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<--
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 Amazon.com.
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.