Well, I’m in Southeast Texas where I did some of my growing up. Visiting family for Thanksgiving. Didn’t talk politics so it went well. Yesterday we did something fun. We went first to the Spindletop museum in Beaumont, where the first oil well gusher in the area roared to life in 1902. (Stay tuned for another blog post on that one.) Read the rest of this entry »
Walking through a forested canyon in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Okla., I felt like I was back in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park in Texas. Big Bend was the first park I worked at when the Great Recession ended my art business, and it changed my life. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s a pretty little nature park in the middle of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, named after the last passenger pigeon on earth. Martha died in 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo. Her billions of other kin had been exterminated out of existence by greed and thoughtlessness.
Several decades ago, Fort Sill naturalists wanted to reclaim a part of the well-groomed military grounds for wildlife. They planted many native trees and shrubs, and let it go wild. Then they named it after Martha the passenger pigeon. Read the rest of this entry »
A stroll through the Martha Songbird Nature Park on Fort Sill a few days ago revealed many treasures, enough to fill several blog posts. This one is focusing on the leaves, fading in autumn glory.
A sycamore (or is it a red maple?) leaf was pretty enough with the sun shining through it, but when a little hole caught the sun, it just became extra-special. Read the rest of this entry »
It was Veterans Day, and I decided to finally go to the Pet Cemetery Annex on Fort Sill. It’s a pretty spot among deciduous trees and mowed hillsides. Anybody who loves animals knows they have souls, and we grieve terribly when they leave us. I cried for four days when my 14-year-old tabby cat Tommy died. He’s buried between two maples in the yard I used to own in Maine. Our pets often take our last names. (They do that at the vet’s office.) I’m glad our military and civilian families who live and work on post have a place to lay their pets to rest. Some of the epitaphs were funny, like the Fierce Kitty. (My favorite.) There was one gravesite with a tub of plastic spiders. No headstone. Trying to figure what pet would have been buried there. A tarantula? Something that ate spiders? There’s a ferret buried there, too. My sister in Nederland, Texas found a ferret in their yard after Hurricane Rita in 2005. After reading they were social animals, they bought another. Both are gone now. Anyway, here’s a stroll through the Pet Cemetery.
For years I’ve been wanting to get a photograph that showed the male ruby-crowned kinglet’s famed jewel on his head. I’ve only seen glimpses of it a time or two, but when I saw what looked like a head full of red at Martha Songbird nature park yesterday, I got excited.
He was upset at someone. Maybe he had a spat with his spouse (below.) Read the rest of this entry »
This is actually a pretty big rock. You have to view it from above to see it’s a heart. The bottom of the heart is about head-high when you’re next to it.
It’s easy to get to, but there’s no sign, and it requires a little bit of rock scrambling. But the grip on your shoes is good. Read the rest of this entry »
You never know what you’re gonna see when you get out of the car to stretch your legs. I was munching on an oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie when this little guy motored by at Queen Wilhemena State Park in Arkansas. Read the rest of this entry »
Who’d a thunk it? Oklahoma has mountains! Not just the Wichitas, which are pretty darned lovely, but rolling forested mountains with endless views such as I’ve seen along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the Ouachita Mountains (Wash-a-taw or Wash-ee-tah). And the road to see them is the Talimena Trail, officially the Talimena National Scenic Byway. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, the autumn colors didn’t materialize the previous day on my trip to eastern Oklahoma, but we found great color that morning when the sun came up. I was with the daughter of a friend and we had a great time talking photography (she’s a great portrait photographer – look her up: https://www.facebook.com/LittlePopePhotography/).
We rose EARLY, had breakfast at the Eaton Hole cafe in Wilburton where we stayed, and drove to Lake Wister State Park in hopes it would be a great spot for a sunrise photograph. Boy did we guess right! Read the rest of this entry »