If I'd been really full of 'gumption' as my Grandma would have said, I'd have gone to the ridge to do a proper sunrise. It was 25 degrees out and hot coffee sure sounded like the better option.
My neighbor brought down her two youngest children to get some adult conversation after I'd done chores. I was raking the yard and picking up 'sticks'. Her kids helped a bit until they decided that looking for birds nests and collecting pine cones were more interesting.
Logan called them acorns. Allie tried to pile pine cones in a Robin's Nest she'd found from last year.
We talked and dumped some sticks into a pile and then decided to walk in the *Merry Meadow* [the summer pasture for the gals]. Logan left his ice cream bucket full of acorn-pine cones near the exit gate. Allie set down her nest with her pine cones.
We got near the spot I call 'the island'. Years ago it was an island of trees and a hollowed out shape like a bowl in the middle. Now it is mostly downed trees and brush that my husband has stacked with the skid steer.
Allie let out a howl of delight when she climbed the brush pile.
She spotted bones in the bottom of the bowl. Over the pile she went and down into the bowl. Years ago cattle used to graze here and I know that there was a horse buried there too.
Allie climbed back out with her arms full of ... bones.
Her sheer joy at finding pine cones and bones reminded me of how excited kids got over hunting for Easter Eggs.
I am guessing that pine cones and bones are much cooler.
I finished what I was doing in the yard and put the rakes away.
My afternoon hike was to go back into the valley I'd visited last week and see if I could find that deer skull that had been frozen into the mud and dirt.
I wanted to see if I could find the trout again and take a decent shot of them.
Off I went with a shovel, my camera backpack, a bottle of water, and some determination.
I found this last week frozen in the mud and I thought it would be a good day to take a shovel back and see what was under the mud.
I walked fast and warmed up quickly even though there was a cool Northwest breeze. Once I headed back into the valley, I was out of the winds.
I wished I had extra time to climb down and explore.
But I was on a mission of sorts.
And I wanted to see if the little cluster of trout were still in the place I saw them in last week.
They were and I had to sit quite still for a long time to get a shot of them.
I located the deer skull and antler. With my little shovel I carefully dug around the head.
Imagine my huge surprise when I discovered that there was a whole skeleton beneath the mud.
This Buck had been a monster. He was a 10 point buck with and 18" spread. This would have been a trophy for most hunters.
And I figured that he died in this valley during the wicked flash flood we had in September than covered this valley floor with waters rushing over 5 feet tall across the whole valley.
I sat down and brushed some dirt away from his bones, and then brushed the dirt and mud back onto them.
I created a sling out of twine and slung him over my shoulder.
It'll go into my collection of incredible 'found' skulls and things and may end up getting beautifully painted and displayed.
Nature is art and you can find that in bones, acorns, and pine cones.
Allie brought me this piece of art last night. She painted it and we placed it on my porch table.
Here is another piece of my bone artwork.
My son painted the stick for me when he was 10 years old. See? Even sticks can be art!