My wife Kathy and I walked Greenmeadows Way on a cool January afternoon. The sun occasionally peaked out through the clouds and smiled on us, as did some of the neighbors we met during our walk.
Greenmeadows Way is the heart of a late 1970s to early 1980s housing development in South Ashland known as the Mountain Ranch subdivision. There are 74 houses in the neighborhood association.
Walking Greenmeadows, we chanced upon Margaret (Peggy) Evans and her sister Barbara, who were out walking Peggy’s dog “Jack.” If you enjoy organ music, keep an eye out for the name Peggy Evans. She has performed organ recitals throughout the United States, and still occasionally performs organ recitals locally.
If you have attended or worked at Southern Oregon University, you may recognize the name Margaret (Peggy) Evans. She is an SOU Professor of Music Emerita and still teaches organ. She has taught for decades at the SOU Music Department. She now also teaches music in the OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program. Peggy was the Music Department chair years ago when my wife was office manager for the Music Department, so they had lots of catching up to do as we strolled the street.
Peggy and Barbara explained to us that every house in the neighborhood is connected, along its back yard or side yard, with a comprehensive network of paths.
In addition, there actually is a neighborhood “green meadow.” Like the paths, it is private property of the Mountain Ranch neighborhood association. However, they are flexible with others walking the paths as long as people are quiet and respectful.
What are these?
Let’s start our walk
Greenmeadows Way can be accessed from either Tolman Creek Road or Bellview Avenue. Let’s start our walk at Tolman Creek Road. The pretty house at the corner, 2398 Tolman Creek Road, first looked to me like one of Ashland’s historic houses. It turns out it was built in 1972. The Italianate architectural details lend it a historic look. It brings to my mind several well-preserved Ashland homes from the late 1800s that contain Italianate elements. These include the McCall House on Oak Street and the Coolidge House on North Main Street.
Toward this end of Greenmeadows Way, I saw for the first time a yard sign I have noticed in other yards around town since then. Unlike the most common yard sign in Ashland, which emphasizes “Love Wins,” this one counters with “Truth Wins.” A house across the street hosted a “Love Wins” sign, so here are photos of both.
Heather for January garden color
Because we walked here in January, I could not capture the yards and trees in their flowering glory. However, the heather was glorious. Here it is.
Greenmeadows Way contains examples of sculptural, artistic and whimsical yard art, all of it enjoyable.
Artistic rock work, a surprise, and your answer to the “What is this?” question
I was admiring the rock work at 1090 Greenmeadows Way, when I spotted the owner out front talking with one of his friends. I got brave, introduced myself, and discovered that he is a man of many talents.
Jeff Yockers and his wife created this beautiful yard. On one side of the corner house is a 40-year-old Weeping blue atlas cedar. The trunk, which is hidden by the cascading branches and leaves, is nearly a foot in diameter. I like the rockwork in front of the Weeping cedar, and I like even more the rock “waterfall” on the other side of the cedar.
Jeff also does some lovely wood carving. It began due to nearby forest thinning to reduce wildfire risk. When a Lomakatsi crew was thinning the nearby forest, Jeff asked for and received several twisting madrone branches from them.
He carved the two chili peppers in the yard from these branches. The two in the yard are painted – chili pepper colors, of course. When I told Jeff they are lovely – but – I wish I could see the grain of the wood, he replied “Just a minute.” He popped into his house and emerged with an even more beautifully carved madrone wood chili pepper that has just a light stain to bring out the grain of the wood. This piece has a place of honor in his living room, and rightfully so.
I will end the article with a little history, and a useful tip for Ashland trail walkers.
Greenmeadows Way and the three cross streets were built by Mountain Ranch Development Company, a partnership between developers Vincent Oredson and John D. Todd. As mentioned in the beginning, housing construction here began around 1976 and continued through the mid-1980s.
In 1983, Oredson and Todd donated 10 acres of land adjacent to their subdivision to the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy. The Land Conservancy website says: “The Oredson-Todd Woods was designated to be a natural area for public use. Several years later, SOLC donated the Woods to the City of Ashland, where it was joined with other city-owned land [Siskiyou Mountain Park] to make up these two forested parks, comprised of 300 acres and used by hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts today.”
The Northwest Nature Shop “Best Trails in Ashland” page describes how you can access Oredson-Todd Woods and the trail system from the Greenmeadows Way neighborhood. “There are several places to access these trails. The most straightforward is off Greenmeadows Way. Go south on Siskiyou, turn right on Tolman, then right on Greenmeadows Way. Turn left on Lupine and there is parking area on the right. Park and follow the signs. It is thickly forested with a canyon and small creek running through the canyon.”
If you walk this trail, you might like to refer to an online brochure from Southern Oregon Land Conservancy that shows photos of winter birds you could see along the way. Here is the link.
Thank you for joining me on the Greenmeadows Way walk. In this stressful time, you might enjoy reading my article about the anti-stress (and other) health benefits of walking.
Southern Oregon Land Conservancy:
This brochure from Southern Oregon Land Conservancy shows photos of winter birds in Oredson-Todd Woods & Siskiyou Mountain Park. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/565cf1d6e4b0df45d8c1bb69/t/5879737820099e5ef220ad50/1484354429348/Bird+Brochure+Winter2014.pdf
Comprehensive list of birds that can be found in Oredson-Todd Woods & Siskiyou Mountain Park in each season of the year. No photos, just names. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/565cf1d6e4b0df45d8c1bb69/t/57928dd3b8a79bdfd1450f29/1469222355337/OTW_SMP_birds_Web_NewLogo.pdf
The Northwest Nature Shop “Best Trails in Ashland” page: https://www.northwestnatureshop.com/things-to-do/hiking-biking-and-running-trails/the-best-trails-in-ashland-for-hiking-biking-and-running
Note: All photos are by Peter Finkle.