Sunday, November 30, 2014

Last Days of Gun Deer Season

Him: "Watchya doing today?"
Me: "Stuff."

Him: "You wanna get dressed up and walk down through the creek and make some noise?  Then you can go to the ridge road and work your way through all those apple trees and back down towards me."

Ahhh yup.  It was that time of year again.  The last few days of Deer Gun Season I get to play 'dog' ... as he calls it.

These were a couple of visitors to our creek bottom yesterday morning before the sun came out.

Off I went after hubby went on his way to wait.  My first walk yielded nothing, but I did get to see interesting tracks and feel the warm sun on my back.
The temperatures were rapidly rising and things were beginning to melt quickly.

I walked down through the creek and spent a lot of time just 'browsing' the area.
It changes so much from summer to winter.  I actually think it is more beautiful in winter and early spring.

The water from the trees above left circles in the creek pond....

I eventually went up and old cow/mule trail that is nearly impossible to find in the summer.  I had a bit of a struggle with briers once in a while, but I was able to make it to the top of the ridge.

Further down the valley I'd seen a group of hunters and had decided to stay out of their way.

I can't say that I 'love' deer season.  I certainly don't love the inept hunters that seem to show up on my neighbor's land.  Simply put, I don't trust them to tell Blaze Orange from Deer Brown.

That said I do trust my husband and will walk the woods for him.

The day went quietly.  No monster buck came through.
I personally think that he is hiding.

Good luck to the legendary 12 pt buck!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Make Your Own Thanksgiving Tradition

I'm not a Turkey person, however I will eat turkey and poultry IF someone else makes it.

I don't mind poultry in soup.  

Thanksgiving traditionally has Turkey on most tables.

On my table we have homemade Lasagna.  And no, I am not Italian!
Our Thanksgiving was going to be very quiet.  The neighbors were gone, and no one was coming to visit or have dinner with us.

And hubby was out deer hunting.  

I had done all the chores and put together the lasagna ... so what else was there to do?

I'd been cleaning this humongous house we have. The laundry was freezing on the line, 

and I needed something more to do.

I went out and found the antique cracked chair in the shed.

I had used the chair last year when making my 'Christmas' decorations.
Because our house is so small I thought I'd try something new.  I added an antique fruit crate this year.

I draped an antique bridle, and two breast collars to the chair.  Little by little I added a few things including my carousel horses.

By the time hubby came in to tell me he needed help bringing in a doe he actually got, I had put the finishing touches on both our supper and my new traditional....

Christmas Chair.

I think I'll continue to use this chair for decorations and have Lasagna for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This and That...

My drive home from work was more than interesting to say the least on Monday.
Maybe I just forget from year to year how treacherous some of our roads can get.

There are twisted roads that have steep grades and fairly sharp curves up the sides of the steep valleys near the Mississippi River.

I didn't dare stop and take any shots of the curves or the hills on Monday.  It was just a concentration effort to make sure that I actually stayed on the road.

There were many 'fall offs' that I passed attesting to the fact that the roads were indeed really quite bad.
Rain, fog, and warm temps changed quite quickly into snow and freezing temperatures.
Thus the ice under the slimy snow was created for Monday morning's commute.

Yesterday was brilliant though, quite beautiful with clear blue skies and pure white snow.

I had to go to town to get Lasagna fixings for our Thanksgiving supper.
I also had a oil change and tire rotation coming on the Subaru.

While at the shop I talked to the owner who I've know since 1996.  I asked about snow tires for the Subaru. Some may think that is overkill and that I could easily get all weather tires.

But I asked.  Jeff pointed out the tires he put on his wife's car ... he said "If you get stuck, Val, with those tires on your Subaru, call me and I'll come get you."

He had to order two more as he had two on hand.  With AWD you don't want to have different treads on front and back, not if you travel like I do.  I put 23K miles on this Subaru last year.

I'm tickled pink.  Yes, the tires are not cheap, but it is an investment in my winter driving and all year 'round driving.  As is with the other continued maintenance that I do on my vehicles.

This morning my hubby headed out to the woods early to 'get' his deer.
I am taking the house apart, cooking up the rest of the squash to freeze, and doing the chores too.

I need to hang out my laundry and finish up the watering for the cattle.

I will be most happy when Gun Deer Season ends.  I can then walk in the woods again.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

From subzero to fog and rain...

So it goes from below freezing with subzero wind chills to ...

Fog...intense thick ...incredible fog.

Rain today with warmer weather.  Then tonight a huge monstrous cold front swoops in and we will have the rain change to snow.

With the front we'll get gusts of wind.

I'm hoping that the roads won't get bad until after I get home Monday.

In the meantime I'm going to play around with some Graphic Arts programs like Mandelbulb 3D.

I did this on my own but am working on a tutorial written by Jorge Abalo who is a fantastic Mandelbulb 3D artist.

Visit his work on devianArt .... batjorge.

And I'll play some more in JWildfire.

Sort of looks like some wild Christmas Trees don't they?

It would also be a good day to dismantle 'the house' and redecorate for the winter season by changing photos on the wall, changing the shower curtain, and thinking about putting up the Christmas Chair ....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Take a HIKE!

The temperatures are perfect for what I was looking for.
Morris and I headed out about 2 pm which was the 'warmest' part of the day.
We headed into the valley where the winds were not gusting.

Along the way we counted two herds of deer.  One set of 4 went up the north side of the valley and about 10 went up the south side of the valley.  From what I could see, they were all does.

We walked along the creek looking for ice formations and I was pleased to find them in the long summer grasses.

I found this near the snowmobile crossing.
The temperature of the spring fed creek is warmer than the air, in places that it splashes over rocks the water freezes onto grasses and other rocks to create incredible ice formations.

Morris and I walked further down the valley where Ariel and I had gone a few weeks ago and I found a cool spot where the water was flowing under the ice!

The creek was making beautiful music here.  The sound of the water going over the rocks and splashing was intoxicating.
I sat down in the snow and Morris climbed onto my legs.

He obviously needed some warming up.

After a bit we decided to head back home and follow the creek back to our fence-line instead of going up over the hill.

This portion of the creek is pretty deep, so I called Morris back and carried him over so he wouldn't get soaked.

I do love this time of year, things are so fascinating along the water ... the life blood of the valley...

Morris the Camo Dog.
I think winter suits him!

We stopped at the Trail Cam and exchanged the cards.
The doe and her twins have been coming back to take a drink ...

And with that we headed home.
Happy and feeling refreshed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Building in Fractal Programs

With wicked winds and cold temperatures, I sometimes get the urge just to mess around in different graphic programs.

The above piece was done in Incendia.  I layered in in PSP [Paint Shop Pro] and then added my own touches.

This piece was done in JWildfire.  I've been doing more symmetrical pieces lately and read that symmetry was more pleasing to the eye.  I however like things that are not symmetrical. 

This piece was made in Mandelbulb 3D and done for a daily challenge in the FB group I am a member of called Mandelbulb Maniacs.

A word about the programs.  Incendia, JWildfire, and Mandelbulb 3D, have groups on Facebook that engage in tips and challenges which are extremely helpful in learning how to use these great free programs.
As always, you can make a donation to the creators which I'm sure they would appreciate.

As I've stated before in previous posts, I love combining and mixing programs.

It is pretty easy to do.  For this I first created a backround in JWildfire, then created an image in Mandelulb 3D and then used it as a backround in Incendia and let it render.

Basically I used each program to build on each other.

All you need is some imagination and some experimenting.
Other fractal artists like to remain pure and true to the program.

However I am one that lets anything and everything go.
Mixing programs is a challenge that is rather fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Driving and Random Thoughts Help

I finally had it come to me while driving to work the other night.
Funny how sometimes great ideas come while you are negotiating the roads on a 30+ mile commute to work.

I'd gotten a bit stuck on the name of the latest Adventure Book with Morris and his Toy Friends.

I've always stuck to titles like The Big Snow, The Big Creek, The Big Woods, and an odd one tossed in as The Trail Tale [a fun little play on words].

I wondered what would happen if Morris got a letter in the mail what would happen?

Who sent it?  What is it about?  How will he read it?

Harder yet was to get Morris to look at the letter and his toys while sitting on the couch.

Enter the treats.  If you look at the above photo you can see one poking out under the letter.

After a few failed attempts where Morris snatched the cookie and wouldn't 'stay' while I took the photo...we nailed it.

This ended up being a possible pick for the book.

Back to driving and thinking.

Suddenly out of the blue or should I say, out of the twisted roads and the slippery steep hills, the Title came to me.

The Big Journey.

It fits. 
I'd thought of The Long, that sounded awful dreary and not adventurous.
I thought of The Lost Toys.  Oh, that sounded almost morbid.

As I pulled into work, I pulled a pen out of my pocket and wrote on my pink tablet.
"The Big Journey"

I don't know why, but I confirmed this with someone else last night, that some of the best thoughts come while driving.

I should have an easy recorder to play while I get those 'Ah hah!' moments.

Well back to writing and daydreaming.
If I get stuck, maybe ... I'll have to take a drive?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I like ice...fingers

With the day's farm project of pounding in wooden posts done ~~ hubby headed to the house to take a nap and I decided to grab my older camera and head to the creek.

It was snowing and the light was fading.  I thought It would be nice to take some timed exposures of the parts of the creek that had 'grass' ice on the banks.

When the air temperatures drop and are much colder than the water temps of the a spring fed creek, the splashes of water going over rocks will make ice formations on sticks or blades of grasses near the water itself.

Sometimes you have to get down into the water or practically lay next to it to get 'the shot' you may want.

After getting half way to the creek, I realized I hadn't brought the mini-tripod.  I'd walked off forgetting it!

I'n not a stranger to making things up as I go along.  I took the camera case and braced the camera on it and was able to push the limits just enough to get a couple of shots that did not blur.

The snow was coming down hard and the valley was silent except for the 'creek babble'.
My new Key Coveralls were keeping me comfortable, and I wished I'd had all the time in the world.
But I didn't.

In one short hour, the already darkened sky would be dark.

I tried a few more shots and came away wondering if I got anything noteworthy.  Also a promise to myself that I needed to explore the creek a bit more in this cold snap.

Darkness fell not long after I hiked up over the hill and through the Meadow to get home.

But it was a worthy quick hike.

The overcast sky was perfect and the snow was a bonus.

And I got to shoot Ice Fingers!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I wasn't really sure what I wanted to write about today.

But the word Trust came to mind.

What does it actually mean?

Trust means belief that someone or something is reliable, honest, and good.

What if that 'Trust' gets broken unintentionally?  How can it be repaired?

This applies to both people and animals.

If an animal doesn't trust you, especially a mule or donkey, you need to work hard and long to repair that trust.  And it can be repaired!

The same goes for humans.  The only issue with humans is that they think around the Trust issue.  Once their feelings are also hurt, they have a very difficult time 'trusting' again.
It is like a little voice sits in the back of their heads and wonders if 'you' truly are worthy of their forgiveness and trust.

I may have broken a bond of trust this year for a good reason that the other party cannot see.
I'm not sure if it can be repaired or not.

Only time will tell.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Gone to the dogs..

Here it is.

I do like this time of the year.  It is cool but not bitter cold.
I can hike and not have to deal with flying insects, although ticks are still an issue.

This weekend my son and his wife came to visit.  Of course their dog, Teslin came along too.  Morris and Teslin have known each other since they were both puppies.

Photo above dated: December 16, 2006.

You can say that these two learned the ropes together.

And happily they have grown older and still play well together only they not quite as lively as they used to be.

During our hike Morris decided to go one way on the log and Teslin decided to go the other way.

No one fell and all was good.

We hiked down into a secluded dry run or if you prefer a ravine to explore.

We did some rock climbing and just enjoyed exploring. We uncovered quite a few cow bones from when the owners of this land still had cattle.

At some time one must have fallen into the ravine.

We searched around in the leaves and came up with quite a few to line up on the log.

Our dogs enjoyed it immensely.  They ran, sniffed, climbed logs, and simply were dogs.  No leashes, only their master's voices to keep them in sight.

It isn't often that I get avid hikers to go with me and this was a special treat.
That included all the special ribbing I got later from MY son!

He and his wife are always ready and willing to go on an 'adventure' with me.

We usually find something interesting on our hikes and no two trips to the forest are ever quite the same.

It had been probably about 2 years or more since I climbed up this rocky ravine from the valley.  I'd totally forgotten about the little spring and pond I'd discovered in the spring of 2009.

Teslin later provided us with entertainment as she pursued light reflections on the wall in the kitchen as Morris looked on ... rather unimpressed and slightly curious.

The weekend drew to a close and 'the kids' left.

I watched their car go up the driveway and ... yes, well...I started missing them as did my husband.

Morris however, after such a whirlwind week took no time in claiming his new fleece blanket on the couch next to one of his hedgehogs.

To say he was exhausted would be an understatement.

So our huge busy week has ended.
Time for us to rest a bit.

Apparently the weatherman has stated that we are in for a quick chill down this week.
That ought to prove interesting along the creek.

The water will splash over the rocks and make incredible ice formations.

Didn't I say that I really liked November?

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Other Model by Morris

Apparently I am not always the center of attention.
We went for a short visit to see the Grandma/Mom in a place far and away.

For most of the trip in the car I slept as usual.  I mean, it is tiring trying to navigate for HER.  This time she seemed to know where she was going.
Not like last time when I had to jump around a bit inside the car and I hit the alarm/lock.
Nope, I was good as gold.

When we got to the Grandma/Mom house I was so excited that I couldn't help but leap out of the car as soon as it was stopped and race to the house.  I jumped up on the door three times and no one answered.

SHE opened up the door and there was Sammy.  My buxom blonde bombshell galpal.

Sammy immediately grabbed her giant Hedgehog and walked around the kitchen while SHE and the Grandma/Mom gave each other people hugs.

Sammy and I sniffed each other's business ends and got reacquainted.

Much to my surprise though, when SHE got out the camera today it rally wasn't aimed much at me.  Apparently Sammy is a much nicer model.  She poses quite nicely and I never stay still very long unless there is a dog cookie involved as a bribe.

Sammy can strike some rather elegant and beautiful poses.

And I can....well, let's say I thought there was a treat involved in this shot ... but sadly, no!

No treats, no bribes just HER hand in the air!

I must say Sammy is quite the regal gal.  So poised and calm.

I can be calm, honest I can.
Mostly when I am sleeping.
So I must admit.  I am a bit jealous of Sammy.  The camera keeps getting pointed in her direction.

I'm not sure what she has over me though.

Maybe I'm just not quite the model she is.


No matter.  I still adore her, my pretty blonde galpal.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Kids & Feeling like one

The grand kids wanted up at Sunrise ... well at this time of year it is later than usual.  Daylight savings time put it back an hour, the grands were pretty tuckered and just barely made it up to see the sunrise.

Even Morris wasn't really willing to get up.

But we got going and Ariel, Morris, and I decided to head out for a walk in the woods and down the valley.

I really didn't realize until the two of us were further down the valley exploring things through her eyes, how much I missed having another person to hike with.

I put my arm around and hugged her tightly and said "I wished you lived close enough to go hiking with me all the time."
Oh I meant what I said.  Hiking and exploring is okay with Morris, but it sure was more fun with Ariel along.

We went to some of my favorite spots and to places that Ariel had not seen before.

I guess I realized then that even though I knew nearly every inch of this huge forest, that sharing its wonders with someone else would be like a fine gift.

We turned around at this point of the valley.  And Ariel led the way confidently with Morris close on her heels.

I told Ariel about the 'ice cave', the back valley, the big rocky dry runs, the out cropping that overlooked a valley, and more...

In my mind I was truly trying to figure out how to take her there and show her these amazing spots.

I felt like a kid with a new playmate.  
Oh yes, I am her grandmother.  
But for the time we were hiking and talking I felt like a youngster showing my 'playground' off to my best new friend.

I guess that makes me a bit odd, but I can't wait for our next hiking adventure.