Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Underworld Art

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

Rogers Bakery II

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

The Drive Home

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

Billy Budd II

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

Do You Have the Time?

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

Christmas Morning

Berries on a tree on the campus of Walla Walla U.



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Tradition

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

Not All Play

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

Invisible Growth

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

Piling Up

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

Freaky Weather

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

In a Dream

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

We're Still Here!

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

Winter Landscape

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

Signs of Winter

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

Frosty Morning

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

Walla Walla River 2

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

Walla Walla River 1

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!