A walk into fall: Pull up a seat challenge

This week I took a walk into fall at Pine Nursery Park in Bend, Oregon. Saw lots of beautiful fall colors and a comfortable bench along the way.

A walk into fall in Bend, Oregon
Pine Nursery Park fall color

Pull up a seat photo challenge Week 43

Golden-mantled ground squirrel up close: Macro Monday

This golden-mantled ground squirrel was not exactly shy. It came right up to me looking for a snack at the High Desert Museum. Yes, it was cute but it didn’t get anything from me besides a photograph.

Golden-mantled ground squirrel October 2020

Macro Monday

High Desert Hideaway Hut: LAPC

High Desert Hideaway hut in Bend, Oregon

I showed you how I created this mural but I didn’t show you the inside of my High Desert hideaway hut. This 8 foot by 16 foot hut used to be a garden shed. We repurposed it into a guesthouse for visiting relatives and a studio space for me.

This $50 thrift shop door we installed is interesting on the inside and outside. What a great find!

  • Thrift shop door
  • Thrift shop door

This hide-a-bed also functions as a couch. A good place to curl up with reading material.

High Desert Hideaway hut in Bend, Oregon

We refinished and repurposed some pieces of furniture, including this antique commode.

Refinished commode

This $15 table went with chairs we already had. You can see it’s covered with photos and research material from my latest writing project.

Table & chairs

We tried to make it more homey by adding things we’ve created. Here are a couple poems my kids wrote (one framed with Creepy Crawlers) and a print by a local artist.

Poems by Rhett & Chani

And here’s a tiger drawing I created when I ran for a school board position. I keep some of my art supplies in this High Desert Hideaway Hut so I can work on future creations.

Tiger pen-and-ink by Siobhan Sullivan

One of my favorite things about this place is my view. I can peek out the window through the lilac branches to see the birds in the spruce trees. The pond in the background attracts many birds. Fluttering wings and melodic birdsongs offer a pleasant distraction in this retreat.

High Desert Hideaway view in Bend, Oregon

Lens Artists Photo Challenge – My Hideaway

Owls in the mist – Images & poem: BWPC

Owls in the mist
glide into view
on silent wings

Owls in the mist, great horned owl 2020
Great horned owl

Pondering us
Through eyes,
Round and wise

Burrowing owl vignette
Burrowing owl

Standing tall with
steely grips and
powerful presence

Eurasian eagle-owl March 2020
Eurasian eagle-owl

Owls in the mist
focus their vision
towards the future

Owls in the mist Barn owl
Barn owl

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge (BWPC) – Owls

Wooden wheels: Monochrome Monday

These wooden wheels are featured in a display at Baker Heritage Museum in Baker City, Oregon. This museum offers visitors glimpses of everyday objects from another time.

Wooden wheels Baker City, Oregon

Monochrome Monday

Brilliance of the Desert: One Word Sunday

Last summer we took a trip to southeastern Oregon where we saw the brilliance of the desert.

Contrasting colors atop 9,733-ft Steens Mountain.

Brilliance of the desert - Steens Mountain August 2019

Colorful soils rounding a bend.

Southeastern Oregon Road

Rabbitbrush in bloom near Big Indian Gorge.

Brilliance of the desert, Big Indian Gorge, Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019

Mountain mahogany trees growing on a ridgetop.

Mountain mahogany at Steens Mountain

Some think of deserts as dull and boring. However, if you look at things in a different way, you’ll witness the brilliance of the desert.

One Word Sunday – Bright

Avocets in the Spring & Fall: BWPC

The Bird Weekly Photo Challenge this week is birds whose names start with an ‘a’. I’m sharing photos of American Avocets I took in the spring and fall.

I saw these two avocets in April during the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. These flooded fields are north of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near Burns, Oregon.

The Migratory Bird Festival was cancelled this year so I had to look in my archives for these photos. One of my favorite field trips in past years was the Circling Steens Mountain Tour. Lots of opportunities to see birds of the shore, fields, and mountains.

Avocets near Burns, Oregon April 2019
Flooded fields south of Burns, Oregon April 2019

Avocets look much different in the fall. Their cinnamon-colored plumage fades to black and white.

I saw these avocets in November at Summer Lake Wildlife Area in Central Oregon. Can you see the dust storms in the distance? I have featured Summer Lake in several past posts. It’s a great place to see waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds.

Avocets near Summer Lake, Oregon November 2017
Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Oregon November 2017

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge (BWPC) – Birds starting with an ‘a’

Rockridge Park – Trails & More: LAPC

Rockridge Park, in northeast Bend, is a nice place for walks and more. Bend Park and Recreation preserved features of High Desert habitat in this 36-acre park and added a few unique activities. It’s one of 82 parks in the city.

You’ll see a “forest” of juniper tree trunks near the small parking area. This play area for kids includes black “talk tubes” that connect underground. Primitive cell phones. 😉

  • Rockridge Park in Bend, Oregon October 2020
  • Play area in Bend, Oregon October 2020

I’ve been keeping an eye out for fall foliage and this park had several colorful trees. The maple trees are beginning to turn red and the paper birch leaves are turning a lovely shade of gold.

  • Fall maple trees October 2020
  • Fall birch trees October 2020

The trails in this park include a paved one-mile+ trail and more than a mile of unpaved bike trails. The beginner and intermediate bike trails include boardwalks and other obstacles.

Bike trails in Rockridge Park Bend, Oregon October 2020

There are several comfortable benches along the trails.

Bench in a Park Bend, Oregon October 2020

The playground is located along the southern edge of the park. There’s a 9-hole disc golf course in another section.

Playground in Bend, Oregon October 2020

This park also has an 11,000-square foot skatepark with a curving “lunar -landscape” design.

  • Rockridge Skatepark in Bend October 2020
  • Rockridge Skatepark in Bend October 2020

For those of you with canine companions, Rockridge Park is a good place for a SASS walk. Stop And Smell Stuff!

A dog walk in Bend October 2020

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – A Photo Walk

Nasturtium blossoms up close: Macro Monday

Nasturtium blossoms up close

Bright nasturtium blossoms up close in our High Desert garden. These flowers look pretty and they taste good. They have a distinctive spicy flavor.

Macro Monday

Focus on the form of cactus: LAPC

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is Symmetry. I decided to focus on the form of cactus in my garden by showing them in infrared. It highlights their prickly symmetry well.

Focus on the form of cactus in infrared 1October2020
Close up of cholla cactus infrared 1October2020
Cholla cactus fruit up close 1October2020
Prickly pear cactus in infrared 1October2020
Focus on the form of catus - Prickly pear fruit 1October2020

To see some of these cactus blooming in brilliant colors, see Prickly and pretty.

American kestrel study in pencil: First Friday Art

American kestrel study

This month, for First Friday Art, I’m sharing an American kestrel study I drew in pencil. When I took an ornithology class in college we learned about anatomy by studying specimens in a museum.

These sketches helped me learn more about birds, but they also turned out to be great tools for future works of art. I have referred back to them when working on pen-and-inks and paintings.

Here’s a photo of an American kestrel I saw in Malheur National Forest last year. They have beautiful coloring.

Kestrel in Malheur National Forest, Oregon April 2019

Do you have some artwork you would like to share? Use the First Friday Art tag.

Shooting stars up close: Macro Monday

Shooting stars up close

Shooting stars up close. Wildflowers blooming on Glass Buttes in the High Desert of Oregon.

Macro Monday

Encounter with an Eurasian eagle-owl: BWPC

Eurasian eagle-owl Ireland March 2020

Being able to participate in an encounter with an Eurasian eagle-owl was one of my favorite things on a recent trip to Ireland. You have the opportunity to see various birds of prey up close and personal at the Dingle Falconry Experience, located on the Dingle peninsula.

Owl in flight in  Dingle, Ireland March 2020

This bird is a female named “Fluffy.” Eurasian eagle-owls are one of the largest owls in the world. Females, which are larger than the males, measure 30 inches in length. This owl’s wingspan is typically 4 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 2 inches.

Guide at Dingle Falconry Experience Ireland March 2020

The guides tell you about the life history of each species at Dingle Falconry Experience. In addition to the eagle-owl, they had an Irish barn owl, a peregrine falcon, and a Harris hawk the day I was there. You stand in a large circle and the birds fly to each participant’s gloved hand.

Owl being held at Dingle Falconry Experience March 2020

The Eurasian eagle-owl is brought to each participant. That’s because she is heavy! See our guide supporting my wrist when I’m holding Fluffy? Eurasian eagle-owls weigh 2.7 to 10.1 pounds, with females on the heavier end of the scale. Barn owls weigh 0.9 to 1.4 pounds in comparison.

If you’re ever in Dingle in County Kerry, Ireland, try to make time to participate in this unique experience. It’s one you will never forget! 😀

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – Short legged birds

Vaqueros – Tools of the trade: Monochrome Monday

Tools of the trade vaqueros Oregon April 2019

Vaqueros, otherwise known as buckaroos, worked the range in eastern Oregon for many years. The spurs and ring bit pictured were handcrafted by a silversmith in Mexico, circa 1750.

Pete French Round Barn Sept 2017

These pieces are on display in the small museum located at the Pete French Round Barn. It’s a great place to visit from an historic and architectural perspective. The barn is one of my favorite local attractions.

Pete French Round Barn Sept 2017

Monochrome Monday

Hope in a sunrise – tanka poem: LAPC

A sliver of hope
glimmers on the horizon
A dark bud opens
delicate petals unfurl
Hope blossoms, filling the sky

A sliver of hope sunrise in Bend, Oregon Sept 2020
Sunrise in Bend, Oregon Sept 2020
Sunrise in Bend, Oregon Sept 2020
Sunrise of hope in Bend, Oregon Sept 2020

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Inspiration

Art with a twist: A riddle in pictures

These three pieces of art with a twist by Dennis McGregor are displayed in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon.

Why do they come with a twist? Each piece represents the name of a local wildlife species but you have to figure out what they are. Can you guess?

Art with a twist in Bend, Oregon July 2020

I like seeing the work of an artist with a sense of humor.

Art at Old Mill in Bend, Oregon July 2020

Dennis wrote a children’s book a few years ago titled You Stole My Name. That book exhibits the same type of wordplay as these murals.

Do you give up on what these art with a twist pictures represent? The first one is “mule deer”, the second is “chicken hawk”, and the third is “bull trout.”

To see another slightly twisted piece of art located just down the street from these murals, see Horse of a Different Color.

Bachelor buttons up close: Macro Monday

Bachelor buttons up close Bend, Oregon August 2020
Bachelor buttons up close in Bend, Oregon August 2020
Close up of flower July 2020

Bachelor buttons up close in our garden. I never knew they had so many colors. This flower has such an interesting structure – like a bouquet of tiny trumpets.

Macro Monday

A patch of blue in the smoke over Oregon

I saw a patch of blue in the smoke-filled landscape today. Air quality is hazardous and skies are smoky over Bend, Oregon, but one of my notoriously camera-shy mountain bluebirds paused for a portrait. I needed that today! My main computer decided it no longer wanted to wake up from sleep mode.

A patch of blue, bluebird in Oregon September 2020

Here is the air quality reading yesterday afternoon over Bend.

Air quality in Bend, Oregon 12 September 2020

Here are the readings from in and around Bend yesterday.

Air quality near Bend Oregon 12 September 2020

Fires are far from Bend, but wind blew smoke our way.

Wildfires in Oregon 12 September 2020

Wildfires are raging over much of the west. We are looking forward to a little rain this week.

Thanks to the firefighters at work on these fires! May they find their own patch of blue.

Bright blossoms haiku: Friday Flowers

After waiting years
for bright blossoms to appear,
luminous at last

Bright blossoms - yucca in Bend, Oregon July 2020
Golden sword yucca

Friday Flowers

Plateau Indian Beaded Moccasins: LAPC

I’m featuring pictures of Plateau Indian beaded moccasins for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. The challenge this week is “A labor of love.”

After so much was taken away from Native Americans, creating beadwork became a labor of love. They preserved parts of their culture by decorating everyday items.

Plateau Indian beaded moccasins, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

Prior to the European invasion of North America, Native Americans decorated their clothing with shells, porcupine quills, and bones.

Beaded footwear, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

In the early years of European settlement, pony beads were often offered in trade. Seed beads became available in the late 1800s. Seed beads are smaller and come in a wider variety of colors compared to pony beads.

Beaded footwear, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

Many of the designs used in the early years of beading were geometric. They generally included symbols important to specific tribes and regions.

Plateau Indian beaded moccasins, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

Techniques for applying the beads varied. One technique involved threading several beads onto a thread. Thread on a second needle tacked these lines of beads onto the material.

Plateau Indian beaded moccasins, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

By the late 1800s, realistic designs became more common. For example, patterns often included local flowers and wildlife.

Footwear, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

In the early 1900s, more types of beads were available and designs became more elaborate. Interest in buying beadwork increased. As a result, designs changed to include marketable patterns, including American flags.

Children's footwear, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

These Plateau Indian beaded moccasins, displayed at the High Desert Museum like works of art, showcase the skills of their makers.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Labor of Love

Encouraging words on my walk: Monochrome Monday

I saw these encouraging words while walking my dog in a local park. I shared words seen on another walk on Hopeful words seen on my walk.

Encouraging words on my walk Bend, Oregon August 2020

These words were drawn onto a curving section of the path. In these times of uncertainty, it was nice to see that someone took the time to brighten our days.

Words on my walk Bend, Oregon August 2020
Seen on my walk Bend, Oregon August 2020
Seen on my walk Bend, Oregon August 2020
Seen on my walk Bend, Oregon August 2020
Words on my walk Bend, Oregon August 2020

In this last image, the cheerful yellow blossoms of the rabbitbrush, contrasting with the pink chalk heart, stand out best in color.

Encouraging words on my walk Bend, Oregon August 2020

Monochrome Monday

Jo’s Monday Walk

Grizzly Drawings – pencil and pen & ink: First Friday Art

I’m sharing grizzly drawings for First Friday Art this month. I found this pencil drawing tucked away in a forgotten file drawer. This bear, in a typical bear pose, is feasting on a salmon.

Bear drawing in pencil by Siobhan Sullivan. September 2020

When I flipped the pencil drawing over, I found this on the back. I forgot it was there! The fur is not drawn realistically, but this stylized pen-and-ink is interesting. The bear looks so content.

Grizzly drawings by Siobhan Sullivan. September 2020

Maybe I’ll let these grizzly drawings out of their lonely drawer and do something with them. There must be an empty wall somewhere…

Do you have some artwork you would like to share? Use the First Friday Art tag.

A praying mantis of another color: Macro Monday

When I first saw this praying mantis on hop plants in our garden of plenty, I thought it must be a species I had never seen. Its coloring was so light it was almost white. I learned that when some types of mantis shed their skin, they stay white for a short period of time. They can molt 10 times before reaching their adult size. This one will probably turn green, like others I have seen on our property.

A praying mantis in Bend, Oregon August 2020
Molting mantis on hop plants Bend, Oregon August 2020
Ghostly looking insect on hop plants Bend, Oregon August 2020

Macro Monday

The Oregon Garden in late summer: LAPC

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is to pick images that go with five possible words. I chose to use all five.

I am featuring pictures from a late September trip to The Oregon Garden, in Silverton, Oregon. It’s an 80-acre botanical garden that is beautiful to visit during any season.

This mixed border is an “exuberant” mix of colorful flowers of various sizes and textures.

The Oregon Garden mixed border September 2018

This planting looked “comfortable” with every plant spaced out so you can appreciate the details.

Landscaping in botanical garden in Silverton, Oregon September 2018

These chrysanthemums are “crowded” together in a quilt of color.

Chrysanthemums September 2018

This landscape is “growing” red as fall approaches.

The Oregon Garden September 2018

The cactus garden is “tangled” with the spiky leaves of prickly pear.

Prickly pear cactus in Silverton, Oregon September 2018

It can get crowded at The Oregon Garden, so if you don’t want to get tangled in traffic, plan your visit for a comfortable time of day so you can experience this growing attraction with the exuberance it deserves.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Pick a word

To see how our efforts have paid off in our own growing garden space, see Garden of Plenty, posted a couple days ago.

A garden of plenty: Homegrown Harvest Photo Challenge

Last year we started to create a new garden space in our backyard. After a lot of work, it’s looking like a garden of plenty now.

A garden of plenty in Bend, Oregon August 2020

This is how it looked several years ago when we bought the place. The house included a fenced dog run with a heated doghouse.

A garden of plenty before 2013

Some of the beds in our newly-created garden are bordered by rocks collected on our property, and others are store bought. Smaller rocks we collected on our rock hounding adventures decorate the edges of the raised beds. See the obsidian from Glass Buttes?

Obsidian rocks around a raised bed garden August 2020

What’s growing in our garden

This year we have lots of flowers filling in the spaces between the fruits and vegetables. The flowers include sunflowers, Bachelor’s buttons, sweet alyssum, clematis, hollyhocks, nasturtium, and poppies.

Hollyhocks up close July 2020
Hollyhocks
Bachelor's button August 2020
Bachelor’s button
Red poppy up close 27August2020
Red poppy

The sunflowers grew so tall, we had to clip through the bird netting to allow them to reach their full height.

Sunflowers growing through bird netting August 2020

We’ve had a great crop of veggies including kohlrabi, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and beets.

Cucumbers August 2020
Cucumbers
Beets August 2020
Beets
Green tomatoes August 2020
Tomatoes

The raspberries we put in last year are finally producing. We had a few strawberries this year in the garden and they were tasty and sweet.

The garden is fenced with two kinds of fencing and bird netting, but we still find unexpected visitors. This tree frog looked very comfortable around the beet plants.

Pacific tree frog on beet plants August 2020

Our fruit and vegetable garden has filled out and the rest of the landscaping has too. Here’s what it looks like now.

A garden of plenty from behind August 2020

The spruce trees are huge and the birds love them. The Russian sage, the large shrub with purple flowers in the middle of the picture, is more than six feet tall.

Like many of you out there, we are putting more time into gardening this year. Our repurposed dog run has been transformed into a garden of plenty.

Homegrown Harvest Photo Challenge – Your Homegrown Harvest

Household treasures from a different angle: LAPC

I am sharing photos of some of my household treasures taken from different angles. I used a tabletop studio to take these pictures. The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is Everyday Objects.

The first two pictures are of a cricket cage I’ve had since I was about eight years old. I distinctly remember taking it in for Show and Tell. The crickets were chirping in the darkness within my school desk.

This is an antique egg beater I purchased at an antique show in Portland, Oregon. I’m not sure if the parts were meant to go together but that’s how I bought it. I use it regularly and it works great!

This is one of my favorite rocks. I collected it near Thermopolis, Wyoming at a place called the Smorgasbord. I was carrying a field thermometer with me and I will always remember the reading that day. 126 degrees Fahrenheit!

The last two pictures are of a fork and spoon I used as a toddler. The backs are stamped “Atla – Denmark.” It’s not surprising that I have a deep love of wild creatures after learning how to eat with this particular fork and spoon.

All of these items have one thing in common. When people see them, they want to touch them and look at them more closely. Household treasures can be a treat to the eyes and your other senses.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Everyday objects

High Desert Mural: LAPC & Monday Mural

High Desert Mural Siobhan Sullivan 17 August 2020

I have been busy filling up space and time by creating a High Desert mural. I recently posted more details on creating my Outdoor Pronghorn Painting. This weekend I added three additional paintings to the mural.

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

As I mentioned in my post about the pronghorn painting, I use photos I have taken and other sources to do my first sketches. I like to refer back to field guides and set them up for easy viewing.

Work space for drawing an American badger August 2020

Creamy white paint is painted onto each piece to make the colors stand out. Here are the three back painted pieces.

High Desert mural rough drafts Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

Once I start applying the colors, the piece of paper I use for cleaning my brushes and trying out color mixes becomes a work of art.

Brush cleaning and mixing paper August 2020

Why did I choose these specific critters? They are all characters in books I’m working on. I once heard an author speak about surrounding himself with “artifacts” his characters use while he is writing. I’m displaying some of my characters so that I’ll see them every day, even on the days I’m frustrated with writing and revising.

Manuscript Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

Black-billed magpies are one of my favorite local birds. In my work-in-progress book, the magpie character is named a Chinese word that means “bright.” They are very intelligent birds.

Black-billed magpie Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

The golden-mantled ground squirrel helps save the day in the book she is featured in. Her name means “green” in Spanish because she is the protector of green petrified wood.

Golden-mantled ground squirrel Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

The American badger is featured as a secondary character and is also featured in a fable. Though unnamed, the badgers are important characters.

High Desert mural - American badger Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

I particularly liked how this painting turned out – especially the eye. This badger is guarding some of the rocks featured in my I like rocks! post.

With the addition of these three animals, my High Desert mural is complete. Well… at least until I come up with another idea for a book. 😉

Lens- Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Creativity in the time of Covid

Monday Mural