Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do you like snow?

I do, but not to drive in ... I walked up to check the mail and could not see the road this afternoon.  
It was as though it had disappeared.
 See that itty bit speck in the middle of the driveway at the top?  That is my husband trying to clear the driveway.

It took about 20 minutes for it to blow back in after he finished [at the top].

I walked up there earlier and couldn't see any indication of the road that is there.  My neighbor down the way [a way I travel to get to black top] said that the Slack corner was filled in.

All the farm animals did as farm animals do, they ate and put their backs to the winds.  

Rest assured, not one animal is cold.  Warm water and plenty of feed guarantee that.

Not only that, they do not care to go inside during this weather, much nicer to have snow baths.

Well, so much for going anywhere.

The Dexter Cattle were happy to see their hay coming this morning.  This evening the winds had switched and you could feel the cold coming in...

I could barely see the woods at one point!  Now the winds are churning and night has fallen.
The high tomorrow is going to be all of 6 degrees.

No matter, I'll take the choring slowly...face mask and snow goggles on..., hubby has an appt in Madison, so I'll handle the home stuff.

Just before sunset I took Morris and Dixie out for a quick walk in the meadow.  I kept to the areas that were protected from the wind.

Morris was his happy self...snow swimming.

They didn't seem to mind at all.   

 Now it is time to rest and let Mother Nature do her thing.  Just before dark descended, there was a break in the clouds and I was able to see the lovely pastels of a winter sunset.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Of rocks, moss, ice, and running waters

I spent over 2 hrs out climbing icy and mossy rocks [with snow shoes on], wading and jumping over rushing water...getting sprayed by splash-over, and getting dripped on by wet soggy branches and berry briers.

And I was in heaven.

There is nothing like the rushing of water [even if it is run off that has brown in it from the soil above and the reddish colored iron-clay] when it occurs in the dry gullies.

It bounces over the mossy rocks with huge intensity roaring at times.  Today was not a 'roarer' but it was quite loud and I could still cross in places without getting too wet.

I peered down the valley and saw the water was wall to wall, running over ice.  I looked at my watch and sighed.

I'd promised to be good and not 'stay out too long', as hubby wanted noon 'dinner'.  I could have been drawn by the swan song of the creek's rushing waters.

I stuck to the gullies, climbing, ... rerouting, using the ice picks in the shoes to grip in otherwise dangerous footing.

I was sad to turn away from the creek. 
My husband thinks that I get 'geeked' out by sucky weather.
That is because I find such beauty in it.

Today I got 3 or 4 shots that are print worthy. 
It was a good day.
[8 second exposure ~ using a X4 ND filter]
I am sleepy and dreaming about an ice/sleet/snow storm headed our way.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ice Storm!

As you can see people don't heed the do not travel in these conditions.  At the bottom of the screen there is a vehicle turned sideways.  I checked on the camera 2 minutes later and the vehicle was gone.

There are very dangerous driving conditions that are rapidly getting much worse.  This was seen on the WI 511 road conditions website.

Around here it is coming down as rain/sleet/freezing rain.  From NOAA:


So you see this is not anything to really mess around with.  4 wheel drive doesn't help on ice.

Meanwhile the chores are done, water tanks filled and we leave the weather to Mother Nature now.
Here is the driveway  at 10am.  I'll take a photo of it later to compare.

Above is the sleet as it began to pile up on the ground.

Although Morris and Dixie were not bothered by the weather in the least when I took them for their morning exercise.

Stay safe!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Stuff and Stuff...

My youngest son, has announced that he is getting married in June of this year.
It sounds like I'll have another grandchild come this August.

Oh yes, do the math.  But this is a different world that we live in, so I am told.  I know, I sound like a fuddy duddy and I probably am.
The wedding will take place on my ex husband's turf which is fine with me.

He sounds very excited about it and this makes me smile.

So it looks like I will be planning a small trip in June.  I'm not sure but I may end up helping out doing the photography or planning on doing the photography for the wedding.

I think that would be sort of cool.  

In other recent events I thought of changing my job, that didn't pan out as the job listed was a bit of a political hotbed here in my area.

I had a supervisor the other day try to talk me into applying for full time status.  I started to crunch the numbers and with having to pay back 50% of Social Security bennies on hubby and after a couple of tax deductions I would end up making about what I brought home this past year.

So it goes.
I've been getting the ache to travel again and started to think of places I'd like to go, other than Hawaii.  

I have a nice brother who lives in a beautiful area.  Maybe that will warrant a trip.

I've also thought of British Columbia, Canada, the Badlands, Arches National Monument, the Grand Canyon, and Australia.  Well, one can dream can't one?



Sunday, January 20, 2013

What a Great Day!

Saturday was warm.  It wasn't until about 4pm that the screeching, howling, train wreck winds came sliding through.
And then it was not fit for man, beast, or tree outside.  Things hit the house all night.  Nothing major but branches.  Everything was fine this morning.  Whew.
But yesterday.
The dogs and I decided [see?  we are a pack!] that we were going for a nice long hike, to wander around in the forest and see what the warm air had done to the ice flow that wasn't too far from home.

In places the creek was still frozen on the top.  The ice was thick enough to lay on it with a camera and get some fun shots of Dixie.  This is not recommended if the ice is thin.

I sat down on a mossy rock and watched the dogs run, sniff, run, sniff, run some more, and then stop and look at me as if to ask:
Which Way Now?
I'd get up and walk a ways and then find another spot to stare down at the water running over the rocks or watch the deeper part of the creek where the trout were darting about.
Well the winds began to roar and the muddy dogs and I headed home.
It was very obvious that my partially white Jack Russell was no longer partly white.  

He was black with mud.  Dixie had flopped in the mud in the summer pasture and was dirty as ever.  I swear both dogs were grinning at me.
Bath time.
Morris first.  He is well experienced at baths and bears them as if they are something to be ashamed of.  But he is a good boy.
Dixie.  32+ lbs of Hound Dawg Puppy, wiggling, wagging, hound dog puppy.  I was worried about her bath.
I lifted her into the tub and then began to wash her.  She hung her head on the edge of the tub and stood quietly.  She let me shampoo, rinse, and do a conditioner on her ... wow, I was impressed!
Then I lifted her out of the tub and knelt to wrap her in a towel.  She literally melted into me and pushed me to the floor.
I sat with a big ol' puppy wrapped up in a huge towel on the floor. 
Dixie had decided that it was the best tail waggin' love-fest that she'd ever been too. 
She groaned in ecstasy as I rubbed her dry.
With the wind screeching outside, we settled in for the night.
What can I call it but an almost perfect day for me....

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Oh I wanna go back to ... Hawaii

The NOAA is saying that we are going to get down right frigid in the next few days.  Monday they are predicting something like -2 for the high.  That is -29 C to my friends abroad.

That doesn't not include the sustained NW winds at 30+ mph with gusts as high as 50?  Chill!

I really have started thinking about visiting there again.  I have never had a bad moment on any of my trips, other than putting up with the traveling part. 

While visiting with my mom last month we were talking about Hawaii and how fun it was when we had gone as a family. 

Mom indicated in a certain round about way when I'd told her I'd found Zander's son in the phone book and the marina we used to go to had been relocated...she said.  'You know?  I would absolutely love to go Deep Sea Fishing once more.'  

 [Photo circa 1973 ?  I am on the far left, my brother in the middle and mom on the right.]

She got this funny and heartwarming expression on her face.  
I indicated that we could dream about it and maybe even plan on that if all the 'cards' fell into the place in the future.

We changed the subject and went on to discussing other things, but I saw this far away look everyone once in a while.  
She'd glance up at certain photos on her living room wall and then back at me.

So can you blame me for thinking about it?
I also have a dream of getting back to Hawaii and just spending hours exploring some of the remote beaches that have to be hiked to with my camera. 
I want to see Pololu Valley again and watch the sun come up from the east side of the island.  Then watch it set on the west.

Winter is great for creating dreams, right?
Wow, it sounds like I'm making plans for more than one trip!

Meanwhile, on my list are places like Australia and perhaps New Zealand.  Don't know if I'll ever make it.  I thought also about a trip to Belize.  

Let the winds blow, I'll dream about cool places to visit some day!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mandelbulb 3d with 360 Pano feature

I've upgraded to the newest version of Mandebulb 3d and found a fun feature called the 360 degree panoramic camera.  Normal camera has always been the option.

So I've been busy taking some of my older favorite parameters and working with them again.

Here is a color version of one:

Then the black and white version which I really like much better!

Looking into it is like looking into a Mind Cave or Thoughts Grabber.  
Interesting to note is that when I posted this on Flickr I had many comments. Each person that saw this had something quite different to say about what they saw.

That is when I know I have created something interesting.  When people can each see something different.

Same parameters here but conventional 'camera' settings.

This one I also changed to black and white because I think color would have been a distraction.

Then for a blast of color, I did this.  
I'm still working on what to add to it because I think there is so much more that can be going on.

If I do add, I'll post later.

Now off to a late night shift!  Or do you say morning shift?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recharge the Internal Battery

Oh I had all sorts of plans of hiking and getting groceries and ... taking the dogs for a fantastic walk.
It is too slippery to even try and get a mule or donk out of the pasture, but I guess I'll have my chance on Friday afternoon.

The farrier will come for a long visit.  Because of illnesses, and injuries to both the farriers family and mine, 2012 did not end so wonderfully.  We had to put off taking care of some of the farrier work.

Last night I came home and began to feel cold from the inside out.  Sneezed and sneezed...and well

I slept in.
I then got up and...took a nap.

I think the body just said it needed a recharge.

I know Morris is giving me the hopeful eye as is Dixie.  They are missing their daily hikes and walks.  If I don't hike with them, I surely get them out for a romp.

But I did see a beautiful sunrise and sunset while doing my work commute!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dense Fog Advisory

Well they were not kidding.  It was supposed to lift by 12 noon.  But it didn't.  At one moment in the day we thought the fog turned sort of orange.  
It must have been the sun trying to break through.

The temps got into the 40's and we had about a 1/4" of rain last night which turned half the driveway into mud-slush and the other half into an ice skating rink.

That is until the town truck drove down and then backed up the hill spreading sand and salt.  

We drove to Richland Center, ... about 26 miles one way to see a man about a rifle.  Hubby and the gent talked hunting and whatnot.  
And...oh was it every foggy!

I went along for the ride because I had a secret agenda.  
I wanted to con hubby into having dinner with me...out!  Like someone waiting on us, someone else doing the dishes.

It worked.

Tonight the fog is supposed to lift.  Winds are due to come in swiftly and clear out the the grey...
tomorrow we can look foreward to dropping temps and a blustery day with winds gusting to 35 mph!

Oh what fun January is in WI!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Baby, it is COLD out there!

It was cold.  I mean really cold!
Okay it wasn't 20 below zero cold, but the air was damp and the winds blew down the valley length making it 'feel' quite cold.

My goal for the morning was to go to the big spring on the eastern end of the valley.  Walking with my back to the wind was no problem.  The snow was getting soft where the sun hit and it was hard where it was in the shadow of the hills and trees.
This made the footing a bit more interesting than usual.
I'd debated taking my snow shoes, but had planned on getting down in the creek to get some shots of flowing water, ice, frost, and anything else that caught my eye.

I did notice some small brown trout flitting about in the deep still part of the creek.  That did make me smile.
When I got to the big spring, I was slightly disappointed.  

One, my feet were cold, but two...the sun was shining down on the spring area and there was no heavy frost build up.  I would have to come back on a much colder day either when it was overcast or when it was late afternoon to catch the frost build up on the rocks from the warm spring waters.

No matter I still had other goals and one of those goals was to set up a tripod and use a slow shutter speed to capture some flowing water.  I used my small tripod that I'd gotten at Cabelas in the hunting equipment section. It served well for a camera tripod.  It was heavy duty and close to the ground.

I switched over to the south side of the valley to try and use the sunlight to warm up a bit and dropped into the creek to get out of the wind.  I could pick my way delicately over rocks being careful not to get into deep water.

The sun warmed me up and being out of the wind really helped quite a bit.  Although heading home I'd be hiking straight into it.

I finally found a spot that might work and spent the next several minutes figuring out what exactly I wanted to do.

Really ... I have no idea how long I spent setting up the tripod, kneeling in the snow and looking through the view finder...taking shots...shaking my head...taking another....blowing out air in frustration...taking another...moving the tripod...trying a different camera...attaching an ND filter...and so on and so on...twisting into a pretzel so I could see through the viewfinder...accidentally leaning over and putting my hand in the creek...wondering what drove me to do this...and then...

I got this...

Then I wrapped it up and decided I'd gotten what I'd come for.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Dixie's first BIG Adventure by Morris

SHE put her coveralls on ... then put on her gunbelt.  I knew it was going to be Adventure Time!

SHE was going to the woods.  I really knew it when she put on the gun belt.  I started spinning and twirling, crying, and whining.  In fact Dixie began to bark in her very loud hound voice.

'Me Too!  Me Too!' she was crying.  'Don't leave me behind!'

Well, leaving her behind would be fine with me.  After all a puppy can be quite annoying.  Especially when the puppy is bigger than your are.  Her feet are monsterous!  I don't get how anyone could think those long floppy hound ears were cute, but there you are.  SHE thinks Dixie is cute.  And smart.

We all headed out the door together.  Dixie kept running up on me and trying to swat at me with those big paws of hers.  I took off down the ridge road as fast as I could, then stopped and switched direction.  Dixie did a header into the snow when she tried the same thing.

I grinned.  I was tons older than her but still had the speed and agility to out maneuver her!

We crossed the creek and went up up and up to the ridge top where SHE picks yellow raspberries.  We followed a deer trail through berry briers and prickly stuff.  I'm impressed, Dixie and I could duck most of the bad stuff and SHE had to kind of work her way through all that nasty sharp brush.  SHE did not complain!

By this time Dixie was slowing down.  Then we got on the snowmobile trail.  I wasn't happy about that, I know those machines can roar from nowhere.  But SHE assured us that the trails were closed.

Dixie investigated the signs.
 I don't think she knows what that sign meant.  I'm not sure either but I can follow the tracks easy enough.

We circled around and headed back into the valley and SHE took a short cut across the creek that was pretty steep.  I was impressed.  Dixie didn't even whine, but did take a long time investigating the water before she crossed it.
She did whine just a bit.  'Don't leave me Morris, don't!'  I stood and watched from the opposite bank, I said I wouldn't leave her.  I mean, come on, I am not mean, just an old dog who doesn't like to be used as a chew toy by young pups.

We walked along the creekside and under the old 'Yote Den.  I was nervous and kept stopping to look around.  I asked Dixie if she smelled anything, she does have a big wonderful smelling nose.
She took a whiff of the air, 'Nothing interesting.  Just water, grass, maybe a mouse and a rabbit.'  
'No Coyotes?' I asked.
She stared at me.  'What's a Coyote?'

I forgot she was still only about 10 or 11 weeks old.  Huh.

By now we had both slowed way down.  We'd been walking for a very long time.  SHE headed up the creek towards the trail that lead to home.
Dixie was in the lead now.
We found some cool ice flows, Dixie tried to climb it, but only slid back down.  SHE laughed and took pictures of course.
When we got home Dixie went and laid in her crate and immediately started to snore.

I went and laid on my chair and curled up on my blanket.

Before SHE and HE went to bed, SHE woke Dixie up from her sleep.  Dixie literally oozed out of her crate onto the kitchen floor.  It was like she had no legs or bones.

SHE petted and talked to her for a while to get her awake.  Apparently SHE thought it would be good to let the puppy go potty before everyone went to sleep.  Dixie was wobbly ~~ went out and immediately went back in her crate to curl up.

This morning Dixie was recovered from her first Big Adventure.
She wanted to know when we were going again.  
I told her to keep on eye on Val.  When those coveralls went on along with the gun and the camera...and a leash...that's when we would go on another adventure.

Dixie is watching HER with an eagle eye today.