Tag Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Wichita Mountains Getaway

We took a few days off last week and headed to southwest Oklahoma to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge just north of Lawton, Oklahoma.

We stayed in a beautiful spacious cabin on top of a hill just a little ways out of town.

Talk about dark skies. We were able to track satellites as they passed overhead including the International Space Station. It really flew. Our Cabin was about a half mile from Fort Sill, on of the Army’s major training sites. They shot artillery all day long (big echoing booms) and at night hell really broke out. Some sort of big automatic gunfire and helicopters. We couldn’t see anything because of the mountains but we could sure here it. They keep those 20,000 stationed there busy, it sounded like.

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We drove to the top of Mount Scott and made a shadow selfie.

We saw lots of longhorn cattle.

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And grumpy looking bison. This was with a telephoto. We are not tourons when it comes to critters.

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This critter wasn’t too happy about it. I have a strict no handouts policy.

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We even saw some wild turkeys.

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The Ferguson house, rebuilt by the Friends of the Wichitas.

We looked at a recently preserved homesteaders house that burned down to the walls about ten years ago.

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We checked out the Holy City of the Wichitas, home of a long running passion play.

Bird Houses of Medicine Park II

In nearby Medicine Park, OK we saw some birdhouse cottages going up right by a lake. Aren’t they the cutest things? Or maybe they are the most darling things? You tell me.

We did lots of hiking. Some of was kind of rocky. This is not a spoof. See the trail marker by my wife’s left hand? This was the route.

But we were rewarded with some great views.

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And magnificent vistas. Have to tell you though, on our last full day Heather tripped twice on our last trail and is feeling it. She’s an exercise instructor so she has cancelled her more demanding classes.

And now a blast from the past. I took my father down here in 2007. He’d always wanted to see the refuge and we did. He’s an old Forest Service guy and the refuge was started by the Forest Service and he made sure to set the record straight with the volunteer at the visitor center.

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Anyways we visited the Holy City as part of our trip and I found a geocache in a boat they had as part of their set. Dad was pretty amazing. His mentor when Dad was a young Forest Ranger used to be Supervisor of the National Forest that included what is now the refuge. Dad knew the whole history. He could also look at woods miles off and spot old forest fires and guess at how long ago they ocurred.

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And here I am fourteen years later, older, older, a bit plumper, and still geocaching!! The one they had in the boat is gone though. I think the boat used to represent the Ark and now is the boat that the disciples were in during the storm and Jesus walked across the water to them.

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Here is another photo from our trip. We got into Fort Sill and got lost looking for Geronimo’s grave. Went down lots of back roads with ominous military warning signs saying we were off limits. but hey we got there. Geronimo’s grave is out in the middle of nowhere. It was a virtual geocache so at least I could use my GPS, I just couldn’t figure out the roads. Dad’s been gone a few years now and I sure do miss him. We had a good time on our little road trip.

So anyway we had a great time, my wife and I. One thing I’ll leave you with is: Oklahoma is no Colorado or Montana, but…

Mount Scott Sunset

Don’t let anybody tell you that Oklahoma doesn’t have mountains.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – The Crystal Bridge at the Myriad Gardens

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This past Wednesday I needed to go fetch the kid from college and bring him home for Easter. I had some time so I stopped at the Myriad Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City and checked out the Crystal Bridge. I think that I have only been in it one time before and that was in 1988 after they reopened up after the Oklahoma oil bust. They are going to shut the bridge down soon, revamp it, and reopen next Spring.

So it’s been thirty three years and yes it is kind of showing its age but it is still an amazing structure to be in.

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Lots and lots of tropical plants under big, huge, glass windows.

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There is two levels, ground level and then this skybridge which goes over everything.

Not too many people the day I went. Masking and social distancing were being enforced. But there were not too many people so I made several rounds of the facility.

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I loved looking straight up the trees.

There are all sorts of little nooks where you can sit and take it all in.

Water is a feature, nothing like the sound of water falling to make one relax.

It’s closing soon. It’ll open in a year. I plan to check it out after the crowds have moved off somewhere else.

I’m thankful for places like the Crystal Bridge where people can go and recharge and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday and Thankful Thursday.

Skywatch Friday – Up or Out

With the weather warming up I have been flying the drone a bit. I don’t go very high and I don’t let it go very far. I look at youtube videos that show the pilots getting way up in the air, higher than the office towers in downtown Tulsa, or flying across lakes or going across farmer’s fields and such. I’m not into that. If I can’t see it then I am not happy and I darn sure don’t fly it where if it falls I couldn’t legally and safely walk over and get it. Makes me nerd but hey, these little things are expensive but they are marvelous. With the GPS built in they can hold their position in even a pretty good breeze.

So I am still mainly in the elevator mode. I send it straight up and then look around. I have practiced a little bit doing turns. It’s hard to do smoothly.

And here is a shot of the moon from a few days ago. The night was not too cool and the skies were clear, so I took the shot. So its not a full moon but I still like it.

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And you know, even overcast skies are skies. Here’s a nice tree at Lafortune Park.

I took the kid back to college the other day. On the way back I took a small detour down Route 66 for some geocaches. I love Route 66. It’s part of my heritage from I was a kid and teenager in Arizona and New Mexico. I looked for five caches and found five!! So time to call it good.

I found a cache at this funky cemetery in Bristow, Oklahoma. It had this odd tower. Steps leading up to an office. Not a chapel. In fact more of store room. Below is a garage. I love funky stuff like this.

I have hundreds of photographs of this building in Tulsa. Boston Avenue Methodist Church. An art deco design and is just beautiful. We were members when we first moved to town and it is even more beautiful on the inside. It was built in the late 1920’s just in time for the depression. The members had to fight like crazy to keep it, otherwise somebody was going to convert it to a movie theater.

And back at home. Early in the morning with the sun peaking over the fence. We have a couple of yappy dogs and so I go out with them in the mornings to keep them from barking otherwise I have a new neighbor that comes barging over pounding on our door, enraged about the dogs barking. So I go out to hush them early in the morning. They love updating their BarkBook status with the other dogs in the neighborhood.

Is everybody staying safe? We are trying to but it is kind of difficult right now as the Governor has opened up the state and simultaneously ordered the state health department to hide the data from the citizens. That happened about three weeks ago. What I can piece together from the data that is available is that new cases which had been declining have plateaued and may be increasing. Who knows!! Anyway, we are vaccinated and are isolating.

Take care everybody!! I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join the fun.

Skywatch Friday – Thunder Rolls Edition

We got our March weather going on, cold and windy one day, hot and windy the next.

With every once in a while a windy glorious day.

Wind is just a fact of life in Oklahoma. Good for flying kites, bad for flying drones.

Grass Fire

Also bad for grass fires in the spring before the prairie turns green.

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As I mentioned on the Skywatch Friday page, the family of the Ree Drummond, of Pioneer Woman fame, is going through a tragedy. Ms. Drummond’s husband and his nephew had a head on collision while driving fire trucks battling a blaze on their property. The husband refused treatment but the nephew is suffering severe injuries. I’ve never met them but we watch their television show. I know people who know the family and they all say that what you see on the media is just what the family is, genuine. Anyway, my prayers go out to the family.

Oil Prices in March 2021

And a little editorial here. Lots of people are wondering if the recent rise in gasoline prices are related to our present President’s executive orders. I don’t think it. Above is a chart of oil prices over the last year. When the economy tanked in March of 2020 due to the Pandemic, the price of oil cratered as well. In fact on one glorious, hopefully never to be repeated day, oil prices were negative. Since then the price has rebounded, mainly due to the economy recovering. It doesn’t have anything to do with who is president, it has more to do with the economy and what kind of mood OPEC is in.

And now a musical interlude. This deal with the Pioneer Woman reminded me of what I love about Oklahoma. I’ve lived here for about thirty five years and yes, it has problems but the people are big hearted, generous and welcoming. It made me think of Garth Brooks. He reminds me so many Oklahomans I have met. Very down to earth. So here is one of his songs.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

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 – 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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 – 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.

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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.

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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)
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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?!

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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.

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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

Hello Autumn!

Finally got cooler weather. Time for a pinion fire and adult beverages on the patio.

My Tiki enjoyed the company.

My brother had surgery early this week. Because he lives in a long term care facility under lockdown I had not seen him since March. So the upside of his surgery was that I got to spend many hours with him in his room. That was nice but it got cut short. Tulsa is running out of hospital rooms because of our Governor’s refusal to address the pandemic so brother got kicked out a couple days early. He’s in good hands though, the place he lives has skilled nursing facility so he’ll spend some time there recovering.

In the meantime the Tulsa area is having some great Fall colors on display. I love it.

I did another geocaching Adventure Labs outing, this one at Tulsa’s Gathering Place park. I thought I had been over square inch of it and knew all there was about the park. Turned out I was wrong, I found out several things I didn’t know before. I had the whole place to myself.

For example this is the Reading Tree. It was the first attraction at the park and Reading Partners sponsored readings there for thousands of kids before the park opened. One of the challenges for the Adventure Lab was to find out what corporation sponsored the physical facility. That was a problem because they were asking people to please stay off the grass. I didn’t want to be “that guy” who thought the request didn’t apply to him so I called the park office and asked them and they told me. Don’t tell anybody I cheated though, okay? I’m not going to say just in case you want to do the Adventure Labs outing.

So we finished the floors at our house and are waiting on the painters to start next week. We have been shopping for new light fixtures. In my new office I am going to get rid of the ceiling fan and put in just a light fixture. What do you think of these?

So after my brother got booted out of the hospital I was a little blue since I don’t know when I am going to see him again so I went on a walk on Turkey Mountain. That always cheers me up. I am working on a geocaching type thing for Black Friday on the mountain. The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition is sponsoring it in an effort to get people into nature. Anyway I got about 12 to 14 temporary caches that we will be planting along a trail. More on that later.

So I’ve had a busy week, how about you? I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.