It’s meadowlark time! I couldn’t find a clock I really liked so I made one with some leftover scraps of wood. I painted a Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta, on it because it’s our state bird. It’s also the state bird of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska.
They are a beautiful bird with bold, bright markings. They have a cheery sounding song that always reminds me of the Wild West. Listen to it here. Western Meadowlark song.
Oregon WinterFest celebrates the winter season here in Central Oregon. This is the 17th year of the event. Here are few photos from the recent event.
You can see pictures of some of the ice sculptures above. The bird sculpture was still in the process of being carved. This is a competition but I’m not sure who won it this year.
The Fire King and Ice Queen made their entry on horseback. The queen called herself “Princess Ariel Anna Belle Elsa Cinderella Rapunzel.”
Things to see and do
There were booths to get food, beverages, and handmade crafts inside the large tents. There were also quite a few food carts outside.
The Central Oregon Metal Arts Guild had demonstrations and workshops scheduled throughout the event. You could make your own large wall hook for $20.
There were several bands playing at the event. A couple of my favorites were The Company Grand and the B Side Brass Band. The Company Grandis a 10-member band that harkens back to the big band era while throwing in some modern sounds. B Side Brass Band is a New Orleans-inspired band with a great sound and a ton of enthusiasm. Both bands are local.
Activities at the event included a high-flying dirt bike show, a flying dog show, a Children’s Area, a Star Wars-themed run, and a wine walk. I previously posted pictures of the Fire Pit Competition, one of my favorite things at this event.
For a good cause
This year the proceeds from admission fees from the Oregon Winterfest went to Saving Grace, a local organization that provides support services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. If you are thinking about going next year, keep in mind that the money raised goes towards local causes.
Thinking about trying out snowshoeing? Last weekend I went out for the first time to try out snowshoeing on Mt Bachelor as part of a free guided tour. Knowledgeable volunteers take you out for a 90-minute walk in a forested area near the ski runs. The tours leave at 10:00 am and 1:30 pm. Snowshoes are provided (thanks to REI for donating them) or you can wear your own.
The volunteers will give you a quick talk on a few of the dangers associated with this sport such as tree wells. This is the area that forms in the snow close to a tree that people can fall into and sometimes not be able to get out of. I also learned that predators like to go into them in search of entrances to the burrows of small mammals. Kind of like a vending machine area for them.
This particular tour can be very popular. On the day I went, there were 33 people on the tour. They said there can be 50-60 people sometimes. They stop in several places along the way so it is not a strenuous hike.
We learned about some of the wildlife in the area. The snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus, leaves distinct tracks and one of the volunteers demonstrated how their large hind paws hit the ground before the front paws. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife on the trip but we did see common ravens, Corvus corax, Clark’s nutcracker, Nucifraga columbiana, and gray jays, Persoreus canadensis. As I have mentioned in a previous post, the jays always seem to be near me. See Jays .
The hike goes up a hill to a scenic outlook area. We were lucky to have pretty clear weather so we got a great view of some of the nearby peaks.
The volunteers also talk about some of the geology in the area and demonstrate how much water is collected after snow melts. The snowmelt here takes 10-30 years to reach the nearby river systems.
The hike is free but they suggest that you donate $5 or more to benefit the non-profit Discover Your Forest program.
This was a great experience and I will be doing more snowshoeing at Mt Bachelor in the future! 😀
Did that get your attention? I went to the Oregon WinterFest event here in Bend this weekend and took some pictures of the Fire Pit Competition that I wanted to share with you. This is the 17th year of the festival so it has a long history in the area. This is the fourth year for the fire pit competition and there are more entries every year.
The dragon and a fire pit with the flag bridge and Deschutes River in the background.
The fire pits came in many shapes and sizes.
This one had an enclosure with mirrors.
This one was like a huge globe.
Flowers of flame and a burning stump.
This one tied everything together into a nice package.
Some were tall and others were closer to the ground.
Visitors were glad to have many places to warm up.
Some of the pieces were very intricate.
Would you prefer steaming hot espresso or a roasted garlic?
This one provided shelter from the breezy conditions on Saturday night.
You could tell that the artists put a lot of heart into their work.
What does the Owhyee River in southeastern Oregon and Kanaka Flat near Jacksonville, Oregon have in common? Both place names refer to the Hawaiians that lived in Oregon in the 1800’s.
In 1811, Jacob Astor hired the first Owyhees, an older spelling of Hawaii, to work in the fur trade. A post was established in Astoria, Oregon and was later turned over to the Montreal-based North West Company. The fort was eventually renamed Fort George and it was moved to another location.
How did Hawaiians get to the mainland? Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian islands in 1778 and named them the Sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich. Ships stopped in Hawaii for provisions and since the native people were well known for their maritime expertise, they were hired as replacement workers. They were also known to excel in swimming, fishing, hunting, and in the construction of posts and forts.