Wednesday, December 31, 2008
When you leave Milton-Freewater and head southeast, you cross this river, which I believe is the Walla Walla River. This overpass and road takes you to Southfork, of which I did a series of photos around Thanksgiving. This overpass, however, is just as you're starting to leave the "city" of Milton-Freewater (I put that in quotation marks because MF has approximately 6,000 residents) and head into the countryside. The unexpected colours from beneath the road caught my eye and I turned into a nearby driveway to investigate. This is what I found beneath the overpass. I don't know who did it or why or even when, but it's beautiful. I just love the vivid colours!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This is one of my favourite places to go for lunch. You've seen photos of it here before - it has outside dining called "The Courtyard" that is quite enjoyable during the spring and autumn (gets a bit hot in the summer and a bit chilly in the winter). This is what it looks like on the inside. It's less than a mile from where my husband and I work, so we often come here for lunch (probably more often than we should). In the winter, I love getting their soups. They offer creamy tomato basil, baked potato, chili, creamy broccoli cheese, and corn chowder. All are delicious and are fun to eat in a bread bowl. During the summer - well, truthfully, year-round! - my favourite is their Avocado Deluxe sandwich: Mayo, sprouts, tomato, swiss cheese, onion, and avocado on your choice of bread. My favourite is the 8-grain bagel. All of their dishes are available with real meat or veggie-meat, which is great for vegetarians like me. Rogers is also a bakery and they make all of their own bread, bagels, donuts, cookies, pies, and other baked goods. And it is all delicious. I highly recommend trying this place if you're ever in town. It's located on the North end of College Avenue in College Place.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
As you crest the Blue Mountains between the Grande Ronde (where La Grande, Oregon) is located) and Walla Walla Valleys, you know you're almost home. And while most winters we know we're leaving the winter wonderland behind us and headed for more brown and possibly soggy ground, this year there's a bit of hope for the wonderland continuing down the mountain and into the WWV. Still, there is nothing like mountain Christmas trees dressed in their finest, lit up by God's brightest candle. It's a farewell to Christmas, but definitely not to natural beauty.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
This made me laugh as I walked past it a few days ago. This is Billy Budd, whom you've seen before on this blog. He just looks so distraught over the snow on his head and shoulders, I couldn't help but capture his misery with my camera. He looks like he's having trouble walking, too. I'm sorry, Billy!
Friday, December 26, 2008
Though this clock rarely tells the correct time, it is a beautiful timepiece, I think. It was a gift from the class of 2000 at Walla Walla U. No matter what season it is, this clock always catches my eye. It's probably the second most photographed item on the WWU campus, the first being the Billy Budd statue in front of the library (see previous post), of which I will post another photo tomorrow, since it looks great buried in snow. (You'll see what I mean tomorrow.) The snow persists, and though I love the beauty of it, I'm fine with the amount we have - and I don't want any injuries or deaths due to icy, snowy, wintry travel. My prayers are with all who travel in this weather. Vaya con Dios, mis amigos.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sorry...another photo not taken in Walla Walla, but through the eyes of a WWV resident. This was taken last Christmas Eve at midnight mass at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in La Grande, Oregon. My husband's family has always attended midnight mass on Christmas Eve, in spite of the fact that they are not Episcopalian. They are in fact Seventh-day Adventist, but Adventists don't do midnight mass. My husband's mother plays organ for the Episcopal Church every Sunday, and so it just turned into a fun tradition to attend midnight mass with her on Christmas Eve. Once they were older, my husband and his sisters provided music for the pre-mass meditation. Now we all do it - spouses included! Last Christmas we did a capella versions of two very beautiful old carols, including "Lullay, Lullay." The soft lighting in the church made photos difficult, but I couldn't ruin the mood by using flash. So it's a bit blurry, but I just love the warm light. Imagine your favourite carol being played softly by your favourite instrument, and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of this lovely little small-town church. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Having this much snow makes everyone happy during winter break, because it occupies the kids. The kids are entertained and the parents are relieved of "bored" children for a few hours. It's a win-win situation! But it's not all play during spells like this; the man in the back of the truck is shoveling snow out of the bed of his truck, which he then had to dig out of the snow in order to move it. In spite of the work, though, this winter wonderland sure makes Christmas that much better. The wreath on this house was beautiful before, but the snow accentuates it, I think. I love this time of year!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Icicles are fascinating. You go to bed one night in your normal house, and then in the morning when you look out the window, here they are! I know how icicles form, but it's nearly impossible to watch them do it. They grow persistently, silently, and next to invisibly. But they are beautiful, aren't they? These are small ones (about 8-12 inches long); we have one on the corner of our house that is about 3 feet long. I love them! When I was little, my sisters and I used to break them carefully off of the eaves of our home and stash them in the freezer for warmer weather. It was fun to pull out icicles and "fence" with them in May or June.
More photos of this crazy weather to come...last night around 7:30 it was still snowing and we had 20 inches. I'll re-measure today and let you know what it is now. It's at least 2 feet, I'd bet.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Our front porch on Thursday afternoon. It snowed for another couple of hours after I took this photo. It snowed again Friday night - big beautiful flakes! - and more snow is on the way today and/or tomorrow. We haven't seen this much snow here in the WW Valley for many, many years! Isn't it beautiful?!?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
And I'm back! It's been a couple of weeks simply because I've been stressed and busy. But now I'm back and hope to be back to normal posting. This week we got a freak winter storm that dumped at least a foot of snow on us. That may sound like nothing to a lot of you, but we rarely get more than 1-2 inches at a time, and that only happens every 2-3 years. This just isn't a snowy place! So a foot is a lot of snow for us, and we weren't prepared. More is coming on Sunday, so that should be interesting. The photo above was taken of a local university's women's dorm parking lot. The cars are absolutely buried!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
As we were driving down a country road outside of Milton-Freewater, I had my camera out, hoping to catch some shots of the wild turkey that roams the fields in that area (I had no luck, though we did see a flock of them. They're just too fast.) As we came around a curve there was a dilapidated barn right at the edge of the road. It had obviously not been used for some time, and I loved the look of it nestled into the winter foliage. I raised my camera and snapped the shutter, not expecting much. Though it's not a high-quality photo, I kind of like the effect. Made me think of a dream segment in the movies.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
In spite of the colder weather and lack of camouflaging foliage, there is still some wildlife in the area. These beautiful birds were flitting around the branches and preening as I watched. I couldn't get close enough to see what they are...any bird experts out there recognize them? This is the same lake as yesterday's shot, but taken from another angle. This one is looking west.
Friday, December 5, 2008
As you're leaving the Walla Walla Valley and heading toward Tri-Cities (northwest of the WWV), you meet up with the mighty Columbia River. The area around the river is very wet, and has a few lakes interspersed with trees, reeds, and even some sagebrush. Everything is braced for winter, dressed in seasonal brown and ready for whatever the season brings. This scene shows one of the larger bodies of water that isn't the river itself in this area, and is facing northeast.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
One last close-up shot from Southfork and then we shall move on! Above this frozen grass was a lovely, deep-green-moss-covered rock dripping with water. Apparently it had warmed up enough to keep the rivulets along the rock running, but not enough to thaw the grass that had already frozen. There were even miniature icicles on a couple of the blades of glass-encased grass. Winter is coming!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Another close-up taken along the Southfork trail. This was the first real frost I'd seen this season, and even these dead and rotting leaves looked fantastic with their dusting of white. I took a picture to document the first frost I'd seen in the fall of 2008. I was quite excited. Of course, the next morning it frosted at home. Oh well!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Another shot of the south fork of the Walla Walla River. As you can see, there are places along the river where things are still green. This is due to the fact that the large trees have spread their branches as a cover, and some of the undergrowth in the thicker areas have been protected from some of the destructive icy winds. This particular part of the trail is reminiscent of the PNW rain forests in northern Washington - moss-covered rocks, ferns, soft earth, and trails darkened by thick branches overhead. Even in the fall, this area is quite sheltered.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Here's a semi-bird's eye view of the south fork of the Walla Walla River. As you can see, November has taken its toll on the surrounding foliage, giving the area an entirely new (and seasonal) beauty. Though it looks rough and wild, this is a relatively small river - especially if you compare it with the nearby (approx. 30-minute drive) Columbia River. However, places along this medium-sized river do run deep, and in the spring, the water is much closer to the top of its banks. There is actually a geocache on the other side of the river from the trail, which has been frustrating my husband for many months. You can either cross in the summer, when it's fast and deep, or the winter when it's shallower...and much colder!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
A man and man's best friend enjoying the walk along the Southfork trail. It was a beautiful November day, and perfect for a quiet walk in nature. (In spite of the mud!) Along this trail we met only 3 people: A hiker, a bicyclist, and a dirt bike rider. It was a fantastic excursion!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Here's a close-up of the white berry-bearing bush. (Hooray for alliteration!) Anyone know what these are? They're beautiful, and fit the season so well! I would love to have some sprigs of this to liven up an evergreen display this time of year. This bush is growing along the south fork of the Walla Walla River. This week I've been featuring close-up shots taken while on a walk along this trail (commonly known as Southfork) last Sunday. For a more artistic shot of these berries, see yesterday's post.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Another close-up shot from Southfork, especially for Skywatch Friday! The berries pictured here silhouetted against the sky were all along the beginning part of the Southfork trail. They were white, which, if I'm remembering the little survival training I've had, would mean they were probably extremely poisonous. (Can anyone confirm that the lighter the colour, the more poisonous berries are to humans?) I'll post another photo of the bush so you can see the colour exactly. I liked this photo because of the gradient sky and seasonal silhouettes. More Southfork to come...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Another close-up day... I'm not a horticulturist, or a mycologist (a word I used while posting this - it's a scientist who studies fungi), so unfortunately I can't tell you what this is exactly. It was everywhere along the trail at Southfork. It would appear (after consulting Wikipedia) that mosses are not fungi, but I didn't read the entire entry on "moss." So I'm not really sure if this is a moss or a fungi, but whatever it is, it's beautiful. The colour is cool and it looks like this branch is attempting to dress its finest - in spite of having lost all of its summer accessories. More of Southfork to come...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
On Sunday, my husband and I went to Southfork, a popular walking/biking area to the southeast of Milton-Freewater. There is a picnic area and campground there, as well, known as Harris Park, but it is closed for the season. This is a beautiful time of year to go, as the summer crowds are gone, and the earth is preparing for a "long winter's nap." I of course took my camera to stock up on great WWV shots, and think I did fairly well at grabbing some interesting things to show you. My focus on this trip was, for some reason, close-up shots. So there will be a few of those this week, but all are from the Southfork area. Today's shot is of a mushroom turned upside-down. No, I didn't pluck and turn it myself - I found it this way! I just loved the uniformity of the underside of the mushroom. Oh, by the way, it's called Southfork because the trails take you on a tour along the south fork of the Walla Walla River. I'll show pictures of that this week, too.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Well, last night we got the first real frost of the season. I love this time of year! The air feels clean, the plants and trees are dressed in sparkling white, and my breath fogs the air in front of me as I walk. It certainly feels as though the holidays are upon us, and it makes me smile.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
While at a friend's house a few weeks ago, I was standing in the driveway, waiting, and looked up. The sun was sinking toward Australia, and the clouds were alight with a faintly golden glow from the setting sun. The shape of the clouds, too, drew my attention; they looked like a pile of cotton balls or pillows. I really wanted to jump into them and float around, relaxing. Someday...
Saturday, November 22, 2008
In October I accompanied a friend of mine to a camp a few hours from home. We were to be counselors for a young women's retreat held there, as well as the musicians for song service each worship time. Each of the counselors was given responsibility for four young women, aged anywhere from 13 to 17. My girls were all 13 years old, and had so many different personality traits! It was an eye-opening, inspiring experience, which was also frustrating and exhausting at times. But I think I'll do it again. On the last night of the 3-day retreat, there is a banquet held in the cafeteria which is all windows and faces over the lake. Girls were given sarongs to fit the "Paradise" theme, but were also free to wear their own formals or other dresses if they'd like. One of the girls in my cabin opted for an adorable black strapless dress with tiny white polka-dots. These shoes, borrowed from her 16-year-old sister, capped the outfit. As she sat waiting for the dinner bell to signal the start of the banquet, she dangled her feet down over the edge of the bunk bed, and I grabbed my camera to capture the moment.
Friday, November 21, 2008
This beautiful bush greeted me for several weeks as I pulled into the parking lot at work. It grew more and more vivid every day, and I admired it each morning. Last week I noticed it losing its leaves. The colour was deep and almost bloody, and each morning there were fewer leaves on the branches, and more on the ground below. I was very sad about the loss of this cheeful autumn beauty. But THIS week, I noticed something new: Berries! All of the vivid colouring, the deepening, the loss of leaves - it was all leading up to something else beautiful. Here is a close-up of how that same bush looks now. Amazing, isn't it?!? I love this time of year.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Another poorly composed sign shot. Sorry. This is what greets drivers as they cross the aptly named Stateline Road headed north on Highway 11/State Route 125. Washington is NOT ever green...at least not on the eastern side of the state. The western side stays fairly green all winter, but over here it turns brown in October/November and doesn't start colouring up again until March. This sign, however, IS ever green. And for those who commute into WW/CP for work every day (housing is cheaper in M-F, and jobs are scarce, so this is a frequent occurance), this sign is a regular, familiar, and probably not often noticed anymore view.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The view along the highway between Milton-Freewater and College Place is sometimes stunning. On this particular morning, it certainly was. The mountains (which sometimes resemble hills...depends on where you're from) are the Blue Mountains, and are actually decently tall; the highest peak is over 9,000 ft. Driving them in the winter can be quite hazardous.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Earlier this summer I went to a sustainability forum at a local college. It was well-attended (this was taken before the main event started), and I learned some valuable things. Discussions ranged from saving gasoline, to wind power, to heating houses, to public transportation, to the local farmer's co-op. All three of our local institutions of higher education co-sponsored this event with other local businesses, which was quite inspiring to note. The forum took place in Reid Hall on the Whitman College campus in Walla Walla.
Monday, November 17, 2008
And winter will soon be here. Thanksgiving (for those of us in America) is coming up next week, the trees are almost completely bereft of leaves - and colour - and the air is actually foggy/hazy in the mornings. This early fall view of a pasture west of College Place shows some tell-tale "end of summer" green. That's quickly slipping away around the valley; soon all there will be is brown. I do look forward to Thanksgiving, though - the colours of the table will be reminiscent of the gorgeous show of autumn splendor we had earlier in the fall.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This beautiful church in Walla Walla is the First Congregational Church. My sister-in-law was married here, and it's as beautiful inside as it is outside. I recently posted a photo taken from the inside of the church. You can see it here. This was taken on a silent Sunday morning, before anyone was arriving at churches yet. The sun was up, and it was a beautiful day, but the silence made the sacredness of the church even more alive.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I stopped to take a picture of something else early this summer, and across the road, this gentleman pranced up to the fence and posed for me. He swished his tail around a couple of times, and threw his head up and down. He kept trying to get my attention, even stomping his foot a bit. Finally, I laughed and said, "Okay, okay!" and snapped this photo. He seemed placated, and wandered over to munch on some more grass.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Another look upward on a beautiful sunny autumn day. These trees were each a different colour, and it was stunning! The blue sky offset the colours terrifically. Most trees around here either have no more leaves or their leaves are about half gone. This was taken late last week, and it goes right along with my unofficial "Colours of Walla Walla" series.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
With the morning yesterday came rain. And it stayed all day. This was unfortunate (but expected) for the Veteran's Day parades that happened in the valley (one in College Place and one in Walla Walla). However, when asked if they wanted to cancel the parade, the VFW group said, "If the Lord wants us to march in the rain, we'll march in the rain!" So the parade went on, and in spite of the soggy weather, a surprising number of people turned out to cheer the veterans, wave at the people in tanks, fire trucks, and sports cars, wave miniature American flags, and catch the candy thrown their way by several of the parade participants. I'm sure there are still some pieces out there lying in puddles. This photo is what greeted me when I came out of my office yesterday morning to run an errand.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Today in America we celebrate Veteran's Day. In Europe it's known as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. Whatever you call it, the point is that we are all thankful for the freedoms we enjoy in our respective countries, and are thankful to our veterans for risking - and sacrificing - what they did in order to keep our lives the way they are. War is something I can't imagine, even though we're involved in a semi-war currently. It's not visible to me, and I've never known what it's like to live in fear of attack, such as during WWII and other wars. So thank you, men and women who have risked and given up family, years, and life for America. You are the reason this flag can fly. Thank you.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I can't resist looking up when I'm walking under trees. This time of year the glance is more rewarding than usual, as there are colours one only sees during autumn. This tree caught my eye and I actually left my path and wandered over to it just to see what it looked like as a canopy. I was not disappointed. The leaves are very close to being gone for the season, and that means it will be harder to find nice pictures to post. So I continue my unofficial "Colours of the Walla Walla Valley" series in the hopes that you will enjoy the season as much as I do.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I've mentioned before that the Walla Walla Valley is a farming community. This is just one example of that: an orchard. The drive along the highway between Milton-Freewater and Walla Walla is littered with orchards - pears, peaches, cherries, apples, and more. I'm not sure what fruit these trees bear in early fall, but they are bearing a beautiful fruit in November; the beautiful colours caught my eye while on a drive in the countryside.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I've been showing a lot of fall colour shots recently, but I can't help it! The leaves are very quickly deserting their posts and very soon...too soon, perhaps...there won't be any colour left to show. So I've been focusing on that, and I hope you don't mind my unofficial "Colours of the Walla Walla Valley" series. This shot was taken in front of the Walla Walla U. library. The bench was donated by the class of 2008. I love the colour, and all the leaves caught my attention.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The four male mallards were so intent on surrounding the lone female that I couldn't help but think they were her bodyguards. They were enjoying an autumn morning excursion on the creek that runs behind the "dollhouse" subdivision. They were slightly leery of coming too close to me as I stood on the bridge, but they didn't go too far away for me to get a photo. I think they may have been hopeful that I'd share some of my bagel with them. (I didn't.) I had taken a bagel and orange juice back to one of the benches along this creek to enjoy a morning break from my computer. It was just what I needed that morning.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
This photograph was taken last winter at Mt. Hope, the College Place cemetery I've posted a photo from previously. (You can view that post here.) It was chilly and the wind was going full-force, but the flags caught my attention. Flying together in formation was the American Flag and the Christian Flag. How appropriate, I thought. So I've posted them together here as a reminder on this important day in our country. (For those who don't know, today is the day we find out who our next president will be.)
Monday, November 3, 2008
This photo could be labled "Dollhouses 7," because it was actually taken along a walking path that runs behind some of the houses in that subdivision. It used to be my favourite place to go walking, but we have since moved, and it is not as close as it used to be. Every once in a while, though, I still find an excuse to go wander around back there and take in the beauty and silence of the walk. This is one of my favourite spots along the trail - especially this time of year.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
When we were little, our parents used to take my sisters and I to visit Grandpa and Grandma in Ohio. We loved visiting, but riding in the car wasn't always so much fun (we couldn't afford to fly). So, 45 hours later, we'd end up in Grandpa and Grandma's driveway, with Grandma standing on the back porch waving and smiling, and Grandpa standing in the driveway with his hands in his pockets. Ohio has a certain look and feel to it, just as any area does. But sometimes, I can be reminded of those years past - and Grandpa and Grandma, who are both now resting - by looking down a certain street. This one, located in College Place, does a pretty good job of taking me back to the streets of Ohio when we'd visit Grandpa and Grandma in the little green house with the white and green awnings.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
This is my favourite barn in the world. It just begs to be photographed in any light, season, hour, or angle. So I accept the invitation and snap away. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This one, I think, did. The barn is located along College Avenue in College Place. I've actually posted a photo of this barn previously, and you can look at it by clicking here. Hope your Sabbath is as glorious as this photo looks.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I didn't grow up celebrating Halloween. I've never gone trick-or-treating, and I haven't attended a costume party since I was two. (I dressed as a clown, and was adorable, but don't remember a thing.) Last year some friends invited my husband and I to a pumpkin-carving party. I had never carved a pumpkin before and was super excited. What you see above is my very first attempt - EVER - of creating a jack-o-lantern. Hope all of you have a safe Halloween - and are more creative with your pumpkins than I was.