Category Archives: Nice Pix

FALL IN OREGON

 

I went walking a few days ago around Aloha, Oregon, which is almost a part of Portland, Oregon.  My goal was to capture some of the fall colors and whatever else I came across.  Here is what I found. 

I believe this is a Sumac tree.  

 I was not the only one who was out and about trying to capture something on a foggy fall day in November.

What looks like maggots or grubs are actually what had fallen off of a tree.

Only a few more days and all the leaves will fall off.

Apples take on such a nice color and flavor as the nights get cooler and cooler.  People are not the only ones to love apples.  Worms do too.

I pass under this bridge every work day and the seasons, the time of day and the amount of sunlight gives it a different look at different times.

It was going to be a day of fogginess and less fogginess then more fogginess…..  Sure made the dead weeds look neat against their backdrop.

The needles were dying and changing their colors.

I’m sitting in my car in the parking lot of where I work as a city bus driver.

I began to snap more shots just about a mile from work.

 The reds were quite vibrant.

This is just a few miles away from my bus garage and is part of my route in Lake Oswego, Oregon. 

A mushroom managed to catch some rain and hold it for quite a while.

This mushroom is quite common in certain locations.  Where there is one, there will be many more.

These mushrooms had surfaced not much earlier before the day I saw them.

A worms eye view of mushrooms.

 I always hope the fall colors never stop but I know they won’t last.

After a branch was trimmed off, the heart left behind “bleeds” tree sap.

These Canadian Geese were not to fond of close-ups.  I had to be careful where I walked because as the geese eat grass, it quickly passes through them and they leave many droppings.

Looking more like a spoked wheel, this mushroom cap had been knocked off by something other than me.

This group of mushrooms made me think of sliced bananas that were starting to turn brown.

More colors.

I was actually trying to capture the moisture on the spider’s web not even realizing at the time that the spider was also in the picture.

Fall is a beautiful time of year.

The different colored leaves in the background and the early morning silence of the cemetery and the fog was more fascinating than eerie to me.

 A walk down a tree-lined road gave me a real sense of peace.

One of several feathers I saw around the pond at the cemetery. 

 I love the trees on the other side of the pond.  Too bad they were on private property.

 This tree was interesting enough on its own but to me, it looks like another kind of tree is trying to crowd into the center of the picture.

The early morning humidity stuck to the spider webs in its crown.

 A cemetery next to a pond is a serene setting.

These two leaves were suspended by a spiderweb and gently twirled in the breeze.  If you magnify and look closely, you can see the web.

If I was right about Sumac, here is more Sumac.

From the top looking down on a four-foot high “tree”.

These leaves reminded me of fillets of Salmon drying in the sun.

I thought these were nuts but when I squished one, it was gooey and sticky and filled with seeds.

I believe this is a Lace Leaf Maple.

They look like velvet and feel like velvet too.

This apple was very appealing to the birds.

This jogger ran right out of their shoe and judging by the moss growing on it, it was quite a while back.

It was great finding a rose so late in the year.  I thought it was about to open but upon closer inspection, I discovered that something had bored a hole in the side of the bloom.

An old, abandoned manufactured home park was at one time wired for sound or phones or something.

Though most of this plant was dying or dead, a few spears still held beautiful flowers.

 Another ‘soft as velvet’ plant.

This may not be the Yellow Brick Road but I found it interesting that the moss filled in the cracks of the driveway making it look like a cobble stone street. 

This was no ‘turkey in the straw’ but a turkey in the bushes.  I was glad to find it again because I had discovered it about two years previously and had re-hid it.

The day is getting ready to come to an end.

And a glorious end it was!

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YOU ARE SUCH A GARFIELD, MAX!

Of mice and men and Max.  Forget the mice and men. 

 Max thinks it’s all about Max!

 

     Max is our cat.  Originally, she was free but we have paid dearly for her ever since she first owned us.

 

      To begin with, her name is Max because, when we first got her, we thought she was a guy cat, a male.  She soon proved she wasn’t but by the time we figured out her sex, the name “Max” had stuck.  Personally, I think “Maxine” would have been just as sticky but not so with my kids so she has been “Max” ever since. 

      Max first made her appearance on our front porch as a small black ball of fluffy kitten.  Sure, she was cute but we (my wife and I) had agreed we were not going to have pets, neither cat or dog.  Of course that rule had already been broken because we already had four goldfish and a turtle.  We would not have had goldfish except for the fact that we  had bought some goldfish for the  turtle (Hank) to eat.  Hank was still rather small and for some reason, would not eat more than one or two.  Both Hank and the gold-fish continued to grow, each in separate containers of course.  So……like I said, we already had no pets!

     I was to find out later from my pre-teen son that Max, the cute, little kitty had looked so hungry that he fed it a can of tuna while I was at work.  When I came home, the kitty was still hanging around and only after much inquiry, I found out the rest of the story. My son was not the only one to feed her a can of tuna.  My wife had also fed the kitty a can of tuna as well.  No wonder the little fur ball stuck around!  When I was asked by the rest of my family if we could keep the kitten, I stuck to my guns and said, “No”.  Evidently, my guns were shooting blanks because it wasn’t very long before Max took up permanent residence on the porch!  I don’t know how many cans of tuna we went through but enough that Max saw no need to look for food anywhere else.  I’m sure she was hooked that first day she received the double dose of canned fish she had been given.

     For an outdoor, front porch cat, Max sure spent a lot of time inside but at nights, she definitely stayed outside. I am humbled to say that rule lasted less than a week .  She moved in and went from canned tuna to bags of cat food. 

     If feeding her had been the end of the expenses we incurred on Max’s account, I might have been content to write her off as just another member of the family.  As expected, the expenses didn’t stop there.  That’s where they began. 

     Not so far into her life, Max’s hormones decided to wake up.  During all hours and especially in the middle of the night, Max sent up pathetic calls hoping to attract any stray tom-cat within 500 miles of our neighborhood!  What she attracted was my wrath.  I hated the noise that emitted from the depths of her throat.  Not the cute story book, “Meow! but instead, a “Maw!  Maw!  Mawwwwwww!  MAAAAAWWWW!!!!!!!  Over and over and over again!  She would lower her front end, much like a car with hydraulics, raise her back-end, twitch her tail and bawl.    MAAAAWWWWWWW!!!!!!!   Nothing was going to satisfy her except a male which she was so desperately seeking and which we were continually shooing away from our front door.  Suddenly, tom cats came from everywhere.  Cats we had never seen before.  Cats, which would never have come near a house that had six kids of our own and loads of neighborhood kids daily.   Each one made it’s personal appearance, hoping to satisfy Max’s longings. 

     I felt compelled to help Max’s situation and mine out at the same time.  Within days, I fixed everything by having Max fixed which might I be quick to point out, cost me a bundle.  How can a few small cuts, some stitches and so forth cost so much money?  Once Max recovered, the noise quit and so did the visits from the Toms.

     And a litter box and litter, cat toys and cat nip to fill those toys.  All for a free cat!  Another expense came when distemper shots were deemed necessary.  Even after the shots, she still had a temper!

     And then there were the flea treatments.  At first, we allowed her to remain an indoor/outdoor cat.  Whenever she needed to relieve herself, we would let her out and she would use the neighbor’s flowerbed.  For some reason, that neighbor, the one she visited, the only one with a flower bed, hated us!  Whenever Max went out , for whatever reason or excuse she had, she usually came back in with visitors.  I hate fleas!  Max seemed indifferent to them, except for the constant scratching and itching.  To make matters worse, her “guests” would leave her fur to take up residency anywhere on her humans!  I grew to hate fleas even more than I had before.  Nothing says creepy more than finding fleas on one’s body!  This flea scenario happened a few times till we decided to keep Max as an indoor only cat.  Even that didn’t fully solve the flea problem though.  Our kids visited other kids who had cats.  Their cats were outdoor cats and therefore were hosts to fleas.  Some of those fleas ended up on my kids which in turn brought them home to Max and the rest of us.  Time for another flea treatment.

     But lest I digress from my original theme, (you know I already did), I must say, “You are such a Garfield, Max”!  By that I mean that we have a cat much like Garfield who doesn’t act like a cat when it comes to mice.  Garfield will not raise a paw against a mouse.  Neither will Max!  We had a mouse and I’m sure Max was well aware of it.  Did she do anything about it?  Not a thing!  I ended up buying a mouse trap to do her dirty work!

     Has Max always been so anti-cat?  No.  When she was younger, she brought in dead birds and lovingly stashed them under beds and livingroom furniture.  She always sat in the window and twitched her tail like crazy at birds and squirrels across the street.  She wanted them so badly that it almost killed her when she couldn’t go out.  Not so now days.  It’s like she retired from normal household duties and cat-like responsibilities.  She gave up her animal nature in exchange for a bowl of bagged food and another bowl of water. 

     Sometimes, when Max eats, Max pukes!  She doesn’t need the excuse of hacking up a hairball, she just does it because she can.  She will sit in the most unladylike fashion and lick herself in more places than you care to know!  When she licks, she accumulates hair and when too much hair is accumulated to pass through to the kitty box, she regurgitates it up, usually along with some freshly swallowed cat food.  Sadly, both of my girls which are still at home and my wife can not handle handling cat puke.  Their warnings are, “If we clean it up, you end up cleaning up Max’s puke and ours too”!  So yours truly gets the honor of being head puke remover.  What they fail to remember is that I gag and retch and almost vomit myself, yet somehow, I get the nasty job done anyhow. 

      And then there is the matter of the litter box.  The food Max eats and the food she digests and the food she doesn’t puke up, end up in the litter box.  Fortunately, I am not in charge of feeding her or cleaning up her litter box.  The girls are.  What bothers me about Max using the liter box is how she uses it.  She makes it to the box and everything she leaves is in the box.  Most cats dig a hole, do their thing and then cover it up.  Not Max.  She just squats, does her thing then, instead of actually covering up the movement, she paws at the air that reeks heavily of cat feces.  She paws at the wall where the smell seems to be the strongest and when the smell dissipates a little, she is  content to leave the box and her mess behind for someone else to cover up. 

     Max is now over ten years old in human years and has put on a little weight.  I too have put on a little weight over the last ten years although mine has not been due to eating bagged cat food!  Anyhow, Max has gone from lazy to lazier still.  She doesn’t romp through the house like she used to.  Usually, she likes her space and only seeks me out when I am the busiest.  She will come up to me, nudge and rub against my leg.  When I bend over to pet her, she walks a few feet away and waits.  I move up to pet het, maybe pet her once and she slinks away another few feet to where she stops again.  I stoop, I touch, she moves.  When we finally make it to the couch, she jumps up on it and waits on the back of it.  I reach to pet her and she lets me, leaning into my back rubs, ear tickling and chin scratching.  She seems to be enjoying this until out of nowhere, Max growls and takes a swipe at my hand.  The time she has made contact, I have come away with minor skin loss and major irritation.

     “Stupid cat”! I say.  She just looks at me like I had offended her last nerve.  She may have gotten her feelings hurt but I got my hand hurt.  Who got hurt worse?  I play a cat and mouse game with her and she gets mad when I play by her rules.

     My biggest fear is that if this is the first of nine lives, what do I have to look forward to in the next of her eight lives?

INTO THE DARK OF THE WOODS

   

     It all started out one September morning when I decided to go for a walk in some nearby woods.  My usual form of exercise mainly consisted of 5 miles on a stationary bicycle in a small weight room at work.  Since I am fairly new to exercise, if I accomplished riding a four-minute mile, it meant I would be done in 20 minutes.  That particular day, I figured I would get in an hours worth of walking in because, when I walk,  I have a tendency to get distracted with the taking of pictures. 

     I drove (should have walked) about a mile from where I worked and parked my car at the edge of the woods I had decided to hike through. Before I left my car, I scribbled a note of what time I began my hike and a phone number in case of, of…..never mind.  I can only imagine my wife’s fear if she would have received a phone call informing her I was missing!  

     Upon entering the woods, I was equipped with my camera and my collapsible aluminum walking pole which I had received as a gift but had not had a chance to break it in.  Looking back on it now, taking the walking stick into the woods may not have been my best choice because of the thick undergrowth I would be traversing over.   Too late to turn back.  I had already gone 50 feet!  The deeper I got into the woods, the more evident it became to me that it had rained recently.   I knew I would be getting my shoes wet in the grass and leaves that covered the floor of the woods but I didn’t know just how wet I would be getting.  

     In the particular forested area I was in, there were no marked-out trails. One reason was that I was making my own route which was clearly not marked.  Sure, there were animal trails that had been slightly enhanced by minimal human traffic but those passages had many places that had become so fully overgrown that a person had to clamber over a fallen tree, through thorn laced vines or things of the likes. 

Plenty of these tanglers to trip me up.

 

     The vines and downed logs were not as bad as what I was about to face.  I had to deal with My own wild imagination!  There I was, All alone in the woods, (at least speaking of another human presence), where I starred in my own horror story.  The deeper I got, the worse my thoughts of “something” happening. 

     Now, you have to know that the whole woods covered an area no bigger than 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile so it wasn’t likely that I was going to get so lost that I would have to cut off my own leg and eat it raw to survive!  That would be silly.  I don’t even like leg-of-hiker!  Still……it was just me, face to face with nature.  As I continued on, I was surprised at all the variety of “discoveries” I came across.  Some of them were at the hands of squatters or other humans who had entered the forest.   some of what I happened upon was at the hands- no, at the legs and feet and so forth of the forest dwelling creatures! 

Enough trash for all to enjoy! Evidently, the "Pack it in, pack it out" rule doesn't apply!

 

I found trees with aluminum tags and colored plastic ribbons in many places. My guess is that they had something to do with surveying.

 

     I also came across some other pretty cool sites that God had contributed. 

CAPTAIN'S LOG Forest date 9-24-10 It seems as if we are about to be overtaken by "Cling Ons".

 

This mushroom had a scale-like cap.

 

A scaly mushroom as big as my hand.

 

Smaller mushrooms on a nurse log.

 

Look at all those cute baby 'shrooms!

 

     

    These just look like pancakes growing out of the log.

            

Beetle graphics!

 

           

This looks like a wig for a Sesame Street character.

 

This is Mister Stumpy. He is wired for sound and has a nose for mushrooms!

 

     And then, there was the bizarre.  I came upon some things which were not exactly what you would expect to find in a forest.

A Christmas decoration in the middle of a forest. It's not like there weren't any trees to hang it on!

 

It may not be a glass slipper but it could be the flip flop of Cinderella of the forest!

 

Just a spoonful of dirt helps the pine needles go down in the most delightful way!

 

Maybe while you're in the forest, you could pick up a second tube of toothpaste.

 

           

This is the new and improved version of the Forest Port-A-Potty. Is this really better than the old and reliable tree or bush?

 

As with most cases, someone forgot to put the lid down. Or should I just say, "No one put the lid on"?

 

Fortunately, out of the ten or so sleeping bags I came across, all were empty. No bodies, bones or blood!

 

Who needs a bumper when there is a tree? My question is, "If a bumper sticker is on a tree in the forest, will anyone read it?"

 

Forest shopping is so hard on the equipment!

 

I was certainly in the right place to help save the world by keeping the planet green!

 

     And lastly, there were the Creatures Of The Forest!

What do you mean, "I should shave my legs?"

 

This tight rope walker cheated by "walking" underneath!

 

What a tangled web they weave When forest spiders do conceive!

 

Welcome to my web-I mean to my world!

 

And my web address is inyourface.net!

 

"Honey, how about "Poor Hiker" for dinner tonight?"

 

Above my head, Tarzan swings, Onto my head, Tarzan falls, Out of my mouth, Comes the calls, "AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!"

 

Just another spider I must "face"!

 

And yet, another spider web at face level for me at 6'2". Most webs seemed to be located at that height.

 

Hold it, Buddy!

 

A spider's clothesline!

 

      I believe the below spider is the culprit of which I had most of my literal “run-ins” with!   As near as I can tell, what I encountered was the Orb Weaving Spider.

Orb Weaving Spiders (Family Araneidae).These belong to the largest family of spiders. All construct the circular, flat, wheel-like web in which they trap flying insects. The very large black and yellow garden spider is a typical example
.
 Garden spider in her web.

     Now, these creatures were not the in-your-face creatures but more the ones of under-your-foot squeeshies if you’re not careful!

This was not left behind by a dog! It is a Banana Slug.

 

Another Banana Slug. This one was about 4-5 inches. I have seen longer and thicker ones.

 

   

Oh, the horror of it all! Two slugs traveling at lightning speed, on a collision course, like a train wreck in slow motion!

 

       I also had time to just be me, which included my “entrapment”!  This case was not due to the spiders.

Can you guess what's at the bottom of this deep, (12-14") dark hole?

 

The hole sucked my shoe right off of my foot. I had to reach in and retrieve it.

 

I can't believe I willingly put my hand into this tree hole, considering all of the slugs and spiders I had already encountered!

 

I took this shot by inserting my camera inside the hole of the tree and pointing it up.

 

This shot was taken, looking down the stump and putting my hand in the hole!

 

Oh, how handy!

 

Could I offer you a hand?

 

I guess it's about time for a new hand!

 

          Finally, I found my way back out of the forest!  I had stumbled around for over two hours, had gotten 1/4 turn off according to the compass (which I didn’t have), coming out on a different side of the forest than the one I had entered into.

Nearing the end of my adventure!

 

I didn't realize how dark the forest was till I saw how bright the rest of the world was!

 

At long last, I make it back to my car!

 

Well, at least someone was waiting for me.

 

Sadly, I could not remove all of the ground in grime. Even towards the end of my work day, my clothing still looked like and smelled like musty mold of the deep, dark woods!

 

     Am I scared about going back into that forest again by myself?  Hah!  I laugh in the face of danger…..as long as I am still alive…………..safely in my car……………driving away……..in the middle of a sunny day…..!

REALLY, NOT REAL PEOPLE

Just some characters I ran across here in Oregon.

Mr. Scowly

 

 

 Mr. “I don’t need a pole when I go fishing”!

 Clown Boy

Mr. “I did my own first aid”.

Sister “White Out ain’t just for typing anymore”!

 

Pigasis

One cool dude!

 

It’s electrifying!

The Good

The Bad

The Ugly

“Go ahead, push him.  I dare you”!

Mr. Gray was a big man around town!

Bud, the cowboy in a ten gallon hat.

“…..You do the Hokey Pokey and you……..”

Will O. Woods

Harry

(I don’t know if this was real or not.)

“All this waiting is just killing me! 

The Cast Away

“You ain’t nothing but a hound dog”!

Mr. Parks

“Rain, rain, go away”!

“It’s a straw, I tell you”!

“You fetch”!

“They always said, ‘Stop while you’re a head'”!

SaLUTE!

“Can you see?”  “Just bearly”!

(Just a piece of parking lot tar.)

And the first runner up is……..

And we’re jogging.

I HAD SOME FUN WITH THESE.  HOPE YOU ENJOYED THEM.