Saturday, December 14, 2019

Well dang it...

I did it.

I purchased the 'Tough Camera'. Olympus Tough tg6.

And here are my first impressions with this camera.
The very first thing I did while turning it over in my hands was drop it.

Not on purpose, but because...well..., I just dropped it by accident.

I put the battery in and figured out how to charge it and got that immediately set up.
I put the Panasonic 'Lumnix' all weather camera next to it for comparison.
The Tough Camera has a lot more heft to it. Both cameras are weather sealed and pretty much impervious to snow and rain.

However the Tough camera has some exciting features that you normally do not find in point and shoot cameras.

Here is a photo of my Olympus OMD EM Mark iii, with a 14mm-150mm lens next to the Tough for size comparison.

The menus on both cameras are very similar so I will be right up to speed with the Tough camera.

The reviews said the Tough wasn't great in low light situations. My first shots were of some of my indoor decorations.

I let the camera pick the ISO in these shots and used P or Program mode to let the camera pick the f stop also.

These are straight from the camera with no adjustments.

Next I thought I'd try the 'Night Mode'. Olympus claims you can take a night shot hand held with a tiny bit of a longer exposure and NOT get a blurred photo.

Okay, they were not wrong.

I walked outside with Charlie and took a shot of the lights I put on the pine tree out front. The lights were too bright but then again, it was just and experiment. The shot was done with a 1/13th exposure.
I can easily see how I could get creative with this on a moonlit night with some snow!

I did another quick experiment with the macro mode. This camera has 4 macro modes. The white ring in the photo above helps light up what you are shooting in macro mode.
I only tried the basic macro.
There is a in camera focus stacking mode, a focus bracket mode, the plain macro mode [the one I used for the following photos], and a microscopic mode.

These are not touched up, but for the last two I laid nearly touched the flower petals with the lens. Normally that would cut out the light and the photos would be too dark. With the LED ring it lightens it up.

I'm sure I could have some fun with this and ice crystals in the creek!

One more macro shot.

This is a bead from a garland string. You can see the camera lens in the bead which is about the size of a large eraser. The white to the right is a white ribbon string which is reflected along with the other beads.

I'll bet you can't guess what I plan to do today!

Yep! Go for a hike! I'm just going to take this camera and see what I can pull off with it.
Can I take as good a photo as a full frame pricey camera? Nope. But I bet I can do some really cool things with it.

I'll experiment with the High Speed ... Slo Mo video feature along with some shots I'll do in the RAW mode with this.
The weather looks cold and dreary.

Perfect I think for taking a hike after all my morning chores are done.

Thursday, December 12, 2019


Just last week I noticed that my LaMancha Goat, Sven, seemed not to hear me when I came in the shed to feed him.
I checked his ears again and they were goopy on the outside. I used my gloves to clear the 'Mancha ear wax goop' and he shook his head like crazy and moaned about it in his quiet Goaty Voice.

I'd love to put him and Lil' Richard together in the same pen. I think in the winter he misses being staked out near his pony pal. I'm just not sure that Lil' Richard will leave the Dog Fence and gate alone [it is part of a dog kennel that I used to make a Goat Gate] unless I put up a hot wire. I was thinking of putting them together earlier this year and just never figured out quite how to do it.
Sven would still have his little goat door to get inside to his warm comfy pen. Hmmmm. Need to think about this better.

So the next day, I see Sven ... he is staggering and can't seem to keep his balance. I brought him very warm water to drink and he downed half a gallon. He was eating fine and talking in his loud Goat Voice. I notified my neighbor. She was doing the chores while I was out of town. And since I got Sven from her farm, I figured if something was clearly off, she'd know it right away.

I cleaned his ears again. He protested. Everything else was normal so I went off for my two and a half day break.

While on my tiny break, I decided to start researching LaMancha's and ear goop and gunk. It takes several key words but eventually I did find some mention of ear infections that are rare that become extremely serious and cause brain damage and head tilting along with swelling of part of the goat's face. I take the verbiage and use that as another search and end up reading about this aliment on a Veterinary site.

Sven's tiny ears need a bit more care than the average goat. I'm okay with that.

So yesterday I took the 'boys' out for a nice walk and Sven still doesn't have his normal goat balance going, but he is so much better than he was on Friday morning. His temperature is fine and he has no fever.

Even though it was bitterly cold, we took off for a short walk to the creek and back. I found a rock to sit on in the late afternoon sun and Sven browsed happily and stretched his legs.

He tried a magnificent leap that ended up with him falling into the snow and looking rather surprised about it.
He adjusted quickly and didn't try and daring moves again for the rest of the walk.

I need to be more conscious of walking the goat as well as walking the dog. Sven can be outside now next to Lil' Richard so he can have 'the herd' company when Charlie and I are not available.
However, Sven is very endearing and very social with both Charlie and I. And that is what I wished for.

After a long day driving for appointments, I did spend some time with Sven at chore time tonight. His ears seem to be clearing up. Let's hope so!
Adventures with Charlie and Sven await!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cold as a...well

My mom used to have a saying about that. It was not really printable, but it included a Well Digger and his rear end, if you get my drift.

I was rather productive yesterday. Cleaning the house, cleaning the stall, making Wild Soup [that includes Bart Beef]. I used canned tomatoes from my 2018 garden along with good helping of dehydrated corn, green beans, morel mushrooms, and some wild rice and squash to thicken things up like a stew.

The mist that fell yesterday made the driveway and mud into icy walkways. I could have gone to CrossFit, but decided with the dense fog to stay home and do all those homey things I didn't do over the weekend. Besides, I thought Rich would enjoy my company after I was gone for two days.

Funny. He was rather irritated that I vacuumed when he had decided to sit and watch NCIS of some form. I just did it. If I can't clean when he is napping or watching TV, then the house would remain dirty all of the time.

I came up with a brilliant plan for Lil' Richard the tiny pony. I moved him to another paddock that I'd made with a tarp for overhead shelter. When the winds decided to gust up to 30 mph it became a poor idea. He didn't really react much to it, but wouldn't get under the flapping thing for shelter.
I ditched the tarp until I can think of a way to make it work better.

OH! So...I should say that I shouldn't complain about the 'stuff' my husband accumulated, as some of that stuff came in handy yesterday.

I went back in the piles of odd pieces of plywood leftover from construction and found two pieces that were not square but would provide Lil' Richard with a wind break.
I got the cordless drill out and drilled holes in the plywood so I could attach it to the metal panels. I used old twine string to tie it to the panels.
The difference those pieces made in Mr. Pony's comfort was amazing. I stood behind the plywood while adjusting to it and was much warmer than I would have been in the wind!

I'm going to grab another scrap piece of plywood and make a little temporary roof for him since the tarp worked out badly.

Lil' Richard also gets to enjoy the indoor stall once in a while but with the cold spell coming on, I have pretty much reserved it for Mica who is a 'hard' keeper. Mica and Sunshine don't seem to appreciate the indoor accommodations much. They are rather restless in the morning when I get ready to do chores.
But at least I can halter the both of them up and they lead quite nicely together down the driveway to the gate and out to the wooded pasture.

The temperatures are at zero, the wind chill is supposed to be something like -10, but the sun is shining and all my critters are out sunning themselves as they eat their hay.

I do love living in a 'hollow'. The cold winds don't always get down here and when the sun shines, it is very pleasant.

I must say, I was pretty darned proud of my hillbilly solution to the windbreak.

Monday, December 09, 2019

A weekend break

Charlie had his first L...O...N...G car trip. At first he was nervous and did a lot of whining.
Charlie doesn't like bumpy roads. He stands up in his car seat and peers at the road and then me as if I could change the bouncing he feels.

He gets concerned over stop and go traffic too. He placed his feet on the console between us and tried to get as near to me as he could. I wasn't very nice, I pushed him back into his seat. He does have a harness and is tethered into his seat but apparently IF he really wants to he can stretch out of it.

Otherwise he was the perfect little traveler. He just gave me sleepy eyes once in a while and would 'navigate' for a bit then lay back down.

We got to my son's house and Charlie got reacquainted with Teslin. He is quick to understand that she doesn't want to play and would rather ignore him. He is fine with that.

Fun things we did:
Ikea. I loved that store and found a fake fur pillow cover for Charlie as a gift.
Rich loved the seat cushions I got!

Eating out at the Noble and meeting Amber. What a fun person!

Saturday was just as great.
I'll just let the photos do the talking....

Charlie met this young German Shephard named Shark. She is Amber's young dog who is full of boundless energy.
Charlie was pretty sure that Shark was going to eat him. Shark wanted to play with Charlie and Charlie wasn't too sure about that.

I think if Shark and Charlie had a few days to get used to each other, they'd get along just fine. Charlie loves to play but has never played with someone like Shark who is very vocal. After all, it took Charlie and Teslin about 3 days to get their pecking order figured out.

However by the time I took this photo of the fireplace, all dogs were sleepy and calm.

I had a perfect get away weekend.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Decisions .... Decisions...

Afternoon light in the creek. Taken with my aged Olympus DSLR.

Just tiny stuff I found yesterday afternoon while Charlie and I were hiking.

My first digital camera was an Olympus Stylus which hooked me on taking photos of very tiny things.

Here are some samples:

This tiny camera went literally everywhere with me. In a pocket or in my cargo pants pocket. I'd hike with Morris or ride Badger and find neat things large and small to photograph. In fact, this tiny camera produced more than one cover to Mules and More Magazine back in the day.


I do love hiking. But I don't like carrying a lot of 'stuff' while hiking. My current little point and shoot just doesn't measure up to most of what I'd like to do. It doesn't take very good macros, and it's sunsets literally are flat. However, since it is 'weather/water resistant' I take it out during snow storms while skiing cross country or snowshoeing.

And it is handy to have a good solid weather proof camera when out doing chores in the worst of weather. So much to see!

The saying is ... "The best camera you have is the one with you." That rings true with cell phones [I don't dare take mine out in the rain/snow/sleet and freezing cold] and with pocket cameras.

After the first Olympus Stylus, I went through a couple of Pentax Optio cameras, which I promptly destroyed after a year or so. Drops and just over use. I've always tried to keep a pocket camera around that was weather proof and took great macro shots.

I haven't been able to find a decent one until just lately when I was looking at the new all weather resistant Olympus OMD EM5 Mark iii. I have an old OMD EM5 that was weather resistant and I am still using it but it is wearing out. I can use it for both infrared and regular. I rarely take the Nikon out any longer. It hates cold and humid conditions. I only use it on 'nice' days and this past year have only used it to take family photos.
The Nikon is like carrying a few concrete bricks compared to the Olympus which is lightweight and compact.

The new Oly OMD EM5 Mark iii, is what I want with so many features. But I can't justify the expense until my aged one makes its last gasp. But. I love the new features it has. The new camera is pricey. I could get the older model for much less.

Enter the next best thing.
This tiny pocket camera IS waterproof. It has 4 different macro modes. My heart BE still!
And it has all the features and the same processor as the high end Olympus cameras.

I could carry this with me all of the time. My back pack wouldn't be full of camera stuff. I could carry just snacks, water, and treats for Charlie. Hmmm. Perfect for those hikes that I want to just get out and go.

Decisions, decisions.

What to do?

I think Charlie should put one in one of my UnTree Boxes.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Oh Charlie

We had a great sunny morning so I decided to take off with Charlie and go to the creek to take advantage of the low winter morning light. Most of the day parts of the creek stay in the shadow so some parts of the creek freeze up quickly with cold temperatures.

I have a list of to do's before I can take off to go visit my son for a couple of days, so I thought I'd take an early morning walk to clear up my thinking.

Charlie was on a mission, he charged down the trail as if he knew exactly where I was going. He only stopped when I turned to step over the fence to the neighbor's side. He followed and then found the deer trail down into the creek and up the other side.

I followed so I could take a shot from the higher bank on the opposite side of where I normally shoot this little spot.

I set things up quickly.

I took a shot of the upper pond. It is hard to explain but over the years the boulders have tumbled in such a way that there are two little ponds with tiny falls in them.

Charlie sat next to me on the bank and just waited.

When I said let's go, he led the way.

I made a few quick stops to take some shots to make a comparison to earlier in the year.
 Somewhat the same spot right after our
November 6th snowfall.

One of these times I'm going to have to take some spray paint and mark 3 dots in one spot and use those painted spots to take the same shot in all 4 seasons.
I always think I can eyeball it and recall how I shot it previously, but obviously I can't...not very well, at least.

I went to take a shot of these mini falls and noticed that Mr. Charlie was sitting on a rock watching. He'd been doing this off and on the last couple of times we hiked together.
I stop, he stops.
He waits.

We go on.

I did get a nice shot and then turned to look at the place that normally has some rather exotic ice formations on the grass.


Someone who saw this photo said "Oh look at Charlie! He wears hearts on his chest!"
Oh Charlie.

I'd like to think he is filling Mr. Morris's paw prints of becoming the Photography Assistant.

I know it isn't real. But hey. Charlie watches me just like Morris did and when I gather my camera case, he is ready to rock and roll.
And now he is willing to sit and wait while I fiddle around.

Monday, December 02, 2019

More UnTree

What on earth are YOU talking about? NO one does Christmas without a Christmas tree right?

Well I'm sure there are folks who do!

I'm just looking for something different and fun.

I don't know exactly where to start, so I'll just start with what caught my eye as I was twiddling my thumbs.

Last year I took some time to wander around the Walmart clearance section. I saw a lot of Teddy Bears lined up on shelves. One had only one eye.

It wasn't something I was looking for. But I drove home with my list filled up and the thought of that Pink One Eyed Teddy Bear kept coming back to me.

I have no idea why.
I needed to pick something up the next day. Most of the Bears were gone. The one eyed bear was pushed to the side. I was so relieved for some reason and stuck it in my basket. At the check out one of the lady's pointed out that this Teddy was defective, did I really want it?
I smiled and said that I was positive I wanted just as it was.

Welcome Pink Teddy with one eye in one of my crates. She has gold ribbons, beads, and a very festive and vintage handkerchief around her neck. She looks happy. The kerchief is actually one of my Grandmother Pearl's fancy handkerchiefs.  I put this together and sat back. Grandma's 'kerchief' and the Teddy Bear no one wanted. Beautiful. I knew this Bear had some sort of purpose!

The next box has some of my 'toys' that I like to take on hikes. I know, but it is fun to find odd places to put Teddy Bears and other toys.

These were Thrift Shop toys. Toys from the back room that had fallen between other toy piles.
I had picked them up and held on to them for a long time. They appealed to me in a way so I brought them home.

Oh look. 3 little bears! And then there is Rabbit and Bear! I bet you are wondering how I got those two beany bears to stand. Hah. Not telling my secrets.

Another item under construction. These are... twig trees with little red light up ornaments. They are not super bright. I used floral foam blocks inside the old sewing drawer to stick them in and then a bag of glass marble like fillers to hold it all in place. The checker board is topping a crate. It was an old handpainted checkerboard piece that hung in my MIL's apartment.

Hopefully this isn't boring anyone.

Here is a look at the whole 'display'...which has already been changed up a bit since I took the photo yesterday.

Note the Gnome with the Skunk Hat! A wonderful young lady who is the DIL of my MIL's sister...okay yeah...that was an odd way of describing her....

...she makes these! She calls them Nisse.
Pretty neat right?

Stay tuned. More to come from the boxes and then I move on to some other fun items.
A story behind most every one with a beautiful memory.