Monday, February 28, 2011

A Female mind and a frozen hose...

Sure it is important to know how to 'bath a hose'.
Especially one that is frozen solid and this is the hose that goes from the hydrant [pump] to the stock tank.

I got home and walked in He follows me in.

Him: Well that didn't work!

Me: What didn't work?

Him: The hose of course, I wiggled it, twisted it, shook it and even used a screw driver to try and break the ice from the end of it...the end that goes in the tank.

Me: [Raising one eyebrow and continuing to pull off my work jacket. The temps have dropped to zero, hmm]

Him: Now the whole thing is frozen solid, I thought if I kept the water going and could get it to break loose, I'd have it licked.

Me: ...and? You just left it out there?

Him: [lifts hands as if this thought is beyond him] Yes, I left it out there! It is frozen solid!

Me: Why didn't you bring it in and put it in the bath tub?

Him: [Shrugs] Maybe the sun will shine on it and warm it up tomorrow.

Me: [Grabbing my coveralls and putting them on over my uniform] I'll give it a bath in hot water, then we can water the stock tank.

Him: [Raises one eyebrow] Why?

Me: The animals need water right?

Him: Well, it shouldn't have frozen. And besides I tried to get it fixed for at least a half hour.

Me: [My coveralls are on and I exit with a faint smile on my face. As if it is the hose's fault.]

As I exited I may have made a comment under my breath about the difference between the thought process of a man and a woman.
A man will try to defeat ice with tools.
A woman will use warm water.

How interesting how our minds work.

It never crossed his mind to dump the hose in the tub and warm it up!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Just a Mule

I explained to someone that Badger had Equine COPD and that he seemed better at the beginning of this winter.

I explained about the meds and why we couldn't keep him on it forever.

They commented...'Why he is just a mule...'

I did ride him this winter, bareback across the meadow in snow that was at least 3 ft deep in places.
He took it calmly and without much hesitation. He walked slow and stopped often to look around.

His health began another down turn on Valentine's Day. We had a warm up of weather around the same time.
I have no idea if it was weather related or just something else going on. His lungs are scarred from this and eventually there will be no getting better.

Today he seems comfortable. His respiration is higher than 25/minute. But he does not seem to be as bothered as I am with it.

It hurts to see this and know there is nothing I can do but maintain him with good clean hay and clean air.

This photo is from a ride one year ago. Before he began to show signs of Equine COPD or what is commonly known as 'Heaves'.
My hope is that he can continue to have good days, although I know he'll have bad ones also.

Today he stood at the gate as I hooked up water to run to a stock tank.
He nickered at me with his high mulish voice.
...and then he stood and waited.

Of course I had to go to him and give him an ear rub. He is my pal. Badger even dropped his head down so Morris could stand with his front paws on his head.

Silly dog, silly mule.
Both are my best friends.

He is NOT just a mule. He is so much more than that.

I wish that I could sometimes make people understand. But if they've never had a relationship with an animal like I have, then they could not possibly could they?

I repeat.
He is not Just a Mule.

Sleeping Forest

I began to write this book in November, thinking how easy it would be to just hike, take photos and make observations.

After all, doing the Enchanted Forest~ was not particularly difficult. I madly photographed plants as they appeared and bloomed from March through November.

I identified them and marveled in their beauty learning much about plant life and soil.

But through this winter I've come to a realization. It is not about the Woods, the Forest, the Plants.
It is about the struggle for survival.

I've lived and hiked the surround Forest for 15 years. I've admired its winter beauty but never really thought about much about it
during my daily hikes through the snow and cold.

I've tried to document my observations of the changes that occur through the winter months.

What I found surprised me.
Even though it should not have.

It centers around the Forest's lifeblood which is the spring fed creek that runs through it.

Life, death, and survival depends on who is cunning, swift, and strong. It is center stage for the predator and the prey.

Winter seen this way is absolutely beautiful yet cruel at the same time.

Those that survive through the harsh winter are renewed by birth of their young ones in the spring.
Those that do not ~ become food for the strong and hungry or scavengers.

The creek trail used by all animals for access to water:
Raccoon tracks and den tree:

The swift.

The unlucky.
At times while walking the woods in my snow shoes I've felt the emptiness and harshness of the winter.

There were moments that I felt out of place because I could always return to my home and escape the cold and the hunt.

It is an amazing feeling that overcomes you when you realize that you are just an observer in the way of things.

This is no Sleeping Forest, this is Winter.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Backround removal with Topaz Remask 3

With animals you sometimes just have to 'grab' the shot. While doing chores yesterday, Morris ran past the fence line and got these mules attention.

I like how they had lined up, but did not like the fence post nor the wires:

So I opened up Elements 5 and decided to see what I could do.

Step one:
Used the 'Ctrl J' command and copied the layer. I wanted the hair to come a little more textured and desaturated the photo a bit.

Step Two:
I used Topaz ReMask 3 and outlined the fellas in Blue.

I used the red paint bucket and clicked on the area I wished to be removed.

Step Four:
I hit the compute button to see what was cut and see where I might have to do some fine detailing around the manes.
I didn't get super accurate as I was going to feather and blend in a back round that would fit nicely with the edges. I wanted a quick and neat edit.

Step 5:
Now back to Elements. I still have to get rid of that pesky piece of fence. I use the clone tool to fix that and the far left mule's nose.
Step 6:
Choose a nice backround for mine I picked a some swirling clouds and used an opacity of 53%, but use what you think would look pleasing.

Flatten and save or if you feel like changing things up a bit later keep it as a full .PSD file.

The result:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creative digital artsy stuff ~ Part 2 in a Series

Sometimes it is nice to create something in another program.

I happen to love Fractals.
I love creating them and then editing into something else.

I also like free programs.
I've use Mblite in the past which does not work with any modern Windows program and is unavailable at this time.
ChaosPro-Free fractal generator is fun also.
I'm not using it at this time either because the program seemed unstable and crashed a lot for me.

Others may have some better insight, but it wasn't worth my time if it wasn't stable for Windows 7.
I did get some great images out of it before I uninstalled it however.

I'm currently using Sterling2 fractal generator for making creative digital art.

Here is another original fractal:
Then edited using Photoshop 7.0.
I used many layers.
Warp tools, rectangle marquee tools, elliptical tools, resize...edit the
inner shadows and outer shadows, polarize co-ordinates, warp filters
[in the filters menu]
and then added effects free brushes from
Obsidian Dawn along with a ripple effect from the free plug in Redfield Water Ripple Effect.

The result:
The basic idea here is not to create the same thing that someone else has created.

The idea is to create something original and unique.

Experiment with the tools, most of these tools, plug-ins, and brushes are compatible with all of the Adobe Photo editing products.

Most important, when you add them to your tool kit of graphic art they empower you to do more...and for me, simply to have fun.

Most of all these items are free!

Note: There are many free options on the internet that will add to you graphic creativity. I'm just reviewing and suggesting a few of those options.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Visit ~ by Morris

Its a dog's life you know.

This is how it goes.
I didn't know what SHE meant by visit.

I did go first to Teslin's house and enjoyed two days of play. We had lots and lots of fun.
Tes growled at me and we wrestled, she let me play with her toys and watched me go outside and stand guard in the front yard.
Then SHE said we were going visiting again to a 'Grandma' house. Oh that was okay I guess.
Then I got to meet the Grandma.

She is the coolest Grandma people.

She has a really nice big white dog girl named Sammy. I really liked Sammy.
[My SHE said to Grandma that I was quite the Ladies Man.]

Me and Sammy played until Sammy got tired.
Last night it probably was a very good thing that the Grandma had me in her house. I don't think she knew that there was a big monster thing on her ceiling above her. I know Sammy didn't know it because she was sleeping.
I looked up and saw the monster thing.

I started growling and walking around with my hair up on my back. I hid under the Grandma computer chair and growled looking up.

They told me that it was just a ceiling fan.
I'm still pretty sure that the ceiling fan could still be dangerous. I'll be keeping an eye on it.

When I woke up SHE told the Grandma that it was very icy out. I went out and fell flat on my nose.
HER car was so iced that SHE could not get into it. It looked like SHE was going to have to stay with the Grandma for another day.

This made me very very happy.

Me and Sammy did our thing and then we had breakfast and chased toys up and down the hallway.

I also found that the Grandma has a very nice chair, it is perfect for a little dog like me. I like taking naps in the Grandma chair.
I rest my case here...the Grandma house is a great doggie place to be!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gone Visiting

Morris and I have run off to the city to go visiting for a few days. I wonder if we'll have any adventures?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Creative digital artsy stuff ~ Part 1 in a series

First thing you must do is throw your disciplined mind out the window.


Then just set it aside for a while.
Then start with a blank screen.

You can do amazing things from this simple blank transparent screen. I opened this new document in 800X600 pixels for ease of uploading to the internet.

From this blank 'canvas' you can do all sorts of things.
You can use gradients and distort them layer, warp, twist, swirl, and come up with a beautiful colorful design and never need any tools than those that are found in Photoshop or Elements.
This was done strictly in one editing program without any plug ins or filters...
I used gradients, rectangle marquee tool, elliptical marquee tool, distort filter, levels, hue and saturation, drop shadows, inner and outer glows, and image transformations as in skew, distort, and perspective.

I then used the pen tool to create a 'path'. I wanted the 'beam' of light to appear as if it flowed through the 'creation'.

It is simply done with an eraser tool in Elements 5 [there is a work around to create a mask in Elements, which I'll discuss at a later date].
In Photoshop 7.0 or CS versions, you can simply mask the layer and paint out the unwanted portions out with a brush.

But here are some other options I've found very useful and free. I'll feature some free programs and some not so free programs that can be used to create graphics without using a photograph.

Here is the first in a series of items that I've found free and useful for creativity.

I use them when I need distortions that I'm not always able to find in the Adobe PS programs.

One of my favorite free plug in sites is called Mehdi Plugins.
They are easy to install and fun to use. My favorite Plug-ins are those called Melt 1.1., Kaleidoscope 2.1, and Projection. These 'filters' as I call them allow you to manipulate your creations.
I often do this on separate layers and can always 'undo' if I dislike the results.

Sample of Melt 1.1 combined with Kaleidoscope:

I hope this was useful. I'll be doing some more write ups on free programs I've found that work quite easily and are a quick study.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Grand Ol' Lady ~ update

What do vet's know?
[They'd said she'd never make it through the winter...]

Really a lot they do. You should listen to them.
Except for old determined mares who have just a few teeth and an attitude about life in general.

The Grand Ol' Lady is still going strong. She has lost some weight this winter, but she looks remarkably better than last!
What did I do different?

I didn't isolate her.
I didn't baby her.

I put her out with the other gals. She sometimes gets her way and sometimes she backs off and lets the other girls feed first.
She picks her way slowly and elegantly across the icy and snowy ground.

She comes when I call her name. [She used to run off and be hard to catch, but I guess if you are about 80 yrs old in human age, I guess you could slow down a bit.]

She stands or lays on a pile of straw and hay and naps in the sun.

She sleeps under the clear cold skies and ambles into the woods when the wind blows up cold.

She is awe inspiring.
Truthfully, I think there is something to be said about fresh air and herd mentality. She is happy with her other 'gals' and this is the only thing I can attribute to her continued good health.

This is to you Cheyanne. You still are my first horse, my first equine love, and my good old friend.
Happy 28th Year.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Morris: Puppy Love

It started out pretty innocent you know. SHE said *we* were going for a walk with a friend.
What SHE forgot to tell me was the friend had a young Corgi with bedroom eyes.
I tried my hardest to impress her with my charm and wit.

I showed her how to find raccoon scat to lick, and rabbit pellets to nibble.
I tried to show her the good things in life.

She didn't seem to be very impressed.
Then she looked at me with those beautiful intelligent eyes, and I must admit,

my heart simply melted...

We walked together for a long time. It was pleasant. She didn't try to wrestle me.
In fact she was more interested in everything going on around her...
that she pretty much ignored me.

I was crestfallen.
She was not interested, I think.

And her human took her away before I was able to do a proper goodbye sniff...

To add insult to injury ~ SHE gave me a shampoo with vanilla scent afterwards.

So now I lay on the couch moping and hoping and dreaming of a certain fawn colored Corgi named Daisy.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Busy with some warm weather and experimentation with a newer camera.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Morris: Being Grounded

Well, apparently I was 'grounded' from going on walk with HER.
Because of coyotes and really deep snow.

SHE thought it was too tough on me.

SHE decided to go for a short walk through the boys' pasture and take a look see around the creek bottom.
I gave her 'googly' eyes and put on my saddest face ...
she relented and let me come along.

I showed HER who was the tough kid on the block, by blazing my own trails.
I did end up only doing it for a bit to show off, then followed HER tracks. The snow was up to her knees!

We soon found a deer path and followed that to the creek bottom.
Down on the ice SHE set up her camera to do some 'bracketed' photography. When she pressed the time release thingy, I decided I should wander in and have my photo taken.

I think SHE might have been perturbed. SHE sighed very loudly.
When I got home with HER I decided that I should go play with Dottie while SHE filled the stock tanks with water.
So I'm too little for big snows? Too fragile for playing with the big Dogs?
I hardly think so.

But I can say this.
I really really deserved my nap by the heater when I got inside!