Friday, December 18, 2009


ou Going south from Oregon you know you are in California when you see Mt. Shasta...

... and it's only in California can you have a town called Weed.

A little roadside entertainment courtesy of Caltrans and The California Department of Forestry (CDF)

The real excitement of the day was Valley Pistachio's Country Store.

Set up in an old house...

... and colorfully decorated with snowmen and ...

Geese the store is located at 20865 Avenue 20 in Madera, California.

They have a great and welcoming staff...

... and they do ship wonderful gift packages.

They are definitely ready for Christmas.

They specialize in quality gourmet foods and gift baskets.

Offerering a wide array of nuts including pistachios, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, flavored almonds, candied almonds and pistachios, dried fruits including, apricots, strawberries, pango, plums, raisins, flavored raisins, along with many other yummy treats.

Its not just bulk packaging...

...they also create custom gift baskets...

...and ship our products all over the continental USA.

They have a nice web presence at

It is worth a call at least and help support some nice people who hang nice flowers in the winter.

No Scrabble today.

Quote of the Day ~
"Pistachio nuts, the red ones, cure any problem." ~ Paula Danziger, American author

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas Lights in Oregon

Shore Acres State Park

A community tradition was born in 1987 when the Friends of Shore Acres decided to "string a few lights" to help celebrate the holidays. That first season, 6,000 miniature lights, one Christmas tree, and the decorated Garden House drew 9,000 visitors.

Now, 275,000 lights - both holiday L.E.D. and landscaping...

... many Christmas trees..

... lighted sculptures...

...entertainment in the pavilion...

...and a beautifully decorated Garden House...

... draw 40,000 to 50,000 visitors each season.

It was a very cold night...

... but Sharyn, Jill, Gail and I ventured out for the wonderful sight.

The whale was spouting...

... the pavilion had carollers...

... the cranes in the Japanese lily pond were as elegant as ever...

... and the frogs were jumping...

... and jumping.

The cottage was all lined with lights and surrounded with colorful displays.

The bridge was also lit and colorful as ever.

The bushes were wonderfully lit the blue over white was lovely.

Of course Sharyn loved the puffins.

I thought I'd give one view across the length of the park so you can get some idea of scale.

I did get close to the whale...

... and work my way to the pavilion...

... where the carolers were singing.

Inside the cottage the view out of the window was beautiful.

What a great view...

... from the window.

Inside Santa was taking a bath...

... and getting ready for a nap.

I went back to the window...

... for finale few shots...

... then left ...

Taking one last shot of the cottage.

We then went to the Mill Casino for a nice dinner and quick walk on a cold boardwalk.

When we turned the corner we spotted an ice sculpture left outside and definitely not melting, brrr.

No Scrabble - Company in town

Quote of the Day ~
"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting." ~ Alan Dean Foster (American Writer and Author of Science-fiction)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sylvan Ridge - Another Plein Air Show

Sharyn and I took off to Sylvan Ridge (Hinman Vineyards) to view the paintings of the Plein Air Painters at the opening reception. It was a nice drive there from Creswell and the vineyard was terrific.

Vineyards in the area stretch across several hills and provide a very nice vista.

It is no wonder the painters came here to paint.

It was a cool day and Sharyn was wearing her really great black coat.

The front porch with a very nice view had a rustic look.

Inside the main building the paintings were hung and it was a beautiful show.

Even the view out of the room looked like a framed painting.

The painting on the right by Shirley Froyd was Sharyn's favorite (well one of them) but I think Shirley's work both here and Cresewell have caught her eye.

While I had a hard time picking a favorite because I liked them all the painting in the middle "Pinot Autumn" by Susan Warner Smith really pleased my eye.

This Pastel by Sarkis Antikajian titled simply "The Vineyard" was another of the works here that I found inspirational for its simple and colorful beauty.

Mark Logan's oil titled "Concord Vine" was a great example of framing the subject to a small portion of a much larger scene for dramatic effect, wonderful.

Margaret Plumb's acrylic titled "In the Vineyard" was bright and a lovely look down a row of vines to the opposing hill.

I didn't see one painting I wouldn't love to have in my home...

Jaqueline Lukowski who I had the pleasure of meeting for a second time in Creswell at that paintout (the first was at a Hendricks Park paintout) caught the texture of the scenery as a patchwork of subtle colors lightened or darkened by the light.

Ephemia Wesley's work captured the curve of Briggs Road as it curved and dove between the ridges in the distance.

One of the other paintings that was in my top two was this one by Kerri Vanden Berg. Titled "Edge of the Vineyard" is a Watercolor with a perspective along a fence. For me there was a dark side packed with vine behind the fence and a light side open and free of obstacles and in the distance a hill rising up to the sky. Perhaps I see and allegory where there is none but I just love this painting.

Renee Nelson did this Gouache Titled Crow Valley Vineyard. Gouache (pronounced gwahsh) - Is a heavy, opaque watercolor paint, sometimes called body color, producing a less wet-appearing and more strongly colored picture than ordinary watercolor. Very nice Renee.

Here is a closer view of Susan Warner Smith's "Pinot Autumn" there is something soothing in this painting that I find inspiring and why I admire the eye and skill of artists.

Rodric Gillilian's watercolor "Green Grapes" is another example of skill and subject choice, beautifully done Rod.

I did venture outside for a few pictures and liked the curve of the drive into the vineyard...

... the clock tower and ...

... the Sylvan Ridge sign above the door.

There were a few flowers still blooming and ...

...a few already open.

I like the Beech Trees very much and how they played against the background.

Inside the vineyard a young man was fast asleep in front of the fireplace. I have a vivid imagination and decided he was a student employed by the vineyard that had an important exam and was studying in a quiet place and after 10 hours pouring over his book drifted off to never - never land. I doubt I'm right but it is a thought.

As we left I couldn't help but enjoy the view as a cloud lowered filtering the sun in this serene valley.

The filtered light was perfect for a picture down to ward Briggs Road and the hill across the way.

I think this is what I love about Oregon a state of character from the ocean to the mountains. The state of Oregon has the most diverse and spectacular valleys and super two lane roads that can lead you almost anywhere.

Scrabble Score - Scrabble Queen 297 - the Contender 336

Quote of the Day -
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. ~ Vincent Van Gogh


©Paul Viel