Friday, 30 April 2010

Sunrise, Sunset

One thing I do miss living in the mountains is that we rarely get spectacular sunrises and sunsets - the sun (when it does show up!) just pops up from behind the mountain and it does the same thing at night only it descends behind the mountain - boring. The mid-continent big skies provide the best sunsets that I've ever seen. Our recent trip to Oregon didn't really provide much of a change as it turned out, but our first night out, at Grand Coulee, we had a pretty good sky that you can see pictured here. The horizon was covered with tons of power lines given this is one of the major power generating areas in the west, but this picture seems to ignore all that technology. Prairie readers, enjoy your skies!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Palouse Falls

We found this little gem in southern WA in the most unexpected of places. After driving through what I'd call high desert/prairie for a couple of hours and following the heavily dammed Snake River for a bit, we came to this state park northwest of Walla Walla. (That city was at the height of its spring beauty on April 23rd - every flowering tree was in bloom.) The road descends into the park and after arriving at the parking lot there is this amazing waterfall. Visitors are well above a deeply cut gorge - I couldn't really figure out what river this is on from our road atlas, but it's an impressive waterfall when one considers the location. A really surprising and refreshing change in the area was where visitors could walk - sheer drop offs everywhere and not a warning sign in sight (except about the rattlers)!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

O Pioneers!

This early school is located in Pendleton, OR and I had a chance to peek through the window to remind myself of the "good old days". I loved seeing all the assignments written up on the board - self-directed learning had a different meaning in those days, but I guess there still remain many similarities. Those who can self-direct do tend to be more successful! This school was located on land donated to the school district by one of the early settlers who travelled over the Oregon Trail - a woman, of course! As I read the journals of some of those early travelling women, I continue to feel a debt of gratitude for all they gave to us - both men and women.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Oregon Trail

We spent last week visiting central WA, eastern OR and western ID. Most of our time we travelled along the famous Oregon Trail or the Lewis and Clark trail. The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center was a little gem located about 10 miles (16 km) from Baker City, OR. I was really pleased that our National Parks Pass got us into the exhibits. It's very nicely done, and very similar to those Canadian prairie stories of people moving west. The big difference is the MASSES of people who took the Oregon Trail, compared to the travel to the Canadian prairies. All of the rest stops along the I-84 have information and quotes from diaries about travelling the trail 150 years ago. The hardships were incredible. I can't help but wonder what those early travellers would think of the spoiled folks here now, about 7 generations later, who complain if we can't use a drive-thru to purchase fast food. We owe so very much to the hardy pioneers!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Silent Spring

I've been pretty quiet during the past few weeks and I guess it's because there's always lots of work to do at this time of year - it's mostly wood splitting and de-rocking the garden. We've managed to get a bit more space cleared in our sunniest area. The new soil will produce a better garden, we hope. The "cool crops" are planted and a big mess of wood has been split. The woodsheds are now nearly full. We look forward to a summer of leisure.