Desert Garden Ablaze with Color

The desert has been ablaze with color over the last two weeks reaching its peak perhaps just a few days ago. It is still stunning in the variety of colors and blooms brought on by more than the customary amount of spring rains thus far.

The Palo Verdes are always a treat, but this year they have outdone themselves.

The contrast of the yellow flowers against the blue sky is wonderful.

Here is a close up of the flower clusters on one portion of a branch in our backyard.

The color palette is expanded below when the Palo Verde in the foreground leads the viewer to the flowers of the Orange Jubilee or Orange Bells hybrid (Tecoma Hybrid).

Naturally a closeup of the Orange Bells is called for as well. The clusters are beyond vibrant in the early morning sun.

Each morning at this time of the year, I prepare my coffee looking out our family room window and I am blown away! (To the right and north of the saguaro, but out of view, is Black Mountain which adds even more wonderment to the scene.)

We have some performers starring in our front landscape too. This cactus was started from a cutting just a few years ago and when it blooms, it puts on quite a show. It will eventually grow arms and as a mature plant, may have a dozen or more flowers open at once. I can’t wait! While I am not able to make an absolute identification, I am fairly sure it is a Trichocereus hybrid.

Here is a picture of the mature mother plant from a friend’s house nearby!

Above picture courtesy of L. Herring


All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 –

Adventures in Oregon: Newport to Yachats

Yaquina Head Lightouhse
Yaquina Head Lighthouse ,Newport, OR

Lighthouses have often had a romantic and storied aura about them and they remain just as alluring today as they have in our nation’s past. Although numerous lighthouses are no longer in use, they still draw visitors to the edge of the oceans and nearby cliffs.

Yaquina Head Lightouhse

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is located north of Newport, at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. If you are a photographer, plan to stop several times during the approach to the main parking lot as the views are excellent from a variety of vantage points.

Yaquina Head Lightouhse

If the day is busy, it will be a challenge to take photos without numbers of tourists in and around the lighthouse, but careful framing can keep the focus on the lighthouse itself.

Ocean views provide their own beauty!
Ocean views provide their own beauty!

The lighthouse isn’t the only photo-worthy subject as the ocean cliffs and rock formations against the grassy bluffs provide another form of beauty!

Just a short 20-plus minutes south brought us to another noted stop, Seal Rock. It was a pretty ocean front park with several magnificent rock formations. We didn’t see any seals this day, but the sunlight was most welcome.

Seal Rock - Sunrise
Seal Rock Recreation Site with the morning sun breaking through

Sunrise at Seal Rock

While the seals were not present this morning…

Sunrise at Seal Rock

the Cormorants and Seagulls were enjoying the warmth of the sun!

Sunrise at Seal Rock

I enjoy unique and different buildings and Yachats had a historic church that was hewn from local timbers erected in the shape of a cross in 1930. The church was not open for visitors when we arrived, but I took a photograph to record the stop.

Little Log Church

Just north of the Cape Perpetua Visitor’s Center, we stopped to investigate the Devil’s Churn. With a name like that, who could resist? This inlet is noted for the rushing, churning waters.

The Devil's Churn

One area that we found worthy of longer exploration was Cape Perpetua.

The power of the Pacific at Cape Perpetua
The Power of the Pacific could be felt at Cape Perpetua

There were numerous tide pools and basins for the curious!

Ocean basin and tide pools to explore

One intriguing, highly touted attraction was Thor’s Well (below). The depression is best seen during higher tides, but was interesting enough for us as water gushed up from beneath the hole in the rocky formation. At higher tides, the water spills into the hole creating an interesting visual effect – see photos HERE.

The Devil's Punchbowl at Cape Perpetua

We also spent time exploring the tide pools and enjoying the beautiful creatures that live within. These anemones were a deep emerald green color!

A closeup of the anemones in a nearby tide pool

It was time to check our itinerary and head to our next stop; the Heceta Head Lighthouse.


Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove in Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cape Foulweather & Drift Creek Falls


Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 –

Vide-Ohs: Dust in the Blood (Hiking the Grand Canyon)

JBRish readers know that one thing we enjoy and write about on this blog is hiking and exploring natural places. We appreciate all forms of wildlife and types of terrain, but the mountains and canyons have a special pull on our adventurous spirit.

The Grand Canyon is indeed one of earth’s treasures and it is a shame that mankind has tried to take advantage of its bounty by harvesting natural resources and obliterating some of the pristine beauty.

Below is just one photograph I took on our visit to the North Rim. It was taken with a very simple point-and-shoot camera with only 8 megapixels of resolution when most of today’s cameras start at twice that number and many go to three or four times that and beyond.

North rim of the Grand Canyon near the Lodge

Even with the limited ability of the camera and the photographer, I think you will agree that this is a pretty, colorful picture taken near “the Lodge” at the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

I am also sharing the trailer to the movie Dust in the Blood detailing the journey of filmmaker/photographer Pete McBride and writer Kevin Fedark as they try to hike the 750 mile length of the Grand Canyon.

Dust in the Blood – Trailer from Pete McBride on Vimeo.

From the Vimeo web page hosting the trailer:

In 2016 filmmaker/photographer Pete McBride and writer Kevin Fedarko set out on a 750-mile journey on foot through the entire length of the Grand Canyon. From the outset, the challenge was far more than they bargained for. More people have stood on the moon than have completed a continuous through hike of the Canyon. McBride and Fedarko took a sectional approach, achieving a feat that many adventurers have taken decades to complete. Others have lost their lives trying. But their quest was more than just an endurance test – it was also a way to draw attention to the unprecedented threats facing one of our most revered landscapes.

Throughout their passage, McBride and Fedarko encountered an astonishingly diverse and powerful landscape, rich in history, that is now facing perhaps the gravest crisis in the 98-year history of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Directed by Pete McBride and produced by the award-winning team at Insignia Films, THE CANYON is a story of extreme physical hardship that stretches the bonds of friendship and a meditation on the timeless beauty of this sacred place. It is an urgent warning about the environmental dangers that are placing one of America’s greatest monuments in peril and a cautionary tale for our complex relationship with the natural world.


More Vide – Ohs

To See additional Interesting Videos, click HERE


All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 –

STATUS QUOtes — Picture Quote — 20170924

Today’s Picture Quote

Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees. - Rumi

“Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees.” – Rumi


See previous STATUS QUOtes HERE



All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017

Milkweed – The Beauty of A Seed

As I may have mentioned on the pages of this blog in prior posts, I volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ. It is a wonderful place to experience desert flora from the Sonoran Desert and other arid regions of the world.

Whenever I work with the various dried seed pods, I am aware of the miracle of nature they represent. That a large flower can grow from the tiniest of seeds is a marvel. Not only that, but many seeds have a beauty of their own.

I recently had the opportunity to work with milkweed seed pods (Asclepias erosa). When I opened the first seed pod, this is what I saw.

milkweed seed pod

** NOTE ** These seed pods were not as dry as they would be in nature, but they had opened on their own and the seeds were removed and dried for storage.

Milkweed plays a key role in the health and welfare of the Monarch Butterfly. You can read more about that HERE. I am writing this post to show the form, function and beauty of the milkweed seed pod.

I was struck by the symmetry of the seeds and how they were aligned in a very particular pattern. In addition to the symmetry, I appreciated the rich colors displayed.

Here is the main seed structure removed from the pod. Notice how some seeds are separated from the main cluster. They fell off readily and easily separated.

symmetry along the main seed stem

As they were separated, they reminded me of tadpoles with their pearly white, almost silky tails flowing easily behind them.

silky white tails on the seeds

As they began to dry, however, they opened up on their own accord to form the fluffy wing-like structures we have come to know.

seed tails beginning to dry and fluff

In no time at all, there was a table full of the “wings.”

The tails dried to form wings

If all the seeds are removed carefully, as I learned after working with several of the pods, the backbone of the pod, so-to-speak, remains attached. It too has a wonderful symmetry and structure.

The remaining spine of the seed pod

Perhaps the picture below better demonstrates the architecture of this botanical backbone and the pointed tips which probably help to secure the seeds until, in a natural setting, they are dry enough to float away on their own.

The structure of the spine helps to retain the seeds until they are ready to fly away

The empty seed pod was slightly sticky and offered a relatively cushioned home for the seeds to await their release.

Empty pod

The two pictures below show milkweed in its natural growing habitat. Both pictures are used courtesy of The New Hampshire Chapter of The Appalachian Mountain Club  

The first picture shows how similar the seeds look while clinging to the pod in the wild.

The second photograph provides a glimpse of how the seeds float away on the wind hoping to find a hospital place to root and grow.

Seeds clinging to the pod in nature

Seeds poised to fly away on their wings with the first gust of wind

You can find more JBRish posts about plants and gardening HERE.

Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 96 (Beauty Among the Debris)

Beauty among nature's debrisEven among the debris, nature leaves behind, beauty stands out!

What I like about this photograph is that even among the debris left behind by nature, the inherent beauty shines through. There are dead trees, debris in the pond left by recent rains and branches dying on nearby growth. Yet the beauty in the background was breathtaking!

The sapling to the left of the water (foreground) should serve to remind all that nature rejuvenates our world when left to her own devices. Yes, Half Dome peering out above the distant mountain watches over the lush, green valley; joy to the world!

Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section. originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.


Meta Data – Day 96 YOY – Year of Yosemite

File Name: 0290.NEF
Capture time: 10:00:14 AM
Capture date: June 8, 2016
Exposure: 1/340 sec @ f/25
Focal Length: 24mm
ISO 100
Nikon D3300


Video -The Beauty of the Grand Teton National Park

The National Parks are certainly one of America’s great treasures and I have taken advantage of visiting as many as possible while I am still able to trek the trails and see the sights.

One park that I really enjoyed despite the fact it rained every day we were there was the Grand Teton National Park. Even in the inclement weather, there was an abundance of beauty. We hiked in rain and mud and windy conditions; it was amazing.

This video captures the grandeur of the Grand Teton National Park. I hope you enjoy it and are as impressed with it as I was.

GRAND TETON 8K from More Than Just Parks on Vimeo.

Cornell Lab 100 Years of Bird Studies

Cornell Ornithology Lab Logo


A brief video about the beauty and science of studying birds.

From the YouTube website:

“As we conclude the Cornell Lab’s 100th year of studying and conserving the birds that enrich our lands and our lives, thank you for helping us start 2016 ready to do more for birds and nature. Hear from the Cornell Lab’s Executive Director John W. Fitzpatrick in this video celebrating how birds bring us closer to nature.”