“Experienced tractors for sale – Cheap!” Here’s a little more history of the Palouse. Scattered across the Palouse next to old barns and fields are old farm equipment. Here was an anomaly. This enterprising individual had collected a variety of old tractors of the 40’s and early 50’s vintage (I think) and put them on display.
The site brought back early memories of my childhood growing up on an apple orchard in the upper Yakima Valley. I can remember riding on my grandpa’s John Deere crawler working in the orchard. It was hard to start with the hand crank in the front. But when it did, what a roar it made. I remember sitting on my grandpa’s lap pulling the turning handles to to make the machine turn. It took all I had, pulling with two hands and my whole body. What a thrill! I was heart broke when he traded it in for a wheeled tractor.
Driving along the back roads of the Palouse is an excursion of modern mechanized farming mixed with remnants of a bygone era. We encountered this barn along a dusty dirt farm road. My mind started to wonder who it was build by and when it was built. What was its and its owner’s history? It must have been a relative small farmer since the building itself was small compared to many of the large barns in the area. How could a small farmer survive? This one probably did not for very long.
Memorial Day was a beautiful Spring day! We woke up to a beautiful morning full of sunshine. It was time for a road trip! We decided to drive to the Palouse and visit Palouse Falls. Three hours later we were waiting in line to enter the Palouse Falls State Park. Many others had the same idea as we did. The drive and wait were worth it.
This image is taken from above the Palouse River just below the Palouse Falls. Recent rain created the green foliage on the plateau and canyon walls. Normally the scenery is pretty brown. The sky was covered by a patchwork of puffy white clouds. The scene was a a gift!
Can you imagine these falls during the Ice Age Missoula Floods? Water was rushing over the top flat rim of the plateau at 70 miles per hour! The existing falls is but a small trickle of what was.
The amazing geological history of Eastern Washington continues to fascinate me. The current falls are 187 feet tall. The Ice Age Flood falls were about twice in height. Basalt on the canyon walls was created by a series of lava flows between 15 & 18 million years ago. The Missoula Floods creating the canyon occurred 12 to 15 thousand years ago (just a spec of time in our geologic history).
How beautiful the snow is, but it is really cold. Today was -6 degrees when I got up. It is “dry” cold, so not too uncomfortable. Since Punxsutawney Phil made his prediction of an early spring, winter has hit Eastern Washington hard. We have had our first real snow of the year and the temperatures have dropped below zero. We are in for more!
The only good advice I have heard is to not trust the groundhog. Out of Phil’s 103 predictions, he has been right only 39% of the time! I see that he has about the same prediction accuracy as our regular weather forecasters.
I am always up and about before the winter sun rises. I anxiously await for the morning magic to appear. This day was one of those special days. What a wonderful way to enjoy and contemplate what the new day will bring.
I was enjoying my morning cup of coffee, looked out the window, and saw this weird cloud formation. I dropped everything and rushed to get my camera. Luckily I had the right lens and was able to get a quick photo of this cloud spiral before it dissipated. A few seconds later it was gone. I have never seen such a cloud phenomenon. I have no clue what could have caused it here in Eastern Washington. I wonder if it was a mini cyclone???
The mysteries of nature engulf my imagination. The more I stop to contemplate what is going around me, the more wonder I see and feel. I feel grateful to witness such events and even more lucky if I have a camera near by. It is time to celebrate the wonderful world around me.
A few days ago we had a light snow. I gazed our from my kitchen window and became fixated on the wonderful piece of history in my backyard. The snow provided a nice contrast between the irrigation flume’s wood structure and the sagebrush speckled background.
This piece of history was built in 1892 to provide irrigation water to the Selah Valley. Over the years, much of the canal has been upgraded and the wooden flumes torn down. I am lucky to have one of the few remaining sections above my home. I currently get my irrigation water directly from this flume. Sadly, it won’t be for too many additional years. Plans are to replace this section with an underground pipe. So until funds are available, I will enjoy what remains of our little bit of history.
Does anyone remember the 1980 horror film, “The Fog?’ I had a remarkable spooky experience last weekend. As my friend and I were returning from a trip to Portland back to Central Washington, we decided to take a little side trip to the metropolis of Bickleton, WA. We headed up the Roosevelt grade from the Columbia River. I was expecting some very interesting scenic overlooks as we drove up the switchbacks, but is wasn’t meant to be. Quickly after we started climbing up the grade, a thick fog engulfed us. I could see only about 20 feet ahead of me. Curves on the switch back were difficult to see. We crept along going about 15-20 miles per hour following two large trucks. I was hoping that another vehicle would not race up and rear-end us. My driving partner was a little relieved, she could not see the steep grades sloping down toward the river. All we could see were the lines on the road. Our gas level was getting low!
We finally reached the top of the grade and drove into Bickleton. It was like a ghost town. The town’s few buildings were all closed up. There were no signs of inhabitants. No gas here, we decided to drive on. About 10 minutes later, without any warning, we jetted out of the fog onto a wide open plain. It was bright and beautiful. We drove a couple of minutes, then looked back and saw the huge thick bank of fog from which we had emerged. I quickly stopped the car, got out, and grabbed my camera to try to record the sight. Too, slow … the fog was rapidly coming toward us. It engulfed us before I could click the shutter. I felt that I was being swallowed by the creeping fog.
We drove several minutes more and emerged from the fog again. We drove a mile or two this time before we stopped to photograph “The Fog.” This time, I was able to capture a few images of the moving fog. We quickly got out of “The Fog’s” path before it could engulf us again.
P.S. We made it to the next little town, Mabton, got gas, and then made it safely home. It was an interesting drive!
Looking up between the rows of trees, I can catch glimpses of the Selah Ridge. The sagebrush covered hill sides are what the land is like without irrigation. The strip of basalt rock is from the great Columbia Basin lava flows which occurred 14-6 million years ago. It was pushed up as part of the Yakima folds development.