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.

Double yolk thunderegg

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.

Rough side of rock

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.

Macro Monday

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.

Purple flowers phlox

Tall, graceful penstemon pull in passing pollinators.

Penstemon & butterfly

Gentian’s purple flowers trumpet their presence in bold notes.

Gentian in Yellowstone

Iris flags flutter in the wind, signaling in White-faced Ibises.

Purple flowers iris

A brush against a purple sage shrub sends its minty scent into the wind, forever reminding you of spring.

Purple sage

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Spring

Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie: Sunday Confessional – 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 Storehouse sign

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.

Guinness Storehouse

I liked how the display boards had brief, informative explanations.

Hops description

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.

Water display

Here’s one of the early mills used in the beer-making process.

Ganz Mill

This display shows how many bubbles are in every pint in a creative way.

Guinness Storehouse bubbles

Guinness Storehouse shows the steps that go into making beer in an engaging industrial art style.

beer making process

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.”

Transportation display

These enormous pistons were impressive.

Guinness Storehouse

Light filters down from the upper floors into the interior of the seven-story building.

Interior of building

Sampling the stout

Tour participants each get a sample of freshly drawn Guinness stout.

Guinness beer

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.

Guinness beer

You get fantastic panoramic views of Dublin from this level.

Dublin view

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.

Guinness harp

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.

Guinness t-shirt

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.

Stone Upon Stone

Horses and carts are just outside the entrance for visitors wanting to see more of the neighborhood.

Guinness horse drawn carts

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

When misty fog

Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge – Seek and Fog

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.

succulent mural

Monday 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.

Ochoco Highway

Black Butte stands out when you round a corner near Mitchell. The clouds in this picture were breathtakingly beautiful.

Black Butte in eastern Oregon

Driving westbound, the road winds between steep mountains near Picture Gorge. I always expect to see a Prairie Falcon in flight here.

Picture Gorge

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.

Picture Gorge

The Painted Hills, another short drive north of the Ochoco Highway, showcases colorful mountains but also highlights layered hills in more subtle tones.

Painted Hills

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.

Butte on Ochoco Highway

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.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The road most often taken

Under the Snow Exhibition

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.

Boy at High Desert Museum

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.

Under 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.

Exhibit at High Desert Museum

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.
Under the snow

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

A plane dreaming of flying at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, McMinnville, Oregon

Wordless Wednesday

Ladles in waiting: Monochrome Monday

These ladles in waiting are at the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon.

ladles in waiting

Monochrome Monday

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
High Desert Oases

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.

Lake Abert

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.

High Desert 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.

Prineville Reservoir

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.

Hatfield Ponds

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #239 – Finding Peace

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.

Snowy owl drawing

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.

Close up of owl

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art

Round and round we go: Wordless Wednesday

round and round


Round and round we go at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, Oregon

Wordless Wednesday

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.


Macro Monday

Solitary Moments in Nature: LAPC

Solitary moments

Collecting pollen for little larvae

Solitary moments

Browsing branches in High Desert landscapes

Mule deer buck

Eyeing potential prey, gliding overhead

Cooper's Hawk

Solitary moments

Standing still along a winding river

Solitary moments

Balancing among blossoms, calling in spring

Brewer's Blackbird

Wading and waiting for a distant flock

Solitary moments Snow Goose

Grazing grass in an alpine meadow

Alone, yet part of a greater herd


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Alone Time

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.

Weeping hemlock sculpture

Thursday Tree Love

Sculpture Saturday

Dinner at Spork: Monochrome Monday

Dinner at Spork

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.

Monochrome Monday

A dusting of snow: LAPC & SC

A dusting of snow accentuates
sculptures created by the wind

Dusting of snow

And softens rough edges
of twisting structures

Snowy juniper

A dusting of snow
muffles the calls of nature

Ring-necked doves

And softens footfalls
while drawing our eyes to the skies

dusting of snow

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Bringing softness

Sunday Confessionals (SC) – Notice of Nature

Lungwort up close: Macro Monday

Here’s a picture of lungwort up close, taken near the North Santiam River in Oregon.

Lungwort, Lobania pulmonaria

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.”

Macro Monday

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.

Sunday Stills (SS) Monthly Color Challenge – Red

Smoked Salmon Benedict: Wordless Wednesday

Smoked salmon Benedict

Smoked Salmon Benedict from The Lemon Tree, Bend, Oregon

Wordless Wednesday

Early morning light: LAPC & MM

In the early morning light, shadows shift with the rising sun

Early morning light

Playgrounds wait patiently, quiet and still

Harmon Park

Graceful waterfowl paddle along deserted waterways

Early morning swan

Sunlit bucks guard their herds, scattered in darkness

Early morning light

In the early morning light, volcanoes contemplate the reflections of rushes

Little Lava Lake view

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Shadows and Reflections in Monochrome

Monochrome Monday

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 panorama

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.

Waterfalls near Redmond
Continue reading

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.

wild sunflowers

Here’s the picture from my archives I was working from.

Wild Sunflowers

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.

Sunflowers & stagecoaches at Steens Mountain, Oregon August 2019
Continue reading

A gardener’s wish: Wordless Wednesday

A gardener's wish

A gardener’s wish at the Hollinshead Community Garden in Bend, Oregon.

Wordless Wednesday

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.

Sisters Coffee Mural

Monday Mural

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. 😀

Surrounded by pines

Thursday Tree Love

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.

Forest fire ahead

Monochrome Monday

Through my pocket lens: LAPC & WPWC

Peering through my pocket lens
Vivid reflections shine
where the river bends

through my pocket lens in Bend

The colors soar high into the blue
pausing in rainclouds
falling as dew

High desert sunrise

Droplets of pigment splatter parched plants
cling to pale petals
interweave and dance

Alstromeria vignette

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) # 233 – A one lens walk

Weekly Prompts Writing Challenge (WPWC) – Bend

Skimmia up close: Macro Monday

Skimmia shrub with berries up close. This plant was seen at the Portland Japanese Garden in the fall.


Macro Monday

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.

Alpenglow Park bench

After walking the trails at Alpenglow, consider walking to the top of Pilot Butte to get amazing views of the landscape of Central Oregon.

Pull Up a Seat

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.

Lone Pine Coffee mural

Monday Mural

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!

real or surreal

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.

Words on quilt

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.

Barred Owl in Bend
Continue reading