juillet 31, 2003


Near Hillsboro Oregon  © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

The barley has been harvested soon to appear in a beer near you (if you live in Portland). The blue berries are finishing up more birds than humans collecting. We are picking tomatos, peppers, radishes, lettuce in a variety. Corn is coming on and some of the potatos need to be turned up. Onions have been picked all summer long. The Concord grapes are showing great promise.

We finally broke the "heat wave" so there are clouds in the sky. !0 acres to maintain a group effort to be sure.

Home is where the heart is. I am not an "owner" the land is owned by a family with roots back to the pioneer age. I am at my best a caretaker a helper.
I can bike into downtown Hillsboro in 20 minutes as long as I am not in a hurry (just timed it today).

The universe has conspired to place me here, now. I feel pretty damned lucky.

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What keeps you here

Nadia © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Austin Tappan Wright wrote a Utopian novel known as Islandia. In this book he introduced love with four flavours Amia, friendship and the love between them. Ania the love of a wife and husband and the commitment to children and marriage. Alia the love of ones heritage and ties to the ancestral lands and finally Apia the physical desire that can happen between two people.

I suppose English has many words for love at least descriptions of love. "Why do you love me?" Has to be the hardest question to answer, my feeble attempts usually run to "Because of who you are, because of what we have shared". There are no reasons that can truly be enumerated. When Elizabeth Barrett Browning counts the ways she speaks of the depth of her love and the constancy of it, of her passion and her life. And then there is that creepy little ending about how God willing she will love the object of her affection even more after they are dead.

I kind of understand it because sometimes it is the people we love the most that can drive us to distraction if not downright annoyance. I think everyone knows at least one long time married couple who are not happy unless they are taking shots at each other, terms of endearment I believe the expression goes.

Nadia is a special young woman who I have had the great good fortune to have known and loved most of her life. And for some reason or another she loves me, most likely as a father figure or perhaps as a torn worn Teddy bear that offered her comfort and security many years ago. It is a blessing to be loved. It is life's purpose to give love.

Sean my son has been the joy in my life for 20 years catching him on camera however proves to be a difficult task as he rarely sits still. If I can catch him, he will reside next to Nadia.

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juillet 30, 2003


Spotted Cucumber Beetle with Bee (Workin' It)
On the homestead  © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Bee's are a farmers best friend, free labour. Without them half our crops would be worthless, fruits, nuts, veggies all need to be pollinated. The farm where I live now used to have it's own hives they are now stored in the barn and we rely on the seemingly endless supply of native critters. Taking care of bees is a full time job if you are serious about it. The spotted cucumber beetle is a pest, well at least their larvae are. We don't spray for bugs so we can only hope this guy is a loner not that chewed up sunflowers are a problem but the squash and cucumbers we like to eat.....

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Lewis Pioneer Cemetery Est. 1847
Hillsboro Oregon  © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Amy died
aged 173 days
in the fall of 1872.

Remembered today by a passerby
stalking the graveyard
seeking images of emptiness.

You knew the comfort of the suck
learned to smile and coo
won your parents love.

Your promise taken away
by an indifferent universe
never to know more of it.

You taught a man a century and more away
that graveyards are no place
to find emptiness.

Gravestone reads (hand carved and uneven):


Daughter of

A. & C. Jackson


April 15, 1872


Oct. 5, 1872


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juillet 29, 2003


Forecast HOT

Beaverton Oregon  © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Cooling off in Oregon usually involves water. The Portland Metro area averages about 12 days over 90 degrees each year so far we are at 14 with 15 and 16 due tomorrow and the next, August still to come. Today we are looking at triple digits. With so few days that us webfoots consider HOT we didn't think about installing air conditioners well at least until we started building 3500 sq feet houses on 2000 square foot lots. A recent phenomena dictated by our eco friendly urban growth boundaries (or the land Nazi's depending on your politics).

We wait for the nights to cool into the fifties then sleep on wet sheets. Ceiling fans and window box fans are popular as is sleeping under the stars.

On hot days Portlanders retreat to our beaches an hour or so away where you can usually rest assured the temperature hovers 20 to 30 degrees cooler than in the Valley. If you can't get away then find the nearest public fountain. The one pictured is across from the main Beaverton library and is always a big hit with the kids, Dancing waters. Portland has at least three prominent public fountains that are kid friendly flat spaces with water that shoots out of the ground, drains and is chlorinated and recycled. The original is Salmon Street Springs smack in the middle of the west bank waterfront promenade. The original urban "swimming" hole is the Forecourt Fountain. Even the Rose Quarter has a kid friendly water and light show but that is really on private property and not as accessible or stops fans from running through the water. For a tour of some Portland Fountains try this link.

For the letchers out there clothing is not optional although the occasional wet T-shirt shows up from time to time.

Technical note when shooting crowds and publishing just try NOT to get a recognisable face. I mean given the number of children in this shot I was amazed that they were mostly all facing away or obscured by water. In the high res shot some individuals may be identified so that ain't going to happen. Releases crowd shots uhghhh!

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Garden of deLight Selwood Portland Oregon

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Neglected but effective. A scene lit by the sun through a stained glass mosaic made of leaves. Perhaps it is me, perhaps it was only for that moment in time, but I could see no wrong.

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Four Tiny Shiny New Lives

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

I was sitting on the patio and noticed this small wren hopping from one fence board to another pretty noisy little cuss really not caring for my presence. A real distinct vit vit vit as it pranced along the fence with it's mouth full of some insect or another, I'd glance away and the bird would go to ground or land in the lattice work at the edge of the patio, soon it would disappear. After several weeks I came to know the pair of Bewicks Wrens had set up a nest somewhere behind the lattice work and along side the house. A catch all area we use this space to store garden tools extra pots there is some shelving and a canvas bag used to hold extra clothes pins....
What do you mean you don't dry your clothes outside? Sun power is free, it is a great deodoriser and sanitiser not to mention a powerful bleaching agent, at least do your sheets and towels outside thank me for it later.

Well not being one to leave well enough alone I decided to find the nest. I hunted high and low but the birds wouldn't go to their nest if I was on the side of the house.... It was the cat who tipped me.... it seemed very preoccupied with the canvas bag just out of it's reach. So I peaked and lo and behold the picture.

They are fledged and gone I thought I saw a small chewed up bird in the yard if the cat only got one of the four perhaps they are staying ahead of the curve.

Three are obvious the beaks give them away the fourth is a little smaller to spot. When I peaked in they all turned their beaks up to me demanding food I never saw two birds work harder than those two parents, they would spend all day coming and going returning in five minute intervals, ah the joys of the New Economy.

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juillet 28, 2003


C'mon in (Seduced by Yellow Bass)

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

I can't help it I am a sucker for whimsy, the store owner need nothing else to have me enter than present this little barker on his sidewalk.... besides where else in Hillsboro Oregon can you get a good used sitar? I had a runner-up for this if you want to take a look.

As much as I enjoy folk art and Greek food I couldn't get past the reflections from the glass. Besides I didn't go in this restaurant.

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“An imposing cradle on wheels.” (Roughing It, 1870) Mark Twain

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Coach number 306

This coach, Abbot-Downing #306, is the oldest in Wells Fargo’s current fleet. Built in 1854, it had a long career carrying mail between Halifax and Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada until 1890. It had the honour of carrying two British monarchs: the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) in 1860 and Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) in 1951. (from the Wells Fargo Web-site)

This beauty was found at the Washington County Fair on Sunday right next to the ATM's where you could load up on cash for over priced food, rides, drinks and water. The County Fair an American Tradition. I was going to use a picture from the Demolition Derby but hell we see those every day here on the Portland area freeways. When not being loaned out to lure people to use ATM's it resides in the lobby of the main branch downtown.

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Kayaking the Deschutes

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

When the river is flowing and the canyon is 100 degrees F. in the shade there is nothing more fun in the water then running Boxcar the wrong way in a Kayak. Boxcar has a nice dip and standing wave if you can catch it. Most of the time however it catches you. There is a thriving business for a couple of digital photographers seated on the rocks above the rapids they snap every raft and kayaker through the chute as long a you know about when you went through you can find your photos on contact sheets posted outside the Maupin Hotel. The Hotel bar runs video of the days spills and chills much to the delight of the overnighters. The lower Descutes between WhiteHorse and Shears Falls is some of the most heavily travelled whitewater in the US, they have resorted to permits and lotteries to control the number of enthusiasts. Guided day trips catered with lunch and libations run about $100 a person, group rates can lower the price as can low water. Half day trips run less with no food. On the calmer spots on the river rafters take turns having water fights using the bailing buckets to fill each others rafts and cool each other off. River temp can run between 45 and 55 degrees F. Most of this is snow melt out of the Eastern Cascade watershed. Beware the Pirate raft armed with a fireboat water cannon. He can fill you up in a hurry.

A train runs down the canyon each night a beautiful sound. Fly fisherman have been known to hop this freight to get upstream past roads end. Much of the Deschutes river is a barb-less catch and release area as far as I know. Take only memories leave only footprints.

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Another Brick in the Wall

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

At the Beaverton War Memorial they have the now obligatory polished black granite wall. This wall does not contain the names of the fallen. Instead it contains the plaques of all the armed forces Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard at least as originally designed. When photographing the monument I noticed another plaque had been added, obviously as an afterthought, seems someone forgot the Merchant Marine service which was losing members to the German wolf pack long before WWII was official in the U.S. Mostly these ships had some 50 caliber guns mounted and the sailors had rifles and small arms. Not much help against a U-Boat that would cripple you with a torpedo and finish you off with its deck gun well out of range of any defensive fire available to these civilian warriors.

The granite wall is supported by a brickwork where you can purchase rememberances or advertise your support for the men and women who served their country.

It amazes me how tightly the memories of those comrades in arms are held some 50 years later. Grown men come here to cry. Beaverton will add a new name to the wall soon as one of it's sons was killed in Iraq clearing mines in early July. I pray that there will be no more bricks in the wall.

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Passiflora: Mother Nature goes Tie Dye

Episcopal Church Beaverton Oregon © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Maypop whatever you want to call it, I don't think there is another flower with so much going on in a single bloom. A perrenial favourite it is cultivated world wide, produces a fragrant bloom, edible fruit and some people smoke them as in a joint. Don't ask me some people will smoke banana peels. Flowers are an easy mark for colour. Picture has been de-speckled and contrast adjusted along with some sharpening but the colour has only a slight gamma correction 1.21. Interestingly enough the passion flower was named for it's association to Christ ten of his apostles, the chalice, his wounds and crown of thorns. Originally from the New world found in both North and South America. This plant was growing in a local church garden.

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The WiFi Card. Don't leave home without it!
  © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Life without WiFi would consign me to spending way too much time in the computer room, besides the litter box is there and even though it is kept clean well it's the litter box and cats like their privacy during their toilet at least the ones around here. With WiFi we can share bandwidth with the neighbours cutting down the overall cost by splitting the broadband cost. Cheap access points that act as repeaters have a pretty good line of site transmission range. Hang them in the windows facing each other and there you go. Add an external antenna and we can take the portable out to the barn or into the berry bushes. Portland Free Net has some great hot spots where generous businesses keep open base stations allowing us to cop bandwidth while cruising the city

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juillet 26, 2003


Have you seen a closet like this?
Hillsboro Oregon  © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

It has been my pleasure to have lived with several women in my life, recently in a household of three women. These were normal women in every respect except for the fact that each of them owned no less than 40 pairs of shoes each at any given time (count em ladies you will be surprised) recycling the cast offs to Goodwill to make room for NEW shoes. Some of the recycled shoes were worn once or maybe never!

And from my experience that is a pretty normal occurance Imelda Marcos may be an extreme example of a genuine gender difference.

I'm just a simple guy I own a couple of pairs of brown leather "deck" shoes, a couple of pairs of work shoes black and dark gray, three pairs of the same tennis shoe (I only count this as one pair as these are worn everyday and I cycle through them so they can air out) a pair of shiny black pointy things for the suits I am obliged to wear from time to time. An OLD pair of cowboy boots that I keep just in case I go riding, a pair of good Wellingtons for slogging about in the mud, a pair of worn Birkenstocks, some Nevados sandals and that is about it. 10 pairs of shoes I wear on a semi regular basis well maybe 9 because I haven't worn those ol cowboy boots in a couple of years. Brown, Black, Gray and White.

The thing is footwear is functional not fashion to me. I am leaving out my spikes, climbing boots, ski-boots, water socks these are sporting goods not shoes. Do you think I am a candidate for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

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Sound.jpgOK where is a pay phone when you need it?

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

The lowly pay phone once endemic to every street corner in America is a dying breed. Airports, convenience stores, the occasional gas station (which is almost synonymous with the former), and of course those grand hotels with classic wooden booths seen in movies seem to have them, but the rest of us just use our cell phones. Bars often have pay phones located somewhere near the rest rooms along with a cigarette machine (another dying breed) or if you are unlucky right next to the stage or PA system. If you have read this far then a treat for you... This bell is located across the street from the main Hillsboro City Fire Department which has a sophisticated glass front displaying antique fire fighting equipment... and a full compliment of modern fire trucks tucked along the side of the building.

As an exercise in technology I wanted to link a sound file to this image, could I find one? NO. Fire alarms are now electronic whoops and wails. The electronic bells I found online were locked up tighter than a drum sounded great but not available for download as if the company which produces these marvels in 6" 8" and 10" varieties owns the damned sound they make. Oh well it is most likely better NOT to have your computer sound a fire alarm bell when loading the page or clicking the link.

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God's gift to summer

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

For some of us we don't start summer until we have scooped out a watermelon and let the juices flow down our faces, sweet sticky cool joy in a pretty container.
Go get a slice you will be glad you did.

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On demand, democratic, impartial and best of all under MY control

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

If you always wanted to be an authority figure here is your chance proceed to the local crosswalk and stop some cars.

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"If I only had a heart"

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

How do we measure time? Clocks are functional but artificial. What if we measured time in heartbeats? A good friend of mine has a new heart, a new clock, a new lease on life. The Tin Man was given a watch. Captain Hook lived until his clock ran down. Tick Tock

I've noticed that it always seems to take longer to get where you are going than it does to return, "Are we there yet?" Perhaps it is a hold over from childhood or adolescence..... As I age everything seems to be faster, a day is like an hour a week like a day a year like a month. Time flies when you are having fun and 15 minutes in a dentist's chair can seem like hours.

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July Sunset


© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Ho Hum another one of life's Freebies Click thumbnail for the real deal

Alan Watts reminds us to look east to the sunset. Try and remember that sometimes Mother Nature pulls a slight of hand, while you are watching the sun set in the west it is lighting up the sky to the east, sometimes the best of the show lies in back of you. Try it you could be surprised.

And yes those are %#$*!! power lines.... Life in the country means no underground utilities not even water or sewer lines. Sometimes I wonder about a drain field that lies 150 feet above the aquifer, then again I can live without a water and sewer bill every month. But the good thing is those power lines also carry our cable and high speed Internet, things I would not want to live without.

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Only the Shadow knows

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Geeze I really need to loose weight or wait for sunset when my shadow slims down and I am much taller too.

PS.... get some water on that lawn!

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juillet 25, 2003


Manzanita Beach Oregon

Manzanita Beach Oregon © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Click thumbnail for the full effect. What's this your browser is blank? read on No one said this was easy.....

If you download this your browser may choke it is a 3/4 meg JPEG 7941x1311 pixels... IE users left click and a picture sizing button should appear allowing you to see the whole enchilada using slide bars etc.... A composite created from six pictures using the Canon Photo-Stitch software the view is about 200 degrees.

Oregon beaches are unique in the nation as far as I know they are ALL public. You can own beachfront property but only to the point vegetation grows the rest belongs to everyone. In the summer you can see driftwood bonfires lighting the night for miles. Teenagers and old farts nothing like making s'mores while knocking back your favorite libation, singing bawdy songs and sharing the night with good friends, and if you don't make it back home, beach sand is extremely comfortable to sleep on. Especially if you bury the coals with sand and sleep on top of them, they wil keep you warm all night. Oh there are critters called sand fleas but they tend to stay around the tide line and rarely venture up to the high and dry.

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Shelf with shadows

© Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Young friend comes over and says 'I bought this from work for 50 cents, I think I want to make some shelves out of it...'

I can remember cinder block bookcases and wire spool tables with the wine bottle you used to hold candle sticks and the accretion of wax, bean bag chairs and sleeping bags for a bed Your first apartment. You know you can live without the $4000 leather sofa.

So I trim some wood and slam it into her bargain "key display" and voila a corner stand that will hold nicknacks and dust-bunnies or what have you. What I didn't know was how the play of light and shadow would repeat itself on the various levels. The ordinary rises up, no particular occasion just a boy and his camera.

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A rose is born

Yellow Rose Bud © Copyright 1992-1993 Philip Vassar

Portland is known as the "City of Roses" forget all that Pasadena crap you hear, the Willamette valley produces some of the finest roses in the world. Roses will bloom in Portland just about any month of the year I am sure I have a slide somewhere with a beautiful rose covered in a December snowfall, of course there are thousands of varieties and many are patented, thing is most roses are grafted on to root stock as these modern fancy roses have no immune system, cannot tolerate weather extremes and basically need the advantages it's original ancestors.

Posted by Philip at 11:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

juillet 23, 2003

Start of 26 in July

26 things is a photo scavenger hunt the rules are here. I'm getting a late start but what the heck I'll give it a go.

First off I am a blog newbie learning MT a flexible if complicated collection of tools (well so far) so bear with me. In addition to the photos I will try and add a small essay for each one. All photos have been taken in July 2002 or 2003, I'm not sure if that disqualifies me up front but I'm being honest. Furthermore all pictures have been taken within 10 miles of my house again with two or three exceptions and to further complicate matters the pictures will be taken in a span of six days with a few exceptions. Locations are Hillsboro and Beaverton Oregon except where noted.

I have not optimized the photos according to best practices, you are going to need a fat pipe. If I have time I will do my best to thumnail the collection and create a proper index page for the category 26 in July.

All photographs are © Philip Vassar 1992-1993.

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