Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend Reflections - Cantigny Gardens

We toured the beautiful Cantigny Gardens at the McCormick Mansion and museum.  I have never seen such beautiful gardens anywhere,  I took so many photos I would be embarrassed to tell you how many.  The problem is that they are all worthy of being posted.  But I will spare you that.  Here are a couple for today and I will dribble the rest out slowly so as not to choke you.  I say again that they were a feast for the eyes, ears, nose, and touch.  I did not taste any although many were edible.  More later.  Enjoy the reflection of the water lilies, and a quick sample of only one of the lovely formal areas.

This beautiful circular garden is composed entirely of yellow Marigolds and large violet Zinnias .and is enclosed by a privet hedge.  This panorama view opens the near side so that it's circular shape is not obvious.  Simple but quite elegant the whole is a magnet for butterflies, bees and beetles.  I will show proof of that soon enough.
  -->Click on the image to see it full size<--

Friday, July 30, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Sky over Field Museum, Chicago

Next door to the Shedd Aquarium is the Field Museum of Natural History.  It was founded with a grant from Marshall Field who made his fortune in the department store business.

Entrance to the Fields Museum

With a gift shop that runs as far as the eye can see.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Theme Thursday - Light: Over the Waters

Light from above the tank illuminates the fish in the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Family Swim Fun

We are staying at a nice Comfort Inn that has a small indoor swimming pool.
This evening Mark brought his girls over for a swim.  Sue enjoyed having 6 of her 8 grand children with her.
 From L to R are:  Moria, Fiona, Niamh, Mark, Susan, Calista, Molly, and Will.

Don't miss Willy's special dive.

Wordless Wednesday - Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

The beautiful Shedd Aquarium left us wordless.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - The Morton Arboretum, Chicago

On Saturday and Sunday of this week we drove from Tulsa to Chicago with an overnight stop in St Louis.  We are visiting Susan's son Mark and his wife Elena, and their four little girls.  We brought her daughter Jennifer's two children Molly and Will so we have full compliment of grand children.  Today we all visited the Morton Arboretum.  This vast complex covers 1,700 acres in two adjoining sections.  We were there for about 4 hours and barely made a dent.  I will try to share a few photos in the days ahead.  Currently a group of 14 nature-inspired steelroot sculptures by artist Steve Tobin are on display throughout the grounds.

Of course the main attraction for Susan was her grandchildren.  We will enjoy them all week and drive back to Tulsa next weekend.

Susan Cuddles the baby Niamh
Will and Molly, Moira, Calista, and Fiona.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Macro Monday - Meadow Butterfly on Lantana

This is a Skipper on a yellow Lantana.  I can't tell which variety of skipper because I am looking at the wings edgewise, but it is one of them.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend Reflections & Puzzle - A World of Reflection

The mirrored glass in the Commercial Plaza Building frames a view of the sky behind me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Black & White Weekend - Garden Center Conservatory

Located directly behind the Tulsa Garden Center on South Peoria is a lovely Victorian conservatory housing exotic tropical plants and orchids.  

Friday, July 23, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Big Fluffy Clouds

Massive Cumulus clouds as far as the eye can see tower over the neighborhood near 15th and South Louisville.   Clouds like these are not unusual in Oklahoma's summertime.  They roll over while the sun goes in and out teasing us with patches of sun and shade.  Sometimes they spit out some rain here and there.  There is a permanent 20% chance of rain in Tulsa.  It can rain a block away from you and be dry as a bone where you are.  That is one of the things that make Oklahoma such a great place to live.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Theme Thursday - The Ball Park

If you grew up in a country where baseball is played you know it is played in a "Ball Park".
American Football is played on a Football Field, Basketball is played on a Basketball Court, Soccer is played on a Pitch, Ice Hockey is played on a Rink, Tennis is played on a Tennis Court.  But of all these fine sporting events only Baseball is played in a Park.

A park is a place where the family gathers for fellowship and recreation,  fun and games.  A baseball park serves the same purpose plus cold beer or soda and hot dogs or slices of pizza.  Baseball is a graceful game, bursts of excitement spicing up a relaxed ritual of stretching, scratching and spitting while the players position themselves for the next pitch.  There is time to reflect on the game, time to debate the accuracy of the umpires last call, to speculate on the possible standings before and after the all-star game.  Even time to honor the old tradition of the 7th inning stretch when we all rise to loudly sing Baseball's de-facto National Anthem:

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.

Written in 1908 by Jack Norworth

To hear it sung as it should be sung - with great gusto and little concern for the niceties of elocution and pitch, listen to it led and sung by the master of them all, the great Harry Caray, long time announcer for the Chicago Cubs and possibly the most ardent promoter of the tradition.  To enjoy Harry in top form, click this link to YouTube,  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Doors to the Brookside Library

The Brookside Branch of the Tulsa Public Library is just a few blocks away from our house.  It is just across the street from Wright Elementary School and is a favorite (and healthy) hangout for kids after school.  Tulsa is fortunate to have an excellent public library system.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - Father Cardinal

I have a pair of Northern Cardinals which have nested nearby, although I have not seen their nest. The male is a bright red while the female is more of a rust color.  They enjoy my sunflower seeds.   I believe the female is sitting on eggs because I have not seen much of her lately.  Instead, the male picks up seeds from the feeder and flies off to feed them to his mate.  Cardinals are pretty birds and make a very distinctive call, whoit, whoit, whoit, whit-cheer, whit-cheer.  At least that is what it sounds like to me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Macro Monday - Day Lily

The common Day Lily is a hardy perennial which can be grown nearly everywhere.   It spreads from tuberous roots and once established becomes a permanent resident.  They benefit from occasional thinning.  My mother-in-law had beds of these in different colors all around her home.  If someone admired them she would take her spade and dig up a "start" for them.  Varieties number in the thousands.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Jigsaw Puzzle - Philbrook Garden 4

The Rear Facade of the Philbrook Art Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Looking north to south.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Black & White Reflections - Philbrook Garden 3

Garden behind Philbrook Art Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Looking West to East.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Skywatch Friday - NASA Space Center, Houston

Last weekend Sue and I drove down to Houston to see our good friend Matt who is in the hospital there.  He has had some serious health problems and needed some encouragement.  We had a great visit and met his new wife Karen.  While we were there we took a little time to visit the NASA Space Center which was very near the hospital.  There is a tram that takes you on a 45 minute tour of the whole facility to see lots of rockets and neat stuff.  There was a 30 minute wait for the tram so we decided to pass on the tour and go inside.

There were tropical storms over Northern Mexico and into the Texas Gulf coast.  It rained in front of us on the way down and behind us on the way back, but we ran on dry road.  Maybe somebody was looking after us.

Inside the museum is a kid paradise with wall to wall hands-on attractions that teach as well as entertain.  This is a panorama of the place. Click on the panorama to get a larger view.  I took 6 photos and stitched them together with Autostitch to get this.   If you are in Houston check out the Space Center.

Hang in there Matt!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Theme Thursday - Help: Wash my Deck

I was stumped for a photo to fit the theme "Help" until my son David gave me  the perfect one.  

I built a deck just behind my house about 8 years ago.  I built it out of pressure treated pine and it has held up very well except for  normal weathering.  Recently I extended it past the back door to make it more accessible.  The result is very pleasing except that the new wood and weathered old wood do not match. We have decided to coat everything with a wood preservative to make it uniform and extend its life.  Before we do that we need to scrub the weathered wood to allow the preservative to adhere properly.

David has a portable power washer that he was kind enough to bring over.  He even offered to wash it for me in exchange for dinner.  I sat in a comfortable chair and watched supervised as he did all the work.  To my great surprise the wash removed all the weathering and dirt and left the wood looking almost like new.

We will let it dry thoroughly for 48 hours then apply a preservative wood treatment with roller and brush.
It is tempting to use a clear treatment to see the color of the wood but the experts say that such treatments need to be repeated every year.  A coating with pigment should last 5 or 6 years before it needs to be reapplied.  This morning we bought a 5 gallon bucket of Home Depot's finest in "Harbor Gray".  After it is given two coats it will really look nice.
I will report back when the project is finished. All I can say to David is thank you for your HELP!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Doors to First Christian Church

Doors to the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 913 S Boulder Avenue, 
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Ruby Tuesday - Tulsa Rose Garden

One of the corners of the Tulsa Rose Garden is anchored by a bed of Knockout Shrub Roses surrounding an Arborvitae.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Macro Monday - Skipper on Purple Heart

Skipper resting on Purple Heart, also known as Purple Wandering Jew.
Actually what the butterfly is attracted to is the Lantana which is planted with it.  Skippers are kind of drab but are generally willing to hold still long enough to have their picture taken.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Jigsaw Puzzle - Philbrook Garden 2

Part of the gardens behind Philbrook Art Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekend Reflections - Philbrook Garden 1

Rear Garden of Philbrook Art Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma,  Looking East to West.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Theme Thursday - Ball: A Hoberman Sphere

My friend Mike is wearing a Hoberman Sphere.  

The Thursday Theme for this week is some sort of ball or sphere.  A Hoberman sphere is actually an icosadodecahedron--a geometric solid consisting of 20 triangles and 12 pentagons. As the sphere expands and contracts, its hubs move in straight lines that radiate from the center. Each point of intersection reinforces the structure.  This particular sphere compresses to a 10 inch ball then smoothly expands to a 32 inch sphere.

You can read about the Hoberman Sphere in this article from Wikipedia.  If you search for "Hoberman Sphere" on YouTube you can find lots of examples.  One is HERE.  You can find them in toy stores and museum gift shops or order one from

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Doors to the Hunt Club

The Hunt Club, "Pub and Grub", 224 North Main, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - A Red Red Rose

A Red Red Rose

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That’s sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

Robert Burns

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Jigsaw Puzzle - US Independence Day

Here in The United States it is Independence Day, the Fourth of July, and a national holiday.
This day is a celebration of the declaration of independence from the colonial rule of Great Britain in 1776.  It is a day of family picnics, trips to parks or beaches, and an evening of fireworks.