Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fun With the Past

I got a call from a friend who lives about 30 miles away.  She's a cat lady and wanted to do something.  She suggested we go visit an Oregon Preservation Site called Thompsons Mill, which is not far from either of us.

She picked me up and off we went.

Projected weather for today and tomorrow is cloudy with possibility of rain.  Normal for Oregon. Seems like every Memorial Day people pack up and go camping.  News crews will later show legendary Oregon "blue tarp" campers, dripping wet, and ask if they're having fun, as the rain pours down on them.  They always say "yes".   Which makes me smile.  We camped in the rain constantly when we were kids.  In fact, I remember people saying, "Don't camp with that family.  It always rains when they go."  Twas true.

But that's Oregon.   We might could use a little global warming around here.

Today's weather was perfect, slightly overcast, but in the 70's.

The old mill was awesome and the quirky ways in which they'd created their grain gutters, out of wood, nothing fancy, and jury rigged things to work was right down my alley.  I loved the counter weight elevator.  It was a small wooden platform, with a foot latch that kept it anchored.  You step onto it, add weights, that in combo with your weight, equaled or was slightly less than the counter weight, released the latch which left you neutral on the platform or slightly lighter and then easily pulled yourself up with ropes.  I want one of those here, at least for the cats maybe.

A fisherman hopes to catch a trout where Walters Slough meets up again with the Calapooia River.

Millrace water gates opened.  The water drops about 6' and the force can run two turbines.

There was a piece of board on the floor, that could be swiveled to reveal a hole and that used to be the mill's bathroom with the waste dropping right into the slough.  Later, when they got a female secretary, they added a toilet, with door, but waste from that also dropped into the slough and Calapooia, as seen in photo below the sign.

The friend who took me had donated several things to the mill, including this old sewing machine.  Also, she had donated printing plates for bag labels.  She used to run a bag making plant down in Harrisburg, making the large bags that held seed, grain and flour.  She's holding a letter, of thanks for her donations, attached to the sewing machine exhibit.

An old millstone used to grind grain into flour.  They also made animal feed mixes and pellet feed at this mill.

Viv at the hand miller.

Close up of the hand miller.

Would you like to cut your lumber this way?  By cutting part through then breaking out the pieces, between the cuts?  Glad we have sawmills that do this now.

That's a wood grain gutter on the left, but that slanted thinner board to its right?  That's a simple cut off lever to stop grain flow.  You can see at the top its attached to a piece of metal that slides into the grain gutter to cut off flow. 

Here the grain gutter wraps around a beam.

We then had a picnic along Walters' Slough, diverted by dam and canal from the Calapooia River to run turbines in the mill.  We were quickly surrounded by six ducks who had the mooch cute look down. They would even cock their heads and roll their eyes!

It was an interesting and fun outing.  The guide there was so enthusiastic about the old mill it was catching!

They even opened the millrace gate, allowing water to gush through in a flood, cascade over the drop, down to the heavy gear at the bottom, that had blades that caught the water and turned the turbine up where we were.  I was excited.

Here's the official Oregon state parks website.  Click here!

I am having foot problems again after two long walks, the first rather over done, about six miles.  I found out the cause just by googling where it hurts, which is right at the juncture of my second toe with my foot on the bottom.  Hurts into my second toe but also feels like I'm walking on some big lump.  Turns out that is called Predislocation syndrome.  I also have claw toes, which sound cool but its not a good thing.  My toes are curled from tightening ligaments, but not frozen that way yet, which is good. 

I found exercises I can do to help some, like picking up marbles with my toes.  But for the second toe issue, the predislocation syndrome, my foot needs ice, NSAIDS and rest, mostly.  I also learned (youtube is wonderful) a taping technique that might help by holding the second toe down, so it doesn't curl.


  1. What a fascinating outing. I will cross my fingers (and my toes) that your exercises and your taping does help your poor sore feet. We rely on them don't we?

  2. Yes, we do rely on them, to be upright. My older brother has a severe right foot deformity. My father had terrible feet that hurt him all the time. Part of this problem is genetic.