Saturday, April 30, 2011

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

I'm usually out and about walking these hills and forest lands nearly every day in all kinds of weather.
I think this is the first time in ages that I've not walked in the woods for a whole week.

But losing Cheyanne and the fairly awful weather this week did put a damper on things.

But on the last nice day we had this April I did get out with Morris and seek out some of my favorite wildflowers of spring.

Since I've become infatuated with the woodland wildflowers, it seems the run of the mill 'domestic' flowers don't have as much interest for me any more.

It really does seem more fun to walk in the woods and seek out the beautiful flowers that grow here naturally than to look at the daffodils and other 'tame' flowers that I have.

Virginia Spring Beauty:
See how small???
Blood Root:

Red Cup Fungi and Maidenhair Fern Curls:
Rue Anenome:
A few days of warm weather and then the most exciting time of all...
Morel Mushroom hunting time!

I can't wait.

Friday, April 29, 2011

When can I go back?

This crossed my mind as I slid a CD into my old car's player and drove to work in the semi dark yesterday with snowflakes plunking against my windshield.

I thought, what did I miss most about Hawai'i and then it came to me.
The sounds of the ocean.

In fact the music pouring out of my speakers as I navigated the switchback roads and curves into Romance Valley were from
Israel Kamakawiwo ~ White Sandy Beaches of Hawai'i

The sound of the ocean
soothes my restless soul
The sound of the ocean
rocks me all night long*

Yes it was the sound of the waves hitting the rocks and the beaches that lulled me to sleep on our last trip and the first thing I heard when I woke up in the morning.
Even though our rental may well have been nearly a mile above the ocean on the hillside.

As a child my parents had rented a house very near the ocean. Each night the sounds of the ocean put me to sleep and woke me up.

I miss those sounds.

Especially on a cold April morning with snowflakes dashing against my windshield.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Rainbow Bridge~Cheyanne has crossed

[Originally written in 1995 ~ edited for Cheyanne today as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge]


The wind blows softly against my face
My cheek caresses her warm neck.
I close my eyes and pray that we will
be together always.
The sun dips lower in the sky,
casting our world with a warm
I put my arms around her neck,
and bury my face in her hair.
I cannot imagine a day without
She is my friend, confidante,
my pal.
I run my hands lovingly down
her long neck
and up to her finely molded face.
The sun winks out, painting the sky
with its vivid afterglow.
I look into her brown eyes and
"I Love You"
She rests her head
in my arms.
I say Goodbye
To my friend Cheyanne.

The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

To you and yours...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Spring Journey with Badger

True as ever Badger seemed eager to get out and take a ride.
As much as I was looking forward to it.

The plan goes like this.
On good days, when his COPD or ROA are not too bad, we do go for easy rides.
This day was a good day, even though it was overcast and cold.

Badger actually nearly...almost...
sort of...
kind of...
spooked at this trailer thing that was dragged onto the edge of the woods.
Perhaps as he was thinking, there was something evil and nasty in there that I did not
know about
it was his divine and heroic duty
get me away from there.

He did a 45 degree turn on a dime and then stared back at the offensive thing.

Perhaps the ugly thing offended his 'mule sense' of beauty.

Of course, that was it.
We found red lobed hepatica, trying to open after the heavy snow fall and melt.
We also found Horsetail grass coming up in the bottom near the creek.
Badger munched while I took photos.

....and then the great treat!
Marsh Marigold, the only yellow in the forest. This flower is usually found much later in the spring, but it is in a 'warm spring' that comes out of a hillside.

Our ride was quiet.
Badger did very well.
I think he was happy, yet disappointed when I put him back in his paddock.

He stared at me with soulful eyes while I put our riding gear away.

His COPD is doing much better this spring, though it may be due to the dampness we've had.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Man, Woman, & Stuff

I was going to go into a long explanation of what it is like trying to clean up some of the clutter about the house...but I think this suffices.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Incendia Review ~ Free 3d Fractal Software

Well right now it is free.

But the possibilities are endless and the fractals really do appear as if they are 3D.

Incendia was developed by a person who goes by Aexion. Tutorials and other useful and wonderful galleries can be seen at Aexion on deviantART.

In fact is an excellent place to find tutorials written on not just fractal programs but those for photoshop and other programs also.

I love this program, it does take up most of the memory of your average computer to render a file, but the wait is well worth it.

I've only touched the tip of this program and have done the simple things.

Its ease of use is great. You can simply load a parameter and click on 'New Fractal' until you get something pleasing....

or you can explore all the ways to personally create something exotic and fun.

Monday, April 18, 2011

No Motivation

After a few days of stunnining spring weather last week, we've had dreary days with snow, sleet, cold, and rain.

The clouds are absolutely gray and unpleasant.
I went out into the woods looking to find blood roots and hepatica.

I was sorely disappointed. I found one closed hepatica that huddled against the hillside.

It was smarter than I was.
So I've holed up for a few days and am giving my feet a sorely needed rest from tromping up and down the hillsides.

I've been doing some creative stuff in photoshop and will probably introduce you to my latest creations in Incendia. But boy...could I use a weather change right now!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting Close to the End of my Winter Book

Spring is bursting forth in the woods with each warmer day.

I had decided this fall to try and do a sequel to the book I made in 2009 called 'The Enchanted Forest' which was a photo book of the forest and interesting things I found from March to November of 2009.

I learned a lot about the woods, wild flowers, and myself. I enjoyed researching the plants and flowers I found and including little 'blurbs' of thoughts in the book.

It was a fine project.
So when I decided to take on the winter in the woods, it seemed like an easy task to do.
After all, I'd done something similar already correct?

I wasn't prepared for how I felt in the winter woods.

Sculptures of snow and ice.
Death, bones, wicked temperatures... feeling like I was an intruder in the forest ...
bright sunny gorgeous lively moments.

Moments of
AH Hah!

Nor was I prepared to be disappointed at the end of the winter. The end of snow and ice.

After all, who in their right mind enjoys bundling up and slugging their way through 2 feet of snow?
I did.

But all things must change and all things keep moving on.

So I began my Winter journey with a story about why oak trees keep their leaves.
I'll end the book when the Mighty Oak trees bud out with new leaves this spring and push off the dead ones.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We can get along...

Some Mules do not get along with dogs. But they can be trained to do so.
I wasn't sure about Opal.

In her previous life, it had been rumored that she had been 'hunted off from' and after all she is a champion 'coon jumping mule'. [This means she can jump very high over fences and other barriers from a stand still.]

Morris loves to go on jaunts with me in the woods.
He and Badger are incredibly good buddies.
I wanted to see if Opal and Morris would get along.

But for me to ride in the woods, it just doesn't seem to be much fun unless Morris gets to go along.

So this is what I found out.

Morris's presence seemed to sooth Opal's anxiety about being away from the farm.
She stood quieter.
[Opal does not like to stand still unless she is very tired]

She waited patiently while I called for Morris and stared at me as if I had two heads when I got down on my knees and took photos of the first 'pinks' coming up out of the Forest Floor!

She and I are slowly getting used to each other.
She is a fine mule, but a LOT different than the laid back, slacker of a mule, that Badger is.
She walks like she is all business, but I have found out that as we walk away from home [typical mule...], she does walk a bit slower and I have time to look around.

My joy is that she likes having Morris along.
She doesn't mind him walking in between her feet.
Thank you Opal for being a wonderful alternate!

On a side note. Badger is doing well. We did go out twice last week for short rides. He can't do hard long hills and needs to stop and rest. We go very slow and enjoy ourselves.

I however need an alternate ride to Badger. Opal is about 28ish years old.

Opal is well broke and a very stable mule.
We are learning and exploring each other ~ it is a brand new adventure to look forward to.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I AM a Dignified DOG~by Morris

Rule #1 when you are a Jack Russell Terrier.

Keep your dignity at all times.
As you can tell, I am a Dignified Dog.

I never let my guard down.
Even when playing along with the kids.

I am ever watchful and courteous [Rule #2, of course].
I play well with children.

They generally play well with me.

Well as a dog what are my rewards for 'putting up' with being wrapped in a towel [after a humiliating bath] and wrapped up in kids' sweatshirts???

What are my rewards for letting the kids drag me around by the leash???

What are my rewards for following the children and keeping a watchful eye on them at all times, you ask?

No reward.
But the benefits are great.
The kids love me!

...and my dignity remains intact as long as SHE does not have the camera in her hand.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Herd Mentality & Storm Fronts

Dinah the Appy Mule and Strider. Sunshine [in front] and Dinah [alongside] [Below the storm cell building at the same time as the herd 'chase'.]

The winds howled, the trees bent and did the hula dance.

The National Weather Service had our area under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning along with a Tornado Watch.

We did not get the rain.
We however did get the high winds.

Both times that huge storm cells built up near our home, the horses began to run and chase the mules.
A free-for-all ensued and mules and horses alike ran like the winds that were blowing.

When the front, or perhaps the storm cell passed, they returned to standing out of the wind or grazing contently.

Darkness fell.

The winds have not subsided.

The herd has moved down to shelter in the woods, in a 'pocket' where the winds are not so bad.

I did the evening chores as the light faded and watched the storm cell turn orange with lightening flickering across its strangely shaped 'mushroom' cloud top.

Someone else was getting it.

Storm Warning

The National Weather Service has Issued a Special Tornado Watch
a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, and a Tornado Warning for areas
surrounding me.
Well, let's just say that the entire state looks to be affected in some
way or another.

As I'm typing and moving indoors and out I watch the mules and horses
for an indication of what to expect.
Right at the moment the animals are quietly eating.

When a severe storm stirred up what the doppler radar NWS thought was
a tornado about 45 minutes ago, the mares began to run and kick, then
they moved down away from the open area and seemed agitated.

The weather map is incredible, I've never seen so much red, yellow,
and orange change shapes so fast as the NOAA updates the radar and
reports from trained spotters and Sheriff Departments.



For now, I'm outta here.
This is proving to be an interesting weather day.
Stay safe.
Photos later.

Friday, April 08, 2011

A Cast of Characters

We have Miss Chicken.

We don't really know how she got her name, but she is the last of the 'wild' chickens that were given to us over a year ago.

She rules the yard.
She stands down Morris.

If you are not on time with her breakfast, she will peck on the back door...and if that doesn't work, she will hop onto the picnic table and then fly at the kitchen window ~~~ causing my husband to spurt hot coffee all over himself.

'Nuff said.
Miss Chicken rules!

Badger, most of you know Badger.
My buddy my personal mule, my best-est friend. He will never repeat a secret.
I had him out with me today and curried him while waiting for the large stock tank to fill with water.

Miss Chicken walked by in a huff.

Badger enjoyed some green April grass.

I'm worried the high temps this weekend will be hard on his COPD.

The seriously human challenged mule.
I took her out yesterday on a solo ride.
She has herd issues, but did exactly as I asked of her.
She however does not like to stand still.
She likes to keep moving and doing.
But ask her to climb ONE nasty hill and she goes like it is absolutely nothing.
No Big Deal. Ok. That is cool with me. Tonight I moved her to a new paddock.
She let me rub her ears and mess with her.

Seems we might just do fine together.
On our ride yesterday, we came across the strangest of sites.
The HillBilly Deer Blind.

That is what the dudes who put it there call it.
It is a piece of work. ...I was extremely disappointed that it did not have Green Bay Packer stickers on it.

Opal thought it would surely turn into a fire breathing dragon that could eat molly mules.
I convinced her otherwise by telling her it ate old fat horses.
She was pleased.

Today...the big Sale at Johnson's One Stop in Seneca, WI.

We bought fence wire for our Dexter Cattle...and because our line fence is in serious need of repair.
Yes, he was around today.
He was naughty.
So he doesn't get his picture in the blog today.

He ate something nasty and barfed on the carpet.

[Am I allowed to say that on my blog?....I think so...]

Then came the end of the day.

Miss Chicken had laid an egg.

Morris, well we know what he did.
Badger had some fresh grass.
Opal had shown that she can like people.

We'd purchased farm supplies.
Chores were done.
The evening was coming.

The farm was ready for sleep.

The Dexter Cattle mooed, then quietened as they lay down on a partially moonlit sky and chewed their cud.

All is well.