Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our World Tuesday – Tulsa State Fair 2018

_DSC0147

Last Saturday I went to the Tulsa State Fair. I love the Fair, I try and go every year. I love the sights and sounds , and the people and all the colors.

_DSC0298

I got there kind of early so the midway wasn’t very busy yet.

_DSC0296

Don’t you love it. I wouldn’t touch cotton candy with a ten foot pole. I haven’t had any since I was a kid. I am kind of a sensory guy and the texture totally creeps me out. Plus, too danged sweet.

_DSC0297

Photos, I take my own photos, thank you very much.

_DSC0239

I checked out the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. I did a separate blog post on it yesterday. I love all the cakes! I spent the most time there. 

_DSC0246

Then I went to the far eastern end where the crafts were. I love the quilts. There were lots of quilts there. Very nice.

_DSC0250

This little teardrop trailer was a winner in a woodworking classification. Isn’t it gorgeous. These little trailers are very popular in geocaching campouts. I’ve always wondered about the practicality of these things. Like I am 63 years old and there is no way that I could change clothes in this thing. They are cool to look at though. 

_DSC0251

Pumpkins, lots of decorated pumpkins. I love decorated pumpkins. There were no Trump pumpkins this year, that I saw unlike previous years. Maybe they don’t allow them.

_DSC0255

They had a lego competition. Lots of great entries.

_DSC0259

I moved over the adjoining building where they had the birthing center (for critters not humans, just so you know, although they could probably handle that too, that would give them little kids an education don’t you know!) and the petting zoo. I didn’t go to either one of those. I took one look of vintage veterinarian tools and I saw all I needed to see. 

_DSC0261

And then over the FFA exhibits. I love those. It is kind of the best of small town Oklahoma. (Which is the best of Oklahoma in my opinion.) They had pumpkins also. They had a bunch lined up outside of the building. I didn’t see any Trump pumpkins here either. (I am going to call them Trumpkins from now on.)

_DSC0264

They had a Smokey Bear pumpkin inside. As a Forest Ranger’s kid I am always into anything Smokey Bear.

_DSC0265

There were lots of Snoopy themed pumpkins.

_DSC0266

This is my favorite. No Trumpkins inside though.

_DSC0267

The various FFA chapters have table displays and I love looking at those. Lots of work and creativity involved. This is for the Oolagah, Oklahoma Chapter. Oolagah is a town about an hour north of Tulsa, near where Will Rogers grew up. I loved the photo in this display. All those pretty young women and the guy, dressed in pink. Obviously confident himself and smart enough to hang out with women. I have always preferred the company of women, myself. Kudos the guy, whoever he is. I salute you. And whoever had the genius idea of inverting the expected colors. Nice.

_DSC0268

A flower display.

_DSC0271

Displays on native grasses in Oklahoma.

_DSC0275

And this was an FFA project, to restore this beautiful Massey-Ferguson tractor.

_DSC0273

And then on to the critters. I swear the pigs were making eye contact looking for a friendly face. 

_DSC0279

Some handsome sheep.

_DSC0282

And the cows. These are Herefords. What my Dad called white faces. You don’t see too many of them these days. 

_DSC0290

The longhorns are always impressive.

_DSC0291

Another longhorn.

At the beer garden at the Oklahoma State Fair

I finished up and rested up with a Spaten Optimator at the Beer Garden. That and a corn dog was the only thing I paid for at the Fair (except for the $6 entry fee, and a $1 tip to the shuttle bus drivers, and a corn dog.) So, I’ll be back next year!

I am linking with Our World Tuesday 

Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show and Grand National Wedding Cake Competition – 2018

_DSC0155

I try and  get to the Tulsa State Fair every year. I don’t go for the rides or the food, or the all the cheesy vendors flaunting their wares. I go for the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition that goes on at the fair only on the first weekend. 

_DSC0158

It is the 25th year of the competion and it is directed by Kerry Vincent. A tough and demanding judge. Nice to the amateurs and really snarky with the whiny professionals.

_DSC0160

The theme this year is “I am a modern classic.”

_DSC0159

This year, like every year, the cakes in the professional division are very well done and very elegant. I am not going  to provide very much more commentary. The cakes speak for themselves.

_DSC0161

Traffic jam caused by an interview in the middle of the show.

_DSC0163
_DSC0167
_DSC0169
_DSC0175

This is one of my favorites.

_DSC0177
_DSC0179

I thiought this was spectacular. 

_DSC0180

The spray of flowers and bird on top.

_DSC0181

The water dripping from  the fountain below.

_DSC0184

This is also a favorite. Inspired by John and  Jackie Kennedy.

_DSC0185
_DSC0186
_DSC0187
_DSC0188
_DSC0189
_DSC0196
_DSC0199
_DSC0200
_DSC0204

I loved this one also. A Wedding on the Prairie theme.

_DSC0205
_DSC0208
_DSC0212
_DSC0213
_DSC0214
_DSC0216

And that is a wrap. It is open one more day, tomorrow, Sunday September 30. It opens at ten. It gets very crowded and the later you go on Sunday the bigger chance that some of the competitors have taken their cakes home.

First Fall Hike at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center

20180923-155419-1

Logan and I decided to go on a hike today. We went to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center up north of the airport. We decided to do the little used North Woods Loop, away from the main Oxley Nature Center. We may have been the first people to use the trail on Sunday.

_DSC0077

How would I know? Because we were walking through lots of spider webs. That honor traditionally goes to the early morning hikers and runners. It is not that pleasant but on Sunday we were walking through webs at four in the afternoon!

_DSC0078

Went on the Sierra Club trail. It has my favorite walkway. 

_DSC0079

We saw the beginnings of Fall Color. We’ll be checking back.

_DSC0081

Lots of fungus.

_DSC0089

More beginnings of Fall Color.

_DSC0098

And more and more fungus. We only went a little more than two miles but didn’t see anybody. We saw lots of squirrels and cardinals and a glimpse of a few white tailed deer as the scampered through the woods away from us.

20180923-155829-2

We were only out for a couple miles and it was nice not seeing anybody. Or hearing anybody, except the squirrels in the brush, the deer in the thickets, and the wind in the tops of the trees.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday.

Beverly Green: Sasquatch Hunter by Andrea C. Neil

This novel is about Beverly Green a native Okie who made her mark in New York City and returns to Oklahoma to kind of slow down a little bit and get back to her roots and chill out a little bit. 

DSCN6725
Chickens play a prominent part of the story. Especially one chicken with an attitude.

So she moves to Guthrie, Oklahoma, the former state capitol (and still brooding about it) about an hour north of Oklahoma City. She opens a small bookstore but this being the gig economy and all she also gets.a newspaper gig as a side hustle  and raises chickens.

IMG_1405
Guthrie is a funky old town and is the perfect setting for this story.

The editor at the local paper where she works has assigned her the job of reporting on a local Sasquatch sighting and she dreads it. She doesn’t believe in Sasquatches see, but she was also tormented in her youth by visions of the beasts.

IMG_1387
This has nothing to do with the story. It is a scene from the pharmacy museum in Guthrie.

She sullenly goes through the motion of pursuing the story, talking to local characters who believe in the creatures. In the meantime she keeps running into a man who she gradually becomes very attracted to. I guess that it what makes this a romantic novel. To me it is a romantic comedy and this part of the novel is hilarious. I haven’t read too much fiction before where a female character goes on in detail about why she is attracted to a guy. 

IMG_1396
The pharmacy park hosts a small scene in the book. This is the family at the park. My Father-in-law, a former pharmacy and now gone, is honored there with a plaque. 

I am more into thrillers, detective stories, and non-fiction but this book drew me in and I kept going. The writing just pulled me through was very sparkly and interesting from start to finish. The story involves a Sasquatch stakeout, chickens, and a kiss (a kiss is just a kiss right? or is it?) . It seems set up for a sequel or maybe a whole series.

I give this four stars out of four, or five out of five or however many stars you like. It’s a good read, and I hope there is another one from Andrea Neil soon.

You can get the book at Amazon or if you live in Tulsa at Magic City Bookstore. Both the physical book and the Kindle version, which I got, is are reasonably priced. You can sample some of her writing at her blog.

Our World Tuesday – Trumpeter Swans of Yellowstone Park

_DSC0844

I saw lots of sights on my August trip to Yellowstone National Park to explore the park with my sister Ellen who works there. One of the most graceful and beautiful things I saw was a lone Trumpeter Swan feeding in a river. (I think it was either the Firehole or Madison River, I forget which, the first flows into the second).

_DSC0835

Definitely not a sight one sees in the wild in Oklahoma. We stopped and took lots of pictures of this guy (gal?). It was paddling around, dipping its head in the river, and sometimes tipping its entire body forward so just its butt was sticking up in the air. The Cornell Lab has a great web site on Trumpeter Swans here.

_DSC0839

We stayed for quite a while looking at this swan as he swam about. My sister tells me that he stays there a lot and sees it almost every time she drives through the area. Just thinking about it gives me a sense of calm.

_DSC0815

Earlier in the day we had been in Jackson, Wyoming and on the way back we saw a pair of Trumpeter Swans at the National Elk Refuge

Ellen and I sure packed a lot of things into three days!!

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday.

Skywatch Friday – Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley

Bison View-1-Edit

Sorry, not sorry, another post of my trip to visit my Sister Ellen who works at Yellowstone National Park. One day we went to the Lamar Valley in the northeast section of the park. We saw lots of bison, a couple of antelope, and went on a couple of hikes. 

Bison-1-Edit

It is a beautiful broad valley with mountains on both sides and it takes a while to get there. Forget about any bars on your cell phone because there are not any to be had. Great news!!

Bison rut kicking dust 1_DSC0559-Edit

The Lamar Valley is known as a great place for watching wildlife including wolves. My sister Ellen tells me that you have to get up and be in place early to have a chance of seeing them.

Here is a video by the National Park Service about the wolves. 

 

Antelope-1-Edit

We went on a short hike but the sun was beating down on us and we wanted to get into the woods.

Lamar River-1-Edit

We saw a couple of fishermen wading in the Lamar River. It looked like they were having a great time.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Tulsa’s “Gathering Place” Riverfront Park Opens

aa

_DSC0035

Saturday, September 8 was a big day in Tulsa. A Gathering Place, our new $465 million privately financed public park opened up. Seven years in the making, over three years of construction, including shutting down a one mile stretch of one of Tulsa’s busiest streets, Riverside Drive, came to an end (kind of they still have a some final touches to do.) And they took down the barricades and told everybody to come on down and check out your new park and  despite the sometimes misty weather people did.

_DSC0010

The Architect who designed it is Michael Van Valkenburgh. He and his firm have designed other parks and he came  well recommended. He spent a lot of time just  listening to the people who were financing the park about what they wanted and he came to Tulsa and looked at the city and the surrounding region and tried to capture the soul of the city.

_DSC0004

One article I read talked about his visit to Chandler Park and how struck he was with the “lost city section” with the stone making seeming streets and alleys and he incorporated that concept into the park.

_DSC0014

The place is full  of details. I think they spent a fortune on landscaping, including many wildflowers.

_DSC0016

And stuff to do? My gosh their is a lot to do there. Especially if you have kids. I think this log course above might be something I could try.

_DSC0017

They have a lot of areas for relaxing and will have several restaurants. This a nice area that is well shaded. I love the wood furniture.

_DSC0019

This is view from the the previous area down to a bridge across a pond.

_DSC0025

And this is from  the bridge back up to the eating area. This is the ONEOK Boathouse. My employer paid for it. (I’m so proud, really, I am.) What a legacy. (And yes ONEOK is all caps, you pronounced it One Oak.)

_DSC0027

The heart of the park is a huge playground for kids of all ages. Oh man, for the first time since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a little kid. This looks fun.

_DSC0029

And so does this. I would settle for having an eight year old again. Son Logan was with me, but he is 20 years old and 6’3″ tall.

_DSC0033

Kids were having a blast. Talk about a bunch of places to climb into, climb across, slide down. It is the ultimate “do touch” place. And yes, it is all free. There is no charge. In addition to the $400 million is money for security and maintenance. What a gift to the city.

_DSC0034

The concept of A Gathering Place is that is a place for the whole city to come and reconnect from each other. I think we need it. A little known secret is that Tulsa is home of the worse race riot in US history, the Tulsa Race Riot, now increasingly known as the Tulsa Race Massacre. Read about it here.

_DSC0037

In my opinion, the city has never recovered from that and the wounds still exist. There are still survivors of the riot alive in Tulsa today. Anyway, the New York Times has a pretty good, if a little more than slightly condescending article on the park, and the riot. Read it here.

Read the comments also. I know us Okies get a bad rap and my favorite comment was from a New Yorker who said she would never visit the state because she hates us Okies because of the hate we have in our heart. (Huh).

_DSC0038

Be that as it may, the park is fun, and great. And I expect to spend a lot of time there especially when the hubub dies down a little bit. It is only a couple miles from downtown where I work. I figure during the day the kids will be at school, so I can come and try out the banana slide for myself.

_DSC0040

Pooh!! I know it is probably not officially a Pooh bear, who could afford the licensing fees. It has a nook inside just right for several kids and an adult reading a story.

_DSC0041

There was a steel drum band playing. I love steel drum bands.

_DSC0042

My favorite place is probably the Williams Lodge. It is like a ski lodge in the Rockies. The woodwork is superb. 

_DSC0045

I loved the ceiling!!

The guy behind the park is a Tulsa Oilman billionaire philanthropist named George Kaiser, who over the years has been very generous to Tulsa through his George Kaiser Family Foundation. He is in the oil business and obviously has done very well. I know several people who have worked for and with him and they credit him as being a very good but tough boss and also thinks very out of the box. I get the impression that he is playing chess when everybody else is trying to figure out checkers. He has several hundred million dollars invested in the park and was able to convince lots of other companies to contribute as well.

_DSC0050

The fireplace is a favorite.

_DSC0060

The designer of the place had to contend with something. Most of the land was on one side of Riverside Drive and the Arkansas River was on the other side. He wanted to integrate the park with the river so he used “land bridges” to link the park with the river. There are two of them and they are genius.

_DSC0058

I am just glad the running/biking trail is back in business. It is all new. For three years we have contended with the one mile gap, now we don’t any longer. And the trail integrates well with the park.

_DSC0070

Sports is a big thing in America and Tulsa and the park has tons of sports courts of all kinds. Logan and I sat down and watched the ladies play 3 on 3 basketball. They were very very good. The park plans on having lots of sports programming.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday, come join us!

Our World – Woolaroc Geocaching Outing

20180128-124928-4

Logan and I went up to Woolaroc Museum and Preserve today to check out a couple of geocaches installed on the grounds of the preserve.

20180128-131013-6

“The Trail of Tears” by Robert Lindneaux. Andrew Jackson oversaw the ejection of thousands of Native Americans from the southeast USA to Oklahoma and elsewhere. Many died on the way over. To this day Andrew Jackson is not a popular guy among the tribes in Oklahoma.

While there we breezed through the museum. We have been there lots of times but it has been at least a year and a half for me and I was glad to see a few changes from the last time I was through.

20180128-131110-8

I love this chuckwagon exhibit. I love chuckwagons. That is where the food is!!

20180128-131208-9

I checked on some old favorites. This is a bust of Geronimo the baddest of the bad (or the baddest of the good). My late father was a student of western history had studied up on Geronimo. His favorite story was about the Tonto Apache Tribe who were scouts for General Crook who finally convinced Geronimo to surrender. When Geronimo’s braves were on the train to Florida to begin their imprisonment, Crook’s troops told the Tonto scouts to get on the train also. One reason why we have trust issues with Native American’s maybe?

20180128-132157-11

They have machine guns on exhibit also. One time several years ago when I was there. A guy was inspecting it really closely and said, “You know, I don’t think that this actually works. I am not sure it is going to help come crunch time.” We are kind of hard core here in Oklahoma.

20180128-132328-12

I always love the airplane hanging from the ceiling in the basement. I wonder if they would ever take it out and fly it again?

DSCN9059

Enough of all that! Time to hit the trails. We found a couple of nice full size geocaches on the trails in the preserve on the beautiful 60 degree sunny day we had in Oklahoma.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

I’ve made about a dozen and a half posts on Woolaroc. Use the search icon (the magnifying glass) on the upper right hand corner of this page to see if some of them might interest you.

Tulsa’s HollyFrontier Refinery

TulsaRefinery-Edit-1

I’ve always loved oil refineries. As a young kid, it seemed like big important things were going on with big towers and huge tanks and all sorts of pipes and lots of electric power lines. Ironically, I have a chemical engineering degree and have only spent a few hours inside a refinery. Oh well, I’ve done other things.

This is one of two refineries that HollyFrontier operates in Tulsa. I used Topaz Glow to add a little drama to the scene.

The refineries are located on the west side of Tulsa along with a power plant, a trash to energy steam plant, a bunch of trucking outfits, and oilfield manufacturing companies. All this industrial stuff is the original financing of the all the nice part of Tulsa. The art deco office towers, museums, and all the rest. I’ve always found the dichotomy fascinating.