Saturday, May 30, 2015

11 March 2015 More Sun Before Leaving Tulsa

My evenings were covered so I was happy to finish my commitments on flight day with enough time to walk a park for a multi before leaving Tulsa. The warm weather was a very welcome break.

8 March 2015 Livin' on Tulsa Time

I was happy my second visit to Tulsa was going to be in warmer weather. I arrived to dry skies and 74 degrees. I needed to be in town for a Monday morning meeting and arrived early Sunday afternoon. Mohawk Park is conveniently located next to the airport and loaded with caches so my afternoon was happily spent on the trails. I enjoyed seeing my first armadillo in the wild, but was hoping for spring wildflowers n bloom. Almost five miles in the woods gave me hope for warmer weather and an eventual thaw in Ohio.

I left the main portion of the park about an hour before sunset to try finding a puzzle cache Ali had solved. I passed by the cache when I realized there were five or six newer Mustangs and Camaros getting ready for a little street racing with some of them parked at the pull-off for the cache. I was wondering why there were rubber burns all over that stretch of road. I had no idea street racing was still possible in this age of surveillance. I drove by and looked for a place to turn around. I eventually pulled off at Danny's Auto Salvage. Danny had a few pieces of old iron by the fence waiting for someone to save them for a restoration.

Check out Don Williams singing about Tulsa Time.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

7 March 2015 Beartown Lakes

No picnic today...

The clouds were interesting.

This was either a shadow selfie or a poor Abbey Road rendition.

The stream in the woods was thawed. It's great to see some open water. Hopefully, it is a sign of better things to come.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

6 March 2008 Joyce

My sister passed away. She was the first of our siblings to leave. She had been ill for a while so it wasn't a surprise, but it doesn't lessen the sadness.

I'm not sure what happens in this day of digital images, but I suspect most families when film was king were fairly consistent in photo practices with the first one or two children photographed constantly while the later children are barely seen in photographic memories. From old family albums, my parents certainly followed that pattern with a steadily declining number of photos with each passing child. The picture below pre-dates me and is but one of a few of Joyce, but Joyce is looking like Easter in her checkered coat.

I was by many years the youngest of the family. My eldest sister and only brother were very near adults from my early memories. My two other sisters, including Joyce, were close enough to my age that I was able to spend some of my youth growing with them. For a few short years I remember fun summer days we spent with my mom. I also remember many, many Cleveland Indians games attended with my sisters. It was a time when Saturday home games were Ladies Days and my mom made up the difference so I could tag along. It was a ritual for us to sit by the bullpen during the game and wait by the players' exit after the game for a glimpse of the players and a chance for an autograph or a photo. Joyce's favorite ballplayer in those days was a shortstop named Larry Brown.

It's funny the random memories I have from those days. The three youngest of us were expected to clean on Saturdays. I remember cleaning days since we were allowed to use my parents stereo to play records while we worked. We had a really small above-ground pool into which the three of us would climb and spend silly, goofy afternoons splashing water out. I also remember walks we would take with mom to shop at a completely awful store called Zayre. It seemed like a blink and everyone was grown and gone.

Joyce and I stayed close into adulthood. We were the two children who most often visited my parents on Sundays. We would sit with my parents and play pinochle when the weather was bad or lawn darts when the weather was good. Joyce was known as the only family member so bad at Lawn Darts that she was able to toss the darts backwards and away from the target ring. She was also the person who gave me a love of photography. She had purchased a 35mm Ricoh and progressed beyond the capabilities of the unit. She was looking for a home for it and I bought it. Many, many years later I have great memories of taking photos with my first 35mm camera. The Ricoh stayed with me for a number of years until the body finally wore out. If you enjoy the images in this blog, you can thank her.

Until my most recent work, I used to set aside her birthday each year. I would take a day away from work to mow her lawn, do yard work, and plant flowers for her. She always wanted impatiens in her yard. Every year, we would get a Christmas tree for her and help her decorate it.

Joyce loved cats. She always had beautiful cats for companions. Tom and Sidney below were two of her later ones with images from the digital age.



There were a lot of memories to think of in the late, quiet time at the funeral home. I hate these places. It's ironic, home is supposed to be a place of happiness, but the last two "homes" for some many people are the gloomy confines of a nursing home and one last hurrah in here.

It was strange to walk down the stairs of the funeral home and be taken back to my first visit to one of these places. The cigarette smoke is gone, but I was surprised at my grandmother's wake to walk own the stairs and into a funeral room basement that looked not much different than this one so many years later and find relatives drinking coffee, smoking, and laughing. It seemed so incongruous. I don't think my brother understood why I passed on the post-cemetery opportunity to return to the funeral home and most likely this room for a social reception.

I don't believe in the afterlife. I have a hard time "celebrating" the departure of someone through a religious service. I will miss my sister. She was a wonderful person. Just this once, I will hope for her sake there is a Rainbow Bridge so she can have a chance to once again cuddle her cats.

28 February 2015 Freer Woods

We were tethered at home to Lizzie recovering from her spay surgery. Ali knows I get a little stir crazy if I'm home too long so she kindly sent me caching for the afternoon. I didn't do very well on my choice of location spending a frustrating afternoon in snowy Ashland County, but I was able to enjoy a long walk in Freer Woods. It was weird caching alone on a Saturday. I'm used to the perpetual travel of work and being alone, but being alone on a weekend when Ali was home too was a strange experience for me... not the most enjoyable.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

22 February 2015 Mental Medication for Cabin Fever

We visited the Rookery for some exercise and to get us closer to spring. It was a fun walk with the dogs in some very deep snow.

Animal footprints left the record of a strange choreography on the frozen river.

Phineas is a seriously happy dog. He spends much of these walks with his head buried in the snow and his nose fully engaged.

In five or six weeks, we'll be walking this same trail listening to the deafening sounds of spring peepers. For now, most of the outdoors remains in a deep slumber. Phineas doesn't seem to mind.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

20 February 2015 Ice Bubbles - Part 2

I was seriously unhappy with the cold and more than a little concerned about damage to our home. Prolonged below zero weather can be a disaster. Despite that I was determined to retry the frozen bubble experiment. The only bubbles we had were catnip bubbles for cats. The bubbles never seemed to excite the cats and they weren't the best bubbles either. Still they were all I had. I tired them twice once at room temperature and once chilled in the fridge. Neither the room temperature or chilled catnip bubbles produced frozen bubbles. The catnip oil may have lowered the freezing point of the soap.

I needed to act quickly before it warmed up. :) I decided to try Dawn dish soap diluted with a little water. Bingo, it was cold and there were frozen bubbles!

The rolling bubbles were fun to watch.

Monday, May 11, 2015

16 February 2015 The Real Cold Arrives

Ali was on the way to California with a very early flight. As I was returning home, I grabbed an image of the dash thermometer at 15 below.

Phineas and Lizzie were unfazed about the weather. They were happy to spend their time on the furniture.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

12 February 2015 Tuscarora State Forest

It was dicey finding a road-side parking place with all the snow, but a stop in Tuscarora State Forest was my best hope for a short hike on my return to Ohio. Blue skies always improve a winter day. This morning the trail was perfect.

As I was walking the trail, I spotted an unopened Valentine. The address was from the nearby road. I remembered seeing a line of mailboxes at the end of the road. I figured someone stopped for a morning walk and dropped this by accident. I returned it to the correct mailbox at the end of my walk. I hope it was a happy Valentine.

The real star of this 8-10 acre tract of land is a 1300-year old stand of box huckleberry. It's winter, but the plants were still visible under the snow cover. The small shrub is only known in eight states and is rare within those states. This old stand is one of two known to still remain in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

9 February 2015 Main Line Canal

I try to avoid too many winter trips to Carlisle, Pennsylvania because of the potential for harsh weather in the center of the state. This year, I was making my second in two months and once again lucky with the weather. I moved across the state quickly because there was a high probability of snow, but allowed time for a quick walk in Duncannon after refueling in town. There was a cache in a small park alongside remnants of the Main Line Canal. The walk gave a few views of old canal era buildings constructed up to the edge of the water and an old well-preserved canal era bridge. Except for the lack of canal traffic and the electric lines, this location looks very much as it would have in the 1850's when the canal was in use.

With the poles and wires removed, the scene from the canal bank is probably very much what was viewed by a canal boat occupant in the 1850's.

8 February 2015 A Long Walk at Chapman State Park

Phineas daydreams while thinking of bunnies as he plots our caching day.

We knew the snow was going to be deep, but the snow pack was two to three feet deep with drifts going higher. Phineas is a winter veteran, but Lizzie is still getting used to trail time. They both sniffed out the first find. By the second find we were all moving well on the trail and enjoying a cold afternoon.

It was a good day for spotting woodpeckers as we made our way through the park.

I thought the compacted snow on the park's picnic table looked like snow coffins.

Chapman answered positively one big question for Lizzie. Most of our dogs have had no fear of suspension bridges, but Murray and Gwen were the exceptions. Chapman's a great place to try even in the snow since the bridge is a short and an easy crossing if a dog needs to be carried.

Lizzie was perfect! She bounded across the bridge and down the stairs with the same happy demeanor she always shows.

We were hoping for a glimpse of an eagle today. Even the quietest end of the lake was bird free.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

7 February 2015 Ernst Trail

We were going to go walking for caches today, no matter what the weather. We debated the best place to stop while on our way to Warren. The Ernst Trail in Meadville seemed the perfect option. We know the trail. It is an old rail line with a flat grade. It starts out with some great wetlands views and drops into a nice wooded section. It's also a popular trail so the snow would most likely not be so deep.

We were wrong. The trail was deserted on this Saturday and had seen few visitors. It was rough walking all the way. The trail though was the easy part of the journey. Once we stepped of the trail for a cache hunt, the deep snow was difficult to navigate. All the caches but one were micros. We found one micro of the three we searched. We took turns looking in the deep snow until one of us needed a break. The regular was a longer walk through deep snow, but ammo cans make such a sweet sound when they are tapped. :) At least we got some exercise and came away with a couple cache finds. Wildlife viewing was non-existent, but there are better days ahead for that.

Lizzie likes ammo cans too!

3 February 2015 Ariel Ages

I usually leave the odometer with the trip odometer showing so I can see how far I have driven since my last fill-up. This morning I just happened to push the button to see the full mileage wondering if I was due for an oil change. It was a bit of luck to check just at 111,111 miles (I'm a nerd). Ariel is due for replacement this year. She's too old to be my company vehicle so she will become our full-time dog mobile. Hopefully she will be with us for 222,222.

The grey of yesterday had passed into a bright blue (and very cold) day. The plow push in the drive is slowly blocking the view of the trunk of our sugar maple.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

2 February 2012 Winter Snow

My return home was greeted quickly with a deep snowfall. The ute was covered with a lot of snow, but the trees in the yard looked great.