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

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. πŸ˜‰

  • 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.

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! πŸ˜€

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – Short legged birds

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

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

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

Ice plants up close: Macro Monday

Ice plants up close near Bend, Oregon July 2020

Here’s a photo of ice plants up close from my garden near Bend, Oregon. I always look forward to seeing their bright, long lasting blooms.

Macro Monday

Arches National Park in bloom: LAPC

In early May 2017, we visited the national parks in Utah. With temperatures in the 90s, we didn’t exactly avoid the desert’s heat, but we were happy to see Arches National Park in bloom.

These plants grow well under the hot, sunny conditions. Here are a few of the plants we saw in bloom. Some are big and bold; others are small and subtle.

Arches National Park in bloom May 2017
Blooming cactus in Utah May 2017
Evening primrose in Utah May 2017
Arches National Park in bloom, yucca plant Utah May 2017
Blooming wildflowers and grasses in Utah May 2017
Arches National Park wildflowers May 2017

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Under the sun

Plant ID – To weed or not to weed: Friday Flowers

To weed or not to weed. Sometimes weeding is a big job, so how can you tell which plant is a weed?

Are the tall plants in this photo weeds that I should pull?

Mullein plants near Bend, Oregon July 2020

What about this plant with pretty purple flowers?

Spotted knapweed near Bend, Oregon July2020

Are these two plants weeds?

Oregon sunshine & iceplant near Bend, Oregon July2020

You can’t always determine what kind of plant it is, but plant ID tools will help.

Websites & Apps

A good place to start, is the Wildflower Search website. You can narrow down the possibilities by clicking on a map with the general location you saw the plant. You can narrow it down more by inputting if it’s a tree, shrub, flower, grass, etc. Entering the color of the flower and the time of year you observed it narrows it down even more. This site goes into more detail with options including the growth pattern of leaves and the number of flower petals but most of the time, just selecting the options already mentioned helps determine what it is.

Wildflower Search Plant ID July 2020

Here in Oregon, you can get a paid app for Oregon Wildflower identification. It has similar features to the Wildflower Search site. This app is great to have on your phone when you’re out in the field. Is there a plant ID app where you live? They are a great resource!

Oregon Wildlfowers Plant ID July 2020

Books & Extension Units

Of course you can consult a wide selection of field guides. Use those that cover your geographic area. Here are a few I use. Yes, that copy of Sagebrush Country has spent a lot of time in the field. πŸ˜‰ If you’re looking for a more recently published field guide, see Wildflowers of Oregon: A Field Guide to over 400 Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of the Coast, Cascades, and High Desert.

Plant identification field guides July 2020

Don’t forget to consult your local Cooperative Extension Unit. If you take in a cutting, they can help you identify the plant. At the Oregon State University Extension Service office closest to me, I can “Ask an Expert” by sending in a photograph of an unidentified plant. They’ll help you with plant ID. Cooperative Extension Units have a wealth of information for gardeners. The one here in Central Oregon has a great publication on water-wise gardening that I have referred to numerous times.

Water-wise gardening handbook July 2020

My Favorite Plant ID Tool!

I saved my favorite plant identification tool for last. Install the Google Lens app and take a picture with your phone. Open the picture and click on the icon and your screen will sparkle like it’s been sprinkled with pixie dust. Then it will magically show you pictures with names of possible plants. I have also used this app for identifying random antiques, but identifying plants is what I use it for the most. Does Google Lens work perfectly in identifying everything? No! Yesterday I took a picture of a lizard on a juniper tree. It told me it was a pangolin, a type of scaly anteater, on bamboo. πŸ˜€ However, Google Lens usually narrows things down and then you can refer to field guides, etc.

So back to my original questions about if I should pull the plants pictured.

Google Lens mullein plant near Bend, Oregon July 2020

Google Lens tells me the first plant is a type of mullein. They are considered a weed where I live. However, birds love the seeds on those tall stalks so I leave a few in the landscaping for them. It’s okay to keep plants that aren’t native if you keep them from getting out of control.

Google Lens spotted knapweed near Bend, Oregon July 2020

The second plant, with the pretty purple flowers, is spotted knapweed. It is so invasive around Central Oregon that you can be fined up to $750 a day per lot. I pull every one of those I see. The local Noxious Weed Program helps landowners identify aggressive, non-native plants.

The last picture is a twofer. Are these plants weeds? I can click on each plant and Google Lens will tell me what they are. The yellow flowered plant is Oregon sunshine. This native plant grows like a weed, but I love its cheerful color and long-lasting blooms so I don’t pull it. The pink flowered plant is iceplant. It’s an escapee from a landscaped part of our yard. It gets no water where it is but it’s doing great! Both these plants will stay where they are.

Good luck with your attempts at plant ID. Hope these tools help.

Friday Flowers

Resplendent with crystals of snow: LAPC

Winds shift and winter blows
In from the farthest reaches of
North, carried on cold fronts
Turning landscapes into
Enchanted scenes
Resplendent with crystals of snow

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Winter

Horsetail Falls View: Pull up a Seat & PFTW Challenge

Last fall we were treated to a beautiful Horsetail Falls view on an October day. We took a trip to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to see some of the sights. The Historic Columbia River Highway runs parallel to the river and takes you past several spectacular waterfalls, including iconic Multnomah Falls.

You can take in the views from this comfortable bench or…

Horsetail Falls view , Oregon October 2019

Get great photos of this 224-foot tall waterfall from the roadside.

Horsetail Falls in Oregon October 201

I liked the interesting rock formation to the left of the falls and the layers of green moss and ferns.

Base of a waterfall near the Columbia River in Oregon October 2019

You can also get a good Horsetail Falls view from Horsetail Falls Trail #438. This 2.3-mile loop trail takes you past Horsetail Falls, Ponytail Falls, and Middle Oneata Falls.

Check ahead of time before visiting. The site may be closed because of COVID-19 restrictions, wildfires, or for other reasons.

Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge – Week 29

Photo for the Week (PFTW) 72- Vacation

Autumn kaleidoscope colors: LAPC

Rotate the autumn kaleidoscope lens to see summer’s verdant green fade

Green meadow at Sunriver Oregon June 2017

And mix with blades of rich gold.

Gold and green grasses in Oregon September 2016

Rotate the autumn kaleidoscope lens to see warm reds mute cool greens

Autumn's kaleidoscope red leaves among fallen trees in Oregon September 2016

And mix with shards of bright yellow.

Red and gold leaves in Bend, Oregon October 2019

And if you rotate the autumn kaleidoscope lens at the right moment,

Autumn's kaleidoscope Oregon September 2016

You’ll see all the brilliant colors fill your view

Autumn's kaleidoscope Oregon September 2016

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Fall/Autumn

Blue flax flowers up close: Macro Monday

Blue flax flowers up close in my garden. These delicate flowers are difficult to photograph because they have a habit of turning away from the camera. I guess they are a little camera shy!

Macro Monday