The photo above is probably what many think of, when they think of Oklahoma (the whole Sonics issue aside).
I just spent a week in Oklahoma and my opinion has changed. There are lots of wide open spaces. They are beautiful and varied as you cross the state, north to south, or east to west.
There are strong, proud communities.
There is a rich heritage and history that is full of drama, pain, pride and diversity.
Oklahoma is home to the most famous of the Wild West Shows, the great land rushes, 39 Federally recognized tribes (none native to the state), cowboys, cattle, bison, oil barrons and some of the nicest, most welcoming people I've met.
I am going to include more entries on Oklahoma as I go through my pictures (my camera broke day #1 and I was fortunate to have a friend who loaned my her back-up - thanks Lanora).
Above is the entry statue at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. This is an impressive museum where you could spend an entire day and then return again to see what you missed the first time. Roam their webpage, you'll see the wide range of interpretations of the West. The Cowboy Hall of Fame, the west through the eyes of Hollywood, spectacular western art and more.
I was certainly aware of the Oklahoma National Memorial but I didn't realize there is a museum on the site as well. (Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum). You enter the museum and come as close to experiencing that day as anyone would want to. It's an emotional experience and after you exit you can walk the beautiful memorial. A must see when in Oklahoma City.
To be continued . . .
Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Happy sailors on Port Madison, Bainbridge Island.
Sailing class on Port Madison Bay, Bainbridge Island.
Sailing on Puget Sound with Mount Rainier in the background.
Check out www.BoatingKitsap.com
I'm going to be in Oklahoma this coming week attending the NATJA (North American Travel Journalist Association) Annual Conference.
That's part of the "Beyond" in Kitsap and Beyond.
Day One, prior to the actual conference I'll attend an onsite photo class at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
Established in 1901, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is the second most visited wildlife refuge in the country - hosting more than 1.5 million annual visitors. The refuge hosts a rare piece of the past - a remnant mixed grass prairie, an island where the natural grasslands escaped destruction because the rocks underfoot defeated the plow. The Refuge provides habitat for large native grazing animals such as American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, and white-tailed deer. Texas longhorn cattle also share the Refuge rangelands as a cultural and historical legacy species. More than 50 mammal, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive on this important refuge.
I hope to get some great photos and will post some as I have time during the conference.
My post trip will take me on a tour to learn more about the Wild West (a favorite subject) and the Oil Barrons - more photo ops!
During the conference there are seminars and classes to choose from as well as speakers and most importantly networking.
I can't remember ever being in Oklahoma, although I've been in every state it borders, so this will be a learning experience all around.
I love the Kitsap Farmers Markets and have several choices within a short drive of home.
Poulsbo's Farmers Market is a little newer than some of the others but has found its place and is doing very well.
Abby and I met Emma (closest dog - above) back in the dog park days when Abby was a puppy. It is always fun to run into old friends and nice to see an environment where well behaved dogs are welcome.
Pheasant Fields Farms is a favorite. They not only participate in the Poulsbo, Silverdale and Bremerton Farmers Markets, they have a farm camp, their famous Halloween activities including a corn maze, "No Goul, No Gore, No Scare" for the younger crowd and "Wild Woods". You really need to check out their website, or better yet stop by to see all they are doing to keep a family farm running and productive.
Do I have dogs in most of the photos? Yes, there were quite a few dogs, but they were well behaved and add to the wonderful relaxed atmosphere at a farmers market.
Flowers, produce, cheese, baked goods, craft items are just some of what you'll find at a farmers market. You'll also meet neighbors and friends and at most markets you'll find live music and an overall "happy" place to be.
This is a new vendor to me. I tried their smoked salmon and it was exactly the way I like it. Crimson Cove is described on their website as "a family owned and operated smokehouse located on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula of Washington State. This company was created out of the passion I have for the Northwest. As a pilot in the Navy my job took me away from my home state of Washington and I missed such foods as northwest style smoked salmon. I wanted to share this unique taste with my wife, a native of Chicago, so I experimented with different smokes and brines trying to create that Northwest flavor I missed. I finally achieved the taste I love using wild salmon brined with wine and smoked with the best mixtures of Northwest woods. As the years passed, we shared our smoked salmon and cheeses with friends. We were continually encouraged to sell our smoked foods so others would enjoy this unique taste experience, thus Crimson Cove was created."
Complete list of current Kitsap Farmers Markets
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The adult Red-Breasted Sapsucker, above, is a regular visitor to our birch tree and can be seen almost daily out the kitchen window.
Kids hanging out on the pier; talking, jumping into the water, enjoying the sun is a sure sign that it really is the first day of summer.
Note the rather pale, Northwest bodies, another sign that it is some of first warm weather worthy of hanging out on the pier.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I have posted several entries about Bremerton's Fountain park. Here, beyond the spectacular fountains, marine views, and beautiful sculptures there are rocks. Wonderful, wonderful BIG rocks.
Better than any other playground toy, rocks attract and challenge kids.
On tiny Minor Island, an extention of small Smith Island located north of Port Townsend, west of Whidbey Island and south of the San Juan Islands, there are some very interesting residents.
This pictures shows the pair of Bald Eagles surveying their territory. At the base of the tower you can see a pile of sticks which is the only known Bald Eagle nest built on the ground. In the past many young have hatched in this nest but this year there are no babies.
Also on Smith and Minor Islands and the narrow stretch of land that connects them there is a population of Harbor Seals, gulls and other migrating birds and marine mammals.
On this day the eagles took off with their eyes on the islands below watching for opportunities for a meal.
Minutes later one of the eagles returned to a group of Harbor Seals where there were two newly born seals. The seals, all but the two babies and four of the adults scattered into the water.
The eagle calmly walked the beach, turned and pretended not to watch, perhaps in an effort to get the adult seals to let down their guard.
We watched for several minutes and the eagle continued to patiently wait.
As we left we knew that whether or not the eagle got one of the two babies that day, or later, the eagle would eat and baby Harbor Seal would be on the menu eventually. Hard to think about, but natures's way.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Company coming this summer? Do you want a fun getaway close to home? Looking for something the whole family can enjoy?
Take the Puget Sound Express Whale Watching cruise from Port Townsend. For west sound residents it is an easy drive to get to Port Townsend for the 8:40 boarding.
Each year Pete and Sharri Hanke, owners of PS Express, take our Visitor's Bureau staff and volunteers on a day cruise - yesterday was our day. It was a great break from the office and a chance to once again be awed by the beauty of the Northwest. The California Sea Lion above was on the bouy as we left Port Townsend.
Above is Point Wilson Lighthouse at the Fort Worden State Park.
We saw plenty of whales, harbor seals, waterfowl and other wildlife all along the cruise.
Once in Friday Harbor we enjoyed lunch with a water view, shopped the galleries and stores and stopped in to say hello to a friend, who also own a whale watching business: San Juan Safaris, another great option if you're starting in Friday Harbor.
On the way home we saw lots of eagle activity. I'm going to save the rest of the eagle and harbor seal pictures for another entry since they tell their own story.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday was perfect. Sunny, warm but not hot, and the mountain was out!
We were invited to the christening of Sandy and Joe Pond's new boat now docked at Arabella's Landing in Gig Harbor. It was a beautiful drive to Gig Harbor and we had a party to attend.
Sandy, in the picture above (right) and Marty DeMichele (left) went to high school with husband Jim (middle) in Gary, Indiana many years ago. They discovered each other in the NW around the time of their 40th reunion. I always enjoy when they get together and get to do a little reminiscing.
The purpose of the party was to christen the "Silver Spirit" and Sandy got it done with one try.
The "Silver Spirit"
Our next stop: the Tides Tavern for some dinner on the deck before driving home.
One last view of "THE" Mountain in it's "out" condition on a perfect Northwest day.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
As always, Abby with a stick.
Great strong afternoon light on the Point No Point Lighthouse.
A family enjoying the beach with the lighthouse in the background.
Kids digging a hole. At times I could only see their legs sticking out.
A little Photoshop on this one.
One picture of the woman on the ground,
One picture of the kite in the sky,
Take out some of the middle space to bring them
and here it is!
Click on the picture to see it larger.
His reaction to being back is obvious, or is that his reaction to the sunshine this morning; a pretty perfect Northwest sort of day.
Since Colin is home, it was time to once again try for the perfect family photo. Sister Bethany hasn't seen them yet, but this is my favorite for today's casual photo shoot.
Colin, Bethany, Kevin and Ross McDonald
June 14, 2008 - Suquamish, WA