Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Color me empowered

Fence fixing. This was a simple fix. That is until my Kenosha Pal teaches me how to safely use a chain saw. I knew the oak branch would eventually come down and the storm two days ago did it...

Without a lot of extra work, I just re routed the wires and it was good as new. The soft rope fence stretched but didn't break.
I was back in business.

This will be the mules next rotational pasture, they pick and choose differently than the Dexter cattle do. I'm even negotiating some pasturing for my neighbor's goats. I call them the clean up crew as they eat what the mules and cattle won't. What a perfect way to clean up the woods! Multiflora rose and briers BEgone!

While fencing I found ground bees. But they weren't the wasp kind. I was nailing temporary insulators to trees [think about carrying 15 t-posts through the woods for a temporary pasture]...when I heard and saw bees buzzing around near me. I kept going and walked slowly to work on another section of the woods.
When I came back they were still there. I stood still and watched them. Finally I saw a tuft of leaves that they were going under and into the ground. I made a mental note to not disturb them while putting up wire. The bees were foraging out to the wildflowers in the woods and they were very tiny and not colored like the ground bees that are so aggressive.

I tied Little Richard out next to the garden so he could use his pony power and do some organic trimming while I was working on other things.

I went back to the house. Time for mowing with the push mower and trimming with the weed eater. Well, nix the trimming with the weed eater. I ran out of string!

Rich came out and mowed part of the yard after instructing me on how to operate his mower. Is is a country clipper with a 'joystick'.

Time for me to start buckling down and learning how to use our machinery.
While he was preoccupied with the mowing, I sat on the 4 wheeler and read the instructions.
I was able to start it and turn it around and park it so I could mow in its spot.

Hmmm. After supper I took it for a drive around the yard, then I drove it up the hill to the neighbor's house.
My neighbor came out and looked it all over with a bit of a glimmer in his eyes. I told him to take it for a spin and then teach me what the 'stuff' was on it. How to check the oil, brake fluid, and where the lights were.

Mr. Neighbor did and then showed me how to put air in the tires along with checking it out. He then asked if he could grease it. He'd gotten a new grease gun that attaches to the zirks and wanted to show me how it worked.
Mrs. Neighbor began to milk her goats while Mr. Neighbor worked on the 4 wheeler. Then Mrs. Neighbor came out with a frosty Pina Colada and life suddenly was very good.

I'd set Rich up with a Western Movie and so I had a bit of extra time to listen and learn more about the 4 wheeler.
After we said our goodbyes, I drove off with the lights on and got the mail then carefully drove back down the steep hill and parked it so I could hook up the little trailer to it and pile the fence posts, insulators, wire, and post pounder in it for the next days work. I was tickled to death. It meant I could make one trip instead of several. My alternative was to drag all of it in a 'sled' to the woods.

I stood in the dark, under the skies and just beamed. I felt energized and powerful.
Next up?
The Country Clipper and the ultimate? The Skid Steer. And...chainsaw? Eeeks...

I know that I need to learn to do these things on my own because eventually I will be solely on my own. This doesn't make me happy, but I am a realist.

I love our little house and would like to stay here for a while longer.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Remember the Thrift Shop Adventure?

Well I came away with some prizes and I wasn't sure what exactly I'd do with them.

So last night I packed a backpack full of the essentials. Teddy Bears, a tea cup, a stuffed chicken, and my camera goodies. I had some ideas running around in my head and just thought I'd visit the creek and see what happened.

I don't plan creativity, it sort of just happens by accident. I was told once that I shouldn't depend on serendipity but should plan all of my creative adventures out carefully one step at a time.

I just can't do that. If I plan too hard with an idea, it falls apart.

It was hot and muggy. It was overcast and very late in the day. I wasn't sure how buggy it would be in the creek area or if I'd be wasting my time.
I guess I didn't care. The creative bug had struck and I wanted to see where it took me.

The woods were dreary and dark, the leaves dripping with moisture. I made my way slowly down through the neighbor's pasture to the creek. I ducked under tree branches and slid down the red clay embankment and stood in the creek.
It was much cooler here. I looked upstream and notice a very light fog hovering over the creek.
It pleased me.

It meant that the air above the creek was much cooler and the buffer between the hot humid air and the cooler air created a light fog.

The Teddy bears in my backpack were nagging me. Well, not really, but I kept thinking about them.

I climbed over some mossy rocks and placed the little teddy and the rabbit. The light was dim.

Sort of what I was thinking, but not really. I edited it with cross processing and some vintage effects.

I had emptied my toys out and had set the Teddy Bear from Ty on another rock to try something else.
This happened to be my favorite shot of the evening.

Serendipity right?

I then put all the critters on a ledge and carefully negotiated the pond to take another shot.

The muddy portion of the water is from me going through the pond and stirring up silt. While examining this I was disappointed in the stick sticking up in the middle of the bottom of the photo.
I also didn't care for the roots and clutter around my toy critters.
However. It was in the now and daylight would fade quickly. I can always go back and tidy up the area now that I know how it looks through the lens.

I imagined a tea party on mossy rocks. I liked this and took several angles. But thinking about it this morning...I wonder if smaller tea cups...doll size... would work better. And perhaps a picnic blanket for them to sit on.

The fluffy chicken in my backpack was still there. I was not able to find something for her. The teddies and the rabbit took the moment.

Perhaps the fuzzy chicken and the large teddy bear could have a picnic some time soon.

I turned around and sat on a wet rock.
The fog was hovering over the pond near the 4 wheeler entrance and exit from the creek.
If you look hard, you can see the little beach chair and the child's blue chair sitting on the rocks to the right of the curly root I'd pulled up to add to my garden.

I walked to our fenceline and took another shot towards PeeWee's. I resisited the urge to walk down to the rock wall and set things up.
That could wait for another day.
Perhaps tomorrow.

The time was getting late and I had to check on Rich.

As I walked up the hill road, I noticed the temperatures rising and by the time I reached the mule pasture, I was soaked in sweat.

Well. I guess you know where I prefer to spend my time. It is much cooler in the creek!

I may have to visit the Thrift Store again. I don't need toys, however I can always find homes for them. What is an old lady going to do with her odd collection of toys?

I guess I just never grew up. My husband says so.

After all...who poses toy soldiers in their vegetable gardens???


Saturday, July 14, 2018


So what has Charlie been up to lately?

Well he has been busy but I've been careful because of the high heat and humidity. 
He comes with me in the evening and some mornings to help me do the chores. Well, he thinks he is helping, but he mainly just follows me.

My husband thinks Charlie is bull headed and won't come when called. And that is sometimes true especially if he can hear the neighbor kids or the golf cart that the parents have. I explained to Rich that all the children and Lauren come down on the golf cart to visit Charlie and take him for walks when we are at VA appointments.

Charlie adores the neighbors and absolutely loves the kids. They in turn love him back as he is not big nor is he intimidating.

Charlie still watches for birds to chase willy nilly through the yard. He enjoys sitting on the porch and overseeing his kingdom from his 7" perspective. He watches cattle, birds, mules, the sky and turns to listen to noises from afar.

He has learned that the porch fan is great for blowing away bothersome bugs and gnats.

Taking a snooze with someone on the couch while they are reading is also a popular 'sport' of his.

He prefers children to snuggle with like this. Occasionally I do lay down and read and he will come and stand on the couch and stare at me until he finally decides I'm worthy of his company.

He understands electric fences now too. Last week he touched a bottom wire and since then he refuses to walk by that particular spot.

He supervises me while I move the yard pony from one place to another for spot grazing around old equipment. He wants to become friends with Little Richard. But I think the size difference puts him off.

He will dart in to grab a fresh pile of pony manure and take a big bite. I think he does that just to make me screech "NO NO NO, ICK ICKY ICKY!"
I swear he smiles at me.

He likes bugs. He likes toads.

He loves to wake Rich up in the morning by laying on the bed next to him. I set him on the bed and the two of them go through a morning ritual of sorts.

Charlie sometimes prefers to just lay back down and snooze.

He has a new funny and odd habit. He loves to go behind the couch where I have the clothes rack and the baby gate stored. Sometimes he just lays there and other times I think he plays games back there....

I need to figure out how to get him to grab the dust bunnies and do some cleaning back there too.

Charlie remains a sweet tempered dog with a huge heart.

He loves slippers and flip flops. He doesn't really harm them anymore, he just likes to carry them around and rearrange them.

Charlie ... the charmer.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Valley Fog this morning...

Well that is what the weather site said when I got up yesterday.

I fed Charlie, let him out, and then headed to the ridge.

Indeed, there was valley fog.

My only beef with the mornings now is that cell towers have been erupting on the ridges.
If the angle were just a bit wider here there would be another tower just to the left of the one in the upper left corner.
I'm finding that I have to get creative with compositions to avoid them on this sky line.
However, I guess that is the way of our world now. Cell towers are being built in this area like wildfire.
Our hills and valleys are so steep that we need many towers to provide coverage.
I used to have to drive to the ridge to get a tower, now I can get it from my home. However we maintain a land line.

Okay, I am off my soap box now.
Just enjoy the rest of my morning.

And then the sun tried to peek out...

and to the east...over the neighbor's cattle pasture....

...and then I headed back towards home and took one last shot of the orange fog over Riley Road.

...and one more of my other neighbor's round bales in the field waiting to get picked up and stored in her shed.

I had a busy day lined up.
Perhaps that is why I love early mornings, I get some peace and quiet time before the rest of the responsibilities kick in.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Mob

I haven't said anything in a while about the mules. I have gone riding quite a bit this year though.

Tomorrow the heat index will be back up around 100 degrees in our area so I won't be doing any riding or heavy out door work.

Here is my Mob.
Or our Gang.

When a cold front moved through with a wicked shelf cloud on the 4th of July the mules had a fit.

They came out of the woods and proceeded to run willy nilly. Even Fred who is in his 30's ran and bucked.
I don't know if it was because of the front, the rapid temperature change, the winds, or perhaps the change in the barometer...but they entertained us with some antics.
Sorry the shots aren't the best but I was watching for severe weather and prepared to go to the basement at the same time.

This last shot is of the red headed sisters. The one on the right was to be Rich's mule to train.
I am torn between selling her and training her.

I think she'd make a fantastic mule for riding, just like her sister is. Their mom was my first horse that I ever owned.

Perhaps my schedule will start to settle down enough to let me work with Sundance at least once a week. Truly, I'd like to work with her every day.

Well. We shall see how things go.

I have to rotate pastures today along with several other errands and some much need weed whacking before the heat wave hits tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Sunrise Club

Everyone started drifting downstairs slowly. Charlie and I had already been up and at 'em for a while.

Daryl took their dog out, and as soon as Scout came in, Charlie commenced to wrestling with him.
We mumbled good mornings and soon had our cups filled with fresh coffee.

I nodded towards the brightening eastern sky. Amanda soon appeared, more coffee shuffled around. Scout ate his breakfast, Charlie was sent to his crate...and Daryl went to wake up his youngest daughter who wanted to go see the sunrise with us.
She walked into the kitchen rubbing her eyes as we gathered our things and a set of car keys.

In no time at all we were headed up the driveway. I got to the mailbox and decided to go out on PeeWee's Ridge instead of our usual spot.

The view to the east was proving to be fantastic and colorful.

The view to the west, however was even more beautiful.

I lamented to my friends that corn had been planted on both sides of the drive and this would be one of the last times I could take a sunrise without the corn obscuring the ridges beyond the fields.

However, perhaps there is a solution after all...

That or I could bring a stepladder. I know now that it would fit in the 'Ru if I laid the back seats down.
Something to consider anyway...hmmm.

And then the sun burst over the field of corn...

...and a new day started.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Gone Shopping

Well, the whole idea of picking up some goofy stuff was to entertain ourselves by dressing up oddly and enjoying some time on the porch.
The last shot is my pal Daryl moving around in a 5 second exposure. I had hit the remote and told Amanda to hold still. Everyone else got blurred.
Not a perfect shot at all, but all of them still fun.

I got the leopard print shirt at the Thrift Store for .75 cents. The hat was a thrift store find from a year ago. The Teddy Bear? I think I paid .50 cents for it. One of the girls was wearing an old evening gown of mine from the 1990's.
Remember the Bumblebee Transformer Mask in the last post? Daryl is wearing that. We found it all hilarious and good fun.
Who the heck needs cable?

The rifle in the corner is a .BB gun.

I dug out some odd chairs that Rich had picked up years ago at an auction. We took those to the creek and set the beach chair at the edge of the creek. My Thrift Store teddy bears [and rabbit] looked great sitting on the 'beach'.

One of the kids put the kid's blue chair right in the middle of the creek and set a Baby Doll on it.

Saturday was another Thrift Store experience. I guess it could actually be called an Indoor Flea Market. I purchased a set of mini chickens. A Hen and Rooster.
The store is in Westby and it used to be an old Tobacco Warehouse.

On our way back through Viroqua, we stopped at Driftless Books and Music.

This was probably our best stop of the whole week. Books, books, and books. Oh yes, lots of music also.

I spent $11 dollars and bought two mysteries, a philosophical book and a book on backpacking.

I think finding odd stores and thrift stores are fun. I know I'll go back for some more books soon.