Looking down on this row of smudgepots from the old cherry orchard brought back many memories of my childhood. Sixty years ago, I can remember waking up to skies covered with smoke. A thin film of soot covered anything that was open. The soot could even seep in through cracks into our house. Walking outside I remember feeling the smoke in my lungs. These pots were used to produce heat to protect the spring flowering buds from frost. The oil-burning smudgepots were placed between the rows of trees to produce a warm bed of heat. Cherry trees were the most susceptible to the frost because they typically were the first to bloom in the Spring.
Smudgepot lighting was always a special time when I was old enough to work in the orchards. I can remember hanging out in Grandpa Brown’s bunk house with several other school buddies in an evening when a frost was expected. We were suppose to do homework, but that never happened. We would “horse around” and then try to catch a little sleep. When the temperature stated to drop, we would rush out and light the oil in the pots. We would then monitor the temperature until it rose above freezing. We would then rush back out and turn the pots off. After shutting down the pots we would go home and get ready for school. I left my oily and smoky clothes in the garage. I would shower and get dressed, then head down to school. Most of my school pants were white denims. It didn’t take long to get them covered with the soot left by a previous night’s smudging. After school, we would go back out to the orchards and refill the smudgepots to prepare for the next freeze.
Living out in the country is a wonderful opportunity to get out and explore. I have no excuse to feel “cooped up” inside the house. A 20 minute walk and I am above it all, overlooking an old cherry orchard, the valley below, and the gap to Yakima. How peaceful it is to just stand up on the hillside and observe the wonderful area where we live. In a short time, this orchard will be covered with white and pink blossoms. It is one of the few “old stands” of cherry trees around. Each year they remove a section and plant new trees. Hopefully this section will remain for several years to come.
We decided to take a walk around our neighborhood hills and orchards yesterday. We discovered that our spring irrigation water had been turned on and had reached the ditch above our home. It is time to start our spring watering cycle. As I’ve mentioned before, this ditch was constructed and put in use in the 1880’s. This is one of the few open areas still remaining. The area directly above our house has an old wood flume. I am looking at it right now from my office as I type this post. It will be replaced by an underground pipe in the next few years. I will be sad to see the trace of our past removed.
The path in front of us may seem daunting. It is dark, winding and uncertain. We have a long way to travel, but there is light ahead. There is a path, we must all pull together, keep our faith, and help each other remain on it. Falling off the path is not an option if we are to reach the light.
The peak of the pandemic is a few weeks ahead. Maintaining our social distance from each other is critical to minimizing the size of the peak. Let’s all stay on the path!
This image is another perspective of the photograph in my prior post. It is also an infrared (IR) image, but processed in black and white. This is typically how I handle infrared images focusing on the contrasts of dark sky and light clouds and foliage from the trees.
A positive ramification of our “stay at home” order is that I can spend a good part of my day working on my photography skills. I enjoy experimenting with different methodologies to create moods and feelings. One of my next endeavors will be to combine IR and long exposure photography into B&W images. Rather than facing each day and thinking about what I cannot do, I much prefer to envision what I can do. It is a time to explore, examine new things, experiment, and learn. I really do not have time to think about what I can’t do.
It is a beautiful day and time to get out along side nature. We all have felt “cooped up” for the last several weeks. There are many places where we can go and remain isolated from others and just enjoy the outdoors. Today my mission is to get outside as much as possible and just enjoy nature’s beauty surrounding me.
I have been keeping a close eye on our dogwood tree buds. A few are getting ready to start their bloom. The sepals on this bud are starting to pull back. Soon the blossom will start to appear. The yellow blur in the background is a Wintersonne Mugo Pine. I had to stand on my tip toes to line the bud up with the Wintersonne. It was hard to keep the camera steady on my toes. (I was too lazy to go in and get a tripod.) I took a million images to get one that was reasonably crisp. It was a good way to pass the time!
The last couple of weeks, I have been spending way, way too much time sitting around. My excursions have been short trips to the garden to take a few images. I have made a resolution to be much more active in April as we will be pretty much staying at home.
I will take a daily walk or mini-hike with Mary around our neighborhood and hills around our home.
I will work/play a bit each day in our garden to get it ready for spring.
I will experiment with new techniques and approaches with my my camera to improve my overall skills.
And above all I will make the most of each day as I enjoy the wonders of the world around us!
It was a beautiful spring day, and we needed to get out and wander a bit. The Yakima Arboretum was just starting to show its cherry blossoms, so we decided to take a little walk. It was a little early in the blossoming cycle. The trees were not in full bloom, so we will go back in a couple of days.
It was still nice to be outside for a peaceful walk in the Arboretum. We saw only 5 or 6 people wandering around like us. It was easy to keep our “social distance.” As we were leaving the arboretum, we walked along this meandering path to the exit. The path zig-zagged along the way. We couldn’t see the end, but we knew where it was. It reminded us of what is in front of us all. As with the Coronavirus, the path is not straight. We will need to take different directions to adapt how we will live with this difficult situation. We don’t know where the next step will be. But, we must keep our faith and move forward.
We’ve seen it before—the curving path. The end is out of our reach, but it has promise nevertheless.
We are left to wonder where it goes.
“Uncharted territory” has become a cliche, and we want answers—the right ones. The path must lead forward because
we want to know what the ending brings.
Yet the path itself has curves from one side to the other. Its shape suggests an ebb and flow of life’s fortune.
We take the uncertain journey as that is the gift.
This is an overview of the landscape changes we are making this spring. At the time I was growing up this area was an orchard It was changed over to a pasture as the Heather Heights area was being developed. The prior property owner landscaped the upper section. A couple of years ago I converted the pasture into a new large lawn. Now we are chewing the lawn up again to plant trees for our mini-arboretum.
Looking up at me bright and brilliant as a star brings spring’s warm glory.
The Seattle Japanese Garden posts a daily photo accompanied with a haiku. The haiku form is a 3 line poem consisting of 17 phonetic syllables. The first line has 5 syllables, the second 7 and the third 5. I thought I would give it a try (at lease for one post).
The star magnolia is the second plant in our garden to bloom each year, following the forsythia. We do not have any spring bulbs planted … yet. This spring we are planting several shrubs and trees that will produce even earlier blossoms. Hopefully this fall we will get some spring flowering bulbs in the ground.