A garden shed at the Oregon Garden, Sublimity, Oregon
fable of the fox
who crept too close to a fire
enlightened and singed
I feel most at home when visiting the Wild West.
In the West, tall tales are told in layers of intense and pale colors.
Odd-looking plants stand tall, like characters in a children’s picture book.
You may find ancient hidden stories exposed by wind and water.
When you visit the Wild West, look for cloudbursts highlighting the mood of mountains.
Notice arid landscapes cracking and folding, longing for the moisture on distant snow-topped peaks.
Admire towering sentries from a distance, knowing they guard reserves of water with tough skins and sharp spines.
For more photos of the Wild West, see my Visiting Westworld post.
Last July, on the High Desert Garden Tour in Bend, I was happy to see a place to pause in a xeriscaped garden. What is xeriscaping, you may ask. Here’s the dictionary definition:
a landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques (such as the use of drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and efficient irrigation)Merriam-Webster dictionary
Are xeriscaped gardens boring? No! This garden was designed by Rick Martinson, formerly of Wintercreek Restoration and Nursery. He’s now the executive director of the Worthy Garden Club. Rick has been encouraging people to use plants that require little water for years.
Can xeriscaping help make your house a home and impress your guests? Yes! Look at this comfortable bench bordered by penstemon and buckwheat blossoms.
Are there very many types of flowers that grow in low water gardening? Yes! You can plant a wide variety of flowering plants including various types of lupine, penstemon, columbine, phlox, globemallow, yarrow, and monkey flower.
Here’s a link to an illustrated catalog of plants available at Wintercreek.
The picture below shows a sticky geranium, Geranium vicosisssimum.
What about trees? Can you only grow sagebrush in this type of landscaping? No!
This garden included the following trees: birch, hemlock, incense cedar, and vine maple.
It also included the following shrubs: sagebrush, golden currant, desert sweet, four wing saltbush, desert peach, mountain mahogany, chokecherry, serviceberry, silver buffaloberry, elderberry, and mountain ash.
The picture below shows an oak-leaf sumac, Rhus trilobata, growing in their yard.
As drought conditions continue to affect more places, some are requiring homeowners to use landscaping that requires less water.
I enjoy taking a pause in a xeriscaped garden in my own yard and my wildlife neighbors enjoy it too. 😀
Happy Turkey Day from John Day, Oregon! We saw about one hundred wild turkeys alongside the road near John Day a few weeks ago. Dinner anyone?
They have become so common in some areas, that they are considered pests. They sometimes destroy crops and gardens and can become aggressive towards people in the breeding season.
Oregon created a Hunt by Reservation Program where private landowners can allow hunters onto their land to help thin out the population. A benefit to them and us!
Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.Marcel Proust
A little play on the words “let us” with this up close picture of lettuce growing in Hollinshead Park’s community garden in Bend, Oregon.
The touch of nature can be sharp and cold or
Ridged and dry
The touch of nature can be smooth and wet or
Rough and hot
On a fall day
Brilliant colors appear
Merging into luminous wings
Many windowed barn near Dayville in Eastern Oregon
I see some of our backyard beauties often, like the chipmunks. This one came right up to our sliding glass door, driving our indoor cat crazy. It was showing me its best side.
Other animals give us unique views. This immature Cooper’s Hawk posed nicely for me on the back porch.
Our regular visitors can be very entertaining. Playful Mule Deer fawns like to run full speed around the yard (when they aren’t busy munching on my plants).
Other regulars are much more secretive. This Mountain Bluebird pair hide every time they see a camera, but I found where they nest and I think they laid two clutches this year. 😀
Some of our backyard beauties make themselves at home for too long. Last winter we had an invasion of American Robins. The birds are nice to look at; their droppings are not!
I can never see enough of some of our backyard visitors. Cedar Waxwings are one of the few bird species who are unafraid of the robins. They are bold and beautiful birds.
Some of our visitors try to blend into the background so I won’t notice them. This California Scrub-jay was pretending to be a tree.
Other visitors do what they can to stand out. This Mountain Cottontail thought it might get more attention by standing on top of the waterfall rock. Did you know this species has been observed climbing juniper trees for food? Yup, really!
There’s never a dull moment when watching backyard beauties in Bend.
I saw this fence of gold near Mitchell, Oregon last week. Aspen trees, decked out in golden leaves, looked like someone planted them at regular intervals within the evergreen forest.
the blur of autumn
catcher of fading colors
thoughts of winter’s chill
I’m showing lighter and darker nature pictures to go with the lens-artists photo challenge of “exposure” this week. Sometimes I frame a shot with lighter and darker settings; other times I make changes during the photo editing process.
The first two pictures are of maidenhair fern growing along the trail in Silver Falls State Park. In this case I like both versions. Maybe it’s because I like all shades of green. 🙂
The next two pictures show a mountain peak near Mitchell, Oregon. The first shows the structure of the rimrock at the peak and the second brings out the clouds. I prefer the darker, more evil-looking, version.
The next two show fallen leaves in Bend, Oregon. In this case, I think I prefer the softness of the lighter version. I added a light and a dark vignette effect to these two pictures.
The next two show a closer view of painted hills at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The first one is in soft pastel tones. The second one brings out many hidden colors. I like both because they show the varying “moods” of the mountains. It’s a great place to visit during different kinds of weather because the colors can recede or pop, depending on the conditions.
Today I’m sharing a quick pen-and-ink drawing of an Indian peacock I drew. This was for the month-long Inktober drawing challenge. The prompt that day was “ego.” When male peacocks prance around displaying their tail feathers I think of them as being proud, egotistical birds. In reality, they are trying to attract mates and protect their territory.
Here’s a photo I took of a proud Indian peacock. I increased the color saturation when I processed it to bring out his beautiful blue and green colors.
When I think of peacocks here in Central Oregon, I think of Richardson’s Rock Ranch in Madras. They have a large indoor and outdoor rock shop and peacocks wander freely around the buildings.
Here’s a photo of their old family home with the birds perched on the front porch and foraging in the front yard. Can you see the pheasant decoration on the side of the building? The peafowl must have been attracted to it since they are also part of the pheasant family, Phasianidae.
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
First Friday Art (FFA)
Quit bugging me! Song sparrow in bug hatch at Summer Lake, Oregon.
Just wanted to share some Halloween greetings from my cat, Motor. He was one of our favorite pets. Small in size but big in personality!
Last month, we took a trip to see the Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This museum is in McMinnville, about 50 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. Its star attraction is the airplane associated with Howard Hughes, Jr.
In 1942, steel magnate Henry Kaiser approached Hughes about creating a massive flying boat. Hughes was well known for breaking records as a pilot, including a 1935 landplane airspeed record of 352 miles per hour. In 1938, Hughes flew around the world in 3 days 19 hours 17 minutes, beating the previous record by almost four days. He was also a brilliant engineer.
After Kaiser withdrew from the flying boat project in 1944, Howard Hughes renamed the plane H-4 Hercules. It’s also called the Hughes Flying Boat and the Spruce Goose. Hughes become obsessed with the project. Though the original intention was for the aircraft to help with war efforts, by the time they completed the project, the war was over.
Hughes flew the plane on November 2, 1947. He wanted to prove it was airworthy and not just a flight of fancy. In its first and only flight, he flew it at an altitude of 70 feet for 26 seconds. The aircraft flew for about one mile at a speed of 135 miles per hour.
Exterior of the Spruce Goose
I knew the Spruce Goose was large, but I had no idea how enormous it was. I’m including several exterior photos to show the scale of this massive aircraft. The first picture shows a view from the second-story balcony.
The next two show aircraft on display under one wing and then the other. They look so small in comparison.
There’s a diorama showing the construction in progress on the left side of the photo below. Helpful volunteers are stationed nearby.
This view is of the huge nose section. Vintage airline seats are set up under the nose for those seeking a brush with greatness.
There are informational displays in and around the Spruce Goose. A photo of Howard Hughes, Jr. is in the lower right on the display board below and you can also see him speaking with congress. This display shows several pictures of parts of the plane being transported.
The next display shows construction photos and a construction breakdown drawing.
The original plans included clamshell opening nose gear to make the plane easier to unload. This diorama shows how Hughes envisioned the Spruce Goose doing its job.
After the flight
After its flight, Hughes paid around one million dollars a year to retain a crew and maintain the aircraft. He passed away in 1976, but he always hoped it would fly again. Initially, plans were made to part out the Spruce Goose to eight museums.
After aviation officials and the public expressed concern, the Spruce Goose was gifted to the Aero Club of Southern California and put on display in Long Beach. When Disney took over ownership of the location, they displayed it for two more years but decided it no longer fit with their plans. In 1992, the plane was put up for auction and Michael King Smith and Delford M. Smith, founders of the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, had the winning bid.
Moving and reassembling the Spruce Goose was a big undertaking. After many hours of painstaking work by volunteers and staff, the aircraft was open to the public in its new home on June 6, 2001. On November 5, 2022, the museum will host the Spruce Goose’s 75th Anniversary Gala.
This 9-minute video from the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum about the Spruce Goose shows its flight, temporary home in California, long trip to Oregon, and its current home in McMinnville.
There are carefully preserved artifacts near the aircraft, including Hughes’ original log book.
Do you know what’s pictured below and why it’s important to the path Howard Hughes, Jr. chose? The answer is at the end of this post.
Interior of the Spruce Goose
The inside of the aircraft can be seen by climbing a stairway or taking an elevator. For an additional $30, visitors get a 15-minute guided tour of the cockpit.
This view shows the fire suppressing canisters.
Here’s a more distant view. What are those colorful objects on the right side of the picture?
If you guessed beach balls, you’re right! Howard Hughes was worried the Flying Boat may not float, so he had these inflatable balls put in the lower hull and wing floats.
A few more Spruce Goose facts for you:
- The plane is actually made from birch, not spruce.
- Wingspan 320 feet 11 inches; length 218 feet 8 inches; height 79 feet 4 inches; weight empty 300,000 pounds.
- Still the record holder for largest wooden aircraft, largest seaplane, and largest propeller plane ever built.
Did you guess what the odd object pictured above the first interior shot was? That’s a drill bit that made Howard’s father, Howard Hughes, Sr., a rich man. He disliked the bits used to drill for oil and bought the rights to a bit created by Granville A. Humanson for $150. He improved the design significantly and applied for several patents. The bit, with its 166 cutting edges, became the industry standard. Howard, Sr. created the Hughes Tool Company and leased the bits to drillers.
The money Howard, Jr. inherited at the age of 19 helped him tremendously when pursuing his aviation interests. He increased his personal wealth with forays into entertainment and real estate businesses. Later in life, his eccentric behaviors affected him personally and financially.
When you have a lot of time one day, read the long entry about Howard Hughes, Jr.’s fascinating history on Wikipedia. Wow, what a life!
I took this photo near Playa at Summer Lake in Oregon. Playa serves as a retreat for artists and scientists looking for a peaceful place to do their work. I was there for a workshop on Great Basin Natural History. This zigzag boardwalk was in a pond behind the cabins.
I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I increased the contrast slightly. Slide the slider to see the before and after views.
The first two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Retro effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Retro Lab. This effect slightly blurs and darkens the edges and increases color saturation. I liked how this effect brought out turquoise colors in the sky and dark green in the marsh plants.
The next two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Black and White effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Black and White Film. I liked how this effect enhanced the contrast in the clouds.
The last two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Reverse Image effect. For this image I went to Image>Reverse Image. This effect made the whole scene eerie. The clouds are in warm tones and evil looking, while the plants are soft and pastel.
There were a few benches on the zigzag boardwalk so you could pull up a seat and take in the gorgeous view. The clouds were very impressive on the day I took this picture. A storm was moving in.
Rollin’ across the Columbia River near Biggs Junction, Oregon
Here are some peak peeks from near and far. These volcanic peaks are in the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon.
The first picture shows a distant view of Mount Jefferson I took on a flight to Seattle. The small cloud hovering over its peak looks like a puff of smoke.
Here’s a closer view of Mount Jefferson taken from the road near Madras, Oregon.
This picture shows a distant view of Mount Washington. It’s the snowy peak in the middle of the photo.
Here’s a closer view taken west of Sisters, Oregon. From certain angles, this mountain has a distinctive silhouette. It looks like it has a tiny pyramid-shaped peak on top of it.
This view shows a distant view of the three Sisters peaks taken while on another flight.
Here’s a closer view of North and Middle Sister taken near Sisters, Oregon. These two peaks are in close proximity to each other. South Sister is located 3.3 miles to the south.
These peak peek photos were taken in the spring and summer months in Central Oregon. The haze you see in some of these pictures is from wildfire smoke. At certain times of the year, agencies manage “prescribed burns.” Underbrush is intentionally burned to reduce the fuel load of potential future fires. This technique helps conserve our forests, but, unfortunately, drier conditions are making wildfires burn longer and cover larger areas.
I hope the rain expected later this week douses some of the long lasting fires in western North America. As always, we appreciate the work of firefighters who battle these blazes. We’re looking forward to clearer peak peeks!
Vintage word processor circa 1877
This and that rock from Fischer Canyon, Oregon. According to the Central Oregon rockhounding map, published by the Bureau of Land Management, you can find petrified wood, jasper, and agate here. Other sources list calcite and quartz as being at this site.
This small conglomerate includes several types of rock that merged together.
Today I’ll share a few stories related to special flowers in my life.
Whenever I see roses, I think of a funny thing that happened to me when I was in my early twenties. I had just started dating a guy who checked parking passes where I worked. I invited him to my cozy little A-frame house on Puget Sound in Washington state. When we got to my house, I pulled open the screen door and there was a bouquet of roses tucked next to the main door. I grinned and asked if they were from him. “No,” he said sheepishly. He pulled a bouquet of roses from behind his back. Oops. The flowers in my door were from a different admirer. Awkward!
I took these photos on the High Desert Garden Tour this summer. The tour takes place in different Central Oregon locations, from sprawling rural ranches to tiny city yards. This year the featured gardens were in Bend.
Another one of my special flowers is hibiscus. We had relatives who lived in Hawaii, and I associate this flower with the islands. I have fond memories of watching geckos crawling up the bathroom walls while doves cooed softly outside the open window. I remember my auntie cooking bananas in bubbling butter and brown sugar. We’d go on trips to places only locals knew, like natural waterslides carved by streams cutting through lush forests.
I live in the High Desert, where temperatures reach extremes, and I’m always surprised to see this “tropical” plant thriving here. These photos were taken in Bend.
I also like hydrangeas. We had a hydrangea growing alongside my childhood home. It produced big blue blossoms in softball-sized clusters. I tried to grow them where I used to live in Washington state. We had one hundred inches of rain a year at our house near the Cascade Mountains. Maybe all that rain washed away whatever hydrangeas needed to bloom because we never had flowers.
At our current house in Bend, where ten inches of rain falls a year, they will grow. Unfortunately, our deer “landscapers” like to trim our shrubs too often, as you can see in the picture below. There’s nothing left of this white hydrangea plant except a few twigs sticking out of the ground.
So, when I want to satisfy my cravings for hydrangeas, I have to find them elsewhere. I took these pictures at the Oregon Garden in Silverton.
Layers of Autumn color in Portland, Oregon
Wordless Wednesday (WW)
Here’s a picture of the new “Greetings from Bend, Oregon” mural. This mural is near the flag bridge in the Old Mill district in Bend. It’s on the Mill A Loop trail, where I walk regularly.
This colorful mural is by artist Karen Eland. I’m a big fan of her artwork and have previously featured her work in Bend. She collaborated with five other artists on this work in the Foxtail Bakery in the Box Factory district.
Foxtail closed in January 2022. The restaurant currently at that location, Papi Chulo’s Taqueria, has new murals adorning their walls. More murals for me to seek out and share!
Karen features local flora and fauna in this Greetings from Bend, Oregon mural. This mural includes columbine, lupine, and paintbrush flowers. A Western Tanager perches on “From” and a Rufous Hummingbird hovers over “Oregon.” Tiger swallowtail butterflies flit about the edges and a honeybee perches on a flower in a corner. Cascade volcanoes float in the background and the iconic smokestacks of the Old Mill stand tall in the foreground.
You can see another example of Karen’s work in this mural in Sisters, Oregon. She collaborated on that piece with fellow artist Katie Daisy .
Here are photographs of South Falls from 3 perspectives. This 177-foot high waterfall is located along the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park in Sublimity, Oregon. South Falls and Upper North Falls are the only trails where dogs, on leash, are allowed.
The first picture shows a distant view from the overlook trail in afternoon light.
The next photograph shows a closer view of the falls.
The last image shows a view from the top of the falls. This is a view you don’t often get at waterfalls.
South Falls is one of the places in the park where you can walk BEHIND the waterfall. You can see the trail leading behind it in my last photograph. I did not hike the trail during my recent visit, but I’m sharing a beautiful two-minute video of the trail taken by John Minar Photography. Enjoy!
For this First Friday Art post, I’m sharing a hibiscus photo and a few drawings. I took this picture of a Spin the Bottle Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, at the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. I’m not sure who came up with the common name, but it’s a funny one!
I’m sharing a quick pen-and-ink drawing I did of Hibiscus flowers. I’m participating in Inktober, a challenge where you make a drawing a day for a month based on prompts.
I tend to fuss over my artwork a lot, so for this challenge, I’m trying to draw fast. You create a different kind of artwork when working quickly. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a freeing experience. The goal is to capture the essence of your subject.
You can interpret the prompts any way you want to. Here was my interpretation of ‘bouquet’ from the October 5 prompt.
Here’s my drawing of the ‘flame’ prompt from October 6. I spent a little more time on this one.
Here’s a drawing I did from one of last year’s prompts. Can you guess what it’s showing?
The prompt was ‘risk.’ 😉
You can share the drawings you create during Inktober with the public on their site. I’m sharing mine on a private site with a few family members, all of whom are better artists than me. 😉
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
First Friday Art (FFA)
Old homestead & Mt Hood near Maupin, Oregon
Did you ever wonder where hula hoops come from? I think I found out. They’re grown from tiny round seeds at the community garden in Hollinshead Park in Bend. 😁
Monochrome Monday (MM)
Find treasures on walks
When out and about taking pictures, you never know when you might find special surprises. This delightful dragon sculpture was at The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. It brought a little cheer into a cloudy day.
Though not as much is in bloom at this time of year, I was happy to see these fall-blooming crocus at the The Oregon Garden last week.
Find special surprises in the skies
Here’s the last glimpse of the sun going down on a nearly cloudless day near Waldport, Oregon.
In the fall, clouds begin to fill High Desert skies, leading to dramatic sunrises. I took this picture from my house a couple of days ago.
Find special treasures nearby
You don’t always have to capture faces to capture a mood. These two kids were fascinated by the otters in this exhibit at the High Desert Museum. You can see the frame of the window they were looking through in the next picture.
This picture shows reflections in the water and two Northern river otters swimming together, reflecting each others movements. Another submerged otter follows behind them.
Find odd things while on the road
Sometimes when you’re driving down the road on your travels, you see something that makes you say, “What is THAT?” Do you know what this truck was hauling? (Find the answer at the end of the post).
Find special surprises from the past
Other times you’re walking down the street in your hometown and find special surprises. This is Bend’s Pet Parade, the oldest parade in the city. This community tradition began in 1924. Can you find the umbrella in this scene?
While digging through my archives to find pictures for this challenge, I found this little treasure. This was my cat, Weasel, my first pet I had after moving away from home. I was lucky to find this photo of a special pet from my past who brought me much happiness.
So did you guess what the truck pictured earlier in this post was hauling? According to my brief research, those are parts for SpaceX’s Starlink ground stations. You learn something new every day!
Last week we took a trip to Silver Falls State Park, in Sublimity, Oregon. We went on a short hike to visit Upper North Falls. Lush vegetation and towering trees surround the trail.
The Trail of Ten Falls in this park passes by ten waterfalls along a 7.2-mile moderate level route. Upper North Falls and South Falls are the only parts of the trail where dogs, on leash, are allowed.
We stayed a couple of nights at the campground in the park. There are cabins, RV and tent sites available for rental. This beautiful park is very popular so be sure to reserve in advance here.
Little blue caboose in Hood River, Oregon
A red begonia framed in blue in Alger, Washington.
On the other side of darkness,
it may be difficult to find a clear path ahead
The journey towards a viable future
may be surrounded by ghosts of what once was
Meander between colorful boulders haphazardly blocking the trail
in a landscape dark and unfathomable
Hike to majestic mountains to discover distant aspirations
but be aware of obstacles lurking in the shadows
Keep climbing upwards because on the other side of the hill,
there is a place full of light and acceptance
How can your canine companions go so quickly from being a clean dog to a dirty dog?
I walked my dog recently along this trail bordered with flowers in the Old Mill district of Bend.
I often play fetch with her after we get home. The second picture shows what she looks like after she catches her ball a few times when we’ve had a little rain.
What a pretty girl! Can she sit on your lap? 😉
Moos & mountains on Chuckanut Drive in Washington state.
A barn beside the road near Redmond, Oregon shown in black and white.