A decorated tree: Thursday Tree Love

I saw this decorated tree near Sisters, Oregon. There was a nice contrast between the rough brown ponderosa pine bark and the delicate tufts of fluorescent green lichen.

A decorated tree October 2020

Thursday Tree Love

Western larch – A beauty in gold: Thursday Tree Love

One of my favorite local trees is the western larch, Larix occidentalis. This conifer tree is unique because it drops its needles in the winter. Before they litter the forest floor, the needles turn a distinctive golden-yellow color. They stand out from the deep green shades of surrounding trees.

Western larch near Sisters, Oregon October 2020
Young western larch tree

They have a delicate, almost lacey, growth form. Look at these needles radiating out in little groups of 15-30 on this branch. They are softer and more flexible than some of their pine tree cousins.

A home for wildlife

A wide range of wildlife relies on larch for food and cover. Squirrels feed on the cones and cache the seeds for future use. Songbirds nest and forage in their branches. They are especially important to pileated woodpeckers. This tree is an important food source for several kinds of grouse. Large mammals forage on the needles as a last resort since they are not as tasty as other trees.

Conifer close up October 2020
Close up of western larch needles

Western larch trees reach a height of 98-197 feet. They can live up to 1,000 years. You may know them by one of their nicknames – tamarack.

The many uses of the western larch

People value the wood of this tree for burning and in construction. It’s a favorite firewood because it burns hot and has a sweet fragrance. We use larch wood in fencing, flooring, exterior trim, and cabinets. Thin strips of flexible larch wood are sometimes used in yacht construction.

Indigenous people used this tree in several ways. They used an infusion to treat laryngitis and tuberculosis. Resin was used for healing cuts. Resin tea helped relieve coughs and colds. They ate the cambium and sap. Native peoples chewed a gum from larch trees to ease sore throats. People made baking powder and medicine from galactan, a natural sugar in the wood.

We currently use the gum from the tree in lithography, paint, ink, food, and pharmaceuticals. Resin is used in producing turpentine and other products.

Mature tree in the fall October 2015
Western larch

Range

The photos above were taken near Sisters, Oregon. These trees are in the southern tip of the range for western larch. They occur north to southeastern British Columbia and east to western Montana.

I took the photo below in the Blue Mountains near Baker City, Oregon. Larch are common along stretches of the highway there. They grow at elevations between 1,600 and 7,900 feet and can tolerate temperatures as low as -58° F.

Western larch in the Blue Mountains, Oregon 2018
Golden western larch trees

I’ve always wanted a western larch tree, but they grow too tall for my yard. Maybe I should settle for a bonsai version, like the one shown in my last photo. Hint hint… 😀

Bonsai tree in Bend, Oregon July 2018
Bonsai Larch

Thursday Tree Love 99

Aspen trees far away & up close: LAPC

Aspen trees in the fall are beautiful from far away and up close. I’m featuring autumn portraits of aspens in central and eastern Oregon.

A far away aspen stand glowing in a blaze of color on Hart Mountain.

Aspen grove on Hart Mountain, Oregon  October

Moving in closer to… an aspen-lined meadow at Aspen Day Use Area near Dillon Falls.

Aspen trees bordering meadow

Taking a step closer to… a golden-leaved aspen in Pine Nursery Park in Bend.

Aspen trees at Pine Nursery Park, Oregon

Edging in closer to… the many-eyed bark of aspen trees in the Old Mill District of Bend.

Old Mill District, Bend, Oregon

Focusing up close on… frosty aspen leaves near Sunriver Nature Center.

Frosty meadow at Sunriver 21Oct2016

Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Subjects that begin with the letter ‘A’

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

Photo Bloopers 4: More photo fun

It’s time once again for fun with photos. Welcome to Photo Bloopers 4! This is what I do with pictures that don’t quite fit in or turned out weird looking. They needed a few words to make them more interesting. Hope they entertain you!

Photo bloopers Ground squirrel at Lava Butte, Oregon July 2018
Painted Hills in Oregon with funny caption October 2018
Western juniper tree burdened with cones (berries) August 2019
Photo blooper of pronghorn surrounded by rainbow colors April 2018
Collared lizard at High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon October 2019
Shelves in the General Store in Fort Rock Museum, Oregon May 2019
Rock formation at Arches National Park May 2017
Photo bloopers , dog in front of DNA kits July 2019

Do you want to see more of my Photo Bloopers? See:

WPC – Fun!: Bird Bloopers

Photo Bloopers 2

Fun photos: Photo Bloopers 3

Spruce Cones in Snow: SMM

Spruce cones in snow

We got some much needed snow in the last few days of our mild winter. This close-up of spruce cones in snow was taken in my yard in Bend, Oregon.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Spruce cones up close: SMM

Spruce cones up close

A photograph of spruce cones up close that I took in my Bend, Oregon yard.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Bright bouquets of fall foliage poem

Bright bouquets of foliage near Sisters, Oregon October 2015
Fall colors near Mt Hood, Oregon October 2019
Fall's finery near Benham Falls, Oregon October 2014
Bright bouquets of foliage at Old Mill district in Bend, Oregon October 2019

Autumn
is bright bouquets
shining in fading light
warming our souls through the winter
season

All Seasons Photo Challenge

Pining for Ponderosa Pine: LAPC

Ponderosa pine is a tree for the senses. These trees can grow as tall as 268 feet. Their bark turns an interesting shade of orange-red as they mature.

The branches twist and contort into interesting shapes as the tree ages.

Ponderosa pine tree 31May2019

The furrowed bark has been described as smelling like vanilla, butterscotch, or cinnamon. The bark looks like jigsaw puzzle pieces.

I love taking pictures of bark! See Silent Barks for a few more of my photos.

Ponderosa Pine bark

Ponderosas grow in mountainous areas but can also be found along meandering waterways.

Pine trees 31June2017

Ponderosa pines host a wide variety of wildlife species, including great horned owls.

Great horned owl in a ponderosa pine tree 8May2015

Though young trees are destroyed by fire, older Ponderosa pine trees have thick bark, which can protect them in low intensity fires.

Burned forest near the Sisters, Oregon 2September2015

Trees in burned areas produce cones with more seeds. More seedlings grow in burned areas and in edges between burned and unburned areas.

Ponderosa-Pinecone-15June2019

This lesson will have to end here because my dog is eating my “model.” She likes pinecones better than any toy I can buy her at the store. 😀

Dog eating cone 15June2019

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Trees

Branches in a new light: LAPC

These images show branches in a new light…

Branches in a new light , Yellowstone National Park May2018

Reclining and resting in a sea of green

Branches in a new light , Bend, Oregon 14January2017

Coated with a covering of snow

Branches in a new light Bend, Oregon December2017

Framing a fiery sunrise

Branches in a new light Oregon Gardens, Silverton, Oregon September2018

Burdened with a bounty of fruit

Branches in a new light Bend, Oregon 23May2018

Shrouded by the smoke of a prescribed burn

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Magical Light

A Bluebird Day? : WPC

A bluebird day in Bend, Oregon 13March2018

A bluebird of unhappiness

The mountain bluebird perched on the snag for a long time in a drenching rainstorm. While all the other birds sought shelter, he stubbornly remained on his perch. He wondered if it really was a bluebird day. The bird thought his brilliant blue plumage would attract a mate by reminding her of the sky on a sunny day. No such luck!

Weekly Photo Challenge – I’d rather be…

Silent barks: WPC

Silent barks speak with voices needing to be heard.

Silent Barks Western Juniper 8August2016Unknown worlds are tucked into their cracks and crevices.

 

Silent Barks Paper Birch 16February2018Layers peel away to reveal glimpses of their hearts.

 

Silent Barks Quaking Aspen 18November2018Their eyes gaze at us with infinite wisdom.

 

Silent Barks Hemlock 12February2016They sometimes wear disguises to cover up who they are.

 

Silent Barks Alder 3June2016But by peeking under silent barks, we learn we are all the same beneath.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Out of This World

Weathered Tree

Here is a weathered old tree that is beautiful even without any leaves. Its trunk leans and twists but the tree still manages to keep standing.

Weathered tree at Arches National Park in Utah. 3May2017

Weekly Photo Challenge – Weathered

Words: A poem on Sticks and Stones

Words
Sharp and cutting
Smooth and soothing
Colored by what surrounds them

Words
Forked and dividing
Fibrous and fortifying
Defined by what surrounds them

Words poem on sticks & stones

Words
Tangled and eroding
Tranquil and tempering
Embraced by what surrounds them