Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The To Do List

One of the little bonuses of longevity in the working world is the accrual of vacation time.  I have decided that I should start taking a day once or twice a month away from the office and get a few of those annoying jobs done around Menagerie Manor that have been on the to do list for ------- well------ some of them for years.  I have written down all the jobs big and small and to the left of the list I assigned each job a number and put a corresponding ticket into the job jar.  The idea is to pull a ticket out and complete that job no matter the cost or time before moving on to the next ticket.  This last Monday I told the office not to expect me and had plans of completing some of these very jobs I just mentioned.
Bright and early Monday morning we loaded the dogs in the car and headed to the beach.  I know, I know, but some of those jobs have been on the list for years so they can just wait another day.  The weather was gorgeous and the three dogs were so excited when they discovered they were included.  It took Sophie "the little Nazi" half the trip to settle down.  Popeye was just so happy to go that he was bound and determined not to be a pest from the start so suddenly became the most obedient dog which is completely out of character.  Miss Betty the Corgi who has had a more refined education than most humans picked her spot in the car and never moved again. 
First we stopped in Clatskanie (MeMa's childhood home) to empty the mail box of the little mail her father still gets.  Then it was back on the road for another forty minutes before stopping at Bradley State  Park to let the dogs exercise and have a drink of water.

Wonderful view of Puget Island

The view for the next hour

Once we got back on the road and closer to the coast we ran into a large traffic back up where the traffic was reduced to one lane, turned out to be construction and a driver of a motor coach was not paying attention and slammed into the car ahead of him knocking out the rear window.

We finally reached the beach and immediately MeMa's shoes came off and whilst the girls frolicked in the tide, Popeye and Doc who both believe water was meant for drinking not for dancing in stayed at a reasonable distance in the dry sand.

MeMa tried to convince Popeye that he was missing out on the time of his life, even little Sophie gave some encouragement but to no avail.
Miss Betty has a neurological deficit that reared its ugly head this year, it causes weak ungainly motor skills in her back legs.  We thought that it would be good exercise for her on the sand which did seem true but when we headed back to the car the condition only seemed worse and we noticed one of her nails was bleeding from being worn down.  I carried her the rest of the walk.  Our vet told us that the surgery would have little success at her age and condition so we help as we can and then when the time comes we will make a tough decision.  At this time she is happy and healthy otherwise.
We decided to take another route home to avoid the road construction and after looking at the road map headed for Saddle Mountain which neither of us have been too, and it offered picnic areas for our afternoon luncheon.  We are going to return to Saddle Mountain in early May next year as there is a five mile hike that takes you through fields of blooming wildflowers at that time of year.  After turning off the highway onto the park road it is another seven miles of heavily forested narrow roadway.

I don't think Miss Betty was impressed with the picnic facilities as when I lay her down she promptly turned her back and slept the entire stay.  It was very rustic to say the least but we did find a good spot and ate a fine lunch before heading back home.

How many clowns can you fit in a Volkswagen?

Friday, August 24, 2012


Chinese Bellflower, Flowering Maple are several names for this species of flowering plant.  It is the Abutilon "Red Tiger" and it bloomed for the first time last week.  I purchased the plant at the Home and Garden show last year, it was such a scrawny looking little six inch plant at the time but now stands about six feet.  If there ever was a flower to catch ones eye this is it.  Last Saturday MeMa and I hosted a garden party and dinner for about 24 of my office staff and their spouses and this little jewel was the subject of many conversations.  It is hardy to about zone eight so I winter it in the greenhouse.  If it ever stops blooming I have plans of cutting it back in order to make it stronger and more compact.  It currently only has two six foot stocks and they have to be supported.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Family History....."brick by brick".

Sitting in the back seat while my parents drove us to Moro Oregon I flipped through a couple of pamphlets that my mother purchased the previous week at the Moro Historical Society and Museum.  One quote from a pioneer resident of that town stated that they walked by the Moro City Hall that was being built "brick by brick" by my great grandfather Benjamin Franklin Hoover, they then stated that they had walked a little further west of that location passing by the Hoover Brick Yard.  Although nothing remains of the brick yard and surrounding home sight there are several buildings still standing, built by and with the very brick my great grandfather manufactured.  The Sherman County Journal wrote "Southeast of The Dalles in Moro, D.M. Radley opened a brick yard in 1896, that was later taken over by B.F. Hoover, who molded "over 7,000 pressed brick each day".

Benjamin Franklin and Martha Ann Hoover
My Great Grandparents
On our way through the wheat and hay country, and there was little else, we passed acres of wind turbines. They are everywhere across the countryside, the new clean source of energy, but also controversial like anything else new. 
Wind Turbines in the miles and miles of dry open country.
Relic of an old barn....oops, should have saved this for my monthly barn picture post.
Consider this the August bonus barn.

Finally arriving in Moro our first stop was the graveyard were my grandmother's twin sister Addie is buried. Addie died in infancy of pneumonia, the twins were born on Christmas day while my great grandmother was cooking Christmas dinner for all the farm and brickyard workers.

Pioneer Graveyard, not exactly the lush  park like settings we are used to in large cities.
Addie's resting place, so many years ago but not forgotten.
My mother brought some baby roses that I placed on the grave.
 MeMa and I walked through the graveyard noticing the infant death rate was very high back in the 1800's. My parents met us at the gate with the car and we drove back into town to our next stop the Moro Museum.
For a town of 337 in population the museum was fantastic, so well designed and the displays that the crew of volunteers put together looked to have been done by professionals.
The little covered foot bridge leading to the museum buildings and surrounded by a nice little park.
After a "generous donation" and a look around the many rooms we sat and talked for what seemed like hours with two of the nicest volunteers Veda and Larry who seemed just as excited as we were to  discover any information on the Hoover home and brickyard sight.  Larry told me that one of my great grandfather's buildings was just torn down and the bricks lay in a pile not too far from the museum. He offered to drive me to the dump sight which I gladly accepted and soon was in possession of five bricks from the Hoover brickyard.

 So with the promise to send them copies of our family tree and any old photos we followed their direction to were the brickyard once stood. The original buildings are long gone and in their stead is a goat farm, but it was nostalgic to say the least to just see it first hand.

Hoover brick house being restored

Down on Main Street is the large old Hotel made with Hoover Bricks.  I can't really say, but I don't think my great grandfather would like the pink paint job any better than I did. That's progress!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flower Power

You may recall my post from April 13, 2012 "G-Pa P's Geraniums".
I mentioned that I made a change in the rose garden to make room for a nice display of them. They show well here in the front garden and bring many comments from passersby.

This year I made the greenhouse work for its keep.  
I purchased no annuals for the gardens as I grew everything from seed.

Marigold Mickey

Part of the new vegetable garden is a couple of large picking gardens for MeMa to fill the house with flowers.
Dahlias and zinnias on the front porch sitting area 

The rose garden loved our long cold spring as they are really producing now.
This one is called First Love
Fresh picked zinnias in the sun room

This rose is "Jude the Obscure"

And Fresh from the Greenhouse
Oncidium "Golden Honey"

Oncidium "Ruby Doll"

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Old Barn

August 2012
I love old barns, the older the better. Thought I would try and post a barn photo each month as there seems to be an unlimited supply of such things here in the northwest. This one is just outside of Pendleton.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Road Trip

A couple of weeks ago we took some good friends up to our cabin for a weekend retreat.  This was their first time and almost a year since we last spent time there ourselves.  We had such a great time lazying around the cabin, going for long walks in the woods or going for drives to the nearby lake.  I decided to take last week off and loaded all the dogs into my work van, and MeMa and I returned to the cabin for some alone time.  We stayed three days and could take the cold weather no longer.  So we loaded everyone back into the van and returned home were we unloaded the dogs and then transferred belongings into MeMa's VW Beetle and headed to eastern Oregon in search of sun and casinos!  As soon as we got over Mt. Hood the sun was out and we had the sunroof open and windows down letting warm air hit us full on.  Our first stop was in the high desert bluffs of Warm Springs in Central Oregon, at the Indian Head Casino.  We are not big gamblers and only play the slots, but both managed to leave with more money than we arrived with.

After leaving the Casino we headed east into the high desert. On our approach we thought this tree had fungi growing all over it but it turned out to be a rather large collection of tennis shoes.
Our first night was spent in Pendleton, home of the Pendleton Round-up and the Wild Horse Casino which turned out to be another lucrative visit.  The next morning we toured the Pendleton Woolen Mills and then headed north into eastern Washington and the town of Toppenish and its Legends Casino.  On our way we passed a historical marker for the "Teapot Dome Gas Station" and decided we needed to get off the highway and see this landmark.  We followed the sign only to discover a badly rotted foundation, a couple of gas pumps but no Teapot.  Disappointed we headed on into Toppenish and the Legends Casino, where MeMa asked one of the employees as to the outcome of the missing "Teapot Dome Service Station".  She then told us the the local city of Zillah purchased and moved the building because it was in disrepair and had been the subject of vandals. We quickly signed for our members cards and then hopped back into the car and headed out once again to find the Teapot.

The sun was going down so it put a nasty glare in the photo but after our ordeal were bound and determined to get proof of our find.

Built in 1922, the circular frame, sheet metal handle and concrete spout was intended to be a reminder of the Teapot Dome Scandal that rocked the presidency of Warren G. Harding and further sent Interior Secretary,  Albert Fall to prison for his role in leasing government oil reserves, among other places, Teapot Dome, Wyoming.  The city of Zillah Washington purchased and rehabilitated the building on its new location with a lovely little park surrounding it.
Back on the road again we made another visit to the Legends Casino, after all we had been issued members cards.  It would have been a shame to not use them.  We then headed to the city of Yakima and after finding our motel we headed into town to find a place to eat supper.  We settled on  "Mel's Diner" a 50's decorated establishment that served great food.  After a good meal we were walking out to the car when MeMa spied an antique gas pump on display and reading the plaque it said, "Original gas pump purchased from the Teapot Dome Gas Station"!