What our pets teach us: Sunday Stills

We don’t always pay attention to what our pets teach us. Here are a few things my pets have taught me.

Sometimes you need to pause and smell the flowers.

What our pets teach us - smell the flowers

It’s nice to share what you have with those you care about.

Dog sleeping on feet

Our pets teach us it’s okay to explore strange new worlds.

Dog at painted hills

Sometimes you need to tune out the distractions and focus on what’s right in front of you.

what our pets teach us

You can get along with those you have nothing in common with.

Cat rubbing on dog

It’s okay to take a break and pamper yourself.

Close view of cat in the sun

Sunday Stills – Love Your Pets

A rabble of robins: SS & WWP

A rabble of robins settles in my backyard. Five species of thrushes often pause for a quick drink, but I’m flummoxed by the American Robins this year. There are hundreds! Plentiful food, a mild winter, or enchantment in the water? Who knows…

a rabble of robins
A rabble of robins
More robins
More rabbles of robins
Cooper's hawk
The bird I’m feeding – a Cooper’s hawk
Remnants of a songbird
Remnants of a robin

Sunday Stills (SS)- Are you a bird feeder?

Weekend Writing Prompt (WWP) #247- Flummox (42 words)

On distant trails: LAPC, WWP, & SS

I saunter along distant trails, not knowing what wonders nature will share with me.


Will falling water sing between rocky cliffs?

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls, Oregon


Will earth show its origins in the soil?

Distant trails Painted Hills
Painted Hills, Oregon


Will wind turn wheels of history over parched plains?

Fort Rock
Fort Rock, Oregon


And when I return home from distant trails, will fireworks light the skies?

Sunrise over Bend
Bend, Oregon

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Travel has taught me

Weekend Writing Prompt – Saunter (51 words)

Sunday Stills – The power of the elements: Earth, air/wind, fire, & water

Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath: LAPC & SS

About a year ago, I watched this Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath in my backyard. She is a regular visitor but this day was special because she stayed for two hours. We get a lot of songbirds at our water feature and the hawks think of it as their all-you-can-eat-buffet and spa.

On this day, the Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath stood in the chilly water for 40 minutes before perching in a nearby snag. I’ve shown pictures of her preening and fluffing her feathers after her bath in a previous post. She is a gorgeous bird.

As you can tell by my pictures below, this Cooper’s Hawk has a lot of personality!

Coopers hawk taking a bath
Hawk bathing
Hawk bathing
Coopers hawk taking a bath
Hawk bathing

This is a closer view of her.

Coopers hawk taking a bath

Here’s a short video of the Cooper’s Hawk bathing that I took with a phone attached to my spotting scope. She took such a long and thorough bath.

While working on this post, I looked outside and noticed an immature Cooper’s Hawk perched on my gate. I was expecting a package and the bird did not fly away until the truck backed right up to the gate. The UPS driver apologized for scaring away “my” hawk. 😀

I’m glad they feel so at home here!

Immature Cooper's hawk

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #183- Memorable Events

Sunday Stills – #Wild(Life)

Some of my best photos from 2021: LAPC, SS

It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.

Best Nature Pictures

The first photo shows a scene at the Portland Japanese Garden. We visited in October, when fall colors were at their peak.

best photos Portland Japanese Garden

This picture shows a pronghorn buck at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. My following pronghorn post includes several pictures of these icons of the West.

Grazing pronghorn buck in Yellowstone

We get spectacular sunsets and sunrises in our High Desert yard in Bend, Oregon. I wrote a two-line essence poem to go along with this image.

best photos dusk desert sky

The next photo shows Emerald Pool at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The contrasting colors around this hot spring make it one of my favorites.

Emerald Pool, Yellowstone

This photo is of a Cooper’s hawk right after she had a bath. This regular visitor to our yard is always entertaining!

Cooper's hawk visited me

Best History Photos

This is a picture of one of the passages in the burial tomb at Knowth in County Meath, Ireland. I wrote a short story to go along with pictures of this historic site.

Best photos Knowth, Ireland

This is a biplane located at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon. Black and white processing shows off the structure of this plane.

nose to nose with biplane

This picture shows an old farm truck parked along a rural road in Bend, Oregon. It’s parked along one of the 51 farm-to-market roads built in Deschutes County during the early 1900s.

Best photos old truck

This is a display of tail dresses at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. They’re called tail dresses because the deer’s tail is left on the cured skin. You can see them near the neckline on these dresses.

Tail dresses at High Desert Museum

This picture shows an old farmhouse and windmill at a ranch in Central Oregon. To give this a more aged appearance, I used a filter that muted the reds.

A home from the past in Oregon

Best Art Pictures

This is a close-up view of a bison sculpture by Greg Congleton, one of my favorite local artists. The name of this sculpture is Wooly Bully.

best photos bison sculpture

This is a sculpture of Sacagawea that’s located at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum in Cody, Wyoming. I admired how the artist portrayed her as a calm yet powerful presence.

Sacagawea sculpture in Cody

This is a close-up view of a mural located outside a computer repair store in Bend, Oregon. Born Again Babylan represents mysteries of the past and technology of the future. See the whole mural here.

close up of mural

I featured the next image for a haiku challenge with the words blue and world as prompts. This art piece is at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. It represents bubbles forming during the beer brewing process.

Blue worlds sculpture

The last picture shows an ornament on my Christmas tree. I have a collection of reindeer and I like this one because of its joyful expression. The ornaments are each like a tiny work of art.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Favorite images of 2021

Sunday Stills – 2021 in the Rearview Mirror

A tumbleweed snowman: Sunday Stills

I decided to make a tumbleweed snowman from the giant tumbleweed I recently found in my yard. In my previous post, Giant tumbleweed in my yard, I tried to show the scale of this tumbleweed. It measured 7 feet 6 inches across!

Since it’s December, I thought I might as well have some fun with it. We tied it to a tree to keep it from blowing away. I added a smaller tumbleweed to make a head.

 A tumbleweed snowman

It’s kinda hard to see his face so I zoomed in. The branches are spaced far apart on the top tumbleweed so his face is held on with a few twist ties. Can you see his lichen eyelashes and juniper nose and smile?

A crazy snowman

A string of battery-powered lights added some holiday cheer.

Lighted tumbleweed snowman

Hope you enjoyed my High Desert tumbleweed snowman. Happy Holidays! 😀

Sunday Stills – Light the Night

The wisest ones wait – 2 haiku: SS & Haiku Challenge

the wisest ones wait
impatient trembles of green
longing for fall’s kiss

The wisest ones wait for fall

scarlet embraces
gold whispers, orange laughter
autumn’s fleeting love

Autumn leaves in Oregon

Sunday Stills (SS) – Leaves and Trees

Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge – Wait and Wise

Wildlife sightings at Yellowstone: Sunday Stills

Here are a few photos of wildlife sightings at Yellowstone from our trip in early June. Visitors have opportunities to see many furred and feathered creatures within Yellowstone National Park.

Sometimes you see wildlife, such as this snowshoe hare, that you may not have seen in the park before. This hare’s population peaks about every ten years and this must be a peak year.

Wildlife Sightings at Yellowstone

Sometimes you’ll see wildlife interacting within close proximity of each other. This radio-collared gray wolf got a little too close for comfort to the bison calves in this herd. The bulls and cows quickly chased it away.

Bison & wolf
Bison & wolf

Sometimes you’ll get wildlife sightings at Yellowstone that are hundreds and hundreds of yards away. This grizzly bear with two cubs made its way across a distant mountain meadow. I took this photo with my Samsung phone attached to a spotting scope.

Wildlife sightings in Yellowstone

Other times you’ll get closer views. This sandhill crane family patiently posed for photographers.

Sandhill crane family
Sandhill crane

You might see familiar friends in new settings. We saw killdeer in shallow hot spring features throughout the park. They must enjoy the warm temperature!

Wildlife sightings at Yellowstone

Since the park includes 3,500 square miles, you’ll need to look close to find the wildlife. This lone cinnamon teal floated in a sedge-filled pond – a pinch of spice in a sea of green.

Cinnamon teal

Sunday Stills – Fur and Feathers

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

Pink flowers in my yard: Sunday Stills

Today I’m featuring portraits of pink flowers in my Bend, Oregon yard. All of these plants are drought tolerant, once established.

The first photo is an ice plant. This groundcover has cheerful starburst flowers and succulent leaves. The leaves turn a bronze color in winter. We had an escapee take root in another part of our yard and it survived without watering.

Ice plant

The second plant is a Woods’ rose. This native 2-5 foot tall shrub attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. Red rose hips develop once the flowers lose their petals.

Pink flowers of Wood's rose
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Wildflowers in the Desert – Nonet poem: LAPC & SS

Wildflowers in the desert sunshine
Emerging in harsh conditions
Shining with an inner light
Colorful expressions
Jewels in the sand
Ephemeral
Presences
Fleeting
Views

Wildflowers in the desert photographs taken at Gray Butte, Oregon in the springtime.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Colorful April

Sunday Stills – Emerging

Softness in the skies haiku: LAPC & SS

softness in the skies
adrift over layered tuff ring,
white veils eclipse sun

Skyscapes from Fort Rock, Oregon.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Soft

Sunday Stills – Things that are white

Special photos from 2020: LAPC & SS

It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.

Nature Photos

One day, while playing around with editing effects, this mirror image of autumn leaves sparked my imagination. I saw a woman wearing a crimson cape in the photo below. The short story I created, The Tree People of Autumn , is based on edited photos of trees.

The tree people of autumn

I tried to turn my camera towards things in my yard more this year. Here’s one of my prickly pear cactus in bloom.

Prickly pear cactus with petals radiating Bend, Oregon 4June2020

We created a big vegetable garden this year. Some of our produce may not have won ribbons at the fair, but it was entertaining. 😊

Three-headed carrot Bend, Oregon August 2020
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Birds on my Christmas tree: LAPC & SS

Many of us won’t be celebrating the holidays with close relatives, but we’ve grown closer to bird “families” in our yards. Interest in birding is soaring and people are flocking to this activity during the pandemic. I’m sharing the joy of birds in these photos of ornaments I’ve collected over the years.

Bluebirds capture the essence of the sky in their plumage. I’m hoping we have more bluebird days to look forward to soon.

Birds in my tree 19December2020
Mountain bluebird

Flocks of whooping crane birds fill the landscape with their unique “unison” call. Maybe people can heed the call towards unison in the upcoming year.

Whooping crane ornament December 2020
Whooping crane
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The softness of snow: MM, SS, & Six Sentence Story

Peering through a branch-lined portal at the softness of snow.

The softness of snow on junipers

Where frosty starbursts emerge from the desert soil.

Bunchgrass covered in snow

And wise elders rejoice, reaching to the sky with arms contorted by the years. Ancient trees collect the bountiful flakes falling from the sky to share.

Ancient juniper tree near Bend, Oregon

They tuck the next generation under downy crystalline blankets. When spring awakens them, they will change into new beings who will continue the cycle and share the softness of snow.

The softness of snow covering pinecones

Monochrome Monday (MM)

Sunday Stills (SS) – Winter Wonderland

Sunday’s Six Sentence Stories – Change

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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Finding Fall at Mount Hood – 4 haiku: LAPC, SS, & ST

This year I went on a quest with the goal of finding fall colors. Here’s a 4-part haiku story based on pictures taken on the Mount Hood Scenic Byway in Oregon.

Deep in the mountains
Mount Hood surveys the landscape
Anticipation

Finding fall on Mount Hood Oregon October 2017

Draped in mossy robes
Rooted in shades of autumn
Fall’s gala begins

  • Autumn leaves on Mount Hood Highway September 2020
  • Finding fall in Oregon September2020
  • Along Highway 35 in Oregon September 2020
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The tree people of autumn: LAPC, RDP, & SS

When the warmth of summer slips into the shadows, the tree people of autumn emerge. No one notices them at first. Their queen guides them concealed beneath a cloak of crimson leaves.

The tree people of autumn

The tree people camouflage themselves as creatures of the forest. Their colors shift as their power increases.

Sometimes they appear as deer, leaping through the forest with antlers of glowing gold.

Golden fall leaves reflected image
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Varied thrush drinking: BWPC & SS

I took some pictures of a varied thrush drinking yesterday. I’m posting them for the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge and Sunday Stills challenge. My previous post, Backyard birding adventures, shows other birds in my yard.

One or two varied thrushes always visits us in the fall season. They travel with the American robin flocks.

Varied thrush drinking

You can see how they’re closely related to robins. To hear the eerie song of varied thrushes, scroll down this page to Songs and Calls.

Varied thrush & robins

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – In Your Yard or Garden

Sunday Stills – Kinda Backyard Birding

Backyard birding adventures: BWPC & SS

We have a water feature in our yard so we have lots of backyard birding adventures. This summer I bought a special mount to take digital pictures through my spotting scope. This process is referred to as “digiscoping.” Unfortunately, many of the pictures I first took turned out blurry. I’m having much better luck with my brand new mount.

Here’s a photo of one of our California scrub-jays taken with my Google Pixel phone. Isn’t it a beautiful bird?

backyard birding adventures - scrub-jay near Bend

I used my point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix camera for this one. It was a little tricky to hold it in place on the mount. This a European starling and an American robin.

Starling & robin

We get tons of robins at this time of the year and they chase other birds away.

American robins
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Day breaks and clouds wait: LAPC & Sunday Stills

Sunrise over Bend, Oregon 15October2019

Day breaks
And clouds
Wait to reflect
Nature’s glow

Day breaks and clouds wait sunrise, Bend, Oregon 15October2019

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Morning

Sunday Stills – Mother Nature

Textures of Arches National Park

Textures of Arches National Park 4 2May2017

Crowded columns taking in the view

Textures of Arches National Park 3May2017

Carefully crafted by hand and built to last

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