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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bear Lake

We arrived at Bear Lake just in time for me to go on the ranger
hike. M and Basil wanted to go on to Emerald Lake and I knew I probably wouldn’t make it that far so we parted ways for a few hours. At the first of the hike, I was the only participant, so I enjoyed talking to Don Irwin and asking some questions. I have to admit I have a very high opinion of park rangers. I tried to get Basil to go into that field, but he just laughed at me. I still think he would make a good park ranger. I even asked Ranger Irwin if he had read my favorite author, Nevada Barr and he said, "Yes" so we talked about her books. She is a former park ranger and writes mysteries set in national parks. He talked about the trees, rocks, fish and birds and also some of his experiences in the park. He explained the different kinds of park rangers which I had not understood before. At the end of the hike he stood by a 400 year old tree and recited a children’s book called, "The Grandpa Tree". This is a very sweet book and he did a great job reciting it. It was made even more touching because he knew the author who lived near the park.

M on the trail to Dream Lake

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rocky Mountain National Park

Our days in the park usually involved at least one hike and usually a visit to some destination on Trail Ridge Road. Alberta Falls was one of our favorite hikes.M is climbing across the river at Alberta Falls on rocks and logs. He did this at every fall. He never fell in. He chased every squirrel.

He climbed over every boulder on every trail.
The Pool

Cub Lake

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some faces that make me happy

I am cheering my self up this morning with these beautiful faces. You all are the light of my life and it's OK to quote hokey songs when you are feeling a little sad and sentimental.

Memories and photos

I recently received the sad news that my Aunt Frankie had passed away so I drug out my family album and found some photos. Aunt Frankie is my dad's older brother, Melton's, wife. Uncle Melton was 2 years older than my dad and they were very close when they were boys on the farm in Oklahoma. Aunt Frankie and he were married when he got home from WWII and were the first ones in our family to move to Ft. Worth. We lived near them when we first moved there when I was 4. They had 3 sons who were a little younger than me. This is Uncle Melton, Aunt Frankie and their oldest son, Marvin. She was expecting another son. My cousins, Marvin, Delbert and Gerald, their sons.
They also had another son, while we lived near them, who was born with a heart defect. I will never forget how sad we were to hear that the doctor had told them there was nothing to be done for him and to take him home. I remember the funeral and how sad it was to see the tiny little coffin at the front of the church. That would have been in 1950's at the beginning of the advances in heart surgery.
Uncle Melton and Aunt Frankie were so helpful to Mama and I during my Dad's last illness. When they visited us Uncle Melton would mow the yard and do chores for us and she helped us in the house. They're visits were a welcome break in our lonely and sad routine while we were caring for Daddy.
Goodbye, Aunt Frankie, I look forward to seeing you in heaven.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Mo

I have been working on my Colorado album and have several pages done, but my slow editing has resulted in a pause in that project while I am waiting on another shipment from Shutterfly. Today I started Mo Ranch pages in my grand children's albums and this is the first ones; for C. I seem to do my easiest and fastest work when I find a sketch I have never tried before and make my photos fit. That really is a good MO when I have a lot of photos for one event to choose among like this one. Only 9 more to go!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Elk Rutting Season in RMNP

Fall is Elk Rutting season and we learned a lot about elk and how they reproduce. This is the Beaver Meadows Ranger Station. The flag is half is September 11. All of the national parks have a junior ranger program. M earned this badge by going to ranger talks and completing studies in a book that included knowing the names of animals and plants he found and answering questions about the environment and the different life zones in the park. One of the ranger programs we attended was an extensive education about elk rutting procedures. I was surprised to learn that about 90% of the female elk in RMNP give birth every year. They are becoming over populated and are beginning a very controversial program to try to correct that problem. Ranger Sue is explaining how to tell how old a male elk is by his "rack" in the photo. M's rack is 2 years old. The elk shed their rack and grow new ones every year.Bugling is the sound of RMNP in the fall. The cows and calves begin to gather into herds with herd bulls at this time, with one or more other bulls hanging around the edges of the herd. The herd bulls bugle frequently during this phase as they try to drive off other bulls.The other bulls bugle in response as they challenge the herd bull for breeding rights and try to attract cows that are willing to leave the herd and join them. The cows are attracted to the big bulls with big racks and an attractive bugle.

The cows come into "Estrus" about every 3 weeks during rutting season. Here you can see the bull "sniffing" her because he can smell when she is in estrus and may be receptive to him.

These bulls are fighting for dominance in a herd. They often break antlers and even kill each other. At the end of rutting season the bulls are worn out, hungry and may be too weak to make it through the winter. They look for a place to rest and some high quality food. The bulls and the cows do not hang out together at any other time of the year. The cows have a "lead cow" for each herd. Gestation is about 9 months and the calves are born in the spring. The calf will stay with his mother and the rest of her herd until she is ready to mate again, then she will push him away.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More of Our Colorado Trip

We also visited Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It is a city park and the citizens of Colorado Springs are privileged to walk their dogs or themselves here free every day. We saw lots of homeschoolers there.Any time we go to an area with rocks we find what I call Hoodoos. I'm not sure that is the right name for them, but it seems it is a thing that boys like to do. It seems it is a thing that God likes to do, too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our Colorado Trip

One of our first stops was Colorado Springs. We rode the cog train to the top of Pikes Peak. You can drive but it is like putting 20,000 miles on your car. It is very cold and the air is very thin at the top. M and I were dizzy and had to sit in the coffee shop a while with our heads on the table. We learned that the song, "America the Beautiful" was inspired after Katherine Lee Bates saw this view.
The view through the front window of the trainAn eagle in flightThe Colorado flag through the window of a visitors center:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Spiderman Bike

We went to the park today so that Z could ride his new bike (a birthday gift from Mom and Dad) but, The big slide won the competition for his attention. It is a fast ride.

Little bubba thinks he can do it, too, and climbed that ladder lickety split, but Granny drug him down as soon as she got a photo!