Monday, July 29, 2013

The things you learn at the fair.

The annual county fairs or state fairs are a good time for citizens to become acquainted with the services available in their county. I picked up brochures everywhere, from the Oregon Department of Forestry. Extension Services from Oregon State University, and the County Health Department which is no longer run by the county.

The young men in this picture are auxiliary members of the Forestry Department offering lots of brochures on how to avoid fires and how to landscape and maintain a safe environment around your property. Areas with lots of forests, as we have here in Oregon, are prone to destructive fires.

Some of the highlights of a brochure put out by the Oregon Department of Forestry entitled: Protecting and preserving Oregon's archaeological and cultural resources, a guide for Forest Landowners and Operators walks the reader through the various ways a forested site needs to be assessed before a cabin or a new structure, or new use is adopted, mostly reminders to conduct a thorough assessment, identifying arrowheads and shards related to native tribal life, burial grounds, railroad grates,milling stations...

"Common sense often dictates where sites are located ...
-pay special attention to fresh water sources...
-areas offering a variety of plants..."

I took brochures on how to grow blueberries, (my plants seem to be way too puny), what to plant in deer areas, how to conserve water, and my favorite, how to dry everything. Yes, even zucchini can be dehydrated and kept for those long winter days when a cup of soup might improve with dried herbs and zucchini chips.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Old Fashioned and Fun

There is always something to learn. Here, another gadget to experience.

Yep, there is a survey that can reveal your chances for making it to the good place!

Lines everywhere, some with their own sound systems!

This is Thursday, seniors get in free day!

Many displays and competition trophies!
 I might have to test my abilities one of these days.

This young lady and young man are waiting with their animal for the judges to come by. Spectators were welcomed to come up close, and then put some bids on the animal of their choice. Yes, pigs, goats and steer are auctioned off right after the judging. The winners pay up and arrange for their prize to be butchered and delivered to their front door ready for the freezer the next day! Never will you find yourself so up close and personal with your next bite of steak!

The Coos County Fair, July 25, 2013, in Myrtle Point, Oregon.

All fashioned food, fun, displays, 4H demonstrations, and auction of youth-raised animals. To my husband, who spent a great deal of his childhood in the western region, this felt just like his childhood. To me, each stall, each character, right out of central casting. Yep, this is small town rural America.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

All we need is Art!

Here are five members of our local Arts Council, ages 30 something to 80 something, representing a town membership that sports representatives from most arts specialties, posing here  at our latest yard sale where the community could pick up art supplies, including fabric samples and a music mixer for free.

Port Orford is an arts colony in the true sense of the world. Each person in this photo is an artist and patron of the arts,  also a volunteer in schools, senior centers, veterans' centers and local cooperatives. Retirees and young mothers alike have taken up painting, dancing, music, weaving, wood carving, metalwork, ceramics, glass, bas-relief, basketry, writing, garden design...

The town has more galleries than grocery stores; more studios than businesses, more residents who embrace a lifestyle that is simply dedicated to making art, sharing art, appreciating art, than any other life pursuit. Your housekeeper can be the person whose painting you bought a few months before; your handyman, the sculptor whose award-winning pieces are hanging in the Smithsonian. Down the street and painting in your watercolor class is one of Hollywood's famous directors whose life now is dedicated to other pursuits.

The philosophy here is that the arts help us understand life.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

This fleeting life.

Nothing in this picture tells me what place this is.
Rocks turning green, exposed to salt air
turning white as water retreats and leaves sand patterns behind.

I have no recollection of this day depicted in this photograph.

I'm having trouble making sense of photos, stories, letters and articles
I've accumulated;these subjects must have moved me once.
I only know that the cutting and the pasting was easy and quick and
these tools gave me instant accomplishments.

Thoughtless and careless,
I can stalk everything and everyone, any time of the day and night
hoarding volumes and volumes
that could never leave
tall monasteries, yet
I don't feel power or delight in all this wealth
through a viewfinder.
I feel as though I'm threading water in a lake
saturated with invasive species,full of reeds without redemptive powers
hiding  nothing and everything.

What an easy breezy task this is,  not worried about remembering facts
from opinions
each  position easily reversed with a new set of data
a constant shifting ground
as the next salt-water tide
bleaches space and time
from my grey cells.

Will I still be able to recognize those human intrusions
that will make my heart  soar beyond the moment
reach for a pen
jot down a name
a date
an address on a piece of paper that can witness today?

Will my life change if I can no longer tell
what impeding decay smells like?
Will I shed tears in the face of loss
or quickly click the local heroes of comedy until the feeling passes?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Conquering Fears

Every time I look out my window, I want to cross this strip of water! The dunes in the foreground are a canoe trip across this small cove on calm days. But most days are not calm. Most days the winds blow incessantly and would definitely topple any vessel.  My children all made this trip. My husband too. After ten years of hesitation, I intend to conquer my fears , get into a canoe and get myself to the ocean a stone throw from my house, a house we bought because of its proximity to two bodies of water! (We live in the last house on the right.)

So, what will it take for me to make this trip?
Global warming! Yes, if the lake got warmer, I wouldn't mind falling in.

Or, another vessel. A canoe feels wobbly and unsteady.
Or, lessons. Yes, if I had lessons and people around me who knew their craft, I might embark on such adventure.

The thing is everyone I know canoes or boats or kayaks in this strip of water. Children as young as ten are seen paddling across these waters. And they never had lessons, just an opportunity to borrow canoe, oars, life jackets.

I conquered bigger challenges, I tell myself. How hard can this be?