Saturday, May 15, 2021

Your Post has been Deleted !

I had the most interesting bunch of emails this morning that really confused me.

Pointing down....

Then a bit later a second email stating that the post was reinstated after review. 
Very odd.  Nor could I find the reinstated blogs UNTIL I went back to old post and found that they had been returned to Draft Status.

Now they are back but I am still searching for one.

Odd isn't it?


     As you may know, our Community Guidelines 
( describe the boundaries for what we 
allow-- and don't allow-- on Blogger. Your post titled "March ~ Hello!" was 
flagged to us for review. We have determined that it violates our 
guidelines and deleted the post, previously at

     Why was your blog post deleted?
     Your content has violated our Malware and Viruses policy. Please visit 
our Community Guidelines page linked in this email to learn more.

     We encourage you to review the full content of your blog posts to make 
sure they are in line with our standards as additional violations could 
result in termination of your blog.

     For more information, please review the following resources:

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     The Blogger Team

And then.....


     We have re-evaluated the post titled "March ~ Hello!" against Community 
Guidelines Upon review, the post has 
been reinstated. You may access the post at


     The Blogger Team

Friday, May 14, 2021

Dog Life


It can safely be said that Charlie rules all he can see from the porch.

He alerts me to the C-130 fly overs...

Yes, that is a huge plane and depending on the weather, these planes can fly just over the tree tops, sometimes once a day. Usually there are two of them, one follows the other. When they are really low, the mules pick up there heads and watch, then go back to their usual business.

To celebrate our Vac-a-versary [two week wait period after the vaccine], my neighbor and I got together for a glass of Champagne and some strawberries in her 'dog' yard.
Charlie has been a long time friend to her little dog Basil but had never met Stella, the mini labradoodle.
Lauren was concerned that Stella and Charlie may not get along and I told her that we just needed to let them be. There was a lot of sniffing and peeing to start with. Charlie seemed overwhelmed with both dogs at first.

When the girls crowded him into a corner he gave them a warning snap and immediately everything fell into place. The dogs quietly did their own thing while we had our Champagne and strawberries and caught up on face to face gossip.

When Allie came into the yard she grabbed toys and tossed them. The fun chases ensued and the dogs had a blast.

Action shots? These sucked but were fun anyway.
Charlie jumped higher than I thought possible!

Charlie: Keep your Eyes on the Prize!

Leader of the Pack!

Zoomie Time!

Things are slowly returning to normal which makes me so pleased. I have missed sitting with a friend and having coffee with conversation. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Not that newsworthy...

I live in a mini house. It is a cottage. The top photo is Charlie on our love seat recliner that we inherited nearly 20 years ago. His toys are strewn in that little hallway that leads into the other 'half' of the house. That is the kitchen/dining area that actually has a nice plank floor on it. 

The living area has old carpeting in it. It is nasty, dusty, and of course it has been through more than one puppy if you get my drift. When we remodeled, it was supposed to be pulled out and replaced. Hubby said he'd do it.

The photo with my feet in it is a sample of the new flooring I am finally winning approval for. I brought home samples of linoleum flooring that looks like wood planking. Frankly, I do like the planking on the kitchen floor but this cushy flooring I have as a sample is the same as what is in my bathroom. It is CUSHY! There is a huge difference in the feel of it when I walk across the planking vs the bathroom floor.

Personally I found some awesome 'rock' looking flooring but hubby wanted something that looked like wood.

I had several samples and he picked the old reddish barnwood flooring look. I agree, it is the better choice.

I was told that I didn't want sheet flooring, it would look stupid. But I expect since I will hire an expert to put it in, it will look nice. Bonus points for the fact that the flooring people will remove and dispose of the old rug and underlayment. Sure it will cost me, but I've been saving for it. 

Once that dusty old carpet is removed, I will be very happy. A stick vacuum and a mop will be easier.. well, I think.


He agreed to go with me to look at a replacement for the loveseat. Yep, my house is too tiny to have a full couch. At once time I wished to have a day bed. But I like putting my feet up at the end of the day. Plus it can only measure something like 67 inches to fit where I want it.

The very last project I want to do internally is put up floorboard trim. However that is not a hot issue. 

My outdoor work is continuing.

Pulling Burdock and chopping down Elderberry bushes that have taken over like crazy.

These nasty yet tasty things grow everywhere and by midsummer completely shade the grass out.

The shoots look harmless enough, but they grow by seed and extend by root shoots. They are less harmful than the Buckthorn but just as hard to get rid of.

So I work with a reciprocating saw and pull the shoots as they appear all year long.

It is a constant battle and eventually I will give up when I am older or no longer have equine.

In the photo below there is an Elderberry shoot with its LONG root extended next to a regular sized rake. Just wow....

And here is a section I have worked on now for almost two years to keep clear.

And this is why I do it.
Lazy bums!

The elder mule Fred with Mica who has breathing and heart issues. They are so happy to be with the others right now.

So there it is. 
Not very news worthy, but my week so far.
I will take the rest of the week off from hacking, chopping, piling, and burning.

There is a trail calling my name in KVR.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

It is IR Season

So many photographers that experiment with Infrared Photography literally put their cameras away once late fall arrives. 
One of the reasons I've become fascinated with it, is because it is sometimes very difficult. Many times the shots turn out like crap.

I do try to find shots I can take in the winter when there is no foliage to reflect the classic white leaves and grass. But IR is so much more than that.

There are certain elements that really make IR pop and other elements that simply make IR nothing but a HUGE dud.
Here is a winter shot of Weister Creek in infrared with the elements that work in my opinion.
Clouds [oops, no clouds! Just bright skies!]
Green Pines

I tried this very same shot with my regular camera and it didn't impress me at all.

Shot with a Canon ELPH 180

Other winter photos can be found here: In all things of nature

Now I have to laugh because the standard rule for interesting IR photography is those things I mentioned. Water, sky, clouds, leaves. None of those were in that winter walk. It was overcast, cold, with a gunmetal sky at times. I used my pocket camera that I stuffed inside my winter coat to keep it from freezing. 

I read an article by PetaPixel I think in which the photographer they interviewed said that 90 percent of his photos were tossed when he used IR. He didn't shoot unless it was summer, he didn't shoot unless he had sun, clouds, water, and sometimes a building. He went for reflections in the water too.
Let's note here that this fella was a pro. He sold his photos. 
Me? I'm not a pro and don't want to be. I just want to experiment and explore.

A shot from my adventure last week...shot from the Beaver Dam.

Original File below:

When the clouds moved in  and I tried other shots, they just ended up being total duds.
I just reviewed them and tossed them. Nothing here folks! 

Here is one I would have tossed, but I just had to mess with it a bit.

It was the sky that fascinated me. Without the IR filter, the clouds were nearly invisible. The nice thing about IR is that no one expects certain things to be a certain color.

Just some fun here while I was checking fences. Fence line above the creek in the Wooded Pasture. Yep, I did a channel swap and played a bit. Pink leaves and Turquoise sky? 

Then there are those moments in which elements present themselves and you just have to go for it.

I'll keep experimenting because that is so much fun. 

Time to get back to work. I hear the critters calling my name. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Forest Pasture and Wandering

My wild red heads. That is Sunshine in the front, she is 23 years old and some days acts like her young sister behind her. They are always ready for some fun. Which in Mule Terms means Bucking and Farting.

It was time to move them to the Forest/Meadow pasture. Without our regular rainfall, our pastures have really not recovered well. But the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right?

I have a rotation that generally works fairly well. Mules love the grass. The photo below is where I concentrated an area for them to graze as they usually pass by this section and it gets tall and uneaten.

Turning them out to the forest means they have a meadow but will have to forage in the woods for more grass and nibble on briers which they will do. Often they are lazy and don't bother with the woods.

So far so good. They have all been put back together. Old Fred looks a bit rough but he is happy he is grazing with his girls. I have a lot of grooming to do to everyone who are shedding like crazy. The horse is just about shed out already. Mules generally start to shine around the first of June. Must be the donkey in them!

Sundance inspects an inner fence. She is looking into the Buckthorn Woods. Grass grows in there and I have some Burdock to clean up before they can enjoy that area. 

After 24 hours the little mule herd seemed to be at peace. They are back to being one unit. 

I decided to take a nice long wander about in PeeWee's. Rich wanted me to hunt morels and it was a good enough excuse to pack snacks and water in my little backpack and take off. It was Mother's Day and that meant I got to choose what I wanted to do ... sort of. 

I walked the south hillside of the first valley and found an old cow trail to follow. Weirdly enough I noted that someone had walked along the same route and marked some trees. Curious, I followed the trail to the fenceline and then headed up the steep hill we once called Mule Killer Hill. There was a steep and long hill that would take the piss and vinegar out of our young mules. 

I followed a narrow deer trail near the top.

I started thinking about the fact I hadn't seen or heard of the 4 wheelers in weeks. Then I thought about how much easier it would be getting around while riding Sunshine. 

I finally decided I'd had enough 'hunting' around. The only fungi I found was near the creek and those were pheasant backs. 

I toured the side of the hill and crossed the fence onto our land. Something caught my eye and I stood still.

An owl!

I only had my little red camera hanging from my side. 

The owl wasn't interested in me. But I watched it. I took pictures. It never turned its head to look at me until I made a kissing noise. Then it gave me the once over and continued to chirp.
I left the owl to its business and headed home.

Back in the woods I heard:
Who...who who...who cooks for you!

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Rock Faces and the mystical hike

A while ago I met Aurora through reading some other blogs. We discovered that we both enjoyed photography and admired the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. On a whim I said we should get together and take a spring hike.

Yeah. I things like that don't often happen do they? I mean we all would love to meet some of the folks we interact via the internet. I did that years ago. Met up with a fellow horseback rider in Virginia when I went to visit my brother. She drove me up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway where we went hiking. Another time I met another photographer whose specialty was in Infrared. 

None of us turned out to be an Axe Murder-er-er...

Oh and there are plenty of folks I'd never want to really meet up with.

There is a lot of fun in meeting other folks. Especially those who have the same interests. The whole idea was to find a fascinating area and explore it with all of our senses. Enjoying the outdoors and the landscape was the main reason we got together.

After consulting with the Charlie the Trail Boss, we headed out to a very very secret and very unknown trail. The land varies with each sweep of the hill or draw. The pines  whisper of things long past. If a person stands quietly they can hear the old forest talking.

That is how it feels.
We made our way slowly along the valley with steep hills rising above us and a creek on our other side. 

Believe me, the colors and the amount of incredible spring flowers was nearly overwhelming...

I was keeping an eye on Charlie who loves to adventure ahead on the trail when I realized that Aurora had stopped. I mean like statue stopped. 

Charlie was watching her intently.

We were at the pine forest where the little bluffs started. 

I asked her if she was alright.
And her reply didn't surprise me. It went somewhat like this:

I'm just soaking all of this in. You probably see this all of the time and yet I am struck by it. I just...have
to stand here and...

That may not be her exact words. But I knew exactly what she was feeling. In 1997, I was with Rich in about the same spot staring up at the trees---, the bluffs, the angle of the hills, the pines,----  and suddenly I was overwhelmed by it all. I'd come from Kenosha, land of flat and here I was suddenly immersed in what felt like a primitive forest or land.

At the time I was speechless and all I could do was sit on Buck the mule and stare. I was positive that fairies and dragons lived in this land. 

I stood silent so pleased that this land struck her in the same way it had struck me so many years ago. 

After all, didn't a dragon just poke his head around this stump?

Oh wait. I see him!

The Rock Faces!
Aurora asked if I saw the face in the rock. I said I did! She saw one face and I saw different one. 

Here is the one I saw. The Sad Face. It looks like a statue from the Roman Empire that has been tilted. 

Can you see it?

Aurora will have to show 'her' rock face. Hopefully I just did not pressure her!

We left this valley and headed out the ridge. 

More about that maybe next time. 

I had the best time. Our hike/walk/adventure was fun. I enjoyed it with Aurora and seeing things through her eyes as she looked around. I do have to admit. KVR is overwhelming in so many ways.

I don't like to leave, I'd rather stay in the forest and hills and listen to the trees. Or...sit on top of Blackhawk rock and watch the world below awaken at sunrise.

Can I just turn into a Wood Sprite?

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

The little Red Camera


This dandy camera arrived December 14th 2019 and it was love at first unpacking. First off, it is heavy duty and weather proof. It's name says Tough and it is. I've dropped it from my mules, dropped it in the snow, fumbled it in and out of my coveralls and jackets, and walked with it in downpours and snowfalls.

I've worn the paint off one of the edges and basically I've been surprised by it.
It is not a DSLR camera but I've even put it up against my those cameras in some still life tests. The zoom is not something I use often but I do use the macro features A LOT.

The Olympus Menu has always been a confusing thing on cameras and this one is no different. The macro feature menu allows me to do macro, in camera stacked photos [I think this feature is the coolest. I normally can do it without a mini tripod!] With a tripod, you can also take frames to stack later in a program like Helicon Focus. 

There is a microscopic feature that is the bomb. They call it Microscope instead of Macro.

This is the mode for the following shot I took yesterday while hiking in the rain of raindrops on a dandelion.

In camera focus stacking. Wow.
Super cool Olympus feature, but this one comes in a little pocket camera.
The Olympus OMD EM 5 Mark III has it too but it only works with certain lenses.

And it works pretty well.

This feature called Focus Bracket takes several photos and lets the photographer stack them in post process. This is fine and you would want to use a mini tripod. 
I rarely do this only because I think the hand held Focus stack works well for me.

Super duper close. I like this for things like snow flakes and dew drops.

Check it out. I ended up getting a ring light that attaches to the front of the camera. It works pretty neat also.
Super Duper Close!

Snow flake

Caddisfly larvae encased in grains of sand.

I stuck the camera in Landscape mode and took this shot of the little gargoyle in my Forest Garden.
Easy peasy. No thinking, just point and shoot.

Other handy menu items are sunset and indoors. For great sunsets, I am not impressed with this camera. It lacks a bit of pizzaz in picking up the colors, but if that is all a person has, it does great.

However it does take pretty cool video in slo...motion! It does eat up the battery if you do a lot of video. There is a self portrait mode too which actually works pretty nice.

Does it produce the best photos compared to other cameras? I honestly don't know. I don't Pixel Peep and I don't care. I need a camera that will take abuse from me and is handy to attach to my belt.

It also has a cool feature which I used. It has a timer you can set and then ask the camera to delay the first photo and take a series of shots. That is how I got most of my 'snowy' adventure photos this year. 

Last note. On the dial menu there is C1 and C2. I've never used them. But if there is a particular 'way' you like your camera set up, you can preset your desires and set them to C1 or C2.