Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Birthday Dinner

This is Joe and his wife Tina.  It was Joe's birthday and we were invited out to celebrate this occasion.  Joe is the head maintenance man here at this refuge.  He moved here from Santa Ana NWR where we worked with Joe there.  Check out the shoes...Michael Jordan no less!!!

Los Tres Amigos...Mexican food.  Here are their three male friends and in the next photo are these three male friends.

Russ and friend Beth planned this evening, and what an excellent choice.  I had the chiles rellenos and it was DELICIOUS.  Poblano peppers are tasty.  No photo of the food, as I just dug in!!!

Here's Joe enjoying a birthday sopapilla with a drizzle of strawberry and whipped cream.  I told him he looked like the general turned bandit, Santa Ana.  Joe kept us laughing all night.  He is from New York and he has always called me "Motha." 

Here is Joe in his own sombrero.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE!!!  We had a wonderful evening out, with friends.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Texas Longhorns

My name for this one is "Pretty Lady."  My favorite.

Small head.....BIG body.

This one I named Freckles.

This is Stalactite.

This is Notch.

The refuge keeps the herd at around 300, so this is just a few to show you today.  There are no steers left on the refuge, therefore, no really large horns.  Some will be auctioned off later this year.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Just Goofing Around


The parting of the "boulders".

Oh no, I'm falling over the ledge!!!

"Here I am".

Sealed with a kiss.  This is "Heart Rock".  A very short trail will take you here.  The slab of granite reminds me of Enchanted Rock in Texas.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

One Week Left

Our time here is coming to an end with only one week left before our next refuge, Arapho NWR in Walden, Colorado...the COOL country.  It's so wonderful we are able to do this sort of thing.  A new refuge in one of our favorite states.  When our boys were out of school for summer vacation, we would always go tenting in Colorado (all places west of interstate 25).

Some of the "jobs" we have done here at Wichita NWR.

Leading Family Hikes.  I'm sure glad one of the friends members just happened to show up today as we had a total of 41 people and I was glad to have his help.  We had one group of 19, mostly little ones.  Here we are at Prairie Dog Town after our hike on Elk Trail.  Only one little boy fell into the only prickly pear cactus on the trail.  He was a trooper though.

Being roving rangers.  This is on top of Mt. Scott.  The fellow in this photo had just dropped his camera between the boulders.  Wallace took our litter grabbers down to him so he could retrieve it.  Mount Scott is on the refuge and stands over 2400' with many beautiful views from the top.  We drive around visiting with the visitors, answering questions, etc.

Keeping all five brochure boxes filled.  Each road entrance into the refuge has one of these for our visitors.

Given the keys to drive on refuge roads that are closed to the public.  That's Wallace waving behind the shrubs.  We are driving Burma Road this day getting acquainted with the refuge.

And then there was the painting of the trail signs!  The large ones as well as the little ones you see on the left.  Thumbs up because we completed this assignment after hiking a total of about 22 miles to do them all.  These signs are mostly on the Dog Run Hollow National Recreation Trail which includes Bison, Elk, and Longhorn Trails with each of those trails having the little ones with the sign depicting which trail (animal) you are hiking.  This was more my project with Wallace carrying all the supplies in the bucket.  We also painted the signs on the Kite Trail.  We should have counted all those signs, but that requires hiking it all over again which we are not willing to do at this time!!!

Giving biology a helping hand.  More about this later.  This is out in the special use area, an area closed to the public except for special tours.  Example, the Bugling Elk Tours in September.

Last but not least, working in the visitor center where one and a half million visitors a year are greeted and introduced to the refuge.  We will have worked a total of  310 hours during our stay here.

Until next time...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Little Baldy Continuation

I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN!!!  I used to think I could move mountains, not any more!!!

We are getting closer.

Wallace, taking in the view.

Now I am at the top and Wallace is saying "I'm not going up there".  I will say it was VERY windy and he gets a little spooked with heights.

Here I am..."Queen of the Mountain".  Ha.  He did finally join me.

Caught in a compromised position!!!  We didn't have our tripod and wanted to get a photo using the timed setting.  What a hoot!!!  I just bet that has never happened to you.  Oh well...

We treated ourselves to a buffalo burger and coconut cream pie at a little restaurant called Ann's.  It was delicious.

Until next time...

Hike to Little Baldy

The little rock rise in the background is Little Baldy, and that is our destination for this hike.  It is only .8 mile with an elevation change of 200'.

The trailhead starts at Quanah Parker Lake where there is a small parking lot.  You can see the stairs going down to cross over the dam.  Quanah Creek is behind the dam.

The trails are laid with crushed granite.

We have walked a can see our truck and the visitor center in the top right of the photo.

I keep getting shut down...will try to finish tomorrow.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Critters in the Coreopsis

A beautiful (stained glass window) Monarch drinking in some nourishment as it makes its way north.  The most famous butterfly in the world.

Our famous Black-tailed Prairie Dog munching on Coreopsis for its nourishment.  They never go to water, they get what they need from the plants.  They keep vegetation chewed down making it better to see their predators while their burrow has a bare mound around it getting them up even higher.

They are very social critters...greeting family members with a kiss.
When they see a predator, they scurry to their burrows and give a barking alarm..hence the name "dog".

I think they are so fascinating to watch.  At the prairie dog town here, they are quite approachable.  This is also a good place to see Burrowing Owls as they use abandoned burrows to perch on.  We don't have that bird yet.  We are up to 97 species with only one day of trying.  Most have been in our little yard here.

White-tailed Deer are seen most days.  The buck is growing his new antlers and are still in velvet.

Another critter in the coreopsis.  A Lark Sparrow.  One of the sparrows that is a little easier to identify with that face pattern.

Who is that critter in the coreopsis????

Days end with the sun setting over the Wichitas.

Until next time...  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Medicine Park

"America's Cobblestone Community."  It was founded July 4, 1908 as the state's first planned tourist resort.  There is a creek known for its healing qualities...hence the name.

In the roaring twenties, this was THE place to vacation for the rich folks.  

Our tour of the town started with a walk that follows Medicine Creek with tall Catalpa trees shading the pathway.

At the sidewalk end is this waterfall.

Where we discovered this Black Diamond Water Snake sunning itself on one of the red boulders.

A bison sculpture standing on cobblestones.


Now how long has it been since you've seen one of these...a working pay phone?

This is where we have lunch.  The Old Plantation Restaurant.  Built in 1910, it is a large three story building that once was The Grand Hotel...notice the cobblestones.  It has its share of days gone by!!!

It was listed on the National Historic Register in 1970.  The hamburger is NOT why we came here.  

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK AND GRANDMAS ROLLS.  Everyone said this was the place to go for a chicken fried steak.  While it was good, we prefer the one at Meers made from longhorn beef...97% lean...that way you can afford the gravy.  tee hee.

Some of the shops on Cobblestone Row.

May 25th is the first of the free entertainment held on this outdoor stage.  I have a feeling we will be going back for some of that.

Most of the time was spent in the historic district, but we took a side road and found this pretty house.  Notice the feather and the cobblestones.  All the houses use these cobblestones somewhere in the homesites.  I bet you noticed!!!

Cobblestones used in landscaping.

This is a view of the town from the dam that holds back this large lake.

One more comment about cobblestones...they are the reason this refuge was saved and never developed.  The land could not be farmed because of soooo many rocks.  Hip, hip, hooray!!!

Until next time...