Friday, November 16, 2018

We Like Ice!

I like ice. I love to walk along the creek and look for these ice formations.

I took Charlie for a long walk yesterday afternoon specifically to look for these little beauties.

We started on the ridge with the warm sun on our backs as we walked on the edge of a large cornfield that was being combined.

That's Charlie walking ahead with his string on. Yes he still wears it. He still darts off on a scent trail once in a while which is what he is supposed to do naturally.
It seems that if he wears it, he feels like he is tethered to me?

I did have to take the string off when we got down into the thick of things. I don't want Charlie to get tangled up when he is log jam climbing.

Here is what the top photo looked like while I was taking the photo. I had to work around Charlie, water, ice, mud, snow, and bad footing.
But it sure was beautiful!

Remember the pup who wouldn't cross the creek? Now he is a dog on a mission. When we get to a real deep spot he is smart and asks for a lift.

He is also a good photo bomber...

We had a wonderful hike and after I cleaned Charlie up he took up a spot on the couch and went instantly to sleep.

Tonight we are supposed to get 4 to 6 inches of snow. It will be good for deer hunters, but I am bummed. I won't be able to go out and play in it.

I convinced Rich that he can indeed sit out if he wishes and hunt. His knee bothers him a lot. But he found a spot close to home that would offer him a good view of things.
I told him I'd sit with him.

The Kenosha Gang will arrive late tonight, so it looks like a busy weekend coming up.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Angry Subaru and knees

My new Subaru has TPM. Tire Pressure Monitors. Last Thursday night we had a 'snow' event that made the roads pure ice under the snow on the black top roads. Our county road was a piece of wicked winter work.

The gravel road wasn't too bad either. The new 'Ru also lets me know that the temperature outside is cold enough to produce slick spots. Thank you vehicle, as if I didn't understand that 20 degrees means there could be ice on the roads.
Well, it is a safety feature just like the TPM.

I checked the air pressure and it was a bit low in the tires, but apparently my gauge must not be quite accurate.
I called the dealership wondering what I should do and they asked me to bring it in.

I didn't like driving it with all of those warning lights on. I just kept hearing a little tiny voice in the back of my head "Warning Will Rodgers! Warning! Danger!"

I also skipped my 6 AM class because the thought of suddenly being stranded at 5:30 on a country road didn't sound so great in 20 degree weather.

The Service Rep was so kind to explain to me that when there was a sudden huge drop in temperatures this sort of thing occurred in most all tires and vehicles unless I kept it in a warm garage. Seems to me I recall my husband checking tires on the old vehicles in the cold months and adding air.

These are Nitrogen filled tires. Um. Yep. But you can put regular air in them.
Oh this new technical world! I also have the Starlink activated. Since I transport both my husband and my MIL who have medical issues, it is nice to know that an ambulance can be dispatched to my location if one of my passengers have a medical emergency. I can also push the other button and get roadside assistance.
Nifty but strange.

Anyway. Back to the tires. I was filled at no charge, they checked the tires and sensors for issues and all was fine.

I'm sure the service rep thought I was kind of a twit for not knowing about cold temps and tires, but hey Rich was my go to guy and he said he didn't know what caused it. Well I learned something new.

All the tires are happy now and filled properly. And I am headed off to CrossFit and then the store. All my errands in town should be done by 8:30 am. That is a nice feeling.

It will leave me some time today to go look for ice formations. No dogs allowed on this little adventure. I want to concentrate on some quiet time for me after spending the day at the VA yesterday.

Oncology was happy that there is no sign of cancer returning. We spent hours though getting someone to see his swollen knee cap again. A referral to Ortho is weeks out yet. It doesn't seem that anyone wants to really deal with it. I explained that it hurt him so bad that he could barely get in and out of our car not to mention getting around the house.

I also explained to the nurse the importance of mobility for his mental health and well being.

It did not fall on deaf ears, but those ears were extremely sympathetic.

I fixed the Subaru easily, it is happy now.
I can't fix Rich's knee, it is very unhappy now. In fact at 3AM he said it hurt like a son of.....

He told me to go to work out and he'd be fine sleeping until I got back.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Walk the Dogs

These two really do have fun together. Dixie is the velcro dog which I find pretty funny. She generally will run a small distance to smell good smells and then she is instantly back to check me by touching my hands or knee with her large nose.

Charlie finds her to be a great playmate. And eventually she will give in to his puppyish behavior and wrestle with him.

Charlie takes the tumble, but rolls and gets right back up.

And Sweet Dixie doesn't seem to mind at all.

We headed down to the middle of the creek. I thought that I didn't dress warm enough as I was chilled. So I figured a fast hike would warm me up.

I wanted to grab a few quick shots of the creek. With the skies so dull I could quickly set up a long exposure quickly.

I was looking for ice fingers which I was able to find fairly quickly. These past few days we have broken records for cold temperatures and it shows in the creek.

There was a challenge though in having a little dog who wanted to sit on the very same rock I had my tripod on and a very big DOG that thought any time I squatted down ... she should SIT in my lap.

Here Dixie comes on the lope, leaving Charlie to a good smell. I steadied my camera and stood up just as Dixie poked that huge nose into my face. Oh for the love of a hound.

I set up another shot and fended off the dogs, then put everything away except the pocket camera.

Charlie was unfazed by the ice on his coat. He kept chasing Dixie and they kept playing. I checked to make sure he was warm enough. shivering at all. He wiggled and ran after his Big Gal Pal.

I'd have to take another day this week between appointments and errands to take a solo walk to the creek to find more ice formations.

I sure do love winter and hunting for these little unique formations.

I may have to get out early tomorrow morning to hunt some more up we've had a small record cold spell and it looks like it may break tomorrow afternoon.

Come Saturday I won't be able to take the dogs for a walk for a few days.

It is opening weekend for the 9 day Deer Gun Season.
I am conflicted over these 9 days. Probably because on the one side of my property is many acres of land that is 'invaded' by weekend warriors who dress in orange and look for the BIG Monster Buck. They sometimes lose their sensibilities.
After opening weekend, the landowner disappears and the squatting brother will let anyone hunt who brings him beer.

I am always grateful on the last day when the sun sets and gun season is over.

The dogs and I can walk freely about without being mistaken for deer.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Wild and Wicked Sunday

It was not Wild nor was it really Wicked.

First order of the day was to go get a truckload of hay. Rich said he wasn't going with because his knee is swelled up again and it hurts.
It has been drained twice now and both times the aspiration has revealed blood.

The VA orthopedic department did make an appointment for him on December 4th. 
The lady who made the appointment said that we should visit the ED if it was too painful or bothersome before that date.

When a joint fills up with blood it will severely damage that joint. Rich says leave it until his appointment, but I'll drag him over to the ED [ER] tomorrow after seeing Oncology for a follow up. He is in a LOT of pain. I'd like to also find out why the joint keeps filling up with blood.

So, off I went with the pickup and got our monthly supply of small bales of hay. I paid Eddie for the pig we purchased from him. His wife made coffee and I sat down in their kitchen and visited for a bit.

As you can tell from this photo, I'm not really great at just backing into a crowded shed to get close to the spot where we stack our small bales.
I got the truck into the doorway and left it there.
This way I get to move it at least twice by hand!
Once to toss it off the truck and once to stack it.

I will consider it a CrossFit workout...WOD: Move bales and toss them!

I did get it all taken care of and it went slightly better than I expected. Maybe it is that CrossFit training I've been doing. Maybe it was the cold temperatures that made it more comfortable.

Rich and I have been playing Backgammon for Speech Therapy work. He has to use strategy and counting.
I saw how much he enjoyed playing cribbage with our friends from Kenosha.
So I asked him if he'd teach me.

Cribbage is as clear as mud.

But since Rich loves the game so much, I decided I need to try and learn it. There is a method to my madness. As he tries to teach it to me, he works on his communication skills, words, thought process, and counting. IF I play, he promises to do a bit of writing therapy also.

Even when Rich's words don't come out correctly, they are generally close enough that I understand what he is trying to say. Sometimes it is an exact opposite and sometimes it is just a strange new word combination.

So he started by trying to teach me to count.

"15 two, ..." he said holding cards out, "15 four, see?"
I did NOT see I saw a Jack a Queen and a 5 of spades.
He moved his hands again putting them down and repeating them.
"Then there is the crib, but since I am just showing it to you..."

It made absolutely NO sense to me so I suggested we bring out the board and he help me play the game until it clicked.

Patience has never been a strong suit of my husband's. So we played and I could see he was getting frustrated that I 'wasn't' catching on right away. However we played until it was nearly dark outside...moving the pegs in a manner that almost made sense and counting in strange and odd ways.

I suggested we take a break while I did chores and made supper.

After supper Rich went back to watching Netflix and I pulled out some paints and chunks of leftover wood. I wanted to see if I could make crackled paint with Elmer's Glue. I wanted to experiment with glue on glass.

I always like to experiment on small things before trying something else. I saw a video on Modge Podge and paint crackling that may be fun to try...with napkins? I don't know.
I also did a dirty acrylic paint pour, which is drying in the basement.

I'm trying to figure out how I will decorate this year for the Christmas-Winter season. Time to gather new sticks and grasses to make bouquets.

I see light fluffy flakes coming down outside. This monday morning is very grey. The Juncos -- Grandma called them Snow Buntings, are busy in my flower bed.

Time to get my new week going.

Maybe I'll have a wild Monday?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Keep up two legged person! ~by Charlie

She was pretty sure that I wouldn't like the new fresh cold stuff she calls SNOW on the ground when we went to do chores this morning.

OH! How much fun is this? Run through the cold stuff and have it brush my tummy! Run run run! Spin and run! Stick my nose in it and run!
It made her laugh and laugh.

When She put on coveralls and boots after chores and asked if I wanted to go for a walk I was right there at the door waiting.
She said 'Walkies!' and I was ready!

And we headed out through the meadow and down to the creek. I kept running ahead and then checking to see if she was coming. Sometimes SHE can be so slow!

She called me a few times to wait up and I did. But the snow covered so many good smells and I had to keep putting my nose into it.

The creek was 'up' from the recent heavy rains last weekend and so I found a rock to stand on so I could look around.

How come human people are so slow?
I watched her walk towards me and then it dawned on me. It must be tough to be a human and only have two legs. Four legs are better, more to balance with, better to jump distances with...oh the advantages.

Maybe I can train her how to do that. I mean, I sure can try.

She kept having trouble on all the slippery snow covered rocks. More than once she had to call out to me to stop again and wait.
How embarrassing.

She is so Slow. Perhaps if she would use her hands and her feet, she could climb and jump better.
Yet She insists on walking on those two long legs. Pity. Short legs are so much better suited to slippery stuff.

I thought She was going to fall and crash when I heard her yelp. She has good balance considering. She hopped and steadied herself and then told me to "Wait up!"

Oh slow poke! I have so many smells to take care of, don't you understand?

She finally stopped by a little waterfall and decided to head up and over the bank towards home. She whistled and I came running past her.

Maybe it doesn't look like it here, but I am running up a deer trail with my ears flapping magnificently while flying across the snow covered ground.

I think I like the cold much better than the hot heat. It feels better and my thick coat keeps me toasty warm.

When we got home, She toweled me off.
She handed me a chew bone and I immediately got down to business.

However, I can't wait to go out again.

Perhaps we can take Dixie too. Then I'll have someone who can keep up.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Not an Axe Murder-er

At the Vernon County Fair I sat next to a fellow that I assumed might be about my age.
We watched the judging together and once in a while we found ourselves murmuring to each other as to how we might view a photo.

During the break I asked the gent if he'd like to grab something to eat and talk more about photography and cameras. He said yes, he was new to photography and was eager to talk to someone.

We got immersed in talking about how we discovered photography and how we liked to take photographs. We exchanged email information and cell phone numbers. By mid afternoon, I had to leave. But John and I had promised to get together for some sort of field trip if we could work it out, so I could perhaps help him with his Canon camera settings.
His interests were the Wisconsin River and Cranes.
We tried to organize a 'field' trip morning to the river but things kept getting in the way.

Finally last week we both agreed on a time and day. I suggested we meet at the BP Station near my home as it was on the way for our planned field trip.
Meet at 6 AM and drive to the Gotham boat landing for what we hoped would be an incredible sunrise over the WI river.

At 3AM I woke up with a start.
What if he is an Axe Murderer?
What if...

I laid in bed and wondered why I let myself watch stupid cop shows on Netflix with my husband before I went to bed.
What if he was a serial killing Axe Murderer?

Okay perhaps he kills cereal with a spoon.
Stupid mind.
Stupid head.

It was no use. I had to get out of bed. 3:30AM. I warmed up a cup of coffee. Then I set up the coffee pot so Rich could just push the button and make coffee. I dressed in layers and went out with a headlamp to do chores.

At 5:45ish I drove to the gas station, I was surprised. I was a few minutes early and I as I parked John rolled down the window of a little black car and said good morning.
I laughed. Indeed, he wasn't an Axe Murderer.

He explained that he was driving his daughter's old car as his truck was still not quite finished with the brake job he was doing.
Off we went, picking up the conversation that we'd had at the Vernon County Fair as if two months hadn't passed.

Cameras, photography, love of taking photos, birds, water.
Would we see a beautiful sunrise?

We didn't find a gorgeous sunrise, but we did find adventure.

John did find some birds at the river but we weren't able to ID them. I thought they were too large to be gulls but heck they were at the train bridge which probably was half a mile away!

The first spot we were at for the sunrise was dull and dreary. But I pointed out that there were trees that were making for interesting reflections in the water. So even though the morning was grey and colorless, perhaps we could salvage it with reflection shots.

I showed him how I saw the photo, and then he showed me his preference of the same scene.
It was a great learning experience.

It may be two months again before we get together to seek out a beautiful sunrise on the river. John really wants a great shot of that. It is on his 'list'. In the meantime I will brush up on his Canon and the settings it uses so I can help him.

Oh. And note to self. No he isn't an Axe Murderer, he isn't a creep, he is just like some of the other friends I've made that are photography nuts.

Here is some of what I ended up with.
I used some rather strong editing skills to come up with some of these.

 This one was my favorite to work on.
Edit one:

 Edit two:
Edit three:
This is my favorite one for so many reasons. I felt inspired and wanted to make a painting so I ran this through Deep Dream Generator and decided that this was the one I adored.
Another shot with a lot of potential, but I haven't done much with it.
Cruson Slough.

 And then the black and white edits of reflections.

The weather was dull and dreary, yet I was able to show my new friend all of the possibilities that were out there if you looked for them.

Rich did very well with being able to make coffee and doing his morning routine. I was back home by 11 o'clock and found him sitting and watching another murderous cop show. Indeed the perp on that show was not an Axe Murderer, but much worse. He captured women in a black van and chopped them up with a saw...eeeks!

It was a good thing John did not show up in a big black van with no windows.

Last note about John. He is an incredible entrepreneur. We discussed his ability to market his ideas. He told me how he was going to build his fledgling love for photography into money. He had a vision. I quipped that I had creative skills but NO marketing skills what so ever.
As I got out of his vehicle to go home, he said, "You know we can do your photography."

Lesson learned.
No harm in mentoring someone in photography. The favor may come back in an unexpected way.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Shooting Deer.

I think sitting still is one of the hardest things I've ever done. It wasn't bad early inn the morning. I brought my mini thermos of fresh hot coffee and sat quietly sipping it while watching out the blind that my Kenosha friends had brought and placed near the apple tree that sits in the Merry Meadow.

Here was one of the views.

It doesn't look like much at all. But with a little bucket to sit on or the chair that Daryl left behind, it wasn't bad. The cold winds didn't get to me and I brought that nice hot coffee.

I mean, what else is a tripod really for? I did find out that using a tripod was pretty useless when trying to 'shoot' deer. They don't stand still.

I 'shot' this doe through the screen on the side of the blind along the mule's summer pasture.

The electric fence is disconnected along this section of the pasture, as this portion of the land is in 'rest' mode. Also since the fence separates us from the neighbor's land ... we never let our mules out there during gun season. I sometimes have my reservations about the type of people that the neighbor's brother lets out on that land to hunt. [It is just safe to say that not all of those who walk that land in those 9 days are conscientious hunters.]

Here is the morning Doe smelling the air. She did a lot of head bobbing.

Then she moved a bit and I got a few more shots of her before she moved on.

I either moved in the blind and she saw me or that gust of wind that came from behind the blind gave away my smell. Either way, she turned and flagged her tail as she ran off.

I considered the outing a success because I got to take some nice photos of this one doe. But the little wildlife bug hit me and I decided to go back for an hour in the evening.

However I needed to dress just a bit warmer.

I walked out slowly to the blind at 3PM. A doe jumped up from the thicket of Buckthorn and ran north.
Oh darn.

I sat in the blind and listened to the wind gusts above me. It blew harder on the top of the ridge and the Meadow was half way between the ridge top and the valley floor.

I'd swapped to my long lens a Tamaron 18 to 200mm lens. It wasn't as sharp and clear as the 85mm prime lens I'd used in the morning and poor light is not its friend. It is a lot slower to focus, however I thought I'd give it a go anyway. Perhaps I could get a 'closer' shot with it.
Of course in my mind I was mulling over that used Nikon lens I'd seen, the 70-300 lens.
Oh sigh.
Now that I was enjoying sitting still and watching wildlife, perhaps I could do with a 'longer' lens.

And then the cheapo in me said "Wait, see what you can do with what you have."

My friend had mentioned a teleconverter. Okay.
Sigh again.

I finally pulled out my mini notebook and started to write. Just words. Things that were on my mind and bothering me. The call from the nurse who said my MIL was being evaluated for Assisted Living, was she a danger to herself alone? MIL had refused to shower or bath for months. I'd notified them in August when the Guardian took over.
I write: "Sitting alone in the blind right now is more satisfying than fielding calls about my MIL or trying to get my husband to get out of bed and move his body. 

Note: Let him win at Backgammon. He gets upset if he doesn't."

I put the little notebook down and just let my mind wander and decide that being in the blind just a few hundred yards from the house was a good thing. I didn't have to sit and watch my husband lean towards the screen and watch endless hours of Netflix.

"My feet are a bit cold. Next time I need wool socks in my boots. My hands oddly are warm. Strange right? 1/2 hour to go until chore time."

Oh! A doe!

She picks her way around and around. I wonder if she can hear the soft snap snap of the camera.

She moves off.

Time to pack up.

The light is fading fast and there isn't enough light to take a good photo now. I stand up and stretch only to come to a standstill.

A large buck is walking across the middle of the Meadow.

Oh .. Wow!

It would have been nice if he'd have followed the doe up to the apple tree so I could've gotten a good photo of him.

I watch him walk off. Then I walk up the little trail past the oak tree and then back down towards the little house.

Shooting Deer with the camera had been nice. Quiet time was nice.

And darkness falls into a cold November night.