Wait. Its Autumn?

October 29, 2013

Steider Studios:  Flying Flicker in Fall

I know autumn has arrived, but It still feels like summer in the Pacific Northwest.  We’re enjoying sunny days close to 70º, calm with no wind or rain.  I will not like saying good-bye to my daily hikes in the Columbia River Gorge where I live and work as these lovely days finally come to an end.

Steider Studios:  Pileated Woodpecker in Flight

The photos in this post are from my daily bird sightings in the forest behind my garden and along the Columbia River.  Many birds have migrated south but many remain here through the winter.  Above, a Pileated woodpecker flies overhead.

Steider Studios:  Eagle in Flight at Rowland Lake

On the wings of change…eagles have returned to the Columbia River while osprey have left.

Steider Studios:  Heron Dancing

Herons are more easily found along many of our rivers right now.  I don’t know if this heron was dancing for joy because he caught a fish…or looking for a mate.

Steider Studios:  Red Breasted Sapsucker

I’ve enjoyed the challenge of photographing a pair of Red-breasted sap suckers all summer in addition to several woodpeckers….

Steider Studios:  Lewis's Woodpecker

…like this Lewis’s Woodpecker – an exciting first sighting for me.

Steider Studios:  Townsend's Solitaire

Another first sighting this summer for me was a Townsend’s Solitaire that I saw in September.

Steider Studios:  Flicker.9.21.13

I managed to catch up to this flicker before he flew off – the top photo shows him flying away.

Steider Studios:  Western Bluebird Pair

I think the western bluebirds may be gone now, but for awhile they were plentiful.

I’ve fallen behind in my garden blog but I’ll catch up – when dreary weather forces me back indoors.

Thanks for stopping by!


Blooming in the Garden Today

Earlier this month I was photographing my garden and planning blog posts.  Then one of my favorite friends was in a horrific accident and all my attention went to her:  http://www.hoodrivernews.com/news/2013/jul/13/local-artist-hospitalized-after-motorcycle-acciden/   We had just finished a meeting for an August art show and as we stood on the corner chatting afterwards, I remember thinking how cute Kathy looked in her motorcycle leathers & helmet.  Everything changed less than an hour later.

Black Eyed Susan

Her friend Dana set up a calendar of tasks for friends to help with, like feeding her cats and watering her garden.  Once a week I water her garden and pet her cats, filling up the food bowl if it’s empty.  I gathered some photos of our mutual friends to paste on her hospital wall so no matter where she looks, she’ll see someone who loves her. It doesn’t feel like enough.  Kathy has many friends that are thinking of ways to help, to show our love and support.  Along with many other artists, I’m donating my work for upcoming fundraisers and I don’t know if that’ll be enough.


I decided to give 20% of my sales towards Kathy’s fund. If you’ve been thinking about buying a gift of glass, garden art, or something for your home; notecards or photograph prints on metal or canvas, you’ll also be contributing to Kathy’s fund and I thank you in advance!  http://www.zibbet.com/SteiderStudios  No, this is not a plug to get you to buy something….I’m simply looking at any possible way to help my friend & her family.


Kathy is one of those people who everyone loves. She’s full of life, energy and effervescence. She sits on many committees with me and keeps a beautiful garden as you can see in these photos. I’ve been her student & she’s been mine. She is a sports enthusiast, skiing and snowboarding during winter months & windsurfing in summer.  I could go on and on about her but I think you get the idea. She smiles at everyone and they can’t help but smile back. She radiates positive energy.


It was my honor to spend a day with her in the hospital, tending to things staff has little or no time for.  Misting her face, helping her eat, holding her hand, turning her fan, getting more ice…anything she asked of me I did.  It was one of the hardest days I’ve ever spent because of the circumstance, yet I witnessed her joyful spirit courageously fighting.

I already adored her husband, but I have renewed admiration for him in watching how he lovingly tends her.

If you can send a prayer or positive energy with healthy vibes, they’d be appreciated.

If you’re in the Columbia River Gorge, watch for announcements of opportunities to help.


I don’t know when Kathy will be back in her lovely garden, but perhaps the best way to show support later will be to purchase her enamel jewelry, wall art and switch plates.  I’ll post a link to her on-line shop when she’s ready to return to work.  In the meantime, if you’re in the Columbia River Gorge, you can purchase her jewelry now at Columbia Arts in Hood River.  She’s also one of the featured artists for First Friday in August with her enamel wall hangings.  The show, ‘A Glass Act’ runs through the end of August, so you’ll have all of August to look for Kathy’s work!

For the Bees

July 23, 2013

Steider Studios.Trio of Bees on Allium

So much is happening has happened in the garden that I’m overwhelmed this summer.  I have tons of photos to share with you, but haven’t edited or sized to fit my blog format.  So, to get my garden blog up to speed, I’ll simply start with today!  This trio of Bees on a Drumstick Allium caught my attention.

Steider Studios.Bumble in Tamarix

In spite of a continuing bad economy that is forcing many artist friends out of business, I’m humbled and overjoyed that I still have work.  As usual during summer when I long to be in my garden, my work schedule overflows.  I am rejuvenated by all the winged creatures keeping my garden alive.  Tamarix in full bloom is attracting many bees and butterflies.

Steider Studios.Bee in Malva

A friend, recently hurt in a horrific motorcycle accident has been consuming most of my creative energy as I try to find ways to help her.  You’ll learn more about her in an upcoming post.  I love watching bees twist and turn and tumble their way through collecting pollen.  Capturing them with my camera is my escape from everything else.

Steider Studios.Tiny Bee.Tamarix

For now it’s enough that I post these bees.  On this blog.  Just to get going again.  I think this is the tiniest bee I’ve ever seen!

Thanks for stopping by.  Please stay tuned for my friend Kathy.

Chickadee on my glass birdbath, looks like I’d better fill it.

Skipper Butterfly on Verbena bonariensis.  I love the detail my new camera captures.

Pink Gaura is a favorite in my garden.

Red Breasted Nuthatch in my weeping cherry tree.

Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly drinking from an aster.  I’m learning about butterfly species!

Pink Hydrangea – it’s my only hydrangea blooming at the moment.

Rufous Sided Towhee perched on a sprinkler head as I stalked him.

Bumblebee imbibing in a sunflower.

I love this single rose – surprising since I usually go for the big fluffy varieties.

Looks like it’s time for a Liquid Fence application.  Before my pears are completely harvested by deer.

Checkerspot butterfly(?) drinking from a lavender aster.

My blue Veronica blooms earlier, then comes a paler pink and finally this beautiful ‘red’.

Steller’s Jay kicking fir cones.

Painted Lady Butterfly on Verbena bonariensis looks like a lollypop!

And a sunny Sunflower just makes me happy.

As always, thanks for stopping by!


What  joy!  My new camera is a Nikon D5100.  I have a HUGE learning curve ahead of me.


I love my Nikon CoolPix P80, but sometimes wished for something that would really capture what I was seeing.  Back in the days of 35 mm film I had a great Nikon AF camera with zoom and macro lenses, but it was heavy and I like the weight and freedom of my point & shoot P80.  Knowing the difference between the two, it is at times frustrating when I miss a shot because my camera won’t engage as quickly or see as clearly or get as close as I’d want to be.


September is my birthday month and I pooled all my resources (family) to go in together for one gift.  For my birthday AND Christmas.  The one gift I’ve been wanting but denying myself for over a year.  And could I please have it early?


Although I think I got some pretty good shots with a point and shoot, I cannot wait to see what I get with my new camera.  I can see the difference just with these first ‘fooling around’ photos.  The clarity.  The immediacy of the shutter release.  The fact that I did very little editing – mostly just cropping.

Steller’s Jay at Feeder, shot through the kitchen window.

If you don’t see me for awhile you’ll know why!  Or I might have to post even more photos than before!  A new adventure begins!!

Thanks for stopping by!

The Party’s Over

August 26, 2012

I was a bit worried there wouldn’t be enough flowers blooming to make a bouquet but two big bouquets arrived with my friends so we were surrounded by fragrant beauty.

I managed to get all the invasive euphorbia pulled out from in front of my newly revised terrace the day before…

…and potted up some fun little party favors early in the week.

I did leave some grass growing…it was a pot party after all!

We had munchies – oh my gosh, do my friends know how to ‘treat’ one another.  Delicious fare.

Lots of Cosmos blooming as we walked about in the garden digging up plants to send home with friends.

Lucky me, left with these pots full of plants,rocks and garden gifts from my friends!!!  We decided to make it an annual round robin event with a different host garden for each ‘Pot Party’.  Too much fun for all involved.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Pot Party on the Left Bank

August 18, 2012

To celebrate the conclusion of my latest project, I’m having a Pot Party.  Oh not that kind of Pot Party, the kind where you bring a Pot and take a Pot…  My friends will bring a Potted Plant from their garden and I’ll send them home with a Potted Plant from my garden!  Or maybe they’ll choose to take home a Pot of river rocks.  Or a little garden ornament in a Pot.  All legal stuff, you get the idea!

It’s taken me all summer to re-terrace my very first terraced bank.  I call this my ‘Left Bank’ because it’s on the left side of my garden if you’re looking out from my front deck.  If you look closely at the photo above, you can see that rocks were falling down and weeds had taken over some areas.  I started removing plants a year and a half ago, knowing this task had to be done.  As my pretties bloomed, I moved them to a nicer location and eventually I had all most of the plants cleared out of my way.

Mid June I started at the base, pulling out all the anchor rocks.  I missed removing a few plants, so worked around them while they bloomed; then moved them out of my way and dug out all the grass and weeds.

  I used the largest rocks I could find to re-establish the base level, also moving it forward a bit.  About thirty feet of big rocks.  Under the hot sun.  Mostly just 2 to 3 hours each morning was all I could take.

With all of ‘Row One’ complete, I began ‘Row Two’, again pulling out the rocks to begin with and trying to not trample the few remaining plants.  I didn’t want to move them until I knew where I wanted to place them.

Towards the end of July, ‘Row Two’ was almost complete, but I was running out of big rocks.  I began Row Three as a diversion because pulling out rocks was easier than finding ‘the right rocks’ to fit the end of Row Two.  It was a giant rock puzzle.

Excavating by hand was particularly grueling under July’s hot sun.  I finally remembered the trick:  soak the soil the night before and it was much easier to dig out.

I was running out of large rocks, but on the garden tour I went on a few weeks ago, I met Donna, who was willing to give me lava rock, one of my favorites!

Row three now well underway, I’m once again having to get creative about using rock.  I scavenge other parts of my garden, trading smaller rocks there for larger ones here.  I stack flat river rocks and incorporate some of my cement sculptures.

Row Three finally complete, I felt compelled to celebrate by planting a beautiful red hibiscus as an anchor plant.  I know I should wait, I still have the last row on top to finish.  But….. to have my Pot Party while the weather is nice, I’m putting the last row off until fall so I don’t have to move all those plants that I’d left in place.

I should have thought about stairs sooner, but originally didn’t think I needed them.

Tonight I’ll contemplate what to do about those stairs and more importantly what I’m going to plant!  Thanks for stopping by.

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