Berlin Oregon Community

Early Morning Moonset and Sunrise

This morning was the apex of the full "snow" moon of February while at the same time we had a colorful sunrise.
To the west:

To the east:

Lopsided Buck Antlers

One of our visiting bucks at a prior time demonstrated a lopsided look with this antlers. I wonder what happened? A fight with another buck or with a tree? We shall see…
DSCF0007 copy

Ice World

We have been stuck at home for the past 4 days due to a weather event. With a small bit of snow mixed in, we started with ice pellets and/or freezing rain during that time. The trees are swaying and groaning. Some may fall at some point. We will start warming today, plus or minus another ice storm for this afternoon. We are on the edge of it happening here or maybe not.
Here is a photo of the world across from our deck to the mountains. One can see the iced up trees standing starkly. An Ice World.

New Year's Day 2024 and Wildlife

Happy New Year for 2024! The deer and the turkeys are enjoying the opening day.

Pointing North In Fog

Pointing North with the cat weather vane with fog in the background. The sky was blue and clear early in the day but the fog came in due to it is a cold day, temperature-wise.
New Year's Eve Tonight — Enjoy!

Full Moon Gloom

The full moon for December (seems like a witching moon) was out in the early morning hours this past week. I was able to snap this photo of the moon glowing through the large oak tree by the house. The light through the limbs of the tree gives an eerie cast to the image.

The Trees

Bob's long hoped for project of having our approximately 20 acres of Douglas Fir trees thinned to provide health and growth for the rest of the trees is finally done. Roughly 42 truckloads of trees were hauled from our property. It does look vastly different to look through the forest and see more daylight. Yet from a distance looking at the hillside at a slant, it still looks like before where there are still lots of trees. It took about 2 weeks for the loggers to do the work.
The following is a photo showing an edge of the log pile to be trucked away and how the forest looks as thinned.

Thayer Farm Sesquicentennial Sign

We got our sign for the Oregon Farm Bureau program the other day. This morning the sign went up on a post near our driveway and the Berlin Rd. It announces our status of being established in 1853, therefore a Sesquicentennial Farm here in Oregon. WooHoo!!Thayer Farm sign

Sesquicentennial Thayer Farm

We did it!!!! I applied for the Farm Bureau's Sesquicentennial Farm status here in Oregon. It was a lot of work and research. Thankfully, there were and are family members who have kept track of Joab and Ann Beeler Powell's history from the mid-1800s from East Tennessee to Missouri and over the Oregon Trail to Oregon. Their 4th child, Peter Powell, brought his wife, Nancy, and the children born by 1852 to settle on a donation land claim of 320 acres. This piece of property has descended to me through Peter to Rachael Arminta Powell Peterson to Goldie Peterson Wolfenbarger to William E. Wolfenbarger then to me. We should receive a sign and certificate plus the award given during a ceremony at the Oregon State Fair. I am so glad that all the work culminated in the family recognition.

Memorial Day 2023

Memorial Day is almost over. The sun is setting on a warm, dry sunny day. Often Memorial Day is windy and rainy, usually cool. This year is different. Due to a longer dry spell and the hay has been ready to cut. Tomorrow it will be baled. This is the earliest we have seen the haying season start. Usually it is after the 4th of July or if earlier, mid-June and still likely to get wet from rain.

The lawn furniture is out and comfortable. We placed the flower arrangements on the graves and will need to pick them up this week. Summer so far is starting early since we have a batch of strawberries that have been canned already though these are from California. I need to get some local Oregon berries. Yum!

Hay 2023

The Hail You Say

This has been a colder, wetter, and snowier (in mountains) winter and spring so far. Not to many warmer, sunny days though when we do have them it is pleasurable. We recently had such a large pea-sized hail storm come through that I had to get a photo of how much the deck was covered with white.
hail on deck

Love and Affection

In researching family deeds over the years for this property, I came across a deed as my Great Grandmother, Rachel Arminta Peterson, granted property to her daughter, my grandmother, Goldie C. Wolfenbarger. The deed was dated October 30, 1915 and is held in microfiche at the Linn County Courthouse here in Oregon.

It was very sweet to read the line completed for the sum for property consideration where it says,
"For the consideration of the sum of Love and Affection and Ten Dollars"…

RA Peterson deed to GC Wolfenbarger

Deer Family Out For A Feed

A few days ago our local deer family with does and fawns of 6 were out catching some good grass nibbles. They did not seem disturbed with the human family looking at them from the house. It is getting close to spring.
Deer family group

Sun, Clouds, Snow and Trees

Another overnight snow storm though not as heavy as the last one. We did get some early morning sun peeping through the clouds to backlight the snowy Douglas Fir trees. It was a lovely sight to see and photograph!
Sun clouds snow trees small

Picture Postcard Scene

The snow yesterday offered me an opportunity to shoot some photos of the pristine snow early before it melted.

Here is a photo of a neighbor's home across the valley framed with snow covered maple and Douglas fir trees.
A picture postcard scene to me.

In the Still of the Morning Snow

After midnight today and through sunrise, we had our first snow of the winter season. The temperature was about freezing level and would warm up during the day to over 40 degrees F. The snow was not going to stick around long which is good since it is Valentine's Day and dinner beckons.
I was able to catch with my cell phone the yard lights shining on the snow. It looked like the 'still of the night' in an old time setting.

Upwards To 170 Years

I am finally going to take the initiative and explore getting a Century Farm designation for our piece of property. I am a direct descendent of Joab Powell's 4th son, Peter Powell. The family migrated from Missouri to Oregon in 1852. Peter Powell applied for a donation land claim in this part of the Willamette Valley of Oregon. We have 40.2 acres remaining of that claim as a descendent. I have located the coordinates on a geographical map and will explore with the city and state to get more information toward an application. For now the information on a deed map of our property is:

Sec.36 T.12S. R.01W W.M. 
Linn County, OR (MAP !2 1 W 25)

S.W. Cor. A. J. Alley CT. 4431
Interior Corner of Peter Powell NOT.2507

Cougar Sighting on Camera

We have two trail cameras on our 40 acre property. We will look at the camera cards periodically. They do take photos and videos. Look at who we caught on photo near one of our property lines on January 23rd. Here, kitty kitty.

Oregon People

The smoke finally cleared away with the rain early Friday. Today is a sunny, relatively warm day, without smoke.
Too many of our fellow Oregonians lost their homes and businesses in the different fires. Many of the people in the small towns in Oregon are the heart and soul of community.

Many came to help their fellow neighbors as fires threatened.

The lovely rain that poured on our ground 2 days ago that settled the smoke and ash.


Fire Status

There are big fires all around us and other areas in western Oregon. We are not threatened with evacuation at this time yet so many have lost their homes, some horrifically their lives. Heart-breaking news. One of the closest to us and threatening the home of friends of ours out in Holley is the Holiday Farm fire. It is extended from the south where it started along the Willamette River and such communities as Vida and Blue River have been lost. This article does show how the area is dealing with this threat.

Heat, Wind, Fires and Smoke

Last night we had the start of serious, once in a generation weather conditions. Higher heat over the Labor Day weekend with very low humidity. Due to a cold front dropping down into Colorado and Plains pushing the hot air west and creating strong, hot east winds out of the Cascades, we have had bad fires spring up all over western Oregon. The power was out last night due to limbs blown on power lines. Debris was blown all over the yard and decks. What a mess and extremely serious "red flag" conditions.

Here is a picture of the sky with all the red smoke taken just before dark.

heat-and-smoke 09-8-20


Parterre 2020 Version

This past 2 years have been difficult to work on our garden areas and keep them clean up from weeds and grass. Many are a bit overgrown. Age and medical issues have caught up to us. I will say that our parterre area is looking particularly nice and mature this year. One area to enjoy and be pleased on how it has turned out from our small version of an English type of garden. Enjoy the view!

parterre-2020-small 7-3-20

Moon Through Tree Tops

The weather has been more volatile lately, cloudy and rainy with wind and then broken clouds to sun. Not much as far a summer here yet. I did go out on a recent evening and was able to see a partial moon through the tops of the trees. I think these trees next to the house on the southeast side are about 30 feet taller than they were 15-16 years ago. At some point I won't see the moon in that position due to the trees. It did come out as an interesting photo though.


First Big Snow Visible

We are getting snow on the Peter Mountains and Snow Peak. Here is one of the most striking. Nothing close to the Valley floor yet.


Brilliant Rainbow

I jumped out of the Subaru when Bob stopped across from the little barn and got this very bright colorful rainbow while going into town yesterday.


A Glaze of Ice

I woke up early in the morning while it was still dark outside. The yard light was on and just showed how the light glares off the slick ice. I hope it melts soon.


Snow and Ice in Berlin

We got about 2 inches plus snow overnight or early yesterday morning. Then on top of that with the cold, we got freezing rain too. My fountain is full of snow and an ice block.The gargoyle does not look happy.


Pink Sky and Snow on the Mountain

Portland got walloped with about 7 plus inches of snow last night which brought the city to a standstill. They are scheduled to not have it melt off for several days due to cold weather hanging around.

Our area missed it. We did have a pink reflection of the sunset on the clouds over the Peter Mountains with it reflecting off the white snow.


Frosty on the Trees

It has been cold with frost on the ground and trees often. For some parts of the day, we sit in fog though it is better since yesterday afternoon till now. One can look at the trees and see the frost on the tops of the Douglas fir trees on tops of hills, buttes, and mountains.


Honey Crisp Apples

Our apple tree gives us absolutely sweet delicious honey crisp apples every year. We do love this tree. We also get Fujis and Pink Ladies but not as many.

Elk and Corn

Bob and I had a big surprise this morning when we drove on our driveway past his garden. The elk had moved through over night and had a field day eating corn stalks and corn. Even squash plants. The driveway was disturbed and big hoof prints in the dirt. The following photo is an example.

Herbs and Roses

Our two lovely rose bushes with apricot and mango/peach colors along with our herb beds sure look lovely. The creeping red thyme ground cover is also growing and blooming!

Trees At Twilight

Thunderstorms off in the mountains to the east. The sun streaming from the west. I caught the Douglas fir trees glowing in the twilight.

Strawberry Shortcake

I love this time of year where we have fresh strawberries from the garden and one can make homemade shortcake from Bisquick. Yum.
strawberry-shortcake 6-2-16

Fencing the gaps

Since I saw a pickup driving fast across our hay field to leave the property and the gates were closed, Bob has started fencing off the areas near the little barn where the fencing is down and needed to be replaced. Here is the work today.

Firs in Sunlight Sidestream

Another photo from last night's display of bright sun streaming horizontally from under the clouds onto the trees near sunset.

Trees in Sunlight at Sunset

Today the weather was troubled and unsettled. Near sunset, I was able to get this photo of the sun streaming from the west under the clouds and highlighting the trees. Really setting off the colors.

Our Elk Herd

Look at that rack of horns on this bull elk from the elk herd who visit our property. Impressive!


Unexpected Snow

We woke up to a bit of unexpected snow on the ground. Not a lot but it was cold and there was white everywhere. We did have a break in the clouds and the sun came through to shine up our world.



Public Service Award

Bob and I were surprised and humbled this evening to receive a Public Service Award for our efforts with Neighborhood Watch. Deputy Don Messick read out the award and why we were receiving it. Our Neighborhood Watch Council established in 2005 is the only one in the United State plus we also have a fairly efficient list serve going for our neighbors. What a lovely recognition of our community here in Berlin.
certificates-public-small 1-22-16

Rain Drops

I looked outside this morning and could see a lovely buildup of raindrops at the end of the birch tree branches outside our bedroom. I felt it made a lovely photo to snap and share. Here is one.

Snow Day

What to our amazement is that we had snow coming down here late morning. It did not stick but it made an interesting sight. This is not due to a dirty lens but are snowflakes.

Approaching Storm

There was a rain and wind storm approaching today from the South. The morning looked quite sunny and bright but that soon was to go away. Here is a great sunrise look at the approaching storm clouds.

2015 Berlin Holiday Gathering

Tonight we had our annual Berlin Community gathering at the Fire Station. We had some Christmas goodies to eat along with decorations. We collected our usual donations for the troops and Safe Haven. Extra special tonight was getting together to hear about a possible company to deliver internet service out here in Berlin. The company is called Alyrica.

Nice Rack

The camera card showed a number of deer photos again. We have a buck out there with a nice rack of horns and another young buck with just nubs showing up around.
Here is the older buck.

Serious Bob

Here is Bob out working and spreading apples from the old trees on the property back where the deer congregate around the trail camera. It is serious work.

Doe and Fawns

The trail camera memory card was brought to the house for the latest round of pictures.
Here is one of a local doe and her two fawns (hiding in the grass).

Jungle Boy

The trail camera caught Ryan out helping PaPa get the trail camera card near the deer crossing. The area is overgrown with grass and brush so Ryan looks like a Jungle Boy.

A Buck A Day

The trail camera caught this great photo of an older buck on a sunlit day. His rack of antlers seem to frame the picture well.



More Little Free Libraries

I have wanted to organize a group of neighbors to build a Little Free Library here in Berlin. The Thayers could certainly provide a number of books for sharing. I just need to get myself going and find neighbors who would help build it. We have the plans for one.
It sounds like some towns and communities don't like having them around and are cracking down on them. Check it out here.

The Protection Squad

I got a good photo at the end of the evening with Bob, UnderSheriff Yon, and Capt. Dan Hartman. Wrapping up a very nice National Night Out in our Berlin Community at Fire Station 35.
protection-squad-small 8-5-15

National Night Out 2015

Tonight was National Night Out for the community. We had between 35-40 people show up for our root beer float fest at the Fire Station. It was a fun, tasty and pleasant evening. Ryan certainly thought so as he contemplated his root beer. He wanted his PaPa to get it together and give him his float.
NNO-2015-small 8-4-15

Adult Elk

The cow elk came through the camera zone just before the calf. Here is an example of a well fed elk from our nearby herd.

Elk Calf

We got the memory card from the trail camera. Unbelievably, we had 246 photos on it and almost all were just of the area in front of the camera with no wildlife. Must have been set off by wind or a moving branch near by caused by wind. How disappointing.
We did get some elk photos, one of a younger calf. It looks like a pony here.


Fire Prevention

Our Neighborhood Watch had a meeting tonight on Fire Prevention for here in the country where we have a lot of forest land around us. The weather has been very hot and dry lately. Chad Calderwood of ODF came and spoke to us. Good information and it seemed to go over well with the neighbors. Interesting thing is that they had to leave right after to deal with fires from lightning strikes with a storm just passing on the edge of us. I tried to get photos but no such luck.

Storms In The Distance

The weather has gotten increasingly hotter. We were supposed to have some clouds and mugginess on Sunday. It seems to have come in more this evening. I could see black clouds and sky to the SouthEast. I think storms were headed this way but then headed more north along the Cascades. At dusk the view East looked more like a sunset and it is not the right direction. A lot of thunderheads and pink sky (strange color).

Flying Home

Up very early and caught a cab to the airport. The flights went well and our layover in Denver was a walk but not long in time. We got home about 1:30 p.m. and Dervish was very happy to see us. Still a bit subdued from losing his people around for several days. We are in the middle of a hot spell so we have to run the air conditioner. Up into the 90s!

Intense Rainbow

With a bright sun break through a heavy rain shower, we got a beautiful and bright rainbow showing up toward the mountains.
rainbow-5-2015 5-26-15

Early Sunrise

We have been getting a number of lovely early morning sunrises again lately. This is from last week but lovely still to see and also to have some nice weather hanging around.

Flaming Trees

The sunrise was quite unique this morning where the sun "peeked" through the edge of the cloud cover over the eastern hills and mountains. It created a flaming look to the sky and behind the Douglas fir trees. Quite spectacular.

High Waters

A pineapple express came across the Pacific Ocean and also poured rain from the clouds over this weekend. The high water mark was supposed to occur on the South Santiam River this afternoon. We took a short ride down to the Waterloo area, especially the park to view the river. The river was rushing past high and fast. The water was swirling and eddying as it headed toward the small falls near the bridge. Here is an example of the river rising near the park.

2014 Holiday Donations

We had our 2014 Berlin holiday donation drive today. As usual, lots of good treats were available. Bob made his maple-apple crisp dessert that he found recently and finds very good to eat. We had about 12 people including ourselves come through and collected a number of good things for Safe Haven shelter, the military and toys for local children. Here is Mr. Thayer sitting quite comfortable and enjoying the afternoon.

Family and Friends

We went over to our friend’s and neighbor’s home, the Winterboers, for their annual holiday dinner for neighbors.  It was fun and good food as usual. The number of interesting stories from our lives made me wonder if we should have a Berlin Tales section to anything related to Berlin, on our Facebook page, etc. Hammy.

Meanwhile, back at the other Thayer’s homestead, some were gathered around the Christmas tree getting it decorated. We could use their help here. Happy

2014 Wreath Making

The Jantzis were hosts again for the holiday wreath making. Phyllis Copeland was able to make it this year again. Renee and her friend and co-worker, Sandy Williams, came to join in the festivities this year. Everyone made some lovely wreaths and Renee was as creative as always. Randy Jantzi was good enough to take a great photo of this group of holiday wreath makers and their creations.

Those Sunrises in Berlin

A few weeks ago, we woke to one of those great winter sunrises with lots of color across the sky. I wish they could last longer since they are so wonderful and bright.

Rest In Peace, Josi

We learned that one of our neighbors and good acquaintances out here in Berlin passed away last night. She collapsed at home Sunday morning. We became acquainted through neighborhood watch and she was always interested in keeping her area of Berlin safe and up to date on serious issues. Bob and I last spent time with her at an Easter Passover dinner in April. It was a nice evening of chatting and sharing. May she rest in peace in our Lord’s hands.

Good Friday and Passover

Tonight Bob and I went with our neighbors, Diane Winterboer and Josi Lewis, to the Crawfordsville Church to attend a seder dinner. Passover and Good Friday occurred this week very close together, much like they did in Jesus’ day. We had soup and bread, again much like at the Last Supper Jesus had. At the Last Supper, Jesus shared Passover traditions with his disciples. He knew he was going to die and his life was forfeit for our signs. The pastors shared the traditions of Passover and what they meant in Jesus’ day. There was coverage of the history of Passover and the symbolism of each item and ritual performed. It was very educational. Passover stood for freedom of the Israelites from Egypt and it still stands for freedom to this day. Jesus offers freedom to us as we accept the gift of him dying for our sins.

Tractor Work

Bob and Nicolas were out today, working in the afternoon sunshine. Bob has been trying to pick up a lot of the broken tree limbs due to the snow/ice storm of last month. Lots of work to do. Even though this was a bit of a distance for the IPhone, I had to hurry to get outside and take the photo of the two of them on the tractor pulling the trailer with the limbs.

Earthquake Felt

We learned this morning that there was a 6.9 earthquake about 50 miles off the coast near Eureka, CA. The earthquake happened last night about 10:18 p.m. Now I am usually a heavy sleeper about that time. Bob on the other hand was awake and he said that he noticed the curio cabinet holding my Toby Jugs was rattling and shifting for about 30-45 seconds last evening. He wondered what was going on to cause that disturbance and Oscar the cat was also upset at the unusual noise. So it appears that it was felt all the way up here in Lebanon OR which is quite a distance. One can read about the earthquake here.

Winterboer House Sunrise

I posted a photo yesterday of the brilliant and large sunrise. Today I will post a photo of how the sunrise extended even toward the north and colored the sky above Berlin Ridge and the Winterboer’s house. It was unusual and quite pretty to see the sky so pink at that time. It did not last long though so the photos had to be quick and without a tripod.

Surprising Sunrise

We have had fewer sunrises than usual so far this fall and winter. This morning it surprised us with a truly bright spectacular and large sunrise. Large in meaning because it extended along the eastern mountains toward the hills of Berlin Ridge Rd. The colors covered a large area of the horizon, more so than usual.

Tree Damage

I went out at the end of the snow and ice storm to document the tree damage around the house. The worst and most obvious are the 3 branches lost from the west side of the cherry tree. This tree is most likely older than me and maybe close to 100 years old. It can really produce great Bing Cherries. It is sad to see it damaged. It is majestic to me and provides a lot of shade to the house and that part of the garden. It acts as a corner piece of established garden in relationship to the house and garage. This photo is from the IPhone. I have others taken with the Nikon. I should get a view from the driveway since the damage is more striking.

Christmas Eve with Neighbors and Friends

A big day of cleaning and readying food. We had an open house for our Berlin Community neighbors and friends from 3 to 5:30 pm. David showed up with Nicolas and Ryan. Both boys were good troopers for it all. We had 15 people stop by and with our family members, there were 20 people all together. We had a lovely time serving up food and beverages to everyone. The Starbucks Christmas coffee blend went over well, Bob made 2 pots. It was a true to joy to share our Christmas Eve with such nice people and good neighbors.
Awhile after all had gone home and clean up was done. I was scanning the internet and came across the link for this 1977 Johnny Cash Christmas TV show. What a second joy to behold to see such wonderful artists and music for this Christmas Eve. We need a return of such talent and artistry. Behold!
Christmas in 2013, a look at early morning lights

Holiday Donation Drive

The annual Berlin Holiday gathering and donation drive was held yesterday at the Berlin Fire Station. Due to the snow, we did not have a large turn out though we had a lot of goodies and good cheer. We spent a lot of time chatting about what we have been doing and our plans for the holiday. Eleven people showed up including ourselves and we gathered some nice items to donate to the troops and Safe Haven. Here is a photo of some of those who were there.
Here are our decorations and the tables for food and beverages. Connie Hartman did a nice job with decorations.

fs-holiday-table-bottom-12-8-13FS holiday table


Let It Snow

We woke up to a deep cold morning where it had started snowing about 4:30 a.m. You can see how we have such a nice wintry feel to our local countryside with the early morning view of my cousin’s house below. It makes one want to snuggle in and keep warm. It looks like we might end up with about 3 inches plus of snow with the forecast of a very, very cold weekend, colder than we have had in possibly 40 plus years.

Wreath Making

Another annual community tradition, wreath making in the basement of the Jantzi’s house. I tried to make door handle bell hangers and ornament hangers for our hall oak stair case. I hope they all work out well. Here is Diane Winterboer working hard on one wreath, though it ended up she did not have enough ribbon for this form. Diane is in her Moose Munch mode. Happy

Cougars in America

No, I don’t mean the “Older Women who seek younger men” type of cougars. The four-legged cat like type of cougars. We have a number of them in Linn County and even on and around our property. A cougar killed a goat at the home on the property next door. They had a recent map online showing how cougars have spread from their usual habitat out West to the middle and eastern parts of the country. You can see the map here. Cougars can range over many miles

Wind and Rain Damage

The heavy rain and wind caused an old apple tree by the garden to topple over. It was loaded with rain wet leaves and heavy apples. The tree was located next to the area where my grandparent’s home had been before it burned. The tree was older than I am. Even though the apples are very tart, they were part of the place and loved by deer to eat as they dropped.

Bow Shoot

Our friends and neighbors, the Winterboers, had their annual Bowshoot and BBQ at their house tonight. They invite members of their church and a few neighbors. It was a night where the kids got to enjoy a shooting competition. We all ate first, with lots of Tritip and sides followed by desserts. Hard to believe all that food got almost finished off. We don’t shoot so our role was to watch and chat with neighbors and others. Mike had the fake deer target up and plenty of backup bales. Interesting show all the way around. Mike and Diane have their home and garden looking well on the way to great. I love the gazebo patio; it will be a great place to entertain when all done.
Mike setting up the target
Bob and Dan Hartman enjoying a chat and the festivities


Root Beer Float Day and National Night Out

Tonight was National Night Out for communities and Neighborhood Watch around the country. Our local community likes to get together and help recognize the day. The plan was an ice cream social with root beer floats. Interestingly enough, it was Root Beer Float Day too and I did not know it in my planning. It worked out well. Many root beer float aficionados in the group. We got to meet two new families to the area who either stopped by before the gathering or were at the Fire Station. Good to meet nice new neighbors and talk with long time other ones.
My root beer float……….Yum!
His first root beer float……..double Yum!


Hornet's Nest

Well, when a person claims they landed in a hornet’s nest, one could say Bob came close to it today. He went to clean out the fountain just outside the family room window. As he was working, he got stung 3 times on his arms. On close observation, he found that the stings were from hornets coming from this nest at the bottom of a lilac bush next to the fountain. They did not like his increased activity near their home. I must say this well-built HUGE nest would go well in the book I have called Animal Architecture.

Lightning Strikes

Earlier in the day, about 1:30 to 2 a.m. we had a fairly fast moving thunderstorm move over the house and mountains to the east of us. One lightning strike seemed to start on our right, as we sat on the balcony, off the bedroom, from over the trees to along the hillsides and tops of Green Peter. It was followed by a really loud, rolling clap of thunder. If we had not already been awake and watching the spectacle, it would have roused us out of bed quickly. This morning is cloud covered, so we shall see how soon the sun and heat come back. I expected some storms as possible. It was 83 degrees when we went into the Pioneer Villa in Brownsville at 6 pm and it was 68 degrees outside when we left 2.5 hours later. A real temperature drop.

Another Community Potluck

Another year, another community yard sale, and another community potluck. It is always good to get together with the neighbors and family.
Barbecuing at the Berlin Fire Station and all new community photos
Gathering with family at the community potluck today


Neighborhood Meeting

Tonight is was our Neighborhood Watch meeting and we had a good turnout of about 25 people. Jim Lepin, a volunteer at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, presented information about suspicious behavior and how to report it.

911 is for immediate emergencies

541-967-3911 is for reporting non-emergency issues to the LCSO. Please program this number into your phones (consider adding the Oregon State Police number to your phones too).

All land line phone numbers are part of the Reverse 911 system. You can go on the website of the Sheriff's Office----- and select down the left side Linn-Benton Alert Emergency Notification System to register emergency notification to your cell phones too. Please take the time to do so!

April Fools Day

Today is April Fool's Day. I often like to play a prank though this cold I have is the April Fool’s joke on me. We did have 7 deer out nibbling on grass near our garden this afternoon. That is until Dervish decided to play Tough Dog and chase them across the pasture before I could get pictures. We saw the white tails flitting as they bounded over the edge of the pasture.


Jesus rises today and give us his blessing as God’s children. It is Easter, a holy day for Christians. I say this as one can still say it in the United States as of now. I am concerned what the future holds for Christians here. It is a beautiful day and at least hope Springs eternal as they say.


Part of what made the recent baby shower special (in addition to what it means to David, Renee and Nicolas to have Ryan coming) was seeing my Aunt Doris present with cousin Bob’s wife, Nancy present. We do not get enough opportunity to see each other or at least take the opportunity to do so. We are going out for dinner together this Friday evening and it should be a good time to reminisce about family and older times here in Berlin.
Uncle Raymond and Aunt Doris

Aunt Doris and Nancy

February Organizing

We did a bit of early organizing and tossing out of old papers and items. Just small steps in that area though it helps to feel we are making a start. More to do as we go along. A bit cloudy and depressing outside today, so a good day to try and get this started.

Small Accomplishments

Neighbors have invited us out to eat dinner in Eugene. It felt good to be able to say Yes and go out after getting some projects done. I have started the priorities Excel list I needed to do and also got started on ABVP case review work. I am starting to feel more in control of what I need to do.

Early Grant

Last night, Richard and Josi Lewis, our neighbors here in Berlin, invited us to dine out at Red Lobster in Eugene. We had a lively discussion. They are readers and book lovers too. We ended the evening at Barnes and Noble where I purchased as one of 3 books, an biography of Grant. I told them of a recent blog article of the Ohio Congressman, Thomas Hamer, who helped Grant get into West Point in one of the last slots he had available to give. The story of Thomas Hamer’s influence on history and what his loss might have meant to our country is found in the article here.

General Thomas Hamer

Rural America

An interesting article today on how rural America covers a large part of the United States yet they are becoming less and less relevant to government and the political arena. The larger cities and major government centers have control of the message and numbers. Rural Americans have to live at the whim and decisions of the metropolitan regions.

Getting Close

Relaxing and fun last night sharing Tri tip steak and potluck items at the Winterboers with other neighbors. We tried a new dish that was Creamed Corn with Bacon. It was good and a nice mix with the other food there. There was a lot of talk of family, books, trips, neighborhood oddities……….. it is a good group of people to share with. I didn’t take a camera to capture the holiday look of Mike and Diane’s house. Here is a wintery look toward their house from ours from last March.



No snow today though we are still looking at blustery wind this afternoon. Some sunshine would help lighten the mood. Here is a look at the snow from yesterday morning again.

With all the TV shows, movies, and comic book focus on zombies, there was an interesting article discussing how parasites take over parts of the brain and activity of their host. There are a number of parasite types that can do so.
The article can be found here. Wow, I wonder what we can learn about zombifying techniques. Cool word, zombifying.

Berlin Christmas Cheer

Yummmmmm………………….made two batches of brownies. One double chocolate and the other was turtle variety (caramel swirled through it). The brownies made a trip down to the Berlin Fire Station for our annual Berlin Christmas party and donation drive. We collect supplies for the troops in Afghanistan and also supplies to take to Linn County’s only private shelter, Safe Haven. The gathering was for 2 pm to 5 pm. We had a nice group of neighbors stop by to chat, listen to Christmas music, and eat goodies while drinking coffee or cocoa. It just reminds us that we can share and do go things in the world, even in small amounts. Plus we have a good group of neighbors.

On another note, we had a lot of rain last night and a couple of really strong gusts of wind last night. One gust slammed the house and seemed to just rake the house like it was knocking many things over outside. It definitely was a surprise. Some of the neighbors heard it and others did not. We sure did since both gusts woke us up.

Christmas party-tree-top-12-1-12

Our Berlin Christmas party tree, courtesy of the Hartmans.

Buck Windom, Era Lewis, and our friendly holiday Moose.

Holiday Greenery

Yesterday was the annual local group gathering of Christmas wreath makers. All in good spirit of getting ready for the holiday and making the outdoors festive with greenery. How about a little of the cedar? Where is the rosemary? Watch the holly, it is prickly! Boy, do I need some of the glittery stuff or who is the best ribbon maker (not me)? Throw in some cocoa and tea (Annapolis Royal Ice Wine tea) and it is festive. It is fun to see and chat with friends and neighbors. It is also cool to see what beautiful wreaths, swags, and table decorations can come from a big pile of cut trees and bushes mixed with pine cones, ribbon, ornaments, and other oddities (my black and white spotted cow that Noel Storms gave me in a swag).
Here is my friend and neighbor Diane Winterboer getting the festivities and her wreath off to a “silly” start.

This is my table arrangement. Arlene Jantzi was kind to share the base since I showed up with little to start with.

My laughing cow swag from Noel. It has a cute black hair fringe. We did have a good time. Let’s do it again next year.




One really good note from the day that shall stay nameless.
Paul Aziz, my photography instructor from Linn-Benton was elected mayor of Lebanon. Since we do not live in the city limits, it is more symbolic for us. He is a positive, good-spirited man and will do a good job.
I took the following sunset photo the day I went to one of his classes this last spring.


Blue Moon Tonight

After a day of editing audio for podcasts, I had to sit outside around 7:45 p.m. to watch the Blue Moon come up over the mountains. It is always a treat and the weather has been warm and sunny. I love a full moon even if it means the werewolves will be out. Certainly the coyotes were out in force with a serenade across the valley shortly after 9 p.m.


At a distance….

Up close….

Moon Rising

Right now, as I sit and ponder what will I write about today on the computer, I can see a bright half moon in the sky at dusk. I always feel we have wonderful opportunities for sunrises here in Berlin and also the rise of the moon over the mountains. On many a clear night, I will sit outside and wait………wait for an increasing glow showing above some spot on the mountain ridge. Slowly, slowly, it will get brighter. Until one can see the start of a glowing full moon. It is a miracle in so many ways. A lodestone holding us to this piece of ground and the view we have here.


Land and Family History

Every now and then, one reads an article that tugs at one’s soul. It is bound up in your DNA and “institutional memories”. The current article in question is one from Victor Davis Hansen. VDH, as he is called, is a scholar, author, classicist, historian, and current affairs blogger. He is of a similar age to myself and probably holds many similar views on life, history, and politics. I love to read his work and respect his body of work (and him). He wrote an article about the history of the land where his family farm is located near Selma, California. Much of it covers the trials and tribulations of farming and what time and each generation faced due to change.

My great-great grandfather settled this area in 1852 when he came with his parents and siblings from Missouri over the Oregon Trail. This was a donation land claim. We now have 40 acres left of the original land claim and one always wonders if that can continue due to the challenges of family, work, and taxes. Is change so inevitable? Is there a way to ensure such history carries on? Or should one accept that change happens and may be for the best? All I know is that I am proud to state that my dad, grandmother, etc. were born and raised here. The family came to find new land and a place to practice their Baptist religion. Below is a picture of the house my Dad grew up in. It unfortunately burned down sometime around when he went into military service.



Today was another day of getting odds and ends done.

I must say I was proud of taking care of the odds and ends. I had to get the new-used Kodak photo printer I got at the yard sale up and software loaded and working on my HP laptop. Then, a 2 TB back up hard drive that I used for my Macbook laptop stopped reading. So that required a replacement and switching hard drives to accommodate all the computers. It pays to have a back up after the Macbook went “poof” a few weeks ago. Time Capsule worked great as a backup and way to look at what my original drive was like. Whew!

Really hot today, should be up to 100 degrees or better. Most likely the hottest day of the year. I like the sun though it makes it hard to sleep at night. Harder too for the dogs to be comfortable outdoors. When it is this hot, people are out splashing in water fountains like this scene from St. Louis last July.



This is a day I have been hoping to reach for the past month. The people contracted to cut our hay grass started cutting later in the afternoon. Due to the long dry spell, the grass in many areas was very dry, not green. We were worried about it being a fire hazard due to either an errant cigarette or a possible lightning strike if thunderstorms occurred. Plus, it always looks and feels cleaner to see the short grass. I like to be able to see the road and who may be coming up the driveway.

I do have fond memories of haying season when I was a youngster. My father would mow the fields with a side mower, rake it, and then bale it. Equipment was always tricky to keep running. It could be hot and dry work, usually dusty too. We would eat our lunch or take breaks out under the oak or fir trees. Dad would get his pickup or a tractor and trailer to pick up the bales with a hay crew. Bales would be cross-stacked 3 to 5 rows high, brought back to the barns and stacked in the lower floors or up the hay conveyor to the attic floors.

It is getting harder to find people to do this and especially the field around the house. We should think of other ways to use the land since this is less optimum year after year.


Conversation With Neighbors

One enjoyable part of spending some down time with your neighbors is getting to know them through conversation. What are their lives like lately……….work, home, garden, hobbies. As I talk with them, I realize further that we are blessed with good neighbors and friends. If we are in need or trouble, they will step forward to help us out. We would do the same in return. It is special to know that you have support and good people have your back.


Fire Station and Fire Corps

I sat down with Bob Thayer to discuss the importance of Fire Corps to our community, city, and county. Fire Corps is led by Kathy Fitzwater, a Berlin Community neighbor who lives on Upper Berlin Rd. To learn more about Fire Corp and its benefit to all of us, please click on the following podcast link and allow a little time for it to load (or right-click on the link to download it to your computer to play).


Fire Corp volunteer, Bob Thayer

Our local Fire Station is the center of our community. Captain Dan Hartman (one to the right) keeps this local fire station in tip top shape. He and his wife, Connie, make the station as accessible as possible to community gatherings. The fire station and volunteers help protect our homes, lower our insurance rates, and offer that gathering spot. Our volunteers, like Jared pictured with Dan, make this system work for the safety of all of us.

To demonstrate the importance of the Fire Station, the following is a photo of the local fire truck leaving the station to attend a fire call in Lebanon. There was an electrical fire under a house’s porch and the owners were fortunate to be home to see the smoke and call in a fire emergency. Here are our hard-working volunteers headed out.


Community Sale and Potluck

Furniture, tires, old farm tools, antiques, collectibles, jewelry, kid’s things……………….all came together for the third annual Berlin Community sale. We followed up with a potluck. Bring your grillin’ and a side dish. Lots of good food to go around, good company and conversation. Throw in a few fire trucks with a fire call…………think of lights, horn, and burning dust as the truck peels out. This is exciting for the kids and even the kidults present. If you want to see more pictures from that day.

Community Sale

Potluck Table
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