My wife Heather has been taking advantage of the this isolation to revamp our back yard and add bird feeders and such. So we are getting a lot more birds than we used to. Plus we have more time to sit out and watch them.
So its kind of fun. We have lots of squirrels also helping themselves to the feeders. I don’t care as long as they stay out of the attic.
So I am consulting inaturalist on some of the critters. I don’t have the patience to be a birder but I’ll do it opportunistically.
On a different note, we spent some time with Heather’s Mom yesterday celebrating Mothers Day. A good time was had by all. We got food from a local restaurant and so nobody had to cook!!
And I got a little drone time in as the clouds come rolling in. Check in later this week on my Skywatch Friday post for the images I captured.
Sunday afternooon, after Heather and I headed for Oxley Nature Center in north Tulsa for a little hiking. We were wanting something kind of flat with little rocks.
We’ve had a lot of rain in Tulsa this year and Oxley is kind of low, it is very low in fact. They have lots of swampy areas like above.
Oxley has a lot of color, green. Lots and lots of green with not much other colors. We found this bloom. I am having trouble IDing it. The number one ID on iNaturalist is “Multiflora rose” which is an invasive species. What do you think?
We found these butterflies as well. We think we are two of them and that they are Silvery Checkerspots. Sorry for the butterfly porn.
I like this shot, it doesn’t make me look so fat.
And here is Heather in on of Oxley’s tree tunnels. We ended up tramping a little over three and a half miles. I think we went over almost all the trails that were not muddy. We had a good time.
Saturday the family was a little restless and we wanted to do something outside so we loaded up into the car rode down the turnpike to Muskogee, Oklahoma, about 40 minutes away to check out their Honor Heights Park.
Honor Heights is known for the Azalea Festival, which we missed by a couple weeks but there were still some blooms. My blog friends over the years have taught me to be appreciative of all the phases of blooms.
They did have all sorts of other plants to look at it including some beautiful lily’s like these.
We found a bunch of water lily’s alongside a small stream going through the property.
Heather and I really liked this Norway Maple. I had never heard of such a tree before and it is really striking.
This guy just wanted us to go home.
Somehow, Logan agreed to be a butterfly. He’s a big guy but he’s a butterfly now.
The Park had a lot of people but it is big at 132 acres and people stayed pretty well spread out. Most everything was open but the gift shop and playgrounds were closed due to the Covid-19 crisis. It wasn’t hard to physically distance ourselves from others.
We ran into a former teacher of Logan’s and her family, so we caught up, from about 15 feet away. It’s amazing to me how teachers remember their students.
So a good time was had by all. We gave Honor Heights Park five stars out of five. We’ll be back!
Centennial Park is a quiet spot just to the southeast of downtown Tulsa. It’s actually a park built around a water detention pond as part of Tulsa’s flood prevention system.
Things are much better now but in years past with an urban park with nooks and crannies you never knew what you might see as you turned the corner on one of the paths. So I kind of shied away and kept my head on a swivel when I went there. Mostly it was homeless people and almost all of them just wanted to be left alone. Last week there was nobody there except a city parks employee who was interested in my drone flying.
The park has a big pond with two fountains and has the city center as a backdrop. Way back when this was one of my favorite running routes at noon, taking loop around the pond and paths.
That day though I was with my new toy trying to get something besides me out in the middle of a parking lot. The guy walking up in the video is the parks guy. He had sprayed for weeds a couple days before and he was just checking on things.
This might be the most selfish and self centered blog post in the world. Then again isn’t selfish and self centered at the heart of blogging in a way. I mean the internet has given us a voice so we go for it. Am I wrong? Is it a bad thing? I don’t think so. Also, the interwebs are full of grumpy people talking about what makes them grumpy. That is political blogging in a nutshell. The community of photobloggers though are pretty much about telling us what makes them happy and I’m good with that.
So now that I’ve justified my selfishness lets give it a go.
My family makes me happy, my bride of many years Heather our special son Logan. Rascal the Pomeranian makes me happy as well but near as much as the other two.
Then here is them two again and me. Make note of my expression. That is my big wide rarely seen smile.
Here is Lizzie, our diffident, fat little toad kitten. She probably isn’t a kitten more technically and she isn’t that loving generally but she makes me happy. She rules our household of three humans, one other cat and three dogs.
And beautiful landscapes make me happy. This is Woodward Park here in Tulsa. We have azaleas, dogwoods, and who knows what else going on here.
And Tulips make me very happy. The more the merrier, and the more colors, the better. I don’t care if they are a bit past prime like these, I love them all the same.
And I’ll take single tulips or tulips in a bunch.
And Azaleas, and how they are so lush and overwhelming.
And some more Azaleas.
Iris’s may be my favorite flower. The tissue like delicate petals are sublime.
And Wisteria, wisteria makes me very happy.
The Gilcrease Museum gardens are open at no charge seven days a week even though the museum is closed. They have this huge wisteria.
And baseball, baseball is shut down and it is killing me. Being there live is the thing. Nothing more boring than baseball on television. Well there is one thing. At my MIL’s house we were watching “The Greatest Story Every Told” the old movie. Of course the story is great but the movie puts seven R’s in Borrrrrrring. Low energy. They needed to cut in half and put in a chariot race. Oh yeah, they already did, its called Ben-Hur. Now that’s a good movie.
I hate the virus that has its grip on the world but I love the medical people who are risking their health taking care of the virus’s victims.
And art, love it. This is a sculpture at the Gilcrease Museum Gardens called “Twins” by Jay O’Melia. I think this is perfect.
Another scene from the Gilcrease Museum Gardens. It’s easy to maintain social distancing because nobody else is every there!! By the way, can we call it “Physical Distancing?” I don’t want to be socially distant. Sorry.
And here’s Heather again. I love sitting out on our patio with her.
And I love challenges. Heather got me a fancy drone for my birthday. It’s kind of cool. It has a GPS built in so when you tell it to stop somewhere, it maintains its position. I’ve two other learner drones and they just kind of did whatever they wanted to do. I want my technology to do what I want it to do. So anyway I put it up in the air, told it to stay and fished my camera out of my pocket and took a photo.
And I had it take a photo of me.
And then moved it a little closer and took another pic. And then it started to rain. I was trying to figure out how to do video and I think I have it but it is very rainy and windy. So it might be a few days before I can try it again.
I’m happy that my fellow citizens are helping to flatten the curve by following the guidelines. It feels un-natural and weird but we have to do what we can do.
Know something else that makes me happy is how people responded to this crisis. For example as I write this post, Mary Chapin Carpenter is singing a song from her house on facebook, lots of artists are doing similar things. Exercise instructors are doing Zoom workouts. Restaurants moved quickly for takeout options. It has been amazing how creative and resilient people are. It’s been amazing to see. Kudos to them.
So, there are tons more things that make me happy, but I’ll stop. What makes you happy?
In the meantime, stay home, and flatten the curve.
I ran in Tulsa’s Saint Patrick’s Day 5K race Saturday. I was tempted not to run it because it was cold (about 42F at race time) and raining. But I had the right tech gear and decided to go ahead.
Heck of a shot of me here right? This isn’t going in the family album I’ll tell you. I do like my $7.49 cent top from Walmart a lot though. I am very visible. I was also very wet.
I decided to actually run this race a little bit especially at first and it worked pretty well. I got warmed up in a hurry for one thing. I would run a block and walk a block. Sometimes I’d run two blocks if we were going downhill. I was just going with the flow.
Here come the two leaders. They actually look like they are running. Me and these two guys swept the top two spots!! Aren’t you proud of me?
After a pretty good interval, here came the third place guy.
Here are my peeps in the back of the pack crowd.
So I was pretty pleased with my 43:50 time. I think that time is when I got to the starting line. my “gun time” which is official is more like 45 minutes or so.
So I finished 16th out of 18 in my age group. I was pleased that that I was able to run about half the race. It’s been about three years since I actually ran a race. It took about a year and half for my knees to quit hurting them so I baby them pretty good. I rarely run, I walk a lot, and do lots of the elliptical machine, bicycling, resistance training and yoga. I am going to continue babying my knees.
Kudos to the race sponsor, Special Olympics, Runners World Tulsa who always puts on a great race, the race director, the other sponsors, and the army of volunteers who make it all happen. It was cold and rainy but it was a great race.
Sunday morning I headed out to Keystone State Park to help with some trail maintenance organized by the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The rough and tough go getters were busy moving big rocks around, me, I always bring my loppers so I walk on the trails picking up litter and lopping off the limbs that might intrude on the hikers, runners, and bikers on the trail. That’s not a very manly job but hey I do what I can do.
The park is in the cross timbers region of Oklahoma which is dominated by rocks, lots of rocks and thin flinty soil so the trees don’t get very big. They can be very old but just not big. Many of the trees are post oaks and it is amazing the contortions they go through to get enough sunlight.
The rocks are amazing as well. Many of them are layers of soft sandstone and harder shales. A gazillion years ago all these rocks were at the bottom of the ocean. Since then through uplift and faulting the rocks are all this way and that way. Luckily the land is very poor for farming and ranching so the animals and plants that live on it are undisturbed for the most part.
Another one of the dancing trees that seem to sprout right of the rocks.
The area has small intermittent creeks running through it.
The trails were in great shape. I didn’t have a whole lot of lopping to do or really much of any litter to pick up. Most of the litter I picked up was near the parking lot.
I love the lichen that grows on trees. Despite what you may hear, in the more shady parts the stuff is on all sides of the trees. Northeast Oklahoma is so wet and humid you can’t count on telling north by lichens.
So I finished up after a few hours as did the more studly men. Many of them brought their mountain bikes and did a turn or two on the trails cuz that is what you do if you are a manly man. I went to go find a geocache.
The other day I went for a run on Turkey Mountain. I pretty much had the place to myself.
I always try and see things I have not noticed before. This well worn birdhouse is totally out in the open and close to a trail I have traversed many times before and I swear I have never seen it before in my life.
The Arkansas River far below was running full and the trees seem kind of excited about it.
Late winter is the last chance for these rocks to be seen.
The most photographed wagon wheel in Oklahoma, maybe even the world!!
I have the perfect antidote. If it is too expensive for you, then don’t go!! Hey problem solved. From the bustling crowds I would say that it is not overpriced yet. Kind of reminds me when the the CEO of the company I work for asked me if our customers were happy. Hell no! I replied, a happy customer is one who is not paying enough. I am not sure he liked that answer but here I am. Not in commercial any longer.
Anyhow, I am way off topic. The reason I like the Starbid show is that it features custom cars. Not like the regular car show in March where all the manufacturers drag in their Honda clones. It’s a lot cheaper, but the cars are boring.
Here is the Red Baron. Complete with machine guns. I don’t think they work but it is not boring either.
Here’s a custom car on a budget. A rat rod, which means hot rods going back to basics. The rust and patina is done on purpose.
Here is a tough minded overlander VW bug.
Ah, now we are back to sleek and colorful
Another rat rod. My advice to you if you have a daughter and her beau shows up to take her out in this? Tell her, it’s family game night, Monopoly, Farkle, Chinese Checkers.
I think rat rods are cool though. I also think that the fact I don’t have a daughter who is dating a guy with a rat rod is even cooler.
Sunday we ventured down to the south central Oklahoma town of Chickasha to visit our son who is in college there. It was a nice day so after eating we decided to check out Shannon Springs Park in the town.
It was a nice park and I found out that there were originally artisian springs there and that it was a stop on the Chisolm Trail for herds to stop and water on their way along the trail from Texas to Kansas. History in Oklahoma is worn kind of lightly because it wasn’t that long ago. Jesse Chisolm developed the trails. I found his grave out in the middle of nowhere a few years ago. People still really believe in the old west here.
So later on a park was started and in the 1930’s the WPA built an amphitheater and other improvements to the park that still around today.
I loved this caretaker’s cottage at the park. I don’t think anybody lives there any longer. I love the concept of a caretaker. A designated person who is paid to care.