Beautiful Birds Along the Rio Grande

Dexter and I enjoyed a lovely walk along the Rio Grande again today. It was a sunny 72 degrees with a light breeze. Heaven! Along the way, we encountered several beautiful birds starting with my old friend from yesterday, the Phainopepla. I was ready for him this time having brought my Nikon D5200 fitted with the 55-300mm lens:

The mistletoe in this tree really set off his shiny black feathers and bright red eye.

Next, I spotted a Black Crested Night Heron hunting along the banks of the river. I managed one good shot of him before he took flight. He was also sporting a bright red eye!

I was amazed at how large he looked in flight compared to how compact he was on shore. He made such cool shapes with his body in flight.

We continued along the trail as it ran parallel to the river, stopping frequently to look for more birds. I have learned that scoping out birds to shoot with the camera requires a bit of patience. It helps to Stop, Listen, and Look. When birds sense movement, like when you are walking, they scatter as fast as Munchkins in the face of the Wicked Witch of the West! If you remain still, they will return to their business in a relatively short period of time. Listening helps to pinpoint their location. Often, birds are surrounding you but they can be difficult to see when they are tucked back into the landscape or shrubbery. Blending in well with their surrounding with natural camouflage helps them stay alive. I'm beginning to become familiar with the calls of several birds and listening to their chatter helps me to locate them in a tree or shrub.

This beautiful Cedar Waxwing blended in well with his surroundings with his yellow belly. He was easier to spot out in the open.

This little House Finch kept his eye on me and Dexter from a safe distance to see what we were up to.

Dexter kept himself amused while I shot photos. I kept him tethered to me by buttoning his leash into my shirt. That leaves my hands free to shoot. He's getting better at the "wait" command and takes the opportunity to roll in the dirt when we stop walking. Notice the "Who Me?? I wasn't doin' nothin'" expression on his face. Yeah right....I see another bath in his future.

I caught up with the Phainopepla again further down the river. He seemed to be trying to get the attention of a young lady in the tree but was being rebuffed either by her or by another suitor. He kept trying though and was posing, calling, and showing off his tail feathers in an attempt to garner her favor.

In the same tree,  I encountered a pair of Western Blue Birds eating their lunch. One finally came out into the open long enough for a quick shot.

On our way back to the camper, we spotted this Ladder-Backed Woodpecker feeding in the low brush.

It was a good birding day!

Walks on the Lake, Breakfast at the Lodge, Cookout with the Jones Family, and Colored Flames

What a spectacular day here in Hulbert OK! Dexter and I slept in a little, then took a nice walk along the shores of Fort Gibson Lake. I find the cypress trees so beautiful. They put their roots down in the shallows and look so stately and strong. The sun quickly burned off  the morning chill from the air and the sky was a brilliant blue.

After our walk, Dexter was ready to nap in the camper, so I I decided to eat breakfast at the Lodge Restaurant here in the Sequoyah State Park. I enjoyed an omelet with toast and hash browns for $8 and a pot of coffee for $2. What a bargain compared to the prices we see around Boston and Jimmy was an excellent waiter!

I have received terrific service her at the Sequoyah. Tabby helped me out when I first arrived, calling ahead to be sure my campsite would be ready and offering directions and helpful suggestions. Service with a smile!

After breakfast, I walked along the lake shore and down to the point. The rocky coast was quite beautiful and I saw fossils in the rocks along the path. The fish were jumping, there were hawks out feeding, and seagulls diving for fish. I've seen a heard of deer crossing the road twice while I've been here but haven't had an opportunity for a photo of them.

After my walk, I drove into town to fill my propane tank. I've been burning through propane at a fast pace since I've been running the furnace most nights. I also stopped at the Auto Zone where Jason helped me with the taillight of my truck. I had received a message on the trucks display that the passenger side taillight was burned out. Jason checked it for me and found it was working fine. He pulled the light assembly out for me to double check but everything seemed to be in order. Jason told me that the entire taillight assembly will need to be replaced if it does go out so I'm going to wait.  I'll have to figure out how to reset the error message but I'm happy the light is working. Thank you, Jason, for taking the time to help me today! What terrific service!

Back at the campsite, I got things ready for the cookout. I set up the Clam House, brought out the Weber Grill for the first time, set the table, hung my wind chime and Camper Sign (from my DH!!), and opened the awning! My next door neighbor here at the campground had some wood left over and offered it to me for a fire. I gratefully accepted!

 

Jane and the kids, Roman, Vinny, Laurel, Nicholas, and Colin, and their Newfoundland, Chewy (short for Chewbacca!) arrived full of fun and laughter. Dexter was a little unsure of Chewy at first, but calmed down quickly and they did well together. Dexter is fast becoming used to all the new stimuli of campsite living!

We had a great time touring the camper and getting the bar-be-que going. The new Weber grill connected to the camper propane with the quick connect adaptor I had installed and performed like a champ! Richard arrived just in time to eat... hamburgers and hotdogs for everyone!

 

With our bellies happy, we headed to the lake so Chewy could take a swim. Being a water dog by nature, she enjoys any opportunity for a dip! The light was just amazing as the sun started to go down on this beautiful day.

We ended the evening with a campfire, augmented with a colored flame stick! What a fantastic day!

 

Un-Hitched, De-Winterized, Boomered and Soonered!

What a beautiful park this is! Sequoyah State Park here in Hulbert, OK is quite a surprise. I don't immediately think of a lake and pine trees when I think of Oklahoma, but here they are! Here's a couple of short videos describing the ammenities of this park: [video width="480" height="270" mp4="http://wildthingescapes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/1380653180-sequoyahstatepark480x270800kbpstravelok.comdiscoveroklahomatv.com_.flv.mp4"][/video]

 

[video width="480" height="270" mp4="http://wildthingescapes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/1470751447-sequoyahstateparkandlodgeupdate480x270800kbpstravelok.comdiscoveroklahomatv.comimport.flv.mp4"][/video]

Once the sun came up and my camping space was vacated by the previous tenant I was able to get Wild Thing parked, unhitched, and de-winterized. The sites are wide and spacious and this pull-through site is on a cement slab. I did have to tweak the level with my Anderson Levelers but I'm an old pro at that now. Once I had everything set up I flushed all the anti-freeze from the water lines. The temps last night were a balmy 51F and rose to the mid 70's today. Heaven! No worries about freezing water lines here, at least in the next few days. Once I had the lines flushed out I filled the water tank and ran the pump a few minutes to clear out the last little bit of antifreeze. This antifreeze is non-toxic, unlike the type used in cars, but I still didn't want any left in the lines. With that accomplished, I took the water heater off by-pass and let the tank fill, then turned on the water heater. Within a half hour, I had plenty of hot water for washing dishes and taking a shower. It's nice to have a fully functional rig!

This park received a re-model two years ago and is quite something. They offer horseback riding, a pool, golf course, marina and boating activities, and much more. The campground I am in is quiet and on the edge of the peninsula. Dexter and I took a short walk down to the water. I will explore more of the trails and the nature center with the kids when they come tomorrow for a visit.

This afternoon I drove into Tulsa to meet up with Jane (DH's sister), her husband Richard (who was celebrating his 45th BD today), their 5 children (Roman, Vinny, Laurel, Nicholas, and Colin), and two of their cousins at Richard's parents' house.  Richards Mom, Stephanie, has a sweet dog named Bandit and he and Dexter were fast friends within minutes of our arrival. They kept us all laughing with their antics! We ate Jane's homemade chili ( yummy!), Stephanie's homemade biscuits with chocolate gravy ( super yummy) and of course birthday cake! OU Football is a staple in this household and I was treated (frequently) during this game to the "Boomer Sooner Touchdown Celebration Song" by the whole gang. Here's a video of the fun along with some photos from this afternoons fun!

[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://wildthingescapes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/20171125_162708.mp4"][/video]

 

What a great time we had! Tomorrow, the whole gang is coming to the campground for a cookout in the camper. I can't wait to spend the day with the Jone's exploring this beautiful park.

 

 

Dexter in the Rain, Art Supply Shopping, and Simply Colorful Fibercast

Dexter and I were able to sneak in a short walk to the Ashland Reservoir in between the rain showers today. The wind has been hard at work bringing down the fall leaves and the forest path was laden with color. Dexter is not a big fan of walking in the rain but we both enjoyed stretching our legs and getting some fresh air.

I've been gathering art supplies to take on the road in Wild Thing and realized that my wooden studio easel is much too large to take with me so I made a quick run to Michael's Arts and Crafts and found this terrific aluminum easel that is just the right size, weight, will fold for storage, and was on sale! Don't you just love coupons!

My dear friend Lynn M. called later and invited me to join her on a trip to one of our favorite shops, the Franklin Mill Store.  We needed a visit and a chance to catch up and who can resist a trip to the fabric store!  Franklin Mill Store is a full-service fiber art store offering Quilt Fabric, Home Decorator Fabrics, Premium Yarn and Knitting Patterns and Knitting Supplies, Garment Fabric, Trims, Sewing Notions, Wool for Rug Hooking and Applique, Books, Patterns, and more. My friend Mary and her sister are carrying on a family tradition of quality, service, and a passion for fabric started by their family three generations ago! This shop is a local treasure.

My friend Lynn is such an inspiration to me! She is an amazing fiber artist who quilts, hooks rugs, makes doll art, knits, spins yarn, and has just started a Long Arm Quilting Service! She broadcasts a weekly fiber art program from her Simply Colorful Studio on Friday nights called FiberCast. Durning this videocast, Lynn streams live video of what she's working on in her studio while folks from around the world watch her on YouTube and participate  via text, e-mail, and online comments while they work on their own projects. It's  a once a week virtual community crafting hour! Check her out and join her online Friday evenings for an hour of community creativity. As Lynn says "It's amazing what you can get done in 60 minutes!" Oh yeah, and she does all this while holding down a full-time job! She is a remarkable woman and I am honored to call her my friend.

I picked up a new hat pattern and some yarn at the Franklin Mill Store today and am happily burrowed on the couch this evening knitting to the rhythm of the rain.

 

Vet, Brunch, Re-Register, and Move

Well, I achieved some of what I had planned to do today, but certainly not all. Don't things always take longer than you anticipate? And what about those pesky activities that crop up in the middle of a perfectly planned day...Oh well, here comes that motto again..."make your plans but don't plan on it"! I find things go better when I just "go with the flow" and adjust my day to accommodate the challenges that arise. I started my morning taking Dexter to Slade Veterinary Hospital for a scheduled booster shot. Mr. D has to stay in good shape for his upcoming travel! Once he was back home and snuggled into his crate for a nap, I was off to brunch with the sisters. Faith was flying back to Florida this afternoon so it was my last opportunity to spend some time with her. Mary met up with us and we had a bit more sister time while enjoying brunch at Panera's. It was yummy, but I've been eating off diet too much in the past few days, and I'm starting to feel the negative effects. I'm more tired, grumpy, and hungry than usual so it's time to reign in the carbs and sugar again.

Next, I drove to my insurance office to get a "wet stamp" on the latest round of registration for Wild Thing. It turns out that in Massachusetts, all campers must renew their registration by November, so even though I just went through the registration process a few weeks ago, there was a renewal notice waiting for me when I got home. The renewal required a physical stamp from the insurance agent, and a personal appearance by me at the registry, so off I went. 3 hours later that chore was completed and the camper is now legal for a full year. Next year I should be able to complete the registration renewal by mail.

After checking on Dexter I headed to the camper to start working on the sink and the light, but that was not to be. I had parked Wild Thing in the industrial park where we rent space for our business and my art studio thinking it would be well out of the way, but it seems others felt it was in the way of the delivery trucks, so I made the decision to move it to a storage facility.  I rented a space at 126 Self Storage where my DH and I have done business for years. They took good care of us and before long we had a safe space ready for Wild Thing. I got her moved just before dark. It was a tight back-in space and thankfully a good Samaritan (who was clearly a whiz at backing up trailers!) helped us tuck her in between two other campers. I'm hoping to find time soon to take her out and practice my backing up skills since it's the one area I really need to work on, but for today I was happy to have her settled in and in a secure location.

Tomorrow the insurance adjuster will examine the damage and lay out a plan for her repair and I'll try again to get that light bulb changed!