Time Passing


Thompson’s Flouring Mills, the oldest surviving grist mill in Oregon, viewed through a window in the Millkeeper’s house, and (below) the millrace passing below the main building during a rainstorm.

Millrace on a rainy November day, 2012, seen from the office windows.

People everywhere love Windows. —Bill Gates

Valley Roses


Valley Rose was one of several trade names used by Thompson’s Mills for their milled grain products. When I visited last Saturday, roses were still blooming at the millkeeper’s house, decades after the machinery had fallen silent.


One rose says more than the dozen.
—Wendy Craig

Around Again


This past Thursday I drove to Thompson’s Mills to see if it would still speak to me. I hadn’t visited since late spring, and wasn’t sure how—or if—the old building would welcome me as it always had, in its secretive but friendly way. To compound things, she’s going through some difficult physical changes at the moment (why do we say she when speaking of old boats and buildings?). The basement is closed for extensive repairs (flood damage, and the pull of gravity on historical bones), and the machinery can’t be run until a rotted beam supporting a drive mechanism is replaced. The ankle bone is connected to the shin bone, et cetera.

But I shouldn’t have worried.

“The whole universe is based on rhythms. Everything
happens in circles, in spirals.” —John Hartford

How To Make A Harp


It was the shadow here that prompted me to think “harp,” although it’s actually a handle on a sliding wooden door (the distinct shadow comes courtesy of an overhead light), framed at an odd angle and processed as a contrasty black and white.


Hand-hewn beam at Thompson's Mills State Heritage Site, Oregon
Hand-hewn beam at Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site, Oregon

One of the displays at Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site shows how logs—really BIG logs—were fashioned into the massive beams that support the mill. You’ve probably seen historic photos of the process, which began with a team of two men using a cross-cut saw to fell the tree, but until you’ve run a hand over the surface of a beam, and felt the detailed work done by razor-sharp axes, you can’t appreciate the raw technology involved.