Friday, June 27, 2014

Policies Do Long-Term Damage

NW Oklahoma has been getting some much needed rain of late. It’s not enough to make a dent in the EXCEPTIONAL draught (the next classification above extreme) of numerous years, but I was anxious to see for myself if there had been a change in the Canton Lake level. If it is coming up, it’s not apparent to me, but an area resident indeed confirmed that some of the off-lying shoals have been covered. The Corps of Engineers daily reporting site still lists the water level as being down 77%. Under the best conditions, it will take several years of above normal rainfall to return water to the lake. We can only hope the Oklahoma Water Resources Board will rethink its policy of allowing Oklahoma City to draw down lakes any time, to any degree, without question. The damage and long-term effect caused by such ill-conceived policies for the rest of the residents in NW Oklahoma require serious review.

Area youths, like our granddaughter, Lucie, are for many years
deprived of the recreational opportunities that the lake and Corps
campgrounds would have provided.

All the white is blowing sand from the uncovered
lake bottom.

Geese wade ankle-deep a hundred yards or more from
what should be the lake shore.  At the point where I took
this picture, the water should be better than six feet
over my head, or 13-feet deep.

A freshwater clam.

The weeds would not be here in a healthy lake.  Since the bottom
would be lacking the rock,  marine vegetation, etc. that normally provide
havens for small fish to find cover, flexible pipe is cut and set in blocks
of concrete to make artificial fish havens.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Taking the Show on the Road

I don’t remember who the sage was, but he had the most obvious secret for success and happiness in life. It has become known as the Zen or Unix Philosophy. Anyhow, he said, “Do one thing, and one thing only, and do it well.” We instead have always taken the ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’ approach, and, yes, it is a source of constant frustration and conflict. One example is our preparation for any trip. It has to be closely akin to getting a Barnum and Bailey show on the road.

Nothing can remain where it is designed and intended to be, because something else has to go there. A is moved to make room for B until A is needed, in which case B is moved to make room for A, or maybe C, like the toolbox, which is carried for emergencies and repairs. There is no telling when the toolbox will be needed, but when it is needed it is inaccessible because it is behind B, or A, depending on which took precedence in the last shift of supplies. So, the stuff stowed permanently in the truck is moved into the RV to make room for the things normally stored in the garage which must now go in the truck in place of the things in the RV. The things normally stored in the truck are there to prevent the possibility of arriving at a paddling launch site and realizing a vital item is back home. It now gets left behind and dozens of miles away in the RV. See how much better that is?

Almost ready to go.
Before the truck is backed and hitched to the RV, two cats are put in the RV, then a cage of nine orphaned squirrels, that Jean is hand raising, is loaded into the back of the truck, followed by six caged birds. Along with their four buckets of feed and water bottle, that fills the truck.

Doing the truck stop shuffle.
All is hunky-dory until one of the birds starts screeching, which immediately calls for an urgent stop at the first truck stop to check on the birds and make sure all is still okay. Cages are unloaded or pulled and moved about until the offending bird, always one buried deepest in the load, is located and his peachy condition confirmed. Then all is reloaded and retied to return to a road-worthy state. To prevent wasting a stop, we top off the truck’s fuel and our coffee, and head for the highway to get the wheels turning again. All we need now is a big top, an elephant and a couple lions.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Celebrating Spring B4 Gone

Low Phlox
Yes, I know.  We're a bit behind the curve on what we're supposed to be blogging about at this time of year.  Spring was just making itself felt when plans suddenly took a detour for all concerned.  We did get to see the first few flowers making their appearances in the beds before packing up for a long roadtrip.  We'd have another 5,054.2 hard miles on the Ram 1500 before we pulled back in the yard again.  There are a lot of ways to measure a trip---miles, oil changes, time, and at our age, prescription renewals.  In any event, I hope you enjoy the beautiful flowers.

Candy Tuft--One of the hardiest and earliest flowers.

How could spring be official without daffodils?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We're Baaaak!

A beautiful classic canoe.  I believe credit for this picture
goes to Macky Mongold.  It was painted to represent the
Indian wool trading blanket made popular by Pendleton
Sorry for the silence and the apparent neglect. The absence was brought on by a family emergency. I didn’t want to advertise our being gone, but can now shed some light on what happened.

Without betraying my brother’s privacy, we received word that he was experiencing a serious illness that would require two complicated surgeries right away. Since there was no other family in his area for him to turn to, I volunteered to help. His recovery would require 6-8 weeks, so we put our show on the road.

I took Buddy, my 14ft. Solo Hornbeck Adirondack pack canoe just in case, but knew going in that it would see more time on top the truck than in the water. There were other things that would require my attention.

It was a four-day trip east to Chesapeake, VA, that included finding homes for Jean’s young rescued orphaned squirrels. When we arrived at my brother’s, his condition became all too obvious. I saw someone standing outside in anticipation of our RV’s arrival, which was to be parked in his drive. I thought the stranger was some old guy visiting at my brother’s. I got the rig parked, got out and walked around the truck, getting within 20-feet before recognizing my own brother for the first time. He looked gray. He looked yellow. He was a skeleton. He had not kept solid food down since Halloween, or six months previously.

They decided to do both surgeries simultaneously. He was unzipped from sternum to as low as they could go. Part of the problem lay in the fact that he had never been in a hospital before, and was very nervous about the process, so had delayed treatment for way too long. Everything would have been much less involved if he had sought help much sooner.

Anyhow, he is doing much better. Every couple days he still has to overcome yet another hurdle, but progress has been great. We’re home; we’re exhausted, and will slowly put things back to rights. He, likewise, takes on a new project every couple days after being able to do nothing, and is looking forward to returning to work. C’est la vie, no?