Saturday, April 30, 2005

PeeWee's creek bottom

PeeWee's creek bottom
Originally uploaded by Xena~.

There is a neighboring 'wildwood' that I go to for hiking, photographing, riding, and whatnot. It is like having 500 acres of woodland to myself.
It is here that I can relax and not let the world's troubles bother me. It is here that I can take my camera and find something anyday in any conditions to 'shoot'.
I know this land like it is my own backyard, as I have been 'playing' in it for 10 years.
This is a small piece of pure beauty in the Kickapoo River area.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I miss my morning walks

Originally uploaded by Xena~.

Being laid up really stinks. Tomorrow I planned on taking an early morning walk to sooth my brain.
Naw, it isn't overtaxed or anything, it is just that I need my daily fix of hiking in the woods.
I love the way the sun peers through the forest canopy in the spring giving such a bright green hue to everything.
This back muscle deal just better knock it off quick!

Getting Old?

I went to see the doctor today. I had this horrible pain that began in between my shoulder blades and ran around the front to my chest like a crushing band that made it hard to breath...
I knew the muscles had been strained, shoot, it isn't the first time I've done this. But dang, it is the first time that I have not healed up in a day or two, or that it has been so bad that I cannot lie on my back at night, cannot lay on my side, cannot sit...
The doctor said with an Irish lilt to her voice, 'We are getting on into our late 40's you know, and being a Weekend Warrior has its affects on us...we don't bounce back like we used to.'
I laughed~what me old?
Weekday Warrior more like.
Clearing brush, raking, stacking rocks, riding young mules bareback.
Getting old?
I left with a muscle relaxer [which cost one arm and one leg] and a vow to do strengthening exercises.
Old indeed.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Originally uploaded by Xena~.

Some days I wonder what these critters have to say to each other. Cheyenne is the red mare, she must be telling Jewel how to behave around people. 'Run, run, run when they come with a to them if they have a treat.'

Cheyenne is a sweet old mare she taught my kids to ride and now her molly mule, Sunshine will teach my grandkids to ride.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Morel Mushroom

Originally uploaded by Xena~.
No bigger than a finger nail at first...later they will be the size of my palm!

Walking the Walk...quietly

I convinced Rich to head out with me into the woods to hunt for the ever elusive Morel Mushroom.

There is rarely a time when I can convince my husband just to take a walk for 'walk's' sake. Although he has very sharp eyes and is begining to point out great photos for me. He notices the unusual and some things I would miss.

He walks quietly and smiles frequently.
Yep he is a wonderful guy.
Especially when hunting the morel.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The kindness of a horse's eye

Originally uploaded by Xena~.
Sometimes you just have to walk out into our pasture when life's stresses are too much to deal with. Any one of our equine friends will come up for a scratch and a little loving.
This is Jewel, our blue roan mare who has one of the kindest eyes I have ever seen.
Of course she'd rather you show her love with a curry comb and a treat.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Owl Who Called A Name

When I was a small child my Grandmother, a Chippewa Indian was sleeping over. I don't recall why my parents were not there...we were sleeping in our cabin in the deep woods. A Hoot Owl landed on the gnarly scraggely tree near our house. He/she began to Hoot in earnest.

Grandma hugged me close and whispered that in Indian lore when a Hoot Owl called out this close, it was to call to a person's soul and take it to the next land. The owl's voice was fascinating as well as a bit scary for a small child.

Tonight as I tried to sleep a Hoot Owl landed in a pine just outside my bedroom window. At first I felt terror, then a deep sadness as I felt the Owl was telling me that it had taken my father in law to the next world. I buried my face into my pillow and finally sobbed and let go.
I think I can sleep now.

This owl feather was found in my woods Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Healing with a hike

The bloodroot flower is so tiny it is never noticed by most hikers.

For hours I wandered through the woods, seeking...well I had no idea. Seeking some solace, seeking something to change my mood...seeking a few momments of peace.
Then I spotted it, something a casual hiker would never see because of its size. The Bloodroot flower. Don't know how it got that name, but it is smaller than my little fingernail.
Finding this little gem and spending hours to find some more gave me some inner piece from the turmoil that has been churning for a week.
Tonight I will sleep very sound.
Posted by Hello
Ducthman Breeches -- I am going hunting for wildflowers today with my dog Morris and a few cameras. This is all part of the healing process for me, to be able to get out in the deep woods. It is Turkey Hunting Season here and I try to maintain a low level. At most there may be one or two hunters in the properties surrounding me [450 acres on one side alone]. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

He loved his Great grandkids, they were the apple of his eye. His laugh was priceless, known to all who met him...and none would forget his kindness and open friendship. You only needed to meet this man once to have it be a memorable occasion.
He was truly one of a kind.
I miss him dearly.
Posted by Hello
Fishing on the Missippi River 2003 Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Death with dignity

Last nite I sat in the Critical Care Unit with my FIL, my MIL, and my dh. FIL was the patient. His doctor broke down into tears as she asked us if we wanted to continue with trying to fight a no win battle.

We thanked her and said no, please let our 'dad' die with dignity.
I made the phone calls from the family room, tearfully. Then went back to sit with FIL and hold his hand while he began the long journey. We hugged him and held him, told him that the pain would no longer hurt him.

Dh held his face in his hands and kissed him tenderly. 'You don't have to hurt no more Pa. I love you so very much.'

I leaned down and brushed my lips against his face. 'I'll take care of Rich, you can count on it.' His eyes found mine and he nodded b/c talking was too much of an effort.

We sat quietly watching the monitor...the heart rate slowed, the breathing slowed, we gathered quietly all holding hands and watched my FIL close his eyes quietly: to rest forever.

I couldn't cry, I was too full of emotion. So watchful of my dh, and MIL, they cried quietly...they held each other tightly... then they asked me to make the phone calls again, which I did.

I stared out 6 floors above the Mississippi River and told my sad news to my husband's family. Then to my sons. Both who cried.

I'm still not allowed to grieve as I have to hold the pieces together as I promised Lonnie I would one month ago. He asked me to keep the peace after he had ride shotgun over his son.

Today my dh was frustrated as he felt he had no control over helping out with the arrangements. Tonight ended with an arguement at his mom's house. He felt I was betraying him when I told him to back off.
I said MIL is grieving too. She is under as much stress as you. Back off and leave her be.

And Lonnie comes to mind, a twinkle in his eye and a point of the finger at me with a grin...I see us sitting together on the porch and Lonnie saying to me:
Please watch over my son. You have done such a good job, and I will someday have to leave it to you solo.

Lonnie, I really miss you tonite.
Your DIL

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

All Donkeys go to Heaven

Hubby called to tell me Princess had started labor. I hung up the phone and raced home yesterday afternoon. There was trouble when I pulled in the driveway.

Rich said her waterbag broke, weren't we supposed to see a foal? I saw her stretched and groaning, no sign of a foal. I ran into the house and called our vet, as luck would have it she was only 15 minutes away. 15 minutes would add to the 15 that had already passed.

Doc pulled up and jumped out of her pickup. I had towels and two buckets of warm soapy water waiting. She smiled and said ~ You knew what I needed!

She felt inside Princess for such a long time grimacing as she tried to make sense out of what she was feeling. After a while she was panting as hard as the donkey. Rich had a rope around Princess's legs and I held her tail. We finally stood her up and Doc said--This is a mess, we need the chains to pull it out. She looked at my husband and said-- You know you have a dead foal here? We nodded, it was now a fight to save the donkey's life.

I spare the details. Rich held the donkey standing while Doc and I pulled, sweated and pulled more. Poor Princess groaned and cried out. Her foal was jammed against her pelvis...release...the doc and I fell back into the mud and dirt.

Doc got up clucked her tongue at the beautiful grey Jack colt and reached back inside Princess to make sure she was 'clean'.~Uh-oh, what the heck is this?
A second foal.
Now it was a matter of saving Princess's life. Again.

It seemed to take forever on the second pull, the foal was so twisted. Princess dropped, exhausted...and the three of us worked the second one out. It had died a while ago.

Doc ordered us to get Princess up and moving. She said to the donkey~Girl, you can't feel sorry for yourself, now let's get up so I can check you out.
Princess walked and wobbled out of the pasture into our yard. Doc watched~Wow donkeys are resiliant!

Princess asked to go back with her friends last nite after spending the evening in the yard with me. She was up eating and drinking today, a little quiet b/c she'd lost her foals. But

don't we know~
all Donkeys go to Heaven.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A ride cures all

They say that a horse is good for the inside of a man. What they forgot to add is that riding is good for the soul~the inside of a woman. It doesn't matter what you ride. I ride mules mostly. I ride one named Badger.
Yesterday I felt all the stresses in the world drop away as I rode along the still barren fields on our ridge. The world is still brown as Mother Nature has not colored our world yet. Soon the fields will be turned and planted and fresh new life will spring into the hillsides. Yet I just rode and smelled the fresh air...enjoyed the warm breeze on my bare arms and face.
It felt so good to be so alive.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Spring rituals

Spring rituals consist of putting gravel back on the driveway armed with a rake, shovel, and lots of arm power. Each year the driveway seems to get longer and longer. Or am I getting older and older?
Another ritual is de-worming our herd. 25 head of mules, donkeys, and horses. We did 15 head yesterday along with all of our black and tan coon hounds.
Why did it take 45 minutes to catch one mule in a 12 by 12 pen? I guess Willy, cover boy from 2 years ago decide to be a butt head.
Before hitting the sack last night I changed all of our clocks. Hubby went out with Babe, a flashy female black and tan...they hit the woods and played in the dark for an hour or so.
Me, I hit the sack hoping that today would be bright and sunny, and I'd go riding on my favorite mule, Badger.