Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring in the New Year...


Thoughts for the New Year and Old...

Mend a quarrel
Search out a forgotten friend
Dismiss a suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a letter to someone who misses you.
Encourage a youth who has lost faith.
Keep a promise.
Forget and old grudge.
Examine your demands on others and vow to reduce them.
Fight for a principle.
Express a gratitude.
Overcome an old fear.
Take two minutes to appreciate the beauty of nature.
Tell someone you love them.
Tell them again.
And again.
And again.

(author unknown)

Eddie Update.....

Tonight we moved Eddie indoors ... gave him a pail of water.

He drank and drank.

Apparently he believes something is very wrong with the water tank [heated] he has been using along with Sunshine, Sundance and others.

Eddie is doing fine, right now.

He is a bit of a mystery.

But I know donkeys can be very finicky regarding their water. Perhaps his long ears got in 'touch' with the electric line that separates him from the mare and molly mule pasture.

This is a mystery to me also as he has been in this paddock since July...and has never had an issue with the water tank...

All I know is that he is eating, drinking, and seems to be happy as a clam...errr a gelding donkey!

What a day.

More Donk Troubles

More troubles with Eddie.

For some reason he is down again and not able to get up. Ever try and get a vet on New Yrs Eve?
We did have him checked out.
Nothing wrong with him at all.

I'm sure there must be.

We have to go back out now and try and get him back on his feet.
Wondering if we put him inside, if that will make a difference. But inside we cannot lift him with the skid steer so easily...
tonight is supposed to be especially wicked and cold.

I'll post more later...
[sad face]

[the photo was taken yesterday when he was up and about playing like a young donkey]

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cast Donkey ~ How do You pick them up?


I looked out the window and noticed that Eddie the little gelding donkey was laying down next to the feeder.
I didn't think much of it as Sundance had done it yesterday and soaked up some sunshine while she snoozed.
The day before Sundance's older sister had lay in the loose hay also for a bit.

My hubby left to go get some round bales of hay with his hay hauler. I promised that after I'd done some things inside the house that I'd go out and check everyone and also fill the water tanks.

I went over to check on Eddie to see why he hadn't gotten up when I came outside. After some tugging and pushing, I went and got a halter and lead rope.
I rolled him, I swatted him with a whip...to no avail. That donkey was NOT getting up.

He'd also been down for a while. I noticed that he...okay, this is gross, had seemed not to have passed any manure. This could be a problem...a gut ache?
I reached down and used my hand to clear him of manure and he passed a fair amount of gas.

Okay. Maybe a bellyache? He certainly didn't act as if he was coliced.

Well it was obvious that I couldn't get him up without help.

Then an old muleskinner's words came to me. The fella had a mule stuck in muck and she refused to get up. He said he'd been riding her, got into some swampy stuff and she laid right down and refused to get up. He said he'd tugged, pushed, swatted...nothing worked. Then he decided to do what he'd done to his cows when they wouldn't get up.
Grabbed the nose and shut off the wind. Cows will struggle to their feet when their wind is blocked. His mule did too.

Now that sounds awful cruel, but I decided Eddie would just get weaker. I clamped my hand over his nose. His eyes grew wide as he found he couldn't breath. Suddenly his legs were going every which way flaying like mad. He lunged to his feet and fell directly on his nose, gasping.

He was too weak to stand on his own.

Hubby pulled in and we designed a sling out of 2 western cinches. We used the skid steer to pull him to his feet and hold him there.

After about 5 minutes of gassing and passing, Eddie seemed to gain his balance. He was shaky but could stand.
He made his way across the paddock to the water tank and took a drink, then made his way back to the hay bale and began to eat.

...as if nothing had ever happened.

Surely if we'd have let him lay there, he would not be out there this morning in the moon light munching away and braying when I open the back door.

I do love having the animals in paddocks close enough to the house in the winter so that I can see them!
For good reason!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Of Puppy Dog Tails and Old Man Trails...



I nagged and nagged.

I'm a good nagger.

Hubby finally agreed to get bundled up and take a 'hike' with me around the perimeter of the mare and molly mule's summer pasture.

The walking wasn't easy for dog nor human after an 18" snowstorm and 1.5" of rain/sleet/ice. The snow had a hard crust that you'd break through every other step.

Yet Morris and Dottie seemed to be able to find time to play and run. Dottie was a bit more confused as she'd run behind Morris who would stay on top of the crust...suddenly she'd go through and 'pancake' out with her head buried in the snow.

True to puppy nature, she'd get up and shake the snow off her face and then open up her mouth and 'bawl' with a beautiful hound dog voice at Morris. Morris of course, seemed to laugh and turn on the speed...until he too broke through and did a nose dive.
True to his Jack Russell nature, he just popped back up and continued running.

By the time we got home, we were all tired.
The dogs had both discovered that it was SO much easier to let their humans break trail for them...follow your master and you didn't get a snootful!

We checked the dogs' pads to make sure their were no cuts from the rough ice and snow surface...then...

Dottie went into her house and took a nice long nap.
Morris?



video

Not Ready Yet!

I'm not ready yet to take down my Christmas Tree...and neither is Morris, I believe.
He enjoys sitting nearly under it and dozing.

[It is near where the heater blower is...I wonder...I'm thinking he loves the heater and not necessarily the Tree]

No matter, I like the bright cheery decorations and haven't tired of them or the warm soft glow of the lights at night. They look very inviting through the window when one is standing outside looking in.

Think Giving all year long.

Think of making someone smile, whether or not they are a close friend or relative
....or perhaps a complete stranger.

My motto for the day:

Be Nice.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Christmas Eve Smile

I was in a frazzled and dour mood.
The National Weather Service had issued a Winter Storm Warning predicting 5 to 7 inches of snow on top of the sleet and ice we were getting.
I tried to rest for my midnight shift but did a poor job of it with images of iced roads, flying snow, and getting stuck in the ditch crossing my mind.

It was silly. I'd spent the entire day fretting over something that I had no control over what so ever.
Finally at about 7pm, I announced that I was going to get a start.
Silly right?
I had only had a 30 mile drive.

The gravel road allowed for NO mistakes.
It was shiny, wet, glaring ice with minuscule dots of gravel showing in my headlights.

Iced silvery tree branches dipped and bobbed in the slashing wind and...and the
rainy
snowy
icy stuff.

I negotiated the gravel road and dropped back off the ridge and onto the black top county road. The thrill of the black top road was short lived as I followed its snake-like curves through slippery slush, puddles, and patches of snow that hid the ice underneath.

This was to be the nature of the roads this black inky rain slashed night. Rapid fire adjustment to Mother Nature's winter mix was the challenge. And to do it without ending up in the ditch.

I stopped in town for fuel and a cup of coffee.

As I handed over my money for the coffee the woman behind the counter smiled and with true honest warmth said, *Merry Christmas!*

Indeed.

Her cheer was contagious. I replied in kind.
*Merry Christmas!*

I wore a smile on my face as I ducked the snow/sleet/mix and headed for the truck. The weather was horrendous, the twisted roads a white knuckle challenge and yet somehow two words from a stranger had lightened my heart and set my mind at ease.

Merry Christmas indeed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Angels on my shoulders



An Angel must follow me around...really...really I believe this is so.

I never see her, but this could be what she may look like...just behind me...over my shoulder, watching me create and write here at my desk.

Thank you my Angel.

Driving in the snow...in a ol' GMC truck~~


Driving through the snow,
In an ol' GMC truck

Prayin' that the 4X4
Will not get you stuck

You gotta get some groceries,
From that place called Town.

Hoping like heck
You ain't run over by some clown.

The wind is just a blowin'
You cannot barely see.

Now where'd that stupid road go
It used to be by that tree.

~~~~Well you get the idea. The weather is pretty ugly and is only going to get uglier for the next day or so.
I lucked out of driving in the last nasty storm. Our roads in the township drift closed rather quickly.

[Today I had to drive through several small drifts, not very daunting in the daylight when you can see where you are going...and the truck can handle it...but....]

I have to be to work by tomorrow night at midnight. I may leave very early to get there, and depending on the weather, it could be a bear trying to come home across 30 miles of ridges and valleys.

Don't get me wrong, I love storms, I love to be out in them.
With Snowshoes!
Not with a vehicle!

Two years ago:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A little Christmas Magic...


Stuck down by the Diagnonsis of an upper respiratory infection, which really only means a very bad cold. [Although the good doctor heard...'noises in the lungs'] ~~~

This me leaves in a position.

I cannot go out for long hikes with Morris in the newly falling snow. This also means that I can't be out playing in the creek bottom taking photos, or trying to make a snow horse. I'm supposed to 'behave' myself. I hate behaving myself when it means staying inside when there is so much to explore outside.


However, it does allow me some free time to play inside with the photos I do have already and get creative.

Both photos are of my Christmas tree. The second one I worked over in Elements 5. I created some 'Amazing Circles' and faded one to look like a 'bubble' of sorts or appear to be a opaque glass ornament...
One never knows what I'll come up with...when the imagination runs a bit wild.

More to come after I figure out how to use some other special effects brushes.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Being Sick

Being sick sucks.
This is the first time in over a year I've had to call in sick to work.

102 fever, sore throat...icky...

after some tea, back to my nice warm covers...

No hikes for a day or two ... me thinks.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Photography


This is the orginal image photographed yesterday. Although it is a decent enough photo showing the frost in the snow and the grass peeping through it, I felt it needed a little pizazz.

I used a Photoshop Plug in called Topaz Detail and helped boost the photo. This handy little plug-in works great for certain photos. You wouldn't want to use it on a lot of things, but I felt it worked so well on this frosted photo, that it warranted a mention.
Oh...I am currently using Adobe Elements 5 and this plug in works just fine on it.

I like shooting in the snow. It presents a whole new set of issues for photography. Not to mention how to keep your delicate cameras from getting froze up or moisture on them.

A handy site to read about protecting your camera in the cold is here:
How to do Photography in the Winter
"Protecting Your Camera:
Try keeping your camera as warm as possible as most malfunctions occur due to cold
batteries. If you can, keep your camera inside your coat and always use alkaline batteries whenever it is possible. Take along as many extra batteries as you feel you might need based on the temperature. If it is snowing, protect your camera with a zip-lock bag. Cut an opening for the camera lens and viewfinder. If needed, wrap a rubber band around the bag and camera to hold the bag in place. Do not blow the snow off the camera lens as the condensation from your breath might freeze on the lens. Brush all snow off instead. When you are done for the day, place the camera into a small plastic bag to protect from condensation on the camera when it is brought inside. Don't breathe through your nose on the camera's viewfinder when you photograph as you might create some ice on the viewfinder due to condensation."

If it is bitterly cold, I use my Pentax Optio W60.
Weatherproof, waterproof [to a degree] ... and they claim, freeze proof.

Lastly, shooting against all snow with an overcast sky can have special challenges too. The snow appears gray. To my eye it appeared whiter. I love winter photography. Images can be so much simpler. There isn't any busy foliage to 'muck' things up.
Plus, it is fun to get outside and get exercise!

Of course my hubby thinks I am not quite right in the head anyway.

Time to tune up the snow shoes!


The creek offers endless fun and patterns.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coyotes and the Creek


Morris is a trooper.

If I get my coveralls on and slide the gun belt on he is like...*Let's go NOW!* He is always ready, willing ... and gosh love him...able.

We walked the creek bottom. Of course, where else?
Actually this is the path used in the winter by most of the wild life. We saw raccoon tracks, possum tracks, and many deer signs.

Morris was a bit nervous about going with me past the Coyote den. It looks active this year. Last year no coyotes were using it.
I've had coyotes follow at a distance especially during breeding season. They like little dogs as a snack, I guess. Or perhaps they just don't like them in their territory.

I don't think I realized before how well Morris blends in with the creek bottom during the winter. He actually looks camouflaged doesn't he?

I brought along a little tripod to set up some water fall photos. Well we didn't get to any little waterfalls but I did use the tripod to set up a photo of myself and Morris.
This is what I look like in the woods.

Old coveralls.
Winter boots.
Stocking cap, or my Elmer Fudd hat.
Gloves.
Cameras.
Radio [2-way].
Pistol.
Snack in a back pack.

Mr. Morris is sound asleep on the couch, dreaming no doubt about going back out soon and playing in the woods.

As I did chores at dusk this evening, the coyotes serenaded us with their eerie voices echoing up the valley.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What a Day!



Last night I uploaded grand kid's book.
Well, after I put a link to it on Facebook I received an IM from a co-worker asking if he could order 2 books.
I was floored.

Then one of my neighbors asked for a copy also. Ohhhh-kay!

This morning I had an email from a woman in California asking if she could purchase a copy of the book for her kids.
Again my mouth fell open.

Of course!

I took another neighbor a dozen chicken eggs, she wanted to see my flowers book...the one called 'The Enchanted Forest'.
I took it with. We had a cup of tea while we browsed the book together.
She decided on the spot that her folks and her husband's folks each had to have a copy.
Take deep breaths here, I told myself. No way I could have a day like this!

I mean I'm not really trying to promote the books, I made them for my own entertainment and fun.
I ordered the Soft Cover copies for her, as they are more economically priced.

With THAT done, I went back to doing 'farm' work.
Lots of watering to take care of. The hens had fresh water 3 times today. In return, they gave me 3 eggs.
What a bunch of lovely girls.

I got poor hubby off his sick bed and had him dump round bales into each of the winter pastures.
The donkey gals sure sounded off with pleasure.
All I saw were donkey butts....
As the evening drew close to sunset, I walked up to the ridge to get the mail. Well...the photograph will tell it all~~

pretty.

~and just remember this, if you are surrounded by nature, it changes every day. Look at each day with new eyes.

I had a full day. It was wonderous in so many ways.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How do we love winter?


The thermometer outside reads....
-------- eeks!
-5!


This is COLD!

When the temperatures dip like this at night, I think of those critters who live outside and think...man, I'd like to grow some fur!

Actually. I drove into town today and got groceries. Okay, not exciting at all, right?
The temps were very cold.
I drive from out in the boonies on some very poor back-roads.

I also dress for the weather. Always the oddball, I wore a stocking cap and insulated boots along with a scarf and...of course my ugly coveralls. What part of -15 windchill did they NOT get?

Can you imagine the looks I got from the city folk? No, I suppose not.
I however was not wearing a 'pile' of makeup, lipstick, and no hat. I did not have my hair done up.
I was not dressed for impressions but for survival in case the old Cavalier broke down on a back road.
No stockings, or tight jeans, no heels, and no fancy pretty coat.

I am no fashion diva that is for sure.

When I got home I dumped the groceries in the house. I turned around and began the evening chores.
Nature provided me with a spectacular sunset, the mules, donks, and horses, all let me know how happy they were ~~
it was a very good day.

I actually do love winter. I meet it with apprehension and then embrace it when it arrives.Tonight I sit back and enjoy the Christmas tree and the Jack Russell lazing in front of the heater.

All is quiet.
All is peaceful.

I love winter.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Done, done, done...


While the bulk of my day was spent outdoors doing much needed duties [installing tank heaters, moving water tanks, re-routing a fence for the donkeys so they could get to a heated tank...
and various other things. Hubby is sick and if you have one like mine...when they are ill~~well, the world literally falls apart for them. He has COPD and getting sick is a few points below a major disaster for him].

The dish fairy did not come to the house while I was away at my son's place.
Hmmmm.
I'll have to talk to her.

I've spent the past two nights finishing the grand kids book. I haven't uploaded it yet as I'd like to preview it and look for any mistakes before sending it off.

I'm pleased. So tomorrow I'll look it over once more and actually read it out loud. This is a story about Morris who goes with his toys on an adventure to The Big Creek, which of course is in The Big Woods.
It is a story meant to be read aloud with children. The grand children are familiar with the characters and with the places that Morris and his cohorts have adventures in.
To me, that is the beauty of writing for your own grand children [I'm guessing other children could enjoy this also].

Even more fun is when they come over to visit and 'quote' from the books they already have. They delight in pointing out to me, Crazy Squirrel and Happy the Hedgehog.

As only children can do, they are the ones who 'created' such a great description of an old car in a ditch.
They coined the words 'Car Bones' which I of course used to describe the frightful object that Morris mistakes for something dangerous...
Car Bones indeed.

I found a great and fun challenge to use live animals with stuffed animals~~and photograph them for parts of the story.
Only the front cover, the back cover...and Morris 'dreaming' are edited.

Mules, Opposum, hound dogs, and Morris were actually fun to work with.
Okay...the 'possum was an accidental thing, but hey, it happened while I was shooting photos, so I went with it as part of the story.

A special thanks to Badger who seemed to know exactly what was expected of him.

Now of course, I have to think of another book?

Oh, and one last thing.
Imagination~what a wonderful ongoing gift it is.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Morris wants to Go Home...




I want to go home.
City life is too hard to understand.

Big trucks go by and I want to warn everyone about them. I bark~~
and get told to hush up. I get nervous about the people that walk their dogs in front of the house. I don't like snow plows, mail-ladies, the Fed Ex guy, or cars that slow down.
It makes me nervous.

Teslin tells me that happens all of the time.

The back yard is scary to me. So I run around and bark.

So I was naughty too.
I went down the basement and pooped on the rug and the floor.

I had no idea that basements are part of the house. I don't have a basement at home!
So I guess I was very naughty.

I'm trying to convince Teslin that she should come and live with me. She isn't sure she wants to because Val keeps making her do silly things ~~ like wear the Elmer Fudd Blaze Orange Hat.

I promised Tes that we could run with Val in the woods and eat icky things, roll in the nasty stuff, and have great fun.

She isn't convinced.
She says she really likes sitting in her chair and watching out the window during her day.

She says she'll come and visit.
And by the way...mules and donkeys braying make her nervous. Ponies scare her, and she has no idea what a chicken is.
So I guess we are different in a way.

Country dog.
City dog.

I miss home. Val says we are going today.
I will be sad to leave but happy to get home!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold as a ... well you know~~~



The sun peeped over the neighbor's house.

I peeped out of the down comforter that was warm and comfy. Sleeping on a hide-a-bed isn't really that bad, especially if you are actually really tired.

Morris jumped down a ran back towards the back door.

The wind was howling overhead.

Yuck.
Cold.

Yet the frost on the windows was incredibly beautiful.

I logged onto the internet and saw that the roads that would take me home were still snow covered, ice covered and very treacherous.

I talked to hubby and he said it was 10 below zero without the wind chill at home.

We made the decision for me to wait one more day before heading home.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fun in the Snow



We love to hate snow storms...and some of us love snow storms.

I don't mind them usually unless I have to drive on a night shift and guess where the roads are, that is just plain creepy.

Last night we went out and looked at Christmas lights in Kenosha. Some of it was a bit 'garish' but fun.

The roads were terrible but my son drove carefully and we made it out to eat and back very safely.
By the time we reached their house it was sleeting and raining.

Seems we missed the big storm here in Kenosha.

At home however my husband says that it is a monumental effort to just do chores. This means I need to get home and help him.

The temps are dropping dangerously at home. Old Lady Cheyanne got moved indoors.

When I stay away from home too long, I begin to worry about things at home...you know?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Happy Times in Kenosha




Taking advantage of some time away from work...I traveled to Kenosha with the first terrible snow storm following me on the 'heels' of my elderly Cavalier.

I brought a toy for my son. There is a story behind it, but it is rather long and involved. Let's just say I promised a young son many years ago that I'd replace his broken toy which was Optimus Prime from the then very popular cartoon show.

In reality, I never fulfilled that promise until this year when those 'Autobots' became popular again ...and I was able to find a toy similar to the one that was broken.

Of course we were all amused by how much harder the Transformer is to transform than it was years ago.

These lovely purplie fleece socks are from my daughter in law along with some awesome cuddle duds.
I have happy feet!



The snow is coming down lightly as I type this [I hijacked my son's laptop]. What does the day bring for us?

I don't know, but I'm sure it will be fun.
Supper is out tonight at a Mexican Restaurant here in Kenosha.
Yum...and then if the weather isn't too bad, we'll go peek at some 'city' xmas decorations!


If you'd like to see some totally awesome ... incredible ... wonderful ...shots of Christmas Decorations ~very tasteful~ please visit Galloping Geezer's photostream at Flickr, here is the link:

Holiday Light Show, Rochester, MN

Monday, December 07, 2009

Traveling in the winter

Let me say that IF it looks like this~~ I don't go ... unless it is home from work.

The National Weather Service is calling for some really ugly weather to head towards us tomorrow night.
Right now it is snowing lightly, a very pretty snow.

Apparently according to the NWS, it could be a blizzard Tuesday night. Then the temps are supposed to drop off drastically.

Yet at the moment the roads are pretty good, with a bit of snow on them.
So I'm heading off for a spur of the moment drive to visit my oldest son in Kenosha [and his wife and dog!].

Morris, the seasoned traveler is accompanying me. He is a trooper and has gone with me in some pretty nasty weather.
Good boy.

Have a great day!