Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fair Fare!

Our first stop at the Central Washington State Fair was St. Paul Cathedral School's elephant ear booth, where former colleagues gave me a wave. Well, the one who wasn't stretching elephant ear dough did. It was teacher's shift at the booth, and a chance to say hi to several of the folks I worked with till I retired this summer.

We always try to choose our fair treats from local organizations. The elephant ear that we split between us held us off till time for barbecue beef sandwiches at Young Life, our annual fair dinner. For a return visit we might choose the lamburgers at another booth.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Celebrate What's Great!

The 115th annual Central Washington State Fair opened in Yakima on Friday with the theme this year being Celebrate What's Great!"

I thought I would ride to the top of the Giant Wheel and get some pictures of the midway from above.

Then I thought; "Nah! No! No way!"
Neither did I take any shots from the Sky Tram, the Circle of Fire, the Drop Zone, or the Big Sling.
No, you will just have to appreciate the Fair from the ground with me, or else stop by yourself for the rides, exhibits, and some fair food.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Night Glow

One of the special events during the Prosser Balloon Rally is Night Glow on Saturday night. Five or six of the balloons in attendance fire up and "dance" to music at the high school football field. It is quite a spectacle.
Unfortunately, our schedule did not let us get there last night for the show, but I offer a Night Glow photo from a previous rally. Be sure to click to enlarge--this looks great full screen.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Balloons up!

Thirty balloons launched today. There was no way to get them all in one picture. I will be posting more balloon rally photos at Katney's Kaboodle later today. This photo will enlarge if you click it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Balloon Rally in Prosser

This isn't much of a balloon picture, but I didn't realize that they would be launching already this morning till we saw a few balloons in the sky in the distance. We were back too late to get any launch or flight pictures today, but there were several balloon teams assembling their equipment at the Prosser Airport. The biggest launch is tomorrow early, with Night Glow tomorrow night--and we will set the alarm so as not to miss the launch and hopefully get to some of the night glow as well (other obligations may interfere.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More hop harvest

You can click this one to enlarge so you can see the workers up there on top of the lead vehicle. They cut the hop vine and sting from the trellis and throw it onto the truck that is following.
With so many new acres planted in hops this year, this is new equipment. The load trucks are larger, and I have never seen an enclosed rig like the one in front in years past. The ones used before were like this tractor rig that I posted a couple of weeks ago doing some other work in the yard nearest us.
Tomorrow we are headed to the Central Washington State Fair, and on Saturday the Prosser Balloon Rally. I will keep an eye out for more good hop harvest pictures as well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Harvest time--poles stripped

Just over two weeks ago I posted this. That same spot now looks like this. Hop harvest generally runs day and night, and a yard is stripped pretty quickly. This is not the part that is actually "picking" the hops, though. The strings of hop vines, cut near the bottom and then cut from the top and loaded into trucks are taken to the hop picker, where they are hooked to conveyor belts and the hop cones stripped from the vines to be moved into the kiln.
Over the next few days I hope to get some more and better pictures of the workers in various stages of the process.
Other crops are being harvested in the Valley at the same time as the hops. Yesterday I followed a tractor that spanned the road from edge to edge before heading off into a recently harvested corn field.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not a barn

Not every rural building that is not a house is a barn.
When the hops are picked, they are dried in a kiln such as this or a more modern version. The high temperature needed to dry the hops must be monitored 24 hours a day.
Not many of the old kilns like this one remain in the Valley. I remember several hop kiln fires in the Valley since we came here, and they were in more modern facilities. These old wooden buildings would have gone up quite quickly in a fire.
Now, how did you like that segue--from the barns of the last couple of days to this non-barn--to the picking of hops. Hop harvest has finally reached the hopyards in my neighborhood. Some peeks at the process will feature in the next few days.
A busy time in the Valley.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Barn

Not all barns in the valley are as unique at the Marble Barn from yesterday's post. Some are part of large or small family farming operations, and others, like this one, serve the needs of families seeking a rural life with a few animals.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Marble Barn

The barn at the former Marble Ranch in Grandview is typical of the round barn designs which (according to Wikipedia) were popularized beginning in 1880 with hexagonal designs and later the true round barns like this one. The barns were so designed for efficiency, but with new equipment, by 1936 they were no longer favored. Here I found that the Marble Barn was built in 1912, and is listed as "Marble Dairy, true round barn, 2-pitch conical roof, 4 small windowed dormers at the hip, large central silo extends through roof, very good condition."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm Back!!!

Whenever I'm returning from the Seattle area, crossing the Fred G. Redmon Memorial Bridge is the signal that we are almost home again--even though there are still quite a few miles to go to my own corner of the Valley. The bridge, north of Selah, marks the beginning of the Yakima Valley for me.
A plaque erected at a nearby rest stop by the Washington State Highway Commission in 1971 tells that "by Senate Resolution 1969-EX-40, the Washington State Legislature dedicated these imposing structures crossing Selah Creek Canyon in honor of Fred G. Redmon, resident of Yakima, first chairman of the Washington State Highway Commission and distinguished member of the Washington State Senate from 1964 through 1968. With a height of 325 feet from top of arch to canyon floor, supporting b ridge lanes 1336 feet long and reaching 549 feet across the canyon, these are the two longest concrete arch spans in the United States to date, a fitting memorial to one of Washington State's most prominent citizens."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Still away from the Valley #4

Silver Falls--from a hike out of Ohanapecosh

Monday, September 15, 2008

Still away from the Valley--#1

Before returning to the Valley, my hubby and I are spending a week here at Ohanapecosh, helping out in the Visitor Center. Ohanapecosh is the old growth forest area located in the southeast corner of Mt. Rainier National Park. It is about 70 miles from the city of Yakima and just over a two hour drive from our part of the Valley.
It is still not likely that I will have internet access--though I may be able to log on from the office. So I have scheduled photos from earlier Ohanapecosh trips till we return home.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Away from the Valley--#3

This afternoon we will raise our shoes in salute to the Breast Cancer survivors. Many walkers are themselves survivors, others, like myself, have been touched by Breast Cancer through family and friends.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Away from the Valley--#2

The Breast Cancer 3-Day involves thousands of people and raises millions for research. Last year nearly 2500 walked in Seattle, and that was only one of a dozen cities where walks were held.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am away from the Valley--#1.

For the next three days I am in Seattle, walking for Breast Cancer research and care. The walk is approximately 60 miles over three days. You can learn more about it here. It is not too late to sponsor me here. After next week I will blog about the experience at Katney' Kaboodle.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

And just when I thought I had what was currently happening in the hops...

I haven't posted multiple pictures in one day here before , and I don't know if it's an okay thing with the CDP folks, but this sequence needed to go together, and since I'd been doing the hops...
After checking out the hopyard down the road, the hops up close, and the workers across the road, we awoke the next morning to the sound of a crop duster.
Do you see him coming? In the older yard I don't think he would have been visible.

Now you can't miss him. Yes, he is that close to the top of the poles.

Now to move on to another section.

The top and bottom photos should enlarge if you click.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Work in the hops

I'm not sure what these workers were doing in the hopyard across from us the other day. Soon these highrise tractors will be part of the harvest, as some yards have already started. This hopyard was put in new this spring, so the plants are nowhere near as well developed as those in the older yards.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hop Harvest coming

This is a shot of the mature hopyard down the road from us.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Canal Reflection

Taken in Arpil before the trees leaved out.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Old Hop Press

When I took this photo a couple of months ago, I had no idea what the mechanism was behind the memorial to the "Hands of Harvest" in Old Timers' Square in Toppenish. I have since learned that it is an early hop press. The dried hops were placed in the press which was lined with burlap. Horses then circled the press turning a screw which compacted the hops into bales in the burlap bags. They would be compressed to much less bulk than they would be without the pressing. Hop bales are huge, even after being compressed.