Our World Tuesday – Wild Turkey with Rocks Please

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If you like rocks, you will love Turkey Mountain

With daylight savings time in effect I can resume my trail running after work on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. A couple years ago I tried running it at night. Too many trips and falls for me. I have a good headlight but you lose enough of the depth perception to where I was tripping not on the many rocks and roots but just the uneven ground. I wasn’t just stumbling, I was pancaking flat on the ground. I’m too old for that!! So daylight running only on trails for me.

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Somebody laid some of the flatter rocks down like flagstones in this stretch

So I ran twice this week. Once on Wednesday evening after work and again early Saturday afternoon after dropping the kid off at his Improv class.

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Enable Midstream Partners’ high pressure natural gas line. It has probably been there for 60 years or more. There are two other pipelines on the mountain that I know about also about the same age. No problems from any of them. By the way, nowdays, they wouldn’t take the pipeline across the valley above ground like this. The line would be bored under ground about 30 to 40 feet.

It was kind of like seeing an old friend again. Both days the weather was not the best, cool, and a bit rainy but that meant I basically had the place to myself.

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If you look close you can see some ducks who were swimming around before I showed up and then they scrambled.

The ponds (for some reason called lakes) on the mountain are full.

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I love the overlooks on the yellow trail over the Arkansas River.

I injured my right leg somehow early this year. It is okay now. I did a self rehab and it worked based on the treatment I got for my left leg about a year and a half ago. Stretching, rest, lots of walking, patience. So now that my leg is fine, I am slowly building up mileage to help with my conditioning. Getting old is for the birds is what I say.

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I have yet to take a bicycle on Turkey Mountain. I’ve seen some incredible riding and some incredible wrecks.

I intend to be one of those old crusty guys who are still getting after the trails in the 80’s. So I have to take care of myself.

Wednesday night’s run on the upper and lower Yellow Trail along the river.

Saturday’s run from the upper parking lot into the more remote and less visited west side of Turkey Mountain.

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Speaking of Improv, Logan had a show Friday night. This is his last semester as he is aging out of the youth theater. We have been watching him and the other kids for years. Who knows what the future holds for him.

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Saturday morning we did our family volunteer gig at a local Pet supply store on their rescue cat area. We clean out the cages and litter boxes, feed and water them, and play with them. We do it ever two weeks and it is a lot of fun. The critters are starved for attention so I think they appreciate it.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Ramada Sunset

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My employer built a very nice plaza in front of the buiiding complete with tables and chairs and a big curving ramada. It makes for a very nice welcoming space to eat lunch outside when the whether is nice. A few weeks ago leaving after work the sky was pink and blue and the light was great and I tried to capture it all. I cheated and used Topaz Impressions, backed off about 75%, to give it kind of a impressionistic feel.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

NCAA March Madness in Tulsa 2017

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Sunday evening I went downtown and watch the the second round of games of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, at the BOK Center. There were lots of people with me.

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Lots of people there, most of them wearing the blue of the University of Kansas Jayhawks. I am not sure if there is an actual bird named a jayhawk but it doesn’t matter.

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The Jayhawks of Kansas were playing the Spartans of Michigan State University. Their mascots had a little mock battle that was amusing.

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Sorry for the fuzzy photos. I was sitting in the cheap seats way up high so I was doing the best I could. The game was very competitive for the first 30 minutes or so. Kansas couldn’t quite put Michigan State away until then but then they broke loose and ended up beating the the Spartans 90-70. It was a good game. Both teams were were well coached and played well.

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I like how the college game has evolved from the dreadful boringness of the 70’s with the four corner offense and the excrutiating final minutes of a game where the teams fouled each other. The shot clock and other rule changes have really breathed live into the college game again. Also, I was impressed with how well coached the teams were and the discipline displayed by the players. They seem less upset with questionable fouls now. They just deal with it.

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The second game was another good one between two fine teams. The University of Southern California Trojans and the Baylor Bears of Texas.

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The two teams were evenly matched. I’ve always loved the color scheme of USC. The Bears on the other hand. It looks like they went for road safety yellow for their color scheme. Baylor fans assure me that it is green. Judge for yourself. I say it is yellow. I think they wanted to make sure that nobody would steal the uniforms.  (I am just having fun. I know several Baylor fans and they need to be made fun of, if you know what I mean.)

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The game went down to the wire and Baylor won 82-78.

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USC brought 12 fans to Tulsa to cheer the team on. Go ahead count’em, let me know what you come up with.

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They also brought some cheer leaders. They had the smallest pom-poms I’ve ever seen.

 

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All the cheerleaders were very nice looking and energetic. I would say the Baylor women were the best dancers, followed by the Michigan State ladies, and the USC cheerleaders.

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The Kansas cheerleaders did a great job but didn’t appear to be into dancing that much. (I know some overbearing Kansas fans also, and I need to give them some grief also.) Actually all the cheerleaders from all the teams did a great job. I had a great time and I’ll be back again when March Madness rolls back into Tulsa.

Spring Break Trip to Idaho

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This Spring Break all three of us flew up to Idaho to visit Dad and see how he is doing. And we took a couple of selfies while we were there. Those are big broad smiles above for Dad and I.

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Our trip started out very stressful. We had a late flight out of Tulsa and then a nice connection to Denver so it was like hop, step, jump. That went away with a call from United who said that our flight from Tulsa was going to be delayed an hour so we would miss our connection and they had routed us through Dallas and Salt Lake City via American and Delta instead but we would have to hustle to the airport to get that started. So talk about a mad rush that didn’t quit. We sped to the airport and got checked into American just tin time, then flew to Dallas and changed terminals and endured some hassling from the gate crew about our carry on luggage but who led us board when they figured out that because American and Delta have severed all intercompany ties that indeed they couldn’t check a bag through to our final destination. Then to Salt Lake City where we arrived we spanned the the longest length of the airport and then into Idaho, way past our bedtime.

I don’t know about you but I hate flying. I hate the airlines, all of them. The people who work for the airlines though in general try their best to make things work for their customers.

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While in Idaho, we took Dad shopping.

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Note the teenage angst before work starts.

And we (Heather)  rearranged Dad’s apartment.

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Heather is a championship furniture re-aranger. Dad wanted to be able to see who is coming in the front door. So we’ll give this a try.

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We had a little bit of fun.  We went for a walk on the Snake River trails.  About five minutes after I snapped the photo above, son while running sprained his ankle and banged up his knee. Oh well. It was a nice five minutes.

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Our flight back was a lot more relaxing. We had a long layover in Denver but we had a leisurely dinner and enjoyed a lot of great people watching.

So that was our Spring Break. How was yours?

Jailhouse Sky

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In downtown Tulsa the Jail is about a half mile or so north of the County Courthouse. So the Sheriff operates bus shuttles that seem to go on all day long between the two to transport the inmates to and from each place..  So I was walking around near the courthouse one day when one of the buses came by.

And then I’m thinking about stuff like how is all this coordinated? Do the inmates have to make reservations? Do the jailers have to go hunt these guys down? Does everybody ride together or do they segregate to keep you know the murderers away from the those desperate criminals facing stiff sentences for jaywalking? What happens if a bus breaks down.  Anyway, I can just think on these things for a long while.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Our World Tuesday – Various

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I don’t really have a theme this week. Is that in itself a theme, having no theme? Bigger minds than mine are going to have to figure that one out. Anyway at lunch one day this week I was wandering around the south edge of downtown Tulsa trying to figure out where to replace a geocache of mine that got hijacked when the tree that it was stuck in got cleaned up. The old timey apartment building above is one of the few buildings left standing. It is marooned all by itself and it look kind of funny, and creepy also. Not as creepy as old guys wandering by and taking pictures of it right.

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Here is an old back alley nearby. Lots of homeless people and wierdos hang out there now. When we moved to town twenty five years ago there were a lot of derelict bars and apartment houses here. Now there is nothing. I did find a place for a new geocache placement. I don’t know what is up with the 2-1/2 pound barbell weights on the lower left hand corner. If you need a couple I can show you right where they are.

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I accidentally shot myself while trying to look at the LED screen of my camera. Remember back in the old days with film. You didn’t have to worry about looking at the screen. Film was so expensive (and continues to be so expensive) that nobody wasted money on selfies. Now it is all just electrons photons and they are still free. That is,  until the Oklahoma legislature figures out a way to tax them. Then no more selfies, right.

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Moving from urban blight to Spring. The redbuds out. I think the Redbud trees are the prettiest thing there is. The buds just don’t last long enough.

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One of  the last sunset pics from the office until next Fall. With Daylight Savings Time, I’m not sticking around until the sun sets.

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With my new role at work I go out to “The Field” a lot in western Oklahoma. This is what the field looks like. I miss the huge wide open skies out west. I work for a natural gas pipeline company. I get a lot of satisfaction out of job helping keeping the lights, heat, and air conditioning on for people.

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And then this weekend, we help Logan take care of the cats up for adoption at one of the local pet stores. They sure are starved for attention and affection. I think they get lonely locked up in there spaces all the time. We let them out and Logan plays with them while Heather and I clean out the cat boxes, clean the spaces, put in fresh food and water.  We do it once or twice a month early Saturday morning before the place opens. All four of our critters were adopted. I’m a big fan of adopting animals.

Anyways that is it this week. I’m linking with Our World Tuesday with this post.

Skywatch Friday – Office Window

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A view from a window where I work. Every evening before going home I wander to the west side of the floor and see what is happening with the sky and every once in a while it is pretty cool. I took this with my phone and haven’t done a thing to it, not even cropping.  The next day we had the following:

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Sorry for the graininess. I like this because it captured the reflection of the sun in the river. It is kind of smoky here because of the range fires and lots of dust kicked up by the winds. We had a little rain last night but not enough.

Unfortunately…. only a few more sunsets from the office left as we spring forward this weekend. I love my job but I’m not sticking around just to look at sunsets. I’ll be catching them from the Arkansas River and Turkey Mountain on my running outings.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday 

 

Our World Tuesday – The Daffodils and More at the Tulsa Botanic Garden

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I went out to the Tulsa Botanic Garden and checked out their daffodils. I know that I’ve already posted about daffodils but is it okay if I do two this year? There is a slippery slope factor here for sure because what would stop me from posting three times about these flowers? Anway, they have planted 101,475 bulbs of “Brushstrokes” with art-deco inspired styling. (i am not sure what that means.)

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I didn’t count them all but I believe that are telling the truth. The math nerd in me is trying to figure out how long it took to plant these bulbs. There are 86,400 seconds in a day so maybe one guy worked like crazy and got it done a little more than a day. But then, the engineer side of me is wondering who would be bringing the bulbs to him? How many people would that take, and how many bulbs in a truck load. What I come up with was that it took a bunch of people a lot of time to plant all those bulbs. Pretty impressive calculations huh? Told you that I was a math nerd. Check my work if you must. See what you come up with.

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I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

“Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West” by Bryce Andrews

I like to read and I read a lot but I don’t get excited about most of what I read. When I do get excited its like, stop reading everything else, stop blogging, stop watching television, stay up late and show up at work tired. Badluck Way is one of those books. It is about the author’s one year stint as a ranch hand on a big ranch in Montana. He loved working there but he felt he had to leave.

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This book really spoke to me. I am no cowboy and don’t know a thing about ranches or cows but I have known people who know all about that. I have been fascinated by how the west is changing, but still kind of staying the same. The ranch that Bryce Andrews worked on is the Sun Ranch near Ennis, Montana. It’s a 17,000 acre spread near Yellowstone Park that was owned when Bryce worked by a gazilloinaire named Roger who was trying to make the ranch sustainable. Sustainable meant that cows, wildlife, such as elk, and deer, and predators such as wolves migrating from Yellowstone all live happily together.

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I have always thought that horses have a great sense of humor.

Bryce and his cohorts worked hard. The one thing I learned about ranching while growing up is that there is a lot more to it than riding horses. A ranch hand has to know about cows and their various illnesses and ailments, horses, and in addition fixes a lot of fence, cleans out spring boxes, and has to know about plumbing, electricity, auto mechanics, in addition to house maintenance. The other thing is that the work never stops and there is also something else to do and some things cannot wait. If a heifer is having problems calving and it is late the in the day, too bad about you plans. Ranching is hard ass work and there is no other way about it. It can be blazing hot or freezing cold, it doesn’t matter. Most people working ranches that I have known are very tough and very hard workers.

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Island Park, Idaho, less than an hour south of the Sun Ranch

The other thing I liked about the book is its description of modern ranching. Horses are just one means of transport among others for moving around the ranch. I’ve had ranchers tell me that horses are a pain. A four wheeler doesn’t need to be fed, they don’t have vet bills, they don’t cause trouble. Lots of the work in the book is done on four wheelers and pickup trucks. Four wheelers in particular can cover a lot of rough territory in a short amount of time and can carry lots more gear than a horse can carry.

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The other thing about the Sun Ranch where Andrews worked is that it is owned by a wealthy person. There are lots of family owned ranches in the west but it seems that more and more wealthy individuals own the ranches. The guy, “Roger” who owned the Sun Ranch while Andrews worked there bought it from the actor Steven Seagall. Non ranches owning big ranches is nothing new in the west going back to the 19th century. There is something about owning huge amounts of land, especially land with mountains, streams, timber,and wildlife that is very attractive to people.

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Photo by Golo, displayed under Creative Commons license allowing use with attribution and no derivatives.

The book is really about the wolves. The wolves who were reintroduced into Yellowstone Park in 1995 have been very fruitful and multiplied greatly and have, not being respecters of signs, have spread far beyond the National Park into the surrounding area including ranches where they have sometimes killed lots of cattle. Some of the wolves are collared with radio transmitters and the ranches can monitor the movements of the wolves.  The wolf reintroduction although successful has been very controversial and in some areas of the west if you think that the wolves are a good thing, you are best advised to keep the opinion to yourself. Anyway Andrews experiences dealing with the wolves affected him personally very much.

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The other thing about the book I liked is its portrayal of “cowboys.” Andrews talks about how after a couple months after starting work at the ranch he got properly outfitted with the right gear and clothes, he remarked to the ranch manager how Andrews thought he was looking like a real cowboy and the manager made the withering, pithy observation that he thought he preferred the word cowboy as a verb than a noun. (And a I can tell you that a such western withering, pithy observations can be humiliating).

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So it is not a sad story about a way of life that is disappearing, it is more of a story about how  way of life is changing with the times. It helps that Andrews is a talented and interesting writer and has a great respect for land, the owners, and the people who work the land. I found the book to be compelling read.

Meantime, the grinding crunch of capitalism works. Roger had to sell the ranch to a mining executive in 2010 because of the economic downturn. Roger Lang secured the future of the ranch as a refuge by selling conservation easements for almost all of it.

Skywatch Friday – Silhouettes

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Skywatch, Modern Sculpture Silhouette from the east bank looking west

Those who follow me know that one of my joys is my weekly run after work on the Tulsa River Parks Trails along the Arkansas River. I run the trails almost regardless of the weather. Lightning  and Ice are the only reasons I have not run the trails. And this time of year by the time I get changed and dressed and then out to the river the sun is about to set.

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Tree Silhouette looking west

It was about five degrees cooler than I was planning on and there was a fairly stiff northern breeze that I hadn’t planned on either. I was a little under dressed with just shorts and a long sleeve t shirt but I put in three miles anyway. I started out into the wind so that when I turned around I was with the wind. Otherwise, even with the best technical gear you turn into a refrigerator.

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A little bit more open, still on east bank

So coming south on the west bank was great, I was very comfortable and was able to enjoy the run. If I had been dressed just a tad warmer I might have gone another mile or two.

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Sorry for the fuzzy shot, on the west bank looking back across the river. Downtown Tulsa is a couple miles past the river.

I injured myself a couple months ago and and been going through a self rehab of run walks, and massage and just trying to be patient and it worked out. Last Sunday I ran in a Quarter Marathon with some pretty good uphills and downhills and finished without any problems so this week on my weekly run I let myself run a lot more than usual. The thing about running is that running, even running as slow as I do, is a lot more fun than walking.

The thing about by new gym at the Methodist church downtown is that I can go change there and then drive down to the river and run my run and then drive back to the gym and shower and get clean clothes on rather than showing up at home all stinky, smelly, and hungry.

As you can tell, I am rather spoiled. I highly recommend being spoiled.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday