Tuesday, October 26, 2021

That old Trunk and other things

That old trunk I moved into the kitchen area happened to end up staying there. Somedays I use it for a laundry folding spot, some days I used it for...well,

 I had a huge list of to-do's and some of it included the 'other' half. But just after his coffee and breakfast he went back to bed. Such can be our routine.

I thought I'd let it warm up a bit outside before I approached installing the large tank heater. If I busied myself with laundry and doing something creative, I could stay in the house and keep an eye on things.

My friend at the Farmer's Market had set aside a couple of neat gourds she thought I might like for me on Saturday. She said, "I thought of you and your pictures!"

So how could I not use them to do a bit of still life?
I admit, I don't have a studio and I don't have the fancy lighting stuff, but this will have to do for right now. I enjoyed picking out some paper to use as foreground and backround and trying to arrange things in a pleasing manner.

According to some Still Life experts, I don't follow the rules of just 3 objects, dramatic lighting, and moving from tall to short.

I have tried and tried to emulate some of those amazing and dramatic photos, but I keep coming back to just having some fun. 

I mean who can keep from smiling at Groot and a tiny wooden deer?
I have a feeling that Groot will keep showing up now and again.

Then of course, I had to clean up and organize things.
But not before just a bit more fun...
toys behaving badly....

Mice in the cupboards? 

Then I had to put things away and make lunch and tend to my mules.

The above is a sample of the odd box I found. The bottom piece is the only drawer our old kitchen had. Yes, you read that correctly. Our old kitchen had one drawer that was long and narrow. 

After tending to hubby and his lunch, I was able to find football highlights on YouTube for him to watch while I changed out the tank heater and did some in hand work with Siera. She seems a bit off in attitude with all the other mules. She is generally bossy and has been hanging out away from the others.

I have a call into the farrier for a trim anyway. He is fantastic at spotting any issues.

Finally, Charlie and I headed for the woods to collect SD cards from the cameras and have some quiet time.

Who can resist a Halloween themed photo....


The photo above was taken at my mailbox. My neighbor lives on this ridge and we share the upper part of the driveway. It drops steeply down into a hollow.

There is something magical about the late afternoon light on all those maples and oaks. I could pull up a chair and sit there all afternoon to watch the leaves and trees. 

This week we've had some amazing sunrises. I mean brilliant and startling in colors. 

Sunrise at PeeWee's: Harvest time.
Sunday morning

The Sumac Tree I have been watching since August:

We had a killing frost two nights in a row so the garden flowers are all done it and turned into slimy gobs of gooey green. But at least I could appreciate them just before they turned.


Other jobs for the Autumnal weekend were replacing the stock tank heaters and pulling burrs from my an-ni-mule tails. The redheads always get into parts of the forest where stick tights and burdock are, no matter how diligent I am about pulling or cutting them down.

That is Sunshine staring at me. 

I'm happy to report that their winter coats are soft and fluffy. 
After this last blast of color, November ushers in the Brown Season or the colorless season.
I find it hard to be motivated to take photos of anything in our forest during November. 

But I generally use that time to tidy up the house and do indoor projects anyway.
I have a new 'old' Christmas Chair for this year that I found in one of the sheds. A old bent Hickory.

But since we are all thinking about the end of October.....let's enjoy these days were the temps are still above zero!

Do you like winter? Yes, I do. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Comparisons trees & brush

 Bittersweet May 1st in blossom

Bittersweet August 20th

Bittersweet September 20th

Bittersweet October 22nd

This was one plant I was pretty sure of. I was able to photograph it from spring to fall.
Properly dried Bittersweet is often sought after by the old timers as a Fall and Thanksgiving decoration in vases or on wreaths. Who can blame them? They are so bright and cheerful.

Here is the mystery bush that turned out to be a Hazelnut.

These are being sought after also as a alternative crop. Hazelnut coffee? The wildlife and humans both adore the nut. See? I will have to pay attention next year!

Hazelnut bush September 9th

Hazelnut bush September 24th

Hazelnut bush October 9th

Hazelnut bush October 22nd

Then there is the Dogwood. I didn't even know we had dogwood around until after I'd visited my son and he'd shown me some of his beautiful varieties in his yard. I recall looking at the blossoms in the early spring along side our road.

Dogwood Blossoms May 1st

August 20th 

October 22

Oak Tree May 1st

October 22

Another oak variety with rounded edges on the leaves.
White oak.

I think that is about it for today. I'm actually haveing some fun with trying my best to learn more about tree and how to ID them. This has evaded me most of my life.

However this summer while at my son's place, we spent quite a bit of time looking identifying trees around his home. For whatever reason, I found that really interesting.

I always start out with these exact good intentions every spring [to follow a plant from spring to fall] ... and usually forget about it. I didn't do too badly this year.
I'm looking forward to some winter ID'ing and more!

I need to get back to where I saw those Witch Hazels at KVR! That will be my goal next week!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sunday Stills #25

In your car/truck...

What a fun subject but since I did nothing but move my vehicle from the yard to the shed today... I have to grab something old.

On the way to work from 2017...Rush hour traffic on Bad Axe Rd.

Loganville, WI. Through the windshield on one of our many drives to a VA clinic. 

Last winter January 6th. Charlie and I. [We stopped so I could do this safely] My co-pilot loves to check things out any time I slow down.

more at:

Sunday Stills

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Wood ticks

I had started to write a long drawn out and disconnected sort of blog that well, frankly, would interest no one.

So I shut down the laptop and started my Subaru with the remote and said to heck with it.

I drove up to the ridge and kick started my Friday with this....

an amazing blood red sky

and my lovely warm Subaru in 32 degree weather. Don't you just love a heated seat?

Ever take Doxycycline? It sucks too. I picked up a wood tick while out mucking around on Monday and pulled it on Monday night. Guess what? I had to make a visit to the doctor who took one look at my calf and said, "No test needed. That is the Lyme Bullseye and Rash." 
I'm generally very good at changing into my other set of clothes when getting out of the woods. Yet for whatever reason, I didn't on Monday. I had other distracting disconnects going on.

Thankfully [knock on wood], I don't feel sick like the last time I was bitten by an infected tick. Little buggers! I had fevers, headaches, and chills that time. Nasty...just...yuck. Um, wait...I guess there is still time to feel rotten. 

Charlie and I did not hike through the woods and the brush. I thought he'd like a road walk and he did. He sought out all the proper places to pee on clumps of grass. I had to laugh about how serious he seemed to be while kicking up grass afterwards.
We then cut through the large hay field and corn strips to avoid the Naughty Dog House.

Charlie: Who you calling short stuff?

Come on lady!
Yes, I am an amazing little dog with a very mixed heritage.
And I like to ignore you.

The purpose of this walk was to see what the Hazelnut tree looked like along with the dogwood trees and the Bittersweet at this time of October.
This is a way that I study things. Take photos of trees or plants and compare them as time changes them. A lot of the shots, I toss because they are just for personal interest. But eventually if I put them together, I get a clearer 'picture' of how a plant or flower grows, changes, and dies off.

Last note. The doctor I saw said that the ticks with Lyme were awful this year for some reason and she had seen an 'up-tick' in cases. I hope we do have a cold enough winter to kill them off or to at least make them scarce.

Yes, I hate wood ticks but it won't keep me out of the woods. I just need to be much more observant and swap clothes when I get in.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Hiking with Aurora

I was pretty excited to be able to hike with Aurora again. This time I'd get to meet THE Tank!

This was a view of fog along the river bottom on my drive to KVR. This spot is considered a small backwater for the Kickapoo River. The highway twists and turns along this river with multiple bridges to cross. 
During floods most locals know which back roads to use to get around the low lying areas that have water across the highway.

I brought my crappy little IR camera with me just for fun along with my pocket camera. 

We hiked out of Willow Camp and headed down towards Old 131. I hadn't taken this particular route since last winter with Bill. It is a great hike to stay out of the winter winds.

Tank [in infrared]! 
One of the most entertaining labs I've ever encountered! 
And yes, he adores sticks. To see him in person was so much fun.

Tank was Mr. Playful and seemed to carry a smile on his dog face no matter what the situation he is in. I hate to admit it, but he made me miss my days with my big dogs. I just wanted to get down and hug the heck out of him.

The best part was having two vehicles so we could park in one spot and hike to another spot without having to do loops. Here is a screen shot from an app on my 'stupid' phone called map my walk. It works pretty decently and for a free app, it isn't too bad.

This is one of my favorite spots to stop and just take in. 
This spot I call. The Ponds.
There are actually two sets of ponds. This is on the west side of the trail.
First shot is in Infrared, 
second done with my pocket camera.

I tried so hard to get a good shot of the neat old oak on the edge of the pond, but it didn't really turn out very well. 

Here is the Quiet Kickapoo. It is a very deceiving river. It is mostly very shallow and slow. Except where it isn't. Two years ago two women had to be 'water' rescued not far from here when they got tangled up in a log jam.
The Kickapoo will trick you. With a few inches of rain it can become a raging river that covers roads. The Reserve was supposed to be a site where they would build a dam to stop the river from flooding those places south.

It never went through and we now have all these beautiful acres of land to explore. 50+ miles of trails to hike. I have two trails left to do before I've walked all of them. 

Most all of KVR's trails are well maintained, not something that was done when I rode mules on it in the 1990's. Back then the land was a free for all with local kids and their 4 wheel Monster Trucks and winches. Parties were held down near old Campsite G with a rope off the bluff to swing out and drop into the river.

I recall the Rainbow People overtaking the place one year and riding through a camp of drunk, high, and naked people ... some of them covered in Kickapoo Mud.

KVR has an interesting history. 

Now it is quite tame and well kept. 

We saw some pheasant hunters. I had to chuckle. The one dog we saw was hugely fat and obviously still hunting with his master. Both master and dog were aged, but still out there. 
I have no clue as how pheasant hunting even works. I had a coach at CrossFit who hunted with his lab/pheasant dog and he posted photos, but other than that? No clue.

KVR shares the land with hunters. In fact every county park allows hunting on its lands. It is a huge attraction for tourism and locals which is good for our local towns and B&B's.

Me? I used to hunt raccoon with hounds at night. I always thought that hunting the trickster at night was more fun. Those days are over of course. But I still pause if I hear a hound baying in October.

Whoops...that was way off track.

Our hike ended with about 4 miles of walking and looking around. We stopped at this last pond which is another one of my favorites because of the reflections it has to offer.

When it isn't wet [rarely], there is a trail that goes right around the edge of this pond. I was able to grab a few shots of Canada Geese nesting on one of those clumps of grass this spring.

Here is the same pond in the middle of summer but at sunrise with a lot of fog!

I guess I never will tire of visiting this place. 
It changes its looks with the weather and seasons.

January 1st I get to map out my plan of getting all of the trails hiked and turn in my paperwork for the Trail Challenge.

I have only two trails left to explore that I haven't done before. So I think I'll be well prepared for the challenge.

It is always more fun when I can share it with someone else. 

I hope we can do this together again.