Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blue Sky...Nothing But Blue Sky

photo of oregon coast range
Traveling through the Coast Range this time of year is usually a dark and rainy affair. The clouds are down around your ears and your eyes follow the road lacking anything else to focus on.

This weekend was certainly an exception to that rule. After a heavy snowfall, the bright sun and vibrant blue sky highlighted the rugged beauty of the mountains.

photo of oregon coast range

Not to be outdone, the Wilson River showed her glorious beauty to all who stopped for a moment to drink it in.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

We want food and make it snappy!

Yes, Saltair Station now has car hops! We stopped at the wayside to say hello to the waves after a very cold, snowy trip across the coast range. It was a frigid 25 degrees on the beach with some ridiculous wind chill factor as evidenced by the blowing sand. Inside the car though the sun was toasty warm and the view was magnificant.

At least for five minutes, then these two arrived.

They screeched, squawked, pulled at the windshield wipers, pooped on the hood and generally did everything in their power to get fed. They would not be deterred and even remained on board when we backed away as if to leave.

Now, I may be a child of the 50's, but as I remember it the car hops are supposed to take your order, not order you around.

Monday, February 14, 2011

This Shipwreck Called Love

It was a dark and stormy Valentine’s Night exactly 103 years ago when the sailing ship, the Emily G. Reed, came aground at Rockaway in a rather spectacular fashion. As the tale goes, the ship broke apart and the captain and his wife survived by clinging to the poop deck until low-tide. Because the couple had been at sea for over 100 days, I would guess the holiday had not been celebrated with chocolates or flowers.

The captain’s wife may also have been a bit cranky because her beloved’s navigational skills were lacking that fateful night. As it turned out, the ship was much closer to shore and farther from the entrance to the port than he calculated. Although it must be noted he later blamed the chronometer for giving him faulting readings.

Imagine for a moment, their Valentine’s conversation as this married couple clung to the splintering timbers for dear life. Do you imagine it was the, "We might not live so I want vow my undying love for eternity" speech?

Or was it more like this, "John, you fool, I can't believe you got the directions wrong again...did you stop to ask the first mate?"

May you sail smoothly on the sea of love this Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Doo...Doo...Doo...Lookin' Out My Backdoor

While I was seated at the dining room table yesterday, engaged in a conference call, my eyes were busy roaming out the backdoor. I had gazed at the dark green moss on the old windswept pine tree. The moss was wet with dew from the early morning fog. A few tiny birds were jumping about in the cedar tree next to it. A typically, tranquil morning was underway within my view.

Just then, in a blur of brown fur, I saw a deer dart by no more than ten feet from where I was sitting. A few seconds later a coyote followed hot on the deer’s trail. They both rounded the house and shot out onto the street. The deer rocketed down the street obviously familiar with the small town’s layout. He appeared to be heading toward Big Al’s Ice Cream Parlor. The coyote seemed much less comfortable on the “big city streets” and turned north toward the wilderness.

Earlier today I was standing where these two had run through the property. It is an obvious trail the local wildlife use and we had seen the deer on it in the past. I glanced at the tree to my right and saw these marks cut into the bark at about eye level.

I am not sure what made them, although I have a pretty good guess. “Nature Bob” (from New Jersey) assures me they aren’t recent. As reassuring as he is, I do believe our backyard trail may very well be known as Main Street to the woodland animal kingdom.

I'm Lichen It!

Breathe deeply, you are standing next to a tree full of lichen. At first glance, they may appear to be snow puffs. Instead they are a very curious combination of two organisms living together intimately in a symbiotic relationship. Each winter they take over this tree outside our bedroom window.

Years ago, an old-timer told me when you see lichen you know the air is good and clean. Stop and fill your lungs. I have always taken his advice. A little research when writing this blog confirmed it, "Most lichens are extremely vulnerable to air pollution. When lichens disappear, they give early warning of harmful conditions," according to Lichen appears to be the "canary in the coal mine" of life on Planet Earth.

Happily, they are bountiful here at Saltair Station.