Walkabout Wednesday, PPAC and coping with COVID

As you may have deduced from the title, Castle Serenity has been invaded by the dreaded COVID-19. Superhubs and I both tested positive and are sick as the proverbial dogs. Although we are both fully vaccinated and boosted, my pulmonologist is standing by with prescriptions for Paxlovid and, of course, prednisone. *insert raspberry pllllttttt* So our walkabout this week is a quick tour of some chalkboard art found in the Starbucks in Casper Wyoming, which was about all of the town we got to see on our way back to South Dakota due to last summer’s encounter with the Delta variant.

Coffee and inspiration, always a winning combination

I love these quotes and the creative decorative drawings on the chalkboard.

Inspired by Marsha’s PPAC # 53

Til next time ~Stay safe, stay sanitized and choose wisely ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday – Willamette Hatchery

During our trip to Oregon last year we visited the Fish Hatchery near Oakridge, Oregon. The hatchery raises rainbow trout and chinook salmon for release into the Willamette River system. They also have a sturgeon pond some of which are over 50 years old and 10 feet in length.

Upon arrival, we discovered that, like most entertainment venues in the area, the hatchery was closed. But, the public areas remained open so we had the opportunity to take a short hike through the wooded areas and the exterior portions of the hatchery.

Salmon Sculpture

A tribute to the might salmon, a carved wood and driftwood sculpture erected over the base of a burned out tree.

Bighorn Sheep – Cool Dude!

A wood carving of a bighorn sheep, playing it cool in the summer sun. It was exceedingly bright the day we visited and shades were absolutely essential. No, those are not my sunglasses. 😉

Eagle carrying a salmon

When does a map become art? Often in my opinion but here it’s obvious. This magnificent carved wood map of the Willamette River System was too long to capture in one shot and appears to be made of a single plank of wood.

Map of Willamette River System

The rest of the carved river map. I love the way the wood whorls, knots and grain give the carving such depth.

Leaping salmon Batman

Ultimately, we made our way to the salmon pools where fingerling hatchery salmon are already practicing jumping the falls. At this stage they are about two inches long. We stood watching their antics until the relentless summer sun finally sent us dragging ourselves back to the car, the air-conditioned, cool and inviting car.

Inspiration for this post brought to you by Marsha’s PPAC #52

Til next time ~Stay cool hippies ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday – Westfir Oregon and some Public Art

Western Tiger Swallowtail on a HUGE buddelia

We quickly acclimated ourselves to the local flora and fauna and spent many days watching the Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies cavort among the profuse blossoms of the biggest buddleia (butterfly bush) I have ever seen .

Look at those pinecones

We enjoyed some meals at an adorable little cafe which was about the only restaurant in town that was open for dine-in. Friendly staff and good food. I adore the hand painted mural on the concrete walls and check out the size of those pinecones!

More than a mouthful

The lumber country feel of the place was both fun and soothing. This hand-made wood sign would have been perfectly at home hanging over a camp cook’s stove.

More mural art

More of the forest mural on the concrete block walls.

Chambers Railroad Bridge

While driving here and there, we stopped at some of the covered bridges. The Chambers Railroad Bridge is the only remaining covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi. It was constructed in 1925 by lumberman J.H. Chambers to transport logs across the Coast Fork Willamette River. In the 1950s, the railroad was sold and the bridge, no longer in use, it began to decay. By 2006, the bridge had experienced significant structural damage

The City of Cottage Grove raised grants, awards, and funds from many sources to repair and refurbish the once grand bridge. The bridge was dismantled, rebuilt, and restored on-site; and in November 2011, it reopened. Original material was reused when feasible and the rebuilding was done as historically accurate as possible. Interpretive panels were installed along with iron artwork depicting the steam engines that once passed through. Today, this former “bridge to nowhere” in the middle of Cottage Grove, Oregon, is a beautiful tribute to the past, a historical triumph, and a proud testament to the power of hard work and imagination.

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC this week do come on over and see some great art.

Til next time ~Not All Who Wander Are Lost ~JP

Wednesday Walkabout – Red Canyon Utah

I’m back with another episode of Walkabout Wednesday where we’ll take a short walk in some of the places we’ve visited. Today we’re stopping off in Red Canyon, Utah. Located along Highway 12 in Southern Utah, just 13 miles from Bryce National Park lies Red Canyon. Part of the Dixie National Forest, it is home to several hiking trails and lots of fantasy spires and hoodoos for which the area is famous.

Hoodoos – rocks or sculptures?

We stopped by the visitor center only to learn that it was closed due to covid concerns. The restrooms and trails were open though so off we went. Poor air quality from wild fires conspired with an elevation of 7400 feet to keep us on the bunny trail which goes around the visitor center and back away off the road.

Legend People

We are surrounded by water and ice-shaped sculptures affectionately known as hoodoos. The hoodoo’s tall, knobby and eerie shapes have earned them many names throughout history. The Paiute Indians of this area call them “legend people.” When Anglo settlers saw the formations, they called them “fairy chimneys” from their own myths. This hoodoo rich area was dubbed “Utah’s Fairyland.”

Legend Person fall down, go boom

Legend person fall down, go boom. BIG boom. It is not uncommon to see fallen rocks from breaks in the formations and rock slides. The sandstone formations are permeable and over time break down which is how they were formed after all.

Symbiosis at work

We came across this stunning boulder in varying states of decomposition. The black and colored specks are lichen which makes it a stunning example of nature’s symbiosis.

Oh, that’s what symbiosis is

Above, for those of you who were wondering what the heck red rocks have to do with symbiosis …. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough lichen in the world to filter out that much ozone and smoke so we headed off to our next destination, Vernal Utah.

Vernal Dino Land

We had plans to visit all of the dino attractions and had been looking forward to this section of the trip in particular. Unfortunately, upon arriving I discovered that the throbbing headache I’d been fighting all day was accompanied by a fever. Quick call to my PCP back in South Dakota advised that it could be Covid delta variant (that was making the rounds last year) we were both fully vaccinated so best advice was to treat it like a flu, rest, water, and self-quarantine for 5 days.

Dino Art At Last!

So this towel sculpture at our hotel was as close as we got to the dino-art I was hoping to photograph. The museums and activities would have to wait for another time as we spent our 5 day stay in the hotel. On the upside, we did find several restaurants that delivered to our hotel, so we didn’t starve and honestly, the virus laid me out too bad to do much but sleep anyway.

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC #50 this week. Do go check out some of the posts so much fun 🙂

That’s the conclusion of our walkabout this week.

From Castle Serenity ~Remember there is beauty as far as the eye can see ~JP

Wednesday Walkabout – St. George Utah Pioneer Square

Ahhhh I have a computer … FINALLY so I thought we’d go walkabout in St. George, UT and see what we can find for Marsha’s PPAC along the way. Last summer was a crazy kind of blur running from every disaster known to man, crowds, fires, air quality (or lack there of), hail storms, you name it. During the mad dash across the west, we spent some time in St. George, UT when a blown wheel bearing caused some rescheduling. Never one to shirk from the unexpected day trip, we set off on an adventure while the cheese-mobile was in the shop. We stopped at “Pioneer Square” in downtown St. George to visit some museums and other artsy spots

Sushi at Pioneer Square

First Stop was lunch at Benja Thai & Sushi. Good food and cool inside. With temps over 110° f, this was a major consideration. We lingered over cold noodle bowls, sushi and iced green tea for as long as we could ;-).

Landscape Art

Venturing into the heat of the afternoon and came upon a nifty little water feature which provided a natural cooling ambiance. Water features are works of art in the desert as humans endeavor to make the stark landscape more palatable. The heat quickly overcame us though so we headed back indoors to find the aforementioned museums and art galleries.

A welcome cool-down spot

Regrettably, all museums and galleries within our walking distance (albeit very short distance in the heat), were closed due to pandemic concerns. Southern Utah got hit pretty hard and “elective” services were few and far between. Our driver told us that several restaurants and other entertainment venues remained closed through summer 2021. We quickly became seriously overheated and so very happy to come across this lovely little cafe. I love the graphics on the sign, as well as the name of the place and the greenery along the building.

Chalkboard Art – and beignets

I just adore chalkboard art. The graphics and colors for some reason just call to me. I may have to do a spread on chalkboard art. Not to mention that iced coffee and a lovely little treat was just the restorative I needed. The beignets looked lovely but in that kind of heat, fried food is just not for me so I opted for a beautiful little fruit tart and a half-sweet iced chai. Yummmm….

vintage looking tile mosaic

This vintage-looking floor mosaic really captured my attention. I love tile floors for their vintage feel and the sheer artistry involved in making them. Alas, this was about all the art we found with the galleries either closed or beyond my walking distance.

hotel room view – smoke haze in the distance

Time to pick up the car and head to a local hotel for the next couple of days. This is the view off of our room’s balcony. If you can look beyond the traffic and signs the mountains are really beautiful. The skies were filled with haze from distant fires filtering south. No matter where we went, pervasive smoke drove us ever on.

Dino art

And so, the next morning we headed out to the local grocery for supplies. I was delighted by this lobby display of the local velociraptor guarding the chips. There are several dinosaur track attractions nearby featuring velociraptor tracks and I do adore all things Dino. 😉

That’s all from Castle Serenity for today. Til next time remember, there is beauty everywhere if you look for it. If you can’t see it, look again. And if you still can’t see it, look harder. ~JP

Ducks and Cranes and Goslings … Oh My – a Sunday Stills Adventure

For Terri’s Sunday Stills let’s have a little feathery fun. My Grandmother called me her Little Feather when I was small, because I danced like a feather in the wind, everywhere I went so I’ve always rather had a thing for feathered friends. My apologies for any repeats, I am sans computer currently, my laptop bit the dust and we’re have trouble with the new replacement. So I’m working off of my cellphone. Yikes 😳

Mallards

A sord of mallards make themselves right at home. We have a pair that are too old to fly and stay year round. These are younger, seasonal residents. At last count they numbered 23 drake’s. Yep the young whippersnappers are all boys. Figures 😉

Great blue heron at my lake

It was cloudy for this shot, and I don’t seem to have much in the way of photo editing available at the moment, but this Great Blue Heron is a frequent visitor here and he was standing so majestically. Like he was saying “is this my best side”

Our new goslings

Spring is all about life and renewal. We have a single breeding pair of Canadian geese who summer here at our tiny lake. For the past couple of years they have nested here and this year was no exception. I watched intently as they built their floating nest, then about a week ago, both parents started flapping and fussing at the nest site and shortly 7 little puffballs emerged. We watched as they took their first swim and the next day they had found their way to our tree, out of the sun. Sigh … I love little baby things.

A young Robin hopped by to say hello. I referred to them as South Dakota Roadrunners because we so seldom saw them fly. Mostly they just zip along on the grass, pausing to search for a juicy worm.

A bird sculpture at the Rapid City airport. Fitting isn’t it?

Also linking up today to John bo’s cellpicsunday since all of these were taken with my cellphone as I don’t have access to my archives. And Marsha’s #PPAC for the lovely airport sculpture.

Til next time — be kind to each other — JP

Sunday Stills – some aquatic teal adventures

For Terri’s Sunday Stills where our monthly color challenge isTeal or Aqua. Hmmm … water seems to be a natural, and perhaps skies, but let’s start with some aquatic adventures from around the world.

Broad Bay, New Zealand on the Otago Harbour coast of the Otago Penninsula. The morning haze casts reflections on sky and water tinting everything teal and leaving only the green hillsides to separate the two.

An Australian Coot swims lazily in the brilliant teal waters of Lake Wakatipu, near Queenstown, NZ.

Some aqua-colored umbrellas on a rainy day at the Otowa Waterfalls at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto, Japan. The waters are said to have wish-granting powers and we were told that to drink from the “pure waters” for which the temple is named would ensure prosperity and long life. Obviously, we stood in line on this rainy day and partook with joy.

Aqua and teal colored sky and water combine into a beautiful seascape on a cloudy day in Kapaa, Island of Kauai, Hawaii. Why yes, I do have many, many (like hundreds) of shots of this particular piece of driftwood taken over the course of our seven trips. 😉

Drawing closer to home we find the breathtaking teal waters of Crater Lake, Oregon. Some 7,700 years ago a violent volcanic eruption caused the collapse of Mount Mazama in what is now southern Oregon. The ensuing lake is fed by rain and snow and is the deepest lake in the USA. It is also the cleanest and purest as there are no inlets or outlets for water from the lake. Here we looked out from a forested trail, you can see “Phantom Ship Island” rising up out of the lake.

Even though it’s not aquatic in nature this bit of Public Art captured my attention for the PPAC 46. A teal painted buffalo statue in Custer, SD. These painted buffalos appear in many places in the Black Hills, as well as the live ones.

That’s it from Castle Serenity for now. Til next time, remember “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

~Sending you good vibes ~JP

Sunday Stills and PPAC – Diamond and Quartz

Terri’s wonderful Sunday Stills prompt for this week is “quarts, diamonds.” I admit, I had a bit of a time coming up with something. I’m just NOT a diamonds kind of girl and ironically although I’m a rock hound, clear quartz does not exactly abound in my collections.

I’m cutting it fine on this deadline, but I really, really worked on the quartz/diamond theme. I’ve been sick since returning from the mad dash to South Dakota. I’ve rebounded somewhat from the virus, but am still on steroids and nebulizers for the breathing part of it. But hey, I’m out of bed and awake. I even went outside for a bit today. 🙂 I’m also including some public art works so I’m gonna link up to Marsha’s PPAC. First the art

Opaque quartz happy cats greet us in Taipei, Taiwan in the underground mall near the train station. They’re actually carved of marble but the milky color lends them a quartz feel to me.

Because I always ask myself the question “what constitutes public art?” I fell in love this the side of this building in Christ Church, NZ. Architecture can also be art and I adore the diamond shaped window vent coverings.

This tiny fairy house lies in a stone retaining wall of someone’s home in Queenstown, NZ and to me, that is the epitome of public art, the artistic bits of our selves we sneak into public life for the attentive passerby to enjoy. Love those diamond windows.

Now, the not precisely art but still really cool quartzy diamondy shots:

Milky quartz Koi greedily feeding on tourist tidbits in Kyoto Japan. They will come completely out of the water for a pellet of fish food from the local vendor.

A tiny quartz-colored sand crab on a beach of tiny sparkling stones in Kapaa, Hawaii. He is about the size of my thumbnail.

The sun beat down casting a million diamond glints on the snow and the tiny diamond ripples of the Yampa River near Steamboat Springs, CO.

The diamond peak of Chimney Rock towers 480 feet above the North Platte River Valley. This massive natural monument guided the followers of the Oregon Trail during the westward expansion of the 19th century.

“Stars shine like diamonds on the black-velvet throat of the night sky.”

Finally, from my collection, a couple of beautiful crystalline quartz points on black velvet. I’m off to make a cup of mullein tea.

Til next time ~Sparkle darling, sparkle ~JP

Monday Musings – Spoon deficit and women in art

It’s been a week dear friends and my bones are feeling every hour of it. Most of it was spent traveling. Now I’d like to tell you that it was a fun little spring break trip, I’d really, really like to tell you that. Buttttt… it was a “quick” trip to take care of final business transferring our remaining South Dakota property.

We spent six of seven days traversing 2700 miles of misery known as “Interstate across the Great Plains States”. We battled scenic boredom, road fatigue, rain, sleet, snow, and 70 mph wind gusts. I ran out of spoons on day 2 and have been running on spoon deficit ever since.

Make no mistake, spoon deficit is real, and it’s ugly, sleep is no cure and the effects can stretch on for weeks or months. For me, it involves flu-like symptoms including muscle aches, joint pain, fever, chills, and a wracking cough that puts childhood croup to shame. Ahhh well, eventually my immune system will stop it’s current tantrum. In the meantime, I’ve put together a few bits of Public Art for Marsha’s PPAC. I loved Marsha’s review last week of “Women in Public Art” and thought I’d follow suit. So here are a few shots I’ve collected of women in public art.

Advantages of Being a Woman Artist – Guerilla Girls Poster Art 1988

Here a crappy shot of a piece of paper art from the Te Papa museum in Wellington, NZ. The poor focus is a result of incredibly brilliant lighting, smudgy glass overlay and a seriously old cell phone camera. My apologies but it still makes the point. I think my favorite is the first reason “working without the pressure of success.” 😉

Lady Octopus Queens Garden Invercargill, NZ

Here “Lady Octopus” in Invercargill, NZ an interesting interpretation of feminine form. I have always found it fascinating that less than 11% of art in US museums comes from female artists, yet over 85% of human “nudes” art are female in form. Not sure if that’s a compliment to the divine feminine or just gender bias. Ah well, a topic for another post.

Lady of the Woods, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon US

Here’s another interpretation of feminine form in the “Lady of the Woods” sculpture at Crater Lake, Oregon, US. Carved by Dr. Earl Russell Bush in October 1918. It took Dr. Bush just 11 days to create his homage to the beauty of the forest around him out of the huge volcanic boulder using tools he convinced a Corps of Engineers blacksmith to make for him. “This statue represents my offering to the forest, my interpretation of its awful stillness and repose, its beauty, fascination, and unseen life. A deep love of this virgin wilderness has fastened itself upon me and remains today. It seemed that I must leave something behind …. if it arouses thought in those who see it, I shall be amply repaid.”

Dignity – Chamberlain SD US
Wouldst that “Dignity” were that easy to find. 😉

And finally, “Dignity” a 50-foot tall stainless steel sculpture by Dale Claude Lamphere depicts an Indigenous woman in plains-style dress receiving a star quilt. According to Lamphere, “Dignity represents the courage, perseverance and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota culture in South Dakota. My hope is that the sculpture might serve as a symbol of respect and promise for the future.”

Many thanks to Marsha for the challenge and her inspiration that got me off my spoonie butt today. And, even though it’s not Sunday, I’m gonna link up to Johnbo’s Cellpic Sunday since “Dignity” and “Women Artists” were both shot with various cell phones. 😉

Til next time ~Stay rooted in the ground but keep reaching for the stars ~JP

Something Wild — PPAC # 36 and Weekend Coffee Share

Shared with Marsha’s PPAC#36 at alwayswrite Wild Animals in Public, I can do that! Let’s dig into the archives and see what kind of public art I can come up with.

The extinct Moa bird in Queenstown, NZ

Greetings at TaoYuan Airport, Taipei Taiwan

Wood carving from Deadwood, South Dakota

Dragon waterspout at Kurama-dera Kyoto Japan

Tribute to the Omarama Rams and their beautiful merino wool.

Also shared at Natalie the Explorer’s weekend coffee share

If we were having coffee this weekend, I’d tell you that it feels kind of odd to not be traveling. It’s been years since I’ve done much international travel. I’m making the transition from “world wanderer” to “retirement living” it’s wonderfully relaxing, albiet sometimes a little on the tame side. But I’ve taken up new activities including new on-line classes and art projects, reviving my yoga practice. I’d ask about your world and what’s new in the blogosphere. 🙂

til next time ~Peace ~JP