After waking up one morning, I stumbled into my darkened kitchen to make coffee. I almost stepped on this Jerusalem cricket in the middle of the room.
The Jerusalem cricket, Stenopelmatus fuscus, also known as the potato bug, is a slow-moving desert creature that has an almost prehistoric look. Though they look harmless, they’re capable of delivering a painful bite with their strong jaw. They feed on plant roots, decaying matter, potatoes, and other insects – including their mates!
I carefully scooped up my unexpected visitor with a piece of cardboard and took it outside so it could hide under a rock, and not under my bare feet. 😉
To learn more about this strange insects’ mating ritual, watch this video.
The Hollinshead Park gardens in Bend, Oregon include a community garden and a water-wise garden.
Hollinshead Park Gardens – Community Garden
The community garden at Hollinshead Park is managed by a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University Extension Service, Central Oregon Master Gardener Association, and Bend Park and Recreation District.
Local gardeners grow fruit, vegetables, and flowers on 90 reserved plots.
Gardeners plant in concise or freeform patterns. Some use various supports or covers.
It’s a great place to take pictures throughout the year.
In February, we went to see firepits at Winterfest at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, Oregon. You never know what kinds of things the participants of the firepit section will come up with. The firepits used to be on display on park service land along the Deschutes River in Bend.
This one looks like a Viking ship, complete with dragon head and tail.
Here’s a closer look at its head. Look at those teeth!
Flowers and forest firepits
This firepit looked like a round flower, full of flame.
This paperbark maple, Acer griseum, was growing in the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. This tree grows to a height of 20 – 30 feet.
TheGardenWebsite.com refers to paperbark maples as a “hardy, tough and well-behaved tree.” Their peeling, cinnamon-colored bark is beautiful throughout the year.
The species name, griseum, refers to the grey color on the underside of the leaves. In the fall, the leaves turn various colors of red, orange, and yellow. This maple produces distinctive winged seeds are known as “samaras” or “helicopters.”
I’m sharing photos of a Guinness Storehouse visit on this Saint Patrick’s Day. The Storehouse is in Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland and it gets millions of visitors a year.
Guinness was first created in 1759 and the Storehouse where it’s made opened to the public in 2000. The best selling alcoholic drink in Ireland is Guinness. The exhibits at the Storehouse lead you through the history and manufacturing of this iconic beer.
I liked how the display boards had brief, informative explanations.
Displays are also artistic and multimedia. This fountain was one of my favorites. I’ll share photos of their whimsical advertising displays in a future post.
This succulent mural is at River’s Place, a food truck pod on the east side of Bend. We are lucky to have at least seven of these “pods” where trucks can hook up to water and power to serve customers. Each pod has indoor seating with numerous beers on tap. They also host musicians, trivia nights, and other events.
This mural was created by Nicole Fontana, of Fontana Painting. Succulents are one of my favorite types of plants because they have so much variety. She captured that variety well.
I have featured Nicole’s work in a previous post featuring whimsical doors in Tumalo. I loved the detail in those paintings and in this succulent mural.
When I entered the Under the Snow exhibition at the High Desert Museum on a busy weekend, I thought of one word: engaging. I watched young children dash from one part of the gallery to another, voicing their excitement the whole way. Adults paused and pointed out interesting facts and features. The interactivity of the displays drew everyone in. This exhibition, created by High Desert Museum staff members, displays information in English and Spanish.
Under the Snow presents information on twenty species of wildlife, plants, and fungi on large and small screens. They live in the area beneath the snow called the subnivium. The snow provides insulation, maintaining a steady temperature even when it’s below freezing outside.
Today I’m sharing a pen and ink drawing I did of a Snowy Owl. Some have more black markings on their feathers than others.
I once took a long drive to see a Snowy Owl when I lived in Bellingham, in northwestern Washington state. The owl had been spotted in a residential neighborhood in Point Roberts, Washington. To get to the peninsula where Point Roberts is located, you have to drive into Canada or get there by boat. At that time, it was quick and easy to drive into Canada from the states.
I’m including a map to show where Point Roberts is. Zoom out to get a better view.
When I got to where the owl was, I watched it perch on a fence post in someone’s yard, oblivious to the crowds flocking around it. The bird was there for a few days, just long enough for many birders to check this species off their list.
Here’s a picture of lungwort up close, taken near the North Santiam River in Oregon.
Also known as Lung lichen, this lichen has been used in dyes, teas, and for treatment of lung ailments. Deer and moose browse on lungwort and other animals use it for nest material.
Lungwort is sensitive to air pollution and doesn’t grow well in polluted locations. In fact, the National Forest Service keeps a database on this and other lichens “to detect, map, evaluate trends, and assess the ecological impacts of air pollutants.”
I took a short hike yesterday to get a memorable view of an icy Cline Falls. Visitors can park at Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint and hike a 1/2 mile trail along the river. There’s also a place to view them from above near NW Eagle Drive and NW 74th.
Cline Falls is on the Deschutes River, 4 miles west of Redmond, Oregon. The river splits into several channels and the waterfalls are 20-feet high and 50-feet wide.
This area is part of the Deschutes River Paddle Trail. Cline Falls is classified as Class-3 and paddlers are required to portage their watercraft around the falls.
This painting is in the eastside Lone Pine Coffee Roasters business in Bend. The mural was painted by artist Megan McGuinness and it wraps around three walls. I like how she outlined almost everything with white borders.
This scene shows a fox in the foreground and a snowy owl in the upper corner. The mountain on the right is Smith Rock, a local rock climber’s favorite. Crooked River wraps around the edge of the mountain.
Every year in December, the Tumalo Creek Holiday Lights Paddle Parade takes place on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. This year, I took pictures of them paddling through the snow. I thought maybe there wouldn’t be as many participants, but a little snow falling didn’t stop people from joining in on this annual event.
Here’s a short video of paddlers on the river.
Paddlers decorate their kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and canoes with holiday lights and paddle from Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe for about a half mile to the Flag Bridge in the Old Mill district.
You can see a snow-covered inflatable reindeer on the kayak on the left side of the photo below. I enjoy seeing reindeer wherever I can.
These photos show a kitchen from the past, full of artifacts.
We recently visited the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon. The building originally served as a trading post, built in 1864. In the 1870s, business partners Lung On and Ing Hay established a business here. It served as as apothecary/medical clinic/store/boarding house/community and religious center. It closed in 1940 and was sealed up for decades. When it was finally opened, it was like a time capsule.
The building preserves Chinese history from a time when they were excluded from everyday society. This site is open from May 1 to October 31 and guided tours are offered for free. If you have an interest in history, be sure to visit this fascinating site!
Last July, on the High Desert Garden Tour in Bend, I was happy to see a place to pause in a xeriscaped garden. What is xeriscaping, you may ask. Here’s the dictionary definition:
a landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques (such as the use of drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and efficient irrigation)
Are xeriscaped gardens boring? No! This garden was designed by Rick Martinson, formerly of Wintercreek Restoration and Nursery. He’s now the executive director of the Worthy Garden Club. Rick has been encouraging people to use plants that require little water for years.
I’m showing lighter and darker nature pictures to go with the lens-artists photo challenge of “exposure” this week. Sometimes I frame a shot with lighter and darker settings; other times I make changes during the photo editing process.
The first two pictures are of maidenhair fern growing along the trail in Silver Falls State Park. In this case I like both versions. Maybe it’s because I like all shades of green. 🙂
The next two pictures show a mountain peak near Mitchell, Oregon. The first shows the structure of the rimrock at the peak and the second brings out the clouds. I prefer the darker, more evil-looking, version.
Last month, we took a trip to see the Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This museum is in McMinnville, about 50 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. Its star attraction is the airplane associated with Howard Hughes, Jr.
In 1942, steel magnate Henry Kaiser approached Hughes about creating a massive flying boat. Hughes was well known for breaking records as a pilot, including a 1935 landplane airspeed record of 352 miles per hour. In 1938, Hughes flew around the world in 3 days 19 hours 17 minutes, beating the previous record by almost four days. He was also a brilliant engineer.
After Kaiser withdrew from the flying boat project in 1944, Howard Hughes renamed the plane H-4 Hercules. It’s also called the Hughes Flying Boat and the Spruce Goose. Hughes become obsessed with the project. Though the original intention was for the aircraft to help with war efforts, by the time they completed the project, the war was over.
Hughes flew the plane on November 2, 1947. He wanted to prove it was airworthy and not just a flight of fancy. In its first and only flight, he flew it at an altitude of 70 feet for 26 seconds. The aircraft flew for about one mile at a speed of 135 miles per hour.
Exterior of the Spruce Goose
I knew the Spruce Goose was large, but I had no idea how enormous it was. I’m including several exterior photos to show the scale of this massive aircraft. The first picture shows a view from the second-story balcony.
The next two show aircraft on display under one wing and then the other. They look so small in comparison.
This and that rock from Fischer Canyon, Oregon. According to the Central Oregon rockhounding map, published by the Bureau of Land Management, you can find petrified wood, jasper, and agate here. Other sources list calcite and quartz as being at this site.
This small conglomerate includes several types of rock that merged together.
Today I’ll share a few stories related to special flowers in my life.
Whenever I see roses, I think of a funny thing that happened to me when I was in my early twenties. I had just started dating a guy who checked parking passes where I worked. I invited him to my cozy little A-frame house on Puget Sound in Washington state. When we got to my house, I pulled open the screen door and there was a bouquet of roses tucked next to the main door. I grinned and asked if they were from him. “No,” he said sheepishly. He pulled a bouquet of roses from behind his back. Oops. The flowers in my door were from a different admirer. Awkward!
I took these photos on the High Desert Garden Tour this summer. The tour takes place in different Central Oregon locations, from sprawling rural ranches to tiny city yards. This year the featured gardens were in Bend.