After the rain in the Painted Hills: LAPC & FF

After the rain in the Painted Hills of eastern Oregon, the colors stand out in bold contrast. I live an hour and a half away from these strange geological features and patiently wait for the storms of fall to arrive.

The first image shows the view from the road to the Overlook parking area. The hills are located within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

After the rain

Though I’ve been here several times, I’d never hiked the 1/2 mile Painted Hills Overlook Trail. The easy trail leads you past this dramatic scene. Wow!

After the rain

Here’s a closer view.

After the rain

These hills are on the south side of the trail.

Painted Hills

There are four short, easy trails and a more moderate longer trail a short distance away.

This photo shows part of the Painted Cove Trail after the rain.

After the rain

Here’s another part of that trail. It’s an Instagram-worthy view, but my dog didn’t feel like smiling for the camera that day. 😉

Painted Hills

Here’s a view from Red Scar Knoll/Red Hill Trail. The colors are wonderful!

Painted Hills

I talk more about the origin of the hills on Painted Hills – An Oregon natural wonder.

Visiting the Painted Hills Unit

Here’s a map of the area that shows the hiking trails. Leaf Hill, Painted Cove, and Red Scar/Red Hill are all 0.25 miles long. Painted Hills Overlook is 0.50 miles and Carroll Rim is 1.6 miles long.

Trails at Painted Hills
Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (US National Park Service)

Here are a couple additional points about visiting the Painted Hills.

  • This landscape radiates heat so I would not recommend the longer hike on hot summer days.
  • Bring plenty of water with you on all hikes.
  • Use the restroom in the picnic area. There are no restrooms at the Overlook or at trailheads.
  • Cell phone coverage can be spotty.
  • Please stay on the trails and leash your dogs. Your tracks will remain for months in this fragile environment.

One more thing to consider…

  • If you visit after the rain, you may run into gumbo mud. When it rains here, it’s like the ground turns into a mixture of Superglue and soil. The mud collects on your tires and shoes. See how it stuck to my boots? I scraped some off before getting in the car. At home, I sprayed my boots full blast with a hose and still had to use a stiff brush to get it all off. However, getting pictures of the hills after stormy weather was well worth it!
Gumbo mud

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Weird and wonderful

Friendly Friday – Weather

Born Again Babaylan mural: LAPC & MM

This Born Again Babaylan mural, created by Bekah Badilla, is located on the eastside of Bend, Oregon. Bekah is a Filipina/White American who was born in Alaska and now lives in Bend.

The first photo shows a close up of Babaylan.

close up of mural

The second photo shows the entire 18′ x 44′ mural in the light of dawn.

Born Again Babaylan

The artist put a lot of thought into this work. Here is an excerpt from her site describing the Born Again Babaylan mural:

“In the piece, I combine symbols of past, present and future—making the linear construct of time obsolete. Melting out of the glacial ice is the spirit of a Babaylan, a matriarchal leader, spirit guide and warrior prevalent in pre-colonial Philippines. The Babaylan embodies both technology and nature, offering knowledge and guidance not through elitism and brute force but through spirituality, mysticism and ancestral strength.”

The third photo shows a close up of a young warrior.

close up of mural

The fourth photo shows a close up of circuit boards. This mural, sponsored by computer repair company, Mactek, is located in their parking area. Born Again Babaylan represents mysteries of the past and technology of the future.

close up of mural

Please visit Bekah’s website for more about this mural. She highlights the history of local Indigenous peoples. Bekah emphasizes the importance of social justice and equality in much of her work.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Street Art

Monday Mural

Cirrus clouds over a country road : Monochrome Monday

These cirrus clouds stretched across the sky over a country road in Bend.

cirrus clouds

Monochrome Monday

Past their prime: LAPC

Here in the High Desert, things tend to last well past their prime. Though this old truck shows signs of wear and tear, chances are it still runs.

Past their prime truck

This truck is located on rural property along Deschutes Market Road. This is one of 51 “market” roads in and around Deschutes County. These farm-to-market roads were built following passage of the Oregon Market Road Act of 1919. Prior to their construction, farmers navigated many miles of bumpy, rutted dirt roads to deliver their goods.

old truck

A label on the truck’s door reads S & M, Land & Livestock. I’m not sure if this was a local company. There were many ranching operations in Central Oregon, large and small, in the 1870-1920 pre-Industrial period.

Old land & livestock truck

This old barn is located on Innes Market Road near where it intersects with Gerking Market Road. Roads were often named after nearby landowners. Though this building may look past its prime, it’s mostly intact.

Old earthen barn

An interesting thing about this barn is that berms of earth provide part of the structure. We have temperature extremes in this area, including the possibility of nighttime freezing throughout the year. The insulation provided by the soil helps keep livestock and stored produce at optimal temperatures.

Past its prime barn

You can see a peek of the Sisters volcanic peaks on the left side of this photo. Excellent views from this old barn!

View from old barn

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Seen Better Days

The elegance of terns: First Friday Art

I have always been impressed by the elegance of terns. Terns in flight have pointed wingtips and some species have deeply forked tails. Today I’m sharing a stylized pencil sketch I did of a Forster’s tern. These wetland birds can be spotted in much of North America at certain times of the year.

the elegance of terns

Here are a few Caspian terns I saw at The Narrows in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, south of Burns, Oregon. They don’t have the black-tipped bill and forked tail of Forster’s terns, but still have the elegance of ferns.

Caspian terns

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

If you’re looking for something artistic to do this month, consider participating in Inktober. Create a pen-and-ink drawing every day for a month based on prompts. Fun and challenging!

Splashes of Autumn – Tanka: LAPC & SSC

Splashes of autumn

Splashes of autumn
Along verdant waterways
Beside winding roads
Within ancient lava beds
The glorious frocks of fall

Splashes of autumn
Fall leaves
Fall leaves in lava rock

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Colors of Autumn

Sunday Stills Challenge (SSC) – Signs of Autumn or Spring

Rocky seating at Yellowstone: Pull Up a Seat Challenge

These photos show rocky seating at Yellowstone National Park. The Park Service constructed several types of places to sit that blend into the environment.

in the first picture, tourist gather to take in the dramatic views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Young children are taking a brief rest with their family on a rocky bench.

Rocky seating at Yellowstone

The second picture shows a boulder sofa at the head of the trail. It’s unoccupied at the moment since everyone is drawn towards the waterfalls a short distance away.

Rocky seating in Yellowstone

Here’s a picture of the waterfalls. Can you see why people travel thousands of miles to sit on rough rocky seating to take in the view?

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Pull Up a Seat Challenge – Week 39

Dam It! Beavers and Us: One Word Sunday

I’m always on the lookout for beavers when walking the river trails in the Old Mill District of Bend. I listen for the sound of a tail slapping the water and search for the silhouette of a rounded head breaking the water’s surface. Why look for beavers next to a shopping area? Because these industrious creatures found an ideal spot to build a lodge there. I’ve always wanted to know more about beavers, so I visited the Museum’s Dam It! Beavers and Us exhibition.

Beavers exhibit in Bend

This multimedia interactive exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about the North American beaver, Castor canadensis. Tall, cutout panels representing forest trees divide the room. Dappled light shines onto the imaginary forest floor. A re-creation of a beaver dam is tucked into a corner for kids to explore.

Beavers exhibit in Bend

In another corner, a large box suspended from a parachute drifts towards the ground—more on that later. An Oregon flag, featuring a beaver, flutters against a wall near the entrance. Video featuring the important connection of beavers with Native Americans plays in another section. A colorful animation featuring the life cycle of beavers plays on a large screen on the back wall.

Parachuting in Idaho

History of beavers

In the center of the room, displays of articulated skeletons, fossils, and beaver-chewed trees draw your attention. One skeleton shows a North American beaver, while the other shows a giant beaver, Castoroides. As its name implies, the giant beaver was much larger than present day beavers. The extinct giant beaver weighed 198 to 276 pounds, while modern beavers weigh 24 to 71 pounds. Dramatic changes in the landscape after the Ice Age may have led to this large mammal’s demise during the Pleistocene era.

Beaver skeletons & fossils

In the more recent past, beavers have played an important part in Native American culture. The Blackfeet Nation considers beaver to be one of the three original animals. They played a key role in the distribution of water and land. Beavers also taught people how to be moral. Though many tribes traded skins with settlers, Blackfeet chose not to because of beaver’s cultural importance. They celebrated beavers in a ceremony called the “Beaver Bundle”, an event passed down through generations.

In the late 1800s, things changed for North American beavers when European demand for their skins skyrocketed. They used beaver skins in creating hats and other products. The mercurous nitrate used in curing felt for hats led to the term “mad as a hatter” because of the chemical’s toxic side effects.

Beaverskin hat

Because of high demand, beavers were overtrapped and prime habitat was destroyed. Beaver populations plummeted. One of the contributing factors was the Hudson Bay Company’s (HBC) decision to destroy beaver populations “as fast as possible” to discourage westward migration from American competitors. In the period from 1823 to 1841, HBC intended to make the Snake River territory a “fur desert.”

Trapping of beavers

Changing perceptions of beavers

  By the end of the 19th century, perceptions of beavers changed and conservation efforts began. In the 1920s, they moved beavers to areas where they lived in the past. Scientists recognized the value of the beaver in wetland habitat management.

We know beavers as one of nature’s engineers. The ponds and channels they create support diverse flora and fauna. As the effects of climate change increase, these sites serve as important refuges from wildfire, and they also help reduce flooding. 

The exhibit highlights the stream channels beavers help create around rivers in two large-scale images. One features an enhanced image taken near Sunriver. The many abandoned braided channels around the Little Deschutes River stand out in this picture.

Willamette River

The other picture, of the Willamette River, uses LiDAR imagery to show the stream channels that existed over the last 12,000 years.

Little Deschutes River channels

This exhibition features several examples of current work involving beavers. In 2016, in Birch Creek, Idaho, five beavers released near the creek enhanced the habitat. Rare Bonneville cutthroat trout populations increased after the introduction. The Tulalip Tribes, in Washington State, relocated beaver to streams on treaty lands as part of their watershed management program. Other tribes plan to follow their lead. In Oregon, biologists created Beaver Dam Analogs (BDAs) on East Fork Beech Creek and Bridge Creek. These artificial dams established habitat for beavers and fish populations have rebounded.

Surprising facts

Back to the box suspended from a parachute mentioned earlier in this article. Why is this box featured in the exhibit? In the 1940s, wildlife agencies dropped beavers from planes in crates designed to open on impact. This method helped re-establish beaver populations in remote areas.

Beaver liquor & coat

There is one more item of interest to mention in this exhibit. Did you notice the bottles of alcohol in the display case on the left side of the photo above? Those bottles contain Eau de Musc whiskey. Tamworth Distilling flavors this whiskey with castoreum, an oily substance from castor sacs located under a beaver’s tail. The distillery notes its “bright and fruit qualities (raspberry) and rich leathery notes along with creamy vanilla aroma.” Would you care to make a toast to beavers with a glass of this? I’ll leave that decision up to you, but we should celebrate this engaging exhibit for teaching us more about our remarkable state animal.

This exhibit is on display at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon through October 3, 2021.

One Word Sunday – Exhibit

This is a reprint of an article I wrote for High Desert Voices, a newsletter published by and for volunteers at the High Desert Museum. This article was featured in the August 2021 issue.

Diablo Dam in black & white: Monochrome Monday

At one time, the Diablo Dam in Washington state was the world’s tallest dam. This 389-foot tall dam is located on the Skagit River. Construction began in Diablo Canyon in 1927. Though completed in 1930, the Great Depression delayed generation of electricity until 1936. The 1920s architecture stands out in this black and white photograph.

Diablo Lake Dam

Monochrome Monday

Bison jump sculpture, painting, & poem: SS & LAPC

Bison sculpture

Bison jump sculpture in Cody

I saw this impressive bison jump sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Free Fall, created by T.D. Kelsey in 2001, depicts a hunting method in use for hundreds of years. Hunters herded bison toward a steep cliff, where they fell to their death. As I’ve mentioned before, bison are dangerous and this is a safer alternative for harvesting them. At the base of this sculpture, piles of bones appear in a recreated archaeological dig.

Sculpture in Cody

T.D. Kelsey was born and raised on a ranch near Bozeman, Montana. T.D. Kelsey: Realist, Romantic, and Inspired Sculptor describes his background, including time spent as a rodeo cowboy, pre-med student, rancher, and airline pilot. With encouragement from his wife, Sidni, Kelsey eventually began working full time as an artist. His love for animals shows in this piece and other sculptures and paintings he created over the years.

Free Fall Sculpture

Painting of buffalo jump

I’m also including a 1947 painting entitled Buffalo Drive, by William R. Leigh. This painting, located downstairs at the Center, shows the view from the top of a bison drive. Native people waved bison skins and sticks to scare the animals over the cliff. Later, they employed horses to move the animals. However, W.R. Leigh’s Buffalo Drive notes they did not use the woman’s pack saddle pictured for this activity. Riders rode with only a pad for quick dismounts and mounts.

Buffalo Drive painting

Born in West Virginia, W.R. Leigh studied art at the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, and the Royal Academy of Art, Munich, Germany. While in Germany, Impressionism was gaining popularity, but he preferred a more realistic style. In 1906, Leigh visited New Mexico and in 1910, he went on a hunting expedition in Wyoming. Inspired by what he saw, he began creating bold colorful paintings of the American West. William R. Leigh, Frederic Remington, and Charles M. Russell are regarded as pioneers of art depicting the West.

Bison jump nonet poem

Both of these works of art show a bison jump from different perspectives. I’m concluding this post with one more interpretation, a nonet poem I wrote on this topic.

Bison in Yellowstone National Park, WY

Pushed across the plains by First Peoples
Astride mounts, chomping at jaw ropes
Triggering a stampede,
Running from pursuers
Herded together,
Eyes wild with fear,
Jump off cliff
Escape
Fall

Sculpture Saturday (SS)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Looking Up/Down

A flying unicorn mural: First Friday Art

This is a flying unicorn mural I painted in my daughter’s room when she was little. She could not decide between a flying horse and a unicorn so I painted both in one. 😀

I prefer working on small projects and had never worked on something so large. Piles of eraser dust accumulated on the floor beneath my rough sketches. I used acrylic paints, and a lot of patience, to complete this mural.

flying unicorn mural

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

First Friday Art

Fading hibiscus up close: Macro Monday

I saw these fading hibiscus flowers at a local garden center in early June. The petals are past their prime, but the flowers still have a style all their own.

Fading hibiscus

Macro Monday

Daisies Three Ways: One-to-three & Friday Flowers

Here are pictures of daisies three ways I took on the Mill A Loop trail in Bend, Oregon. I used Corel PaintShop Pro 2021 to do the photo processing.

The first two show the original photo compared to a soft focus adjustment. I think it works well for these soft flowers.

Flowers in Bend, OregonDaisies three ways

The second two show the original photo compared to a colored edges effect. I like to draw and this effect created a work of art, minus all the erasing I usually do. 😉

Flowers in Bend, OregonColored edges effect on flowers

The last images compare the original to a ripple effect. It appears the flowers are growing beneath the water’s surface in an alternate reality.

Flowers in Bend, OregonDaisies three ways

I admit, I tend to use the same settings on my photo editing program. It was a fun challenge to showcase daisies three ways while exploring some of the other options.

One-to-three Photo Processing Challenge August 2021

Friday Flowers

South Tunnel Murals in Bend: Monday Murals

The South Tunnel Murals, designed in 2012 by local artist, Paul Allen Bennett, are located in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon. These works were completed by 20+ designers from Nike working side by side with Arts Central Art Academy students and Boys and Girls club members.

South Tunnel Murals

See the tracks of shoes running along the lower border? I wonder if those could possibly be from Nike shoes. Hmm…

Bright paintings in Bend

These brightly colored images of fish echo the inhabitants of the Deschutes River, located right next to this tunnel.

Fish paintings in Bend

For now, there are no paintings on the exterior walls of the South Tunnel Murals. I’m hoping another artist will brighten up the dull concrete like they did for the “Tunnel of Joy” nearby.

South Tunnel Murals

Monday Murals

Portraits of creatures in different light: LAPC

In these portraits of creatures, the lighting is a major part of the scene.

In the first picture, a family of Sandhill Cranes struts across a meadow in the morning light. The lead bird, in the strongest light, keeps an eye out for predators.

portraits of creatures - sandhill cranes

In the next photo, a bull elk grazes in a grassy field. Bright fluffy clouds and dark forest trees are major parts of this shot. The elk, with its bright back fur and dark legs, blends into that environment.

Bull elk

In this photo, a northern river otter drifts through the water. Mid-day sun cuts through the water and dapples the bottom surface. A trail of bubbles emphasizes the otter’s streamlined form.

Northern river otter

The gray fox in this photo is soaking up the warm rays of the sun. The bright sunshine highlights her silhouette and blissful expression.

Gray fox

This Red-tailed Hawk was not bothered by my close approach. It was too busy thinking about the young Robin in my yard to notice me. This photo, taken in the middle of the day, has limited shadows.

Portraits of creatures Red-tailed Hawk

The last picture is of a mule deer in my yard. The shadows are lengthening as she looks for a place to settle down for the night. Her reddish summer coat shines in the early evening light.

Mule deer

When you’re taking portraits of creatures, you can’t always be there in the “golden hours.” Try to capture the spirit of the animal, no matter what time of day the clock says.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – It’s all about the light

Sacagawea sculpture in Wyoming: Saturday Sculpture

I was impressed by this Sacagawea sculpture in a garden at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The sculpture was created in 1980 by Harry Jackson. Jackson created abstract and realistic art while living in Cody, Meeteetse, and Lost Cabin, Wyoming. Much of his collection is housed at the Center in Cody.

Sacagawea sculpture in Cody

This large bronze sculpture has such a calm yet powerful presence. Arms folded across her chest, Sacagawea appears to be gazing towards wind blown plains on the path ahead.

Sculpture Saturdays

Tundra Swan in black & white: Monochrome Monday

This lone tundra swan lived in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon for several months this year. Its graceful silhouette, and the waves surrounding it, are highlighted in these black and white images.

Tundra swan on Deschutes River
swan on Deschutes River

Monochrome Monday

Rooted in the past: Thursday Tree Love

Rooted in the past

These western juniper trees near the shore of Prineville Reservoir were rooted in the past. After many years of fluctuating water levels, their roots became exposed. The red volcanic soil here stands out in strong contrast with the deep blue sky and green foliage.

Thursday Tree Love

Artichoke blooming up close: Macro Monday

We planted a couple artichoke plants in our garden this year and assumed they died after a week of extreme heat. Several leaves on both plants turned brown from the sun, but the plants survived. Here are their purple blossoms up close. Artichokes are pretty and tasty!

Artichoke blossom close up
vegetables in bloom

Macro Monday

High Desert Clouds-Clogyrnach Poem: LAPC

High desert clouds fill the dawn sky
Graceful brushstrokes conceived to fly
Drifters over earth
Interspersed cloudbursts
Dusk desert, glowing high

High Desert clouds
North of Steens Mountain
Near Malheur NWR
High Desert clouds

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Inspiration

Weekend Sky #36

Kingfisher art – sketches & paintings: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing kingfisher art. I drew the following images several years ago. In studies such as these you attempt to capture the essence of the subject. You’re not going for detail in this type of drawing.

Sketches of birds

John James Audubon

I’m also sharing images of belted kingfishers from a couple wildlife artists. The first painting is by John James Audubon. It’s featured in The Birds of America, published in 1827. I was fortunate to see a volume of this book in a library at a university.

At present, there are only 120 complete sets of The Birds of America known to exist. The 435 engraved plates used to create the original books measure 39″ x 26.” These enormous illustrations helped educate the public about the importance of birds. Interest in The Birds of America persists to this day. In 2018, a full set sold for $9.65 million dollars.

Kingfisher art by Audubon

Louis Agassiz Fuertes

This second illustration, by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, features a Black-billed Cuckoo, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and a pair of Belted Kingfishers. This plate was in Birds of Massachusetts and other New England States, published in 1925. This three-volume set was written by ornithologist Edward Howe Forbush and illustrated by Fuertes.

You may not recognize Fuertes’ name, but he was a gifted artist and ornithologist. In fact in 1891, at the age of 17, he became the youngest member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. He admired the work of Audubon but had his own style of painting.

Paintings of Kingfishers & Cuckoos

Both of these artists worked from specimens they collected in the field to create their kingfisher art. Audubon is known for positioning freshly-killed subjects with wire armature, a revolutionary technique at the time. However, Fuertes put more time into studying birds in their natural habitats. Some think this knowledge gives his paintings an added “sense of vitality“.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

On a corner in Howe – John Day history: MM

I saw this abandoned building on a corner in Howe, Idaho. Though I could not learn the history of this specific building, I learned a well-known historical figure spent part of his life nearby.

in Howe, Idaho

The Little Lost River, located north and east of this site, was once known as “John Day’s River” or “Day’s River.” In 1810, the John Jacob Astor Pacific Fur Company set out to establish a base of operations at the mouth of the Columbia River. They made many discoveries along the way while searching for the easiest routes of travel. John Day, an experienced hunter and trapper, was a member of the party.

John Day’s travels

The group, led by Wilson Price Hunt, divided into four parties when food became scarce. John Day became ill and was left behind with Ramsay Crooks on the shores of the Snake River. The two men eventually made their way to the mouth of the Mah-Mah River, where it joins the Columbia. At that site, the two were robbed of all their belongings and stripped naked by Natives. Because of this incident, the river was renamed the John Day River. Crooks and Day were rescued days later by Robert Stuart, of the Pacific Fur Company, and taken to Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River.

In June 1812, Day accompanied Stuart on a trip back east, but he was left on the Lower Columbia when he appeared to experience an emotional breakdown. He returned to Fort Astoria and hunted and trapped in the Willamette Valley.

John Day in Idaho

When the Pacific Fur Company was sold to the North West Company in 1813, Day became a free trapper working under contract with them. Though exact information on his travels is limited, Day made plans to work in parts of southern Idaho and northern Utah.

In 1820, he was at the Company’s winter camp near Little Lost River, Idaho, with Donald McKenzie. John Day passed away there on February 16, 1820. The winter camp is thought to be near Fallert Springs, Idaho. That’s about 19 miles north of this abandoned building on a corner in Howe.

John Day’s name is associated with:

  • John Day River, Oregon
  • The cities of John Day and Dayville in Grant County, Oregon
  • John Day River and unincorporated community in Clatsop County, Oregon
  • John Day Dam on the Columbia River
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
  • John Day Formation strata
  • Day’s Defile, Butte County, Idaho (Historical place name near where he is supposedly buried)

For more on John Day, see this article on Oregon Encyclopedia or this one, on the city of John Day’s website.

Monochrome Monday (MM)

Pretty as a picture in the West: LAPC

Sometimes you visit places where the landscapes are pretty as a picture. Here are a few places I’ve visited in the western states that feature picture postcard views. I tell a tiny tale about each of them.

Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain, Oregon is full of drama. A giant serpent tunneled through here leaving scales of deep green. Wise ones believe the sweetest water can be found in shallow wells beneath these strands of greenery.

Kiger Gorge, Oregon 28August2019

Morning Glory in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming is a glorious sight. The artist who created this landscape experimented with various colors. She could not settle on using a single color and discarded her pallet here for us to find.

Pretty as a picture at Morning Glory

This grandfather tree in Arches National Park, Utah often told tales of wild places to his many grandchildren. When he passed, they honored him by preserving the bones of his existence and planting golden flowers near his roots.

Weathered tree at Arches National Park in Utah. 3May2017

Herds of clouds collect over northern Nevada in the spring, deciding whether they will release showers in the upcoming seasons. If you listen closely, you can hear their whispers drift by you carried by the desert wind.

Magic in the wind, Nevada 29August2019

Do you see the largest sea stack in this photo of Ruby Beach in Washington State? I think it was a giant beaver who was busy eating and ignored the incoming tide. The beaver became stuck in the sand, unable to escape. She has been there for so long that a row of trees took root along her spine and grew to towering heights.

Pretty as a picture at Ruby Beach, Washington

Do any of the pretty as a picture places you have visited have hidden tales?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Postcards

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery Sale: FF

Once a year, in the middle of June, Clearwater Native Plant Nursery opens its gates to the public. This contract grow nursery provides native plants for restoration and landscaping projects. Plants sold here grow well in upland, riparian, and wetland habitats. The nursery is located in Redmond, Oregon.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery provided plants to the Deschutes Land Trust for the restoration of Whychus Creek, 15 miles to the northwest. The plantings provided wildlife habitat and helped stabilize the soil near the creek.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery Annual Sale

I had never been to their annual sale before. This nursery is not open to the public the rest of the year.

We arrived soon after opening and there were already a lot of people there. Plants ranged in price from $3 for a 4-inch pot, to $27 for a 5-gallon pot.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery

Plants for sale are laid out in neat rows.

Nursery in Redmond, Oregon

Walking through them is like being a kid in a candy store.

Nursery in Redmond, Oregon

You can find the plant labels at the end of the rows.

I purchased eight plants including the rosy pussytoes and showy penstemon pictured below. They are great wildflowers to include in my low water usage landscaping.

Some of the plants for sale had already bloomed. Gardeners need to use their imagination to think of what these plants will look like in the future.

I remember seeing prairie smoke plants at Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park and wanted one ever since. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the plant I purchased at the sale will fill out and look like the ones in Yellowstone.

Prairie Smoke Wyoming 1June2018

A few tips if you plan on attending this sale…

  • A list of plants this nursery sells is on their website to view ahead of time.
  • Parking is limited but people don’t stay long so be patient.
  • Helpful volunteers are available to answer your questions.
  • Bring your own boxes and/or wheeled carriers. They are not provided.
  • Take a picture of the plant label at the end of the row. Individual plants don’t always have labels.
  • Bring cash! They do not accept credit or other forms of payment.

Friday Flowers (FF)

Movin’ down the road in Harney County, Oregon: LAPC

When you travel the backroads in this part of the country, it’s not uncommon to see cattle herds movin’ down the road guided by cowboys. We saw a couple cowboys on horseback moving this herd near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Cattle in Harney County

You’ll see dust clouds long before you see the animals.

Movin' down the road

The cattle often stop in the road until they are pressured into moving. Watch for signals from the horseback riders to their dogs herding the cattle. Do your best to stay out of their way.

movin' down the road

Slowly push your way through. They will move, but they’ll complain about it the whole time.

Cattle in Harney County

While waiting to get through a herd, I often look at the unique markings of each animal and guess what their personalities are like. The cow and calf pictured above are big talkers, always willing to give their opinions. The one closest to us in the shot below is bold and sure-footed. She leads the others in the right direction.

Cattle in Harney County

A part of the Old West lives on in the present when you see cattle movin’ down the road, guided by riders of the range and their remarkable dogs.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Along Back Country Roads

Big Tree – Biggest Ponderosa Pine: TTL

This gigantic pine is Big Tree, AKA Big Red, the biggest Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa, ever recorded. It’s located in LaPine State Park, north of La Pine, Oregon. Though it lost 30 feet of its crown during severe storms, it is still the largest Ponderosa pine in circumference.

Big Tree in Oregon

Here are some facts about this tree:

  • Circumference: 28 feet 11 inches
  • Height: 167 feet
  • Crown spread: 68 feet
  • Approximate age: 500+ years
  • Board feet: 25,000

LaPine State Park Manager, Joe Wanamaker, gave insights about Big Red in an article in the local Source Weekly. He thought it was spared from being logged due to evidence of fire damage. This may have affected the quality of the wood harvested. Wanamaker also pointed out this tree is growing in an ideal location where water tends to collect in the soil from the nearby Deschutes River.

A paved, ADA accessible, 1/4 mile trail leads to this unique sight. Foot traffic around this much-loved attraction caused soil compaction that threatened its growth. A protective fence was constructed around it in the year 2000.

In this map of the park, from Oregon State Parks, Big Tree is located in the lower right corner.

Thursday Tree Love – 111

Yellowstone Hot Springs-A great escape!: LAPC

On our recent visit to Yellowstone National Park, we took a side trip to Yellowstone Hot Springs. This attraction is located in Gardiner, Montana, about ten minutes north of the park.

Yellowstone Hot Springs

An interesting history

In the last 100+ years, this site has passed through many hands. In 1899, French-Canadian immigrant, Julius LaDuke, staked a mining claim here and discovered it contained hot springs. He created LaDuke Hot Springs Resort to serve miners and visitors to the area. The resort included a large plunge bath and several smaller private baths. A two-story hotel was built nearby. LaDuke entered into a short-lived purchase agreement with William F. Cogswell. This was one of many setbacks in his life.

Visitors traveled by coach to Electric, later known as Aldridge, and then had to cross the 150-foot wide river to the springs. LaDuke employed barges, then a cable ferry, then a ferryboat, and finally a swinging footbridge for his guests.

Guests rumored to have visited LaDuke Hot Springs Resort include President Theodore Roosevelt and famous frontierswoman, Calamity Jane.

Meanwhile, Electric Hot Springs Company made plans to build a hospital and sanitorium one mile to the north. They employed Frank Corwin as their resident doctor. Since they needed to pipe hotter water to their site, they attempted to purchase LaDuke’s property but he refused. He sold it to John H. Holliday for $6,000 who sold it to Corwin 20 days later for $1. Corwin Springs Hospital operated from 1909 to 1916. An unexplained fire destroyed the buildings in 1916.

From 1922 to 1940, Eagle’s Nest Dude Ranch was located here. The current owners, Church Universal and Triumphant, acquired the property in the 1980s.

Read the fascinating history of this site at “Taking in the Water” at LaDuke Hot Springs Resort.

This historic site re-opened in March of 2019 after extensive renovations.

View of grounds

Yellowstone Hot Springs

When we visited in the first days of June, there were only about ten visitors. This site is well-maintained and inviting.

The unique characteristics of these pools, and their suggested health benefits, are highlighted on their website.

Yellowstone Hot Springs

Two smaller round plunge pools are located within a larger pool. One of the plunge pools has water temperature warmer than the main pool, while the other has colder water temperatures.

Every day, staff posts the current water temperatures on a board near the changing rooms. The large pool averages 98-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The “hot” plunge pool averages 103-105 degrees, and the “cold” pool averages 60-65 degrees.

After lounging in the warm pools for a while, the cold pool feels much colder! 😉

Yellowstone Hot Springs

The grounds are landscaped and clean with lots of places to sit and take in the views.

Even the changing/shower area is nice and tidy.

Changing rooms

The entrance sits at the foot of scenic mountain landscapes. Yellowstone Destinations offers tent and RV sites right next door.

Yellowstone Hot Springs

I have been to many hot springs in my travels and this was one of the better ones. We plan to visit again on our next trip to Yellowstone.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Getting Away

Flowers flowers everywhere!: Friday Flowers & FOTD

I saw flowers, flowers everywhere while walking the riverside trail in the Old Mill District of Bend this morning. This is my favorite time of year to walk by the plantings near the amphitheater. Can you see why?

Flowers, flowers everywhere

Friday Flowers & Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Yellow & white iris up close: Macro Monday

I saw this yellow & white iris in bloom in mid June. When you see them blooming, summer is on the way. The golden colors in this blossom mirror the warmth of summer days to come.

Yellow & white iris

Macro Monday

Creatures of the mist – haiku: LAPC

creatures of the mist
graze in meadowlands of steam
whisperers of warmth

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Black & white

One more chance-Backyard bird adventure: BWPC

So, the other day I heard a loud “chirp, chirp” call outside my house. I peered out the back door and spotted a baby American Robin in the middle of the yard. Maybe it was the same one we put back in its nest several days before, giving it one more chance at life.

When I approached, the young bird walked underneath some cactus in my garden. Meanwhile, both parents continued chirping loudly.

Oh no!

A movement nearby caught my eye. A Red-tailed Hawk lurked in the background, watching the fledgling. No wonder the parents of the baby robin were upset!

I tried to catch the young robin, but it flew. Not well, but I was pleased to see it could now fly. The bird settled in the gravel and rocks, right under my High Desert mural painting. Maybe it wanted to be a character in one of my stories. 😉

Oh no again!

I headed back towards my house when, whoosh! A Cooper’s Hawk flew towards the baby robin.

“No!” I said out loud. The Cooper’s Hawk veered in another direction. I often see this hawk in my yard. Here it is taking a bath in our water feature.

Meanwhile, the Red-tailed Hawk flew to another tree, followed by the robin pair. They harassed the large hawk, so it moved to yet another tree.

Something landed in that tree above the Red-tailed Hawk. The Cooper’s Hawk! Now the smaller hawk was harassing the red tail.

The young robin stayed put, but it was in a vulnerable, unprotected location and I was concerned for its safety. Our dogs, or the many free-roaming cats in the neighborhood, might attack the bird there.

One more chance

This baby bird deserved one more chance, I decided. I scooped up the bird, intending to place it inside a dense shrub.

As part of its protest at being moved, the robin pooped. I was wearing slip-on shoes and the poop splattered onto one of my shoes and my bare ankle. The robin squawked in its loudest voice.

Undeterred by its verbal and physical protestations, I kicked off the poopy shoe and settled the baby robin deep inside a cinquefoil shrub. A spiky-leaved Oregon grape shrub growing nearby offered added protection. The parent birds perched anxiously nearby.

Should I have taken this bird to an animal rescue organization? No, they get too many fledglings from well-intentioned people in the spring. This young bird can fly and may be safer out of its nest at this stage. Predators are more likely to prey on nests the longer they’re occupied.

I moved this bird back into its nest several days before when the nestling was blind and flightless. Was that okay? Since I touched the young bird, won’t the adult birds abandon their baby? It’s okay to put recently hatched nestlings back into nests. No, your scent won’t keep the young bird’s parents away. Most birds don’t have a highly developed sense of smell.

When You Should–and Should Not–Rescue Baby Birds gives more information on this topic.

The pair of robins chirped nonstop after I moved their fledgling, but quieted as the time passed. I hope that meant they found the young bird.

Will this baby robin survive? I don’t know. Though I helped, Mother Nature will make the final decision

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – Common birds in your area seen this time of the year

Trapper’s cabin re-creation: Monochrome Monday

I saw this life-sized trapper’s cabin re-creation at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. The details in the log walls, elk’s head, and snowshoes stand out in sepia tones. This is one of many amazing exhibits inside the museum.

trapper's cabin re-creation in Cody

Monochrome Monday

The burnt forehead bird – Hawaiian moorhen: BWPC

I was lucky to see the ’alae ’ula ,”burnt forehead” bird, while visiting the Waimea Valley on the island of O’ahu several years ago. This subspecies of mudhen is the Hawaiian moorhen or Hawaiian gallinule.

Population estimates range from 300-500. Due to their secretive nature, it’s difficult to know their exact numbers. Hawaiian moorhens live mainly on the islands of O’ahu and Kaua’i, with a few reports of sightings on the islands of Maui and Hawai’i. The 15 birds living at the Waimea Valley site are considered a treasured natural resource.

burnt forehead bird

So where does this moorhen get the “burnt forehead” nickname? Here’s an explanation from the Waimea Valley website:

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