Saturday, January 31, 2009

Strange Bird at my Birdbath

A rare Flightless Dog Bird.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Birdfeeder Customers

The House Sparrow looks like an ordinary field sparrow who has been shot with red spray paint.

Birdfeeder Customers

The cold weather has brought lots of hungry birds to my feeders. Here a male cardinal shares some lunch with a couple of sparrows.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smokey is a Clean Dog

The ice melted enough today so that Smokey and I ventured out to the groomer where Smokey got his bath. The groomer always fits him out with a new kerchief. This one is red with hearts for Valentine's Day. Smokey thinks it's kind of girly but he is OK with it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chili with Beans

A good hot bowl of Chili is perfect for a cold winter day. Sue made a nice pan of cornbread to go with it.

What makes a good pot of chili is a very subjective thing. Some like it very spicy, others like it mild. It can be just meat and chili seasonings, "Chili Con Carne", or maybe with pinto beans. I have seen chili with beans, tomatoes, and a variety of diced vegetables, although to me that may be a nice bowl of soup but its not chili. If you google "chili recipes" you will discover a bewildering variety of recipes, some of great complexity.

For years I have made very good chili from a very simple recipe. Here it is.


2 pounds ground beef
2 cans chili beans (pintos)
1 packet Williams Chili Seasoning

Brown the ground beef in a large pot or Dutch oven over a hot fire.
Stir it a lot.
When the meat is no longer pink stir in the chili seasoning.
Pour in both cans of beans.
Fill each empty can with water and add both to the pot.
Stir it until it begins to bubble.
Turn down the heat or set it off the fire and onto a scoop of hot coals.
Let it simmer for about 30 minutes, and stir every 5.
If it boils over its too hot, if it doesn't bubble it is not hot enough.

This will serve 8 hungry people. You may add salt to taste. There will be no left overs.

Some like to sprinkle chopped onion or shredded cheese on top. Some like to crumble soda crackers in the bowl although I think this is sacrilege. Chili is good served over steamed rice, or over cooked spaghetti.

I like Williams Brand Chili Seasoning because it has a good flavor but contains no salt. Most commercial chili seasonings are mostly salt. I like to add salt to my own taste. Williams is available almost everywhere, but if you can't find it, here is a simple recipe for a decent Chili Seasoning.

Easy Chili Seasoning

1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons garlic powder


Still Slick

The sleet stopped overnight although it is still very cold. The sun is shining but there is a thick layer of hard ice all over everything. Sue has gone cautiously out to the market to get a few necessities. Poor Smokey is out of dog food. When he comes to where we are sitting, lays his head on our knee and looks at us with sad eyes we know it is time to check his dog food dispenser. She also got me the ingredients for a good pot of chili. This is chili weather.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Icy Streets

My friend Renny in Norway posted some photos in his blog of young children out in the snow near his home. They are all bundled up in snowsuits and mittens and walk to school and play in the snow without a care. The roads are plowed and life goes on as normal.

Here in Oklahoma such weather is not normal. Driving on snow is not bad if drivers slow down and are careful. But trying to drive on sheet ice is very treacherous and we don't have much experience with that.

As a result all the schools are closed today and traffic on the main streets is sparse and moving slowly. As we watch local television news we see a rash of house fires as people begin to use unsafe heaters to add extra heat to older homes. Sue and I are safe and comfortable as our little house is well insulated and has central heat. But for those with inadequate housing or worse yet, for the  homeless, these are difficult conditions.

Icy Streets

It turned very cold yesterday then started to drizzle, not a hard rain, just enough to require the windshield wipers. By late evening the roads were sheets of ice with more rain mixed with sleet during  the night. Here is my front walk and driveway which blends right in with the street.  

It is still coming down in the form of sleet which is actually a good thing as sleet gives a little more traction than glazed ice.  As or me, I think Smokey and I will stay home with Susan today.  I had planned to take Smokey to the groomer for a bath but he will be pleased to put that off.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Master Grant

Grandson Grant is adapting well to life in Korea. Three months old and counting.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chandler Park

Sycamore tree. I like the white on brown pattern of the bare trunk.

Chandler Park

Chandler Park is about 3 miles west and a little south of downtown Tulsa. It has the usual things to be found in a city park, playgrounds, picnic areas, and a swimming pool. It is also one of the  highest points in the area and provides a commanding view of Tulsa from the west. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you will see the skyline in the distance, and of course, the Arkansas River winding towards the city.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Philbrook Art Museum

The noble hound reminds me of Smokey. I have to admit that I was very politely reprimanded by the security guard for stroking his nose. That I am not the only one to do so is evidenced by his shiny snout.

Philbrook has an amazing variety of exhibits from all over the world, too much for one post. I will share more on another day.

Philbrook Art Museum

The museum itself is a work of art. This is the main upstairs corridor. I like the dogs.

Philbrook Art Museum

In addition to paintings are exquisite examples of jewelery, pottery, and basketry.

Philbrook Art Museum

On the upper level of the rotunda is a collection of Native American art. This is part of an extensive collection by early Tulsan Eugene Brady Adkins which has been held by Philbrook.

This collection will soon be housed in it's own gallery in downtown Tulsa.

Philbrook Art Museum

A quiet Saturday afternoon is the perfect time to visit Tulsa's wonderful museum. The first thing seen in the rotunda is this beautiful statue by Rodin.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blue Dome Diner

Condiments and coffee cups. Every cup is different, collected from a number of flea markets. Don't let the humble appearance fool you, they have great food, and their walnut-blueberry pancakes are to die for.

Blue Dome Diner

Downtown Tulsa and the Blue Dome Diner. My youngest son Luke is the cook. I would say he is the chef but it's not that fancy a place. That's him in the orange cap.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama Smokey

My noble friend Smokey courtesy of

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Inauguration

The world was watching Tuesday as Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America.  I am interested to know your reaction to our new president.  I would appreciate your comment.  Here are some world reactions.

From Obama's home town Chicago Tribune:  HERE

From an American expatriate living in Norway: HERE

From an immigrant American living in California: HERE

And from CNN, a set of photographs from around the world: HERE

I would like your reaction as well. Please leave a comment. Thanks

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009

Last evening Barack Obama hosted a dinner to honor his defeated Republican opponent John McCain. Following today's swearing-in ceremony President Obama and his wife Michelle escorted Former President George Bush and his wife Laura to a waiting helecopter to begin their trip home to Texas.

It is one of the wonders of American Democracy that despite bitter contention and hard fought election campaigns our government makes a peaceful transition from one administration to the next. President Obama has made this particular transition unusually gracious. He is off to a good start.

There is a new White House web site that contains a great deal of information about the plans and policies of our new administration. See it: HERE
(photo from Reuters)

Inauguration Day 2009

In his inaugural address President Barack Obama calls the nation to meet the challenges before us. For the complete text of the inaugural address click: HERE
(photo from CNN, text from The Washington Post)

Inauguration Day 2009

President Barack Obama takes the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States of America. First Lady Michelle Obama holds the Lincoln bible.
(photo from Reuters)

Inauguration Day 2009

Barack Obama and daughters Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, listen as Aretha Franklin sings "America the Beautiful".
(photo from CNN)

Inauguration Day 2009

Enormous crowds gather in Washington DC.
(photo from MSNBC)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

The produce department at Reasor's Market at 41st and Yale in Tulsa.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Squirrels and Bird Feeders

I like to feed and watch the birds. I don't mind squirrels as they have to eat too. In fact I have a squirrel feeder that I keep corn and peanuts in. Of course the squirrels suck it dry and then go after everything else.

A lot of birds love to peck at a loaf of bread but the squirrels pull it down before the birds have much of a chance at it. To prevent this I bought a 8 foot tall pole to keep the bread out of reach. It is out in the middle of the yard so they can't jump on it from a tree limb. Obviously that isn't tall enough. Squirrels are not only very nimble, they are clever little critters.

Christ Church Annual Meeting

Church annual meetings are admittedly not the most exciting of events, but necessary to conduct the business of a worshipping community. The experience is made more palatable by a potluck buffet.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wagoner High School Reunion

For the class of 1959 this will be our 50 year reunion.  Only six of us were at the dinner but we started making plans for this summer.  We are from left: Lillian Gaylor, June Gilmore, Bill Miller, Bill French, Jane Flippin, and Wendell Hancock.

Once every quarter all the people who graduated from Wagoner High School anytime during the 1950s meet for dinner at Baker's Restaurant.  I graduated in 1959 so this summer we will try to have a class reunion.  There were only about 55 in my graduating class so it will be interesting to see how many will come.  The initial challenge will be to get in touch with everyone.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

The old Union Railroad Depot never looked better.

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

The program included rags by Scott Joplin and Eubie Blake, blues by W. C. Handy, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington, the cool jazz of Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Antonio Carlos Jobin and Henry Mancini.  

The music was performed by the Jambalaya Jazz Band, Donald Ryan Trio, David Moore on trumpet and Earl Clark on saxophone, plus the TSO String Quartet.  It was a terrific evening of music.

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

A full house!

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

The interior reflects the original art deco style of the old depot.

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

In the foyer is a whimsical sculpture with the just the right flavor. 

The old Union Railroad Depot in downtown Tulsa has been converted into headquarters for the Tulsa Symphony and houses the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.  Tonight is a great program of an assortment of jazz styles.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Too Cold!

It is 15*F (-9*C) outside with a dusting of light snow over patches of ice. Smokey did his business in record time and wanted right back in. I think this old man will stay inside today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tulsa BOK Center

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, Tulsa's BOK Center, a $178 million, 18,500-seat facility was opened last year and is already heavily booked several years out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter Sky

On our way to church we admire the evening sky.

New Porch Light

Voilà! Our new porch light.

New Porch Light

Mike and Amber came over this afternoon and Mike took care of a few things that needed to be done, one of which was to install a new porch light for us. This young man can do anything.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Stir it up and enjoy! Sort of like the best fried rice you ever ate.

Susan has us both on a diet. Today she is having lunch with one of her lady friends so I snuck off to the Korean Garden for one of my favorite dishes. Bi-Bim-Bap is a mixture of meat and vegetables over steamed rice with a raw egg in the middle. It is served in a clay pot hot enough to make everything sizzle. On the left is an assortment of side dishes from the buffet.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tulsa Skyline From Reservoir Hill

After church today Susan and I loaded Smokey in the car and went for a Sunday drive. We drove up to the top of Reservoir Hill for a nice view of the Tulsa skyline from about a mile north of downtown. Not a really good picture because I was shooting into the light, but a nice view anyway. At least Smokey liked it.

First Sunday After Epiphany

The illustration on our service bulletin this morning. The baptism of Christ.

Worship Music

Christ Church has a small music ministry with guitar, piano, violin, and voices.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Red Bellied Woodpecker

I frequently get little Downy Woodpeckers at my feeders but rarely a Red Bellied Woodpecker visits. They are larger and the red extends down their neck rather than just the cap.

Friday, January 9, 2009


We enjoyed some warmer weather today and Susan helped me clean up the bird feeders and refill them with seed. Goldfinches love black thistle and brighten up the garden.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bird Song Clock

We have a clock on the wall in our garden room that marks the hours by chirping a different bird song for each hour. Outside are a number of bird feeders with lots of birds. Each hour when the clock chirps the birds outside respond.