Tuesday, May 31, 2016

We love company!

Saturday morning was very busy, we had the Tesar farriers at our place doing 5 trims.  I am happy to report that Siera's frog issues are almost resolved and she is nearly back to 100%. 

Of course Dan's recommendation is that she get more exercise.  I am very happy with that!  I even planned on riding her in a One Mule Parade on Memorial Day but that didn't happen.

I nabbed this shot of Danny trimming Sundance.  She gave him a bit of grief but I think some of her irritation was due to the fact that she was in heat.


I'll be making an 8X10 for Danny out of this shot.  He liked it and so did his father, Dan.

After the trimming was done, I showered and decided to sit on the new 'porch'  and relax by sanding some blocks I'd picked up from the construction crew.

I had finished gluing the scrap table and it was drying.
I had a small box of blocks already hand sanded and thought I'd just sit and watch the animals and listen to the birds and do some more.

A van pulled down into our hollow and stopped far back where we had parked our vehicles to stay out of the mud and construction mess.

I stood up and tried to see if it was just a wrong turn or someone lost. That does occasionally happen around here. 
I thought I recognized the woman getting out of the van, but still...

Then Morris saw people and off he went at a dead run.  It dawned on me who was in the van and I couldn't believe it.
For them to come visit, they would have had to drive at least 8 hrs from the northwest corner of Missouri.

I kicked off my flip flops and began to run like Morris to greet our long time non-biological 'daughter' and son in law. [We sort of like to think we adopted each other over the past 20 years.]

Jesse said he heard me let out a soft curse and then saw me run like the dickens.  I ran up to Kristi and Jesse and threw my arms around them.

Kristi held Gunner and said, "Good, I hoped you guys were home, we wanted to surprise you!"
Oh they did!

When we got to the house, I took Gannon's hand and asked if he'd like to go wake up Rich.  He did.
Rich had laid down for his afternoon nap and talk about not believing his eyes when he opened them and found Gannon in the bedroom.

When we sat down in the living room after a construction tour, I brought out the newly sanded blocks and gave them to the boys.

Wooden blocks and tiny cars = happy little boys.  I sat back rather proudly and proclaimed, "Hey, my blocks work!"

Everyone got a pretty good laugh out of that.
We eventually moved outside and let the kids play.

I think Rich's face shows how much he enjoyed the visit.
Jesse and Kristi had rented a motel room so they wouldn't impose on our house that was in upheaval. They promised to come back Sunday.

When I got home from work on Sunday they were there, the kids were playing under the Hickory tree and the adults were visiting and supervising.

I think the 4 wheeler parked in the yard was the main attraction.

We visited and did the evening chores, Gannon helped Rich throw flakes of hay to the mules and we decided to go out to eat.

We ended up eating at Culver's in Viroqua. We had hugs and hugs all around in the parking lot before they went back to their motel.

They stopped by in the morning to say goodbye.

I sure do enjoy it when company comes and so does Rich.  It didn't matter that our house was torn apart or that our yard was in need of a mowing. 
We stopped what we were doing [well, I still had to go to work] and enjoyed the visit.

Jesse and Kristi also had the forethought to get a room in town. Last year they stayed with us for a few days and that was pre-construction and Gunner was only a week old.

What a difference a year makes!

What can I say? Rich loves company, he loves it when we get visitors.
Of course I do too.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wild flowers, not what you'd expect.

Poison Ivy wildflower.
Taken with a macro lens.

Leaves of three...leave them be!

And there is the Cinquifoil weed with its pretty yellow flower.

Oh and an unknown flower with spider...

Last but not least, the Beautiful Wild Geranium with rain droplets.
That is it for today.  
We have mud mud and sticky mud.  Our dry spell has ended and we now have warm temps and high humidity along with a lot of rain.

Last night I built a sidewalk out of scrap plywood so we could enter the house without wading through sticky clay.

Have a wonderful day, our farrier will be coming soon, time to go catch critters!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Another whirlwind week

Well I did find out thanks to my neighbor what the mysterious plant was growing by our mailbox.
I think it should actually be in a sunnier spot, but I'm going to leave it where it is right now and see what happens with it.
We added some Veronica which likes more shade and should come up each year with purple blue spikes of flowers.

Some of the seeds are coming up now just barely a week later.  So we have high hopes for a semi decent mailbox garden!

The other night I made supper early and took Siera out for a 'sunset' ride.  She went willingly and we rode out to the black top and back.

Her mane is such a mess, it does need a trim pretty badly.  I hope to get to that perhaps tomorrow.  We'll see.

I rearranged the living room and packed up the old table we had for our computers.  I used some plastic tubs [see through kind!] and stacked them up and laid left over plywood pieces on top as a desk top.

When it comes time to move the 'desk' for remodeling, it will be easy to take apart.

Morris rather likes the ability to stand on the back of the couch and look out the window.

He actually doesn't do it unless there is someone out there that he can hear.  He just curls up on his end of the couch with his blanket and takes a nap.

He is handling the noises outside the house fairly well.  We'll see how it goes when the guys move to start the interior.

This is a shot of the living room and the stairway.  You can see the wall paper in the short hall has been peeled and the hole in the wall where we took out the small electric heater.

The doorway is to the bathroom and you can see into the eating area.

Our house is very small, but we do like it.  The extra room will be a blessing along with the storage.

I don't know why I didn't change the layout years ago. This makes more sense to me.

This morning I noticed the sky turned a very odd color while I was making coffee so I grabbed my camera and ran outside.

There was a rainbow!
At the break of dawn!
And then I noticed how fast the front was moving so I hit movie mode on my camera.

The rains came but no harsh winds.  I am happy about that.  We did need the rain, but it has turned our area around the house into a sink hole of muck.

Last but not least I'm getting closer to getting the scrap wood table top done!
Next step is gluing and refitting the pieces together.

I keep re-arranging the pieces.  I may even get it right so I won't have to saw any edges!
This will more than likely be an outside table for the porch.  I have also been sanding and painting some blocks for the 'toy' box.  
I bought a wooden crate to store them in.  Now I am torn between using the crate for something else.

Well if this morning's rain keeps away the construction workers, it looks like we'll have a quiet day.  

If it dries up there are things to do like lawn mowing, gardening, hiking, and cleaning up the construction site.

The guys have done an excellent job, but I am a bit more of a stickler.

I leave with a photo taken when I headed to town for errands yesterday. Ridgetop cropland as seen from Riley Road.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Let it go...

This week has been one of a bit of stress.  

Monday was busy with deliveries for the remodel and I had to go re-qualify at the Range for the year. 
Re-quals are very stressful.  You have so many seconds to shoot a silhouette target at different ranges.

Firing a Glock and a Shotgun while being timed is...well, let's just call it what it is.  A real brain drain.

So Tuesday I woke up and decided that after all that was going on, I was going to de-stress myself.  I decided to pick a project and attack it with some gusto.

So I talked with our neighbor and asked if I could dig things up around our mailboxes and see if we could have a small flower garden there.  She liked the idea.  I drove to the ridge and proceeded to spend most of the afternoon cleaning up an area and planting seeds.

I'll know in about 14 days how well the older seeds did and if the garden is a flop because of the shade, I'll get a flat of begonias which would do very well there.

I put the red mulch around the area to mark it.  Both of our husbands have just mowed through here so I wanted to make it clear that there was something besides roadside weeds around the mailboxes.

I pulled poison ivy and dug up as much wild parsnip as possible.  I showed our neighbor what the poison ivy looked like and will walk her wood trails with her to see if any is growing where the kids can get into it.  
I found this little plant in the mailbox garden and have not figured out what it is yet?

Anyone with any idea?

That is my gloved hand next to the plant.  I have seen this before but cannot for the life of me figure out where!

Anyway after working on the garden area I went back home and put my tools away.  

My old house is fading away.  It was nice though to have the basement covered now and be able to come through the old entrance.

Still feeling restless, I decided to take a small walk through the woods.  I found one trillium that was already blossoming.  

Mental note, ... I would love to hike to the 'back valley' and see the hillside of Trillium!

I stopped by the Hawthorne Tree and admired its leaves and flowers. It seems it is nearly done flowering, as the blossoms are fading.

Yesterday was another day full of activity.  
The crew came and worked on the house.  Rich and I went to town so he could get his 'annual' haircut and then I took him out for ice cream.

It was nice to get away from the sawdust and the pounding.  

After the crew left I went to sort out blocks of wood.  I had asked the contractor not to toss the chunks in the dumpster.  I'd sort through the wood and give some to my neighbor who has a wood cook stove.

I had ideas for some of the other chunks.
When I was a child we had a box of wooden blocks that my Grandmother had carefully sanded.  It was left over wood chunks that had come from her house when it was built.
I have fond memories of playing with those blocks for hours on end.

My mother did the same thing for her grand children when she built her house.


Well, not all my grand children are small nor would they find blocks fun to play with.  But I've also thought of some other fun things I can do with the blocks.

Paint, stain, stencils...I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do, but sanding and listening to the the orioles sing in the trees above me last night was very relaxing.

I know this is kind of 'kitschy' but I thought it might make a cute project to do.

I am thinking more of something along the line of using each block to make a letter of our last name...or something else neat.

I really like this idea from 'diddle dumpling', on how to make a wooden 'vintage' sign using an ink jet printer!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Today was a random day

Since the rains have been off and on for the past few days and the humidity has come up, I thought that Morris and I should go check out the forest for interesting things.

Some days I have a purpose when hiking, today I didn't. I did follow the mule/deer trail that I keep trimmed and worked on some touch ups with my machete.

I stopped and admired the barberry bushes that have invaded the undergrowth and some I trimmed to the ground so Siera or I wouldn't have to brush up against them while riding or hiking.

The wild geraniums are just starting to blossom, soon the forest will sport purple blossoms as the violets and Jacob's Ladders fade away.

 Wild Geranium

Jacob's Ladder

Morris came along to keep an eye on me as usual.  He also is very helpful in finding hidden deer trails.  We explored one that I hadn't been on.  I had a lot of ducking to do, but the side trip was worth it.

We found some very odd mushrooms/fungi.

I have no idea what these are:

At last we ended up near a large dead elm tree and I began searching for morels.
I was not disappointed.

I found enough to make another delicious meal.

By the time I got home it had started raining again and the contractor's were putting away their tools.

Apparently the trusses are supposed to come on Monday!

I didn't take any update shots today as it was raining too hard by the time I got home.
And I had to make a nice late lunch and take a nap for my midnight shift.

It was a very nice and relaxing day.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Trees and blossoms

While hunting morels the other day, Rich and I went into our creek bottom and wandered about.  It was fairly early in the day and the light was delightful.
He called me over to see a gorgeous discovery.
This wild apple tree with brilliant pink blossoms.

I've lived on this land for 20 years and this is the first time I've found this tree in all of its pink glory.
How odd, I didn't know this wild apple tree even existed.

I went back in the afternoon and everything looked different in the afternoon light.

Last week we had a very foggy morning and I decided to take a quick walk up to the ridge and see if the 'chokeberry' tree was still in blossom.

The morning light was wonderful and the sunlight cast harsh sideways shadows on one of my favorite trees.

The blossoms wouldn't be around much longer, perhaps only 24 to 48 hrs.  I felt lucky that I got a shot of them this year.

The next tree that will blossom will be the Hawthorne tree.  Rich doesn't like them but I find their blossoms beautiful and their leaves distinctively beautiful. I am not sure that anyone particularly likes the thorns though.

I love adore these little flowers. How can something so thorny have such beautiful blossoms?

These trees are just starting to bud out and will probably be in full bloom by the weekend.

One of the things I keep promising myself each year is to learn how to identify trees by their leaves and their bark or shape.

I am slowly learning.  But it is hard!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Morels, Mothers, Mules

Saturday promised to be a beautiful day.  After chores were done, I asked hubby if he wanted to take the 4 wheeler and go seek out some morels.
He thought the idea over.  
Our week had been busy between my work schedule and his dealing with the work being done on the house.

We had nothing going on for Saturday that was important.
We went searching for morels after chores had been done.

We used the 4 wheeler, not my first choice of moving around but Rich said it would be much easier for him to climb the steep trail out of the valley if we used it.

I agree, anything to make things a bit easier for him to enjoy the things he loves doing.
We rode down to our creek bottom and immediately ol' sharp eyes found morels!

I found ONE!  But it was the light colored kind.

However I looked for other treasures as well.  We found a beautiful tall wild apple tree with the sweetest of blossoms.

I also found a plant I thought I recognized but wasn't sure of what it was until I got home and looked it up.

White Baneberry.  In the fall it has white 'doll's' eyes.  

I ran across many Jack in the Pulpits, they are so interesting!
Our hike ended with just enough morels for a taste.  The forest was pretty dry and we needed rain.  Rain would be good for the crops and the forest, but not necessarily for our house remodel.

Sunday promised to be another nice day and I saddled up Fred and Siera.  I conned Rich into riding Fred.
He hadn't ridden since last year and had convinced himself that the stroke he had which affected some of his finer balance skills would mean that he could never sit on a mule again.

Pictures are worth a thousand words.

We rode Sunday morning and he said it felt a bit strange but it also felt nice.

After our short ride, I took Siera out again. I figured since she was already saddled, I may as well.

She did a great job.  We wandered the forest hillsides and deer trails without much of a fuss.  Annually she gives me a hard time about leaving home each spring, and as I ride her more often again, she settles in nicely.

And of course, when I got home I called my mother.  We had a nice long talk and she sounded wonderful.  

And that was my weekend of Morels, Mules, and Mothers Day.