Nature, Red of Tooth and Claw

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The other day our little pomeranian Rascal had been outside and wanted in, the only problem was that a baby bunny was hanging from his mouth. The little critter was already gone. Now Rascal was just doing what dogs do, right? Heather went out and found its sibling about six feet from the nest looking scared to death and helpless.

A quick consultation with my friend Mr. Google indicated that the best thing we could do was just leave it alone. We did although it was a hot day and all that, so monitored it through our bedroom window and it survived the rest of that day and to the next afternoon when it looked like it was rallying a little bit and seemed to be more energetic and active.

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And of course we watched Rascal closely when we let him out side to do his thing. And I’m happy to report that the little bunny has made it to some cover and is being closely monitored by its mother so we are happy that our non-intervention plan worked. (so far at least).

In other news I am sad to report that I have come down with Covid. The symptoms I am having are like a really bad allergy attack. And since it is a holiday weekend I couldn’t a teleappointment until Wednesday which is the day, if I don’t have a fever, that the CDC says that I can end isolation. Kind of sucks being sick at the start of a holiday weekend but I think I’ll be fine. I just don’t want to be cooped up but that is just the way it is.

We just had the primary elections in Oklahoma and of course I voted. If you had elections I hope you did the same.

I am linking with Saturday’s Critters by Eileen. Come join in the fun.

Skywatch Friday – Fun in the Sun

We had a huge hot spell for a while and then lately it has been lots cooler and drier. I have to advantage of that.

One day I went to Turkey Mountain and hiked about three miles. My knee that has been bothering me was not a problem. That made me happy.

I moseyed along on the new trails and some old trails. I love being retired. You got the woods to yourself most weekdays!

I found a good vantage point on the mountain to see the Arkansas River and south Tulsa on the other side. This truly is an Urban Wilderness.

One day Heather and I bicycled 15 miles on the RiverParks trails. Doesn’t sound like much but it was a nice time.

At the house, the crepe myrtles are loving the sun. I posted this image on instagram and while I was thinking crepe myrtles, I typed out azaleas. Nobody said a thing about it except my wife. You need wives like Heather keep you straight. In other news along that line, I had some books to return to the library and so I went there and tried to put them in the book return slot and they wouldn’t fit. You know why? Cuz I was at the post office, that’s why. Heather got a laugh out of that as well. And I’m saying the books would have eventually got back to the library.

And another sunny photo at my MIL’s swimming pool. The net is up because my skin is so white that it causes sun reflections that blind our nations surveillance satellites. Don’t buy that, how about this? The local ducks took to using the pool as their hangout spot. Turns out that ducks can foul pool water quickly.

So that’s about it for me. I hope that everybody (in the northern hemisphere) is enjoying their summer. You folks way down south, just hang in there it will be your turn to have summer in several months. You guys in the tropics. Just enjoy if you can.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Tulsa’s Route 66 Roadfest

This past weekend I attended the Route 66 Roadfest in Tulsa. It was an event sponsored by AAA to celebrate all things Route 66. They had a similar event in Oklahoma City the previous weekend.

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The event features cars (lots of cars!), music (which I missed).

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They had a section on vintage travel trailers.

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When I was a kid our family had a similar trailer, a little bit bigger. We went all over the place in the thing in our family of five. Soon, my brother and I got kicked out into a tent on our own, which was fine with us.

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The thing I wasn’t expecting and enjoyed the most is the “pods” they had set up showing the history of the Route 66 by decade and highlights of the culture of that time. The above diner was in the 1950’s pod. They had hosts in costume who would show you around. (Who knew that women in poodle skirts could be so fetching?) So each pod was like a time capsule.

Also, in the 1950’s pod was a display of photographs by Charles and Irene Custer who got married in 1950 and took off on Route 66 supporting themselves with photography. Fast forward to recently when somebody found almost 90 negatives in a barn made with a medium format camera. They processed the photos, digitized them and put them on internet. They are incredible. Check out the site here. (I am not displaying any because they are copyrighted so check out the link.) They are incredible visions of an all but forgotten world.

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The above was in the 60’s pod showing a wall on school safety. When I was in grade school in Price, UT I was so jealous of the crossings guards. I wanted to be one but I was not a cool kid.

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Remember window decals. So many families plastered their cars with travel decals. There were two types of families back then, window decal families, and people who wouldn’t be caught dead with them (that was us.) It was fun looking at all the old stuff and talking with the people there. I loved the pods and had no idea they would be part of the show.

The best part though I just stumbled onto. Michael Wallis, the writer and historian, who wrote “Route 66: The Mother Road” among 20 or so other books, participated in a conversation about the history and culture of the road. His book is credited with a resurgence in interest of Route 66. He did most of the talking. And he is a great talker with a wonderful voice. “He was the voice of the Sheriff in the animated movies Cars.” Some of the high points of what he said were:

  • He looks at the road, stretching from Chicago to Santa Monica, as a one big community traversing eight states. He said it is Blue on either end and red in the middle but the road itself is purple with very little rancor like you see in the rest of country. He is hoping that the road will help bring the country together as it approaches its centennial in 2026.
  • He talked about how we cannot romanticize history. We have to be on a continual search for the truth. He said for example people get upset when he brings up the fact that the businesses on the road were just as racist as any place in the deep south and there were a bunch of sundown towns where people of color were not allowed to be after sundown. He said the racisim ebbed away after the Civil Rights laws of the 60’s were enacted. He said history is never set, it is like an onion that has many different layers and one cannot be afraid of you will find out.
  • He said the road is for travelers not tourists. It is for people who are not in a big hurry and like to stop and look at things and try out local restaurants and independent motels instead of the chains.
  • He also told a bunch of stories. One of my favorites concerned a snake pit in the Texas panhandle where a business had a pit holding dozens of rattlesnakes. He said at 4 pm every day a friendly grandmotherly lady would come out with a basket little chicks in it and dump them into the pit. He said that was a big hit. He had a bunch of other funny stories to tell.
  • He finished by saying, “Remember, life begins at the off-ramp.”

His 45 minutes flew by. It was the best part of the show.

I think they are going to have this show yearly leading up to the centennial of the road in 2026. I’ll be back!! (And I’ll take in the music next time!!)

Linking to “Through My Lens” come join in!

102 Degrees in the Shade

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It’s been hot lately, 100 F or over several days in a row. We added an extra water bowl to the two bird baths plus a fountain that we already have and we get a steady stream of customers. We have a rabbit who hangs out underneath the bench most of the day from about 9 am to 4 pm and then disappears. At first I thought it was kind of sickly but it does appear robust so maybe its a doe that has some kits stashed nearby.

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Elvis by Baz Luhrmann starring Tom Hanks, Austin Butler, and Olivia DeJonge

Heather and I went to the movies today. She let me pick and I wanted to see Elvis. We didn’t know what to expect but the trailers seemed interesting.

We were blown away. What a fantastic movie. It’s kind of hard to describe it because it is unique on how it tells the story. The story is of the relationship between Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) and his promoter, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks)

The movie web site provides a great synopsis and other information. The movie IMDB site has a complete cast list and 149 photographs and other information.

The movie shows Elvis as a youngster and his influences from then up to becoming a star and then does a great job showing his development as singer and performer including a long string of movies. Tom Hanks does a great job of being the complex, mysterious promoter who had a hold on Elvis. I’m not going to give the movie away. I think one thing it will do is reinvigorate Elvis’s reputation. The man was an incredible talent with a wonderful voice and knew how to move an audience.

The clip before of Elvis singing Unchained Melody in 1977 in maybe his last public performance is incredible. It was toward the end of his life but the power in his voice is wonderful.

I highly recommend this movie.

Pelicans in Tulsa

So I ride my bike from time to time along the Riverparks Trails in Tulsa alongside the Arkansas River. I’m always seeing stuff that you can’t really capture with a small handheld camera or cell phone. I was reading somebody’s blog a few weeks ago and they described how they took their “big camera” in a backpack when they went bike riding. The light went on, a dim light in my case, but it was duh. I need to do that. So I loaded up my old Canon Powershot. It can zoom optically out to 40 and beyond software wise. And it is a ton lighter than my “big camera” Nikon with a long lens.

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It’s pretty light so I loaded it up in a small backpack, and took it to the Riverparks with me.

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For years there has been a large population of pelicans hanging out at sandbars on the river. I could see them but now I could photograph them. Here are a group of three with a grackle or some other black bird hanging out with them.

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Here is another group. Both these photos were taken on the east bank near where the Gathering Place is located.

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On the west bank of the river, about a mile upriver I spotted this armada of geese all headed to somewhere.

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There was another grouping nearby. So I took a lot of other pics of none wildlife stuff. I’ll be taking the camera in my backpack some more. I forget who gave me the idea, if it was you, let me know. I’m thinking of getting some sort of basket to carry it in.

And now to switch gears to my back yard I have been trying for a couple months to capture an image of a hummingbird at our hummingbird feeder.

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And I finally got one!! Not though, it is just a female cardinal flying in back of it.

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My trailcamera caught a swooping photo of grackle coming in for a landing.

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We have lots of bunnies in the back yard.

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And sometimes even a raccoon.

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This is Rascal our Pomeranian. He is our baby. He is only eleven but he has developed hip and shoulder issues, along with some heart problems. He lives for his walks though, they revitalize him but it has been really hot.

So now we are dog stroller people. We take him on his walk until he gets winded and then we put him in the stroller. He is getting acclimated to it, so win/win.

But maybe we overdid it. We thought our little plump kitty, Lizzie would like the stroller. Nope, she is not a fan. She didn’t have any fun. But we did, so all was not lost.

She was exhausted after her short jaunt. Literally down and back our driveway in the stroller wore her out. She thinks we suck at cat parenting.

That’s about it for this week. I’m linking with Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters.

Bicycles, Bridges, and Skies

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I went on a ride on Tulsa’s Riverparks trails the other day. It was hot but I had lots of water and you know when you ride you make your wind. I stopped at the Gathering Place and checked out the new pedestrian bridge under construction. It is going to be done sometime next spring. I’m looking forward to it. It has it’s own web site here.

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Here’s the old bridge from the other side of the river here. It was a railroad bridge up until the 60’s or so and then was later converted to pedestrian bridge. When the Gathering Place was done, the city suddenly decided the old bridge was unsafe and proceeded to tear it down. Many of us felt a little played but I’m not too upset. I think the real reason was that the low water dam just downstream was obsolete and was being replaced. I think the construction of the new dam would destabilize the old bridge. So that is why I’m okay with the new bridge plus it will tie-in better, than trying to make the old bridge work, to the Gathering Place on the east side of the river.

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Also looking across the river is Tulsa Power Station. An old natural gas powered electric generating plant still in service. It hardly ever runs.

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From the other side of the river looking downtown here is where I worked for years before I retired.

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And of course I have to take pictures of construction equipment. This is working on the riverbed. It looks like they are putting up structures in the river. The construction site is protected by a huge cofferdam as the bridge and the new dam are built.

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And about a mile upstream is one of my favorite views, looking at the arches on the 21st street bridge.

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And five or six miles downstream photos of some of my fellow bicyclers. This woman has an ebike. They are pretty popular. I know people of average fitness that can go 50 or 60 miles on them. They’d be nice to have but I like something that doesn’t plug in.

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And a conventional road bike. Lots of really in-shape people on the river!

And here is my bike. A hybrid type with a big soft seat and big tires. I’m looking for a smooth ride.

I’m linking to Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Weekly Critter Summary

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We’ve had this hummingbird feeder up for weeks. We keep stuff in and clean and refill regularly. The first day we had a hummingbird and nothing since then. Nothing in terms of hummingbirds. We got all sorts of other critters who perch on it or get behind it like this smart aleck squirrel.

And some more bird action in the background.

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And here is a cardinal and a blue jay mocking me about my hummingbird failure.

I went hiking on Turkey Mountain and found this new (to me) bat nest.

I also found this black colored snake in the middle of the trail. He scooted off by the time I got my phone out and ready.

I also found this guy in the middle of another trail. I let him be.

I checked out the monarch waystation and there are more wildflowers popping up.

I saw this little moth looking creature on one of the blooms. Inaturalist says it is a “gorgone checkerspot.” I’ve never heard of that but I’m going with it for now.

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And this doesn’t have anything to do with critters. It’s another jigsaw puzzle. I’m getting to where I am not intimidated by large expanses of sky or water. I’m really enjoying working on online jigsaw puzzles. No pieces are ever lost plus I use the setting where all the pieces are in the right orientation. I know, I am cheating.

I’m linking this to Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Go check it out.