Oklahoma Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

The Oklahoma Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Osage County provided a perfect day trip from Tulsa. The preserve is about 1 1/4 hours north of Tulsa, and transports the visitor back in time to when the bison roamed free on the plains. It was peaceful and quiet (except when the construction trucks would roll by on the gravel road inside the preserve!). I am not sure what they were constructing way out there, but it kind of ruined the “quiet and pristine” views! Oh well, it was still a very special place and well worth the trip. The Nature Conservancy states, “The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is the largest protected remnant of tallgrass prairie left on earth. Originally spanning portions of 14 states from Texas to Minnesota, urban sprawl and conversion to cropland have left less than 10% of this magnificent American landscape. Since 1989, the Conservancy has proven successful at restoring this fully-functioning portion of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem with the use of about 2500 free-roaming bison and a “patch-burn” model approach to prescribed burning.”

There were very few visitors (I counted a total of 5 other cars), a small, but educational visitors center (with bathrooms, very important), and several hiking trails. We walked about 1/2 mile into the trail which led into the prairie, and got a close up of many of the native plants and butterflies. My daughter and I went on the trail with a young lady who was traveling on her own and looking for someone to walk with, a very nice person with an interesting travel story.

Back on the buffalo loop, we were fortunate to have a group of at least 30 – 50 buffalo cross right in the road ahead of us. Unfortunately, my camera decided to run out of memory right before that. My tween stated, “Well, that really was cool, much better than I thought”. This from a very hard to impress young lady. Mission accomplished.

The entrance sign says it all. I guess a few unfortunate souls got a bit too close to the big shaggy creatures.

The entrance sign says it all. I wonder if some unfortunate soul got a bit too close to the big shaggy creatures.

 

 

tallgrass oklahoma prairie july 18 2014 and others 008


tallgrass oklahoma prairie july 18 2014 and others 038 Yes, those are buffalo in the distance, taken before my camera memory filled up.

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When friends don’t mean well.

Great thoughts on unschooling and how some the traditional classroom setting can be detrimental to some children.

THIS UNSCHOOLING LIFE

Thinking photo credit: Karola Riegler  cc Thinking photo credit: Karola Rieglercc

A major reason why parents often choose to pull their children out of the mainstream education system is because, for whatever reason, their child simply does not fit the school mold.

Our son, J, is one of these children who would wither and fade in a classroom or crowded playground. He is introverted and gets lost in his thoughts. He is always thinking but not always listening. He may not respond when we try to talk to him because he is a million miles away, calculating how many Earths would fit in the sun or figuring out his three times table. He doesn’t cope well in large groups and can’t process too much noise.

Most of our closest friends are quite supportive of our choice to unschool because they know J and can plainly see he flourishes by taking learning on in his own…

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staying home for vacation

It was a fun week of my “stay-at-home” vacation, a visit to the capitol, baking dinners at home, visiting with my family, nature walks, collecting blueberries, “playing” stay at home mom to my youngest daughter. I say “playing” since my usual routine is a 14+ hour a day, 4 days a week job where I come home exhausted, mentally and physically. We just moved too, trying so hard to make ends meet, to a smaller home. Unpacking has taken up a few days time, and while most boxes are unpacked, the others can wait. I am grateful for these slower days, ahhh peace! Time to read and just sit outside, I can learn to like this. The weather has turned surprisingly cooler here in Oklahoma. Yesterday my sweet friend and I sat in my backyard, just talking as the cool breeze wafted through the trees. As I write this post, it has started raining outside, and the clouds are dark in the sky. Maybe a trip to the library is in order to get a couple new books…..

this looks inviting….

This looks inviting...

blueberry collecting, fresh from the farm

first and second weeks july 2014 006

Nature Studies and Sketching

Nature studies are something I have wanted to implement in our summer days, and we had a wonderful opportunity today. In southern Tulsa county is the Ray Harrel Nature Center and hiking trails. Miles of fairly easy trails and beautifully landscaped gardens. My daughter and I took our sketchbooks and spent a few hours sketching some of the animals in the nature center and some of the plants outside. It was a good start to our nature journals. Afterwards I was able to read some of Ann Comstock’s Nature Study book out loud about the raccoon to complement our learning. The book I read from is still in print and is a wealth of knowledge.

park

River Park Misadventure

Biking at the Riverparks sounds like a great idea, right?? Temperature in the 70’s, the sun in shining. Well, life did not go as planned today. This is our attempted biking disaster….We arrive at the Riverparks northernmost bike station to “borrow” a Tulsa Townie bike, the machine is not working, ugh. Not to be deterred, off we go to the next station, YES! it works, five tries later we find one that is available (all the others needed “service”). On the trail E and I go, smells like fresh river water and a beautiful cool breeze is blowing. This is so nice. Five minutes into the ride, from behind me, E shouts, OOOOWWWW! She has scraped the back of her leg on the bike. Mom has no band-aid (note to self: bring band-aids next time, maybe a full first aid kit!). We stop on the trail, where a serious biker type rudely chastises us for being on the trail, stopped (can’t she see we have an injury here??). I mumble something about rude bikers who have no sympathy. E cannot continue, she says with this bleeding scrape, so off we go back to the bike station, and home to nurse her wound. (This was a very small scrape, not bad, just bled a lot). So home we are now, all fixed and feeling better. What did I learn? Bring your own bike if you have one, remember band-aids, pray for safety and be patient, patient, patient!

Riverwalk attempted biking disaster....we arrive at the Riverparks, 19th and Riverside to "borrow" a Tulsa Townie bike, the machine is not working, ugh. Not to be deterred, off we go to the next station, YES! it works, five tries later we find one that is available (all the others needed "service"). On the trail E and I go, smells like fresh river water and a beautiful cool breeze is blowing. This is so nice. Five minutes into the ride, from behind me, E shouts, OOOOWWWW! She has scraped the back of her leg on the bike. Mom has no band-aid (note to self: bring band-aids next time, maybe a full first aid kit!). We stop on the trail, where a serious biker type rudely chastises us for being on the trail, stopped (can't she see we have an injury here??). I mumble something about rude bikers who have no sympathy.  E cannot continue, she says with this bleeding scrape, so off we go back to the bike station, and home to nurse her wound. (This was a very small scrape, not bad, just bled a lot). So home we are now, all fixed and feeling better. What did I learn? Bring your own bike if you have one, remember band-aids, pray for safety and be patient, patient, patient!