Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Chilled out

 




Our nightly visitors keep appearing just behind the outhouse and hear the north pasture. When I shot these photos the camera sensed everything as 'blue' and I guess the snow would reflect that just after sunset. I shot these through two panes of glass and set the camera on Auto to see what would happen.

The ISO went to 6400 and the photos are a bit grainy, but dang! It wasn't so bad! Cameras sure have come a long way. I shot these with my cheapo used long lens and still, I am impressed. 
These are the same fawns as I did the artsy fartsie stuff too but on a different evening.

The deer are coming to our weedy area behind the outhouse because the meadows and the forest are fairly deep in snow. There is easier pickins right here. As browsers, they don't stay long. But right now just as the sun sets they appear.

I call out to hubby to let him know the visitors are descending from the woods above and he turns off whatever he is watching and stands at the back door. He counts them out to me and provides a narrative while I do whatever I am busy with in the kitchen.

With wind chills as nasty as they are and a busy schedule with Video interviews, I have decided to give up even thinking of going out for anything other than providing warm water to those who don't have a heated water tank, and feeding those birds.

I went to clean up my spare room and sort some things and ended up messing around with ... well...

Guess who's coming for dinner?


Remember this song? 

Ten in Bed

there were ten in bed 
and the little one said
roll over
so they all rolled over 
and one fell out

there were nine in bed
and the little one said...



I have no idea why that song came to my head when I was gathering all these tiny Teddy Bears together...but it did.

I needed to distract my mind with something else after organizing the toys and art supplies.

So I spread out my old maps.


I'm thinking of a warmer day when I can get back on the trails. 

And I got this in the mail, very appropriate.



-17 F tonight with gusting south winds?

Saturday is the new date for the kids and I to hit the ice caves in the morning. After this week, I'd feel like anything above zero is warm and any time outside with others would be welcome.

Adulting is
sometimes tough...



Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Really it is cold

I must be getting used to it I guess because I waited until it was only -3 to head out and do chores. The sun hadn't topped the trees yet but I had some things to get done and three mules were staring at the house.

I imagine they were mind melding with me and sending me mental photos of yummy hay. 

I'd just let Charlie out and he had done a refusal until my stocking foot pushed him out the door. He looked rather upset with me and walked over to one of my very cool porch rocks and proceeded to pee on it.

He trotted back to the door. I let him in. He jumped up onto his blankets on the couch and gave me a look as if to say, 'there I peed, happy?
I shall ignore YOU!'



I shook my finger at him and told him he needed to get out in the yard and bless that chunk of a stump I'd put out there just for pee purposes. NOT my fossil rocks! He closed his eyes.

I got out a hat and scarf figuring that Charlie would need to bundle up.

He was soooo not impressed.


Next I said I'd get him a face mask so he wouldn't get chilled.

Again.
He was not impressed.



However, by late afternoon he was all in on going for a walk.


He likes snow and doesn't mind it as long as....

there is a trail...


and he doesn't have to wade through it...



When you have 3 inch legs, a fresh snowfall can certainly be hard on a little fella.

Note: Thank you Charlie for being such a willing little guy to put up with my shenanigans and join me on my winter walks. I do pick him up on trails like these so he doesn't get cold.

What a good boy.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Artsie Fartsy

The tree above is a real mess, but in some ways I sort of like it. I enjoyed the process so much I decided to try it again on the tree below.
I added the birds with a brush.

I used to love drawing with pen and ink. I wasn't very good at it. I was more of a Picasso artist and drew a 'interpretation' of what I saw. It tried being accurate and real, and always failed miserably.

Maybe this is why this sort of photo-draw-art-interpretation thing works for me. 
The funny thing is, this 'art' had some rave reviews with a certain subset of folks in
an art group on social media. 

However ~ can a person really trust social media these days? Rhetorical question, obviously.



This yearling deer was photographed through the back door window with my long lens. The original is here:



My 'vision' of what I imagined is here:


And then a wild interpretation that included textures and colors are here:
 


I hike or snowshoe daily with camera in hand and wonder what I can do artistically with the same ol' scenes over and over. How can I see the same tree yet interpret it differently? 

[Hey now, that would make an interesting comparison wouldn't it? This tree and scene over the years? Hmmmm....]

Below is a photo of an apple tree that I've photographed hundreds of times in all sorts of circumstances. This is the version I came up with.


This is the original:


The black and white version is more like a drawing. I like that. It really says a lot about winter. Though winter is not that dull and unexciting.

I enjoy finding out who has been lurking around by their tracks. Mr. or Mrs. Bobcat have been making a trail from one neighbor's property across our place and towards the neighbors west of us.

These shots were taken before the last snowfall. 



We haven't been going anywhere lately. Hubby stays at home and I hike out to the ridge or into the valley to get fresh air and see what is going on in our forest. 

Charlie has not been too excited over the latest cold temperatures and snowfalls. I have to make some trails so he won't have to snow swim.



Sunday, January 23, 2022

Memories

My brother and his wife took care of my father in his last few years of life. This was all before I became a Caregiver myself. They did this while raising children on their own.

My dad lived in a modified area downstairs in my brother's house. I really do think it was an act of selflessness that impresses me to no end. 

My dad had 'stuff' that he'd brought with him. You know, the usual stuff. Photos, slides, and papers that we like to hang on to.

Recently my brother had to go through my dad's things again and do more sorting for a documentary that was being done on a place my father worked at. 

I opened the box and started going through it. A Time Capsule! There was a photo of me at 18 months old with one shoe on, one shoe off and holding a Mickey Mouse guitar backwards. I guess you can say that my musical abilities were abysmally evident even at that young age.



Then there was a photo of my dad sitting with my brother and I. Dad was wearing a kids' cowboy hat. He looks somewhere between perplexed and slightly embarrassed that his picture was being taken. Or he is just trying to figure out what my brother is trying to do. 

I am just sitting there staring off into the distance:


Eventually a doctor suggested eye surgery to help me see. It was a success and paired with glasses I could see. Not like normal people [I didn't learn until much later that my depth perception doesn't exist], but I got along just fine. 

I was definitely my 'own' person.



One of the most startling items I found was an undated assignment from school in which I must have been practicing cursive writing.

It was a letter to each of my parents.

It is interesting to note what I said to each of my folks then. Dad was the softy, he might scold in a mild tone or let me know that what I'd done wrong was indeed wrong..., but he never raised a hand to me.

My mom for whatever reason seemed to delight in finding things I'd done wrong and being the punisher. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Her anger was swift and punishment immediate on all levels. 

She was very hard to please and I'd said something like that in my cursive assignment. More along the lines of 'I like to make you happy.' 

I wonder why dad kept those papers?


In the letter to him, I mentioned that I liked how 'he yelled at me'. The preference for one parent over the other was glaringly obvious in the two pages I read.

I see it now. I wonder IF they saw it then?


Oh and I wonder if I am reading too much into something written so long ago.

Mom was always difficult for me to please. Dad never seemed disappointed. 
I think I'll just go with that.

I am so tickled to be able to go through this box of items. What a Time Capsule.




Saturday, January 22, 2022

Colder than a...

.... well, you know the sayings! I will let you complete your own sentences.

Here's Fred staring at the porch door as I got put my boots on Friday morning.

They look cold, but aren't. I free feed hay and they have heated water along with cozy woods.


By the way. Fred is 37 according to our records. He seems to be doing much better this year than he was last year. Fiesty as all get out. He bosses the bigger ones around. Other times he goes off by himself and plays the Grumpy Ol' Mule and sleeps next to the huge oak tree.

By 9 AM my co-hikers begged off from going to the ice caves. I don't blame them, one of the kids was missing his boots. 

I was restless as this was a planned day. So I waited a bit for the sun to come up a bit higher.
Then I was on my way to do exploring.

I am known as the NUT who loves winter. And I am a Winter Geek.

I'm going to include a photo from a gazillion years ago of my father on a night he prepared to go cross country skiing. He was ALL in on winter. Imagine this, when I visited him we could ski at night for miles and miles. Our conversations were about weather, skiing, techniques, and nature.


Dang! He looks like an original Horror Film Slasher!

He studied cold weather and how to dress for it. Imagine how he would be amazed at how cold weather clothing has improved since the 1980's!


I was not the only nut out there. One older lady was skiing and there was an old gent skate skiing. His movements were rather fluid and it was a pleasure to watch him glide by.



I decided to do some off trail sight seeing. I knew I'd walk into the wind for about 1/2 mile but then I'd go into an area that was protected by woods and bluffs.




The river seemed frozen over, but I won't walk on it. I know how deep and swift it is near the bluff.




Getting the shots right were really hard and I am pretty sure I didn't do it justice.  I was shooting towards sunlight and dark rocks. 

My hands got cold. I'd put my mittens back on over my knit gloves. I did more walking and admiring more than anything else. 

Bear suggested we move into the sunlight. Bear is usually right about things.


I cut through the frozen backwater pond towards the trail and the sunlight.


The sun was very welcome.

Bear and I walked alongside the trail with the wind at our backs. The sun filled us with warmth. I crunched along and thought how fun this trail would have been to ski with my father. 

Bear agreed with me. I like Bear, he is a pleasant but stuffy fellow. He reminds me that life should be enjoyed and no matter what, a person doesn't have to be lonely if they have a friend like him.


It was cold but it was refreshing too.



Bear is a good partner. He never complains about anything. 
Not even my driving.









 

Friday, January 21, 2022

CareGiver

 


"A hug is always the right size." ~~ Winnie the Pooh


I was asked by a VA Social Worker how CareGiving changed my life. I didn't get philosophical like I could have IF I'd had time to think about it.
So I answered honestly.

It isn't how I saw myself spending my time as I aged. Pre Caregiving was a life full of trips and adventures with a lot of camping and riding mules. I worked a pretty good job that drove me nuts with the odd hours I worked.

I became a CareGiver because it was the only way hubby could come back home. That was 5 years ago. It just felt right. I couldn't leave him 14 hrs a day on his own after nearly losing him twice  in the early morning hours. 

The Social worker asked if I had experience in this. I chuckled and said that it was on the job experience. She smiled and said most folks who have raised children have extensive experience. 

I agree. I was a mom, but being a caring person for a once able person is much more different than caring for a child. At least I could send my kids to their rooms or ground them for misbehaving. 

I looked up quotes and inspirational 'stuff' on the internet. All of them sing wonderful praises about being a Caregiver. How enlightening it is, how courageous it is, how fulfilling it is.

No one quotes or discusses the arguments that cannot be won. The discussions that go no where. The memories that are flawed yet have to be glossed over in order to keep the peace. 

CareGiving did change our lives. In a sweet way, it has allowed us to stay together. In a hard way because of his frailty it has isolated us socially. You can draw your own conclusions regarding that. 

Caregiving pushed me to be an Advocate and a mom to my husband. Yet we still find those magical little moments where both of us forget all the medical issues and frailties. We laugh and make like we are going to beat each other up with slippers. There is a spark in his eye and laughter.

A hug goes a long long way. 

Compassion and empathy is not in everyone's make up. I'm not special.

To Quote Winnie the Pooh [my hero]:


"Some people care too much. I think it's called love." ~ Winnie the Pooh

Hunting shadows and

light...


Winter solitude-
in a world of one color
the sound of wind
~Basho





I've been on a black and white stark patterns 'kick' lately.

I recently read an article where one pro photographer said one needed to practice just one genre of photography to get very good at it. 
I agree with him.

Then I read another article that said Do What Inspires You. Okay!

Cold.
Snow.
Winter.
Stark.
White.

I've been inspired by shadows and light play.
And I was inspired by the incredible snow and clear blue skies. 

Trees that huddle in
 the hollow of a soybean field.

The Sumac that stands 
against the western winds.


Here is the tree line that still hides parts of a barbed
wire fence that once separated two farms.





There is pleasure in knowing where to walk to see these favorite places of mine on the ridge. In the other seasons none of these trees make such an amazing statement.

Yet in winter, they are must see spots for me.


I can't help myself.
I love how the winds whisper 
cold air past me 
and it makes snow designs
under my feet...



I feel
free...

~~~