Monday, October 22, 2012

Some Short Stories

October 7th, Wally's brother, wife and their granddaughter Brooke, came for a visit.  They had seen our blog about Medicine Park, wanted to see the town and have one of those chicken fried steaks for lunch.  That is just what we did.  We had a wonderful time with them.

The construction that was going on in May was over with, so now the creek that runs through town is flowing.  Hey Deanna, you still have not signed in as a follower...along with many of you other viewers.  WHY NOT?  It's painless and free and...we would like to know who you are!!!  Also, we would like to hear your comments.

Another man has brought me roses.......

Barite Roses...have I mentioned how interesting the geology is around this area?  The Barite Rose is the state rock of Oklahoma.  Google it for the rest of the I said, these will be short stories today.

October 13th, we led in the "Big Sit."  It lasted all day.  It is when you gather a group of interested observers to fit inside a 17' circle and count the birds you observe or hear from that circle.  It was the first one held at this refuge.  We had a total of 11 observers through out the rainy day with only 27 observations.

Had I known it was going to be dumped in my lap, things would have been done differently!!!  BUT, a good time was had by all.

And yet, another air rescue off Elk Mountain!!!  A lady twisted her ankle.  It never ceases to amaze me!!!  One expensive trip!!!

We will soon be leaving this amazing place.  One more hike we wanted to do was to hike the Osage trail.  We were just going to go to the backside of the lake, but we met up with Larry and friends

and ended up going uphill and down dale to some parts many people don't experience.  Our short hike ended up being an all morning adventure.  Thanks Larry for a wonderful time.

Osage Lake

There is a beautiful scene I see every time I take my walk.

On the right of the picture, I think of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane..."not my will, but Thine."  It reminds me of how thankful I am for Christ who died for my sins.  This scene is at the top of a mountain on the road to headquarters.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bison Roundup

It's that time again.  Rounding up the bison, preparing them for the annual sale October 25th.  There will be 120 to auction off.  In this picture, they have been herded into this holding pen. Then, one by one, they are led down a narrow chute to where the action begins.

Big boy is waiting his turn.

He is led down a narrower chute where the canopy is located.

Gates are slammed shut at this point.  The big paddles rattle and are used to help guide him into this chute where he is consoled until the next step.

Now he is in the squeeze chute.  The fellow on the left operates the machine to fit the size of the bison.  It confines him so the next steps can be performed.  The SCA student has pulled hair making sure she has roots for DNA.  When you are on the ground floor, you realize how powerful these animals are because there is a thunderous shaking going on inside that chute.

Blood is now drawn...

and will be checked for diseases.

Now he is being checked to see if he already has a chip...if not, one is placed in his neck.


This is the size of the chip.  Now he has a number.

This one is being fitted with a radio collar.

Project Leader,  Tony Booth
Deputy Refuge Manager,  Ralph Bryant

All hands were on deck...even these guys participated.  

We were sent down to take photos of the event.  Next is the auction and more coverage of that event to come.

Until next time...


Friday, October 19, 2012

Back to School

Here we are sitting in an office with our heads stuck in the computer for the past 4 weeks learning GIS in order to produce maps.  For those of you who know us, this is not our ideal setting... we would much rather be outside doing things.  From the 18th to the 29th, 11 days, we have put in 208 hours!!!  

We have been doing the work on the computer.  This is the written example of what it looks like.  There is a total of 8 modules to go through with a test at the end of each module.  Our first test after module 1, we missed 2 out of 10 questions, meaning we passed, but Bea wanted us to take it again until we got all 10 correct.  Okey, dokey....

We did it...

Bea is very patient with words of encouragement.  I have threatened to pull out and let Wallace go it alone, but it is very interesting.  Bea tells us this is a valuable tool that is in high demand by several entities and she is willing and very able to teach us.  We are struggling, but giving it our best effort.

Seeing the results of our first map, with lots of help, then scanning every page to OCR (optical character recognition) for use by future trainees...

Another tedious but necessary task...all the while learning how to do more tasks.

If you want to learn GIS, come to Wichita Mountains NWR and Bea will teach you all about it.

Until next time...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Trek With Us...

Up Elk Mountain here in the Wichita Mountains at the refuge.

Here is where we begin.  Sunset area which is a very popular place with all the visitors who come here.  This is the "wilderness area."  We start by crossing over the bridge where 

we  discovered the recent rain has put water back in Headquarters Creek.  There is a huge persimmon tree on the right.    

Here is a small dam on the right of the trail.

This gives you an idea of what the trail looks like.  There are many rocks to step over as you can see, so you have to be vigilant or else

things like this can happen!!!  I heard a thump behind me, turned around to find Wallace down on the ground.  Both knees were skinned up as well as his elbow.  The elbow swelled and gave us some concern for a few days.  It will be stiff for a while.

Leavenworth's Eryngo

A beautiful purple blooming plant at this time of the year, a member of the carrot family...looks more like a thistle to me.  You get an added bonus with this little bug.  

This body of water is French Lake where there is a dam that keeps water from going in to West Cache Creek that you can see trailing off in the background.  One of my favorite trails starts at French Lake, follows the lake and then the creek to Lost Lake and loops around to make a distance of 6 miles.  That trail was in our blog from May when we were here.

Not only finding critters and scenery, but things like this excite me. This is cement that was put down on the trail by the fire crew back in 1988.  We got to meet one of the men that took part in the trail rehab...Mike.  Following is another find

A rock wall that goes around headquarters office was put in by the job corps back in 1969.  I was anxious to see how many of the staff had ever noticed it...not a one!!!  This is not a drawing, the eyes are rocks.  Pretty neat don't you think...back to the trail.  I am easily sidetracked.

We saw several of these little watering holes put there by Mother Nature...making the perfect bird baths.

When we reached the top and it started to look like this, no obvious trail, we turned around.  People get lost up in these mountains a lot and we sure did NOT want to have the crew take time out of their busy schedules to have to come rescue US!!!

This is the "critter of the day"...a Tarantula Hawk Wasp.  We have seen bigger ones than this with mahogany colored wings.  They require a spider to serve as host for their larvae and tarantulas make the best nursery.  Their sting is among the most painful of any insect, but it takes a lot of aggravation on your part for it to sting.    

There is supposed to be a covered wagon up here...could this be it? Do you see the person on the ridge?  There is also supposed to be a huge rock arch there somewhere...we will need to go back someday to explore a little more.  Maybe you will trek along again.

Until next time...