Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Vintage Oil and Gas Skies

I took the kid back to college on Wednesday. He got a sprained ankle last week so Heather and I did an evacuation to back home and got him in to see a doctor, fed him, did his laundry and got him rested up to go back. It’s just a sprain says the doc so we got him a brace and some ibuprofen and so back to school he goes. On the way back from dropping him off I stopped at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. I had not been there in ages. Turns out that they have a lot of new stuff to show and I’ll post about that later. Today I am showing what they had outside, underneath a big blue Oklahoma Sky with some wind. (If it is Oklahoma, the wind is always blowing.)

Wellhead Stack

I looked at a bunch of oil and gas stuff. This is known as a “Christmas Tree” with valves installed on a oil or gas well to control and regulate the flow. I have never actually seen a stack this high. Usually they are about only two or three valves. I’m guessing what happened is that somebody wanted to donate the tree and so they got all the junk valves they could round up, bolted them together, slapped a coat of paint on it and said “Here you are!” Makes for an impressive sight but I wouldn’t stand near it in a lightning storm.


This is a pump jack used for pumping oil out of the ground. They are also used on natural gas wells to pump the water out that impedes from natural gas well. There is a technical name for those kind of gas wells. They are called “sorry ass gas wells.”

Red Tank Wagon

An old school wagon using for hauling oil.

Drilling Rig

A portable drilling rig. Needs a coat of paint. Also something to stay from in a lightning storm.

Red Oilfield Truck

And a red truck. I’ve loved red trucks ever since I was about two years old.

That’s enough for now!!

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come check it out.

Skywatch Friday – Ominous

I’m doing lots of walking these days. I haven’t run at all since last spring. I still think as a runner though, strangely enough. The above was taken last week here in Tulsa. It was kind of an ordinary color photo and but then I “messed with it” added some hdr and turned in black and white and it looks very ominous. Oklahoma is the king of ominous skies. With global warming there is a “lot of energy” in the atmosphere as the scientists put it. That’s not a good thing.

And here is a patented front yard sky shot from the house. I also “messed” with this photo. At least it is not ominous.

I injured my back last week and the doctor gave me some exercises to do. It’s basically yoga and all told between the stretching, the strengthening, and the stretching again it takes about an hour and 20 minutes and it is pretty strenuous but I get that feeling of well being afterward. The critters love that I am down on the floor with them. Which is fine but you know they need to get their own yoga mats. What do you think?

I am still geocaching. I will never stop. I am going to have a geocache hidden in my gravestone when my time expires here on earth. I might get it set ahead of time to make sure its done right. Anyway I digress again. This cache was at a park and I posted the video on instagram and one of my Igram buddies said hey, his grandson put that out as a scout project. I love the gentle fuzzy corner of the internet I am in with photobloggers and instagram. It makes the world a little smaller and kinder. Just so you know though I get rough and rowdy on twitter and I’m kind of in between on facebook. I have been unfriended by scores of people on facebook.

I’m on linkedin as well. Mainly the oil and gas part of it. Right now they are all swooning because Biden is going to destroy the oilfield and our economy is going to die and blah, blah, blah. Those two things didn’t do too well unde the last guy. Presidents come and go, and energy prices go up and down, and I don’t think there is much correlation. The oil and gas guys don’t want to hear that though.

Oh well, I’m getting off topic now. Everybody stay safe and post lots of great photos.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Trees

lafortune trees hdr nik 01

I went on a walk at Tulsa’s Lafortune Park. The trail is 3.1 miles long and loops around two golf courses, baseball fields, a tennis complex, a high school, a public library and there is almost always something going on except it was a cold windy day and I had the place to myself. The skies were overcast so I took photos of the trees on the golf courses.

lafortune trees hdr nik 02

I love trees in the winter. Their twiggy fingers reaching to the sky. I love trees in all the seasons, how about you.

I got my first Covid vaccination shot this week. I think it is crazy that every state in the union has their own way of doing things. I spent two days refreshing my browser every ten to fifteen minutes. The other thing is that here in Oklahoma just because a site says no appointments available doesn’t mean anything you have to click through to be sure. I know others out in blogland have related similar stories. Anyway, I am glad we are finally getting a foothold, a beginning, to rid our earth of this awful disease.

I’m thankful for the vaccine and for the many millions of caregivers around the world who have risked their lives taking care of people who got sick with the disease.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday, come join us.

Skywatch Friday – Winter Hiking

TM Wild Ass Trees 06 NIK

I went on a hike on Turkey Mountain on a cloudy day on MLK day. The parking lot was full but I didn’t see very many people. You don’t on the backcountry trails I like to take. The more popular trails are on the east side of the mountain and overlook the Arkansas River and south Tulsa, and those trails are better mapped. You have to kind of know where you are going on the back country.

TM Wild Ass Trees 04 NIK

I love getting in the woods on cloudy days in the winter. Everything just kind of pops out, especially the trees. We get to see their greedy fingers reaching for the sky competing with other trees for enough sunlight to live on.

TM Trail 02 NIK

I love a twisty turning trail disappearing into the distance. I also love that some of the shrubs are still green despite the season.

TM Rock City 02 nik

This is the area called Rock City or the Rock Garden.

Old Rusted Can on Rock NIK

Elsewhere on the mountain I found this bucket sitting on a rock. Turkey Mountain used to be the home to farms, ranches, liquor stills, and oilwells and the detritus from those previous uses still litter the landscape. With the advent of industrial scale meth production in Mexico, meth making on the mountain has disappeared. We used to find small meth labs and “shake and bake” containers during our periodic cleanups in the park. It was part of the briefing to the volunteers that if they saw something like that to leave it alone and let one of the leaders know so it could be removed safely.

Ducks on Pond Nik

I came upon a flotilla of mallards who paddled away from me. I was lucky they just didn’t fly off.


I got a glimpse of the new buildings going up at the Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA (formerly the Westside YMCA). The Y occupies the very northwest corner of the park and have been in existence since 1956. They got a ton of money and are completely rebuilding the facilty and will open this summer. Check the link for details. It’s going to be great. One of the great things about Tulsa is the generosity of the corporations and wealthier citizens who really step when needed.

TM Trail 04 NIK Realistic

As part of it’s past Turkey Mountain has at least two active pipelines, two major powerlines. They were there long before the area was made a park. The owner of the above pipeline recently “cleaned up” right of way so it’s kind of a clearcut through the area. And we park users make it into a trail of course!!

So anyway, I had a good time and went about 3.5 miles. It took me a while. I got a couple phone calls in the middle of the hike. I am not a walker talker (on the phone) so I talk in place. I still had a great time.

Have you been on any walks lately?

I’m linking up with Skywatch Friday – lots of friendly, talented people from all over the world participate

Skywatch Friday – New Year’s Eve

2020 is about over. It has been a miserable year in many respects with the pandemic and here in the USA, and so much discord over the election, and race strife. The economy tanked and lots of people are suffering.

At work, we started working from home in March. I went ahead and retired at the end of May. It was strange. I went to the office and retrieved my personal things and there was nobody there besides the security guards on the first floor. So I said my goodbyes by phone and email and left my computer in my cubicle.

So our little family of three hunkered down together and you know what. I like staying home. I mean I get out every day but I can come and go as I please. I can take time to do stuff since I got my 40 hours a week back. I highly recommend retiring if you have the means.

We can go on weekday hikes if we wish!! Anyways, the pandemic will be tamed. I think our political situation will be volatile for the foreseeable future. Nothing I can do about that except to make sure that I am accepting of others. I am very thankful that I was able to retire. I am mindful that that is not available to many people.

Anyway, from our little crew of three, we wish you a Happy New Year!!

Come join the fun at Skywatch Friday!

Skywatch Friday – Snow!!

We finally got a decent snow in Tulsa the other day. I think they said it was the first appreciable amounts in seven years. We were supposed to get one to three inches but it came out five inches of very heavy wet snow.

I was glad to see it although it made for very tough shoveling. I shoveled our driveway and then I shoveled MIL’s. I could feel it so I took it easy but I still slept soundly after all that.

Here’s our house. I don’t do ladders any longer so the lights are low, very low in the case of the ones under the snow. They didn’t short out or anything, they just kept on burning.

And speaking of burning. I’ve mentioned that we are freshening up our house some. We had painters in and they removed the smoke detectors and they looked kind of dingy so I was checking to see what the replacements were and found out that our smoke detectors only have a ten year life and we have lived in the house for twenty years. Made me feel foolish and we now have new smoke detectors. Don’t be like me folks, if you have an ionization type detector check and see if they are still in date.

The whole situation with the snow and painters drove Lizzie to drink. She doesn’t like strangers in the house so these months of work have been hard on her.

Here’s a “go out to get the paper and snap a photo” skywatch shot. I’m lazy like that. You don’t have to travel far to get a nice shot sometimes. I post a lot of the shots on instagram. I am just glad that my neighbor finally got his car door damage repaired. I got as many comments about the car damage as I do the sky.


Tuesday, several days after the snow, I ventured out to Turkey Mountain to check out the snow. I love hiking in the snow. The RiverParks Authority would just as soon people stay off the trails because of the muddy conditions but I went anyway. Don’t tell them okay? I got all sorts of rationalizations.


I was plodding along and saw some movement and saw a herd of about eight deer off in the woods. Sorry about the quality of the photos. All I had was my point and shoot and my iphone.


I stood there for about twenty minutes. The first ten, they all stared at me except for the little ones. After that all but one or two relaxed a little grazed and then they got tired of me and left.


A little further along I came to a pond. I just love the reflections on it and the sky.


I started taking trails I don’t usually take just to avoid the muddy more heavily used trails. There is nothing prettier than a single track trail through the snowy woods.

I saw this way off the trail and checked it out. It is some sort of oilfield apparatus. I had never seen it before. I thought I knew all the old abandoned wells, pumpjack foundations, abandoned pipelines, and cables on the mountain, but I guess I didn’t. One of the people with the River Parks Authority commented on my instagram that he didn’t know about this. So I made a find!!

By this time I was getting a little cold and tired so I took another single track path back to the Snake Trail to get back to the car. I really enjoyed my outing.

That’s about it, I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Skywatch Friday – Another Day at Oxley Nature Center

So this is what our house looks like now. We have moved beyond floors and are deep into painting. You couple this with great sunny weather and it is time to get out and about.

Oxley NIK HDR Trees 01

So we made another trip to Oxley Nature Center. The main part of the park and during midweek so there was hardly anybody out, certainly no pot smokers stinking up the area.

Oxley NIK HDR Trees 02

We got about three miles in the sunny, cool weather. We saw all sorts of squirrels and birds but no deer.

Oxley NIK HDR Marsh

I loved how this marsh was still green. Making that oxygen out of carbon dioxide.

Oxley NIK HDR Road

Part of old US 169 goes through the park and has been converted to a very wide paved trail.

We had a great time and covered about three miles. The painters had let themselves out so hung out on the front porch for a while and then moved upstairs to watch Elf.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Staying Outside

I was a little annoyed the day before Thanksgiving. Our gym closed temporarily because of community spread of Covid-19. They are planning on evaluating again on the New Year. So I was going to get another gym but on further thought, I decided that I am going to ride this thing through without a gym. Covid-19 in Oklahoma is exploding and the governor doesn’t want to be outflanked on the right for re-election so he is doing a whole lot of nothing to control it. So I don’t have a gym so I’ll be spending more time outdoors.

Heather styling

The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, the weather was pretty decent and Post Oak Lodge, a resort northwest of Tulsa opened up their grounds including their trail system to the general public. I’ve been up there a bunch for Trail Races and so off we went.

My kind of styling. I love my baggy flame resistant jeans from before I retired. (FR’s they call them, part of ones PPE, personal protective equipment)

The skies were clear, the air was crisp and cold, and so off we went. They didn’t have trail maps so we winged. Heather kept asking me, “you have been out here a lot and you don’t know the trails?” So I said it was only once a year and they change the routes some every year. We wanted to go to Holmes Peak, the highest point in Tulsa County. At least we could see where we wanted to go. We had a to double or loop back a few times though. Just adds to the fun, right?!


We passed some of the zip line towers. I used to want to do a zip line and now I don’t.

Here we are on Holmes Peak. You can see downtown Tulsa way off down there.

On the way back, I had to go check this oil well. Yep, it was pumping.

Here is a video of our adventure. I posted it on facebook and a friend of mine said it looked like one of PJ’s routes on Family Circus. I had to agree with him but we had a good time anyway.

IMG_2569-SharpenAI-sharpen (1)-adjust

A few days later we had a full moon. The Beaver Moon I think they call it.

I am thankful to be able to get outside. I am also thankful that we have a vaccine coming. I hope everybody is being careful.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Thanksgiving 2020


It’s Thanksgiving Day!! What a year it has been for everybody. Global pandemics, political and racial upheaval, a plunging economy. Things have been really weird all year. Personally I dealt with all that plus I retired in June. We and I have lots to be thankful for. I love being retired for one. The political upheaval seems to be resolving itself here in the USA. Hopefully we will make progress on our racial issues as well. That will be a long process rather than an event. Me and my family have our health. You sure can’t take that for granted. The main thing I am grateful for is my brother, Bob’s continuing recovery from his illness.

Wolf River Trail

A little over a year ago he was stricken with viral encephalitis.


This man who has completed about four dozen marathons and over one hundred half marathons lost his ability to even walk. The past year, despite some setbacks he is making progress. He can walk a little ways with a walker now but he is determined that he is going to enter a race again. It won’t be a marathon and he’ll probably walk instead of run but I think he is going to do it.

November 2019

So during his ordeal which included two acute care hospitals, two long term acute care hospital, and a long term care facility I have met some of the army of health care workers in our country.


Everybody from doctors of all types, nurses, nursing aides, speech, physical, respiratory and occupational therapists to the people who clean the rooms, bring the food, and some of the sitters that sat with him early on. They were all awesome going above and beyond expectations to make sure that Bob got great care.

lafortune heroes work here-adjust

Yep, they are all heroes, and right in the middle of Bob’s ordeal the pandemic hit and yet they continued to take care of Bob. My hat goes off to them and am deeply appreciative of what they do.


So this photo is from a couple years ago. Last year Bob and I had our Thanksgiving meal together in a hospital in Memphis. This year, he is in Tulsa but at a Long Term Care facility where they are shut down because of the pandemic so we’ll talk to him today but we won’t be able to share a meal with him. Hopefully, next Thanksgiving he’ll be with us again. He and I talk every day plus I have been able to be with him on some of his doctor’s appointments lately.

feb 2020

My prayer is that you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.

Skywatch Friday

Special Addendum – Thanksgiving 2020


So today Logan, Heather, and Nana (the world’s greatest MIL) sat down to eat for Thanksgiving.


A little bit closer look at the food. I smoked the chickens. They were huge! Like small turkeys.


Logan again and Abby the wonderdog


My beautiful bride, Heather.


And Nana, the world’s great MIL.