Blog Archives

April showers bring… wait, no, not in the desert.

Hello everyone! I’ve been away a bit (schooling and applying for a program in zoology), but I’m back, and I have some flower photos for you to gaze upon today to rest your weary mind. It’s May Day, the first of May and harbinger of spring (and therefore.. SUMMER!). While folks at my alma mater are running around naked, plants in the lower plains of the sagebrush steppe of Central Oregon to blossom. It’s still cold as all get-out some nights (the peonies are drooping so sadly this morning), but we have that nice blazing sun during the day. Enjoy!

More Golden Currant!

Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)!

Golden Currant.

More Golden Currant!

The fleeting Sand Lily, one of the first flowers of the season in this climate.

The fleeting Sand Lily (Leucocrinum montanum), one of the first flowers of the season.

Backyard crab-apple getting ready to burst forth!

Backyard crab-apple getting ready to burst forth!


For those of you that may not know, magnolias are one of my all-time favorite blossoms. While none of them grow in Central Oregon, they are abundant just on the other side of the Cascades in Portland, where I’ve been spending a fair amount of time. I managed to grasp just a few images in my travels of the magnificent flowers.





Thanks for visiting and happy Wednesday to you!


Roaming at Smith Rock State Park

roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.

On a blazing hot Sunday several weeks ago, I visited one of the most amazing spots in Central Oregon, a state park called Smith Rock State Park. It’s a haven for rock climbers, as tall cliff faces shoot into the air at steep angles and varying sizes. For hikers like me, it’s a spot of sagebrush steppe with meandering trails and an array of plants and critters that can keep one occupied all day. It was a beautiful day in the rocks and always an education: as I sat on a sun-baked rock enjoying my lunch, I glanced down to see that I had chosen a spot which ants had chosen  long before me. I’d disturbed their home, and they were haphazardly scurrying across both of my feet and up my legs. I leapt into the air, squawking and dancing and stomping like a madwoman. It’s a shame I don’t have it on video. After apologizing profusely for killing several of their tribesmen in my surprise and panic, I offered them a hunk of my lunch. They examined it and, after deeming it unworthy, returned to their subterranean home. Apparently ants don’t care for fried fish.

One of my favorite things about dogs is that they are happy to visit just about anywhere – desert, beach, forest, whatever. They are eternally up for adventure.

The beautiful carvings of beetles.

I have decided that the doggie backpack is an essential item for the owner of high-energy dogs. A few hot hours carrying his own water around and he’ll sleep for the rest of the day.

Smith Rock’s craggy peaks and thirsty slopes.

The sun shines through waxy Oregon Grape leaves and the air is thick with the perfume of the plant’s tiny yellow flowers. Drunk on nectar, bees float heavily from bush to bush.

This is the first time I’ve gotten to see Curl Leaf Mountain Mahogany in bloom in person! The flowers are utterly tiny and easy to miss, but upon close inspection they’re actually quite beautiful and fragrant. This is a tree of serious drought tolerance, a very cool species.

Another shot of the Mountain Mahogany.

Roaming at Steelhead Falls, Oregon

roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.

This is Steelhead Falls, one of my top favorite places in Central Oregon to visit in the summer. The dog can run for hours off leash, splashing into the cold river when he gets too hot, and besides the incredible waterfall and swimming hole, you can spend the whole day geeking out on plants. In the Great Basin, some of the most beautiful places (at least to me) are those where the steppe and water meet. Rivers are the lushest places around, and just 20 feet from the bank of this river, the sagebrush and juniper take over. There are tall, ancient cliffs here where ravens and bald eagles nest in safety. On this day, an osprey circled us multiple times before landing in a tree a little ways off. Central Oregon is good fishin’, for mankind and wildlife.