I’ve posted similar shots of Ellie before, sitting beside the dragon at Irvington School in December 2017. Originally I meant to post it to mark the four year anniversary of leaving our beloved Portland, and when that date passed the anniversary of our arrival here in the desert, but I was pretty tired after work each night and the posts went unwritten. I was in the middle of writing it yesterday under the better-late-than-never philosophy when my wife came in and said the black lab being fostered up in Cave Creek she had her eye on was still up for adoption, and he was cat friendly, and we could meet him that afternoon …
… and we pick up 6 year old Bear in an hour to bring him home. Rather than nattering on and never getting this up I’ll just say how grateful I am for every moment I got to spend with the goofball above and how much I’m looking forward to getting to know the newest member of the family.
Congratulations to Helio Castroneves for winning his 4th Indy 500. I loved him from the start as a rookie but all those pictures are on film waiting for a rainy day to be scanned, this was the last time I saw him, at Portland International Raceway in 2001. Our paths diverged so I never got to see him race in person again but so happy to see the success he’s had during those years, don’t think you’ll find anyone who wasn’t thrilled to see him join the rare club of 4 time winners.
Twenty years ago a feral cat gave birth under the house of one of my wife’s friends, the mother soon disappeared so the family raised the kittens until they were old enough to adopt out. We were offered one of the last of the litter and named our tiny tuxedo Scout. I’m close to all our pets but even so Scout and I had a deep bond, sadly cancer took her from us after 12 years but I’m thankful for every day we spent together. I’ve been having off-and-on trouble sleeping lately but it was never as hard as when I came back from a long hiking trip, she’d wake me up throughout the night either to reassure her that I was well and truly home or to tell me I was never to leave her side again, I’m not sure which.
She was four in this picture, sitting beside her favorite catnip plant on the back porch.
One of the areas I knew I would miss most when leaving Oregon was the Columbia River Gorge, a lush area of forest and waterfalls just half an hour’s drive from our urban Portland neighborhood. I usually went to Ridgefield when I wanted wildlife and the Gorge when I wanted trees and streams, but sometimes the Gorge had its own animals to share. This little beauty hidden below the dense undergrowth along the Horsetail Falls Trail is (I think) a red-legged frog, taken in the fall of 2011. Easily one of my favorite trails anywhere, I didn’t get to go late in our time in Oregon as it closed after devastating fires, but if I ever make it back it will be high on my list of places to visit.
An ant is starting to walk onto the frog in the picture below.
While I don’t have a phobia about insects and in fact enjoy photographing them, I don’t like the feel of them walking on my skin. I’ve tried to work on it over the years, especially when it’s an insect that won’t harm me, such as this visit to the Oregon coast when flies swarmed around but didn’t bite. I felt for this harbor seal who was getting hounded much worse, they even walked across its eyeballs. It raised a flipper to shoo them off but they didn’t stay away long.
A black oystercatcher splashes the waters of the Pacific through its feathers as waves lap at the beach at Seal Rock. Taken in the spring of 2005.
A cackling goose spreads its wings in a crowded group at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland, Oregon in December 2006.
A squirrel peaks out from the neighbor’s bushes in the spring of 2007. Although Oregon has native tree squirrels in our urban Portland neighborhood you’d only find species introduced long ago, like eastern grays and eastern foxes. Our dog Ellie never paid them much heed but they were endlessly entertaining to all six cats over the years, with Emma and Trixie probably their biggest fans.
As summer turned to fall in September 2009, an adult fork-tailed bush katydid dined on one of our rose blossoms. Once I discovered they were eating the rose petals I stopped pruning the flowers after they lost their aesthetic appeal and only cut them once the petals fell off. Which worked out well for both the katydids and myself, as they loved the roses and I loved watching them.
Must’ve been quite the party, hope it was worth it!
Taken in the fading light at the end of a lovely fall day in 2017 at Heceta Head on the Oregon coast.