Saturday, March 25, 2017

Old Wichita, Kansas Photos

Old photos from the Wichita Historic Society:

The steam launch "Lake Side" on the Arkansas River  1900

Entrance to Riverside Park  1900

Wichita railroad work crews  1887

Dr Henry Owens driving buggy, and his family, at their 
home at 209 South Emporia Street   1887

The Deluge Company of the Wichita Volunteer Fire Company  1887

Center, in the distance, the Wichita Watch Factory    1895

1925 - the Wichita Eagle Bathing Beauty Contest finalists

Creek Bodies, the President, & Foals

The body found along Coal Creek trail the other day has been identified - a 42-year-old woman committed suicide with a hand gun beside the public pathway.  ...And I just observed a man and a woman change their clothing while standing (partially) behind a pine tree beside a Goose Creek Pathway, which is less than 50 yards away from my window....  Interesting.  They have packed up their backpacks and roll-along over-night suitcases and are proceeding southeast on foot...
   It appears that "45's" Art of the Deal came back to bite him in the rear.  He promised the first thing he would do was "repeal Obamacare" and he said he'd do it on day one of his administration.  Yesterday was day 64, and they had to call off the vote to repeal Obamacare because they could not get enough Republicans to vote yes to pass it - his own party!  That just tickles me.
    Last Monday, it was announced in an Open Congressional hearing that Obama did NOT order any wire-tapping or surveillance of the new administration, no matter what 45 claims.  I really believe that 45 and his cronies have completely forgotten that President Obama was/is a Constitutional lawyer, taught Constitutional law, and knows very well what he was, and is, doing.
   And all of 45's cronies just seem to sink deeper and deeper into the quicksand quagmire of Russian ties, Russian money payments, Russian collusion, and the Bank of Cyprus'  and the Deutsche Bank's money laundering of Russian rubles.  Then there are the huge monetary ties that 45, his companies and his family, have with the Bank of China.  Do we have an American President?  Or do we have a Sino-Russ President?
   We still have only two foals born so far on Assateague - Anne Bonny had a red and white pinto girl, and Sweetheart had a buckskin and white pinto boy; the father of both is Legacy, who is a buckskin pinto.  Captain Debbie Ritter caused a stir the other day by posting a photo of Ace and Mayli near Black Duck Drain - and there was a small, dark creature near Mayli, the mare.  She titled the photo, "New Foal?" which sent some pony-watchers into fits. They believed they had spent three hours watching the mare and stallion and had never seen the "foal."  As soon as I looked at the photo I laughed aloud - the "foal" is a Sika deer, or miniature Japanese elk - I could tell by the nose, immediately.  But, people see what they want to see.....

Friday, March 24, 2017

Historic Photos of Kansas

Thinking of how my father's family starting moving into, and around,
the state of Kansas after the Civil War ended last night, and
found these wonderful photos in various Historical
Society archives - state, county, and city...
The Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City in 1873
(somehow it doesn't look like Miss Kitty's Long Branch in Gunsmoke)

Main Street in Wichita - 1875

Douglas Avenue in Wichita - 1887

Millinery Store of Mary Klentz in 1888; Main Street, Wichita

Fourth of July Parade, Hill City, Graham County - about 1905

The founders of Nicodemus, Graham County - the first all
African-American town in Kansas

Threshing wheat in 1887 outside of Wichita

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bits and Pieces

If you want, or need, a good laugh - and can stand to read a lot of incomplete sentences that were uttered by the current President - please read (and guffaw, as I did) the following new article, or interview, from Time magazine:
     There were six late additions to the Triple Crown nominations list, so the current list of contenders now registered is 425.  A horse must have a certain number of qualifying points to run in the Kentucky Derby, which is capped at 20 entries.  Other horses that are nominated, but do not have the points, may race in the Preakness Stakes and/or the Belmont Stakes.  The newest nominees are: Thunder Snow, Hollywood Handsome, More Than Words, Parlor, Rapid Dial, and Stretch's Stone.
   The wind is picking up again, here in Boulder - it's from the west and is expected to bring a rain-snow mix overnight and into Friday morning.  We really need the rain, snow, sleet - whatever precipitation we can get.  I just hope there's no hail - gardens are blooming and trees are budding and putting out fresh delicate leaves right now.  I'll pull our potted plants back in from the balcony this afternoon.
   It has been judged that the Sunshine Canyon fire was started by an illegal campfire by people trespassing on private property.  The fire investigators state that the camp appeared to have been used by "transients."
    And Joe Pelle (our Sheriff) announced that a body has been found on one of the local hiking trails... currently, no further information is available.
    I am still grieving the loss of Rosie, the Irish Setter, whom I cared for over a period of more than ten years.  We lost Remy, her brother four years ago...   And I'm preparing to say good-bye to a beautiful cat who has bone cancer in her jaw. She seems to be in quite a bit of pain and is no longer eating - but she will drink... so I've suggested that her owner give her chicken bone broth for some nutritional value.
   My two kitties are doing well.  Lovey is curled up in her little nest beside my bed, and Nedi has burrowed under the afghan on my reading chair.  Lovey is napping - Nedi is keeping an eye on the birds visiting the feeder and water bowl on the balcony...
   I hope you have a great day, wherever you are - and whenever you read this!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ponies at Maryland-Virginia Line on Assateague - Photos

These photos are from Beached Paws Photography, Berlin, Maryland
and were taken last summer:

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence...

This and That...

Our local wildfire, in Sunshine Canyon, is completely contained, and evacuation orders have been lifted.  No loss of pets or people, no loss of homes - but I'm afraid that nests, burrows, and wildlife were lost...  And there was a fiery public bus crash yesterday in Boulder yesterday; one of our friends has been charged with "careless driving."  We wish Rich the best outcome possible.
   Seek, the Spangled Bengal, with bone cancer in her jaw, is doing a little better.  I'll go spend time with her tonight and Thursday while her Mom is teaching art classes.  Seek eats well for me, and likes to be a lap cat while I'm visiting.  Then I take clients to Denver International at 4 Wednesday morning; Seek again Thursday evening; a quick visit with Pip and Squeak's people on Friday morning; and care of the chickens and cats on Dellwood begins Saturday afternoon...   But no Rosie (sigh) - I know she's in a better place where all parts of her work, but I miss our daily outings.
    In the Kentucky Derby picture, things are getting more cloudy as time goes by and the race gets nearer.  Mastery would probably be the betting favorite today - but he's out of the picture for any spring or summer racing.  The colt won the San Jacinto Stakes by almost 7 lengths, under a hand ride by Mike Smith; 10 strides past the finish line, Mike felt the colt change his movement, and pulled him up.  The colt had suffered a condylar fracture of his left fore cannon.  He's had surgery and is back in his stall in Bob Baffert's barn.  At the moment, Gunnevera has the most points earned for the Kentucky Derby; but a lot of folks are talking about Malagacy's win this weekend in the Rebel Stakes.  Here's the list of the horses with the most points:  (1) Gunnevera,  (2) Mastery - out with broken leg, (3) Tapwrit, (4) J Boys Echo, (5) Malagacy, (6) Epicharis, (7) Girvin, (8) Mont Saint Legame, (9) Practical Joke, (10) Untapped, (11) Classic Empire, (12) El Areeb, (13) Gormley, (14) State of Honor, (15) McCraken, (16) Iliad, (17) Sonneteer, (18) Adirato, (19) Cloud Computing, (20) Wild Shot, (21) Caucus, (22) Guest Suite, (23) Petrov, (24) Lookin At Lee, (25) Term of Art, and (26) Uncontested.  Many more colts have ten points or less; Gunnevera, the leader, has 64; and only 20 colts will start in the Derby on 6 May.
   Spent part of yesterday listening to the House Intelligence Committee asking FBI Director Comey about the current administration and Russia...  Things are getting very interesting.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Boulder Wildfire in Sunshine Canyon

Boulder has been extremely dry - no rain, no snow.  The drought caught up with us this morning.  A man who had to visit the bathroom at 1:40 this morning, glanced out his window and saw flames on the wall of Sunshine Canyon, to the west of town.  He called 911, the emergency number, and reported it.  Thanks to his call, reverse 911 calls started going out, and over 1,000 house were evacuated.  People and small pets can go to the East Boulder Community Center, and large animals have been evacuated to the County Fairgrounds.
   Beatrice and I awoke to heavy smoke and the smell of burning this morning.  We thought that someone had set a trash dumpster on fire - but could look out the window and see smoke billowing up directly to the west of our building.  So we immediately turned on the local news and found out about the Sunshine Canyon fire.  It's a block to the south, and then 1.5 miles to the west of us.  At this time, 12 hours after the original call, the fire is 20 % contained, and has burned 70 acres...  Luckily, no homes or buildings have caught fire.  Besides fire fighters on the ground, both helicopters and planes have been dropping water and slurry to deter the spread of the flames.  I hope it gets contained completely soon...
   Usually March is one of the snowiest months of the year in, and around, Boulder.  So far this month, we have had 1/8 inch of precipitation - a 6-hour drizzle.  Our usual high temperatures in March are in the upper 40s and low 50s; yesterday we reached 82 degrees, and the regular high temperatures have been in the 60s and 70s.  Today we have a high wind watch, typical of March.
   I picked up a client from the Denver Airport last night at 8:30, and he asked me if I thought it would snow again this year, because he was thinking about taking his snow tires off his car.  I laughed.  I told it was going to snow at the end of this month, in April, and probably the last snowfall would be the second week of May.  He was aghast - and wanted to know if I'd read that in the Farmer's Almanac.  I told him, "Nope.  I feel it in my bones."

Photos of the Sunshine Canyon fire:


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sheep - Photos

I do not raise sheep, so I was flabberghasted to find out there were so many breeds of sheep, and that quite a few are "specialized" for specific purposes: meat, wool, and hair to name the main types...  Anyway, here are a few sheep breeds that caught my eye....
Wallachian sheep

Swaledale sheep

Booroola merino sheep

Valais black nosed lamb

Afghanistan fat-tailed sheep

Jacob sheep

Leicester long-wool sheep

Friday, March 17, 2017

Chesapeake Bay Lighthouses - Photos

Thomas Point Shoal Light

Seven Foot Knoll Light - Baltimore

Sandy Point Shoal Light

Concord Point Light

Craighill Channel Lower Rear Light

Drum Point Light

Poole Island Light

The Chesapeake Bay - Part 5 - Programs

So we know that the Chesapeake Bay needs oysters for its health, and we know that the Bay's salinity is ideal for oysters, but the population in the last fifty years has been devastated.  Maryland used to have  about 200,000 acres of oyster reefs; today the number is about 36,000.  In pre-colonial days, the oysters could filter the entire Bay in about 3 days; and in 1988 the filtration time was 325 days.   The gross value of the oyster harvest dropped 88% from 1982 to 2007.  One report stated that the Bay contained less oysters in 2008 than it did in 1983.  Over-harvesting, pollution, and disease are the known culprits.
   The depletion of the oysters has had a very harmful effect upon the quality of the water in the Bay.  Oysters serve as natural water filters, and the fewer they are, the dirtier the Bay is.  Water that was once clear for several feet is now so turbid that a wader can lose sight of their feet before their knees are wet.
    Efforts of federal, state, and local governments, working in partnership through the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and other non-profit environmental groups, tp restore water quality have had some good results.  One obstacle to cleaning up the Bay is that much of the polluting substances appear far upstream in tributaries lying in states that are far removed from the Chesapeake itself.  Twenty years ago, the Bay supported over 6,000 oystermen and their families. Today, there are fewer than 500 oystermen.
    Repopulation of the Bay oysters via hatcheries has been carried out by a group called the Oyster Recovery Partnership, with some success.  They recently placed 6 million oysters on 8 acres of the Trent Hall Sanctuary.  And scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary  claim that the experimental reefs they created in 2004 are now home to 180 million native oysters, Crassostrea virginica;  but that is much less than the billions of oysters that once claimed the Bay as "home."
   Earlier this week, it was announced that the 45th Administration planned to cut the Environmental Protection Agency's staff by one-fifth, and eliminate key programs.  The original "leaked" numbers proposed that the White House would reduce annual funding for the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Cleanup project by 93 percent, gutting the program from $73 million down to $5 million for the fiscal year.  The real numbers were released yesterday, and the Bay Cleanup Program will get nothing from the proposed budget.
   The project represents a unique state and federal cleanup plan that began in 2010.  It is working.  The Chesapeake is getting better, and each partner plays a vital role.  The states developed and implemented their own plans to reduce pollution and restore water quality.  The EPA's portion of the cleanup program coordinates the science, research and modeling to implement the blueprint and it makes grants that fund pollution reduction.  Today, pollution is down.  Jobs have been created, human health has been protected, and local economies have been improved.  The Chesapeake Bay's "dead zone" where aquatic life cannot thrive is getting smaller; crabs, oysters and underwater grasses are being to rebound.
   But the Chesapeake Bay is far from saved. Having the budget cut by 93 percent, or more, will reverse all of the progress that has been made.  Bay restoration efforts have a long history of bipartisan support.  Our elected officials have consistently pursued a legacy of clean water.  Let's make sure that they understand that we want to, and need to, preserve and protect the Chesapeake Bay!
     Write to the President, the Vice President, to the EPA, and to each and every one of your Congressional representatives.  Without clean water everything dies.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chesapeake Bay Scenes

Restored area

Urban pollution


Sail away....

Eastern Shore of Maryland

Eastern Shore of Maryland

Eastern Shore of Virginia

The Chesapeake Bay - Part 4 - Oysters

The eastern oyster is one of the most iconic species in the Chesapeake Bay.  For more than a century, oysters have been one of the area's most valuable commercial fisheries, and the filter-feeder continues to clean the waters and provide food and habitat to other animals.  However, over-harvesting, disease and habitat loss have led to s severe drop in oyster populations.  Scientists are working to manage harvests,establish sanctuaries, overcome the effects of disease, and restore reefs with hatchery-raised seed in an effort to restore this important bivalve.
    You don't have to like eating this peculiar-looking shellfish to appreciate its vital role in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem - and its importance to people who live around the Bay.  Oysters are natural filter feeders.  This means they feed by pumping water through their gills, trapping particles of food, as well as nutrients,suspended sediments and chemicals.  In doing so, oysters help keep the water clean and clear for bay grasses and aquatic life.  One oyster can filter more than 50 gallons of water in a single day.
    As oysters grow, new larvae  (or seed) settle on top of adults, forming layers of oysters that spread upward and outward.  With their countless nooks and crannies, these reefs provide habitat to hundreds of diverse water creatures - from small fish and invertebrates seeking shelter to larger fish looking for food.  Oysters do have a number of natural predators:  (1) anemones, sea nettles, and other filter feeders eat oyster larvae, (2) flatworms and mud crabs feed on new spat, (3) blue crabs and some fish species eat older spat and first-year oysters, and (4) shorebirds feed on adult oysters that are exposed upon intertidal flats.
    Since the late 19th century, the oyster industry - including the catch, sale, shucking, packing, and shipping  of oysters - has contributed millions of dollars to the region's economy.  Oysters have also added to the region's historical and cultural heritage, fueling countless bull and oyster roasts.  Oysters have also inspired the unique design of boats in the area: the log canoe, the pungy, the bugeye, the skipjack, the deadrise and the scow.
    The decline of the Chesapeake Bay's native oyster population can be attributed to several factors, including historic over-harvesting, disease and habitat loss.  The severity of this decline is often illustrated in terms of its impact on water quality: in the late 19th century, the Bay's oysters could filter all of the water in the Bay in three or four days; today's oysters would take nearly a full year to filter the same amount of water.
    In the 17th century, huge numbers of oysters lived in the Chesapeake Bay.  European settlers reported enormous oyster reefs that thrust up from the Bay's bottom, posing hazardous navigation for their wooden ships.  Colonists first used hand tongs to harvest oysters, but by the 1800s, oyster dredges were also in use.  In the 1850s, more than 1.5 million bushels of oysters were harvested from the Bay each year.  In the 1880's, the number jumped to 20 million bushels each year.  At the turn of the 20th century, the Chesapeake Bay oyster fishery was one of the most important assets of the United States.
    Over-harvesting, however, removed huge volumes of oysters from the Bay and led to the end of the Bay's healthy oyster reefs.  Dredging for oysters has scraped the reefs away, and oyster beds are now limited to flat, thin layers of dead shell and live oysters spread over a wide surface of the Bay's bottom.  These damaged habitats offer less surface area for reef-dwelling creatures to inhabit, and can easily be buried by a heavy wash of sediment, or dumping.
    In 1949, scientists discovered Dermo in the Chespeake.  MSX was discovered in the waters ten years later.  Dermo, or Perkinsus marinus, is a parasite that usually infects oysters at the age of two years; it causes slow growth rates and death.  MSX, or Haplosporidium nelsoni,also leads to oster death, but can infect oysters of all ages.  Both diseases are contracted between May and October, and their prevalence can be affected by water temperature and salinity.
    Overcoming the effects of Dermo and MSX has posed a challenge to oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay.  It is estimated that by age three, 80 percent or more of a single oyster year class, in a high disease area (like the Virginia portion of the Bay) will die from disease.  Over the past century, the watershed has experienced a change in land use, as urban, suburban, and agricultural areas have replaced forested lands.  This has increased the amount of nutrients and sediments entering our rivers and streams, and has contributed to the poor water quality that affectslife in the Chespeake Bay.   Excess nutrients, for instance, fuel the growth of algae blooms that create low-oxygen dead zones that restrain the growth of oyster larvae; while sediments can suffocate oysters and other shellfish.  Also, poor water quality can cause stress that will make oysters more susceptible to disease.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chesapeake Bay Boats and Marine Life - Photos

Clamming bateau - my Mom had her own from the age of 7 

This is a Chincoteague scow, used in the Atlantic and the Bay

A Chesapeake pungy

Chesapeake Bay blue crabs - the females have red claw tips

A flounder in eelgrass

A nice rockfish, or striped bass, caught in the Bay

This is Yeti, a tagged great white shark (weight 960 pounds in this photo),
who likes to visit Tangier Island in the Chesapeake