Where hula hoops come from: MM

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. 😁

Hula hoop farm

Monochrome Monday (MM)

Find special surprises: LAPC & TTC

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.

Find special surprises Silverton

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.

Fall crocus

Find special surprises in the skies

Here’s the last glimpse of the sun going down on a nearly cloudless day near Waldport, Oregon.

Beach sunset

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 surprises

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.

watching otters

This picture shows reflections in the water and two Northern river otters swimming together, reflecting each others movements. Another submerged otter follows behind them.

Northern river otters

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).

Weird truck load

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?

Pet Parade

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.

find special surprises cat

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!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Treasure Hunt

Three Things Challenge (TTC) – Emotions

Visit Upper North Falls: Pull up a seat

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.

 Visit Upper North Falls

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.

Pull up a seat

On the other side: LAPC & WWP

On the other side of darkness,
it may be difficult to find a clear path ahead

On the other side
Lava Butte, Oregon

The journey towards a viable future
may be surrounded by ghosts of what once was

Santiam Highway
Remnants of fire, Santiam Highway, Oregon

Meander between colorful boulders haphazardly blocking the trail
in a landscape dark and unfathomable

On the other side
Abert Lake, Oregon

Hike to majestic mountains to discover distant aspirations
but be aware of obstacles lurking in the shadows

Mitchell, Oregon
Near Mitchell, Oregon

Keep climbing upwards because on the other side of the hill,
there is a place full of light and acceptance

East Lake
East Lake, Oregon

Lens Artist Photo Challenge – Over the Hill

Weekend Writing Prompt #278 – Viable (82 words)

Clean dog to a dirty dog: LAPC & FF

How can your canine companions go so quickly from being a clean dog to a dirty dog?

Dog walking along flower border

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? 😉

clean dog to a dirty dog

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Opposites

Friday Flowers (FF)

Contrasts in places: LAPC & WPWC

These places show contrasts in voice, feeling, and appearance.

A place’s voice can be quiet or loud.

The quietness of a vast sandy desert

Contrasts of deserts
Alvord Desert, Oregon

And the pounding presence of a waterfall.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls, Oregon

A place can feel ethereal or slightly evil.

Continue reading

Morning clouds over Bend: Skywatch Friday

Morning clouds over Bend, Oregon last Fall in a dramatic High Desert sunrise.

morning clouds over Bend

Skywatch Friday

Beauty after a tragedy: Story Swap

Today I received a little gift of beauty after a tragedy. A couple weeks ago, at a local grocery store, a young gunman killed an elderly customer, an employee that tried to stop him, and then himself. The community is still dealing with the tragedy, but is moving forward.

The store reopened today and employees were happy to see customers returning. Customers received an orchid plant as a token of the store’s appreciation. I thought it was interesting they chose to give customers orchids.

Beauty after a tragedy

Orchids are epiphytes, often growing on other plants. The host plants offer support to these beautiful plants. Orchids rely on their host plants for survival, but they don’t harm them. Orchids enrich their shared environment.

Bend, Oregon and other places are learning to deal with tragedy. We are hesitant to depend upon each other for support, but when we do, our shared communities blossom and prosper.

Find beauty after a tragedy where you can and share it with others. 🙂

Story Swap #8 – Survival

Geese flying high quinzaine poem: OWS & SM

Geese flying high over Bend
Searching for good brews?
Soaring songs?

Geese flying high

One Word Sunday (OWS) – High

Saturday Mix (SM) – Quinzaine

A cool place to rest: Pull up a Seat

Cool place to rest

A cool place to rest at the Portland Japanese Garden last fall. There are comfortable places to pause and take in the scenery throughout the garden. Cooler temperatures and colorful autumn leaves are just around the corner in the Pacific Northwest.

Autumn in Portland

Pull Up a Seat #36

Avian sentry poem: WWP

Avian sentry blackbird

Avian sentry alert at daybreak
Perched on cattails near High Desert lake
Dangerous clouds move in
Surrounding him
Lightning flashes
Thunder crashes
Blackbird sounds alarm
Protecting marshes from harm

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Weekend Writing Prompt – Avian (29 Words)

Jasper shown up close: Macro Monday

This piece of jasper, shown up close, comes from Fischer Canyon, south of Prineville Reservoir. I liked this rock because the yellow lichen stood out in bold contrast against the red background.

Jasper shown up close

Macro Monday

Weird and wonderful sights: LAPC

In your travels near and far, you may find weird and wonderful sights.

Weird architecture

Sometimes you find a weird sight when you’re driving down the highway and look it up later. This is the Smith Mansion, located in Wapiti, Wyoming, halfway between Cody and Yellowstone.

Lee Smith, a former builder and engineer, began constructing this structure from locally harvested logs. However, he became obsessed with adding on to the building, which led to his divorce. For 22 years he continued construction so that eventually it was 5-stories tall. One day, unfortunately, he slipped while working and fell to his death. His daughter owned the house for many years until it was sold to a neighbor in 2020.

Weird

For a better look at this amazing structure inside and out, watch this video by Scott Richard.

Wonderful tastes

At other times you’ll go a little off the beaten path in search of a good meal. This delicious barbecue dinner is from the Apple Valley BBQ in Parkdale, Oregon. Parkdale, at the base of Mt Hood, is a small town with a population of about 650. Fruit orchards fill the valleys in this part of Oregon and the restaurant incorporates fruit into their meals. The coleslaw pictured contains slices of fresh pears. They use local cherry wood to smoke their meat. Yum, definitely one of my favorites!

Apple Valley BBQ
Continue reading

Seeing seaside sunset: LAPC

Seeing seaside sunset with my dog near Waldport, Oregon. She doesn’t like water, but felt comfortable taking in the scene from this distance.

seeing seaside sunset

The Lens- Artist Photo Challenge this week is Here Comes the Sun, but this is more like “there goes the sun.” 😉

In the Spotlight: LAPC

The pictures featured in this post focus on part of the picture being in the spotlight. A darker background increases the contrast and draws your eye towards the lighter part.

We visited Steamboat Geyser at Yellowstone National Park in the early morning. The sun rose behind the scene, bathing the steam in light.

in the spotlight geyser

These two Northern River Otters at the High Desert Museum were in constant motion the day I photographed them. In this picture, sunlight illuminated both of their heads simultaneously.

Northern river otters
Continue reading

Sticks & stones: Monochrome Monday

A collection of sticks & stones along the shoreline at Yaquina Head in Oregon.

sticks & stones

Monochrome Monday

Wyoming skyscapes as paintings: LAPC

I dip a dry brush into Titanium White and tentatively paint delicate wisps onto Cobalt Blue Wyoming skyscapes

Wispy clouds

Emboldened, I fill my brush and paint curving lines reaching towards the sky

Wyoming skyscapes
Continue reading

Trailing petunias up close: Macro Monday

I saw these multi-colored trailing petunias in a hanging basket in downtown Bend. Since they produce so many flowers, another common name for this plant is ‘million bells.’

Trailing petunias
Trailing petunias Calibrachoa hybrida

These perennials are hybrids from plants originally grown in South America. They bloom from spring through first frost and they’re easy to grow. They make a perfect addition to hanging baskets.

Macro Monday

Lens in my pocket photography: LAPC

Though I don’t have a favorite type of photography, I prefer to do “lens in my pocket” photography. I use a Samsung Ultra phone or a Panasonic Lumix camera that easily fit into a pocket.

Sometimes I like taking panoramas of scenes from afar with my phone, such as this photo of bison in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park.

Lamar Valley

At other times, I like a closer view of wild creatures. This Barred Owl in my backyard was photographed with my phone attached to a spotting scope. This is called “digiscoping.” The owl visited regularly last spring, feasting on the numerous Pacific tree frogs in our pond.

Barred Owl in Bend

I bought an inexpensive phone case and glued on a universal mount for digiscoping. You can quickly pop in a phone, attach it to a scope or binoculars, and it’s ready to go.

Continue reading

White-faced Ibis drawing & photos: FFA

This is a pencil sketch I drew of a White-faced Ibis. He is a character in a book I’m working on. The ibis, Arco Iris, gets his power from the rainbow obsidian stone he wears. Sometimes if you draw a character, it helps you write about their personality and physical traits.

White-faced Ibis drawing

I recently took pictures of White-faced Ibis in a field near Paisley, Oregon. The field was full of blue camas and it gave the scene a kind of magical feeling.

Ibis in a field

When you think of ibis, you may think of ancient depictions of this bird found in Egypt, but there are three species in the United States. You can find Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, and White-faced Ibis in parts of North America, Central America, and South America.

Inlay depicting Thoth as the ibis with a maat feather. Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The plumage of our local ibis looks black at first, but when you take a closer look, it’s iridescent. Their feathers catch the light as they plunge their long beaks into marshes and meadows in search of prey. They eat a variety of prey including insects, worms, and small fish. Ibis are particularly fond of crayfish.

Birds in a field

When in breeding plumage, some of the White-faced Ibis’ feathers turn a bronze color, their legs turn pink, and a mask of pale white skin around their eyes appears. What better way to attract a mate than putting on a mask, pink leggings, and a bronze cape!

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

First Friday Art (FFA)

Wind-sculpted poem: Haiku & MM

Beach scene in Oregon

wind-sculpted mountains
emerge from sandy shorelines
embrace life, vanish

wind-sculpted mountains

Note: These sand “mountains” near Waldport, Oregon are about 1/2 inch tall.

Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge – Sand and Life

Macro Monday

Storm over Playa : 1-to-3 Photo Challenge

In early June, while participating in a Great Basin Natural History workshop, I took photos of the storm over Playa. Playa, located on the shores of Summer Lake, serves as a retreat for artists and scientists looking for a peaceful place to do their work. They also offer a limited number of workshops.

We had an unusually wet spring here in the High Desert. This photograph shows a big storm over Playa. I stayed in the two-story cabin pictured and had commanding views of the Basin and Range landscape. High winds were pushing dust storms into the air near the lake’s shore.

I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I slightly increased the contrast and brightness.

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>Process 2. This effect slightly blurs and darkens the edges and increases color saturation. I thought this effect made the center appear brighter and gave the photo a vintage feel.

Storm over PlayaStorm over Playa
Continue reading

Memorable moments from home: LAPC

Trying to choose only three of my favorite photos for this challenge was very difficult. I decided to focus on memorable moments from home.

The first shows a glorious fall sunset behind my juniper tree muse. I like the combination of color, lightness and darkness, and texture in this photo. The branches of the western juniper tree seem to be directing a symphony of clouds.

best photos dusk desert sky

The second is a close up view of a different juniper tree’s bark. Though some see western junipers as an unwelcome invader in sagebrush habitats, I’m impressed by their beauty. Their rough bark varies in color, as does their wood. Wrinkles add to their character as they age. The birds in my yard are grateful for the shelter and food these trees provide.

memorable moments with juniper bark

The third picture is of my “pet” Cooper’s Hawk. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of her. On this day, she took an extended bath and spent a long time preening her feathers. Her fluffed up feathers, piercing gaze, and stance are not the typical view you get of these raptors. It was one of those memorable moments!

Cooper's hawk visited me

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Picking favorites

Real or surreal? Strange sights seen LAPC & RDP

I’ve noticed odd plants, animals, and natural features recently and wondered if they were real or surreal.

I had an odd feeling when my flight flew over Mt Rainier a few weeks ago. Just as we passed over its peak, this strange creature emerged from its depths. Yikes! I was glad I was able to take a quick snapshot before it disappeared.

real or surreal

While exploring Crack in the Ground on a June field trip, I was overcome by a sudden feeling of peacefulness. I paused when I noticed a movement from the corner of my eye. This benevolent Picasso face emerged from the rock walls and smiled and nodded at me.

Picasso rock face

On a recent hot afternoon, I dozed off in my comfortable recliner. I was awakened by a strange noise. A few feet away, I saw a weird creature. It had the head of a ground squirrel and the body of a cat. Was it real or surreal?

cat with squirrel head
Continue reading

Pagoda lantern and pond scene: CFFC

As sweltering temperatures occur here and elsewhere around the world, my mind keeps wandering back to the landscape near the pagoda lantern at the Portland Japanese Garden. I visited this impressive garden on a cool day in late October. The waterfall near the sculpture, Heavenly Waterfall, enters a small pond, full of koi fish.

Pagoda sculpture

This ‘snow-viewing’ pagoda lantern (Yukimi-dōrō) is located in the the Lower Pond section of the garden. The roof, or umbrella, on these lanterns is designed to catch the snowfall. These sculptures are traditionally placed near water.

Heavenly Falls

Though it’s still a couple of months away, I’m looking forward to the cooler temperatures of autumn and the bright splashes of colorful leaves.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC) – landscapes or waterscapes

Shore pines along the shorelines: TTL & WIL

On a recent trip to the Oregon coast, I was impressed by the contorted shapes of shore pines along the shorelines. The scientific name of this tree is Pinus contorta var. contorta. It’s a very fitting name.

Some shore pines are barely attached to rocky cliffs. This common tree of the coast tolerates salt spray and a wide variety of soils.

High winds are common near the shorelines and they sculpt these lovely trees into interesting shapes.

Others grow in 40-50 foot tall forests, constantly buffeted by the wind.

These resilient trees have adapted to living in a challenging environment. They twist and turn in an effort to find the best ways to survive.

Thursday Tree Love

Whatsoever is Lovely Week 27

Captured sunshine: Macro Monday

These colorful lichens at Lake Abert look like bits of captured sunshine.

Captured sunshine in lichens
Colorful lichens at Lake Abert, Oregon

Macro Monday

Double views in changing seasons: LAPC & WWP

Changing seasons bring double views

Shining cactus blossoms returning

double views of cactus

Mothers guarding their curious young

Cow with calves

Dramatic storms hovering over landscapes

Double views of Summer Lake
Continue reading

GIANT thundereggs at Priday Polka-Dot Agate Beds: LAPC

North of Madras, Oregon, you’ll find giant thundereggs tucked away on a hilltop near the ghost town of Ashwood. Polka-dot agates and thundereggs occur naturally at the Priday Polka-Dot Agate Beds.

Agate beds

The thundereggs you’ll find here are amazing! You never know what kind of treasures you’ll find on the inside.

Close up of rock

Giant thundereggs
Continue reading

Primrose painting, photo, & Poem: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing a primrose painting, photo, and poem I created. When I was on a field trip in early June, we saw a “field” of this plant in bloom near Crack in the Ground. Tufted evening-primrose, Oenothera caespitosa, usually only bloom at night but on that day, dark clouds filled the skies.

Here’s a watercolor I painted of the flowers.

Tufted evening primrose

And here’s the work in progress in my little studio space.

Studio space

This is the close up photograph I took of these beautiful flowers near Crack in Ground. I’m growing evening-primrose in my landscaping and, so far, the always hungry resident mule deer have not discovered them. 🤞

Tufted evening primrose

Here is a Sijo poem about these remarkable flowers.

Awakened when the moon rises over the silent desert
Flowers in sandy soil open, shining like pale lanterns
Enchanting the world with intoxicating scent, until dawn breaks

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

First Friday Art

Focus on the eyes: LAPC

When you focus on the eyes of your subject, you make a connection with them to share with others.

The intense golden stare of an alert Great Horned Owl.

Focus on the eyes

The ghostly ice-blue eyes of a dog with ancestry from frozen lands.

Close up of dog

The chestnut brown gaze of an immense grizzly bear in motion.

Grizzly bear
Continue reading

Cactus buds in my garden: Macro Monday

Here’s an up close view of prickly pear cactus buds in my garden. Yes, those spikes are sharp and difficult to weed around, but I eagerly await the day when their delicate yellow flowers unfurl.

Cactus buds

Macro Monday

Guided by shadows haiku: FFC & WHPPC

guided by shadows
emerald meadows slumber
slip into summer

Guided by shadows

Friendly Friday Challenge – Green

Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge – Guide and Slip

Stick fence at Summer Lake: Wordless Wednesday

Stick fence at Summer Lake
Stick fence at Summer Lake
Rustic fencing
Stick fence at Summer Lake – closer view

Wordless Wednesday

High Desert voices of the many and the few: LAPC

High Desert voices can be heard throughout Central Oregon if you just pause and listen.

Bold shouts of the many

High desert voices Abert Rim
Lichen-covered boulders at Abert Rim

Quiet whispers of the few

Painted By The Earth Summer Lake, Oregon 30March2018
Stones layered with calcite at Summer Lake

Raucous calls of the many

High desert voices Summer Lake
Waterbird colony at Summer Lake
Continue reading