Ceri Shaw



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Category: Lifestyle

The Day We Went To Maupin

By Ceri Shaw, 2018-10-01

Out And About In Oregon (4)

I am not normally one to press my holiday snaps on others. Too many glazed eyes and polite stifled yawns over the years have convinced me that it is unwise. If, however you have a few seconds to spare please check out the pictures of Maupin in the gallery above.

Maupin in Eastern Oregon is an undiscovered gem and apart from kayakers and anglers it is largely ignored by visitors to the state who, understandably concentrate on Mt Hood, Crater Lake or the beautiful Oregon coast. In my opinion Maupin is well worth a visit and provides an ideal venue for a quiet weekend away and a superb  base from which to explore the surrounding countryside. Both Shaniko and the Tyghe Valley are within easy, and spectacular, driving distance. Mt Hood and the Columbia Gorge are easily reachable on day trips.

Over the years on AmeriCymru we like to think that we have enticed many Americans of Welsh descent to make the 'pilgrimage' to the old country. But what about Welsh visitors to the US? Sure you can visit New York, Chicago, L.A. etc but everyone visits those places. Why not go somewhere off the beaten track and get a real taste of rural America? Maupin ( and Oregon ) will not disappoint.

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A Kitchen Garden In The Backyard

By Ceri Shaw, 2017-09-29


One of our Western Hemlocks in the backyard recently suffered a catastrophic 'cascade failure' and we were forced to remove two trees that were threatening to collapse on the house. We did this with a heavy heart since neither of us wanted to see them go. You can see the havoc they wrought in this post .

On the plus side, however, we now have a lot more room and less shade so we thought we would develop a 'kitchen garden'. We have four growing areas and they are listed below together with a description of our current plans for them. 

Basically we are seeking ideas for crops that are easy to grow. Also, since we are new to this, we are wondering what proportion of our grocery bill we might realistically expect to save. What kind of crop yields are possible in an area like this given the soil quality (poor to medium) and shade (full and partial).

growing area partial shade.jpg


We are dividing this area into six rows. You can see the first two in the photo above). The soil here is of reasonable quality but needs enriching. The rows nearest the camera in the above view will have sunlight for most of the afternoon and early evening. The ones further away, nearer the shed, will have shade for most of the day. What might grow well here? Are there any shade loving food crops?

growing area poor soil shaded.jpg


Our potato towers will be set up to the right and at the end of the path in the above view. The area nearest us in the picture has poor, and very thin, soil and is in the shade for most of the day. How might we work/improve this are soil wise and, given that we can't knock the house down to increase the sunlight exposure, what might we grow here?

backyard terrace.jpg


'The Terrace'. We will be planting two trees here (probably Filberts) and as many fruit bushes as we can fit in. Given that we only want to plant native species does anyone have any suggestions for fruit crops that might grow well here?

bees and butterflies.jpg


This is our 'conservation' area. Basically we want  plants that will attract bees, butterflies and humming birds. Thus far we have Oregon Grape, Salvias, Fuchsia and Gallardia. Any suggestions for colorful and tempting additions?

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Falling Trees!!

By Ceri Shaw, 2016-12-11

We have three Western Hemlocks perched on a bank at the back of the house. Since we are close to the crest of a hill they are somewhat exposed to the elements. Pictured above and below is the aftermath, in our backyard, of the recent winter ice storm which passed through Portland a few days ago. About 16 branches fell off one of the trees because of the accumulated weight of ice. Needless to say, since these were falling right next to the house and just outside our bedroom window, we left home for a night or two. Sorry about the delay on various site features we were working on. Will catch up shortly :)



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Lake Billy Chinook And Lake Simtustus

By Ceri Shaw, 2015-12-16

Out And About In Oregon (2)

We took a few days to explore the backwoods of Oregon this winter and headed for Lakes Billy Chinook and Simtustus near Madras. We packed a Canon Rebel and a GL2 and spent many happy hours filming and photographing the glorious surroundings. I hope to get some film footage up shortly but meanwhile you can find some of our pictures on this page and more here Lake Billy Chinook Gallery

A Canon Rebel is not the best of cameras and the light was not good but we hope our shots have done the area some justice. Anyone wanting to visit will find a google map at the bottom of the page and here are some details about the lake and its history from the Wikipedia:-

Lake Billy Chinook is a reservoir in Jefferson County in the U.S. state of Oregon. Created by the Round Butte Dam in 1964, Lake Billy Chinook lies in a canyon at the confluence of the Crooked, Deschutes, and Metolius rivers near Culver and Madras. It was named for Billy Chinook, a Native American of the Wasco tribe who traveled alongside American explorers John C. Frémont and Kit Carson in their expeditions of 1843 and 1844."

You'll need a whole day if you're planning to explore the area properly, especially if you plan to take in Lake Simtustus too, but it's well worth the effort. On a cautionary note, it would be ill-advised to visit during icy conditions because of the many steep, narrow and winding roads in the area.


One of the fascinating and easily missed sights in the area is the Crooked River Petraglyph. It can be found at the roadside as you pass the 'Island', a peninsula situated between the Crooked River and Deschutes branches of the reservoir. The 'Island', closed to public access since 1997 is home to one of the last nearly pristine ecosystems of its type in the United States. The petraglyph is a stunning relic of a bygone era and more can be learned from the series of interpretive panels which accompany it (quoted below and pictured here )

Crooked River Petroglyph

In 1961, three years before Lake Billy Chinook was created, University of Oregon archaeologist Luther S. Cressman surveyed the three river canyons in this area. Of notable interest was this massive, engraved basalt boulder along the west bank of the Crooked River. Because of its perceived historical value, the Crooked River Petroglyph was extracted in the winter of 1963 and placed at this site, approximately one mile from its original location, as a reminder of the area's cultural history.

Similar ancient images and designs found worldwide are collectively known as "rock panels" by scientists. In this region, the appearance of these often-stylistic images varies among cultural groups, but the true meaning of the images is known only to those who originally made them.

Lake Simtustus (pictured below) is an infrequently visited jewel. It is entirely flanked along one shore by the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and apart from a small boating resort there is no human activity for many miles around.

Lake Simtustus

And here's where it's at if you're planning to visit :)

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OT: The Painted Hills

By Ceri Shaw, 2008-06-08

Out And About In Oregon (1)

OK so this is a little off topic but I thought I'd post an album of photographs taken during a visit to The Painted Hills a few years ago. It is a singular tribute to my prowess with a camera that I am able to take fairly ordinary photographs of even the most "visually stunning" subject matter :)

Painted Hills, Oregon, Gallery  

I want to make these photos available to friends and family back in Wales (and elsewhere) and this is the first of an occasional series of travel blogs which will appear on my Out And About In Oregon page.

Here is some more info about the area from the Wikipedia:-  "Painted Hills is one of the three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located in Wheeler County, Oregon. It totals 3,132 acres (1,267 ha) and is located 9 miles (14 km) northwest of Mitchell, Oregon. The Painted Hills are listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon."  More here:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_Hills

The Pinted Hills, Oregon

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