Saturday, December 17, 2011


It happened today - the twins are offically 13.  After having a riding lesson at the Rocking C and lunch at Graham's, the girls had friends and cousins for riding, cupcakes, movie, pizza, candy, silliness, and more sugar.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sweet 18

Happy Birthday Amy and thanks for the cake!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Wonderful Thanksgiving!

We traveled to Kentucky for Thanksgiving & were warmly welcomed by Cara, Tom & 2 adorable boys. Had a great dinner made by Cara & Tom, & afterwards Papa Pete & Will played some baseball; Cara, Tom, Amy & I took an 80 minute hike in some lovely woods near their house, great weather to do so. When we all had returned to the house, seems Will & Emory were more interested in something else.....getting into the Christmas decorations!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nowata Turkey Day

Thanksgiving - Ahhhh, the bird is the thing and this one was yummy with a bit of gravy and stuffing with potatoes, noodles, tater tot casserole, three kinds of cranberries, cherry fluff, cauliflower/cheese, broccoli/rice, green bean casserole (Pioneer Woman style), rolls, and HAM – there may have been more, but my plate was full.

Without a 30 minute rest, the flag football looked fun and babies played in the yard.

THANKS giving.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Earthquake right down Tornado Alley

Like Godzilla stomping around in King Kongs territory! The latest I heard was Saturday nights rumbler was 5.6, a big brother to the 5.2 that passed through the neighborhood early Saturday morning. Aftershock or a hint of things to come?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Scared of the DARK? Happy Halloween

Just before dark, the Wild Orban Ranch Ghost Cat was spotted in the clutches of the Ghost Witch of Neighborly Pond......
Meanwhile, Blue Mon and the last surviver of the Black Death were on the rampage - until - they discovered their Queen.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Place Name Age City/state Guntime Nettime M/mi M/km No. ===== ======================= === ================== =======#9 Samuel V. Orban 47 Nowata OK 1:01:30 1:01:23 6:36 4:06 394
Place Name Age City/state Guntime Nettime M/mi M/km No. ===== ======================= === ================== =======#48 Melinda Covey 51 Tulsa OK 1:33:57 1:33:42 10:04 6:15 338
Place Name Age City/state Guntime Nettime M/mi M/km No. ===== ======================= === ================== =======
#52 Mo Rylko young beyond Owasso OK 1:35:38 1:35:27 10:15 6:22 1611

Monday, October 24, 2011


Happy Birthday Brenda!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ally Marina Samulski

Our newest Samulski was born October 17, 5:40 am, Modesto California. Mama, Daddy, baby and big brother Ethan are doing fine! She weighed 8 pounds and 5 oz, and is 20 inches long. They should go home tomorrow, 2009 Sterling Drive, Modesto, CA

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taggin' Time

The monarch butterflies are making their way back to Mexico. Their population is down and their prospects for survival, traversing the drought-plagued southern plains, diminished. The late summer rains have produced a profusion of native wildflower bloom, perhaps rendering enough sustenance to get them across the 1000 miles of hell.
  Have captured and tagged 63 of the little critters over the past month...39 in the past couple of days...hope to tag out at 100 before the week is out.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Fire Pit

Archaeologists have learned much from the remains of ancient fire pits; what was being cooked and eaten, what type of tools were being used, even how long people were staying in one place. A great insight into the development of mankind.
  Some of what may not be known is what was taking place around those many individual hearths.
Though much of the time these pits may have been basic kitchens and furnaces I'm sure that they served a spiritual purpose as well. One cannot look into the burning embers without feeling the pull of that ancient past. Watching embers rise to the darkness, one cannot escape the connection between heaven and earth. We gather around the fire for each other's company and the great unknown.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Goodbye and Good Riddance

The temperatures have cooled, the rain has come (for some) and now the calendar agrees; Autumn has come, leaving behind one of the most cruel summers in remembrance.I figured  the summer of 1980 would be my old-timer's reference for when things were 'really hot' but I stand corrected. After one of the most brutal winters in history, with record snowfall and low temps (-31 in Nowata, only-18 here) inside of six months we were savaged by drought and record sustained triple digit temps.
  Farewell, cruel summer, hello autumn. Hopefully it will be mild.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Birthday....

Pete had help celebrating number 56 today. Will was very 'helpful' in opening the gifts. Emory spent the time sleeping. Cara made spaghetti & meatballs with peach cobbler for dessert. YUM!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hip Hip Hooray!!!

No surgery for Pete! The ortho dr. said that he did not need surgery and that he should heal nicely. Told him he can start running and biking again if he wants. (He has already done both). No surgery is always good news!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The aftermath

In case anyone hasn't heard, Pete had a very nasty bike wreck yesterday morning. Separated shoulder, neck sprain, bruised ribs, minor facial cuts. He did it up really well. Supposed to be referred to an orthopedic surgeon, will see what he says about surgery possibility. I'm hiding that bike from now on....


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tomatoes: A Heartwarming and Epic Tale of Overcoming Adversity

Thought I would share this little story with you all, since many of you are gardeners and might appreciate it. I'm hoping Disney will buy the film rights to this thrilling little barnburner (whatever that means).

It all began way back in 2008, when I was planning a garden in Lawrence, Kansas. I ordered three packets of heirloom tomato seeds from Baker Creek Seed Company that spring. (They were "Green  Zebra," "Fox Cherry," and "Dad's Sunset.") As fate would have it, I accepted a job in Tulsa that March and moved to a wonderful apartment - but an apartment where no tomato seeds could be planted. So I set aside those seeds, and they sat, forlorn and forgotten, until this spring when Tom and I were planning a garden in our yard here in Kentucky.

Common sense would suggest that three year old seeds would never start, but what the heck? Will and I spent a lovely spring afternoon planting the seeds into little pots, with little expectation of yielding any real plants. Then I put some damp newspaper over the pots, stuck them on top of the refrigerator, and forgot about them.

About 10 days later, Tom said, "Hey, whatever happened to those seeds you guys planted?" I shrugged and lifted up the newspaper. Much to my surprise:

Eureka! Weak, tiny little sprouts were struggling to find light in their newspaper cave. Like an emergency responder, I rushed them over to our reading lamp and dribbled my drinking water over the starts. As you can see, they were pretty puny, but I kept the lamp on them for 16 hours each day, and the following week, they looked like this:

Well, these comeback kids were blowing my mind. Still, I didn't expect them to survive in those little containers for long. Like kids, when they got a little older and bigger, we decided they were ready for their own room - er - yogurt cup. Spring turned into summer, and the little plants grew into honest-to-goodness transplants. We gave some away, then selected the strongest of the rest to put in the ground:

It was just great to have the lovely smell of tomato plants in the yard. If they didn't yield any fruit, that was ok. But it was more than ok that they did!

By now, it was mid-July, and time for us to go on vacation to Florida. (This is the dramatic part of the story.) We forgot to ask our neighbors to water the plants. Would our tomato plants survive, all alone, for the better part of two weeks, during the hottest time of year? (Granted, our weather has not been nearly as brutal as it has been in Oklahoma, and we have had more regular rainfall.)

We came home from our vacation late at night. While Will, Emory and I were flopping into our beds with exhaustion, Tom was racing to the backyard to check on the plants. And guess what?

So there you have it, folks. Without much encouragement from us (in fact, you could say I did pretty much everything within my power to kill these plants, from seed to fruit), and even without fertilizer of any sort, these unlikely little seeds grew up to produce some tasty tomatoes.

Morals of the story:

1. Nature doesn't really need us as much as we think it does.
2. I am a terrible gardener. It's a good thing I don't live in a place like New England, where you have to have some great skill to grow food.
3. Always give the benefit of the doubt, whether it's to another person or to a three year old tomato seed!

(No, that's not a scar, that's a crayon mark, but it does make for a more dramatic conclusion, doesn't it?)

The Trails End.....the real final chapter

The heat was building as we traveled west out of Durango , to the dusty roads near Mancos and out to the Yert.Rugged mountains lined the horizon against a bright blue sky .The cactus,sage brush, and twisted weathered trees made me think of scenes out of a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western.

Then the book I had been reading (Reinventing Collapse by Dmitry Orlov)came to mind. This place has so much history to it. But it remains unchanged.This place doesn't care if the country collapses or not. This place has more character. Unchanged , unaffected by moods or economies or wars.It will be here....always.

When we got back to the little farm, Cliff welcomed us back with head held high and tail wagging. Chickens nervously clucked as we walked through the yard.

Upon entering the Yert, we found Becca reading to Orin and Joe playing with Isaac. Playing and laughing.The young family turned their attention to us . The adults inquired about grown-up stuff,(what'd we think of Ft. Lewis, Durango, etc.)

A pile of books were plopped in my lap and Orin was ready for me to take over where Becca had left off. Orin listened intently as I read until he saw a toy car I had put on a nearby table,then it was off to the races!

Isaac was an eager participant as long as I kept my distance. He seemed to think that the faces and noises I made were quite entertaining and funny, but with every attempt I made to hold him, he turned away to a safer place in his mothers arms.

Things settled down after a short time . Isaac was off to sleep and Orin was tuned in to a childrens dvd on the computer.

Kiah went to the pond for a cooling dip,Amy read a book and I took a short nap in the tent.
After delicious home-made pizzas.(between the girls, the guys,the chickens, Cliff,and Delilah the farm cat, not a crumb was left!)

A lazy afternoon turned into an evening adventure.

Joe, Cliff and I took off down one of the trails to the north of the Yert. A large red-tail hawk circled high above. Joe said it holds it's own in territorial battles it engages in with the bald eagles in the area.

As we moved down the dusty trail, Joe stopped to show me remnants of previous civilizations. Right over here, an arrow head. Thirty or so more steps and there's bits of pottery. Shards of stone used for making weapons.And over here, a slab of rock used for grinding corn. Down here,a probable 'dumpsite' for discarded tools, broken bowls and everyday items from a house-hold vanished hundreds of years ago.

And right up here, the foundation of that household. The walls scattered by weather,vandals and time, but the foundation remains. I listened but could not here the echos of those that lived there. It is quiet and still now.

There was more to see and Joe moved to the west. Cliff seemed to know the drill as he had already plunged himself into the deeper thicket where we were headed.

We made our way to a thicker growth of trees. The trail suddenly dropped into a ravine.Turning north, the trail disappeared. We were now in brambles and underbrush. Another drop and a switchback to the southwest revealed a jagged cliff over our left shoulder. As we got deeper into the thicket, the humidity got higher. The cliff became more prominent as we dropped to it's base. A swarm of mosquitos wanted a piece of my ear, but I waved them away with my hand.One final push through a web of stickery brambles and Joe said'This is what I wanted to show you".

My jaw must have dropped because Joe quietly snickered at my reaction.

There before us ,underneath the cliff was a rock dwelling. An ancient home. Built into the natural crevice beneath the cliff. Stacked neatly and packed with morter, stones formed a wall. A one room rock house at the base of the cliff.Hundreds if not a thousand years old. Upon closer inspection, I found fingerprints! In the dried morter were the builders fingerprints. I placed my fingers in the dried indentions and tried to imagine the emotion that the builder must have felt in completing this very important project.Looking inside the one room dwelling, I saw what most certainly was a cool place in the summer. A blackened ceiling told of warmth and safety in the winter. The creek at the bottom of the ravine was the life-source,bringing water to the hunter and the animals he hunted.I could have stayed there much longer, but daylight was waning. As we retraced our steps to leave the dwelling,Cliff started barking. He was down somewhere in the bottom of the ravine and his deep barrel chested bark echoed up the canyon. We couldn't see what he was excited about,but the mystery was quickly solved when a smothering cloud of skunk spray lifted out of the ravine. Only moments later Cliff proudly bounded up to us looking for approval.I must say that I at least applaud his enthusiasm.(The tomatoe juice bath theory would be tested that evening when we got home.)
Before we got home, Joe and I ate some lemon berries, scouted out a likely moutain lions den (we kept our distance), looked at some fish in a little pond that forms when the water level in the creek drops. We talked about how some indian tribes use Yukka plants for energy and the fibers from the plant to weave sandals,etc.Joe showed me some of the arrow and spear heads that he has made. There were many 'adventurous tales' that filled that evenings hike through the rugged trails. Joe's straight forward approach to taking on the challenges of hiking and exploring reveals something new with every turn.

Somehow all that I experienced in the two days we were at Joe and Beccas has special meaning to me. I'm not talking about good company, good food, playing and laughing with the boys. All that is wonderful without saying.

What I'm talking about is the way the world is and the way people survive in it. The book Joe gave to me somehow parallels all of these thoughts.

We are a country of people that for the most part depends on someone else for everyday survival.The supermarket, the gas station, the electric company, the water district,the department store and on and on.

It is inspirational to see Joe and Becca live a life that is so independent.The little farm onwhich they live reflects the strength and determination of pioneers and even civilizations long before them. I think of the civilizations that lived on the very land that Joe and Becca,Orin and Isaac now live.

The living,loving,laughing,and playing that went on in those little dwellings, were independent of things going on beyond the nearest horizon.

If author Orlov is right,(and even if he isn't) that's probably the way we all should be striving to live.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sickened writer :(

In what was the final chapter of our trip out west, I wrote about the final full day at Joe and Becca's house. I wrote it as a comment to the last entry I had written (as I have done all along). Little did I know that there is a limit to the number of words I can post as a'comment'. Unfortunately as I was attempting to transfer the writing (over 4000 words) from 'comment' to 'new post'I lost every bit of it. I cannot retrieve it. I am sickened.
I don't know if I can recall all the great things that inspired such a lengthy comment.
Sorry for such a long time in the writing. I really enjoyed recalling all the great things that happened while on our trip.
The time we spent at Joe and Becca's was very special. Over time I will attempt to retrace in my mind all that happened and document the story.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Finally!!.....Final Chapter

On a rural road near Mancos in south-central Colorado, Amy, Kiah and I were looking for Joe and Beccas home. I had been to their place several years earlier but everything looked different from what I remembered.
The GPS told us "you have reached your destination" but all we saw in the immediate area was scrub brush,rocks,prickley pear cactus, yucca plants and power lines stetching across the rolling hills. We did come up on several houses but nothing looked familiar. After a couple of times of slowly driving up and down rural 'Road P', we saw Joe standing in a gravel drive waving. Next to the drive was a silver mailbox with their name in large black letters, plain as day. How we missed seeing their place is still a mystery to me. Probably the long hours at highway speed(everthing passing in sort of a blurr) just blinded us once we got to slow, country road reality.
Anyway we made it!
We were greeted first by a large red dog with intelligent eyes. He trotted up to my door as I opened it. His large body blocked me from getting out. I spoke, saying complimentary things to him, hoping to win him over. He's the kind of dog you definitley want on your side!
When he started wagging his tail, I took my eyes off of him and looked at Joe.
Joe greeted me with a handshake and a hug. As the girls got out of the car, they too were welcomed first by Cliff (the big red dog) then by Joe.
Becca and baby boy Isaac greeted us in the yard and welcomed us to their home.
In a spot Joe had cleared for our tent, the girls got into the 'set-up tent' mode and we were quickly unpacked and ready for the two day visit.
After setting up camp, a tour of the house was in order. A sleeping blond headed boy (Orin) was oblivious to the commotion of 'the tour'. Becca assured us that we needn't worry about waking him as he is a heavy sleeper. It wasn't long though, that he woke up.He sat up and quietly looked at the new faces for a short time, then his dad called him over for an introduction.
Orin warmed up very quickly to the company and soon he and I were playing cars and trucks,and reading books.
Dinner time had us sitting around the table eating spaghetti and the garlic toast Joe had prepared for us.
After eating we all went for a short walk around their place.
And what a unique place it is.
Joe, Becca ,Orin and Isaac live in a Yert sitting on the southern edge of a 35 acre tract of enchanted land.
To the east and down a 500-600 foot hill is a pond. I took a tour of the pond in a kayak with Cliff swimming right along side. After getting out of the Kayak and taking the life jacket off, I was a bit embarrassed to find that the pond is only a few feet deep.
The pond is home to hundreds of frogs. (they did a fine job of singing me to sleep the two nights we were there).
Apparently a few snakes reside at there as well. Kiah cooled off in the pond on our second day, saw a snake and seemed undetered. The relief offered from the afternoon heat offset any fear of snakes.
Up the hill from the pond is a garden spot Joe and Becca have cleared for growing a variety of vegetables. It's soft- tilled soil and tender green plants are a stark contrast to the jagged stones and leather-like leaves of the vegetation just outside the garden fence.
A short tromp on a trail just north and west of the yert got me in the mood for more. The rugged landscape seemed to be taunting me. A toughness is required to venture here. But there are treasures here,as well, for those that are equipped to see them.
An extended hike,however, would have to be put on hold. Evening was quickly sliding westward.Instead of venturing out, it was time to settle in.
to be continued............

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trip up-date

Just a reminder (for those that are interested) that I have been up-dating our trip out west on the previous entry. It's a slow process but hopefully I will be done with it before I forget all the fun we had.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy 30

Weather you are on the equator, hanging 10 in california, camping with wolves in wyoming or napping in new york :), this is what is in my heart. xxoomo

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Colorado-Wyoming Trip summary

As we rolled into the neighborhood at a few minutes before midnight on Saturday the trip meter on the car read 5200 miles. 10 states in 10 days. average of 520 mile a day! i should be a trucker!

Day 1

Usually on a trip like that you encounter rain. We drove through rain on day one. After that, it was clear skies the rest of the way.

After checking in to a local RV park and setting up camp, we took off for a look around the area.

The dry cool air of Colorado had Amy, Kiah and I in the mood for some hiking and rock climbing. We got to do a bit of both in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. The wonderfull smell of cedar trees welcomed us as we entered the park.The late evening sunlight provided an incredible contrast of light and shadow on the towering red cliffs. An inviting crevice lured the girls upward into a cave-like room with seating for two. They sat and chatted and laughed in their private little rock room. After a short while, I reluctantly informed the girls that there were more sights to see and darkness was looming, so they said their goodbyes to the crevice and we all went exploring until dark.

After a one night camp out at the RV park (that seemed to be in a direct flight path of the loudest jet planes known to man), we set off to visit Colorado University at Colorado Springs.

( Our trip was scheduled around visits to 4 colleges from Colorado to Washington and California to give the girls a better idea of what to look for as they are both graduating High School this coming spring.) I will not go into detail about these campus visits so as to keep this summary as short as possible. I will say though, this fact finding mission was a success. No decisions have been made but we all got a better perpective of what lies ahead in this important transition period to come.

Day 2

After loading up and gassing the car up (3.39 a gallon in Colorado Springs) we hit the road northward through The Mile High City, Cheyenne and Casper Wyoming, then up to a beautiful campsite west of Buffalo. There we took our system of setting up camp to a new level. As I un packed the tent and layed it out , the girls got the air mattresses inflated then came over and helped get the tent standing, stakes driven, sleeping bags in and the rain fly on.

With a sparkling mountain stream roaring behind us and a beautiful cliff in our front yard we were in a campers paradise. The cliff had to be scaled and the stream had to be explored so we got right to it. Kiah decided to do a barefoot climb (which made for tender feet and band-aid requests later). Both her and Amy scurried up ahead as I packed a small back pack before heading out. When I caught up I was pleased to find that they had bushwhacked through some prickley trees and brambles and managed to scale a steep field of boulders and outcroppings. I joined them for the rest of the climb and the reward was more than just reaching the top. Witnessing my daughter and my niece climbing this cliff gives me confidence in what they might achieve in the future.The skills it takes to take climb a cliff is not unlike many other important tasks in our lives. Mapping out a plan and executing the plan, adjusting to unexpected difficulties, and staying determined and focused (even in frightening moments) until you've completed the task. The cliff provided a test of sorts and the girls passed with flying colors!

After making our way back down, the cold stream beckoned and the girls plunged in! ( My excuse for not joining them was a search for fire-wood). I did manage to do some wading and it was invigorating to say the least. After playing for the best part of an hour in the stream, we decided to take a quick trip into Buffalo to buy some hot-dogs and buns to roast.
At a food market at the edge of town we were told there was not a bun to be found in town due all of the cook-outs the previous few days celebrating the 4th of July week-end. So we bought some sandwich rolls, some all beef franks and some marshmallows and headed out the door. The store had a promotion for a 10 percent discount for patrons of 50 years old and older. I also bought some flip flops for Amy for the ridiculous price of 88 cents. Oh the perks of getting older!
After eating our weiner roast goodies, and a few fire-side stories, we settled down for a cold night, with the constant roar of the mountain stream singing her lullaby.

to be continued.........

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nowata Fouth

Fire works are fun,
Always waiting for the ONE,
Light them and you run.

Click the Title for all the photos.