Are you out there Dawn?

scottokla(7)September 26, 2013

Getting worried. Thought you might have a post about the earthquake but haven't seen you post anything for a few days. Hopefully just a vacation.

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Scott, The earthquake didn't get her. Her county is hot and dry and having quite a few fires, so I wouldn't be surprised if she is working fire rehab. They had grass fires in her county today which were north of her, but I don't know how bad they were. Maybe the rain due this weekend will help her situation.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 10:57PM
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Oops, duplicate.

This post was edited by soonergrandmom on Thu, Sep 26, 13 at 23:16

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 10:58PM
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I was wondering about her too.

Dawn, hope all is ok with you and your family.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 6:59AM
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Bet she's caring for her men.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 7:21AM
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Bump back to top.

Still need to hear from Dawn.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 7:54AM
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I haven't asked permission, but I know ya'll are concerned. So, I'll state that she is well and operating. It is drought and multiple arson fires. George is right.

They, the firefighters,people, countryside and the animals need our sincere heartfelt prayers. May He give them reprieve.

And it's raining here as I type this. Normally, I'd be happy about the rain, but I just cannot bring myself to it.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Everyone,

Carol let me know y'all were wondering where I was. Here I am! Thank you all for your concern. I have here and am fine, just busy, as Bonnie explained.

I've been missing y'all, but as several here have noted, we have had some bad wildfires lately and, that reminds me Scott, I have cougar news for you.

First, the drought. As some of you know, we never made it out of drought here in Love County and despite a lot of watering and shading, my garden suffered horribly in mid-July through mid-September. My desire to garden sort of burned up right along with my plants, so I started working on a little remodeling of the downstairs bathroom and family room, and that's been keeping me pretty busy---but at least I have been busy indoors in the air conditioning instead of out in the heat talking to my dead and dying plants.

Now, the wildfires: As our KBDI crept higher and higher, we held our breaths and hoped that rain would arrive in sufficient amounts to keep the winter wildfire season from starting in summer. Well, it kinda worked. The winter wildfire season didn't start until September, and it had a little help from some presumed arsonists. I'd really like to have a year soon when the winter wildfire season doesn't start until after winter has arrived, the way it used to. : )
I have spent most of the last two days at a wildfire that grew to at least 1000 acres Thursday-Friday. It is believed that the original fire was arson. While we were fighting that fire, an arsonist or arsonists set several fires alongside I-35 and Hwy 77. I was too far from the in-town radio repeater to pick up all the radio traffic, but heard enough to know the our VFD and several other VFDs/FDs had firefighters out on the highways fighting those while the rest of us were at the wildfire. And that is kind of the story of our week here.

The Earthquake-Tie-in: The wildfire has been in the Criner Hills area, which is an uplift area where earthquakes have occurred periodically for decades, though not so much in the 1990s or 2000s. I think they were fairly common in the 1950s or 1960s. Some of you likely noticed that the Criner Hills area of Love County has been shaking and quaking here lately. I slept through the big quake that was 3-point-something a few days ago, but my neighbors felt it. The folks in the Criner Hills area have had some damage, including brick chimneys falling down and stuff falling off walls inside, etc. Some people got enough shaking that their TV sets crashed to the floor.

The Rain: Some rain has fallen in Love County today, with some places getting a lot and some not getting much. It still is cloudy and I still saw some rain bands on the radar the last time I looked, so I am hoping more will fall. Our mesonet station had picked up almost an inch, but at our house we have had only about 0.37".

Our KBDI was at 682 this morning, which would be more typical of the kind of KBDI you see in winter after everything except evergreen plants has gone dormant and is dry. Today's rain will help the plants everywhere a bit, and also will put a little moisture into the soil, so I expect our KBDI will drop a bit. Last week when we got about 0.60" of rain, though, it only dropped 22 points, which is not much of a change. Maybe it will drop more this time.

Now, for Scott: The Cougars. I have not seen any here at our house, though in the last month I have noticed our wildlife has become very skittish and has changed their routines. The deer used to come at night to check the compost pile area for goodies they can devour (I also have put out some deer corn for them, and cucumbers and squash when I have extra). Now they are coming mostly in daylight hours, often in the middle of the day. I also have been filling a wading pool, one of those green turtle sand boxes, and some flat, black cattle feeding pans, with water for all the wild things because our local ponds and creeks are dry, or some that still have water are mostly just gross, green slimey pond scum. It is pretty bad when the wildlife cannot easily find water to drink. Out little manmade watering areas were getting no traffic during the day, except for wild birds and an occasional turtle or frog, but were busy beginning around twilight. For the last 3 or 4 weeks, they are busy in the daylight and not at night. It is peculiar, but we know from experience that when there occurs, there are some forms of predators (usually bobcats or coyotes, and sometimes other things) hanging around scaring away the wildlife at night.

One night this week, our 5 large dogs about destroyed the house trying to get outside (some were trying to break the windows to get out, hurling themselves against the windows...luckily our 140-lb Rottweiler mix discovered he cannot break a window that way) to go after some wild thing that was out there. The dogs were in room on the upstairs floor, so I cannot imagine what they were sensing, hearing or smelling. I was home alone and initially didn't go outside to see what it was because, frankly, I didn't want to know. Later on I went out and couldn't find anything so whatever it was, it had already moved on. So, I've started carrying a weapon with me outside 24/7 because it always is better to be safe than sorry.

When at the wildfire command post in Criner Hills on Thursday, several firefighters cautioned us to stay near our trucks once the sun went down and not to venture off into the dark. Well, you know me, I have to know why, so I asked. We were told that there's been a lot of thievery at the oil and gas wells, and lots of companies have put up either security cameras or game cameras to try to catch the criminals on video tape or in still photos, especially helpful if they can get car license tag numbers. These cameras, apparently, have been catching some photos of cougars from time to time. They said this has been going on for weeks or even a couple of months now, depending on which well site they were talking about. In the horrifying still photo that a firefighter showed me on his cell phone, you see a cougar chasing a deer, and within inches of catching it. Once we started discussing it while the firefighters were refilling the water tanks on their trucks and eating/drinking at our Fire Rehab section as well, I learned a lot of people at that end of the county have had pets go missing, and some domestic livestock as well, etc. and some have seen cougars on their property. Of course, all of this is anecdotal, but the timing of it coincides with the timing of when I had noticed that our little bunnies and deer stopped coming at night and started coming in broad daylight as well. I cannot say that a cougar is on our property or comes passing through, but some sort of predator is here. It could be coyotes, but I've seen no signs of coyotes (except the one I saw at the fire yesterday) and barely have heard any all summer long. Usually if bobcats, foxes and coyotes are around, we see scat, footprints, tufts of fur caught on the fences, etc. and I've seen none of that. (Haven't seen any Cougar signs either though.)

I know that the folks I spoke to who live in northern and northeastern Love County believe they have seen and are seeing cougars and some have the photos to prove it. There's wildlife management land there, Lake Murray in the NE part of the county, and the rugged Criner Hills area just a bit further west, so they've always had high levels of predators there. Some of those folks have had experiences very similar to mine from the last time I had trouble here, which I think likely was 2008, where they've lost multiple poultry and other animals all summer long and even have seen cougars on their land, running away, jumping fences, crossing the roads, etc. Guineas, in particular, are just being devoured, just as mine were. I think the guineas are their own worst enemy in that way, as they are so ridiculously noisy that they make it easy for predators to find them.

George, You know me so well and that's exactly where I've been lately. We're hoping for a break soon. The little job I do of hauling food and drinks to the firefighters is nothing compared to how hard they work hour after hour, but I am happy I can do that small thing to help them.

I still have some of your Cooper beans alive and attempting to grow in a molasses feed tub, and am hoping to get them to set seed so we can replenish your seed stock. The grasshoppers and the drought both have been hard on them (all the ones in the ground died or were devoured by hoppers), so I am not sure if they'll ever set beans. None of the plants in tubs have bloomed yet, but with this cooler weather, I am thinking maybe they still will have time to bloom and make seed.

Bon, Thanks for letting everyone know that I still am alive and well.

I dragged my tired body out of bed this morning and started cooking chicken so I could feed the firefighters today if needed. Well, we've had rain instead of fire, so I guess maybe my family will be eating chicken all weekend long. Or, I could freeze some of it. I always make the firefighters a finger food type of chicken called Sweet Bacon Chicken Bites and they really like them, plus they are easy to eat...just grab a handful and take them with you...and they freeze well. Maybe by cooking a lot of chicken this morning, I won't have to cook for the rest of the weekend.

I hope all of you who need rain are getting it and are enjoying it. I'm ridiculously happy to have our mere 0.37" that has fallen so far today, although I confess that I'd really be thrilled beyond belief if we could get just an inch more.

The Seasonal Drought Outlook forecasts our drought at this end of the state will persist and/or deepen, depending on one's exact location, so I am not going to do any garden planning for 2014 until this drought breaks....and that might not be until 2014. If the drought hangs on all fall and all winter at our end of the state, I will not plant much of a garden. It doesn't make sense to have a big veggie garden during periods of severe drought. I cannot imagine my life without a veggie garden in it, but I also have no desire to have to fight the drought as hard as I did this year just in order to have a good harvest.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Good to hear from you Dawn. I was getting worried. About half an inch here. Our deer hit the watering spots during daylight also when it gets this dry.

I have seen that cougar/deer photo. Old and from another state. If a cougar was in the area, it will not be sticking around more than a week or so. They just aren't resident ones here, but we've been down that road before. Lot's of photos showing up from Missouri to Minnesota though. One in Missouri actually was in Minnesota or Wisconsin a couple months later. All dispersing young males from the west wondering dozens of miles per week looking for females which don't exist at those places yet. Nobody will ever produce any pictures from all the talk there, even though I'm sure a couple will surface again this fall or winter somewhere in the state.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 8:33PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I knew you'd say the photo was an old one. I'm pretty sure I've seen the one that you're talking about, but I haven't found a photo online that matches the one I was shown and was told was shot at a well site within view of where I was standing. I am not going to get into the whole discussion of cougars being here or not all over again because you and I never will agree on that subject until you see one standing in your yard like I've seen one standing in mine. : ) The guy who showed me the photo is an older gentleman who is a lifelong resident of that specific area, is a man of high integrity and is someone whose word I'd never doubt. I wish I had thought to get him to send it to my phone, but we were standing in the middle of a 600-acre fire and only spoke briefly for a minute or two before he rushed off to do something else and left me standing there looking off into the darkness, pondering whether or not any cat eyes were staring back at me.

Thanks for being concerned about me. I know I haven't been on here much lately, but life always gets crazy in the fall with all the VFD fundraisers and other community activities in which the VFD participates, and I just get too busy for a little while to post. Then, if our usual winter fire season (which, as near as I can remember, used to start in about February back before every year started being a drought year) starts months earlier, there are days and days and sometimes even weeks when I don't even get online at all. When friends and family start sending me text messages asking if I am reading my e-mails or if I am still alive, I try to find time to get online and catch up.

I am disappointed that more rain didn't fall at my house (and at yours), but even a small amount of rain is better than none at all. We were visiting our son in Denton yesterday and he said they got 3 hours of good steady rain on the same day that we got less than a half-inch spread out over several hours. I was happy for them, and their yard did look green, and I was trying to imagine how nice it would have been if their rain had fallen at our house too.

September is usually one of our wettest months and we count on getting good September rainfall to get us back in good shape after summer. This year? Our September rainfall is about 25% of normal, and that means our drought recovery really hasn't started yet. I doubt that our pecans will fill out this year. There just isn't enough rain, and the squirrels are hungry and are chewing on the nuts right now...chewing right through the green husks. The persimmon and fig trees started aborting fruit in August when it was terribly hot and dry, so there won't be any fall fruit either.

Yesterday Tim mowed the lawn for the first time in 5 or 6 weeks. Since it wasn't growing, there wasn't anything that needed mowing. After finding a little copperhead there in the driveway right beside the unmowed grass, he decided to mow it down. I'm hoping it won't turn brown because the little bit of greening-up that immediately followed the rain was so nice....and then he mowed and cut off the newly green grass.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 6:57AM
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We actually ended up with .8 inches once I got to the weather station to check. At my house we got just about an inch. The mesonet once again seems to be the most accurate with total rainfall estimates. For some reason channel 6 has been off the last two events despite nailing it almost exactly usually.

Even if I saw a mountain lion in my yard this week I would still know that they are not resident here, and I was just one of the lucky (unlucky?) ones who had one come through my place as it disperses from the west looking for a new home. It's not about whether every sighting or rumor is not true, it is about the FACT that they do not live anywhere in the state outside of the panhandle and the other few a year that travel through the main part of the state are just juveniles wondering off looking for a home range of their own and will not stop anywhere until they find females.

Nebraska has now started a hunting season despite having only a half dozen or so reproducing females in the state. They have no intention of letting them get a foot hold outside of the NW part of the state, so in order for them to recolonize any further east the females will have to start moving towards Minnesota. It would be hard to get them to jump to Missouri and past the active hunting to where the good territory is and where the young males have been going. I would bet some of the Missouri ones have been in Oklahoma at some point and the two that were verified in Oklahoma last year moved out of the state at some later time if they are still alive.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 10:16AM
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Oh, I knew the mention of a cougar would stir up some words :) (just laughing nicely here.)

I got almost two inches this weekend. It was really nice. I wish both of ya'll had gotten that much as well. Looks like there's another chance this weekend.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Dawn, thanks for working on those Cooper's Running Snap beans for me. Mine were completely devoured by the grasshoppers.

I know where all your coyotes have gone. They're in Cherokee County! It sounds lie we're surrounded at night. Our livestock guardian dogs are staying quite busy running them off!

Stay safe!


    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:58PM
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George, Our son lives in eastern Osage county and nights are filled with howling coyotes as well. They weren't heard for awhile, and cat signs were apparent, but the coyotes are back now. I think we may all have to carry on rural property until enough people believe the cougars are here and start doing something about it.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 3:22PM
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I now have a "pet" coyote that follows behind my tractor when I am "brush-hogging". It has come out to dine on whatever runs from my tractor and mower 4 of the last 5 days I have mowed. The one time it did not was the day I took a 22 along for the ride. Now it will not even move when I drive within 20 yards of it, so I would feel guilt shooting it. It is always alone and is pretty small so I am guessing juvenile male. Back in July I had 3 larger ones follow me one day.

I haven't seen a bobcat since last winter.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 12:28AM
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