Sunday, July 31, 2016

Busy Day

Thor says....

Thor always has something to say when you walk past his area. He is one of the most vocal donkeys I've ever known!

Yesterday Mr. Morris and I went back into the valley to see exactly how much water moved around in the creek bottom.
We were pleasantly surprised at how many weeds got washed out and flattened.

These shots compared to a week or so ago, when we tried to go through the area...



We walked down the valley to the snowmobile trail.
It looks like the folks who maintain this trail will have their work cut out for them.

The culvert they put across the little mild mannered creek is no longer working, the creek has moved its flow.
However it may go back to going through the tube once the water goes down.
That is unless we have another gully washer.

The trail is here somewhere, but no one has even driven a 4 wheeler down this trail this year.

Two years ago, the owners of this property have stopped mowing areas for picnicking and campfires. It seems that they aren't even willing to fence it and rent it out as pasture.

Being city folks and the fact that they inherited the land, I suppose they really don't care. I don't find hiking through 10 foot tall wild parsnips that much fun.

I do still have some trails that I have maintained and can follow, but walking through this valley will be reserved for this fall and after the first heavy snowfall.

Morris was a trooper, he struggled through the tall stuff after we left the creek.
We took the 'camp' road up and out of the valley instead of backtracking.

Both of us were hot. I wanted to walk to the end of the valley and take a look around. But Morris was panting and I felt I needed some more time to bush whack my way down the valley.

Morris was wearing his tags so I could hear him. Sometimes he is so quiet I lose track of him in the weeds.

Once we got on the ridge, it was much cooler and we hiked along the edge of the crop fields as the ridge road was overgrown.

Had I been riding Siera, I think my head would have been above the weeds.

The view from the top was absolutely stunning and made the rest of the hike worth it.

Surprisingly enough, I took this with my new Smartie-Phone.
I put it in HDR mode and took a pretty blind shot as the sun was so bright I couldn't see the screen.

Once we hit the 'driveway' Morris took off towards home, but kept stopping and looking at me as if to say...Hurry UP!

Even the driveway is showing a real lack of care. The brother of the owners who lives there used to keep it graded.

Now it is over grown and washed. 
I wonder what the future will bring.

When we arrived home, Morris immediately jumped up on the couch after we moved it. He went sound asleep.

Hubby and I began to pull the bricks off from the wall of the living room.

Part II of the remodeling begins!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Gone to the Goats.

You either love or hate them.
I love them.
Especially since they are the neighbor's goats now. That means I can go play with them.

Although once upon a time we had goats also.

This from when my kids were little, quite a few years ago.

This from yesterday evening.

Let's just say, it brought back fond memories.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Big Rain and Lots of Fun

I looked at the weather on the radar, we were supposed to have a chance of rain and then it would move on.

Oh boy was the weather service wrong! After the first inch of downpour, I checked the weather again. NOAA had said that a line of thunderstorms had developed and stalled.

The expected rainfall could be anywhere from 2 inches to 4 before it moved on.

I stepped out on the porch and watched the rain come down in sheets. After that first downpour water started running across the yard and through my garden.

The water ran across the edge of the yard and right into the garden.

The damage was minimal after the waters receded. I went out to look at the garden and water still trickled through. 
Our ground is super saturated.

Just after the rain stopped I checked the radar and put on my chore boots. It was time to go see how the waters were running.

It came down from our neighbor's cattle pasture and had rushed to the spot where our little creek begins.

And from there the volume increased.

I stayed up on the bank for the most part because the water was still flowing too hard and too fast even though it had subsided from flash flood stage.

After the waters subsided a bit more, I did use this deer trail to get down into the creek and take some shots near the big rock.

Yep, worth the mud on the hands and the seat of my pants. However, climbing back out was interesting. Walking along the stream was not an option.

I went down to the last dry run we have before the creek goes into the neighbor's land.

The water had subsided, but the run off was still very impressive.

I decided to end my exploration there and not continue downstream.
The water would only be faster, deeper, and wider there. It could wait a day for me to go check it out.

I guess I am just a freak for mud, water, and fun in the rain.

I'm going to go search for my rain duster and check it out again today or tomorrow.

Really. I am not crazy. 
Perhaps I can find some cool fungi and mushrooms!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Busy as a bee ... I think.

The Garden is going crazy!
Of course 4 inches of rain last week probably contributed to that aspect.

It appears that I'll have a good crop of squash again this year...that is Winter Squash.
I have been picking an ice cream bucket full of green beans almost everyother day now.

The sun and heat last week between the rains burned the lettuce and a few other plants in the garden.
The cosmos is growing tall above the Squash plants.  The sweet corn? I don't know, this is my first time at doing that. I am told by a neighbor who fences his in and electrifies his patch that I should expect the ravages of raccoon.

We'll see what happens right?

Yesterday we had the farrier came and worked on the donkeys. We put everyone in a nice shady area so he and his son would not be in the hot sun.

The donkeys were extremely good and that pleased the farriers to no end.

This morning I was up very early. I decided to brave the fog and make a trip to Black Bottom Creek and take a few shots.

And I stopped at an oat field on my way back home.
The oats are ripe!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Saga of the Escapees

"Is that your animals over there?" Asked our neighbor.

Not the words I wanted to hear. Not the mules I wanted to see on the wrong side of the fence!
Oh no! 

Over there was nearly 200 acres of woods and cropland that belong to my west side neighbors. Willy, Pedro, and the crazy mule, Mr. Red, were out. I thanked my 'up the hill' neighbor and trotted down into the pasture to see where the other mules were.
I found LeRoy running back and forth braying.

Breakout! I found the place where they'd gone through. The old line fence of barbed wire was still somewhat up. The hot electric fence that we'd put up on this side of the old fence was laying across and into our west neighbor's beef pasture.

The weeds had shorted the hot wire, and the fence looked pretty frayed too. 

I'd like to blame it all on fence failure, but I couldn't. I should have remembered to come down to this area and check the fencing. But I didn't because we'd been busy with the house remodel and I didn't think about it.

Rich and I did some quick fixes to the fence and I went to get some grain in a bucket to get the wayward mules home.

They were no longer in sight. Crap. And a few other unsavory words.
It looked like I was going to have to hike to go find them.

I went to the house so I could call my west neighbor to let them know we had 3 mules on the loose.
My phone was wringing.
It was the neighbor.

She laughed and asked me if I was missing something. I said "YES!"
"Come on over, perhaps we can herd them into a paddock here."

We eventually moved them into Gary's holding pen for his cattle and decided since it was so late we'd come back with the horse trailer the next morning and haul them home.

I went at the weeds that were impeding the fence with my very friendly and useful machete.

I soon discovered that the best bet would be to replace the hot wires, they were old and worn out.

So Rich and I got up early and went to stringing new fencing. The old braided rope we had up had been in place for nearly 15 years. 
That fencing is guaranteed for almost 10 years. 
We use Premier 1 1/4" rope fencing. And yes, it is worth the price.
The old fence still held a charge, but was stiff with age.
Another line was frayed and had been retied too many times...

So we restrung hot wire and tested it. A few other places along the fence got some repairs also. It was a fencing type of morning.

Just before noon we backed up the trailer to the neighbor's cattle pen. The mules loaded and we headed home.
We released them into the mare's winter pasture which had a nice new growth of grass.
Plus the escapees wouldn't go down to the place where they broke out and try it again.

At first they were wild and ran willy nilly.

After a bit they settled down.

Thus the mule escapee Saga has ended.

Hmmm, that was our second escape this summer! Lil' Richard's tie out broke a couple of weeks ago.
He never fails to go directly to Linda's farm and stand in her barn.
We go retrieve him with a lead rope and lead him out the vehicle window to return home.
He hasn't had an equipment failure for two years!

Life on the farm, at least it isn't dull.

Friday, July 22, 2016

HOT~and Humid.

I like summer, truly I do. But sometimes we get these streaks of Hot & Humid weather and I decide that I am not going outside again until...

It cools off a bit!

Morris and I did go for a walk the day before the heat wave struck. It had been so long since I'd gone exploring at the creek.

We crossed the fence into the neighbors pasture as our woods were so thick with growth past the mule's fence-line.
Note to self. When fall arrives we need to repair that one section!

We followed the creek and climbed rocks down into our bottom.
I had expected that the recent hard rains would have washed some of the weeds that are crowding the creek away. 

There is water under these plants! The bottom was covered in Jewel Weed. A quick word about Jewel Weed, the soap made from this plant will put a stop to most any kind of itch and is wonderful to use on bug bites too.

This is how the larger sections of the little creek looked.

And this is how it looks after some cold weather.

Morris and I got quite warm and decided to go home rather than explore anymore in the creek bottom. There was simply no air movement at all and we both were quite hot.

The only good thing I can say about all of this hot and humid weather [and the rain] is that cool fungi will be popping up in the woods here and there and it is rather fun to go hunting them with the camera.

However, our little 'hot' trip was not in vain.

Morris and I found dozens of places where Indian Pipes were coming up out of the ground.

I usually don't look for them until the second week in August, but there they were!

Hopefully the weather will cool off enough so that I can go out this weekend and find some more!

So today, after chores, it looks like another day of working inside on pulling down the old dark paneling in the living room.

The animals all have nice cool shady spots to get into and plenty of fresh cool water. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Giving Directions in the car: Married Life

I'd convinced my husband to take a short side trip out to a State Natural Area the other day when he had to go to the VA Clinic in Baraboo.
He was reluctant and almost petulant. I offered to drive and got a curt "NO!"

So he asked me how to get to Baxter's Hollow.
I directed him rather easily for a 10 mile detour on back roads.
When we left Baxter's Hollow, he insisted on not backtracking but that I guide him through the backroads to home.
There is no straight good route from Baxter's Hollow towards home. It does not exist.

I like paper maps, but didn't have one in the car. However I did have the Garmin so I turned it on and examined the roads shown. My last trip home from Baxter's Hollow was by Miss Garmin, and I didn't like 'her' directions one bit.

Me: Turn right off from this road onto County C.
Him: County C? We came in on County C. 
Me: Yes. We can go west on C. Or if you'd like, backtrack.
Him: NO! I thought you knew how to get out of here!
Me: Yes. Drive!

County C is a twisty up and down around type of road. It is rural and surrounded by woods and cropland. It sometimes twists back on itself.

Him: We keep turning around and making loops.
Me: County C is twisted, yes, I agree.
Him: Got a shorter route?
Me: Nope.

I grip the door handle as he bullets through a long curve. 
Me: Want me to drive?

Him: NO, you drive too slow.
Me [thinking...I drive so we can survive the trip]: Okay, we watch for County PF.
Him: P S?
Me: No, P as in Pony and F as in... [the only word I can think of that starts with F is a cuss word so I pause.]

Him: Well what is it P what?
Me: P as in Pony, F as in Fred, Frank, Fruitless, Fudge...
Him: Oh, PF.
Me: Yes.
Him: Where does that go?
A cornfield whizzes by. I look out the window and at the Garmin. I move my fingers on the map and try to expand and contract the map. It is frustrating.

Me: It goes to County Road D, which goes to County Road W, which takes us to Highway 23 south of Loganville.
Him: [big sigh and grunt, he is not a happy camper]

I look up and we are barreling towards an intersection.
Me: Stop sign.
Him: Oh [applies brakes] Yeah, I see it.

I press my foot through the floor on my side and sigh. Note to self, don't take side trips with husband unless he is more willing next time. And get a paper map for the car.

Him: Now where is this PF road, how far is it?
Me: Um, up ahead, just keep going.
Him: How far?
Me: I don't know.

Him: Why not you have that Garmin thing, doesn't it tell you?
Me: No, I'm not routing through the Garmin, just using the map. Miss Garmin took me on the craziest roads last time through here.

I sigh and hang on for another sweeping curve. The scenery is beautiful and very scenic. The sky is amazing.
We come up on PF.

Him: Which way? 
Me: North
Him: You sure? [he must doubt my navigation skills]
Me: Yes.
Him: North Freedom should be north of here.
Me: It is, north and east of here.
Him: North?
Me [big internal sigh]: Yes.

Him: How far is North Freedom?
Me: Far enough to be out of our way.

He takes off like we are trying to get the pole position at the Indy 500.
Me: What is the big yank?

Him: I want to get home before dark.
Me: It won't get dark for hours.
Him: Grunt.
Me: Enjoy the drive, the scenery is beautiful.
Him: Grunt, sigh.

Me: Here is D, follow D, it takes us to W then it is only 1.5 miles to Highway 23.
Him [Points to a sign]: Why not that road, it says 6 miles to Loganville.
Me: Because I think the better route is this way and it is still 6 miles to Loganville.
Him: Huge Sigh.

Mario Andretti takes off again. I look around looking for some formula cars. I check our hood to see if we have a sponsor. Nope.
We pass an Amish buggy. They don't have a sponsor or a formula buggy. Just one horse power.

We get onto W and as we ride the roller coaster road, I can see the end in sight. I won't have to navigate for him anymore.

Me: See! [I say proudly], there is Highway 23!
Him: Took long enough.
He signals to go north to Loganville. He knows all the backroads from there.

I am exhausted, but keep one foot on my pretend brake and one hand on the door handle.
Maybe our sidetrip wasn't worth it.

Me: Next time I want to go to Baxter Hollow or Pine Hollow, I'm going alone.
Him: Fine. Get a paper map.

I am convinced. Lesson learned. Husband doesn't like getting directions nor does he like last minute changes to anything he has going on.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Baxter Hollow

I went back to Baxter Hollow and didn't stray far from the bridge.
What a difference between February's visit and July's visit!

I'm just going to drop a few photos here and then let you enjoy.

When I have time, the wife giving directions while finding this natural area are almost too precious and hilarious.


 And Mr. Patience.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dinner Conversation: Married Life

Note, since our last crazy conversation was so popular,... I included our dinner conversation today for your reading pleasure.

I was chopping vegetables from the garden in the kitchen and sauteing them in a pan.
The smells of fresh garlic, kale, kolrabi, onion, and green beans filled the air.

Him: Wow, smells great! What are you making?
Me: Stuff. I don't know, just putting a bunch of stuff together.
Him: What do you call it?
Me: Stuff Cooked and Put Over Noodles.
Him: Spaghetti?
Me: Close enough!

I don't really know what I am making except that I had a bunch of fresh vegetables and thought it would be fun to toss them together in a pan with some olive oil and spices to see what happened.

I continue to cook and saute the items together.

Him: Yum! I can't wait for supper, I am getting hungry!
Me [adding some canned tomatoes because I don't have any fresh yet]: Soon!

Pretty soon the noodles are cooked and I call him in from the porch.
Me: It's ready!
Him: Great!
He comes in and stares at the plates.

Him: What IS that?? 
He is pointing to the Kale that I didn't bother chopping into microscopic pieces. I've done that before with soups and other dishes.

Me: Kale.
Him: ...And what is that? What do you call this?
He is pointing at the pan, and making a face.

Me: I told you, it is called Stuff. Or Veggie Mix Up. Or Stuff Over Noodles.
Him: Oh. Don't give me much of that Stuff.

We sit down to eat and he is tentative about eating the 'Stuff', but samples it along with the noodles.

Me: So?
Him: So? Um, you can keep the Stuff, although it isn't bad. It would have been better with meat though and more sauce."
Me: Duly noted. Next time I'll add more sauce and put some spicy sausage in it.
Him: Lots and lots of sausage. 
He thinks for a moment. Then goes for another plate of noodles without The Stuff.

Him: You aren't trying to make me a vegetarian are you?
Me: Nope.

Him: What are you making tomorrow night?
Me: Meat and 'Tators.

Him [Big Smile]: Good!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Him and Me: A Dialogue for Crazy

So when the 'new' basement was put in, I moved some things down there to store them.

I quickly realized that the basement was going to need a dehumidifier. On warm days moisture would show up enough to make those items I stored for the duration of construction smell musty.

Me: "Honey,we are going to need a dehumidifier down here."

Him: "No, let's just see how things work out after they insulate."

So a month passed. On days that got warm the concrete floor would dampen in certain areas. The plastic milk crate of items I'd stored on the floor under the steps that contained items such as Murphy's Oil Soap and other cleaners all had moisture on them.

Me: "Look honey, we need a dehumidifier!"
Him: "It just needs to get used to the temperature, then it will be fine."

I brought up some items I'd stored. Potholders. They had mildew on them. 
I took them over to the trash can and said:

"Honey, I THINK we need a dehumidifier in the basement!"

Him: "Oh just wash them up and they will be fine."

I dumped them in the trash.

Then came some extremely humid and hot days. The humidity outside went up into the 80's and maybe 90%.

Oh you guessed it.

Me: "Honey. We. Need. To. Dehumidify the basement or what we have down there will be ruined. Ruint!"

Him: "We looked at dehumidifiers while we were at Menards and they are expensive!"

Me [smacking forehead]: "Yes they may cost a bit of money but I guess it is cheaper to use a dehumidifier than to replace everything I plan on putting in the basement. Or have stored already in the basement."

Him [going down the basement stairs to stare at the damp floor]: "I dunno."

Me: "I do. I'll pick one up today."

Fast forward. 
We take the new dehumidifier down the stairs and he opens the box.
Him: "Looks kinda small."
Me: "Want me to return it and buy the really expensive one?"
Him: "No."

He struggles to put the caster wheels on and then mutters some curses. I walk over to the box and take out the instructions and read them to him.

Him: "Go get my glasses."
I return with his glasses and he peers at the casters and then snaps them in place.
I refrain from saying. "Perhaps you should use your glasses more often!"

He plugs it in. The digital read out blips and then goes dark.
A bit of cursing.

I point to the Power Button.
He pushes it.
It turns on and the read out says 76.

Him: "What does that mean?"
Me [I read from the manual]: "The digital read out tells you the current humidity in the room. You can use a timer, a delayed timer, or if you wish you can leave it run with a hose attached so you will not have to empty the tray."

Him: "Timer what? I don't want it timed!"

I think calmly about ripping out my hair. Instead I reach for the broom nearby and sweep up some sawdust that the contractors left behind.

Me: "Hmmm, looks too damp yet to sweep up."

Him: "But I don't want it to run on a Timer, how much time is it on?"
Me: "There is the Timer Button, is it off or on?"
Him: "I don't know, where are my glasses?"

Me: "In your pocket. And..." [I hand him the manual] "here are the instructions."

I leave him to stare at the Mystical New Machine that we now have in our little basement addition.
It hums quietly and sucks mildewy moisture out of the room.
It befuddles my husband who stands for about 20 more minutes watching it.

I'm not sure what he expected it to do.
Run off?
Spew water?
Make Magical Unicorn Dust?

As I get to the top of the new stairs the urge is just too much.
I flip off the lights.

Him: "Hey!"
Me: "Oh. Sorry!"
I flip the lights back on and walk into the kitchen with a big smirk on my face.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It is going to be HOT and Muggy

Sunshine comes in from the Merry Meadow pre dawn and is followed by her sister, Sundance. 
The farrier arrives later today and sometimes it can be a pain to try and separate these girls from the rest of the gals.

However the red sisters came right to the gate together and I was able to put them in a nice shady pasture next to the Meadow.

They were happy but the other ladies and donkeys were slighty perturbed.

The Red Mollies tossed their noses up at them and went to grazing.
I didn't realize that things would go this way when I walked out before dawn to watch the sun rise over the Merry Meadow.
It was worth it in more than one way.

The girls seemed happy enough, so I left them to grazing. The farrier will be here this afternoon and they can enjoy the extra shady area until them.

Looks like a busy day in store for us, the contractors showed up and I've got to scurry around and move a few items.

Doors and trim come today. Also they will be trimming out the windows.