A white poppy up close: Macro Monday

A white poppy up close growing in our garden last year. Poppies come in a variety of colors, but they’re also pretty in white.

a white poppy

Macro Monday

Ammonite fossil up close: Macro Monday

This picture of an ammonite fossil up close shows their beautiful spiraling structure. In ancient times they were called “snake stones” or “serpent stones.” The stones were thought to have healing and oracular powers. Fossils of these once abundant, now extinct, marine molluscs are popular with collectors.

Ammonite fossil up close

Macro Monday

Stilbite up close: Macro Monday

This is a beautiful piece of stilbite up close. Specimens like these, from the stilbite subgroup, can be found near Mill Creek, Polk County, Oregon. The crystals on this mineral are gorgeous, but I also like the parallel lines surrounding the cavity in this piece.

Stilbite up close

Macro Monday

Labradorite up close: Macro Monday

Here’s a picture of a piece of polished labradorite up close. This feldspar mineral has a unique appearance. Its iridescence catches your attention and is referred to as “labradorescence.” I like holding a piece with a lot of color and tilting it to see different colors in the light. The parallel lines of color within the stone, the twinning surfaces, reflect the light.

Labradorite up close

Macro Monday

Blanket flowers up close: Macro Monday

Here’s a photo of blanket flowers up close that I took last summer. These perennial flowers are big and showy. Their contrasting colors make them stand out as a star in any garden. These easy to grow plants are also drought tolerant. They attract butterflies and birds.

Blanket flowers up close

Macro Monday

A larch in waiting up close: Macro Monday

This larch in waiting photo shows one of their tiny cones up close. The western larch needles turn gold in the fall before dropping. The pompom needle clusters in this photo were just beginning to turn. This unique tree is one of my local favorites.

A larch in waiting

Macro Monday

Marigolds up close: Macro Monday

I saw these marigolds up close in a park at the end of July. These vignettes show orange, yellow, and white flowers that were growing in a border planting. Marigolds are an easy to grow annual that blooms for weeks during the summer months.

Marigolds up close
Yellow flower blooming
White flower blooming

Macro Monday

Mushrooms up close – A true story: Macro Monday & OLWG

Mushrooms up close
Mushrooms & whirlybirds in Portland, Oregon

A couple I once knew had a memorable experience involving mushrooms, up close and personal. They went out mushroom picking with friends in the rainforests near Olympia, Washington. That night, they prepared a fancy meal that included the mushrooms they harvested.

After dinner, they sat around the table exclaiming how wonderful the freshly-harvested mushrooms tasted. Suddenly, they noticed the family cat had jumped onto the counter and eaten a little of the mushroom sauce. She immediately began to vomit.

The dinner guests looked at each other with horror. When they picked the mushrooms, they weren’t sure of the exact species. Even when you look at mushrooms up close they can be difficult to identify. If you eat the wrong type, it might kill you.

Out of an abundance of caution, they decided to go to the hospital. Everyone had their stomach pumped in case the mushrooms were poisonous.

When they returned home, they were surprised to find the cat with a litter of newborn kittens. The cat wasn’t sick from poisoning—the vomiting was due to her labor.

At the time it happened they decided to err on the side of caution, but later, they thought their reaction was pretty funny. 😀

Macro Monday

On-line Writer’s Guild (OLWG) #232 – It might kill you

Autumn cascara leaves up close: Macro Monday

Here are a couple pictures of autumn cascara leaves up close. I spotted these beautiful multi-colored leaves on shrubs near Santiam Junction in Oregon. They were growing within an inhospitable looking lava bed.

Autumn cascara

This tall shrub is attractive year round. The oblong leaves, with their distinctive parallel veins, are glossy green for most of the year. Autumn cascara leaves have spectacular colors. Cascara produce greenish-yellow flowers in the spring, and dark purple fruit in the summer.

fall leaves

One of their common names is Cascara sagrada, Spanish for “sacred bark.” The bark is well known for its laxative effects. See the Names section of Cascara, Frangula purshiana for funny Chinook names based on these qualities. 😉

Macro Monday

Milkweed seedpod up close: Macro Monday

Here are three photos of a milkweed seedpod up close. As you may know, milkweed flowers are a favorite of monarch butterflies. North American populations of this butterfly have been rapidly declining.

I got a packet of seeds for free from Deschutes Land Trust, one of our local conservation nonprofits. To find milkweed seeds near you, use the Milkweed Seed Finder courtesy of the Xerces Society.

milkweed seedpod
seeds up close
Milkweed seedpod

We planted milkweed starts in our garden this year, but they fried during a week of unusually hot weather. 🙁

My friend, Suzy, planted hers last year and had greater success. This seedpod she gave me measures 4 inches in length. A couple of days ago it split along a seam. Each seed is attached to a little wispy fluff known as coma.

Does this milkweed seedpod remind anyone else out there of the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Macro Monday

Poppies & honeybee up close: Macro Monday

Poppies & honeybee up close in our garden this spring. This bee has full pollen baskets on its hind legs. Did you know these pollen pellets can account for 30% of a bee’s weight?

Poppies & honeybees

Macro Monday

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

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

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

Whirlybirds up close: Macro Monday

Whirlybirds up close on a maple tree in my High Desert yard. I have fond childhood memories of collecting whirlybirds from the ground and tossing them up into the air. Watching them helicopter towards the ground was cheap entertainment in those days.

Whirlybirds up close

Macro Monday

Baby bird among the berries: Macro Monday

This morning I was out taking pictures of the sunrise and noticed this baby bird among the berries. It was lucky to have landed in a place covered with a cushioning layer of western juniper leaves.

I looked up in the tree overhead and spotted the nest. An adult American robin perched nearby, completely motionless. I talked to it and got no response at all. I have read that birds sleep with one eye open but this one didn’t follow that theory.

When we placed the baby bird back in its nest, it squawked and that finally got the attention of its parents. I hope it stays in the nest and fledges with its siblings.

Baby bird among the berries

Robins like junipers because they provide shelter and food. In the fall, they and other thrushes eat as many as 220 berries in a day.

The nest is in this tree. Can you spot it?

Robin nest in juniper tree

Macro Monday

Ponderosa pine bark up close: Macro Monday

Ponderosa pine bark up close. This bark is made even more interesting with drips of amber pitch.

Macro Monday

Colorful lichens up close: Macro Monday

These colorful lichens are growing on a rock in my High Desert yard. So much variety in a tiny landscape!

Colorful lichens up close

Macro Monday

Manzanita blossoms up close: Macro Monday

Manzanita blossoms May2021

Manzanita blossoms are putting on a show right now in Central Oregon. The delicate pink blossoms contrast with the thick, leathery green leaves and red bark. The bark on these shrubs peels like on a madrone tree. It’s one of my favorite local plants but it refuses to grow in my garden. That gives me an excuse to seek them out in the wild.

Macro Monday

Colorful lichen up close: Macro Monday

Colorful lichens up close

A rainbow of colorful lichen up close. These lichens grow on the rocks in my High Desert yard. Though they are small, they have a big presence

Macro Monday

A white coneflower up close: Macro Monday

Here’s a white coneflower up close in my garden. I usually see pink or purple coneflowers, but they’re also pretty in this color. Their scientific name, Echinacea, comes from the Latin word for ‘sea urchin’ and the Ancient Greek word for ‘hedgehog.’ The spiny cone-shaped central disk resembles some type of prickly creature.

White coneflower August 2020

Macro Monday

Frosty ponderosa pine pom-pom: MM & MM

Frosty ponderosa pine

Close up view of a frosty ponderosa pine pom-pom in black and white.

Monochrome Monday

Macro Monday

Rough & rippling bark: Macro Monday

Close up view of rough & rippling bark of a western juniper tree near Bend, Oregon.

Rough & rippling bark of juniper

Macro Monday

A cluster of crystals up close: Macro Monday

A cluster of crystals

Close up view of a cluster of crystals sprouting off of a matrix.

Macro Monday

Showy layers of a poppy up close: Macro Monday

Showy layers of a red poppy up close

Showy layers of crepe paper-like red petals encircle a yellow melon-shaped ovary. Golden-anthered stamens stand guard over the precious seeds within.

Monday Macros

Yew branches up close: Macro Monday

Yew branches August 2020

This yew plant in my garden measured three feet in height for many years. I don’t think it was fond of our High Desert temperature fluctuations. Last year it finally grew taller so now it’s almost five feet tall.

Yesterday I caught one of our resident “landscapers” chewing on the new growth. Guess he thought it needed a trim. 😉

Buck mule deer

Macro Monday

A blooming cosmos up close: Macro Monday

A blooming cosmos

A blooming cosmos is one of my favorite sights to see in a garden. We had several colors of cosmos in our garden this summer, but this magenta-colored flower was my favorite. I love how the color contrasts with the bright yellow center. The bees appreciated them as well.

Macro Monday

Oregon grape up close: Macro Monday

Oregon grape up close in my yard dressed in seasonal colors. The prickly leaves on this semi-evergreen shrub get burgundy highlights in the fall. Oregon grape plants have yellow flowers in the spring and purple berries in the summer. It’s striking year-round.

Oregon grape up close October 2020

Macro Monday

Igneous rocks up close: Macro Monday & SS

The following images of igneous rocks up close were taken in my yard near Bend, Oregon.

Igneous rocks Bend, Oregon November2020

What’s an igneous rock? Geology.com describes them as being “formed from the solidification of molten rock material.” For example, granite, gabbro, basalt, scoria, and obsidian are all types of igneous rock.

Igneous rocks Bend, Oregon November2020

You probably notice some of these rocks have round bubble-like holes in them. These “vesicles” form when gas is trapped within the melted rock at the time it cools and turns solid.

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Goldflame honeysuckle up close: Macro Monday

Goldflame honeysuckle

These colorful flowers are on a goldflame honeysuckle plant. Hummingbirds frequently visit this vine’s gorgeous flowers. In North America and Eurasia, 180 species of honeysuckle have been identified.

Macro Monday

Sweet alyssum up close: Macro Monday

This delicate beauty is sweet alyssum. Sweet to see and sweet to smell. Most common as a white flower, this dwarf variety has lavender purple blossoms.

sweet alyssum up close

Macro Monday

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

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

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

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 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

A tree in the making: Monochrome Monday & Macro Monday

A tree in the making in Bend, Oregon June 2020

A tree in the making up close and in black and white.

Monochrome Monday

Macro Monday