Panorama Artfully Recycles

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. February 2018

What would happen if the Panorama Arts Guild and the Panorama Green Team got together and asked residents to create art using recyclable/trash/salvaged items?  We found out the answer at the recent Panorama Artfully Recycled Show, which featured a fabulous collection of about 40 imaginative creations viewed by some 250 residents.

From necklaces made with bicycle tire tubes to a basket woven from old maps, used books turned into folded designs, articles woven from rags, quilts sewn from ties, decorative “chandeliers” fashioned from plastic bottles, and much, much more.

In fact, the show went beyond art to provide recycling information to residents.  The Thurston County Master Recycling Coordinator came to the show to answer questions about recycling and distribute helpful materials.  Books were available for browsing for those interested in transforming recyclables into useful or decorative objects.  Facts about recycling and environmental pollution were displayed on stacked cartons from the Stiles-Beach Barn.  A slide show and video were shown picturing the Washed Ashore Project, which collects objects on Oregon beaches and turns them into huge, colorful sculptures to demonstrate how much trash is thrown into our waterways and oceans.

The focus of attention, though, was clearly on the imagination and skill demonstrated by the contributing artists.  Residents were enchanted by what their neighbors and friends had produced from “junk.”  There was a serious message behind the show, but what a beautiful way to be informed!


A Resident’s Perspective – Spring is Here!

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. March 2016

Spring is here, and the Panorama Pea Patch is ready for action! During January and February, Panorama’s Grounds Department installed all new irrigation pipes and individual faucets for each garden plot.  The heat of last summer raised concerns about water usage and leaks, and reminded us that our water supply, from Panorama’s Chalet well, could be in jeopardy if we did not implement more efficient irrigation of our gardens.  The new irrigation system ensures that no water is leaking beneath the ground and the replacement of old faucets will add to our efficiency.  The Pea Patch will be holding informational programs to help gardeners become more familiar with irrigation systems and better understand how much water their plants need.

Panorama Pea PatchIn addition, the Grounds Department leveled the pathways between the plots, which over the years had become uneven and hazardous to navigate. The pathways were dug up, leveled, and grass replaced.  New sod was planted and sand added to aid the grass in filling in where it was sparse.  The paths are now much safer for gardeners to walk on and do their work.

All of this was done while it seemed the rain never stopped, adding extra challenges to the project. After the work was completed, the Pea Patch Irrigation Updatedriveway into the RV Park and Pea Patch was graded and re-graveled.  The Pea Patch gardeners (more than 80 of us!) are very appreciative of all the work that was done, and we are chomping at the bit to begin our preparations for planting.  It’s a whole new world, and come late June we will welcome residents to Friday Share, where everyone can enjoy the fruits of our labors!  Thank you, Panorama!

Murphy Bio

Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers Galore: The Pea Patch in August

Pea Patch August 2015 squash

Squash at the Pea Patch. Photo by Charlie Keck.


Written by Panorama resident Judy Murphy. August 2015

What can 90 gardeners produce on a plot at the Panorama Pea Patch?  You name it, we grow it!  From apples to zucchini, our gardens are bursting with beauty and bounty.  Despite the heat this summer, or in some cases because of it, and despite trying to conserve water, the Pea Patch Friday Share was a sight to behold this past week.  It’s especially fun to introduce residents to new vegetables and fruits as well as share recipes with them.  Many people have never seen or tasted a ripe, fresh fig or a purple kohlrabi, a lemon cucumber or a delicatta squash.  The dahlias are in their glory, the corn is soon to come, and the tomatoes are ripening on the vine.  When did any of us last have a vine-ripened tomato?  Friday Share is worth a trip even for those who aren’t inclined to cook.  The bees have had a busy summer, and so have the gardeners.


Friday Share – Pea Patch gardeners share their bounty with fellow Panorama residents.



Friday Share – Pea Patch gardeners share their bounty with fellow Panorama residents.



Friday Share volunteers – Linda S., Juanita P., and Gail G.

Murphy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Take a Look Around: Spring is Here!

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. March 2015

MurphyBlog_March15_PinkPlantSpring came early to the Pacific Northwest this year, even as the East Coast stayed buried under snow (my son lives in Boston, poor guy).  Compared to last year, plants have been blooming 3-4 weeks earlier this spring.  So here we are, almost April 1, and trees are leafing out, rhododendrons and azaleas are blooming, trillium are popping out and magnolias are in brilliant blossom all over Panorama, yet early spring hellebores and camellias are hanging on as well.  The pieris japonica is shooting up deep pink leaves, the fruiting cherry in front of our house is blooming, and the fiddleheads on the ferns are unfurling their new fronds.  Every year it’s a race to see if the lilies-of-the-valley will bloom by May 1, so a bouquet can be gathered for a lover on May Day, according to some traditions.  Inevitably they make their deadline, no matter the weather.  Well, this year it won’t be much of a contest since the green stalks are well under way and the blossoms won’t be far behind.

MurphyBlog_March15_FernThe birds are bustling, too.  The pines and firs around my house are exploding with bird songs and calls, but most of the time the birds are too high in the trees to see.  Sparrows, Robins, Chickadees, Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Juncos and Towhees are the common suspects.  I see them mostly when they come to the birdbath, and this morning a lone Steller’s Jay was visible among the branches.  Occasionally I still hear the two-toned whistle of the Varied Thrush and the call of the Northern Flicker.

Most exciting, last night we heard Great Horned Owls hooting near the intersection of Sleater Kinney and 21st.  Their deep hoots have reverberated sporadically in the early evening for some months around our neighborhood.

This morning’s treat was watching a tiny kinglet gathering bits of our dog’s fur from under the azalea out front, leftovers from a bygone grooming.  Nest building 101 is in session.  No camera on hand, of course!

I am awaiting the blooming of my red perennials—fuchsia, monkey flower, bee balm, salvia—to lure the hummingbirds back to regular feeding, though they have been scouting around all winter looking for easy food at feeders, which I do not have.

Early spring has meant that gardeners are eager to plant flowers and vegetables at the Panorama Pea Patch.  It is always a wonderful time of year, as the brown and empty Pea Patch, looking bedraggled and forlorn, springs to life with fruit trees blossoming, raspberry and blueberry bushes leafing out and bees buzzing around to check out available nectar.

Speaking of bees, like so many others who have beehives, the Pea Patch lost several hives again this past year.  We’re clinging to the hope that as we improve our gardening practices by eliminating pesticides and as we plant more bee-friendly flowers and herbs, our bee populations will increase.

MurphyBlog_March15_BridIt’s not too early to go out on the Chehalis-Western trail or to check out the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge to look for migrating songbirds.  Now is the time to step outside and revel in our beautiful surroundings.  Who could ask for more?

JudyMurphy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – My Special Grandma

September is Grandparents Month and we’ve asked some of our resident writers to share their experiences and thoughts about grandparenthood.

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. August 2014

I have not had the privilege of playing a large role in the life of grandchildren, but I have many memories of being a grandchild because my father’s mother lived with us when I was in elementary school.

10 great grandma wolf retouchedGrandma Wolf had traveled by covered wagon from Iowa to west Texas in 1886, when she was 3.  She had an unhappy childhood and escaped into marriage at the first opportunity.  She and her husband operated a photography business in Texas and raised 4 children until his early death.  His brothers persuaded Grandma (then known as the widow Goss) to buy a farm in the Ozarks of Arkansas, and there she met her second husband—Amos Wolf, the most eligible bachelor in the area, we were told—and she went on to have two more children before he died after a wagon accident when my father was 10.

My grandmother did not reach 5 feet, but she was tough and hard working.  In family stories, she had shooed a cougar from her kitchen with a broom and had babies and gone back to work in the field the next day (more legend than fact, perhaps).  During Depression times, she sold her farm and moved to Dallas, where she lived with her two young sons and took in boarders.  After the war, she depended on her children for support, so when my parents moved from Florida to upstate New York in the 1950s she moved in with us to help with childcare when my mother went to work.

My sister and I with Grandma Wolf, ready for church

My sister and I with Grandma Wolf, ready for church

Besides her very short stature, and generous lap, she was notable for her beautiful, waist-length gray hair, which she dried in the sun in the backyard and then braided and wound around her head.  She always wore calf-length dresses, corsets, heavy stockings, big black or white shoes and, more often than not, a flowered apron.  She always donned a hat and gloves when going to church.

Because my baby sister was 5 years younger than me, and I had an older sister to play with, Grandma became 2-year-old Terry Sue’s companion.  With her soft Southern accent, Grandma called her, “Tara Soo,” and they shared a bedroom for the next 4 years.  My sister says, “I remember feeling I was such a lucky little girl because I shared my bedroom with my grandma….(somehow I am not sure she felt the same!).”

All three of us went home from school at lunchtime, and Grandma liked to fix us gravy sandwiches or fried mush (much to our mother’s consternation), and we would watch our favorite soap opera, “Guiding Light,” together before heading back to school.

As a traditional Southern cook, Grandma excelled in frying and baking.  She loved to eat fat in any form (and despite having heart disease lived to be close to 90).  Her baking powder and lard biscuits were sublime.  She introduced us to a family recipe for potato and dumpling soup, which she called potato rivules. My dad and the three of us girls loved them, but my mother thought they were tasteless and refused to eat the dish as have every husband and grandchild since.  Grandma invited us to lick the icing bowl and eat bits of pastry and apple peel when she was baking an apple pie, and the year our peach tree produced loads of peaches, she made delicious peach pies.

Grandma with her crochet

Grandma with her crochet

When she wasn’t baking, she spent much of her time doing crochet, and she was a master at her craft.  She made us winter mufflers; delicate, cotton thread tablecloths and dresser scarves; and an enormous, very heavy woolen afghan.

Though strict in her Protestant religious views, she taught us to play dominoes, Michigan rummy, and most importantly a card game with the very un-Christian name of Cutthroat, which remains a valued sisterly tradition.  Cutthroat created intense competition among us and stretched our eye-hand coordination as far as it could go, but Grandma remained the card-shark of the family.

Most of all, Grandma Wolf was a quiet, steady presence in my young sister’s often lonely life, providing her a sense of acceptance and security.  Terry recalls Grandma’s personal ‘philosophy’:

  • the ‘golden rule’ is important;
  • there is always a silver lining to things;
  • there is good in everyone and your job in life is to look for the best in people you meet and focus on that.

We were bereft when she moved back to Texas, tired of the cold and snow no doubt, and finding the stairs in our house increasingly difficult to manage.  My sisters both made their way to Texas as adults to pay a visit, but I was never able to see her again.  She remained a faithful letter writer, however, and we all looked forward to receiving those tissue envelopes with the flowery script bringing us news of our wonderful grandma.  Yes, grandmothers are important.

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