Tag Archives: Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday – Yellowstone Park’s Gibbon Falls

I have been out of pocket for a few days. My sister Ellen  who works as a seasonal Park Ranger in West Yellowstone, Montana for the Yellowstone National Park  invited me up for a few days for a chance to see a bit of the park with her. She loves sharing the park. 

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One of the first things we looked at was Gibbon Falls on the Gibbon River. A beautiful 84 foot drop of the Gibbon River.  This is the view from a bit downriver.

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The Gibbon  River is about 25 miles long and starts near the center of the park at the outlet of Grebe Lake and confluences with the Firehole River to form the Madison River.

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This is a view of the river downstream of the falls as it flows toward the Firehole River. I came across a post talking about how the Park Service is starting a process to remove non-native fish like rainbow and brown trout from the river and re-introduce native species such as cutthroat trout. They are starting later this month and is expected to continue to 2020 or 2021.  I love these kind of projects.

 Ellen tells me that the week I was there the visitor count had dropped off presumably because of schools starting. The park had the fewest people I have ever seen on my visits there. That being said, the parking lots fill up early and so you need to get up get out early to go see what you want to see.

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My sister Ellen

This is just a small bit of all that we saw in my few days at Yellowstone. I am trying to break my visit down into bite sized pieces to make it easier on me, and hopefully you.

This was maybe my fifth time to Yellowstone and the first time I didn’t just do a drive by, and instead got to hike a little and spend some time getting to see things. When I was a kid, we did the standard 1960’s thing and just breezed on by and maybe stopped to see Old Faithful and maybe a few thermal features but then it was back in the car and head out.

How about you? Have you ever been?

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Our World – The Deer at Oxley Nature Center

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It has been hot lately but Sunday it cooled down quite a bit and we had overcast skies. Heather went to have some girl time with her friends and Logan went to his job, so I loaded up my camera and an extra lens and went north the Oxley Nature Center on the north side of Tulsa next to the airport. I don’t know what it was but the deer were out big time. I saw scads of them. I am going to spare you photos of all of them but I will show you this guy. He was a little slow on the uptake but once he noticed me he sure gave me the hawkeye.

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And he gave a high pitched snort and took off.

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He might have lost a little face. The ladies never moved. We had a face off for a while and then I ducked back into the woods so they could resume their salad munching and visiting.

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And I came upon this deer. I was walking along the trail one way, a woman with a camera was coming my way, and this jumped out about 15 feet away but didn’t run very far. We had another  stare off, until I let him win and walked away.

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I eventually made my way to the boardwalk and went across. I bet have a hundred photos of this. I just love boardwalks.

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I came across these two. I don’t know a thing about birds but I am going to  guess the dark one is a great blue heron, and the white one is a white heron. Please correct the ID if I am wrong. I just want to get it right.

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And I resumed my trek on the trails. I walked about four miles according to my step counter. Slow miles but I was on my feet so it counts right?

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Just toward the end I came across this fawn. I hung with me for quite a while but then he bolted.

So it was time to get back to the car to make an instagram post (If you don’t instagram an activity then it didn’t happen, right?), and then fetch the kid from work. I was worn out and happy.

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Our World – An Afternoon at Philbrook Museum of Art

Sunday morning the family got up and Logan had breakfast and we dropped him off at his job at the Neighborhood Walmart and Heather and I went to have breakfast. Afterward we headed out to Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art to check out their newest exhibit “Innovative Expressions” which turned out to be very academic but interesting. It showcased the printmaking  art of Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro.  I learned some things that I didn’t know before. I didn’t take any photos though. Check it out if you are in town. It is open until September 9.

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After the exhibit we toured the three levels of galleries. It doesn’t take us long as we have been there many times before so seeing the art is like meeting old friends. Philbrook does a good job of swapping things out and so we always see things we hadn’t seen before. I love Thomas Moran’s “Grand Canyon” (above).

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And this one is a favorite of mine. I am from New Mexico and too me nothing beats snow on adobe like this, “Tesuque (Dark Houses)” by Theordore Van Soelen. It is also special because when I was born my family was living the Tesuque Ranger Station.

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This is one that I don’t remember seeing but Heather told me that it has been on display before. So meet my new friend, “Bridge over the Stour” by Childe Hassam. I love it.

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Next we went to the gardens of the museum. It had been raining earlier but then settled into a very light sprinkle. The tempietto in the background may be the most photographed item in Tulsa. I think it is beautiful. I’m always trying to think of something new so here I focused on the flowers which caused the tempietto to soften. You can tell there is a person on the other side of the pond who is way out of focus.

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It is my lovely wife, Heather. The gardens at Philbrook are especially lush this time of year. Their gardening staff really works hard keeping things tidy and green.

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I spotted a purple coneflower.

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Another area of the gardens that I liked.

We had a great leisurely couple of hours at Philbrook. It is a great place to get away from it all for a short time. If you plan on visiting check their web site for all sorts of information for days and hours of operation, special exhibits, events and all sorts of other information.

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Our World – Bellingrath Gardens and Home

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The entire property is lush and provides lots of opportunities for photographs. I loved the greenhouse.

On our recent family vacation we decided to make a small detour and visit the Bellingrath Gardens and Home on the Fowl River near Mobile, Alabama. We were glad we did. It is a 65 acre garden and home built by an early Coca-Cola entrepreneur and his wife. When they died without children, the entire estate passed to a foundation entrusted with the 65 acre garden and home.

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I love reflections.

This is one of those places that I have heard about for quite a while and I had high expectations and they were surpassed. The grounds are immaculate and the landscaping design is superb, especially for those of us with a camera. The gardens are just packed with great visuals wherever you go.

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We stayed several hours and still did not see it all. I took over 130 photographs.s

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The place has been maintained well and one can tell from our conversations with the staff and guides that their’s is a labor of love.

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What a great courtyard with a the wrought iron fence on the balconty, big huge windows that open, a little fountain, and archways. And I love the brick.

We paid for a tour of the Bellingrath home and it is exquisite. It was built in the 1920’s and had several features that seemed ahead of its time. They didn’t have electricity at first, but the family anticipating it coming had the house prewired and included features you don’t see today such as automatic lights that come on when you open a closet.

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A shady area with comfortable chairs.

It really looks like a place where one could relax. Lots of quiet shady spots and courtyards.

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I am a sucker for flags and gas lights. REAL gas lights.

And as in the gardens, the house is surrounded by plants.

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The guide showed us where the Bellingrath’s cooks kept the cookies.

The kitchen was superb. They have kept it as it was when it was lived in. Two big ovens and ranges, two big dishwashers, a couple of giant refrigerators. We loved the light airy feeling of the place.

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This was my favorite room. Not the main dining room but another one. Again, big tall windows with great light.

If you want to visit, check out Bellingrath’s web site. Lots of great info on planning and what to see. Being a garden, they always have something going on.

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Our World Tuesday – Tulsa Tough Bicycle Races 2018

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Tulsa has a big street party every year on a hill near the River Parks called “Crybaby Hill.”

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In amongst (amongst is a word in Oklahoma by the way) the party a bike race breaks out. It is Tulsa Tough. A three days series of bike rides and races for everybody from Sunday cruisers like me to top professionals around the world.

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They have it in early June every year and it is generally sweltering. Tulsa Tough is sponsored by Saint Francis Hospital, a local Catholic Hospital Medical System.

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The last day of the race is the most popular. The races all criterium style which means that they go round and around the same short course multiple times. The last day’s though is brutal. You start by the river and climb up a very steep hill then you come down off the hill and at the bottom you have to make a very sharp 120 degree turn and most of these guys/gals don’t appear to use their brakes at all so there are some spectacular bike crashes.

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So down on the river is where the races start, and the top is where the party is. It appears to get a little bigger and a little wilder every year. Couple that with no parking, very few sidewalks and the crowd and the races get very close to each other. They have painted the race lanes in bright colors and there is an army of volunteers who are constantly yelling, “mind the gap.” The race lane area.

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So I went out and made a lap of the course with my camera, walking and with the heat it about killed me. I cannot imagine riding the course up to nine times or so.

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I love the contrast, the party with people getting drunk, and laughing and having a good time, and a high stakes race in the brutal heat and humidity.

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Previous Year’s Tulsa Tough Posts

2017

2016

2015

Our World Tuesday – Flower and Wildflowers

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This is one of Heather’s day lilies in front of our house on Sunday morning after a night’s rainfall. I just love rain drops on flowers.

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Saturday I went hiking on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain and found some color. Or some color besides green. The mountain is covered in bright green and I love it but I also love other colors also

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And here is some yellow flowers. I have no idea about flowers so I call these yellow flowers.

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And here is one of the trails I ran. You see what I mean about bright green?

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And here is a purple wildflower.

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After years using a Toshiba I finally got a new computer. The Toshiba was still working but the pentium chip just wasn’t up to the demands of Lightroom and Photoshop and other photo software I use. so I got a brand spanking new Dell with a fast processor. I also have a solid state hard drive that is about half the size of the one I had but I don’t keep much data on machine. I got it at Staples and had them move the data and programs from the old machine to the new and you know something they did a great job and the cost was very reasonable.

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J.T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve

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Sunday, son Logan and I ventured off into deep eastern Oklahoma to the JT Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve northeast of  the town of Tahlequah.

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It is a 17,000 acre former cattle ranch that the Nature Conservancy took over in 2000 and it is now the largest privately protected block of land in the Ozarks. It is almost a complete ecosystem of its own.

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The Conservancy has reintroduced fire and is replacing the former bermuda meadows with tallgrass prairie to try and reestablish what the landscape looked like long ago. From the six mile drive across the property it looks like they are succeeding. The open meadows are very lush. The burned landscape really opens up the woods.

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They reintroduced elk in the area in 2005. We got a glimpse of one through the trees but I did not get a decent photo of it. We also saw white tailed deer on our hike.

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The only thing I wish is that they had more trails. We hiked two out of the three available and it was 2.3 miles. They packed a lot into that short distance with a variety of sights from ridge tops to creek bottoms, woods to savannas.

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It was a good outing. We were the only ones there. The headquarters was closed but they had a great display on the area, the trails, where the trails were and how to get to them. The trails were spotless. No litter or vandalism or anything. Of course you really have to want to go there to get there. We drove across six miles of very bumpy and rocky road to get there.

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Logan really liked the peacefulness of the site.

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Check the link if you want to visit. They provide directions and all sorts of other information.

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Our World -The Prairie Schooners of Tulsa

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We have something new in downtown Tulsa. Stickwork artist Patrick Dougherty, with a lot of help, installed “Prairie Schooners” at Tulsa’s least used park, Chapman Centennial Green on the south edge of downtown. The project was sponsored by the Urban Core Art Project.

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It is made up of branches and sticks from trail cleanup and tree trimming projects here in Tulsa. They are in there very good. The day I took these photos there was a gale blowing downtown and the structures were not going anywhere. The tops were waving about fairly well. I don’t know how they rooted the structures in but they in good.

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Prairie Schooners is what the covered wagons that the pioneers used to go west and steal land from the Native Americans. I can see the resemblance to that. It also looks like sailboats out ocean.

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The structures bend and wave in the strong wind and seem almost alive, they way they move. They look ghostly.

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An example of the complex and very strong weaving of the natural materials used to make the structures.

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They are very complex and make little rooms and there are no “Do not touch” signs anywhere. The place invites touching. It’s a very happy place.

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It is due to be installed for a year, until March 2019, so you got some time to check it out yourself.

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Our World Tuesday – Nature Photography Class – Spring 2018 – Chapter One

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I am all excited!! I did a one day Nature Photography class by Tulsa Community College.  We met early in the morning and then headed off to several venues, the Linnaeus Gardens, Tulsa Garden Center, Tulsa Botanic Gardens, and Oxley Nature Center.

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So the over a dozen of us, clicked and snapped away and we walked, and walked. My little garmin wrist device tells me that I walked 7.76 miles today. I believe it. My dogs are barking, you know what I mean. I do trail running, and this was about the same except I had a camera and was clicking happily away.

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This is at Wooward Park, before the class really even started. So what do you like best, pink tulips in front, with yellow in back?

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Or the other way around? Without cars in the background. Ignore the cars in the background.

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Or how about the Redbud Trees.

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How about some ancient stone steps.

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At Oxley, do you like the little snake my fellow students found?

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Or do you like the bigger snake a few hundred yards away. They said, don’t worry, no triangular head, and the eyes are round so it is not venomous. Like I even cared. Who is going to get close enough to snakes to figure out the roundness of its eyes?

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I forget where this is from. It is pretty is all I know.

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I love this also. No idea what it is.

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Anyway, the more I learn about this photography thing, the more ignorant I get. I am firmy entrenched into manual mode, and metering the photos and all that but the complicated things get me. Like the above. Sunny on one side, shady on the other, overeposed on one side, under on the other. Who you going to call? Nobody, suck it up big guy, figure it out.

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Or focus on the blossoms. The yin and the yang. Big picture, small picture. I am so confused.

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Here is a redbud up close.

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Linnaeus Gardens

How about a flag reflection. The reflection looks okay, but the sky is blown out.  No editing done anywhere on this post by the way.  Haha you say, we could tell that.

That is all for now. I took over 200 photos and I store them all in cloud and it is painfully slow to get them there. I used to store them on an external hard drive. Big, huge mistake. It cratered.

I really enjoyed the class. Kudos to my fellow students who really got into it, the various venues, who welcomed us with welcome arms and the instructors, Larry and Natalie who spent a considerable amount of time scheduling us into the various places, and led us around making sure that everybody had a fun time. I’ll be taking more classes from them again.

I am calling this Chapter One because I have so many photos to upload and don’t want to  wait until they are all uploaded before I post something. Call me impatient.

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Our World – Spring Break at Big Cedar Lodge

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A week or so ago we had the perfect storm appear of the kid getting a break from school, and a few days off from his job at Walmart and me having some time so we dashed off to Southwest Missouri to Big Cedar Lodge, near Ridgedale to spend a couple nights.

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I really didn’t know what to expect. Big Cedar is owned by the same company who owns Bass Pro and if you have been to a Bass Pro store you know they push the time share condos and Big Cedar hard. (They also the founders of the now non-profit Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, that I discussed in my previous post.) So anyway we got to Big Cedar and it was very nice and very low key. The staff at the hotel act like they like there jobs and are very engaging and spend time with you to make sure that everything is good. What little problems did occur were set right quickly with very little fuss.

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The property is huge and has lots of amenities, most of which are at no extra charge such as the nice mini golf set up that they had or the paddle boats. This is not a resort where they nickle and dime you to death.

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They had a nice chapel on the property available for weddings.

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Lots and lots of flowers. I like it when owners take pride in their properties. There really is not a rate of return to flowers.

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There were lots of people there on the property but it is so spread out and has so many activity centers that it did not seem crowded at all.

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This is the marina where you can check out the paddle boats, kayaks, and other equipment.

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I had never seen so many mounted heads of deer and other wildlife in my life. Whole herds must have been wiped out to furnish the place. (I am being sarcastic folks). These were in the fully equipped fitness center.

Anyway we had a fun, relaxing time. I know this sounds like a puff piece for Big Cedar and I assure you that we paid full price for stay there and were happy to do so and will probably be back. I think it is a great place for our family for a long weekend. The accommodations were nice despite very thin walls. The food and drink in the restaurants was good and reasonably priced and the staff was friendly. What else do you want?

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