Author Archives: Alan Bates

Shadowy Yarn Bombs in the Garden

_DSC0237

At the treehouse at the Tulsa Botanic Garden there are several yarn bombs hidden away in the shadows.

_DSC0236

Yarn Bombs are my favorite form of graffiti. It’s not vandalism and can be very colorful.

_DSC0238

And if they get a little aged, sagging, or miscolored, a pair of scissors removes them.

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday 2. Check it out!!

Butterflies at the Tulsa Botanic Garden

_DSC0225

Saturday, we all three loaded up in the car and ventured to the Tulsa Botanic Garden to check out the butterflies.

_DSC0229

It is butterfly mania up there. I wondered where all the monarch butterflies were in Tulsa. They are at the Botanic Garden.

_DSC0230

Butterflies make me happy!

_DSC0234

They looked pretty happy as well.

_DSC0242-2

There were several humming birds as well. I didn’t bring the right lens to capture them so I have these two highly cropped photos.

_DSC0240

I’m linking with Saturday’s Critters. Check them out.

Keep Your Eye on the Road and Your Hands Upon the Wheel..

Another week where I don’t have much in the way of Skywatch Photos. Amond other things I have been riding with Logan so he can get his drivers license soon. He’s doing pretty well. We’ve done lots of country roads and today we did some heavily tracked streets and soon we’ll get him on the freeway.

I stole the idea for the blog title from my cousin Patty who commented with the song lyric on facebook. I thought it was ZZ Top who sang the song. Nope, it was the Doors, Roadhouse Blues. I knew that. Or at least I used to know it when I had more brain cells. Anyway, who knew the Doors had solid driving advice?

A powerline on Turkey Mountain passing over the Monarch Waystation.

And I found cool wagon at a mall with a strange name here in Tulsa. It’s the mini-Mall. What!?

Hurricane Ian is pictured from the International Space Station
NASA Photo, click to see the terms of use.

And this is Hurricane Ian on September 26 as seen from the International Space Station. I think literally somebody shot the scene through a window with their Nikon D5. I’m thinking about all the victims from the Caribbean, including Cuba, and the Florida. Lots of destruction the past few days.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come check it out, join in!!

Skywatch Friday – Hot Summer Hike

I was up on Turkey Mountain Tuesday afternoon, watering the Monarch Way Station. A nursery had donated some plants to us on Saturday and we planted and watered them that day. It’s been scorching since so I watered them again. Still hot. Fortunately I have pretty good place to watch the watering, and the goings on in the main parking lot. Took me about an hour to do and I decided to go on a short hike.

I drove up to the upper parking lot and took off to what some call the “back country” to the northwest. Not near as many people that way. I saw two mountain bikers and another hiker during my trek. I used a combination of new trails including the above, and…

the older trails which still hold most of the mystery of Turkey Mountain to me. I can feel the history on Turkey Mountain. It’s had farmers, cattlemen, oilfield roughnecks and drillers, moonshining, and up until the cartels put them out of business, meth labs. I still think that there is a lot of monkey business goes on.

I was checking out the trees, many of them are wild and twisted. The competitive forces of nature at work.

Nature is just awesome. Below is the route I took.

And now a bonus section courtesy of NASA. It is the clearest view of Neptune us earthlings have seen since the Voyager 2 satellite moseyed by in 1989. This was shot with the James Webb Space Telescope.

New Webb Image Captures Clearest View of Neptune’s Rings in Decades
Photo courtesy of  NASA, ESA, CSA, STSc under a Creative Commons License. Click on photo to get the details.

It is shot in near infrared light so it is not as blue as previous images. You can see the rings (Neptune has rings? Now I know). And 14 moons!!!

Saturday’s Critters – Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Maybe?

IMG_2851

Saturday afternoon my wife and I were sitting on our back patio when we noticed this bird in one of our trees. It was quite a ways away and I was only able to get this photo of the back of his head. INaturalist gives a tentative ID as a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I had never heard of such a thing. Any help would be much appreciated.

Saturday was Monarchs on the Mountain on Turkey Mountain. A festival honoring butterflies and nature in general. I didn’t see any Monarchs but this giant caterpillar made an appearance. I was working a booth for the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition so I talked to a few people and I also planted a few new plants in our Monarch Waystation on the Mountain.

I’ve been watering the way station once or twice a week for months and have seen maybe two or three monarchs but a bunch of swallowtails. Those little buggers are shifty and hard to photograph. Lately the fritillaries have been all over the place. They like to hang out on a nearby tree.

Our veterinarian has an office cat. It is used to all the hub bub in the office. It just snoozes away and ignores everybody.

DSCF0605

This is from our backyard trailcam earlier this month. A cardinal eating from a feeder.

I’m linking with Saturday’s Critters. Check it out.

Skywatch Friday – the Moon and More

IMG_2848

We had a Full Corn Moon last week paired up with a crystal clear sky.

And some more clear skies on a day when I sneaked onto the new Bales Park trails here in Tulsa. They are putting up a fancy rustic wicket over the trail.

They have a nice boardwalk over a marshy area.

And Bales Park has an overlook to downtown Tulsa not very far away. That land across the freeway to the right is the very northwest end of Turkey Mountain. Nice to have two great public areas so close together. The highway department is redoing a freeway interchange at the center left of the photo. As part of the work the highway guys are putting in a bench to be used as a trail connector between Bales Park and Turkey Mountain. It was a big enough deal that US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came to town and made a press conference at the interchange to talk about the project as part of a project to reconnect parts of Tulsa that have been semi-isolated since the 1950’s. Here is the link to an article about it. Hilarious because Oklahoma’s Representatives and Senators all voted against the project and now they are all taking credit for it.

And switching gears, here is photo that is not mine.

A9597DAC-216F-41B4-882F-60825ABFBE3D
Jigsaw puzzle – not my photo

Another jigsaw puzzle on my ipad. I think of Monument Valley. I am not sure.

A Voyage Solar System Walkway “Lifts Off” in Broken Arrow

On September 13, the City of Broken Arrow, OK celebrated their Voyage Solar System Walkway installation. The Walkway is a model of our solar system at a one to 10 billion scale. The scale involves both the distance between the sun and planets but also the size of bodies.

So the sun is the size of a large grapefruit. Earth is a small dot just a few feet away. Pluto, is 2000 feet down the street.

The installation is designed to help people understand just how vast our solar system is by bringing it down to human scale. Voyage was designed by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. The first installation was on the main mall in Washington, D.C. Other installations are in Kansas City, Missouri, Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, Palo Alto, Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, Ocala, Florida, and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

It was interesting hearing about the efforts of many people over the years to get the Walkway installed. Money was raised by local businesses, individuals, and a go fund me page. The city helped out with construction, It was a community effort.

I love that it stretches from the front of an elementary school to the local high school. A ready made model for learning just steps away.

Here’s a video the City of Broken Arrow put out that explains it a lot better than I can.

And of course I made the Voyage to check it out.

I’m linking with My Corner of the World