Thursday, February 20, 2020

Journeys


Sometimes I wonder about this journey I've embarked on. There are so many unexpected twists and turns.
Things can go smooth and easy like travelling a well paved road.

Other times it is just a rollercoaster ride where the car has flown from the track and you wonder where you will land.

There are hills.
Valleys.

Road blocks. Unexpected dips and joyful highs.

So I just go.

One foot
in
front
of
the
other.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Winter Wonderland

Outside Monday:


The mules went to play in the fresh snow. Apparently snow baths are very refreshing.

As is snow sleeping:



We had inches of snow. Beautiful wet heavy snow.


During evening chores I did my usual while the mules were eating. As the temps dropped the top layer of their winter coats had some ice on it.


I pulled back the hair and dug in deep to the skin.
It was nice and fluffy and dry.
Sunshine ignored me as I did this. I check everyone each day as I owe it to these creatures who have taken me safely on rides for nearly 20 years.

The next morning the sun appeared over the trees and dropped into our hollow. The mules ate and sunbathed.


The roads were pretty awful as I made my way to town and to CrossFit. But I decided that I'd take a slow hike after I got back and explore the valley. Just a short walk of course!
The landscape had been turned into a Winter Wonderland.



My short walk became a longer walk as I took extra time to stop and enjoy the skies and the 'icing' on all of the branches above me.

The breeze would blow above us and snow would gently fall down on Charlie and I.
In the shot below you should be able to see the snow cascading down in the right side of the photo. It really added a bit of glitter to the outdoor scene!


I will be curious tomorrow after another subzero night as to how the creek will refreeze.
Yesterday was wet and sloppy. This morning anywhere the sun doesn't hit is iced!

Rich isn't feeling well again so I'll be spending most of my time indoors. I thought it would be fun to work on some Still Life shots of the little houses I created out of sticks and rocks.
I even spent some time watching some YouTube videos on how to make some more miniature plants. I have some more fun ideas to try.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

What if?


If you follow what I write, you will know that I do a lot of solo things. I solo ride, solo hike, snowshoe, ski, and generally do many things by myself.

Now don't feel badly for me. It is fine. I like my adventures, it is something I just have to do. I've been doing this for over 20 years.

Charlie gave me the 'look' yesterday when I got dressed to go see what the 'flash freeze' and -18F temps did to our creek. The temperature was mild and the radical swing to 30F was well...welcoming.



Charlie was a bit tentative at first, but he is learning the difference between thin ice and thick ice.

Here he is walking on wet ice but obviously with a purpose in mind.


Charlie was 'in charge' of course, he is now a hiker dog that is familiar with the walks we take together. He surges ahead and is now even starting to hang around when I stop to take photos or look at something.
Treats keep him close.
That and the collar which was turned off.

Charlie stands and waits for me to get around this tangle of downed trees. I have to wonder what things he can sniff out. His nose is always busy.


As we headed downstream the water was no longer frozen as the morning sunlight and multiple springs kept it open.

Charlie eventually led a way down a trail next to a creek crossing that I am not fond of. I hollered to him to 'come' and then he just stared at me as if I were an idiot.

Oh heck, why not? I'd just be careful after all most everything is frozen and that slippery muddy spot should be fine, right?

Under the 8 inches of snow was slime mud. I was fine until I lost footing and kneeled to catch myself.
The snow covered a nice hard boulder. And my knee connected with it.

I sat in the snow and howled. Charlie stood across the creek and stared at me. He wasn't too concerned.
I cursed the 4 wheeler dudes who had mucked this crossing up...sat and sat...waiting to see if something would happen to the stars flashing before my eyes.
I tucked my head down and concentrated on breathing.

Slowly I stood up and looked around.
Did anybody see that?
Charlie.
He was not impressed.

I wiggled my leg and though it hurt I could move.
It didn't feel like it was bleeding but I was pretty sure that I was going to have a nice bruise of some kind.

"Charlie, that was not a good choice," I remarked and heaved my foot up and out of the muck and snow.
I picked my way carefully around the creek crossing and walked towards the 4 wheeler trail that I knew was pretty solid.
Tsk, tsk, I thought to myself. I can move, but it sort of hurts!

I paused. I was in the valley and trying to scrabble UP hill and across the fields were going to be tough and agonizing.

"Well Mr. Charlie, let's take the easiest trail home, right?"
Charlie trotted up and begged for a treat.
I gave him one.
Good boy.

And then I followed my little dog carefully and slowly enjoying the bird song and the beautiful shadows of the woods.


Despite the ache and bad footing, I went slowly and enjoyed the outing anyway.

Once a friend of mine had asked why I hiked solo and I quipped back, "Am I to wait for someone to go with all of the time? No, I go. I've really been very safe for many years."

"What if you get hurt?"

Indeed, what if?
But if I never go, I will never discover things and enjoy the bright white snow and shadows.
Or the pleasure of having my faithful tiny dog lead me home.



Saturday, February 15, 2020

How to build a stick house for a Fairy Garden

The weather turned down right dangerous with air temps at -18F and who knows what the wind chills were. I bundled up, did the chores and made sure all the equine had plenty of hay and heated water.
Since I had to be outside for a length of time, I dressed for it.
I actually was comfortable doing the chores and hauling hay in the large sled.
Going for a hike was out of the question, if I slipped or started to get cold, I'd be too far from help.


I decided that I'd collect some of the sticks I'd gathered while hiking with Charlie and Sven the other day [when it was mild] and 'create' a new Squirrel House.

I decided to use my cell phone and then write on the photos as I went through each step so here it is:







This is an old sour cream container that I cut a window in. Since it is a squirrel 'house' he/she can climb in and out easily right?
I painted the container black first so that if there were gaps, the sour cream lettering wouldn't show through.

The gorilla two sided tape is weather proof and will hold up to 15 lbs or so the package says. It is so much easier to use the tape and then put the sticks on than trying to glue them in place.

I was fascinated that I could break chunks of bark with lichen on it and press it onto the tape in the gaps ... seems it will stay? Time will tell.




I used hot glue and more scraps to fill in some of the other gaps that didn't have tape on it.


I was going to make a fancy top with some clay or something else but I decided just to go into my scraps area and grab some old bark I'd found laying in the woods. I used Gorilla Tape to hold down a layer of scraps. Hot glue works best on a porous surface so I glued more scraps on top of that to make a roof.





There. But I still had some a few more touches to add.





I think the Squirrel likes the little shack.

I rather like these little projects. This will be fun to put in a section of the new mini flower garden I'll do this spring. I may have to think of something to make the stick house heavier so it will stay put.

The stick houses are a lot of fun to make and cost nothing as I can gather the materials needed when I take a walk.
This was a great little day project to do while the temperatures outside kept me safely indoors.

One of the reasons I liked this project is that it did not have to be perfect. Too many 'Fairy Houses' look perfect. If a person was to do this with a child, it could be just like this.
I think it is still cute in its very non perfect way.

Besides, if a squirrel were to make this?
Well, have you ever seen a squirrel nest?

I rest my case!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Snow day


I adore the morning after a snow when the temperatures are frigid and the snow crystals glisten.
Snow Diamonds.

I'll never get those words out of my head. Yes, I think Dad each time I see them. He'd once asked me to take photos of them for him.
He was going blind at the time from macular degeneration.

But I always seek Snow Diamonds...


I live for these mornings. When the atmosphere is heavy with moisture and there is no wind.
The Hoar frost arrives and turns the world into a delightful place of reflecting lights.



Things look so magical with frost on them!

The morning light was magical on the snow. Charlie and I took a quick morning walk and went to do the chores.

Rich was still complaining about his stomach hurting. I asked pointed questions to try and help him figure out what was bothering him. It ended up with him telling me in a fit of anger to 'shut up' and get out.
Of course I think part of the issue was his inability to articulate what the problem was as much as deciding that my questions were nagging.
I handed him a sheet of paper that has the VA's phone number to the nurse's line and after I took all of his vitals [normal], I let him be while I took Mr. Charlie for a hike.

That dog does love snow!





Late in the afternoon, I fired up the Dreaded Skid Steer and cleared the parking area on the north side of the house. It is just yard, but in the winter it is nice to have it plowed out so I can bring groceries into the kitchen instead of walking around the house.
It went okay as far as driving the Beast goes. I got brave and did a little more touching up but didn't go hog wild. I need many more hours with the Beast before I could ever get proficient at it.

We are supposed to get some more snow later this week and the wind chills are to drop into the way below zero range.
Perfect weather for snowshoeing in the valleys.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Dangerous Travel & Crafty Things


Travel not Advised was this morning's report at 6am.

I was good with that. I wasn't going anywhere.





These were 'the kids' this morning. I was taking it easy and didn't rush out at 7am and feed them. I waited and watched the snow come down. They were wearing nice snow coats.

Rich didn't feel well so the day was spent 'crafting'. You would be amazed at what a person can do with the cardboard from a toilet paper roll!


I used a top from a medicine bottle to make the bottom of the roll and the top of it more stable. I used a scrap of heavy weight paper to make a cone for the top. Scotch tape to add the little door and the piece of heavy paper above the 'door'. I imagined it to be a fungi...well, eventually.


Here is the 'stone' house I did last week. I set it on an ice pail cream lid. This summer I'll fill the lid with a bit of dirt and some moss. I poked holes in the plastic to let rain water out. I decided that this was not a fairy house, but a Squirrel's house.

I decided then to look up how to make tiny pots for tiny plants. How fun could this be???



Toothpaste cap. Script bottle cap, old twisters from the junk drawers...Scotch tape..paint...
and some straws.

Well, I had to do something while the toilet paper house was drying.



A bit of paint....
for the roll...


There are some finishing touches yet, but the top does fit on securely.

While that dried I returned to the mini plants I'd made.

This is the tiny plant I made out of used twisters and tape. The brown pot is the crest toothpaste top.
This next one is the mini plants I made out of straws.




And then after I finished with them...


I have to admit I really had my doubts this would work very well, but with the added touch of the tiny stones in the 'pots', I think it is cute!

Tomorrow, I'll put the new items together and see how it stacks up in a photo.

I'm enjoying this little Mini World!