Monthly Archives: June 2012

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The Fun Farm is a little bit north of Bend, Oregon, east side of the highway. It's hard to spot, because the town won't allow signs on the highway. Just look for the bowling-ball tree and the field of goats.

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We showed up about 30 minutes before closing, but as we learned at Petersen Rock Gardens, "Bend time" is a relative thing. Apparently someone heard us drive up, as the door was unlocked and we were ushered in before we had a chance to drive away.

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The mouth is an electronic kaleidoscope, using scenes from The Wizard of Oz to create ever-shifting images.

Originally called The Funny Farm, it was founded by partners Gene and Mike, and houses an antique and costume shop in addition to a yard full of outsider art. When you first enter the shop, you are greeted by a large dollhouse, and the sound of The Wizard of Oz. Soon you realize that the movie is playing on a tiny television inside the dollhouse.

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Tin man.

Once vibrant, the Farm has fallen into a genteel decay since the death of Gene's partner, Mike, in 2005. While we were there, work was being done to get the place ready for free wedding day. It's usually in July, but they're running a bit behind, so you'll be able to get married or renew your vows at the Love Pond in August this year.

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Dusty bottles await a purpose.

I think we missed a lot when we were there. I've seen several pictures online of things we didn't see. I felt as if I were intruding on something private, rather than visiting a tourist spot. Part of that feeling came from being there so close to closing--I always feel funky about that--but a larger part came from the quiet, the disarray, the decay. Nonetheless, I'd like to visit again next year. Next time I'll go in the early afternoon, and I'll follow the map to make sure I don't miss anything. What I did see, you can check out in my flickr set.

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The king of the garden surveys his domain.

There are a few things I love more than letterboxing. Which is why, when we recently went to Central Oregon for a letterboxing event, I spent some time touring the local outsider art.

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Petersen's version of Independence Hall

Rasmus Petersen immigrated from Denmark, and built the Garden in the last 17 years of his life, from 1935 to 1952. It was his tribute to his new homeland. He collected local rocks from the mineral-rich, volcanic landscape surrounding his home. Obsidian for a shiny facing, shells for an accent, and the occasional delight of a thunder egg.

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Plaque (out of frame): "Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think."

Peacocks, cats, and chickens roam the grounds. We wished we'd brought along the grapes from our hotel room. Peacocks love them some grapes. The day was bright, and two other families roamed the garden with their children. I had hoped to visit the museum, and though it was scheduled to be open, the doors were locked. I hear there is a display of fluorescent rocks inside. Ah well, maybe next trip.

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No trolls under the bridge--just tadpoles

I was charmed by every bit of the place, even the decay, that allowed us to see the metal barrels supporting the masses of glued and cemented rocks that made up a tiny building. We plan on going back to the area next year, and I'd like to visit when the museum is open, and perhaps get some better pictures. Here's the rest of the set on flickr.

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