Friday, September 13, 2019

I think the weather

did this on purpose.

This weeks forecast was rain, rain, overcast and more rain. Cold, cold, then switching to warm and muggy and heavy rain with possibilities of 4" of rain with flooding and flash flooding.

I don't get too worried about the flash flooding as it happens and it is over quickly. I don't have the mules in an area where they will be washed away. During times like this I move them to the front pasture where there is little chance of trees falling on the fences... and I can keep an eye on everyone.

So all this week the weather has been either super hot and muggy or it has been raining.

All the rain has prevented me from mowing the yard. Which is a good thing. Bouncing around hurts the upper left ribs. I can walk on the flat and do fine, I can stroll slowly through the woods and do fine. But NO jumping.
The injury is not life threatening, I know that. But it sure is a pain.

I can do stretches and squats, shoulder mobility exercises, and even some gentle twisting.
Vacuuming sucks with the old vacuum cleaner.

So on Wednesday I took a nice long quiet stroll through the woods. I stopped often and watched squirrels, birds, and some deer. I didn't take Charlie and Sven so the walk was slow and easy.
Of course I brought my camera. You know better don't you?

Some shots from the walk.



These were shot with the converted camera. I just added the 'hot' mirror to use it with the regular light spectrum.

It was my regular fence 'check' and I am happy I did it. There was a branch or two down on the lines and I flipped them off. The creek made wonderful sounds that were calming.

I leaned up against a mossy tree and watched down from the bank above.


And I couldn't help but try an infrared shot. The green leaves reflect white and the trees in the distance reflected a slightly different color which enhanced look a bit yellow!

If you look carefully you can see my handiwork in the right side of the shot. It is the fence I rebuilt this spring.

I decided not to let the mules back down into the woods. Rains were predicted for up to 4 inches. Trees tend to fall when the ground is so saturated and I won't put the mules in an area where the fence could come down overnight.
The mules' hooves would just tear up muddy trails and provide more erosion to the ridge road, so they can't go back down until things dry up a bit.

In 2007 and 2016 parts of the creek banks were swept away. Our fence was left hanging in an empty space above the creek.

This morning [Friday] I will have to go down and check the fences again and do a quick check of the middle wooded pasture to make sure it is safe to let the mules out of the winter lot and back into the woods.

South of us there were mudslides and road closures and indeed, they had more than 4 inches of rain.
The weather service says we had only about an inch and a half. I'll have to check our rain gauge.

I have guests this weekend and a busy Saturday with going to the Fair and hiking.
It should be fun.
Part of the Kenosha gang is coming.
And the sun should be shining!





Sunday, September 08, 2019

slow down...

So while talking to some of my CrossFit friends one of the other gals turned to me and said.

"Well, maybe this is a sign you should slow down a bit."
So I thought about that for a moment.

She was right. I had been taking on everything with a whirlwind mindset. Summer had been busy with projects that had me going in several different directions at once.

This would be a forced slow down. So I mulled things over in my mind. The winter hay was ordered to be delivered. The yard was under control, I'd taken more than one truckload of junk to the dump this summer. Rebuilt the fence in the woods, and had been taking Rich on the average of 3 to 4 days a week to appointments or PT. I visit MIL in the home at least 3 times a week too.

I was ready for a breather of sorts.

But I argued with myself that winter is for that. The slow down part, right? Who was I kidding. I loved winter especially snow when I could use my snowshoes.

Time to take a breather. Well indeed, that is easy but after 5 days I don't really like the 'sitting' around.  Getting in and out of the car took some effort and was pretty uncomfortable.

I've done a lot of stretching and walking outside on the flat. I just cannot sit still unless I am reading a good book.

I've revised my lists of to do and re-organized it. Next week will be very busy with multiple appointments and drives to Madison. At least Rich's physical therapy will be in town.

Frankly I got pretty bored watching TV. The CSI program Rich is watching now has the same theme as all of the other shows. I can ID what show is coming by the theme music being used as an introduction. Interesting that the music is old rock and roll from my teen years. Oh well, it keeps Rich busy and by good luck I found this program had 15 yrs of episodes.

I'm waiting for The Last Ocean: A Journey Through Memory and Forgetting  to arrive. I was able to read the first 40 pages and was fascinated. I found a used book of poems by Mary Oliver also. Her poetry is incredible. I am not one to just casually read poetry.

In the mean time, I am watching the goldfinches dine on my sunflowers outside the kitchen window. The humming birds are dipping into the 4 o'clocks and sipping nectar from the feeder.
I miss the morning chatter of all of the other summer birds.
That makes me sad.
I guess that is the one reason I don't care for Autumn. The birds leave and it gets too quiet outside.

Slow down.
Well by this morning after days of being 'slower', I feel much better. Amazing as to how the body can heal itself. I'm going to give a nod to CrossFit and working out as to one of the reasons I am feeling better much faster.

I will however have to make sure that feeling good doesn't mean I will go out and start pounding posts or lifting heavy things.
Perhaps it means I can go out for a walk to the woods to check on the fences and pastures.

While I was practicing ... slowing down a bit... I messed around with the Incendia fractals program and came up with some Digital Art which I haven't done in such a long time.


Here is to stopping and smelling the 4 o'clocks and admiring the day.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Stupid things

Hold the scythe...
There won't be any war on burdock for the moment.

The other night I decided the windows in the upstairs bedrooms should be closed. So I charged up the stairs without turning on the lights and had stuff in both my hands.
Do you see where this may be going?

I apparently did not remove the little fan that blows the A/C air down the stairs and I forgot about it until I tripped on it and the next thing I know is I feel a crush against my chest and even with both hands that flew out and dropped stuff...I landed on the fan. Against the ribs on the left side.

So at first I just stayed still to see if I could still breathe. I could but the contact points where I landed felt like I'd been kicked by a huge mule. Then I wondered if I'd awakened Rich. I didn't. He never heard the noises I'd made.
Next I slowly pushed myself in a seated position so I could see if I could sit up.
I could and I was able to still breathe.
Well, I could breathe fine, just not huge deep breathes.

I stayed sitting and wondered how I would have handled it if I'd really hurt myself.
Well.

I turned on the lights, noted that I didn't break the fan. I shut the windows and carefully went back downstairs. I found some pillows and a blanket and made myself a 'nest' on the couch with an icepack.

How embarrassing, how stupid. How dumb. All thoughts that ran through my head. One little thing. Of course in the middle of the night I was thinking how just one small little thing like that could cause a life changing event.

Oh. And I was pretty sure I'd bruised the ribs and all the muscles in that area. Bummer. I wasn't going to CrossFit until they healed up.
Funny how the mind works in the middle of the night.

I went to see a doctor at the clinic. I didn't go the first day, it was too painful to drive. At the urging of my husband and a few of my CrossFit friends texting...to ask 'What did the doctor say?'
I went.
I was able to see a nurse practitioner who was a CrossFit nut like myself. She isn't currently doing it but we know all the same people. She was empathetic and understood my disappointment at hurting myself.

Xrays. No broken bones.
The treatment is the same for fractures and bruising. Though I don't have any skin bruises which surprised me. But that may be because the fan was plastic?

Anyway, the intrinsic muscles all the way down my left rib-cage are strained and sprained. Ice/heat, Tylenol, and a muscle relaxer were what she suggested.

So I may have to put the war on Burdocks on my list for later or not at all.

So what did I learn? Well turn on the lights? Don't rush?
You can bet that I won't do that again.
Well.
Not for a while.

I may have to take the Killer Fan and dispose of it.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

The war on Burdock

For the last several years I've had the Dexter cattle to keep the burdock down in the woods. They loved to strip the plants of leaves. This year I didn't pay attention to it. I was after the large patches of thistle in the meadow and oops...forgot about that pesky nasty Burdock.

My weed whacker won't handle them, and at the size they are right now [some as tall as I am] even a blade on the week whacker wouldn't do. They are in a tangled mess of some blown down branches and young elderberry trees [I'd like to wage war on them also].

I did get out the old scythe and with a special whetstone, I did get it properly sharpened.
I may go with a proper new one next year as the blade and handle will be much lighter. I am able to take big sweeps of weeds down with this beauty. Alas...
Not the thick burdock.
After doing quite a bit of research I found references to brush scythes! Happy dance!

For places that are 'tight' or boxed in by trees and rocks, I got a new type of mini scythe.

I like it a lot. It is faster on tall weeds than the weed whacker as it doesn't get bound up. It has no shaft!
This is a cheaper version of a brush scythe. It works very nicely. However this too can't hack the thick burdock.

And I'm having trouble with a plant called smartweed.

It has a shallow root but really likes to spread out. Apparently the Dexters ate them also. Sven loves to eat the tops of the plants so he is a good smartweed controller in very small areas.

Yes, goats would be great to have but that would mean I'd have to rethink and redo fencing. Not sure I am up for that and I don't want a herd of goats to feed just for weed control.

I've also thought of just fencing that area off and letting it go. But you know, I don't like to give up on things. So tonight I brought out my special Fiskars Brush Axe 'thingy' and started cutting at the bottom of the Burdock. Apparently if they are cut as they are flowering, they should not regrow.

Old shot of my handy tool I've used for tough jobs over the years:



Well.
We shall see about that.

Don't even get me started on the Dock weed.
Sigh.

Let the fall Weed Wars Begin!

Monday, September 02, 2019

Using colored filters with IR

Sometimes I just need to try strange things out.

Friday I experimented with a blue filter, a purple filter, green, pink, orange, yellow, and brown.

I put them on the infrared camera and had some fun results

Brown:
As expected with a brown tint straight out of camera.
Edited:
Pretty interesting!
Green:
Well that is different!
First edit:
Second edit which involves layering a 'painted' image over the this layer and using a Luminosity layer at about 30% to add color and pop.


Now...I like that! It appeals to my sense of wild.

Next: Pink
Meh.

First edit:
Second edit:
I dropped this into Paint to Picture by Corel to add a bit of pizzazz. Well, I left it as the 'painting' as I liked it so much better!


After some other failures and successes, I decided to go with the Blue Filter and see what would happen.
I got two variations with minimal editing.

This first one is my favorite and what I have been yearning after with doing IR!
This is Thor's paddock now taken apart and dismantled except for the gates to take him in and out.



This is a shot I do over and over again in different light to try and understand how different times of the day effect the IR filters.


Here are what the filters look like:

And there you go.
Having fun with colors!

Unexpected Wonders!



Saturday morning and the sky promised to put on a show...
However...

When I got outside and walked towards the shed to grab my bicycle, I saw a white truck parked in front of my Subaru.
I was all set to have a fit until I read the plates.
Missouri.

No.
Really?
Could it be?

How wonderful! Kristi and her husband Jesse showed up to surprise us with a visit! 




Jesse said that they decided to take off and surprise us. If we weren't home they were prepared to visit our portion of the state anyway.
We rarely travel out of the area for anything ... except doctor's visits now so it was a pretty sure bet we'd be home on the weekend.


And where else but the creek would we hike to?

It was very surprising too as to how chilly it was Saturday. The temperatures never really got up to 70 degrees.

Our evening was filled with laughter as we all sat around the round table and played UNO.  The rules changed with each hand and since we didn't keep a number score it was even more fun.
Rich really enjoyed himself.



Too soon the time came for them to leave. They said next time they would plan better and spend a few days. After all, it is an 8 hour drive one way for a visit.

The boys left me some toys to take hiking with me for 'stories' of adventure in the woods.





And you know I can't resist a good toy adventure!

We promised each other that it wouldn't be three years between visits next time. And the boys cried, they didn't want to leave. And they really like Charlie and would miss him.

Charlie was a superstar. He fetched for the boys and tried to figure out what they wanted to do and sat patiently while they played with his ears and nose and...gave him endless hugs.
.
I said it was a long drive but perhaps I could convince Rich to go. I quipped, 'Oh I suppose I'd need someone to watch Charlie'.
And Jesse said, 'Oh you can't come unless you bring him!'

See?
What an unexpected wonderful surprise.


Today will be more rest and relaxation for Rich while I take out the newly sharpened scythe and make a test run.

This afternoon? Anything goes.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Black and White and chasing light

I had about an hour to myself yesterday afternoon and I decided that since my arms still ached from using the dull scythe I would just take Charlie for a walk to check the mail and then take a side trip through the neighbor's woods.

I have a whetstone coming in the mail just to cure that dull implement!

I just took my converted Infrared camera with the filter that takes black and white images.
So what is so different with that filter? Green shows up as white in the 850nm spectrum of light and blue shows as black.


The late afternoon sun shone on the leaves making them bright. The clouds were dissipating and they too show up white. However the sky looks dark where the clouds are not drifting through.

Charlie shows up as a dark spot but he happened to walk into a little bit of sunshine. After getting the mail at the top of the hill we crossed over into the woods and followed the 4 wheeler trail back down.


In the heavy canopy of trees I had to hunt for sunlight shining through. I liked the pattern of leaf shadows on the tree trunk.


This is probably one of my favorite shots. A green mossy rock clump with a sunlit edge. The green adds some whiteness to the shot and the sun highlights the edges of the mossy rock.
I could do this better I think if I used a different aperture than what I did. But I was experimenting and learning.
This just gives me an excuse to go out and try this again!


I wanted to 'find' a trail that would be highlighted by green leaves. I found
this deer trail by following Charlie and ducking through low branches.
This is close to what I wanted to accomplish in my mind, but I'd like
to find a longer single track trail that curved.

I tried to 'shoot' both ways... and ...


I sort of like the appearance of the dirt track between the undergrowth.

I'll be doing more of this for a bit until I understand what is the best light and way to photograph with this light spectrum.

I have read the hints and tutorials, but nothing is more informative than going out and practicing, making mistakes, and making discoveries.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Quiet time

I'm trying to carve out a bit more time for walking Charlie and Sven together.

It was a nice quiet walk with Charlie and Sven playing on the trails. Charlie would stop and listen to a chipmunk in the woods. Sven would stand by him and browse on berry briers or some other leafy bush and then they'd trot off together.

It appears to the casual observer that these two are pals and have a very close bond.
I know Dixie was very fond of Charlie but Sven seems totally attached to his dog pal. He cries when they are separated, yet if I tie them up in the yard where they can be near each other. They will actually lay down so that they are touching each other to nap in the sunlight.

Sven is like a rather large dog that is even better mannered than most dogs on the trail. He doesn't eat deer poop, he doesn't roll in stinky things, and he comes instantly when I whistle or call him.


He still has some of his light colored 'baby' coat left. I imagine as his winter coat grows in it will fall out. I like the funky colors it gives him right now.


Charlie still wears his little beeper collar on hikes. He rarely gets separated from Sven when we all go together. But it is nice to know I can 'ring' his bell if he gets into the thick underbrush and I can't find him.

We walked to the back of the property and I had some fluorescent spray paint I wanted to spray on the line fence. That is my next project is to fix the back fence. It is an old barbed wire fence, some of the posts can be reset and some of the wire may still be usable. I'm always up for a project.
I used the green paint to mark areas.
Sven decided to try and taste the paint on the posts. Silly goat. He has fluorescent paint on his nose now.

When I sat on a log to let my two companions walk around in the area, they both came and tried to get my attention. So much for sitting and mulling things over!

I walked down the hill back towards the creek. I'd told Rich I'd only be gone for an hour so I couldn't go exploring. Sven and Charlie trotted on deer trails and I could hear their bells. The bells are a stroke of genius. I can hear what they are doing all of the time without watching them.

I noted that there were a lot of maple leaves down with colors on them and some of the ironwood trees had leaves that were turning. Some of the black berry bushes had a tint of red in them.

Fall is coming.
Lucky me!
In one week, I've arranged for my winter hay, arranged for trees to be taken down... and while in town I even ran into another neighbor who said he'd come out with his chainsaw and truck to take firewood and help.

I found some very pretty white mushrooms at the creek bottom.



Well, let's say that getting down on your knees and scooting low is not always the thing to do with a Hiking Goat along.
Mr. Hiking Goat decides that he will practice Goat Yoga with you and that your back makes a perfect place to put his hooves while he nibbles on your hair and ears to .. let you know how much he cares about you.

I gave up taking macro shots and we just continued to walk slowly towards home.


When back on the big trail, Sven and Charlie played chase.



One thing I can say for certain. They wear each other out playing.
And that was the purpose of the walk, to give them some time to play and exercise.

I took a video with my phone but ... well for whatever reason, it won't download.
Suffice to say that it shows Sven and Charlie racing up together and back on the trail with their little collar bells merrily jingling away.

And that was my quiet time. Peaceful and full of smiles.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

That time of year...

For looking for cool insects!

I'm not going to go on and on about it.

Just put up some shots from around the farm and yard.



Crab spider eating other insects on a Zinnia...





 Red aphids on Goldenrod.


Either this wasp was cold or full from eating something! I was able to get pretty close but stood still for a very long time before trying to take a shot.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Enough with boredom stuff...a bit of Infrared

I've been struggling with Infrared photography. Perhaps struggling isn't the proper word for it.

I am experimenting and enjoying it. Now that the older Olympus is converted I can take that camera with me all day and take photos and swap to the hot mirror which makes it a regular camera.

Instead I've taken my two Olympus cameras in a shoulder bag and shot with regular light and IR light. The Oly cameras are super light and not cumbersome like my Nikon is.

I have left the prime 30mm lens on the newer Oly and had some fun with it while walking the creek and checking the forest fence.



The snake is a custom made tiny sculpture by an artists who made custom ornaments for me years ago of Morris. I just love the color and detail of this little coiled snake!

Some of my Infrared shots turned out. Most were a wash as the sun doesn't shine strong enough in the creek bottom.



I want the creek to be spectacular but it is so heavily shaded that the IR light spectrum does show nice bright foliage but not much else.

In the yard I took two shots of the trees that will be coming down in a bit. My favorite trees that have incredible smelling flowers in the beginning of each June.
I will miss them, but don't want them on top of the house.



Here is a shot I took from the neighbor's garden back looking at our place.
I took it in IR but added the pink arrows to the trees that are to be taken down.


Things will look a bit different after this job is done. Looks like I'll be piling wood for a while this fall!
However, not having these trees fall on buildings is a better idea than worrying every time we get a storm in the summer or an ice storm in the winter.

Two pines are not pictured here. They are up behind the house.