Friday, February 27, 2009

The Thundersnow...

So yesterday's forecast was a mixed bag of precipitation.

The NWS called for snow, sleet, rain, and a thunderstorm warning with dangerous lightening.
Well we had it all.
Before I left for work, we had heavy downpours with lightening that cracked and sizzled.

When I got to our ridge road which is gravel, the rain was freezing instantly to the cold road.
It made for an interesting and somewhat white knuckled drive to the county road.

Once on the blacktop though, it was fairly good driving, if one didn't mind the flashes of lightening, and the heavy downpours.
Water ran across the road as the culverts are still filled with snow and ice.

Once I got in and out of town, I got bombarded by hail. Big nasty chunks, or was it ice pellets?
I didn't know.

I made it to the wayside where I usually stop and call hubby to tell him that I've made the drive to work just fine. Another coworker was there too. So we sat in her vehicle and chatted while watching the Mississippi River.

There were fishermen in a boat just below the dam.
We thought they were nuts!

The thunder and lightening then combined with a heavy 'downpour' of snow. Within minutes we couldn't see more than 40 feet. In 20 minutes the wet road in front of us became a hazardous highway of snow with vehicles crawling.

Thundersnow is an interesting phenomena according to different sites I've looked at, they are supposed to be rare.
But ever since I've moved to this area in 1996, we've had one every February without fail.

It is quite disturbing to have heavy snow fall combined with flashes of lightening and deep rumbling thunder that you can feel.
As with most storms at this time of year, it was short lived and the sun shines today.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I was naughty

Okay maybe not Naughty with a capitol N, but ... well...

I felt naughty.

I bought myself an upday gift.
I've scrimped, I've saved, I've worked at this goal for 2 years.
Using a friend's Canon Rebel XT last summer clinched it for me.

So today I bought a Nikon D40. Digital DSLR.
Let me tell you, there is NO comparison to the point and shoot cameras at all.

The point and shoots like my Pentax are wonderful to have in the field. You can use it to get excellent shots and they are as handy as all heck.

My first hour of using the D40?

Pure bliss.

PS~hmmm, no one else knows I have this...I mean I didn't even ask hubby ...yet.
But once I have done some portraits for a few guards -- they want p
et portraits, I'll be on my way....

Monday, February 23, 2009


Well I'm sort of at a loss as to what to write today. This beautiful building ~~ which is an old tobacco shed, is a building I pass twice a day on highway 56 outside of Romance, WI.

I've looked at it in the dark, with snow blowing, in the moon light, in the evening dusk, and finally yesterday...

Mother Nature provided me with the shot I'd been patiently waiting for since October 2008.

Good things come to those who wait right?

The hills behind the shed should give you an idea of the hills and valleys I have to travel through to get to work. It is a twisted road that drops 1,000 feet into Romance, climbs back out of that valley...and then~~~

drops again down to the Mississippi River Valley.

I'm watching for the perfect time to stop and take photos of a rock wall.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stupid dog tricks...

It was snowing, blowing, and just generally grey outside yesterday. I had such BIG plans which ...well..


went to pot.

Instead I made Morris pose with my hat and scarf on ...
Yeah, stupid, but sometimes when you have nothing better to do [oh, I was doing laudry!], you
think of fun
things to do.

Do you have any idea at all how hard it is to get a Jack Russell to actually hold still?
If he is awake, he is moving.

So this was quite a feat.

However, it was short lived when he decided that I was boring him....
at which point he became a 'boneless' Jack Russell.
And fell limply to the couch.

So I took Morris's advice.

And took a nap.

Just one last note...
I have to go now, Morris is convinced that the blurry reflection of himself in the west window is about to attack.

Gotta love my entrainment, it is cheap.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hard work

As you can see ...
Morris looks whipped.

Probably shouldn't let him 'work' so hard at holding down my sweatshirt on the couch while I am at work.

Looks like today is a day for running errands and fixing fences [the guy mules are mixed up with the mares, donkey jennets, and molly mules].

Tonight we are supposed to get some snow!!!
Shhh...don't tell hubby that it thrills me to have more snow.

After all if I get my 'stuff' done today --- then I can go out and play in it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just another day...

~~~in paradise.

If you consider snow, blowing snow, white out ground blizzards --- paradise.

Actually, as winter storms go, this was pretty tame.

Yesterday morning some of us [co-workers] were discussing the fact that not many of us have really gotten sick over this winter [so far].

I thought about that and wondered if it is because we all are outside for a portion of the day. We dress sensibly for the weather, and are in 'non' sedentary jobs. Plus, most of the time, our job is fairly stress free [mentally].

I thought about that a bit and recalled how I was always feeling crappy when I worked in the office each day sitting at a computer...
dealing with a stressful situation for just 5-6 hours a day.

Here I can work 11 hours, and come home tired but not feeling crummy.
My health has improved.
My attitude has improved.

And, for the first time since 2005, I rode [Sunday] without ANY pain in my shoulders, elbows, and hands.

I am a grateful person.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I miss...

I miss Hawaii.

Today while cleaning the house, I pulled out the photo album of the trip that dad and I took to Hawaii in 2001.

On page one of Dad's album, there are Dad's ticket stubs. I stared at them a long time before flipping to the album itself.

I must admit, I enjoyed looking at the album again, slowly turning the pages and recalling the highlights of our trip together.

The comments from Dad:

Are we there yet?

I'm hungry.

The words echoed in my head~~~ in his voice of course~~~ bringing a smile to my lips. So I began to think about Hawaii.
And I began to think about going back.

I'd go with cameras in hand. I've learned much in the past 8 years about photography. But it isn't just that...Dad and I talked about going back again together.

Yep, we did.
On that trip Dad coached me, gave me tips to take better photos. [Every single time I hold a camera -- especially a SLR -- I feel connected with Dad]

So yeah, when I go back, the cameras go with me.

Why do I want to go back?
Do I really need a reason to visit the place where I was so happy as a kid?
Do I really need a reason to go back to reminisce and have an adventure at the same time?

Not in my mind.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ride like the wind...

Meet Opal. 24 yrs old. A surly molly mule who dislikes most people, hates getting caught, is ear shy, and has the best danged running walk around.

She is like riding a small tornado.
No she doesn't spin [unless you lay the reins across her neck and ask her to].

But she rides like a dream once you look past her 'issues'.

She is and has been my husband's mule for years, but I've started taking her out once in a while.
Today I needed her surefooted-ness.

The melting and freezing of last week has created icy compacted snow on the hillsides...and I wanted to ride without getting in trouble.

Opal rarely goes slow and she isn't one to just mosey down the trail. She seems to walk a trail with a purpose and a bit of vengeance.

To her credit, we never missed a beat. We got into some tough ravines and crossings but she didn't slip or slide.

She made short work of the long valley we rode through, her feet popping high in the deep snow of the back valley.

On the road, she turned on her powerful running walk.
I think she actually liked it when I brushed out and cooled her down.

She didn't say thank you...

She didn't even give me a loving look.

She seemed to tolerate me, and with the knowledge of a wise ol' mule; walked quietly by my side until I released her in her pasture.....

Where she promptly found the dirtiest spot she could...

and rolled.

Wow what a great day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's's about what?

I had to look up the History of Valentine's Day. To me it is a day created by the Card makers and the florists.
But I was wrong!
You can read about it here if you like, it is pretty interesting: History of Valentine's Day.

Years ago I worked in an office with about 60 other women. I was single, and unattached to anyone. Well...anyone that would feel romantic enough to send me flowers at work...

So Valentine's Day came. So many co-workers spent time ooohhhinnng and ahhhhinggg over the flowers they were receiving from their significant others.

Well I got not one flower. And it did not escape notice of the other females in the office who 'tsked-tsked' over it. They would pat me on the shoulder and offer that look of pity.

Fast forward one year.
Valentine's Day.
The first dozen roses that arrived at my desk were brilliant red. Co-workers popped their heads over their cubicles and nodded. Others stopped by and admired them.
The next dozen roses were yellow.

Suddenly I had a stream of curious on lookers.
'Who were they from?'

The red roses' cards said. 'With Love S'
The yellow roses' card said. 'To my darling.'

Lastly, and unexpectedly I received a bouquet of carnations.

My cubicle became the 'hot spot' for admirers and of course questions.
I smiled and shrugged and was at a loss as to how to explain the flowers that now covered my desk.

At the end of the day, I gathered up my flowers and carried them out to my car. I was grinning ear to ear of course.

I'd spend a nice chunk of change sending roses to myself at work, but was really mystified as to who had sent the carnations.

That was a very memorable Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Well sometimes folks are sort of suspicious about this thing called Friday the 13th.

We are supposed to have three of them this year.

My morning started out very odd. I had a sense of 'weirdness' as soon as I got into my car to go to work.

My car had frozen into the mud. When I parked last night I was in slop, mucky yucky slop.
Over night it became frozen solid.

On the drive to work, I avoided two raccoon, one deer, and a dog running down the highway.
No black cats, but one bald eagle did swoop down in front of my car~now that was definitely strange but also very cool.

We all commented at work at how strange our mornings had gone. And until noon, it continued to be an out of 'whack' sort of day.
I'm not attributing it to a superstitious thing about the 13th...but...well...

I guess I look at it this way.
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.

Now, I don't really 'celebrate' the day as I think it is too commercialized, and if you love that special person, why not just show them daily right?
I do.
...and he does~~he makes me feel special every day.

But I do have a very funny story about Valentine's Day.

I'll share it tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Success is the Best Revenge

Dad once told me:
Success is the Best Revenge
and oh how sooo right he was.

Tonight as I came home from work I had some things to drop off in the mail and a couple of errands to do.

Last year I worked with a woman who for some reason or another decided she really did not like me. In fact she used deceit to make sure I didn't stay at the place I was working.
Yeah, I got over it [well mostly]. I admit my feelings were deeply hurt.

Tonight something very interesting happened.
I was dropping mail off at the mailbox in front of the local grocery store.

'She' came out of the store with a cart of groceries and had to walk right past me.

I cheerfully called her name and said, 'Good evening, how are you! So good to see you, it has been such a long time!'

The expression on her face~~priceless.
I was wearing my uniform and from the glance I got I know she just saw 'a uniform' and a 'badge', but couldn't ID what I was really wearing... She mumbled something and drove the grocery cart as if it were on fire.

I wished her a good evening and got into my car.

I think I felt good that I could be pleasant to someone who'd been so awful to me. Plus I actually should be grateful to her.
After all, I sure do love my job.

Grumpy Pants.

Okay a friend of mine coined that phrase.

Grumpy Pants. [her blog here: How I See It]

That's who I am this morning.

That is what happens when two coon hounds keep you up from 2AM on and you have to get up at 4AM.
So why do they magically shut up when I get going around the house and take my shower???

OH they haven't shut up...they are still going...
Perhaps it is because of the Red Fox pair we saw the other morning. I think they are making a den somewhere close by and the female was in 'season', so perhaps that is a reason.

Never - the - less. It is going to make for a VERY long 11 hour shift today.

What really makes me a Grumpy Pants?

My other half sleeps soundly through this racket and even had the audacity to snore!
I wore earplugs and heard it all.

I'm Grumpy.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Happy Monday

This morning after chores we went to town to run a few errands. Of course we timed it just right to stop and have a bite to eat.

Although the sign stated: Turtle Chicken To Go...
we thought that sounded quite un-appetizing.
We asked the gal inside what a Turtle Chicken was.

She looked rather confused.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A dog walk

I decided about 11am to get out and take a hike while the sun was shining and hopefully I'd feel like taking a nap 'pre~sleep' before a midnight to 8am shift.
I still have a hard time preparing for these kinds of shifts.
My body says NO, but I usually do just fine...and crash the next day.

Anyway I thought it would be a fun time to try out a little underwater shot.
I was surprised at how my first attempts in the 'field' turned out.

The first is the bottom of the creek. You can see the leaves breaking down. With the wild rushing waters of the snow melt they will be washed out to the valley creating a healthy compost.

The second is of a rock.
The reflection above it the underside of the surface of the water.
Well the blogs this week have not exactly been rip roaring interesting. But my schedule has been a bit 'brutal' as far as time goes.

Our normal work week ends on Thursday.
I'm still a Monday thru Friday type of gal.
From Monday through Sunday I will have worked 46 hours.
But see, I'm not complaining really. I enjoy it. Just have to get my rest in!

The walk worked though!
[both Morris and I took a very very long afternoon nap!]
We slogged through knee deep damp snow.
Morris and I got wet.
We both broke through the ice in the creek bottom in a few places that where covered with snow!

I had a most wonderful walk.
Life is too short not to take moments to go out and play.

Oh yeah...the Window Fairy came by and washed the windows!
Whoo Hoo!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning and two days off.

Just a Day

Today I think I'll just post two photos and leave those as my 'post' of the day.
These were taken as I went home last night.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Mystery Critter Identified...

The mystery animal I whopped was a racoon. I saw it on the way to work yesterday morning. It was a very healthy sized animal!

I had a wonderfully funny day yesterday at work.

You know what is really nice?

When the shift you are working with wants to know if you'll be back on their shift soon.

I'm doing a marathon work 'week'. Our work weeks end on Thursday and so today starts my new work week.

Yet here I am looking forward to today.
So, I strange or what?

I hope to get out and enjoy some of the warm weather we have coming for a day or two!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Cavalier vs. Mystery Animal

Tooling away at dusk down the highway with thoughts of supper in my head. A hard day's work finished.
11 hours.

The sunset in the west had turned to exotic purples blues and reds. I tripped the lights off from bright as the truck passed me on the curve...
and I thought

IDIOT, nice pass on a double yellow...I was at the speed limit but going faster would be asking for trouble especially on this twisted road they call a highway.

out of the corner of my eye I saw what could have been a dog, deer, something dark and furry.
The Cavalier shuddered and I heard an awful thump.

Crap~~~ my first thought.
I hit someone's stupid damn dog that they let run.

Damn Damn
I pulled over as soon as I slowed down and eased off the road.

I got out in the semi darkness and peered at the side of my car, the headlight, the doors...the tires...
it all appeared fine.

Well what in the heck did I hit?
I mean it thumped hard!

I walked up the road a few steps and looked. I couldn't see anything and I wasn't exactly parked in a great spot.

When I got home I had hubby go over the car.
He found a tuft of hair caught in the plastic under the front right bumper.

Animal hair.
Could have been a coyote, dog, small deer,....but it did no damage to the Cavalier. Didn't even brush the dirt off from it.

Dang. I just told hubby I had one tough car.

I am lucky.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Work work work?

Okay this week it is work, work, work. Many many hours.
But still I look forward to each day so this is good right???

After all, I've been able to purchase a nice little pocket camera that takes marvelous pictures.

And then Sunday I got this Trifecta rifle which hubby insisted I needed to keep me safe from varmits in the woods.
I like it, it is MY size which means youth sized.Yesterday was my day off this week!
I spent it doing 'honey-do's'.

We moved Cheyenne to a lot in front of the house, I did laundry [the windows fairy and the dishes fairy fail to show up!!!]

Hubby cut down a dying pine tree.
Our pines are slowly going one by one.
I worked in the cold weather to help clean up most of it.
Talk about a windburned face! [no wonder I'm getting wrinkles on my face...I prefer to think of it as beautiful indications of the weather-beaten look~not so glamorous on ladies though]

At least all the pines by the house look healthy!

Then Morris and I took a hike in the woods...a short one as the winds were viciously cold and Morris was 'snow swimming' despite the recent melt.
However, by taking alternate routes home, I have been able to actually find some interesting places and things to take photos of.
So work, work, work isn't a bad thing.

At least not with the news I've been watching.
And yes despite my recent purchases, I've been very frugal.

I hope all is well out there in blogger~land.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Super what?

Someone told me there was a Super Bowl going on yesterday.
Due to our lack of TV [by choice], I wasn't aware that it was 'SuperBowl Sunday!'

The hype is way over rated in my opinion and so is TV. So I don't think we missed a thing.

We spent our Sunday instead, visiting with good friends from Iowa, meeting them for lunch and then taking a trip to Cabela's [one of my favorite stores].
I should stay away from there, we usually find something we absolutely cannot live without.

Hubby found a pair of Wolverine boots to replace his aging and cracked [15 yr old +] old ones. I also came home with a rifle.

I recieved a Rossi Trifecta Youth rifle. It is an interesting piece of work.
3 rifles in one.
A .410 shotgun.
A .22 LR
...and a .223.

The point is, it is built for a person my size and weight. The last few times I've been out with Morris we've been 'stalked' twice by coyotes.

Granted Coyotes love to grab little dogs and dispose of them as quick meals. Also during this time of year the 'yotes are very very territorial as it is their mating season.

Years ago, I had a coyote come pretty darn close to my female Fiest Terrier, Xena. She wasn't as easy to keep with me as Morris is.

I hope I am able to get out tomorrow and try the Trifecta out. I'd like to see how well I can do with it.
Hubby wanted to put a scope on it, but if I am carrying it 'bushwacking' and hiking, I don't want to worry about knocking around a scope.
Besides ~~open sites allow for a faster aim in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not just going out looking for critters or varmits to shoot. I think I've only shot 2 possum and scared off about 5 coyotes in the past few years.

But with all the hiking I do, hubby would be more comfy if I was carrying a rifle [he says,...that could reach out and touch...].
Never mind that I have a nice pistol.

But it is my very first rifle of MY own. That is pretty cool.
So I should be off in the woods tomorrow.
Work today!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

When Eagles Soar


I was at work and when I stepped out of the guard 'shack' to enjoy the sun shine and the warm air....40 degrees!!!!....I noticed Bald Eagles soaring above me in the bluffs of the Mississippi.

5 Eagles soared, using updrafts to just 'hang' as if suspended in the air.
It was amazing to watch them dip and float, then dive playfully [I think] and then again soar over my post and back up the bluffs.

I don't even know if I can convey the feeling that I felt.
It was somewhere beyond awe.