of hundreds described - only a dozen or fewer were grazing the area on the day we were there, but I have seen them in huge herds much nearer home. Only about five miles down the road they used to congregate on the land that has now become Home Depot, Costco, and Goodwill, among other big boxes. I've also seen them near the airport and the UPS office just across Youngs Bay. Here the elk would swim in the bay around the fencing and get inside the fenced area to graze. It was quite a sight.
I haven't been out to UPS or the airport recently. Does anyone know if the elk still congregate there since the new stores have come in?
There are several places in Oregon along certain highways where you can pull into a viewing area and watch the herds forming in the evenings. As it turned out, we had a beautiful day on which to enjoy elk-watching. Not the least of my enjoyment was the beauty of the area with its back-lit bright-green mossy trees.
Yesterday I posted a photo of a newly-arrived bufflehead duck. Today I'm watching the mallards feeding. This female has just found a yummy morsel under the water and hauled it up. Shortly after I took this picture, the tide was out far enough that the ducks could stand on the concrete and nibble without dunking their heads.
I don't know when our winter friends, the bufflehead ducks, are supposed to arrive here, but this was the first one I've noticed this year. It's not the first one I've posted on this blog. For more buffleheads, click on the label below.
The colors clash in this photo taken yesterday at what's left of the 6th Street Pier. They go with the mood. The destruction is equally as complete on the other side of the pier, but I chose to post this picture today since I was initially focused on the ship, which seemed to be much closer to land than I usually see them at this point. It may be an illusion. When seen from even a block further onshore, the ships look terribly close. They recede visually as you approach the waterline. I don't remember when the viewing platform received this coat of paint, but I much preferred the previous look, which blended better with the natural and man-made elements.
The Cannery Cafe is gone (burned beyond saving in that horrendous fire and now razed by heavy equipment) which all makes me feel sad, but the condos slated for that space of open water were put on hold in 2008 when the economy tanked. I can't say I'm sorry about that. Astoria's setting and vistas are what give it its charm. The rest is gravy.
For a couple of years (seems like, anyway) this lovely old Victorian on Harrison Street has been under exterior renovation. I noticed yesterday that it is now free of scaffolding and the old gray paint has been replaced with a whole new scheme. This could be Part 2 in a series of pumpkins between holidays. See yesterday's post here if you missed it.
For several weeks now I've been eyeing this fat pumkin outside the Astoria Co-op. I mean, how can you miss it? Girth aside, it looks comfortably settled on the hard concrete. Does it worry about being cold? Is it happy to be singled out because of its size to have a life beyond the vegetable baskets inside the store? To be singled out because of its unique shape to be an object of attention? Will it be cast away or eaten when the holiday is over? I anthropomorphize and I wonder. What else are you going to do when an object like this becomes part of your landscape?
It's been very cold here with pouring rain and sometimes-very-gusty winds . . . and it's just the beginning. Although I love winter here in Astoria, there will be many days I'll reflect not only on the colors of summer, but on the fruit that won't be available in the co-op until next spring. I'm getting hungry. Many thanks to Parker for loaning today's photo for the blog.
One of my favorite light-and-color combinations was happening on the water this morning - dark, gloomy background and bright foreground; the colors brought out by this lighting are superb. Even the dark water takes on a new palette. I'm sure I've posted some variation of it before, but it always seems new and exciting. A few minutes later, all was gray and rainy. Now the sun is coming out again. I love changeable days. I've been watching those ferns that cling to the base of the radio tower. They're still bright and beautiful.
Fall is not only in the air, it's also on the ground at the post office. Although this photo could be anywhere, for me it feels like Astoria - our own brand of damp leaves, the grass still living and green in November, and the pebbled wet sidewalks. . . .
The other day, I showed you a picture of a long trailer with Cecil's picture on it. Here is his new home in the Pier 11 building. It was cold and wet and the wind was picking up when I took these photos. The sky seemed ready to make a dark day even darker, so I thought I'd wait for better lighting before going inside to reveal Cecil himself in all his wooden glory. I hope Cecil's Grill has a long and prosperous life. It's the most recent in a chain of many restaurants in this location. My friend Francisca will remember a pleasant evening we spent chatting over a project here one night in the pouring rain with a fantastic view of the river and munchy hors d'oeuvres. I've always loved the warning sign in the second photo!
The ships have such interesting names, although this one is not the most romantic. It's also fun to observe the place of registry. I think the most common port name I see is Panama, but there are others; it could be fun to make a list. This one happens to be Oslo. This ship is not traveling up or down river, but is "swinging on the hook" (rotating on its anchor chain) as the tide in the river turns.
I know there's a story here, and probably many. Hopefully some of you will help me out. I've seen the wooden version of Cecil. Last time I noticed, he was in a store on Marine Drive. He's an impressive beast, whatever his history.
It's true - the colors are gorgeous on 11th Street and around Astoria. You also get one thing with this lot that I removed from the picture. I don't usually Photoshop out the power lines, but today I couldn't help showing the blue sky crystal clear. As I type this, the clouds are moving in.
I took this photo last July from the back deck of Coffee Girl just about the time small boats decided that coming back to the mooring basin was the better part of valor. The photo below indicates one of the reasons this might be a good idea. The big ships aren't bothered. I love the ships' names. The one on the left has the evocative name of Navios Mercator.
Like many fixtures in Astoria, the Portway has a devoted clientele, fish on the facade, paint that has seen better days, and a blue and white plaque that says, "Historic Landmark." Unlike most, it has its own ATM machine.
Can anyone tell me the name of these purple flowers? If I ever knew it, it escapes me today. (Hmmm, maybe some variety of lilac?) [Thanks to everyone who said it was a BUTTERFLY BUSH.] I've been noticing flowers and color all season, and when my photos aren't of ships, they usually include flora. I'm sure many of you will recognize the location as being right next to the interesting dumpsters on the 12th Street pier showing the Sears building in the background (right side of the photo). I think our cold, wet spring and late-blooming summer has given us gorgeous blossoms well into summer.
Hello, Everyone! The title of today's post could be a theme for this photo, and it's also a theme for me right now. Contrary to possible conclusions, I have not decided to give up on this blog, but I have (by default) taken a break from all of my blogs. I think about posting, I still take photos, and I really, really appreciate the interest all of you have shown. Rather than lack of interest, I can sum up my disappearance as "other things coming to the foreground," and everthing simply takes time.
We'll see what happens going forward, but for now I would like to thank J for sending in this charming photo of a view that was not available until very recently, and to pass along a question from the photographer: Can anyone tell us more about this old building? It was revealed recently along the River Walk when the weathered old white Darigold building was taken down.
My friend Parker took this photo while walking downtown this morning. Most of us might not think to look up into the awning in front of the Liberty Theatre, but if we did, we'd be greeted with this decorative detail from an earlier era. You might remember Parker's photo of the rigging on one of the tall ships from about a month ago.
Here's another shot of the purple (lavender?) rhododendron bush outside the post office. Yesterday's photo was the "art shot," today's photo shows the brilliant red flowers on the adjacent bush. I think the sceme is supposed to be vaguely red, white, and blue. The nearly-white rhodies at the other end of the building were falling apart as of yesterday, but here is my shot of them from last year. If I remember, the pink were still looking OK, but the white ones are about gone.
Mt. Hood from Government Camp, Oregon ~ June 4, 2011
About 3 hours' drive from Astoria
On June 4th, I drove up to the high desert, and was surprised by how cold it still was over the pass. It was cold even in a sweatshirt when I got out of the car, and snow was still piled maybe 8 or so feet deep where it had been plowed into drifts near some of the buildings. With the zoom, you can see how much snow is waiting to melt among Mt. Hood's crags. There has already been a lot of flooding along Oregon's rivers. I don't know if there's any noticeable rise here in Astoria for those who observe these things more carefully than I do. I haven't noticed whether the river has been higher or not, as it isn't noticeable from my perspective. Does anyone know if it's a fraction of an inch, or maybe even inches this far downriver?
My ten-year-old friend Parker got a chance to take a sail on one of the tall ships on the Columbia River during Astoria's bicentennial celebration. He brought back this wonderful photo of the adventure taken with his mom's cell phone. I think it came out spectacularly well. Maybe when Parker sees this, he'll fill us in on the event and I will update the post or upload another photo from his day "at sea" (in quotes because it's really the river - a huge one, at that!). I also hope to find out which ship this is. There were two of them on the river that day.
Rhododendrons are blooming everywhere, globe-shaped colorful bushes from small to huge to the size of trees. This rhododendron bush, not in full bloom yet, can be found in the garden behind the First Presbyterian Church and this building at the corner of 11th and Harrison.
We've been seeing a lot of these beautiful tall ships on the Columbia River for the past few days. They've been taking passengers out for exciting reenactments and photo ops. I haven't gone, but I know someone who did, and I may be posting a photo or two when they come out of the camera. This is part of Astoria's bicentennial celebration.
I was working the other day and heard a loud "BOOM"! As it turns out, the ships were firing cannons at each other and there was a big puff of white smoke next to one of the ships. I can't believe how loud the cannon fire was!
I love finding art in unexpected places, and this time I found it on the side of the old Darigold building next to the train station. The building is slated for demolition at the end of May. Please see yesterday's post for further info and to learn what Ron Walker is looking for before the building disappears.
Here is another picture of the Darigold building that I took last May and posted in June. I know more about it now than I did a year ago. Let's hope we can get more and more stories so Ron Walker's project of preserving the history of this historic structure will be filled with fascinating stories and tidbits of Astoria's past. You can help by e-mailing Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning him at (503) 440-3506.
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