A rare day of sunshine and blue sky lured us out of Portland toward Catherine Creek. After a fabulous wood-fired pizza at Solstice in Bingen, we set off along our usual trail down into the ravine. Then we decided to follow the trail as it forks west through old oaks on a bluff high above Catherine Creek.
I hadn’t been that way for awhile and had forgotten how beautiful it was. And how steep. I’ve been exercising in Portland, but there’s nothing like the first steep hike of spring to remind me I need to get in better shape.
Something about these leafless oak had me snapping lots of photos.
Once we reached the ridge, we strolled downhill for a few miles with wide, open views across the gorge. It was bright, and it seemed everything I wanted to photograph was straight into the sun. I haven’t studied photography. My strategy is to take lots of photos and hope a few turn out alright. I don’t do much composing. I remember an admonition from somewhere that you should always shoot with the sun behind you. But with Mt. Hood looking like a whipped cream peak, I had to try. But the sun blazed beside it. I felt foolish snapping so many shots right at the sun. But, this does capture the Mt. Hood-in-your-face feeling from up there.
I’ve never had much luck with wildflower shots at Catherine Creek. But I liked how the light glinted off these grass widows. To capture the view behind, I had to shoot into the sun again.
And for a close up of grass widows, I shot towards the sun as well.
Turns out I like my photos shot into the sun better than any others.
After a busy day of dealing with car repairs and shopping for Thanksgiving food, I didn’t want to walk the dog in our nearby park. I really didn’t. But then I crested the top of Mt. Tabor and found this wintry late afternoon light with its long shadows burnishing the snow-dusted ground and trees.
I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen any sun for several weeks now (probably an exaggeration, but that’s how it feels)…
…so this glowing light and color seemed all the more special.
I’m ecstatic to be back on our property in Northeastern Oregon. There’s lots to do: organizing inside the yurt to make cooking and storage more convenient, building a spring box and laying pipe to get potable water into the yurt, putting in the garden. And there are many challenges: a muddy road, cars that get […]
I love how persimmons hang on the tree after the leaves have fallen.
Many persimmons need to be fully ripe before they’re edible. My fuyu persimmons are non-astringent and can be eaten when still crisp. I enjoy them most at that stage. I often grate them and mix them with lime (or lemon), fresh chili pepper, green onion, cilantro and salt for an Asian-inspired salad.
My persimmon tree began as a whip from One Green World and thrives in my temperate Portland garden. They can also be found at my other favorite source for fruit trees: Raintree Nursery. Consult either nursery to learn more about the differences between Asian and American, astringent and non-astringent persimmons.
I haven’t seen a rattlesnake all season. Then yesterday, down by our spring, I saw three. I ran back to the yurt…for the camera. I’ve been wanting to get some good rattler photos. I’ll need to keep working on it. This photo doesn’t do justice to the snake’s beauty.
Even when I closed in to snap the picture, the snake never coiled up. It just rattled, tried to hide behind grass stalks and slowly disappeared into denser brush. Every snake we’ve met out here has been like that (though some do coil): more interested in escape than confrontation.
Many thanks to Chris Clarke at Coyote Crossing and the folks at Bats Northwest for helping me identify the bat I found. It’s a Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat — a species of concern in Oregon and Washington. I’ll be doing more research on them in the coming weeks and will share it in a future post.
Last week, I mentioned a late nest of chipping sparrows in a small tree near our parking area. Now I have some pictures. You can see how tiny the tree is in the photo below. The nest is about two-thirds of the way up the tree. Soft-hearted Jerry put up the fence to protect the […]
I’m in Central Oregon this week with a steady wi-fi connection, so I can begin to catch up on some internet work, including long overdue reports on the latest bird activities around my Northeast Oregon yurt. I’ve finally identified the species that hatched out of the eggs I discovered in a rusty tool box on […]
The eggs hidden in the rusty tool box have hatched. Hatchlings hoping the camera will feed them. Haven’t been able to spot the parents yet. If anyone knows what species this is, please leave a comment and let me know. Perhaps they’ll develop some more identifiable features before they fledge.
In a post several months ago, I pondered where Pacific tree frogs go after breeding in watery places. I don’t have a general answer for that question, but I found this one hiding under some clods of dirt in my northeastern Oregon garden.
I was trying to loosen up soil to plant some tomatoes and almost poked this guy with my gardening fork. Good thing he was bright green. He burrowed back into the clods while I ran for the camera. I had to move dirt aside to get a close-up.