Thursday, January 27, 2011

You Are My Sunshine!

photo of rockaway beach oregon
At 65 degrees of sunny weather, Rockaway Beach is the place to be today! January on the Oregon Coast--bright sunshine or a foot of rain--it's a roll of the dice.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

That's A Lot Of Weather, Bill!

Locals use the term "weather" differently here. They might say, "Come on in and get dry, there's plenty of weather out there today." Or, "happy to see there is not much weather this morning." Weather is measured in less and more and encompasses wind, rain, clouds, fog, etc. In Portland we would most likely say, "Boy, was it ever windy and rainy today." Describing which forces of nature were active.

I have been pondering this for a while and have decided it is because the weather here is much more intense and also has more control over your life. When it is particularly windy (and usually wet) the phone system is sporadic. If you do get a line, it is very crackly and sounds like you are calling from the 1930's. Electricity is also in question. With the rain, flooding is common so it is always best to know two routes to every destination. Yes, I finally understand.

This morning the rain is still pounding the house with the same intensity it usually has during a thunderstorm--for the third day in a row. A quick check of the local precipitation reports show 10.75 inches of rain has fallen in a couple of days. Bundled together with the wind, clouds and golly, that's a lot of weather!

P.S. I also learned yesterday that while "animals" in the city are referred to as "pets," here they should be called "livestock." Just trying to save you the same embarrassment.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Surf's Down

Across the street and down the block here at Saltair Station there is a delightful little A-frame cottage. With just one loft bedroom, one bathroom and a tiny kitchen with a wood burning stove it is cozy and quaint. The small deck is adjacent to a fairly large yard.

During the summers, the home is always a hub of activity. The deck is littered with surfboards, coolers, and towels drying in the breeze. Men and women in their 20's come and go, couples neck out front and there is a general bustle of energy. Surf's up--it is the summer season. Then as the days grow shorter, the band of merry makers pack up all their belongings, strap the surfboards to their aging cars and head out for the next adventure.

Today, there was an ad in the local paper looking to rent the cottage. My guess is it will stand empty for few more rainy months and then a new group of carefree friends will pull up, unload their surfboards and coolers and fill the cottage with energy and laughter.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere

Outside my window, the relentless rain is blowing sideways. Thankfully, I am now sitting beside a fire watching it.

Earlier today, driving down the Wilson River Highway was like going through a car wash--not much visibility and blasting water coming from all directions. I wouldn't have been a bit surprised to see those big, spinning brushes come by my window too.

When the rain and wind allowed, we could see the Wilson River. The normally beautiful river had become a muddy brown torrent carrying huge logs down the mountain. The river was cresting the banks at flood stage and reminded me of a much scarier version of "Splash Mountain".

But "the good news is" (as my friend Mary would say)...this means the the waterfalls are bountiful and beautiful. Here is one of my favorites near Idiotville.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Sound of Music

Realtors say, "Location, Location, Location" is the most important decision when buying a house. I agree! Our "locations" allow us to walk to get a cup of coffee and a Sunday paper. It's a short walk to the grocery store, the bank, and restaurants. Not to mention the beach, of course, while in Rockaway and the Farmers Market in Portland.

Sounds are important to me as well. I like to hear the sound of trains off in the distance. Something about their melancholy whistles make me feel safe and secure. And church bells. St. Mary's Church in Rockaway calls everyone to their morning worship and the sound rings throughout town. Music to my ears.

Bob's "music" also includes the high-noon test of the town's emergency sirens. Not as pretty perhaps, but a reminder to put down the power tools and come inside for a sandwich and Perry Mason.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Long Winter's Nap for Bears and Gardeners

We have a lot in common in the winter--black bears and gardeners. Hibernating and waiting for spring to unfold. Last month, I was sitting by the fire reading a gardening book when it hit me, I AM a gardener. Sometime in the last decade I had gone from puttering in the yard putting plants where I liked them best (with no regard to where they would actually grow) to spending indoor months plotting my garden for spring.

I remember my dad pouring over seed and bulb catalogs each winter, the cold rain beating on the window. I always thought, "Geez Dad, take a break from the yard." Now I understand and think to myself, "When can I get outside again, dig in the dirt and watch the blooms open in the warm sun."

With snow in the forecast on this gray winter day, I take my cue from the black bear and curl up for nap dreaming things to come. Being a coastal gardener, I will count deer instead of sheep!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Shy Miss Emily

photo of Emily G. Reed Shipwreck in Rockaway Beach Oregon
Apparently, all the attention on Saturday was just too much for the Emily G. Reed shipwreck. The next morning, this was all that was visible. One timber.

The rest of the shipwreck was covered in sand. It was the oddest feeling, to have seen it there the day before and then overnight, she disappeared (well, mostly) once again.

People were wandering around looking for the shipwreck they had heard about--some only the day before. We directed several folks to this one beam and explained what lies beneath their feet. They looked as us rather skeptically.

For me, it was a very bittersweet experience. She appeared overnight and vanished the same way. I had hoped to see more of her as the winter waves washed away the sand. But instead, they brought back the sand and the mystery.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Very Popular, Miss Emily

photo of rockaway beach oregon and emily g. reed shipwreck
Yikes, it finally happened. The flock of curious tourists descended on our local shipwreck, the Emily G. Reed. More media coverage in Portland and a long holiday holiday weekend resulted in a steady stream of camera-toting, amateur archeologists arriving in Rockaway. Why is a rare occurrence.

We plopped down on driftwood "bench" , soaked up the sun and watched the show. It was a strange feeling as we have had her to ourselves in the past.

Note: another 48 feet or so has been exposed since our last visit bringing the total length to 120 feet.

The Making of a Beach Tree

"Beach trees" all have one thing in common...there are very few branches on the side facing the ocean. My guess is the frequent 65-70 mph winds just might have something to do with that. Let's call it Mother Nature's winter pruning. Not wanting to be left out, our own Lullaby Tree in the back yard is working on becoming a beach tree. This huge branch came crashing down during a recent storm leaving the west side of the tree even more bare.

Perhaps it is also making a home for a bald eagle. I recently discovered beach trees or old growth trees (with just 60% of their branches remaining) are the bald eagle's favorite habitat. No wonder bald eagles love Saltair Station too!