Friday, October 31, 2014

The last day of October

Well I didn't say Happy Halloween!  But then again I've worked so many Halloween nights that I guess it doesn't get me excited any more.

October was an incredibly beautiful month, full of changing colors and weather.

Now we enter into November, the month I call ...the Brown Month.

Photographically November can be challenging.
But most of the colors that can be found will either be close to the ground or in the sky...

I also use November to work on projects.  Like the Family Calendars for those who want one and a 'Morris Adventure Book' perhaps.
The longer nights always give me more inside time.

November means moving the animals into winter pastures and setting up water heaters for the stock tanks.
Adjusting water hoses so they can be drained afterwards, and making sure the long johns are easy to access.

My favorite Holiday comes in November.  Thanksgiving!  Family!
My unfavorite time of the year comes in November.
Gun Deer Season.

I am not against the hunting, however I am against those hunters who are irresponsible.

So for 9 days in November I stay out of the woods and do my winterizing of the house and bring out the Carhartt's ... rotate the photos on the wall to more seasonal things...
and wait for the first snow fall.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

She yelled ICKY at me! ~by Morris

SHE yelled icky! ICKY at me today while we were taking a hike.

More than once. 
Last time we hiked she yelled Icky and I had rolled in some exceptionally stinky goo to which she immediately put me in the bath when we got home.

I was fragrant and slimy.  I was a happy dog.

Today though I should have listened to her yelling at me.

We did have a fine time though.

I found a deer trail and after a bit we even found a Monster Buck.

SHE stood super quiet and only reached for her cheapo pocket camera.  We could hear the buck approaching us as we were on the downwind side of him.

Man, I thought she was going to have the 'Vapors', she was so excited.
And SHE said she just sort of got a crummy photo of the Buck.

[The big deer is at the top of the photo and very hard to see, but he had big shiny horns!]

I however decided to growl and puff up.  I was the guardian dog.  I growled very nasty stuff at him and he just turned and walked away.

SHE was still in awe.

So she was taking pretty photos of something she calls Barberries and Rose Hips so I decided to go eat some nasties.

I ate some small bones and then some really nasty Dexter poo and maybe some other stuff.

SHE wasn't looking!

So when I got home I drank a lot of water and then...well I went in my crate and had a barf-fest.

SHE was angry at first but realized that I didn't make a mess in the house.

Then SHE felt bad.

And then I felt even worser.

I wouldn't eat when she fed me.

I sat with my ears drooped and eyes at half mast.  
Then finally SHE came after supper and took my vitals.

Interesting.  She has a veterinarian's stethescopy thingy.
SHE could hear my breathing as normal and Heart Rate as normal.

SHE pronounced that I had a very bad stomach ache.

How did one human get to be so smart?

I'm feeling better now, but SHE is watching me carefully.

I'm getting to be an 'elderly' dog SHE tells me.  And she said next time she points her finger at me and yells ICKY I should listen.

Maybe SHE is right?

Awww poo on that.
I love icky.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ponies of the Corn


and blustery yesterday, but it was a warm day and I hadn't taken Siera out in quite a while.

I usually avoid really windy days in the fall, especially if I have to ride past a field of corn.

The corn rattles and shakes and normally it sets my mules on the tips of their hooves.

So I thought I'd see what Siera thought about the whole thing.

It could be a fine move or it could have been a stupid move.

She glared at the corn daring 'the ponies of the corn' to come out and attack her.

She snorted and blew a few times but headed down the lane between the 'rattling' scary corn.  She went as though on a mission.  
Well compared to other mules I've ridden, she is something different to get used to.  She is gaited, so she always wants to gait out fast if she can.

Here we pause for a moment along the ridge road after going through the 'scary' corn.  She was sweating a bit behind the ears, nervous about leaving home.

She also knew that home was directly to our left through some very gnarly woods, she could hear our Jack 'Bob' braying.

But we went on.

Something different happened while going down this steep trail.
Siera stopped to pee.
She flipped her tail up over her back and I didn't realize that she also flipped her crupper off!

The saddle moved forward and Siera finally stopped ... I didn't realize this at first.
So we took a break.

I sat on a log while she was tied to a tree trying to find any green morsels left....and we enjoyed some quiet time overlooking the 'Hidden Valley'.

Even though most of the leaves have fallen and the colors seem to have disappeared from the trees, we still had a beautiful trail cut for us by a bow hunter.

Just before we got home 2 C-130 aircrafts came flying just over the tree tops.

Sure, if that should freak out me, it should have freaked out Siera.

She just glanced around.

Gosh I like this mule!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Working with Morris and a bit of JWildfire

Well I've gone back and forth between Fractal Programs now for a long time.  Right now I'm trying to get more of a handle on JWildfire.
Samples above.
JWildfire had been blasted into the future with a new version that can be downloaded and is free.
Although I must say, it helps to find tutorials if you actually want to create something.  
It isn't too bad being able to generate random things though and just play around.


Yesterday, I took Morris out for shot to try and get him to 'pose' with his toys.
This was a complete failure yesterday as it got overcast and dark...and I forgot to bring his most important working tool.

The Dog Cookie.

However, I did get some nice toy shots but when I asked Morris to get on the rock and look at the toys...

I got a nice shot of Morris's 'equipment' and he proceeded to sniff his toys casually and knock them down, before wandering off a ways to stare at me as if I were from another planet.

He doesn't really react much to the toys when we are in the woods.

Really Morris!  You must learn to act!

I have to do another photo 'shoot' with Morris to try and get what I need.
From the weather forecast I may indeed get a chance in the next few days.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Toys and Animals...just fun and crazy

Sure, why not?  Put a stuffed animal in the pasture to see the reaction of any of our Dexter Cattle.

And then wait.

WhoDunnit was more curious than the others.  Bunny came over and gave the toy a once over before she went on to grazing, but this guy was really curious.

Then there is the other aspect.  Posing very non-posable toys to interact and using a timed exposure to show running water....

This is so much fun.

The hard part will be putting the story together and making it work with the photos.

Now I have to get Morris out and get some shots!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In my Child's Inner Eye....

The leaves are just about all gone.
On the steep valley sides the oaks cling to their leaves.

My intention yesterday of course was to visit Tainter Hollow and Tainter Creek to get some beautiful late afternoon shots.

However, in my bag of goodies in the back seat, I had some characters from the new Morris Adventure Books.  Some 'wandering' Hedgehogs and The Wise Ol' Frog.

Hmm, I'm near water.
I have the Toys, I have the camera equipment.

I am totally alone in this remote area.

So, I decided to have some fun.

Those Hedgehogs sure know how to get into things.  In fact as I was 'shooting' the two little 'hogs' talking with The Wise Ol' Frog in the creek, a gust of wind tossed one of them into the water.

Lucky me, I caught it and it was not staged.

So now of course, it has to be part of the book somehow.

I almost felt silly placing the little Hedgehogs in the middle of the road and then squatting to try and get a neat photo.

What if someone had come along?  

Well, I would have heard them from a pretty fair distance and would have scooped them up and whisked them back to the Subaru.

The Creek was quite beautiful and I hope to get back and get some more shots in different lighting conditions. 

In case you are wondering there is a fair amount of editing for the 'book' photos.

Here is a sample of what I was working on in PSP X6 ... [sorry Adobe, I am not paying you per month to use your program!]

I separate the characters in each photo generally and give them an edit so they will stand out from the backround of the scene they are in.

I want them to look like toys, but the scenery to have a slightly 'drawn' or slightly imaginative look to it.

Working with Morris in scenes always adds a bit of the unknown.
I hope to get that part done fairly soon.

The story has already begun in my head and yet the photos and the characters may take the story in another avenue that I wasn't prepared for.

That is the beauty of creativity.

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ~~Madeleine L'Engle

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Morris & I go looking...

We love looking and searching and hiking.  Yesterday it was time to return to the creek bottom and visit the last few breaths of fall.
[It was 28 degrees this morning!]

The leaves were coming down like rainfall.

The afternoon was a bit cool and breezy and it was getting late, but we decided to go for a hard and fast hike.

Though when we got to the creek, of...course we got side tracked.

Morris had to 'water' every log and stick he could find.
After all, it is his territory. Or so he thinks.

The hateful Japanese Barberry plant is quite beautiful in the fall and winter.  The berries and foliage are stunning in colors.
But they crowd out other plants.

The reflections of the trees on the hillside were incredible.

For a while I stopped and sat on a log in the water.
I was able to see a Tiger Trout.  The distinctive markings on the fins were bright.
They weren't large, but they did let me catch a glimpse of them before they disappeared under the banks and into to other dark places.

The creek is incredibly clear.  Can you see where the water surface is?  Hint the colored leaves are floating on top.

Winter will change the look of this area drastically.  But we've had a fairly dry fall so the creek is pretty low here.

Finally, with daylight fading, Morris and I headed back home. We had supper to cook and chores to help out with.

Although we were greeted by a beautiful scene provided by the donkeys not far from the feeder.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fall is fading

Fall is fading but that is normal for this time of the year.

However, some of the colors hang on in the oaks and maples.
The other morning the fog was very thick in the valleys.

After living here for nearly 20 years, I know that the fog will generally rise to the ridge tops after the sun has risen.
Sometimes...not always!

So I took a gamble and went out to find what might be a good spot to watch over the valley.

However Mother Nature was not co-operating with me.  She insisted on bringing in the fog faster and thicker than I thought she should.

So I did what some photographers like to do...if the view in front isn't good, then turn around and see what is happening.

Riley road seemed to disappear off the edge of the earth!

I figured the morning would be a wash so I started home and the sun took that moment to break through layers of fog.

This is the same spot only looking back east.

Then I headed out the ridge further.

After I took this, the fog socked me in and I knew that I wouldn't get any more good shots.

So I headed home and imagine my surprise after the fog cleared about an hour later.

Stunning blue skies with pure white clouds.  I shot this looking up at the birch trees near the bottom of our driveway.

And the day turned out to be incredibly beautiful!

Today however I intend to take a trip to the valley and see what the creek has to offer and what colors and interesting things that Morris and I can find there.

Fall is fading and we are moving into the 'brown' season as I call it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


The skies were dull grey but there was a hint of sun ... as if the light was trying to penetrate the dark heavy clouds, but I wasn't sure which would win.

I decided to ask Morris if he'd like to go look for 'things' in the woods.
Of course he never ever refuses.

Not even in the rain.
He will refuse to go out to his potty spot if it is raining hard...but not to go for a walk with me.

What an odd dog.

I chose the 50mm lens for a few reasons.  It is a fast lens ... meaning in low light you can still take hand held shots just like this without getting camera shake.

The colors on the forest floor were quite beautiful.

So many things to discover after 2 3/4 inches of rain for the previous few days.

One of the odd things we found was a huge 'jelly' fungi!

I think the rain really helped this one along!

The colors of the birches showed up nicely with the muted sky.

In a way I find this time of year very exciting.  It is a race to grab the beauty of fall as it quickly changes day to day.

Even as the peak fades, wonderful colors show up.

The bright green grass has not yet faded to brown and the forest in places is holding on desperately to its leaves.

By the way, the calf peeking around the corner is WhoDunnit, our only bull calf.

The grey mule walking in another pasture is Mica.  I couldn't get enough of the colors that bordered their pasture.

And a view from one pasture into another....

The colors are hanging on just barely.

This morning there is supposed to be some dense fog in the river valley areas.
I always find that this makes for very interesting sunrise photos.

I can still see stars to the east in the upper sky.

Down in my hollow, the fog is starting to build.

It should be an interesting morning.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Archery ~ addressed years later...

I like to Target Practice and with ammo for my .22 so difficult to get, I thought I'd go back to archery.

I found this Youth Compound Bow that does not have a huge heavy pull on it and decided to pick it up.  

I've been having trouble with rabbits this past summer getting into the garden and destroying a lot of our goodies.

Morris was good at finding rabbit nests and getting rid of a few by digging them out.

So I thought I'd take a beaten up squash about the size of a rabbit and see if...

I could shoot it from a short distance.

...and I was able to just begin to get some feel for the bow after a couple of hours of shooting.

I have to work on consistency for my draw of course and watch a few 'training' videos.
But I am enjoying it a lot.

I can target shoot and shoot and re-use the same ammo over and over.

Archery teaches patience and consistency along with discipline.  I think it is a great out door sport.

I suppose if I ever get good enough I could use it for getting rid of varmints ... but that remains to be seen.

A friend of mine told me to practice shooting while riding a mule.
Hey, there are all sorts of possibilities!
But first things first.
Practice, Practice, Practice.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Afternoon in Paradise

I took Morris for a walk up on the ridge.

We've had three killer frosts in a row, everything in the garden is done done, done...

I found out that the mules love the sunflowers. They eat the heads and chew on the stalks.  
Good thing as we had so many of them we weren't sure what we were going to do with them all.

The afternoon sun was so warm that I was tempted to just lay down in the yard and soak up the warmth.  A nap would have been perfect.

However the day was taken up with making sure my recyclables were all tidied up and taken to the town recycle center.

On the way over I couldn't help but stop and take a photo of this tree.
[edited for textures]

Tonight's forecast is for rain starting and carrying on for a few days.

Well that doesn't make me smile.  But we have had a wonderful week of gorgeous days and cold nights.
The colors are quickly fading and if we get heavy rain, the leaves will come off even faster.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Killer Frost

The temperature when I got up at 4:30 am [oh sometimes I don't sleep so well and I just give up and get up!], was 28 degrees...
unless my foggy morning eyes were not seeing the thermometer properly.

We did have the heat turned off in the house.  I turned it on to warm things up for the morning.
If you are curious, our house in not much more than a wee cabin.

Yesterday we had a hard frost also.

The grass was pretty white except where it was protected under the trees.

But the ice crystals were pretty evident even by 9 am.

By late afternoon, it was nice and warm.

So here it begins again.  
Start the morning with coveralls and a stocking cap and as the day warms towards noon peel off the other clothes. 

Then go with a light jacket or even t-shirt weather like when I was pulling frosted and dead plants from the garden.