A lazy lizard in the sun near Bend, Oregon
Double yolk thunderegg: Macro Monday
I call this a double yolk thunderegg because two of these round rocks formed together. Thundereggs are Oregon’s state rock. You never know what’s inside until they’re cut open, like this one, or already cracked open.
This double yolk thunderegg is from Richardson’s Rock Ranch, north of Madras, Oregon. Though you can no longer dig there, you can purchase cut, polished, and raw rocks of many kinds from their large store.
If you want to dig for thundereggs, visit Priday Polka-Dot Agate Beds, about 9 miles northeast of Richardson’s. See my post about this amazing place if you want to uncover ENORMOUS thundereggs.
Purple flowers of spring: LAPC & SC
I think of spring as being a season in flux, constantly shifting between the coolness of winter and the warmth of summer. Purple flowers, part warm red and part cool blue, reflect this indecision.
Cheery little phlox flowers blossom in profusion when spring arrives.
Tall, graceful penstemon pull in passing pollinators.
Gentian’s purple flowers trumpet their presence in bold notes.
Iris flags flutter in the wind, signaling in White-faced Ibises.
A brush against a purple sage shrub sends its minty scent into the wind, forever reminding you of spring.
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Spring
Guinness Storehouse visit
I’m sharing photos of a Guinness Storehouse visit on this Saint Patrick’s Day. The Storehouse is in Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland and it gets millions of visitors a year.
Guinness was first created in 1759 and the Storehouse where it’s made opened to the public in 2000. The best selling alcoholic drink in Ireland is Guinness. The exhibits at the Storehouse lead you through the history and manufacturing of this iconic beer.
I liked how the display boards had brief, informative explanations.
Displays are also artistic and multimedia. This fountain was one of my favorites. I’ll share photos of their whimsical advertising displays in a future post.
Here’s one of the early mills used in the beer-making process.
This display shows how many bubbles are in every pint in a creative way.
Guinness Storehouse shows the steps that go into making beer in an engaging industrial art style.
They take advantage of all the space available. The beam below these hanging models says, “The story of transporting Guinness stout is the story of transportation itself.”
These enormous pistons were impressive.
Light filters down from the upper floors into the interior of the seven-story building.
Sampling the stout
Tour participants each get a sample of freshly drawn Guinness stout.
If you’re craving more, Guinness can be purchased in several establishments inside the building. We had these on the glass-lined upper floor. It had just been remodeled. Prince William and Kate Middleton visited a few days prior to our visit in March 2020.
You get fantastic panoramic views of Dublin from this level.
You’ll see different versions of their logo throughout the building. You can read more about the Guinness harp in my post from last year.
They have a great gift store on the bottom floor. I purchased a t-shirt with glittering gold details to remember my visit. I love this shirt’s green color.
Just outside Guinness Storehouse
You’ll find this sign a short ways from the entrance. It reads, “Stone Upon Stone Upon Fallen Stone” in English and Irish. It was created by Lawrence Weiner, an important figure in the conceptual art movement of the 1960s.
Horses and carts are just outside the entrance for visitors wanting to see more of the neighborhood.
There’s a lot to explore at the Guinness Storehouse. Give yourself plenty of time to take in the sights and enjoy a tasty brew or two. 🍻
When misty fog surrounds haiku: HPC
seek a firm anchor
when misty fog surrounds you
dawn will show the way
Succulent mural in Bend: Monday Mural
This succulent mural is at River’s Place, a food truck pod on the east side of Bend. We are lucky to have at least seven of these “pods” where trucks can hook up to water and power to serve customers. Each pod has indoor seating with numerous beers on tap. They also host musicians, trivia nights, and other events.
This mural was created by Nicole Fontana, of Fontana Painting. Succulents are one of my favorite types of plants because they have so much variety. She captured that variety well.
I have featured Nicole’s work in a previous post featuring whimsical doors in Tumalo. I loved the detail in those paintings and in this succulent mural.
Ochoco Highway drive in Oregon: LAPC
Last October, we took a scenic drive along the Ochoco Highway in eastern Oregon. The landscapes in this area are punctuated by scenic rugged buttes, painted hills, rimrock mountains, and snow covered peaks.
Rustic buildings persevere, despite the harshness of the environment near Strawberry Mountain. Puffy overcast clouds filled the sky.
Black Butte stands out when you round a corner near Mitchell. The clouds in this picture were breathtakingly beautiful.
Driving westbound, the road winds between steep mountains near Picture Gorge. I always expect to see a Prairie Falcon in flight here.
The eastbound road through the rimrock is also impressive. This photo was taken near the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, an impressive attraction a short distance north of the Ochoco Highway.
The Painted Hills, another short drive north of the Ochoco Highway, showcases colorful mountains but also highlights layered hills in more subtle tones.
You’ll drive by several impressive buttes, including this one near Mitchell. I previously featured a dramatic picture of this peak in black and white.
When I thought about things I like to photograph for the prompt this week, landscapes immediately came to mind. I really enjoyed photographing the interesting geology along the Ochoco Highway last October. The photogenic clouds overhead added an additional “character” to the scenes.
Under the Snow Exhibition
When I entered the Under the Snow exhibition at the High Desert Museum on a busy weekend, I thought of one word: engaging. I watched young children dash from one part of the gallery to another, voicing their excitement the whole way. Adults paused and pointed out interesting facts and features. The interactivity of the displays drew everyone in. This exhibition, created by High Desert Museum staff members, displays information in English and Spanish.
Under the Snow presents information on twenty species of wildlife, plants, and fungi on large and small screens. They live in the area beneath the snow called the subnivium. The snow provides insulation, maintaining a steady temperature even when it’s below freezing outside.
The subnivean zone provides warm shelter for wildlife, a place to store their food, and a place to hide from predators. Animals create tunnels beneath the snow, linking them to areas where no snow falls, like beneath fallen trees.
When you step into the gallery, an animated snowy landscape covering a wall like a mural in motion catches your eye. Visitors can see the movements of creatures living both above and beneath the snow. Delicate animated snowflakes drift across the floor at your feet. You can wander through a “forest” of pillars wrapped in rough bark and draped with greenery.
At one station, visitors can touch a landscape to find out more about specific animals living there. Some animals featured, such as the Snowshoe Hare, blend into snowy environments by developing white coats in winter. Great Gray Owls use their sense of hearing to detect prey moving beneath the snow. Wildlife have adapted to the temporary habitat created by the snow.
Up close wildlife
Smaller animated screens feature individual animals in a burrow or nest cavity. These include a Great Gray Owl, a Snowshoe Hare, and a small rodent called a Pika. I saw kids giggling and grinning after touching the screens to make them move.
Snow accumulates over winter months in the High Desert. When snowfall melts, the runoff recharges groundwater reserves and increases the flow in streams and rivers.
However, if there is less snowfall, shorter winters or more extreme temperatures, flora and fauna suffer. Since the 1950s, snowpack in the Intermountain West has decreased by 20 percent. Warming temperatures could lead to an added loss of 50 percent.
These changes will have direct effects on wildlife. Temperature extremes will affect plant growth and health. Animals dependent on plants for food and shelter will experience hardships. A thinner layer of snow will provide less insulation from extreme temperatures for animals living in the subnivium. Wildlife species who turn white in winter, like Snowshoe Hare and Ermine, may change color too early in shorter winters, making them easy targets for predators.
What can you do to help?
- When recreating in the snow, stay on the trails and out of closed areas.
- Avoid interacting with wildlife at times of the year when they need their space to survive.
- Support forest conservation efforts, such as leaving snags and clearings. Forests with varied structure have higher snow accumulations.
- Act locally and think globally. Contact your elected representatives and remind them to fight climate change.
This article was written for the February 2023 issue of High Desert Voices, a newsletter created by volunteers at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon.
A plane dreaming of flying: Wordless Wednesday
A plane dreaming of flying at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, McMinnville, Oregon
Ladles in waiting: Monochrome Monday
These ladles in waiting are at the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon.
High Desert Oases in Oregon: LAPC
High Desert oases offer peaceful retreats for wildlife and human visitors.
Lake County Oases
Summer Lake lies at the base of Winter Ridge in Lake County, Oregon. When water levels are high, this alkaline lake measures 15 miles long and 5 miles wide. Explorer, Captain John C. Fremont, named the lake and ridge. Here is how he described them:
At our feet…more than a thousand feet below…we looked into a green prairie country, in which a beautiful lake, some twenty miles in length, was spread along the foot of the mountain…Shivering on snow three feet deep, and stiffening in a cold north wind, we exclaimed at once that the names of summer lake and winter ridge should be applied to these proximate places of such sudden and violent contrast.John C. Fremont, 16 December 1843, Report, Second Expedition
Lake Abert, in Lake County, is Oregon’s only saline lake. The lake can host over 50,000 birds a day. Wilson’s Phalaropes and Snowy Plover feed on the brine shrimp and alkali flies that only live in saline lakes. Like the Great Salt Lake, water levels have dropped dramatically in recent years.
Warner Pond is a secluded natural lake at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in Lake County. They stock this small, hidden gem with rainbow trout. You can fish from the dock or in a non-motorized boat. Camping is available at nearby Camp Hart Mountain or about a half hour away at Hart Mountain Hot Springs Campground, another oasis.
A Crook County Oases
Prineville Reservoir, in Crook County, was created by damming the Crooked River in 1961. The 12-mile long lake provides water for irrigation, flood control, and wildlife management. It’s a great place to fish and camp–when there’s enough water. Though we’ve had good snowpack so far this year, the reservoir in March 2023 is only 13% full.
A Deschutes County Oases
High Desert oases come in many forms. The Hatfield Ponds, near Bend, hosts the highest diversity of bird species in Deschutes County. The city uses the ponds for secondary sewage treatment. Like the other spots featured in this post, birds are drawn to the water in the desert landscape. In fact, eBird birders have seen 256 species at the Hatfield Ponds. Visitors can walk the trails around the ponds while taking in spectacular views of the nearby Cascade volcanoes.
Snowy Owl drawing: First Friday Art
Today I’m sharing a pen and ink drawing I did of a Snowy Owl. Some have more black markings on their feathers than others.
I once took a long drive to see a Snowy Owl when I lived in Bellingham, in northwestern Washington state. The owl had been spotted in a residential neighborhood in Point Roberts, Washington. To get to the peninsula where Point Roberts is located, you have to drive into Canada or get there by boat. At that time, it was quick and easy to drive into Canada from the states.
I’m including a map to show where Point Roberts is. Zoom out to get a better view.
When I got to where the owl was, I watched it perch on a fence post in someone’s yard, oblivious to the crowds flocking around it. The bird was there for a few days, just long enough for many birders to check this species off their list.
Snowy Owls occasionally migrate to locations far away from their normal range. All About Birds notes how their migrations are extremely variable and may be related to the fluctuating populations of lemmings. The picture below is from my archives.
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
Round and round we go: Wordless Wednesday
Round and round we go at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, Oregon
Euphorbia up close: Macro Monday
Here’s a photograph of Euphorbia, up close, growing in the fall. In spring, this type has bright yellow flowers. These plants, also known as ‘spurge’, are drought tolerant and easy to grow. There are more than 2,000 types of Euphorbia.
Solitary Moments in Nature: LAPC
Collecting pollen for little larvae
Browsing branches in High Desert landscapes
Eyeing potential prey, gliding overhead
Standing still along a winding river
Balancing among blossoms, calling in spring
Wading and waiting for a distant flock
Grazing grass in an alpine meadow
Alone, yet part of a greater herd
Weeping hemlock sculpture: TTL & SS
This whimsical weeping hemlock sculpture is in the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. The weeping growth pattern of this hemlock works perfectly for this garden feature.
A winter bridge: Wordless Wednesday
A winter bridge in Bend, Oregon
Dinner at Spork: Monochrome Monday
I took this picture while having dinner at Spork restaurant in Bend, Oregon. The decor is a mixture of straight, industrial lines and curving lampshades and baskets made from natural materials. Houseplants add a touch of color. The menu includes an eclectic mix of wonderful tastes and textures.
A dusting of snow: LAPC & SC
A dusting of snow accentuates
sculptures created by the wind
And softens rough edges
of twisting structures
A dusting of snow
muffles the calls of nature
And softens footfalls
while drawing our eyes to the skies
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Bringing softness
A tall tipi: Wordless Wednesday
A tall tipi at the High Desert Museum, Oregon
Lungwort up close: Macro Monday
Here’s a picture of lungwort up close, taken near the North Santiam River in Oregon.
Also known as Lung lichen, this lichen has been used in dyes, teas, and for treatment of lung ailments. Deer and moose browse on lungwort and other animals use it for nest material.
Lungwort is sensitive to air pollution and doesn’t grow well in polluted locations. In fact, the National Forest Service keeps a database on this and other lichens “to detect, map, evaluate trends, and assess the ecological impacts of air pollutants.”
The power of red blossoms: SS & Sijo poem
The power of red blossoms radiating in the garden.
Crimson petals briefly unfold, reaching towards a cloudless sky
And the memory of their fire burns deep within your soul.
Fiddler crab, La Conner, WA: Sculpture Saturday
Fiddler crab sculpture in La Conner, Washington
Smoked Salmon Benedict: Wordless Wednesday
Smoked Salmon Benedict from The Lemon Tree, Bend, Oregon
Early morning light: LAPC & MM
In the early morning light, shadows shift with the rising sun
Playgrounds wait patiently, quiet and still
Graceful waterfowl paddle along deserted waterways
Sunlit bucks guard their herds, scattered in darkness
In the early morning light, volcanoes contemplate the reflections of rushes
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Shadows and Reflections in Monochrome
Icy Cline Falls: Sunday Stills
I took a short hike yesterday to get a memorable view of an icy Cline Falls. Visitors can park at Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint and hike a 1/2 mile trail along the river. There’s also a place to view them from above near NW Eagle Drive and NW 74th.
Cline Falls is on the Deschutes River, 4 miles west of Redmond, Oregon. The river splits into several channels and the waterfalls are 20-feet high and 50-feet wide.
This area is part of the Deschutes River Paddle Trail. Cline Falls is classified as Class-3 and paddlers are required to portage their watercraft around the falls.
Wild sunflowers: First Friday Art
Today I’m sharing a pen-and-ink drawing I did of wild sunflowers. These were growing at Wawawai Canyon, in southeast Washington State.
Here’s the picture from my archives I was working from.
The wild sunflowers in the photo below were growing on the east side of Steens Mountain in southern Oregon. There are 52 species of sunflower in North America.
A gardener’s wish: Wordless Wednesday
A gardener’s wish at the Hollinshead Community Garden in Bend, Oregon.
Sisters Coffee Mural: Monday Mural
This Sisters Coffee Mural is in the Old Mill District of Bend. I believe the featured bird is an Osprey. Ospreys are regularly seen near the Deschutes River. This bird is also known as a ‘Fish Hawk’ since fish are its preferred prey.
This mural was painted last summer by Vivi Design Co. I previously featured murals they created at Dr Jolly’s.
Reveal petroglyphs with digital magic: LAPC
Did you know you can reveal petroglyphs with a little digital magic? Yep, there’s an app for that. In this post, I’ll show you how I revealed several petroglyphs with the app, Rock Art Enhancer. Click through the slideshow of each image below.
In each of the first pictures, I show the original image. In the second, I used the Auto level and increase saturation tool. The third pictures show a variety of effects. All of these petroglyphs are located in southeast Oregon.
These petroglyphs were carved into rock thousands of years ago and over time they have become less clear. Unfortunately, the messages conveyed by many of these carvings are unknown. While some show obvious elements of wildlife, humans, and the sun, others are open to interpretation.
Revealing petroglyphs with an app
The first series shows petroglyphs on a rimrock cliff located in Harney County. The second effect brings out the details, but I prefer the almost psychedelic colors in the third image. The third effect used the Decorrelation Stretching (abbreviated as D. Stretch) YUV Custom tool.Continue reading
Surrounded by pines: Thursday Tree Love
Surrounded by pines in the forests near Bend, Oregon. Though it was a hot summer day, the forest canopy provided shade and cooler temperatures. 😀
Freedom jasper: Wordless Wednesday
Freedom jasper at Priday Polka-Dot Agate Beds, Oregon
Forest fire ahead: Monochrome Monday
The smoke from a forest fire ahead of us near Crane Prairie Reservoir was an eerie sight to see. The nearby Cedar Creek Fire reached a size of 127,311 acres and burned for three months. Once wet fall weather moved into the area, the fire was finally contained.
Through my pocket lens: LAPC & WPWC
Peering through my pocket lens
Vivid reflections shine
where the river bends
The colors soar high into the blue
pausing in rainclouds
falling as dew
Droplets of pigment splatter parched plants
cling to pale petals
interweave and dance
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) # 233 – A one lens walk
Wyoming Scenic Highway: WW
Wyoming Scenic Highway roadside geology
Wordless Wednesday (WW)
Skimmia up close: Macro Monday
Skimmia shrub with berries up close. This plant was seen at the Portland Japanese Garden in the fall.
Alpenglow Park bench: Pull Up a Seat
This Alpenglow Park bench in Bend, Oregon is unique. Park designers used large pieces of columnar basalt to create this trailside retreat. In the distance, you can catch a glimpse of Pilot Butte, an extinct volcano.
After walking the trails at Alpenglow, consider walking to the top of Pilot Butte to get amazing views of the landscape of Central Oregon.
Sea of swans at Stratford: Wordless Wednesday
Sea of swans at Stratford, Washington
Lone Pine Coffee mural: Monday Mural
This painting is in the eastside Lone Pine Coffee Roasters business in Bend. The mural was painted by artist Megan McGuinness and it wraps around three walls. I like how she outlined almost everything with white borders.
This scene shows a fox in the foreground and a snowy owl in the upper corner. The mountain on the right is Smith Rock, a local rock climber’s favorite. Crooked River wraps around the edge of the mountain.
Memorable pictures of 2022: LAPC
Today I’m sharing a dozen memorable pictures of 2022. I’m including photos of history, nature, and culture.
In the first one, I used infrared processing on a picture of Mt Rainier and I also added a colorful eel image. The challenge prompt was “surreal.” I had fun with this one!
The next picture is of a quilt at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. In addition to being beautifully crafted, this one had a message of kindness. I took so many pictures of the show, I divided it into three posts.
The next picture is of an unexpected guest in our backyard. This Barred Owl feasted on the ample supply of Pacific Tree Frogs breeding in our pond. From then on, our nights were slightly quieter.