Over on Highway 16 just south of Okay we found a nice black and white donkey. Just behind her is a little black and white nanny goat. How do I know the gender of these animals you ask? It's easy if you know where to look.
A dome of gray moves over a golden sunset on Sunday evening. Thunder rumbled and we had a scant trace of rain that held the daytime high on Monday to a balmy 98F. By Wednesday we had a record 107F. Thursday was a little better, "only" 104F.
As a native Okie I don't normally gripe a lot about summer weather. But this summer has been tough. The heat is hard to tolerate but it is the lack of rainfall that really hurts us. I read in the newspaper that the western part of the state is experiencing the most severe drought since 1921, which is 10 years prior to the infamous dust bowl days of the 1930's. A lot of the state is under a severe water shortage and the electric companies are having trouble supplying the demand for air conditioning. Farmers anticipate almost a total loss of their crops through the first half of this year with little relief in sight. President Obama has declared Oklahoma as a disaster area which may help farmers survive but it has been a rough summer. If you get a chance, send us some rain.
It seems like every street in Tulsa is decorated with orange traffic cones. We complain when the streets are full of potholes then we complain when they are under construction. Such is human nature. We did have something which warranted complaint today. The temperature was 107F, a record for this date.
Cars come in all colors. Did you know that the very first Ford model A dates from 1903 and came only in red? As new models were developed they skipped through the alphabet until the very successful Model T was introduced in 1908.
The Model T was produced in a variety of body styles and engineering improvements until 1927. Ford introduced an entirely new car for 1928, so new that he decided to introduce it as the new Model A.
The first A's were produced in late 1927 powered by a Ford V8 engine and when production stopped in March of 1932 a total of 4,849,340 Model A Fords were on the road.
The history of the automobile industry is very interesting, not only for its innovations in the manufacturing industry but for its impact on society. The availability of affordable personal transportation permitted ordinary workers to move out of the industrial center to less congested "suburbs". A home with a lawn and garden was not just for the upper crust.
But I ramble on. If you are interested allow me to refer you to the largest collection of early Ford automobiles in the world. Is it in Detroit? No, it is in Holland. Follow this link to see the complete collection of early Ford cars in the Den Hartogh Ford Museum.
When I was back to Philbrook last week I decided that my photo of the chrome bumper hippo that I posted several weeks ago did not do him justice,(See Hippo 1). Here is a better shot of his noble head. He is a true work of art.
Tulsa is having one of the hottest summers on record. Since the first day of June the coolest daily high temperature was 90F, and the hottest was 108F. That is 49 consecutive days with temperatures at or above 90F and 16 days above 100F. The extended forecast out to the first of August predicts every day at 102F or above. You might say we are having a hot summer.
My poor Knockout hedge roses are trying to bloom but as soon as the buds begin to open they are scorched. It is so hot that my tomato plants won't set fruit. But there are some hardy species that bloom no matter what. Given a daily drink of water the faithful Lantana blooms and keeps on blooming. It seems to say that the hotter the weather the better it likes it. It draws butterflies and bees like a magnet. So for the Thursday Challenge I give you Yellow Lantana. Long may it bloom
This pretty little Lexus was sitting in front of the local QuikTrip. I really like the color. The first car I saw with a deep metallic red that was so shiny it looked wet was on a 1932 Ford hot rod in the early 60's. I always wanted a car that color but never had one. I guess some things are best left to dreams.
Simple yellow daisies, or Black Eyed Susans grow wild by the road side almost everywhere. They are so ubiquitous that we take them for granted or even regard them as a weed. Planted in a large group they are quite handsome. Black-eyed Susans are biannual which means they live for two years. In the first year, the plant grows a rosette, which is a group of leaves growing from the center, low to the ground. In the second year, the plant sends up flower stalks. At the end of the second year, the plant dies.
The recent improvements to the Arkansas River Trail between East 11th Street to East 71st Street include 2 handsome bridges. This one carries pedestrians and bicycles over the drainage channel at East 61st Street, Another nearly identical bridge crosses Crow Creek where it empties into the Arkansas River just south of East 31st Street. The hardy gentleman braving 104F heat was wisely drinking lots of water.
I stopped by Philbrook on Wednesday to check on "my" garden. We had a little rain late Tuesday and it was cooler (90F) in the early afternoon when I decided to go. Of course I dawdled on my way through the Art Museum to see a few new items. By the time I got down to the pond the temperature had climbed back up to pizza oven level and I didn't stay very long. It was 4:00 PM when I took this photo looking to the southwest just under the afternoon sun which back lit everything. On the way home the temperature was back up to 104F.
Today (Friday) Sue and I drove to a couple of big furniture stores to shop for a chair. It seemed really hot, even more than usual. My Toyota Sienna van has a temperature readout on a panel near the top of the windshield. It said 108F as we were driving home and it felt like every bit of that. We are setting new records almost every day.
Last Tuesday we had a brief break in the heat when a thunderstorm blew through Tulsa. It was part of the 20% chance of rain that is a permanent part of our summer weather forecast. It cooled things down and settled the dust for a little but was more thunder than rain. This year we will take whatever we can get. We have had 100F+ most every day since early June and the western part of the state is blowing away.
This is on US 412 running east down the Oklahoma panhandle. On both sides are endless fields of corn, head feed and soy beans, broken only by the occasional farm house and its out buildings and a few trees. Hanging up in the eastern sky is the waxing gibbous moon which seems to move in tandem with the car. While driving through as uniform a landscape as this it is easy to begin to see the automobile as stationary and see the fields as rushing by.
At certain times of year when the full moon rises aligned itself with the road, the illusion is of climbing a silver ribbon of highway directly toward the moon. This would be an excellent opportunity to play Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" quite loud.
The Thursday Challenge is "Roads". This is a very long stretch of US 412 that passes from New Mexico straight east down the Oklahoma Panhandle. Mile after mile of dead flat featureless farm land as far as the eye can see. The farthest visible point is determined by the curvature of the earth.
I have several new rose plants that were started from cuttings by my friend Jack Coffey. To my horror one had been eaten leaving only a stub. A closer examination revealed the culprit, a very fast moving green caterpillar. Moments after having his picture taken he suffered the ultimate penalty for his crime.
In June of 2003 Sue's son Paul was stationed in Japan. One of the places we saw when we went to visit was this wonderful bridge. Kin-tai Bridge is a historical wooden arch bridge, in the city of Iwakuni.
The bridge was built in 1673, spanning the beautiful Nishiki River in a series of five wooden arches. The bridge is located on the foot of Mt. Yokoyama, at the top of which lies Iwakuni Castle.
Its maintenance consists of being rebuilt periodically: every 20 years for 3 spans in the middle, every 40 years for 2 spans connecting to the riverside.