Category Archives: United States

Old Church

This old church stands on a bit of a rise at the side of the highway in a small, very small, Montana town. Isn’t it interesting how churches are often on a hill? I think there are three reasons for this: It can be seen by all and act as a reminder to come to church, the church can be seen as reaching towards God, and the nearby cemetery  is always well above the high water mark. dscn7040

The building is in the process of being restored. Some of the windows are boarded up where the panes have been broken. The main roof has a new skin of steel over it, but you can still see the original asphalt shingles on the steeple roof.

I wondered if the building was empty, so I put my camera up to one of the windows and took the photo below.

dscn7045Then it occurred to me that it was a church and the doors should always be open, so I went inside. The eight pews inside would hold 64 people if you squeezed in eight to a row, but more likely six to a row would be more comfortable for a maximum of 48 people. dscn7046In the back the piano still sits there. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t an organ, even the old style of foot pedal organ, but at least they had music. The next thing I noticed was the very uncomfortable chair the pianist would have to use.

Not pictured, at the back of the room, some hymnals were boxed up, and I saw mention of the word Pentecostal. Maybe the denomination of the church was Pentecostal.
dscn7047

I’m not a churchgoer, but for the sake of tradition and culture, I’m glad this building is being preserved.

***I may not be able to answer comments for a few days as I’ll be without Internet, but I will respond as soon as I get a connection. Please do leave your comments in the meantime and thanks for visiting.

From Sun to Ice and Fog

 

After a relaxing week doing fun things near Olympia, Washington, with my sister-in-law, I drove home yesterday. It has been as cold as -9 C. in Oly, and I was looking forward to the more temperate climate of Vancouver Island. The joke was on me though. Oly warmed up to +6 and Vancouver Island dropped below freezing and had a dump of snow.

My drive home along I-5 was on dry road surfaces and with partly sunny skies. A perfect day for the drive. The ferry ride to the island was calm too, and I felt very lucky to have had such a good day of travelling.

Almost home, with maybe an hour to go, the roads became wet, with ice at the edges. I usually ignore the frequent signs on the many bridges that say, “Bridge Ices,” but yesterday they scared me a bit, especially when I was in the passing lane next to an oversize load. I imagined myself sliding under the track of the skidder that was loaded on the flatbed truck, and sticking well out into my slippery lane.

The highway was blanketed by fog so thick I could barely make out the car in front of me. It’s a good thing I knew my way home because the “pea soup” was thick all the way to my house and down my driveway. I groped my way into my house and was welcomed by the captain and two lovely dogs, Ruby and Emma, who covered me with nuzzles and kisses. I think they were glad to see me. The captain was too, of course. To his credit, he had the house clean(ish) and the dishes done.

103

Almost home, the hills just south of the Comox Valley. This is the morning after I came home. The fog is all down in the valley now, and no longer on the highway.

Chilly Day in Olympia

In the city of Olympia, Washington, the state capitol building looks over an inlet that is so far back from the ocean, you would think it’s a freshwater lake. Beside that “lake” is a well-cared-for park and walkway. But it was chilly here last week when I visited here. With the cold snap that hit the western Washington area, you had to pick up the pace if you wanted to keep warm.014

012

The grasses at the water’s edge tell the story. It’s darn cold.020

I’m sure there’s a rule about not feeding the birds, but obviously people have been feeding them. Why else would birds congregate near the shore with people so close by? For that matter, isn’t that seagull getting awfully cozy with the people in this photo? I’d say they’re quite used to being fed. 

027

Still, I once saw a family feeding ducks in a park, and I wondered if the Cheezies the ducks consumed would shorten their life. It can’t be good for them.

036

The hen mallard has two drakes fussing about her. Lucky girl. These ducks are so common to the west coast I hesitated to post this very ordinary photo, but their plumage is  magnificent just now. I thought they deserved to be shown off.  Maybe I’m wrong about the Cheezies.

The Last Hurrah

The Education Building in Olympia, Washington, looked to me like a castle where Sleeping Beauty might reside.DSCN4833

On the lawns in front of the building is a monument to a man who was twice governor of Washington. He must have been a good man. Read the inscription and see if you agree. I think he deserved to have his statue in this place of honour.

DSCN4841

Here he is, standing proud and tall. But alas…just when you think you’ve arrived …DSCN4840

Well … some things are just beyond your control, and Mother Nature has the last hurrah.
DSCN4837

 

Because it’s there

I value my life. I’ll never understand the rationale behind risking one’s life for the thrill of climbing a mountain. It must be an amazing experience –  when you live to tell about it.

While visiting in the Olympia area of the State of Washington, I stopped grumbling about the cold weather when I realized that with it, came new snow on the volcanic mountain that overlooks  western Washington. Mt Rainier, named after Rear Admiral Peter Rainier, a friend of Captain George Vancouver, is considered an active volcano. It hasn’t erupted in over 100 years, but there are frequent “shakes” that keep geologists on their toes.

They say that because of the enormous amount of ice in the glaciers on this mountain, in the case of an eruption, this would contribute to huge “rivers” of mud, ash, and debris flowing down to cover the valley below.

I don’t see residents leaving the area in droves, so they must think the risk is minimal, at least for now.

Not only are they not moving out of the area, but people come to the mountain for recreation. Mt. Rainier is the highest mountain in the state and is especially attractive to climbers. Unfortunately, the mountain has claimed many lives and continues to take an average of two lives a year.

So, I ask, why do people feel the need to risk their lives  climbing a mountain?

You know the answer.

“Because it’s there.”DSCN4830

The Columbia

The Okanogan River flows south from northern Washington State, providing irrigation for thousands of acres of fruit trees and vineyards. In the photo below, you can see how the river widens and becomes part of the Columbia River system.DSCN4009

Now things get serious. Chief Joseph Dam, one of many dams on the Columbia, changes the flow and taps into the energy of this mighty river. Whether it is because of water licences or some other reason unknown to me, the orchards and vineyards suddenly become scarcer, and the land on the east side of  the Columbia River is semi-arid desert. Cattle graze there, and a few small farms dot the landscape, but the great expanses of fertile land are no longer a part of the scenery as we drive eastward.

DSCN4024

Note the arid land beyond the dam. It is a place for scrubby plants, coyotes, and rattlesnakes. No more lush orchards.

DSCN4026

My advice – buy your bag of apples before you reach the confluence of the Okanogan and the Columbia.

Thar’s Snow in Them Thar Montana Hills

This past October 4, when we started our annual Montana trip, it seemed that the snow came early – at least, up in the hills it did. Driving toward eastern Montana, we wondered if we would be in for more snow and whether our little trailer was going to keep us warm enough. Should we maybe have brought our skis?

The stretch between Helena and Great Falls is always a beautiful drive along the Missouri River. Sometimes we’ve seen snow on the hilltops on our way home in later October, but this was the beginning of the trip and the weather was worrying the wimp in me.

DSCN4094

The temperature was a chilly 4 degrees C. (or about  39 degrees, for those using Fahrenheit) and I tried to keep my trepidation in check. Would I enjoy this wintery trip when I had expected summer temperatures, at least in the daytime?

DSCN4083

This herd of mule deer gawked at us as we drove by. I’m sure they were shaking their heads and thinking, “Tourists! What a time of year to come to Montana!”  But they didn’t know how much we love this state.

DSCN4099