For those of you to whom I’m not attached through Facebook, Google plus, my other (arty) blog, or through standing in line for the women’s bathroom — be informed that we are in Mitchell, Oregon, halfway between Prineville (in the Ochoco Mountains) and John Day, Oregon. We escaped Portland to combine a vacation and a painting/photographing trip, which means it’s mostly painting and photographing, with a bit of Peets chocolate blueberries and thick bad novels sandwiched around the other stuff.
The above is a photo of greater downtown Mitchell — note the motorcycles in front of the Cafe. Across the street where I’m standing is a gas pump “for the public,” run by a fellow who ambles out of the State Hotel off to the left of the photo. Oh, and there’s a PO up the street. That and the school are about the whole of Mitchell.
But Mitchell has a long history. According to Wikipedia:
In 1872 the first school in Wheeler County was established near Mitchell, and in 1874 it was relocated to the town itself. Over the next two decades, Mitchell grew to include a store, church, hotel, livery stable, and multiple saloons. The business district, including the saloons, grew up along Bridge Creek and became known locally as “Tiger Town”. The church and most of the city’s homes were built at higher elevation on a bench overlooking the creek; this part of town was known locally as “Piety Hill”. Wikipedia, Mitchell, Oregon
We are ensconced on Piety Hill at the Painted Hills Vacation Rentals, Hollyhock Cottage version. Hollyhock Cottage is aptly named as it is surrounded by fulsome foliage. I have not yet gotten a decent photo of the flowers, trees, bushes, fruit, etc. partly because my camera is stunned by the excess sun. Nevertheless, here’s one bit of garden image for some of my chicken-loving friends:
The people who run the two houses that are the Piety Hill Painted Hills Vacation Rentals have a good sense of humor as well as a fine sense of the necessities for visitors: wine glasses, coffee grinder, toaster that works! All mod cons!
Of course, we headed out for the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, ten miles down the road, shortly after checking out the rental cottage. The Painted Hills are impossible to paint, because they’ve already decked themselves out. However, I never can resist trying:
This photo doesn’t show the reds, but that’s because the color of the hills is also impossible to photograph except under exceptional (and hard to grab) circumstances. We have two weeks to achieve the impossible. I will paint, Jer will photograph (again) (and again), and when defeated, we will retreat to Piety Hill.
Oh yes, Jer is already doing his ecological best for the critters around here. We didn’t hit the two deer that thought about running across the road in front of us last night, and Jer has saved at least one spider from certain death at my less sympathetic hands:
That’s Jer, saving the spider. Note the foliage that envelopes the front porch. Oh, and I suspect the snake did not bite me as we came down the trail at dusk last night because Jer’s kindness toward all creatures (except flies) provides him with the proper aura of sanctity. I just happened to be close enough to him (as I backed up to get away from the serpent) to be enveloped too.
And if that conceit is too much for you, well, chalk it up to my somewhat skittishness about rattlers and the high desert. –June