Thursday, July 22, 2021

Garden Garden

I do have a small veggie garden. Here is a photo of it this spring. We cut the size way down from all the past years to about half. 

What you are seeing below is the area we use for a garden. On two sides it has hot wire for the mule's pasture. The red gates are what we call a 'catch' pen. Mules are sorted there for riding or trimming. When I pick one, they all want to come.

Out in the field is a round bale feeder from the days of long ago. I still use it to put hay in during the winter to keep them from trampling on it in muddy or damp weather.

The tree line in back is my upper neighbor's pasture for her goats. Notice! NO weeds!

This photo is also just before Justin came to till the garden. 

After tilling. I planted squash, cukes, some odd flowers, and corn very late. A huge concern was the heat and dry June we were having.

July 3rd
So I'd done some watering in the evening and wrung my hands. This corn was NOT knee high by the 4th of July. To the left of the garden, I keep trimming the weeds with a scythe.

July 13th. I have free range tomatoes coming up from last year. We have had rain here and there to the tune of 3 inches at a time. 

July 22

Believe it or not, the yard was just mowed a few days ago here. Yuck, looks like I have to do this by hand today. Siera is the mule in the field. 
The corn is much taller and we have hopes for sweet corn! The cukes are just budding and so are the squash.

I had squash last year, lots of them. So many that some began to turn and I had to toss them. I rolled those mushy ones out into the pasture where about 10 plants are flowering. So, I will have more than one kind of squash.

Here is the north of our house. Nice and tidy looking. The 4 wheeler is my trash hauler, weed hauler, and fence supply hauler.

Here is the part I usually don't let anyone see. The ugly crushed garage and... piles of projects that 'were' going to get done. In the weeds rests a camper that someone was 'gonna' take apart and recycle and take the stove out and put it ... um, somewhere. It simply has sat in the weeds for many years. The garage was to be torn down and he was 'gonna' salvage 'stuff' that was in there.  
To me, it is nothing but a huge eyesore and I have looked into hiring someone to come and tear it down to the foundation and clean the area up.

There is a nice concrete pad under the garage that would make a great spot to set a tiny building on as a studio or summer guest room.

The Boss keeps telling me he will 'get to this' pretty soon. 10 years later? 

So I create my own pretty spaces where I can enjoy color and beauty and ignore the ugly as I can do nothing about it without causing a huge problem. 

My house is my castle and so are my little gardens. 
Next year, I will go back to having sunflowers a gazillion zinnias, and cosmos. I just need places to put them!

I do love gardening. I love creating pretty spaces.

I'll catch up on the Forest Garden aka by the kids as the Secret Garden later.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Photographic Techniques

That I have never heard of:
Pep Ventosa Technique

Shooting in the round.

So the theory is to 'create' a painterly scene by walking around a subject and taking multiple shots to create a painterly effect once you put all the layers together.

Below is a first attempt with only 4 photos. I used flowers in a vase and put the camera on a tripod with the settings all set up manually. 

For each photo, I slightly turned the vases by hand. 

I dropped them into an old photoshop program as layers and changed the opacity and blend. Truly, I had NO idea of what I was doing. I used Soft Overlay at 40%, Harsh Light, Lighten, Screen...I tried them all. This was sort of cool....

It felt very odd working this up but I went through with it anyway. Experimentation is fun.

Okay, the results are sort of meh. What if I try it again?

In this one I made the bottom original layer opaque.
Much more 'painterly' and satisfying. I like the BW version as well as the soft colored version.

Maybe I'd try some more.

Goodness, I stopped editing at around 9 layers. I cannot imagine doing 20 or so. I think my computer or the old CS2 would blow up and crash big time. 

I sort of like this one of the garden dragon. It feels as if I were taking photos of it while it was moving around. Something like double exposures combined.
[Hey that is an idea!]

Here is the Dragon on his own in the yard. 

Apparently the Pep Ventosa Technique can include up to or about 100 frames while walking around the subject.

I would like to explore this method more. I have some creative ideas stemming from this method that I may try with Still Life. I've looked up some tutorials and like some of what I see. Not sure it is really my cup of tea, but I can try! Some of the still life suggestions make more sense.

I've also heard it called: Impressionist Photography.

"What grows is a unique new narrative space that never actually happened, where the whole world has traveled mysteriously further than what the camera documented. Part memory, part imagination. Not unlike the way we see."  Pep Ventosa

I think it may be a fun project for those days that I don't have outdoor work to do. 

Pep Ventosa Link...

In the mean time...
I'll be out mowing the yard and doing all those other fun things....

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


So I just wandered the other day. Well, I didn't wander OFF. But I just took random deer trails through the forest with no destination in mind. I would walk a bit and then stand still. 

Listening, looking and observing. 

I wonder if a daddy long legs is considered wildlife.

I stood above the creek and just listened for a while. The water was barely moving from the west side of the fence. It pooled below me and then disappeared into the grass and jewel weed that grew in the creek bed.

The afternoon sunlight filtered through the green leaves and I just stood there thinking how beautiful the light and various shades of green were. So calming.
I think I may even put this photo on a large mounted board. I usually print a favorite shot each year and put it up. I think during the cold winter months, this photo may just bring me back to that very peaceful 'green' spot.

In an unexpected place in the back pasture I found a Monarch caterpillar. 

There were the hideously ugly looking brown prickly looking caterpillars too. They were interesting. I'd seen them over the years but had never bothered to figure out what there were.
Until this year.
[Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars]

The reddish insect is an asparagus beetle. It probably has a long scientific name, but I like it fine as the red insect with black polka dots.

Monday morning found me out wandering the pastures again. The morning light was really quite bizarre.
I'm pretty sure these types of photos are flooding the social media because of the wildfires and the smoke in the air.

[I don't think the air quality is good for Rich to be outside doing work right now. So maybe the broken lawn mower is a good thing. I spoke with Mark and he'll pick it up and fix it along with a nice overall maintenance job on it.]

My thought was the sunrise seemed sort of like a Hollywood scene from some sort of Armageddon type movie.

It just felt creepy as all get out.

Most of the day was odd too. The sky wasn't blue, but more of a pale washed out color. 

I went out to move the pony and put the goat in his pen after supper. The clouds had left and there was this orange washed out odd color to the sky again.

Skies like this give me an uneasy feeling.

On a happy note....I chased a Monarch yesterday for a while. It was so shy! 
It played hide n' go seek!

Tuesday promises to be a busy day.

Monday, July 19, 2021


I'm going to start with the end of the Saturday and work backwards. Sunshine has been coming to the gate and giving me the hard stare. So I thought we'd go for a stroll. She is just a riding mule, nothing special about her except she has a good brain and rarely gets wound up any more. 

Her favorite part was when I pulled over to the side of the road and let her graze on all that nice ditch grass and weeds. We saw a lot of deer.

You almost can't see the deer in the upper left side of the photo. Sunshine is watching deer on the other side of the road eating in freshly cut hay.

Since she is in the forest often with deer I don't think they bother her any more. Only when they pop out of tall corn as a surprise do they startle her.

Such a great way to end the day. When we went past the Naughty Dog house, the dog barked like crazy and after we passed she came out on the road. 
Have you ever seen a mule walk with her ears tilted and one eye looking back? I have. It is how she kept track of the dog. Mules can see behind them with very little effort.

Before supper...

Well, it was bound to happen. I wondered when Rich would kill the riding mower. He always trims things too close and whips it around. He did that yesterday next to one of his junk piles and a hook on a dangling chain ripped out the 'thingy' cord/wire that is used to start the mower. 

Looks like I'll have to call the shop and have someone pick it up and repair it. I think I'll have them replace the belts and blades at the same time and tune it up. I have NO idea how long that will take but I do know I have a LOT of walking behind my mower to do for finishing up this week's mowing.

The guy we purchased this from is usually pretty slow on things like this. But we've bought good machines from him including chain saws for the past 25 or so years.

Going backwards more to the morning. It was foggy and wet. Another one of those amazing mornings we have here in the Kickapoo River area.

The first shot is on the ridge overlooking crops and the second is what was once a pasture we used that belonged to the family to the east of us.

The morning was spent checking fences and enjoying the coolness before the sun burned through the fog.

I really enjoyed looking for insects that were held still by the cool morning and the heavy dew. Or those straggling flea bane flowers. 

The world is filled with a certain kind of wonder on these early summer mornings.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

If you were my Grandma...

...that would be kinda cool. 

Such a wonderful compliment from a 10 year old. I picked up my pal Briar and took him to CrossFit with me where he read a book and I worked out. We headed home and he chatted about the weather, Covid, school, insects, history, and what he was doing for the weekend.

He was going to visit his Grandparents on mom's side. 

His mom and one sister had a doctor's appointment and for these appointments I've offered to help out by taking Briar to my house so we can take a walk or he can play with my neighbor's kids. 

After all, I have a bit more leeway in my schedule than most folks. 

After the kids gathered...

As Briar has said before. "If we come to your house we always walk to the creek. Always."

Water draws doesn't it? It draws us to it.
With the drought parts of the creek are dry. The kids were discussing what to do when I suggested a castle.

A castle for Teddy Bears...

A couple of Bears just happened to be in my camera bag.

And furious building ensued. The Bears needed a grand castle with sticks as a roof. Grass, moss, and bark were layered onto the roof to make it more secure.

And Groundchalier [not my name, but the kids came up with it] was born. Named as such because it was like a beautiful chandelier but it was on the ground.

I sat and watched and stayed quiet. This was all their fun. I was there just to keep an eye out in the woods.

Plans were hatched to build future huts for the army they were going to hire to protect the castle.
They asked if I had toys they could build huts for.


Of course!

We headed back and stopped at the Forest Garden where they re-arranged the Gargoyle, unicorns, dragons, and dinosaurs. 

All was as it should be. 

Charlie was very sad to see his new friends go.

Until next time.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Wild Things

These are not my photos but photos from the Trail Cam I have set up on a trail in the woods.

As you may be able to tell, we all use the same path right here. It is the only way around an old oak that fell across the 'ridge road' as we call it. I had someone who said he'd clear it for me. Yeah, that didn't happen. More about that on another post perhaps....

So we walk around it.
I was surprised by the 'critters' I caught coming through here. 

The blur in the second shot is a Robin!
It is interesting too, to see the temperatures on these days. I don't know exactly how accurate the readings are though.

This looks like a young coyote or one that is a bit scrawny. Interesting to see it in the midmorning hours.
And a few minutes later....

Then I come through with the kids.

That evening a doe and her fawn pause for their photo to get taken.
I used to have the camera lower on the tree. It seemed that every critter had to put their nose on it to sniff it. I had a lot of smeary photos of globs last month. So many mule and fawn globs!

I think this is a good spot for the camera now.

And here comes a nice little buck that we've seen on the other camera. I think it is pretty cool to see their antlers growing.

I think this is the same fella.
My old camera only takes in Infrared. That camera is about 8 years old.
It still works and has a good position in the Buckthorn Forest on a very well used trail.

I have an appointment with the young Entomologists today again. 

My young charges want to go 'buggin'. 

Uffdah. This morning it was like walking in pea soup. The temperature and dew point are nearly the same with humidity at 90 something. My grandma would say that the air is Heavy.

We had an orange sunrise and fog laying across the meadows. The air movement is zero....