Thursday, May 29, 2014

Memorial Day Tour

Once a year on Memorial Day a little known event happens that as the years go by brings an ever growing crowd including local history enthusiast as myself.  MeMa and I never like to be late and for the last couple of years we had other events that kept us from being part of the quiet crowd at Wilhelm Mortuary and Mausoleum for the opening of the Rae Crypt.   We arrived with more than an hour till the ceremony began but there were refreshments and a bagpiper to enjoy.
Scottish born George Rae one of Oregon's wealthiest lumber tycoons of the early 1900's married his housekeeper Elizabeth six months after his first wife died in 1913 at the state mental hospital.  Their love endured even though it was considered scandalous at the time.

George died four years later in 1918 leaving the fortune to Elizabeth.  George's adopted daughter from his first marriage contested the will, her lawyers accused her of being an opportunist as well as a prostitute.  The case went all the way to the supreme court, the daughter lost.
Elizabeth had the tomb built for what would be well over a million, the walls are granite and the ceiling details are all hand carved detail that one would usually find in Europe.  Two large 500 lb + sarcophagi of solid marble were carved in Italy and shipped here.  Inside the caskets themselves are solid bronze.
Elizabeth wanted a place they could be together for ever once again, so she had George exhumed from his initial grave and brought to the tomb were she joined him in death in 1942. The beautiful stained glass window has a quote of "The end of a perfect day."

Ceiling details are hand carved

The Wilhelm Mausoleum built in 1901 is also the final resting place for MeMa's grand-uncles and aunts as well. so before the Rae crypt was opened we went on a tour of the miles and miles of tunnel like rooms that spider web the hillside.

MeMa's family members

Looking down eight floors

Monday, May 26, 2014


In the days when my vision was good one of my favorite hobbies was fishing, not deep sea, but bank fishing.  Some folks see that as lazy fishing, I see it as the only way to fish.  A good friend of mine and co-worker would agree.  Nghia is from Viet Nam and at that time spoke broken English. Having had an international upbringing I understood broken English so we hit it off from the start.  One afternoon Nghia called and asked if he could stop by the house.  He had been out fishing with his elderly father at a nearby lake and had something for me.  Upon his arrival he carried a plastic five gallon bucket, which could only mean fish.  I looked inside to find six, one inch baby catfish swimming madly about.  His father was standing in knee deep water when he spotted a black cloud moving toward him in the water so he grabbed his bucket and dipped it into the water catching the hatchlings.
 I picked out one of the hatchlings, dipped it in a strong salt bath to kill off any parasites and then dumped it into my koi pond.  She was aptly named Medusa for her head of barbs looked like the snakes that covered the head of the Greek mythological monster.  After a couple of months passed I was surprised to see Medusa up at the surface scrambling for food pellets when I stood feeding the koi.  She had grown a little in length and seemed not to be bothered by the huge koi as they shoved each other trying to get most of the pellets as they hit the water.  That was May 24, 1996. Koi reach the average age of 50 to 75 years in captivity.  Bullhead catfish according to Wikapedia can live up to eight years and depending on the species reach 25 inches in length.
Yesterday was the third day that Medusa had not surfaced at feeding time.  When I arrived home from work I let the dogs out and grabbed the feed container.  As I approached the pond Medusa was floating on her side at the surface quite dead.  I had to get her out of the water before bacteria infected the koi environment.  She was too large and heavy for any of my nets so I had to use a gaff hook to pull her from the pond.
 I ran back into the house and brought out the bathroom scale, camera and tape measure.  So Wikapedia needs to update because Medusa at the time of death was 32 inches in length, 15 pounds and was 18 years old.  She had paled considerably as her normal healthy color was black.
I dug a large deep trench in the back garden and gently laid her to rest.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Keep Portland Weird

"Keep Portland Weird" is a phrase you here all the time and you see it as bumper stickers on cars.  The city has big signs boasting its new slogan as well.  Last Friday while I was off work and standing in the drive pruning a magnolia tree ,a young man on a bicycle went by and turned up the street in front of Menagerie Manor.  We get lots of people on bikes so nothing out of the ordinary here right?  Except this young man had not a stitch of clothing on him...that's right, starkers!  I stood in amazement as he pedaled his way up the street which dead ends at the middle school.  In a few minutes he was back coming down the street towards me and this time he stopped two houses away from me, got off his bike and stood in front of neighbor Ann's house smelling the blooms on her large smoke tree.  Then he crossed the street to the "Librarian's" house and rummaged through the books in the book post before pedaling off once again.  Good God this city is weird!

I just had my flip phone but took these poor photo's for proof.
Not finding any books to his liking in the book box.

Back on his bike and heading off in the sunshine.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Project Face Lift

There comes a time when you can no longer ignore the obvious.  The time had come for the old girl,  Menagerie Manor was in need of a face lift.  One side sagged more than the other, bits and pieces had begun to fall off and her south side had been....well.....had been looking a bit disgraceful. The south side gets not only the hottest part of the day but the worst of the wet weather as well. If you click on the photo you can just see the damage to the cedar siding.


All it needs is a coat of fresh paint
The wooden vent in the garage attic had fallen apart so they are replacing it with a rectangular all metal vent.  And the fascia board along the roof line had a bit of dry rot so they replaced that as well.

The new cement pier block is all dried  

As the crew jacked the pillar up and in place, the foreman dashed about taking measurements on both ends of the porch to make certain everything was going as intended.

Everything back in place.

I took the next two days off from work and guy with only one good eye.....the guy who normally never climbs higher than four feet off the ground.

Since it made a four day weekend I was not all work and no play, so I spent some time in the garden keeping everything tidy.  Here are a few more things in bloom.
I love this little rose scented geranium, I brought it indoors so that we could enjoy it while in bloom.
This hardy geranium is "Johnson's Blue"
Carolina Jasmine 'Gelsemium sempervirens'
What bird approaches? 
This is the closest I will come to having a peacock in the garden. When the breeze hits - he wobbles forward and back.
I love this chartreuse hosta and so far the slugs have left it alone.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Few Snaps Between Showers

Rain has returned so most of my work has been in the greenhouse, but dashed out in between showers and took some shots of what is in bloom.

My beautiful Koi have been trained over the years that when I stand on the "feeding rock" they will soon get their next meal.

Laburnum watereri vossii or Goldenchain Tree
In its blooming glory although short lived, it is all a buzz with bees.

Looking at this one would almost expect a large "titan arum or corps lily" to appear but fortunately for all it is just my hardy banana coming back to life.

I love the intense yellow of this Exbury Azalea

Not real big on garden ornaments but I have a penchant for frogs

Wisteria 'Cook's Special'

These blooms are a good 16 inches long

One of my favorite perennials in the garden are the hardy Geraniums or Cranesbill's
this one is a nice compact sanguineum album

                         ......and this one is Geranium macroorrhizum, Bulgarian or Bigroot Geranium which is strongly scented, our little Sophie has learned to stay clear as it makes her sneeze when she bumps into it.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great Mother's Day

Thursday, May 8, 2014

From the Greenhouse

Brought this little gem in from the greenhouse so that we could enjoy its flaming orange flowers.
Commonly known as the peanut cactus.
Botanically known as Chamaecereus silvestrii.
Locally known as Carol's plant.
There was a brief few years in MeMa's life that she grew up with, played with and then prayed for her shirt-tail cousin Carol Minzey/Rohl.  Carol spent much of her short life in and out of the hospital because of an ailing heart.  Carol met and married Tom, bought a small home on the river only to have to leave it for the hereafter.  Carol never made it through the surgery that may have saved her life, but life does that to the young and old.
Thanks Carol, I will keep it safe.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Just Another Meeting

MeMa and company at the 2014 Annual Disney Shareholders meeting. 
The last time I attended a meeting there were none of these characters.