Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Love is In The Air

Song - When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin' Along by Bing Crosby

California is finally getting some rain and the creek in our backyard roared all night long.  It's a good sound to hear as we have had too many years of drought.  When I woke up on Valentines day and looked out at our empty vegetable garden, I spotted these two love birds trying to decide if they should go out on a date.........

......or not.

And just yesterday I spotted a Robin in our Privet berries.......but look who is beneath him......a Cedar Waxwing.

Before I knew it the trees were full of Waxwings and Robins.

They were very good about taking turns eating as some of them 
would wait in this Oak tree on the other side of our yard and then when it was their turn, 
they would dive right into that clump of berries. It kinda felt like I was in that Hitchcock movie with birds multiplying by the second!

Their break consisted in getting a drink of water to wash down all the berries 
and then wait in a nearby tree.

"No winter lasts forever; 
no spring skips its turn."

--Hal Borland

Friday, February 8, 2019

Chahta Tamaha

Song - Choctaw-Chickasaw Drum Dance with Ardis Mose

About four months ago I contacted a woman, Kathy from Find-A-Grave to see if she knew who could get Mr. B and myself into an old Indian burial ground on private property in Oklahoma.  She replied later that day that she could actually get us in. Wow!

This is Armstrong Academy and is near Bokchito in Oklahoma just across the Red River separating Oklahoma from Texas.  This is also where Mr. B's Great-Great Grandfather Ish Ka Na went to school.  Armstrong Academy was founded as a school for Choctaw boys in 1844.

Originally it was built with logs and in 1850 it was rebuilt with bricks that were made on the property.  The blog title "Chahta Tamaha" means Choctaw Town because a little town grew up around the Academy. They had a blacksmith, a general store, a grist mill and a church.

And this was our vehicle for the day!  Dog and gun thrown in for free!  Seriously we needed this little mighty vehicle as Kathy drove us over hills, threw the mud, across small streams and many gates that needed opening and closing to keep the cattle where they belonged.

It was a bitter cold winter day but we were very excited to get a private tour of this area by a very nice, knowledgeable guide - Kathy. While we were still in California, Kathy warned us that there was little left of the Academy as it burned down in 1921 and that Mr. B's great-great grandparents were in unmarked graves. 

Above was the front entrance to the dormitories.   

The foundation of the four room schoolhouse.


The well that had a windmill above it.

 Kathy and Mr. B

All around the school there were bulbs coming up.  I wonder who first planted them?

Then we headed over to the nearby Armstong Academy cemetery - more gates to open an close.

 Through the dense Oak forest and scrub.

Suddenly we were there!  Kathy said that she and her sister cleared the land about fifteen years ago.  They had thought there were about 100 graves but at that time they counted and marked 900!

 You had to be careful where you walked because there were stones like this all over the forest floor.  Besides being a tripping hazard they are the stones they used for the Indian graves and have weathered away over time.

Some of the headstones still remain.

This grave held an entire family.

Some had elaborate fencing that still stands today.

This is John William Connelly - Ish Ka Na and Elizabeth Hunter's son & Mr. B's Great Grandfather.
He was born in 1861 and his father died in 1865 and his mother in 1870 so he was raised by a teacher and missionary at the school who found him to be quite smart.  

Above is the man who raised him, educated him and gave him his own name.

A beautiful stream flows through the land.

I can just picture the boys playing and swimming in this stream.

"Our first teacher is our own heart"  


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Deep In the Heart of Texas

Song - My Hero's Have Always Been Cowboys by Willie Nelson

Last week Mr. B and I were in Texas and Oklahoma to meet his new first cousins.

Thanks to DNA we were able to find cousins from both of his biological parents.

This trip was to meet his dad's side of the family and they generously shared
 stories, photos and laughter with us! Some of his cousins flew in or drove to Forth Worth to spend the day with us and it was very much appreciated!

Last Tuesday after a full day of visiting, we stepped outside of our hotel to see the
"The Herd" - these are Texas Longhorns herded by authentically dressed cowboys called Drovers.

These guys take their job calmly and seriously as just the day before they had trouble with one of the cattle when it wouldn't cross over a metal plate covering a hole in the street.

 The cowboys worked with him over and over again and eventually moved the crowd back
as he was getting feisty.

Tuesday they tried him again and he hesitated for a moment before moving forward.

"If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, 
take a look back every now and then to make
sure it's still there."

--Will Rogers 

Monday, January 28, 2019

You Know You’re In Texas....

You know you’re in Texas when.....

We are working on Mr. B’s family Texas !

And I can’t wait to see the cowboys driving the Longhorns through the middle of town tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Friends in High Places

Song - Winter by The Rolling Stones

This morning I woke to some very happy birdsong.  Our Oak tree was full of Robins and Starlings and a bird that sounds like a rusty hinge, Flickers and Hawks!

But if you look closely at the photo above, you will notice someone else in the berry the upper left corner is part of a Cedar Waxwing.  They left our garden last week when a Hawk flew at them and haven't been back until today!!

The Privet tree was full of them and they let me set my tripod up quite close.

As I walked around our garden, I noticed some other delights of Winter.....above is a patch of Hellebores which is blooming in our shade garden.

And a nest up in the Wisteria arbor - I never noticed it until all the leaves dropped off......

And a little hummer enjoying some sunshine.

 And not one but two different Flicker's enjoyed the Privet berries too!
The bird above doesn't have the typical red patch on his cheek.

 But in the late afternoon light I caught sight of a Northern Flicker in all his beauty.

 He wanted to make sure I photographed his "good side"!

"And from Humming-Bird to Eagle, 
the daily existence of every bird 
is a remote and bewitching mystery. "

~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 
"The Life of Birds," Out-door Papers, 1868

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