5-1/2 Inches!

Yikes, that is a lot of rain! The airport had less, but our new rain gauge read that number in a mere 24 hours. It came straight down in sheets! Sunflower stalks all over the neighborhood have been knocked down. Not certain if that is due to rain or rain and wind. Sunflowers do get top heavy when the seeds are formed. The ones on the right are the ones that were so lovely a few weeks ago with the goldfinch all over them!

 

On August 7 I noticed the tippy-top of the tallest maple trees were beginning to change colors. Then the locust trees dropped most of their leaves. The other trees in our yard are changing in earnest now, September 10. The Gingko and Yellow Poplar are not quite changing yet, but many others are turning yellow, or brown on the edges.

So autumn is under way! We actually needed sweatshirts yesterday. The house is insulated enough we still do not need blankets, but the change has begun. And not a moment too soon! The whole city is exhausted from the relentless heat and humidity the last couple months. Finally, for at least a few days we can have the windows open and enjoy the birds and crickets. Perhaps tonight I will hear the neighborhood owl?

Eeyore! In the Black Hills

Did you know that Custer State Park has donkeys who run wild? They are fairly tame though. Bob had great fun watching me balance and walk across an extra wide cattle guard that was similar to this photo so I could get a closer look at them and some photos.

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Now mind you, the guard I crossed was crowded with people and cars all flocking to see the donkeys. But it was this color with very wide spaces between the bars.

It was worth the crossing though! The “Burros” (which is Spanish for donkey) are undomesticated. They were released into the park after the original herd that took visitors to the top of Black Elk Peak had their job discontinued. So the donkeys there today are descendants of the working donkeys.

They are also called Beggar Donkeys as they have learned to beg from the tourists. And the tourists have spoiled them rotten with vegetables and apples.

They were tame and soft. Some larger than others. I especially liked the one with the black stripe!975f5930-c938-4ac0-bec6-d93fada9a69d.jpeg
So as Eeyore might say, “Guess I’ve seen everything now! Donkeys being fed by tourists and begging rather than foraging the prairie of delicious grass! Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe, I will get some free food if I find some tourists. We’ll see.”

Oklahoma!

When we visited the Bricktown area of Oklahoma City we were amazed to find these sculptures, larger than life, of famlies in wagon trains and men on horseback. At first I really had no idea what the purpose was. My imagination went wild!

Look at this couple. He is determined!

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Now notice the close-up of his woman below. Can’t you hear her terror?

DSCN2489“Honey, ARE YOU SURE YOU KNOW HOW TO DRIVE THIS THING?” It seemed as if she would rip his head off!

And then this couple – upright and focused.DSCN2486In their close up she looks eager and excited.

DSCN2487He seemed to be having a bit of trouble with his horse. A rider came up alongside him to help.dscn2484.jpgWell it turned out they were in a group of 50,000 people in the 1989 Oklahoma Land Rush (OOPS 1889 was the year) to lay claim to Unassigned Lands for homesteading. Paul Moore created these bronze statutes to commemorate the event and they are tremendous. If you like horses, be certain to stop here on your way through Oklahoma as the detail on the horses is magnificent.

A suit? Yes, he was wearing a suit!

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Prairie Dogs

… are known as  herbivorous burrowing rodents with no relation to canines.
The black-tailed are a member of the squirrel family,  NOT one of my husband’s favorite animal families!  According to the National park service they are an important species to the native mixed-grass prairie ecosystem at Badlands National Park.
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Art in the west!

They have many purposes! “Several federal studies indicate that more than 160 species of plants and animals can be found associated with prairie dog colonies. They serve as prey for black-footed ferrets, swift fox, badgers, coyotes, bobcats, and many species of resident and migratory hawks and eagles.

“They also create habitat for black-footed ferrets, burrowing owls, tiger salamanders, mice, voles, and insects. Burrowing also helps aerate the soil which helps to recycle nutrients.

”Foraging on grass and keeping the vegetation short provides better protection from predators. The constant clipping of grass also creates nutrient-rich forage for bison, who are attracted to prairie dog colonies for dirt wallows.“

Below is perhaps Jabba the Hutt of the P Dog world? Seriously, well fed!

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What! Being stepped on by a bison would be bad enough, but wallowed upon! Stop! Stop I cannot take the truth!

“A plague began to appear in the park in 2008 spread by flea bites. Several colonies of PDs have been dusted with an insecticide to kill the fleas. An oral vaccine is also being tried by scattering peanut flavored pellets throughout the prairie dog towns.”