Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Pause Button...


Well to be continued... may be on pause for now.

Rich was admitted to the VA Hospital for Severe Depression, well they still call it Major Depressive Disorder. More of that over on The Long Journey.

The fog this morning was a good indicator of how things are going...




Fog and light beams can be so incredible...

Monday, August 13, 2018

Make an Adventure

To say that I have a 'normal' life would be somewhat of an exaggeration. What is normal?

In my mind's eye a normal person of my age and stature putters around in the morning and then has some coffee while reading the news.
Then she should prepare breakfast for her guests and set the table.

Later on, this nice little hostess would get a proper noon meal planned and sit on the porch and visit with her guests and husband.

The day would drag on to supper, chores would be done. The nice hostess would whip up an exotic supper and present it to the guests. Some nice conversation would occur around the table with cups of coffee.

Later everyone would go to bed and slumber.

Not
how it
happens
here!

I get up pre dawn and make coffee, let Charlie out and pretty soon my company starts to drift down the stairs. First comes Daryl and Scout, followed by his youngest daughter and Amanda. The dogs start to wrestle and play in the living room, so they are taken outside for a potty break.
Coffee is passed around along with some Kringle that was brought from the Racine Bakery.
We all look out the window and decide to go for a walk to look for spiders and dewy webs in the meadow.

Rubber chore boots go on over PJ pants for some...no need to dress fancy. The dogs chase each other around and around in the yard with dew drops spraying up from their legs.

We go walking in the tall weeds and grasses of the meadow and begin to spread out each person looking for webs and we begin to find many of them.


It is a bit of a fuzzy shot but then again...HOW close do I want to get to these guys or girls??? Not close!
We wander the meadow brushing up against weeds, and keeping an eye out for Charlie who is so small that he seems to disappear in the wet grasses.

Daryl gets close up and personal with the Spiders and we find dozens of small or 'baby' spiders.

We are like excited children, calling out to each other each time we find an incredible specimen.

Finally, soaked with dew, we all head back to the house for more coffee and to visit with Rich.

The kids do the chores and drag out Mt. Tank and fill it. The dogs are toweled off and we visit with Rich and have coffee and conversation. We discuss the meteor showers and decide we'll go on the ridge to try and watch them around midnight.

And that is just the start of our morning.


To be continued....

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Color Fair Choices Sunset

I am really torn in what I would like to display.

One of the categories that is a color category is Sunrise/Sunset, and I have many beautiful shots but I only have one that makes my little hard heart flutter.

I like this one particularily  because it 'tells' a story as well as shows a sunrise or sunset....
I read somewhere that beautiful landscapes are indeed beautiful, however when a human is looking at a photo, they have more of a reaction when there is a human figure in the photo.



Or do I include a road?


Or do I just do a stunning cloud cover?


Is this a sunrise photo or should it be a reflections photo?


Or... A HOT Summer Sunrise???

Or another favorite...
Kids...
Watching a sunset...


Friday, August 10, 2018

Hot Summer Afternoon, Butterflies and Bees

Hot and Humid.
Humid
Icky.
Give me winter!

Okay I don't want winter. I had yard work to do yesterday, I wanted to run the trimmer and do a bunch of trimming. But the humidity was at 100% and the air was a bit stifling.
So I passed on the trimming and push mowing.

I had town errands to do so I did those instead and then when I got back I decided to take some time to just sit on the couch in the A/C and read a book. I know what happens when I sit down to read a book.
I fall asleep.
Charlie helped with that.
He showed me the finer points of napping during the day.

Even with the heat of the day, some chores still have to get done. I went out and did the stock tanks, filling them with fresh water and checked on all the animals. They seemed fine and had found nice places under trees on the hill to relax and catch any slight breeze that came their way. They all looked sleepy with tails swishing at the pesky flies.

I checked the garden. The peas and the green beans needed picking. It wasn't going to happen in this heat. Perhaps early in the morning or late in the evening. But certainly not during the hottest part of the day.

I set up the fan on the porch and decided to finish up a project I'd started at the start of summer. I brought out my camera too. The butterflies and bees were busy with my porch flowers so I hoped to 'catch' a butterfly with the camera. They always bring a smile to my face when I look back on the photos in the dead of winter!

The butterflies must have known!


I think this is a swallowtail butterfly. For whatever reason, they really liked my marigolds. This one hovered around for a long time.

The sunflowers on the porch and east garden were humming with bees. I found that interesting as I figured bees only visited sweet smelling flowers. See? Little do I know!


This insect was on my Malva. I don't know what it is, but it was pretty!


Charlie was not impressed.


He laid in the sun until he was panting and then moved onto a rug on the porch and did his thing.


And I painted...on a skull.


The beans would wait one more day and then I'd just have to sort the overripe ones from the others. I think I have enough beans now to last through the winter and through most of next summer with quite a bit to spare.

I'll see if my neighbor would like any more and then I may just be done with them as the sweet corn is about to burst in on the scene. I will save seeds from the beans though. These plants this year really produced well.

The hummingbirds came to visit while I was daydreaming about cooler days.


There he/she is darting through the cosmos to swoop down on a Zinnia.

And I figured my lazy day was done.
I went in the house and tried to make beet pickles.
I'm not sure how they will come out.

I just did refrigerator pickles as I didn't want to process them in a boiling water bath with the A/C on.



Thursday, August 09, 2018

DIY Manure Drag!

I have been busy.

I upgraded my poop spreader, but it still needs a bit of adjusting.


It is amazing the stuff you can find in junk piles that ... someone has acquired over the years. I swear, the man never throws stuff out! Perhaps it was a good thing this time.


It looks like I need to make some fine tuning adjustments though. It worked well and the Gang thought it was interesting.



Sundance is the lead mule here, she obviously thinks she needs to strictly supervise my 4 wheeler abilities. I agree, she probably should.

I will need to move the tire 'weight' back further to get more of a downward push to spread the manure. However this did a pretty good job.
The draw back is that I can't go through the woods with it. Poo piles will just have to remain untouched there.


Mica decided that she'd check out the damage I did to the thistles and smelled the newly spread piles of poo.

I'm feeling quite handy!
Now on to dehydrating green beans and making beet pickles.


Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Deep Dream AI Art

There are a lot of arguments out there that say anything that is computer generated is not/cannot be considered art.

I assume that will be the same argument placed on those who create 'art' with the artificial intelligence program called Deep Dream Generator.

I'd heard about it and then a friend who does some incredible computer art sent me a link to Deep Dream Generator.
The images created for free are not large enough to really make prints out of, but there is a fee you can pay to do that. Not sure I will go there, however, it was fun to explore what A.I. does do to photos or some other computer generated art like Mandelbulb 3D or Incendia.

Here is some creations I did just from some photos.


Original:
Deep Dream:



Original:
Deep Dream:
Original:
Deep Dream variations:

I wasn't quite happy with the blue version so I did a bit of my own editing...


Original:

Deep Dream Variations:
[These I like the best of all...]



I then combined the two to make this:
This is my favorite so far and any one of these are ones I wouldn't mind having as wall art.

Last but not least, I wanted to try a Abstract I'd done with a computer program.

This was made by combination of fractals in a program called Incendia. Free to download.


Deep Deep Dream Generator:

This just was creepy!

I enjoy photography as well as 3D software and fractals. I like to dabble in a bit of it here and there.
Since insomnia was an issue, I thought I'd play around in 'another' world so to speak.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Goodbye Bart


Here is a photo of Black Bart when he first came to our farm. He is a polled American Dexter Bull. He was very productive at our farm. My husband's intentions were to raise some Dexters and sell them.
Well that never quite worked out. Bart did the breeding, the gals did the birthing and somehow we ended up with just more Dexters to feed.

That is another story however.

Bart produced some beautiful calves!
There was Stella, she was so cute when she was born!


I'd like to keep her as she is so tame, but she is another mouth to feed and hay prices are soaring.

As you can see, they are not huge cattle, but rather a nice size. However, I can't justify the cost of just keeping them because they are neat.

Anyway.
I opened the electric gate and fully expected to have to convince Bart to leave his pen. Bart looked at the open gate and walked regally through it and quietly down the electric gate into the pen where we'd ship him out.

He didn't run, buck, or even bat an eye. It was almost as boring to watch as paint drying.

I commented to my neighbor who had come along to close the fence gate while I walked behind Bart that I'd rather it be ho hum and boring.


Bart spent the day grazing and being quiet.
I worked in the garden and picked more buckets of beans. I peeked into the one squash plant I seeded and saw dozens of squash!
I pulled up more carrots and beets with Charlie's help, of course.

My garden may be messy this year, but it has been very bountiful.  I hope I am done by the time the corn is ready to start to freeze!


Here is a view of the garden from the porch...

Just as it began to rain, Jeff showed up with a trailer and we loaded up Bart. Rich actually came out to help which I was so surprised at and happy about.

He even visited with Jeff for a bit. Jeff had climbed into his truck and gotten out of the rain. Rich stood with his hands in his pockets and chit chatted with Jeff.

Bart will provide us with a lot of meat this next year. I will freeze and dehydrate my vegetables to add to our winter food.

Goodbye Bart.
Hello food.
And so it goes...

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Master of invention or?

...am I just strange?

The day started out beautifully.


A wonderful Sunrise shared with Charlie on the ridge.


It was warm and muggy at dawn so the day promised to be ... hot.

Charlie enjoyed his new car seat.

See?
I guess he can see where we are going!

He was subdued but didn't act sick at all.
Slow and steady improvement!

On to getting the hot stuff out of the way right after chores.
Blanching carrots, corn, and green beans.



I gave away a bucket of green beans to the neighbor just because.

Mid morning found me putting up fence posts and wire to make an electric lane to move our Bull named Bart from one area to another. He is getting shipped on Monday to become our winter meat and hamburger. My good neighbor Jeff the dozer man will take him for us.

Justin came down and worked on the ash trees to cut them up for his winter wood.

I worked on the 'electric lane'. The challenge is to walk a bull from his paddock to another paddock that has a paneled 'catch pen' and a gate in it. He will be loaded from the catch pen into a trailer this evening and Jeff will take him to the processor. I guess process is the politically correct term.
I look at it this way. Bart has done his job and now it is time for him to complete his task and feed us through the next year. I cannot go back to grocery store burger for the life of me.

Anway, I ran into a problem. I have to run the lane across a portion of the driveway and door yard. It has a hardpack gravel and sandstone base and unless you have a drill, there is no way a post will go into it.

Remember the glider I took apart? Well, I haven't gotten to the dump yet, and I pulled a heavy piece of 'something' out of the weeds and used that also.


The frame of the old slider acts as a post, I added those brown insulators to run the fence through.
As of Monday morning, one less Dexter to feed.

I am leaning towards shipping the rest too. I'm not sure how the hay situation will be if Rich isn't able to drive to get round bales. I'm having an internal discussion as to whether the cost of the cattles' feed all winter justifies keeping them just for whatever break on taxes we get.

After the fencing job was done and tested, I moved on to mowing.
Over the years I've had a pony who is very good at doing trimming in some of the areas of our farm. The problem is, he poops and unless I rake it out, it just sits there and eventually dries out. However if I rake it, it dries out quickly and fertilizes.

So I came up with a plan.
I found a chunk of cattle fence in the junk pile.
I used a rope to tie it to the back of the 4 wheeler and then I put a weight on the fence and used the 4 wheeler to drag over the areas of manure. It did a fair job, but the weight kept rolling off.

I've gone back to the drawing board on this and I think I can use a bit more rope to keep the weights on.
I told my neighbor what I was doing and he kindly smiled and mentioned that they 'made' drags for just that purpose.
I smiled back and said I was having fun by doing it with materials I could find.

A chainlink fence chunk would work even better than what I am using now.

However, it worked pretty well!

I don't know if I am inventive or just odd.

But I think I am on to something. Now to get at the poo piles in the meadow.
Hey, at least I am having fun on the 4 wheeler. I'm am making it into a useful tool for my farm work!