Thursday, February 28, 2008

Graduation...8 weeks


I will graduate at the end of April. Ok...
I started this process in 1974.
I will end it in 2008.
My dad, he'd be proud, I know and I am comforted by this thought.
My brother and sister are happy with my achievement as well as my boys, so I should be happy?
Ah.
One person is missing from the equation. One person I'd like to send my 'report card' to. To show her that I achieved a GPA of 4.0 in COLLEGE.
Mom.
I'd like her to say.
'Good job'.

That would make it for me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Been Moody...



Yeah I have. Don't know why or what from. Boredom from being at work? I found and played this song and of course that did NOT bring my mood up any which way at all.
Sarah McLachlan-Angel

I think I am suffering from Spring Fever -- Cabin Fever and whatever. I've decided not to post links to my speech after all. If someone wants to listen to me talk they can ask for it. I know, bad attitude but it is
cold and
I am
so
tired
today.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Speech Class is Done!

Well I did it, I finished my speech class!
I probably have the very best neighbors in the world. This is the second time they invited me to use their nice house and the Mrs. made a wonderful meal for the audience. Mr. helped by being my Tech Man.
This speech impressed Rich as he had not heard it. He said, 'Wow you had so much feeling and liveliness to your speech'.
Well being persuasive is supposed to be that way.
My topic was Hippotherapy and as I did research on it I not only read abstracts from studies, research, but also interviewed people that I knew who had done it. I also read Blogs from parents who have had their children in Hippotherapy. The stories are worth reading as they are uplifting and important as I wish the medical community would recognize how much good Hippotherapy really can do if it is done consistently.

I also was able to relate a personal story from being one of the first 4H leaders to work with a handicapped child and a horse.
At the time, I didn't know a thing about Hippotherapy--but what I did know is that this child and the horse had a profound effect on not only her learning, but on me personally.

I'll probably post the links to it tomorrow. Tonight I'm going to sit back and relax finally.

This little video of Morris was from our hike yesterday. You can now see how a JRT deals with deep snow. He is such a determined fellow and I love him dearly. The crunching you may hear was me trying to keep up with him while trudging knee deep in snow...with snow shoes on.


video

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hiking and Donkeys


The sun was bright and the air was so warm, I didn't wear my coveralls, just a sweatshirt and a light jacket with my sport pants [nylon pants lined with sweat pant material]. I put on my snow shoes and started off on a great adventure.
It was 25 degrees with no wind. But the sun felt so incredibly warm, it was delightful. And yes, I forced Morris to come along. I scooped him up and tucked him under my arm and then dropped him into the snow when we got on top of the ridge.

Morris survived the hike better than I did, the warmth of the sun made me hot! I took off my gloves and hat. Hiking hatless and gloveless in February. Of course I think the snow being knee deep even with snowshoes on had something to do with it.

Morris and I found that taking deer trails were easier than making our own...
There was no action down at the creek so I headed back home.

This afternoon I started 'working' with our pregnant donkey, Princess. She has an inside 'stall' that will keep her out of the weather when she gives birth. After she foals I plan on starting her under saddle.
Princess will not allow Morris in her pen unless I am with him. After today she allowed Morris to sit on her back. Okay not a great feat, but when you think about the fact that normally a donkey will kill a coyote or strange dog...allowing a quivering Jack Russell on your back is a major step in the trust area.
I don't train my equine like the gurus do. I work on trust first then we go to work on the rest.
I find this makes an animal more reliable when under saddle.
Stay tuned for more donkey and mule tidbits. I hope to get our Peruvian mule out tomorrow and get her in the round pen for a learning session.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oh oh...something fun!


On a whim I sent a photo of the Valentine's Day Storm from last week to our local National Weather Service in LaCrosse. I'm very tickled to say that they used it for their '2008 Valentine's Day Winter Storm'!!!

Click Here to see the picture. You can also see the photo by clicking on it. It was pretty exciting for me at least.

Yesterday I tried to take a walk in the woods just to take a look at the ice that is still on the multi-flora rose bushes. I was nearly hip deep in snow!
Morris followed in my tracks and then decided to venture out on his own.
He got stuck.
He would have become a pupcicle if I didn't help him out.
He doesn't want to go with me in the woods right now but is happy to run up and down the driveway and the beaten down footpaths in the yard.
Until we have a melt, he may have to stay home and not accompany me on my walks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cool as all get out...


I just got an email confirmation that the National Weather Service is going to use a photo similar to this one to put on their Valentine's Day Snowstorm Summary!
I guess I'm pretty tickled.
I get my name on the photo but no big prize. I just thought what the heck I'd submit a photo and see what transpires.

Tomorrow I see the head of the clinic that I'm going to do my internship at. I have a feeling I'll be doing much of the jobs that he has openings for. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

One last hurdle for this week is my Final Exam in the Medical Office Class [no biggy]--and my Final Speech for Speech class.
The flu is hitting our area hard so coming up with healthy bodies is looking like a challenge. Of course having it at my house requires 4 wheel drive...and that is tricky at best.

So okay...just concentrate on the good things! ...and take a great big breath. This old gal isn't used to all this excitement.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beautiful, dangerous ice.



The sun was shining went I drove up our hill and out of our driveway. My one neighbor to our west and I had talked last night and she'd said that the road in front of her house was awful,..terrible, drifted in and even though it had been plowed when our local sheriff's deputy had gotten stuck Sunday evening...it was still nasty.
I decided to head into the valley and drive up to Viroqua using the state highway.
Sorry---
No pictures! My knuckles were white, I didn't dare do anything to take away my concentration on our backroads of glass.
The trees glittered, literally blindingly glittered in the sunlight. Oh how I longed to find a spot to pull over and take some fantastic shots.
Well...
there was no place to stop. Stopping meant that I may not have gotten going again!
The road looked like glass, frosted glass. Any fast move and I would be sitting in a ditch.

But oh the sight, it literally took my breath away.

And tonight they are calling for snow. Lovely white snow.
2-4 inches.
What we call a 'dusting' now-a-days.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weather...blizzard?


I cut and pasted this from out Weather Service in LaCrosse...
I want to re-read this when it is all said and done.
We have taken the precautions to feed all of our animals with round bales and stocked up the water tanks.
We set aside drinking water and have moved our vehicles into the shed with the skid steer in front. This storm is looking very very ugly.
I love a good storm when I am NOT traveling.
On a happy and fun note I took video of me riding Badger in the snow today! Weeee, it was fun! He got into a couple of drifts that made my feet touch the snow!

This was done in the yard as the snow in the open field behind us was really too deep for any fun. Plus I didn't want to hurt him.



651 PM CST SAT FEB 16 2008

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM
SUNDAY TO

MIDNIGHT CST SUNDAY NIGHT...

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM SUNDAY TO
MIDNIGHT CST SUNDAY NIGHT.

HEAVY PRECIPITATION WILL SPREAD INTO THE AREA LATE TONIGHT
...AND
COVER THE ENTIRE WARNING AREA BY SUNDAY MORNING.
ALONG AND SOUTH
OF A WEST UNION TO RICHLAND CENTER LINE...
HEAVY FREEZING RAIN OR

SLEET IS LIKELY...WITH SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATIONS
BETWEEN A
QUARTER AND A HALF AN INCH...BEFORE
CHANGING TO HEAVY SNOW SUNDAY

MORNING. THE REST OF THE WARNING AREA WILL SEE ALL SNOW
...WITH
ACCUMULATIONS FROM 5 TO 1O INCHES. SOME LOCATIONS
IN THE HEAVIEST
SNOW BANDS WILL NO DOUBT SEE
GREATER THAN A FOOT OF A SNOW.


INCREASING NORTHWEST WINDS WILL DEVELOP SUNDAY
MORNING AND
CONTINUE TO INCREASE SUNDAY AFTERNOON.
BLOWING SNOW WILL BECOME
WIDESPREAD AS
THE DAY WEARS ON...WITH POTENTIAL NEAR BLIZZARD

CONDITIONS AS WINDS GUST TO 40 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
THIS STORM HAS THE CAPABILITY TO COMPLETELY
SHUT DOWN TRAVEL IN
THE WARNING AREA..
.AND PERSONS ARE URGED TO NOT TRAVEL AT ALL ON

SUNDAY. FOR THOSE THAT SEE SIGNIFICANT ICING...
THE STRONG WINDS

MAY CREATE DAMAGE TO INFRASTRUCTURE...IN DOWNED POWER
LINES...EXTENDED LOSS OF POWER...AND DOWNED TREES. TAKE
PRECAUTIONS THIS EVENING BEFORE THE STORM HITS.

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW...
SLEET...AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG
WINDS ARE ALSO
POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL
VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.







video

Friday, February 15, 2008

Grandma! A 4 yr old's conversation....

My grandaughter who is 4 got on the phone tonight. Her mom was busy with her little brother and so Miss A. had me all to herself.
Yeah.
It went something like this:

*Grandma, we are going to have a play day when it gets nicer. You can come down and see me but call first to make sure my brother is taking a nap. Then go to Great Grandma's and pick her up and drive very fast to my house. If you get a ticket tell them to make it a 'prize ticket'. But hurry so I don't have to wait forever.*
[She is 2.5 hrs from me!]

*We will play in the sandbox and then take a walk over to there...[pause on the phone while she points to me] and then we can come back and maybe have a picnic at the bottom of my hill. I will ask momma to make us a picnic in her basket.*

I ask-- Will momma join us?

*Oh no, momma has chores to do in the house and my brother has to nap.*

I ask--Who will make the picnic?

*Momma will make the picnic and we will have it in her basket and then we will use your blanket, do you have a blanket? [I say yes] Then we will play in the sandbox and maybe go for a walk. But you have to hurry and get here when my brother is sleeping.*

I ask--What about Grandpa Rich and Great Grandma?

*They can stay in the house and talk. We can play.*

I think to myself...it is -10 degrees outside and my grandaughter and I are making summer plans.

;-)

*Then grandma when we get hot or tired we can go in my room and play. Then you can go home. But you should stay overnight.*

Oh yeah.
I love it!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow!


I should be getting tired of snow right? We've had 80 some inches of the stuff this year and it has been a constant delight.
I've become a better, braver driver.
I've gotten in great shape [snow shoeing!].
I've had many opportunities to 'shoot' winter scenes.
I've started to wonder what the sun looks like...though I did see a bit of it last night.

Snow!
We measured 11.5 inches of it today. At one point it was coming down at the rate of an inch per half hour.
Morris went swimming in it.
We had a wonderful walk in it...but stuck to the road as off the road was up to my hips in places!
And of course the mules had a wonderful time providing us with great entertainment this afternoon after the snow stopped!

video

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How To 'Wave'

In our part of rural Wisconsin there is a particular thing that happens if your drive a full sized pickup truck. It does not have to be new or shiney, just a pickup. This phenomenon doesn't seem to occur when I am driving my '95 Cavalier. In fact I seem to be invisible in the car.
I drove my GMC 4X4 yesterday and today because of our rather snowy weather. And yes, I did have to use 4 wheel drive to break through some sizeable drifts that were across both our back road and our county road.

This particular thing is the one fingered wave. The other driver, who is usually driving a pickup also, lifts one finger or a few and waggles them at you as you pass on the back roads. In the summer, when you meet a farmer on a tractor, the same thing applies. This is the very rural way of saying howdy as you pass each other on the backroads.

Not only that, I know that if I were to have trouble and break down...or 'fall' into the ditch. One of those people would stop and help out a stranger. I would too. I see it often on our county roads. Last week a car slide off into the ditch on ice. Another car stopped to offer the 'ditched' driver a warm place to sit while the tow truck and sheriff arrived.

This is my rural community. Tight knit and willing to help a neighbor even if they don't really know them.

And the finger wave. I've gotten it down to an art now. I can do it as well as any other driver.

Sample of today's drive...

video

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Eagle

I walked outside in the crisp morning air to start my truck before going to work. All night wicked winds had howled and blown snow across roads and across our driveway.

I looked up for some reason and stood transfixed. A bald eagle with his/her white head was soaring slowly above me. Close enough that I could see it watching me. I didn't move, I couldn't move.
The eagle made 10 circles above me. I counted, I watched. Then it slowly lifted into the morning air and soared off high and out of my sight.

It is very hard to explain how I felt. It was 'spiritual' I guess. That is my only explanation. I was touched by an eagle.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Out and about...



I think the snowshoeing is building great strength in my legs. I know it makes Morris very happy and tires him out. Most of the time he tries to walk on top of my snowshoe backs in the very deepest of snows.
The first picture is of him following a 'game' trail. I think we were following a well used coyote and other small critter trail along the bottom of the creek.

Today was nice actually the winds had not yet started and the snow held off until I got home. I think I could have wandered about all day if I'd packed a lunch.
We came to one area that always gives me a strange feeling...and it did today also. A friend of ours had died a in a 4 wheeler accident near where I walk. Today it was so silent. Generally I see a red cardinal somewhere close by and it usually sings to me. I feel like it must be my friend's spirit keeping an eye out for me in the woods.
I missed the cardinal today.

I wonder where he was? He probably knew bad weather was coming and decided to get out of the area.
I was enchanted by the wildlife I did get to see though. It is mating season with the crows, you should see the strange dance they do.
What a restful wonderful walk.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Oh what fun...it is to walk...


I got out! I really did! Not as early as I wanted to, I would have 'caught' the heavy frost and probably gone up on the ridge instead of down into the valley. Morris was very happy to go along although he probably doesn't look like it in this picture.
By the way, have you ever tried sitting down with snow shoes on? That part isn't hard, it is the getting up again that can be tricky.
I had a great opportunity to shoot some wonderful little water falls shots, but with no tripod the timed shots turned out...well awful.
So I'll just have to go back on another day.

I certainly surprised a bunch of snowmobile riders who didn't expect to see a dog and a person with a camera! I saw their helmets turn towards me as I fired off a couple of shots...with my camera, not my .22 pistol. They were the only disturbance we had out there.
It was a wonderful day adventure. At one point I climbed over rocks [picture this with snow shoes on!] to sit on a huge rock to get a better angle for a photo. I slipped a bit and gasped. Next thing I know I had a wet JRT who jumped into my lap.
I don't know if he was trying to save me or get warm.
But he stuck his wet snowy nose right on my polarizer filter.

Well no harm done. We trudged through the ice crusted snow to the end of the valley and I used my little video camera to catch some sights and sounds of the water falling over the rocks.

video

A day away from School...


Generally I'm not a complainer...er maybe I am. Well I'm gathering my snowshoes and my assorted cameras and taking off into the woods. It looks like I'm going to miss the gorgeous frost display by waiting to help Rich feed hay to the 'gal' pasture. The sun has broken out and it is snowing lightly.
I know to our south and east they got dumped on yesterday with 12" and upwards of snow. There is a thick layer of ice under the snow so I am unable to take Badger out to ride him and I really feel that the fresh air will do wonders as I prepare for my Final Exam speech.
I'm still waiting to hear from anyone!!! about my internship that should start around the 15th of this month. It is agonizing to not hear from either my Internship Adviser nor the person who is in charge of the clinic where I am to intern!
Too me, getting out hiking is just about as good as riding. My mind actually clears of all thoughts of school, work, and everything else.
Instead it goes into 'forest' mode. Listening for animals, looking at tracks, feeling with my senses and sharpening my whole being.
Others do meditation, I do the 'woods'.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

My assistant...


My assistant photographer accompanied me on a small walk today. His assorted duties, aside from looking silly as he tries to 'swim' through the snow are as follows:
1. Eat the 'smart pills' that deer drop ...they look like raisins.
2. Walk across the ice to have it collapse under you...
3. Look tough and menacing, hold the pose so you can get your picture taken...
4. Look pitiful and cold so Val will pick you up to unfreeze your feet [from falling in the creek on thin ice]
5. Always, always act happy [except when wanting to be carried then see #4]
6. Amuse the human always, it gets you treats when you get home.


video