Friday, May 31, 2013

Checking Fences ~ After the Storm

The storm brought 1 3/4" of rain in a very short time.  The power went out with some extremley strong wind gusts.

The National Weather Service did report that our area had 60mph wind gusts.  Well, I believe that could be right.  It felt like the house was being battered.

The lightening was spectacular.  Yes, we watched it as we had no power. We sat and chatted and after it was obvious that the power wasn't coming back on, we decided to go ahead and get some sleep.

The sound of the rain and the thunder lulled us to sleep.

The first job of the morning was to go and check fence lines.  
Of course Morris is a very important part of that.

He went along for the inspection.

Along the way we found a huge Morel mushroom.  No rhyme or reason for where it was located.

Of course I had my little camera with me so I could take a few shots.

With all the rain we've been having, I thought it would be easy to grab some shots of water-droplets.

Dry Run [Morris's rear end for...perspective]:

Beautiful columbine flowers:

The grandkids are here, they arrived last night.  Hopefully the rain will hold off for a bit today.

I know that the 'kids' said they'd like to go down to the creek today.

If the weather holds, we'll go.

After all, it is fun to explore.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just feel like colors today...

I've been trying to distract myself from all the rainfall and dreary weather we've been having.  The program is Flame Painter 2 Pro.  Quite fun.

However I did get out and see some of Nature's Colors yesterday and got soaked in a downpour.
Good thing my camera was my pocket ... all weather camera.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Topaz Annouces Clarity ~ Clarity Review.

Topaz Labs announces Topaz Clarity!

Well okay.  It is hard to really get much better than there products I use most often which are:
Topaz Adjust 5
Topaz Detail 3
Topaz ReMask
Topaz Simplify 
Topaz B&W 2

Here is an untouched photo of the sky.  It is not a stellar shot, but I wanted to see what Topaz Clarify would do with a fairly mundane shot:

Clarify on Clouds II preset

Adjust with Classic preset:

Then Topaz B&W Classic preset [with 'red' filter]:

If you already have Adjust 5, I'm not sure what Clarify will do for you.  It has some great new bells and whistles that allow you to do 'masking' without leaving the Topaz plug in.
For the above photos I just really hit presets just to get a quick feel for it.

Here are some samples comparing Clarify and Adjust 5, side by side.

Less Halo effect in Clarity without the added work in the above sample.  Richer greens without the extra effort.

In this Hawaiian sunset, the Clarity preset was faster and easier to choose and work with.
With a bit more experimenting the average user could get some fantastic results.

But I am a user of Adjust since the very first version Topaz created...and can quickly achieve the same results.

Clarity clearly has some advantages.  But for me I don't think at the moment I will be able to add it to my Topaz Plugins as I can rapidly get to the same point quickly with the Topaz products I have.

If you are not one that wants to mess with all of the other plugins, this would be a steal.
Right now Topaz Labs is offering this plug in for $29.99.

On June 1st it will be $49.99.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday, ... Trees

I'm going out to check out some trees this morning and of course check the forest floor for anything interesting.

I would like to take a few shots of a Poplar tree too.

I found some rather striking weeds the other day...their bright yellow colors were quite cheerful.
Yellow Rocket:

I had a disagreement with someone that thought my photo of the Basswood was a Quaking Aspen.  Apparently unless you can see the bark, you may not be able to tell the difference.

I photographed this Birch in two ways, one way was just the leaves and another was with a branch dangling down over the trunk of the tree.

Birch tree:
 No doubts here about it being a birch.  And yes the tree was leaning, not me!

I hope you all have a great Sunday!
Tomorrow is Parade day with Opal and a hot dog cook out over a fire.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Talking to my mom...

Yesterday I called my mom.  I'm supposed to be a good daughter and call her weekly.
Last time we parted ways, we promised each other that we'd talk each and every week.  If I didn't call, she would...well okay, she might.

Anyway let's just say, I'm not the 'good' daughter in that way.  I don't call every week, but I should because you should hear my mom's voice perk up when she hears my voice on the phone.

She wanted to know what I was doing on a certain date and I told her that my schedule wasn't out yet for that.  But I'd let her know as soon as possible.  She told me that she was putting on an ice cream banana split party on that Friday and I should come.

She also told me about her group of Seniors that went out on Friday nights and had Fish Fry or Pizza and how much fun they had.

I actually decided that this could be fun to do.  So I'll check into my schedule as soon as it is posted.
My mom's senior friends are a real hoot.
What's more, is that my mom loves it when I go with her to meet her friends and do things with them all.

If you think a Senior has nothing to offer, then you haven't been around this group of folks.  I've always enjoyed time with them.
I do hope I get scheduled so that I can 'run' down and see her soon!

 Hawthorne Tree Blossoms ~ May 23rd 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Morels Oh Morels!

A Spring ritual we have each year is looking for the elusive Morel Mushroom!

Last year, it was so terribly hot and dry that the 'mushroom' hunt was pretty poor.  This year we have been moist...well, wet!  And a bit cool.

Morels are not easy to spot.  They are generally the same color as what surrounds them.  There are all sorts of 'hints' as to 'how' to find them.  Dead Elms, Dead Apple Trees, and Pines are all supposed to be good for finding them.

However, I am not that good at that aspect.  I am however, excellent about wandering around in the woods and just looking.
That way I find other things like Wild Ramps.

Or Wild Parsnips.
Or Meadow Onions [very tasty if fried].

I intend to get out today and take a look around for what I can find in the woods that is interesting.
The wild apple trees have lost their blossoms, but I should be able to find some Bellwort and Trillium!

Who knows, perhaps I'll find some more Morel Mushrooms also!

My next big decision is whether I take Morris or Dixie..or both of them!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Annual Memorial Day Mule Ride

This year I am honoring the greatest mule ever by renaming my Memorial Day Parade Ride in Folsom, WI to ...
The Memorial Day Badger Ride.
Can I do that?
No, I don't think I should.

Memorial Day is a day set aside
on which those who died in active military service are remembered.

So no, really I cannot dishonor those in the military service by doing that.

It will still be the One Mule Memorial Day Parade, but this year I will honor Badger in my heart as the mule who safely carried me on so many other parades...
and not just 'one mule' parades either.

This year the honor will fall to Opal the cranky mule.  Well, she isn't really cranky.  She is our people 'challenged' mule.  But she is rock solid and steady off the farm and on the backroads.

Siera secretly told me that she wanted to try it again.  But she and I need a bit more traffic practice.  She believes that only a good bay mule should do the honors of wearing the American Flag Saddle Blanket.

Well, there is the 4th of July, isn't there?

We started that parade in 2008.  The year before Badger got ill.

Somehow, I think Opal will pull it off...she looks good in those colors too!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why You need a Dog.

A dog gives you reason to run like a 6 yr old kid through the neighbor's hayfield and then flop down in the tall grasses and just lay there, while the dog licks your face and asks you to please...

'Let's play chase again!'

A dog will flop down on your lap as you try to watch the sunset and then sit quietly lean into you as she pretends to admire it also.
She pants and she looks like she is smiling.
She slobbers on your already grass stained clothing and you can lean down and wash your hands in the evening dew collecting on the hay grasses.

You can tell her your secrets and she swears that she WILL never ever tell anyone else.  Nope.

When you get up in the sunset's afterglow and hold up the old lead rope and click it.
She looks at you as if you ARE the most interesting and important person on earth.

And when you hug her later.
You know you are.

Thanks for another nice evening Dixie.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dixie Kisses

Everyone probably is wondering ~ what ever happened to that cute little puppy?
Well that cute little puppy has grown up quite a bit.
I think she may be about 6 months old yet, but she is full size.

She moved out of the house in March.  I so did not want her to move out.  She was such a great cuddler and was learning an incredible amount by being under my feet constantly.

Today I grabbed her and put her on a length of rope.  She calmly walked along side of me as if she had been working on 'heeling' her whole life.  She didn't jerk or pull.
When I let her off lead and walked along a deer path in the woods, she followed me, smelling around.
Of course it was about 80 degrees and she was a bit warm.

I stopped and sat on a log in the meadow to eat an apple.  She nuzzled the ground around me and kept coming up to ask me 'what now'?   

Puppy kisses were called for.

I later walked with her up the driveway because I heard the neighbors outside.  Dixie was somewhat exemplary in her behavior.   She did a sloppy sit when asked and carefully smelled the children who immediately began to pet her.

We spent hours together.  She walked quietly along side of me while I threw out flakes of hay to the equine.  She obeyed all vocal commands.

She is probably one of the most incredible dogs that I have ever met.  Her tempermant is incredible.
Her intelligence is fantastic.

I think she'd make a great helper dog and be more useful than as a hunting dog.

Of course if the choice were mine.  She'd be in the house at my feet right now.  She'd never leave my side...of course Morris and her would figure things out.

Dixie is hands down 'one of a kind' dog. 


Monday, May 06, 2013

Opal, Sunshine, and a Spring Day

Here is little Miss Sunshine.  The mule that could!  
In 2009 Sunshine suffered what could have been a live ending injury.  The vet was doubtful that she'd recover.  But instead of putting her down, he asked us to put her on stall rest for 6 months with hand walking.
I had my doubts, the poor girl could barely get up for weeks.  She hobbled on 3 legs for months.
Finally towards the end of winter when she was walking better...we put her in with 2 youngsters.
She made a huge comeback.
She is indeed a miracle mule.

Link:  Never doubt a mule.

She acts no as if nothing had happened.

So today hubby was convinced to go riding with me.  By the way, the Dry Needling, uncomfortable as it was and painful for 2 days afterward...seems to be making me much more comfortable.
Who would have thought that?  Right?

Off we went.  I had curried and scraped mud off from Opal and Sunshine for over an hour.  Yes, I was very very careful.

We searched for wildflowers and found Hepatica.
And some more Hepatica...
We stopped and had a conversation.
Him:  Well?
Me:  Well what?
Him:  Which way do you want to go?
Me:  Anywhere as long as it is riding!
Him: Well?
We went on up the hill and followed faint trails just below the ridge line.

We circled the cropland on Peterson's ~ him looking for sheds, me looking for flowers.
Opal was very well behaved.  

She didn't even step on me while I knelt down to photograph blood roots...what a good girl.

Shhhh don't tell the big guy I let her have snacks when I use the camera.  She always is very cooperative then!

She may be very old, but she is also very wise.

I can't wait.  In the next few days the forest floor should be covered with Hepatica and Virginia Beauties.

Opal says she'll take me hunting for them.
Yes, the arm still feels pretty good tonight.

Can we say yippie?


Saturday, May 04, 2013

Where is spring and why can't I ride?

Okay, it is spring and I've only saddled up once with Opal.  
I've been working with a diagnosis for my left elbow, called Lateral Epicondolits, my main doctor feels it has gone behind the tendonitis stage to the tendonosis stage.
In short, it is very limiting.  Try to curry a mule and it hurts like the dickens.

Try typing for a while...same result.
Try lifting things, twisting knobs, holding a cup of coffee all of that gets you pain.  Sometimes bad sometimes just a real long deep ache, sometimes sharp. 

I've done Occupational Therapy for a month with no results.  Now I am doing Physical Therapy---called Dry Needling.
Review of Dry Needling by an Ironwoman athelet here:
Whole Iron woman Blog.   

So until this is resolved I have bitten the bullet and am trying to NOT hurt myself further with things like carrying buckets of water, haybales, typing too much, or currying and saddling my mules.  [Insert unhappy face]

It is very hard to behave let me tell you!
Spring here has cooperated by not being very nice.
Although I think hubby ought to curry and saddle up Opal and Fred and take a ride with me!

Anyway all this OT and PT is to try and help things so I do not have to go through a repeat of 2008's surgery on my right arm.

However, I still have not given up hiking with my camera and getting great shots of wildflowers.


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Using Maps or photos for Mandelbulb 3d and Incendia

I've decided to use flames and other fractal creations as color sources for both Incendia and Mandelbulb 3D.

When I find a color scheme I truly like I make it available to use in the Maps folder for Mandelbulb 3D.

This helps me get over the small color scheme choices for Mandelbulb 3D.

In the Lighting section of MD3D, you can find a small box called *use map for diffuse color*.
You'll pick the number or page through the MAPS and watch your fractal change colors.
At the bottom of this window are some choices.
its. trap
wrap 1
wrap 2
Experiment with these and the 'scale' tab.

You can come up with some fantastic coloring for your fractal.

Here is a sample of one that I recently did using plain black and white squares for the MAP.

I also used a photo of clouds for the backround image.  You still need to experiment with the Lighting to get the proper feel of depth.

This next one I used the same MAP coloring for the MD3D image as I did for the Incendia image.  They were combined to make this.

The very far backround in this image came from JWildfire.  In essence I used 3 Fractal programs to create this last image.

I've been building a library for both Incendia and Mandelbulb 3D from both flames and .jpeg images.

Try it, you might find it very interesting.