Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Before dawn on this special morning,
I awoke to the quiet hush of falling snow.
It is beautiful but my soft paws get all cold and wet
walking around the yard in search of scurrying
mice and birds at the feeder.

'Santa' Tom made breakfast for Margaret
 and I received my holiday treat,
canned Albacore tuna!


Respectfully Yours,
 "Junior Boy"
"The Junior Associate"


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Autumn is our favorite time of the year.

Lower in the sky, the sun's light is golden, creating a magical clarity to beautiful late fall afternoons. I like this time of the year, too. I stay warm in my thick, soft coat while chasing mice and birds all day long.

Tom carved his Halloween birthday pumpkins again this year. Before I could run away, Margaret scooped me up for a photograph with those big orange globes. I always pretend to enjoy being cuddled but I am really looking around for more mice, moles and voles.

was purchased recently by Steffen and Claudia at the 
301 Gallery in Hood River.
You can see Tom's sculpture on Oak Street guarding the former, newly refurbished
Butler Bank Building built in 1924.

 Our friend Mike Stillman with
at 301 Gallery in Hood River
were shipped to
their new owner in California
Dale and Judy in their backyard
Asian Bell
by Tom
These hardy Black-Eyed Susans are still displaying gorgeous color
in our gardens due to the warm Autumn weather
 we've had here in Oregon this fall.
The Moore Ranch
Millie and Dick Voll commissioned Tom to create
a unique hanger for the sign on their new carriage house in Sherman County.
Pieces of old harnesses from the ranch were incorporated into the design.

Mosier Creek Road
Me and my favorite human being in the whole world!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


After nearly 17 years, one of the wooden uprights
holding up the raspberries in our backyard finally rotted
away and collapsed last week while Tom was trying to
tighten the wires. Tom decided that he would
build Margaret a new trellis using steel set in concrete
so he would never have to rebuild this again.
Tom incorporated some recycled steel window rachets
into the simple design and also reinstalled
on top of the south support. The north support
features a small wind chime, something Tom loves.
North end of trellis
 Me and my worm
I tried to be of assistance today but I was far too
 fascinated with a beautiful bright green tomato
hornworm Margaret gave to me.
Then, I got tired and fell asleep under the raspberries.
All in all, a very pleasant day.
The Junior Associate

Monday, August 6, 2012


Twenty-four art teachers and art enthusiasts
participated in Maryhill Museum's
This year's theme was 'sustainability in art'.
Participants explored the work of artists
who reuse or recyle materials in their work
as well as artists known for collage,
assemblage and mixed-media.

The summer institute was taught by
Maryhill Excutive Director Colleen Schafroth,
an award winning arts educator and author
who has helped develop and teach the institute
 since its formation in 1993.

Peggy Dills Kelter, local Hood River artist and educator,
 worked with the participants while Tom,
Maryhill Museum Artist-in-Residence for 2012,
 did a Monday morning presentation featuring a sampling of his
 artwork which incorporates recycled materals.
Tom also hosted a tour for the entire group at our
studio and gardens during their week at Maryhill.

Some of the art teachers and art enthusiasts
at Colleen's dinner on Wednesday

I practiced the art of camouflage
on the basalt rocks
while everyone was here.
Perhaps this qualifies me as a
'art enthusiast', too?
I'm still a little shy around strangers...
but I'm getting better!
The 'Junior Associate'

Sunday, July 8, 2012


MOW POWER just got mo' bettah!
MP received an 'engine overhaul' and
 a new paint job this week.
Tom repainted the blue 'engine block' a nice bright orange
and spruced up the exhaust pipes with black paint.
He replaced the old air filter with a shiny new one and
added a cool fan which he also painted black and red.

The creatures is built on a coil spring from a Ford truck
so he wiggles when touched or in a strong wind.

A Toro lawn mower like no other!
The headers and fan are recycled from a
small block Chevy
while the valve covers and carburetor
 are from a small block Ford.
Tom fabricated the 'engine block'
from a sheet metal and attached
all of the individual parts to it.

Whhheeee! That looks like fun!
The creature and the weight of the engine and mower
sort of balance out each other
so, as Tom notes, it is an 'infinite wheelie'.
The rear wheels anchors the sculpture.
The rear wheels came from an industrial scissors lift
 and are filled with a material that makes them
weigh about 75 pounds a piece.

Bobby and Me
 I helped our friend Bobby fish in the creek
when he was here a few weeks ago.
He came all the way from Maui to meet me
so I was pretty excited!
Time to go hunting.

Monday, June 11, 2012


This morning
my 'Senior Associate', my mentor, my Tutu passed away.

Over the past two years, BOB taught me
 the skills I needed
to carry on with Tom's blog.

I'm young and inexperienced but
I promise to give it my very best...
for BOB.

It's been a long day.

his 'Junior Associate'

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Junior is very excited about Tom's
new birdfeeder in Margaret's east garden.
It is built of steel and features several
 re-cycled pieces from feeders
Tom has previously built for our wild birds.
 The base is 4x4 feet and about 3 feet tall.
This is for the quail.
The structure stands about 8 feet tall.
The hummingbird, finch and perching birdfeeders 
are mounted on an axel and
 the entire unit spins in the wind.
It is making Junior's head spin, too.
 The quail found their new birdfeeder
within an hour of its installation
yesterday but they flew away when Junior walked by.
This past week, Junior fell asleep on my head.
He is so goofy.
I haven't been feeling well these past few days
but this morning I wandered outside to
catch the warm morning sun.
It felt so good!
Margaret followed me and took my picture.

Live each day as though it may be your last.
Enjoy the closeness of a favorite buddy.
Soak up the sunshine and
the love of your friends and family.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


You are invited to the
opening at the
Columbia Center for the Arts
 Hood River
Friday, June 1st
6-8 pm.
The show runs from June 1st through July 1st
and features thirteen artists
including three garden sculptures by Tom.

Time for tuna.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

When we woke up this morning, an Easter basket
 of goodies with candy-coated chocolate
 malted-milk balls had been left for all of us! 

My 'Junior Associate' thought that perhaps I had laid them so I had to set him straight.


Wishing you all a beautiful Spring!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Swiss Flats Railway Storage Station

After many months of collaboration, Alberto Viramontes and Tom completed their work on a custom cabinet for a railroad engineer who collects model trains. 
The Story
"I am Jan Zweertz, 'General Manager' (GM) of the mythical Swiss Flats Railway (a large scale model railroad). This train storage project is a collaboration of two craftsmen and my wife Rae, the 'Zoning Commissioner' (ZC) and me. Ongoing discussions over a period of 3 years between the GM and ZC concerning the clutter of rail cars and locomotives on top of every horizontal surface of our home lead to  the ZC requesting a piece of fine furniture that would fit behind the couch and which would include a top surface completely devoid of train-related stuff. With these constraints in mind, I sketched, and then modeled in 3-D foam core, the basic concept of an old world train station with cobblestone platforms, canopy roof and a double level double track with storage arches below. The look of the interior arches came from a photo of a Swiss tunnel entrance. The center pillared canopy is based on a composite of old drawings and photos from my RR book collection.

Collaborators in this project were Alberto Viramontes of Hood River, Tom Herrera of Mosier and Split-Jaw Products of Portland. Cross Cut Hardwoods of Portland was the wood supplier.

Alberto is a long-time family friend who made many frames for my late father's paintings, fine wood shelves for my late mother's art supplies as well as a very nice disc storage cabinet for our home. Tom Herrera is also a family friend who collaborated with my late mother when I commissioned a steel coffee table with glass mosaic top over a decade ago. Tom is an artistic metal craftsman who enjoys a challenge. He designed and fabricated the steel framework that ties the whole piece together.

I picked out hardwoods from Cross Cuts which included African leopard wood because its pebbly grain looks like cobblestones. African kopek wood was selected for the look of a reddish canopy and American red oak was chosen for the base arches.

Split-Jaw Products is a small, locally-owned manufacturer that produces and markets large scale rail products worldwide and does custom work using the CNC milling machine. They routed the stainless steel rail into the leopard wood after pre-testing a small piece in order to prevent damage to tools normally used to route hard plastic.

Alberto, Tom and I met several times over many months to figure out the look and feel of the piece and the best way to execute the work. Alberto did a great job of joining all the wood. The wood that looked good to my layman's eye had to be milled extensively and, therefore, made interior dimensions tighter than the original plans.

Zoning Commission Rae and General Manager Jan now have a solid, beautifully made Storage Station for the Trains of the Swiss Flats Railway which we hope to enjoy for many years thanks to the wonderful collaboration of Alberto Viramontes and Tom Herrera."

Alberto Viramontes and Tom Herrera

Junior and I never saw the finished train storage station
but we would have enjoyed that tunnel!
Looks like a great place to find mice!

Enjoying one of our favorite activities together.
As you can see, Junior isn't too 'junior' anymore.