Sunday, September 30, 2018

I loved the chill

Yesterday morning started out cold. It wasn't a killing frost, but anything that wasn't under a tree or the porch got nipped.

I used the remote for the Subaru for the second time since we bought it as I warmed up a cup of coffee and gathered a few items just before sunrise. September sunrises can be extremely colorful with all the moisture in the air. I had missed some spectacular colors this past week, but decided to go out and brave the first Frosty Morning.
The Subie was nice and warm when I hopped in and the windshield was defrosted.

I drove up to my morning spot and sat while the sky did it's thing.

Before the sun arrived, I headed back towards home but stopped to take a shot that is similar to the one I did with the IR filter a few days ago. At least there was a lot of color and you can see the frost on the fields.
Now if only they would stop putting up cell towers!

By chore time the winds had picked up and the clouds moved in. I wanted to go move the trail camera and gather up the temporary electric fence in the woods.
So after breakfast I headed out. thing led to another. For many years we had use of the neighbor's meadow that adjoins us. We used it all summer to graze our equine and hubby kept it clipped with his tractor and brush hog. After his stroke, we reduced the herd and I couldn't keep the Meadow up. Multi flora rose, burdock, and other weeds grew over the lines. I gave up and last fall started to take down the posts and fencing. I only got part of the way done by the time winter set in.

Yesterday was chilly enough for me to work in my old coveralls and a stocking cap. So I pulled out the 4 wheeler and buckled down to work.

Thick gloves and coveralls were a good thing. Pulling fence wire and posts in the above mess is not exactly fun. I brought nipper and clippers and in some places had to actually cut my way around a t-post in order to pull it.

I'd brought the 'fence puller' that hubby had made, but put it in the cart as the ground is still supple from all of the rain.

I filled the cart as full as it could get and headed back to the house with my load. I was thirsty, warm, and wanted something to eat.

I considered not going back out, but there was one last section to do. The dividing line we used to rotate pastures. The wire in this section was new so I'd save it.

I had something to eat. Rich said he wasn't hungry. He watched Netflix most of the day. I asked him to come help and he said he couldn't. Or well, maybe after he'd watched another episode of whatever he was watching.

When I sat on the bench to put my work boots back on. A Junco appeared and landed on the chair just across from me. It stared at me and tipped its head.
"Well hello!" I said.

My grandmother used to say that snow would arrive within 30 days or less after a Junco appeared.

I went out and pulled the rest of the posts and as I was coming back through the gate there he was! He'd come out to see what I was doing. He then did his 'walking' exercise. He only did the driveway twice but I considered that better than nothing.
He then volunteered to feed Dixie and the donkeys while I did the mules.

I consider that a win.

The cold air felt great on my face. I do like the cooler weather.
I know, I am odd.

But I do like the chill.
Winter is coming.

Friday, September 28, 2018

I like Infared !

I only use a Hoya IR72 filter with my Olympus OMD EM 5 mirrorless camera. I got this camera back in 2015 just when the new version came out and the old version was being discontinued.
Well, the cost savings is great while buying a used or a new one that is being discontinued.

I went mirrorless because the camera is supposed to be more compact and lightweight. And, it was. It is my go to camera on very long hikes. I've beat the crap out of it and it still functions.

Is it the hands down best camera out there?
However I bought in a bundle and saved quite a bit of money. My Nikon D5200 is an excellent camera. But it is heavier and it is quite picky about moist humid days or extremely cold days. The Oly is supposed to be weather resistant.

A big plus is that it does read infrared light too. The Nikon doesn't, however the IR filter will work with the Nikon. It just acts like a very dark red ND filter.

That said here is what I shot yesterday. It was bright and sunny, the lighting was all wrong for regular color, so I switched over to IR.

The Meadow in color:

The Meadow in IR:

The greens turn white, the shadows and cool areas are dark!
The trails faintly show up in the grass.
The leaves are slightly blurry as the length of exposure was about 2 seconds and the wind was blowing.

Next time I will try a fast ISO to see if I can get a clearer shot. True IR will look different. But don't want to convert a camera just for that.

Another shot across the ridge:

And then in IR:

However, the colors are beginning to change rapidly and now I am thinking about doing a drive around and trying to find neat spots to pull over and take photos.

Tonight we are supposed to have frost. It is right about the normal time for frost. But it makes me sad as the fall colors rush by so quickly and suddenly we are in the icky brown time before the snow falls.

Here are a  couple of more IR shotsthat I took then I will be done with displaying my IR shots for now.

I have to contact the VA Tech Help to set up a laptop for a telehealth appointment with speech/memory therapy for hubby.

Have a good Friday. I have some doodling painting to do on my landing. It is coming out pretty neat.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Whoa is me...

Well not really. I changed my blog settings to allow comments from Google+. Suddenly there were either a lot of comments or not a single one.

Lori from The Skoog Farm Journal emailed me telling me she hadn't been able to comment for a long time. So I changed back to the old method and this morning poof! All old comments disappeared and are gone.
I guess that is okay. I will just keep moving forward and not look back. I set this blog up in 2005 I think and the only way to fix it may be to either go with the G+ or completely redesign this?

I guess I am not going to lose any sleep over it. I'll leave it as is and that will be that.

Yesterday was a bleh day. I waited for my husband to decide what 'he' wanted to do. During his counseling with his Psychologist, he mentioned that I was a 'nag' and he wanted me to stop.
So yesterday I did.

His goal he set with Lindsey was to go to the river and check things out for fishing with me giving him a ride. I was ready in the morning. He wouldn't commit. He took a nap and I waited.

Because I did NOT nag. He missed his mid day meds. He forgets. He finally wandered around the house at 1pm and looked out the door.

"Is it cold out?" he asked. 
I shrugged. "Go out and look for yourself."

His Negative Nancy Personality has returned...or the Excuse Guy has returned. His doctor is telling him not to make excuses and to do these little goals that he sets himself up for and agrees to do.

"It could be cold."
I shrug and check the time.

We finally get in the car and drive to a fishing spot.
He sits.
I finally open his door and tell him to get out.

He walks down to the water.
"It has weeds in it." 
I shrug. "It has fish in it."

"I don't know."
I sigh. "Well, next week I am going fishing. You can tag along if you wish." I leave it at that.

When we get home he decides that it is nap time. 

I keep trying to tell myself that the 'cure' was for his depression and that the Vascular issues that lean towards dementia along with the stroke are still there.
He was a procrastinator before the stroke, he is worse now.

But because I am a 'Nag' and it makes him angry. I have to back off. How will anyone see that unless he is pushed a bit, he won't achieve his goals of walking, fishing, and trying to move around to improve his health?

He knows he wants to do it, but he told Lindsey some days he just can't. 

She told him not to make excuses. 
She also told him that he may have to accept some 'nagging' from me. It was okay to ask him once IF he was going to walk, take meds, or do something on his list. But after the once. I was to leave it alone.

I think he is still a bit upset that I am joining a Camera Club. I went to a meeting Tuesday night and was gone for a few hours. I told him that I couldn't sit in the house 24 hrs a day. Meeting with people that like photography and getting involved in fun things is a way for me to have social experiences and a bit of respite from the daily grind of being a Nagging Caregiver.

I took Charlie for a walk then while he slept. When I returned he was planted in front of the computer and screen watching Netflix.

He cannot seem to see or hear me while glued to the screen. 

Well. He is in a better place. He isn't so depressed now and he even seems quite pleasant most of the time.
But my old friend is gone.

I just find the good moments in each day to enjoy. And I take advice from Charlie. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Inside work is the Pits, but...

sometimes you just have to do it. ~~~~~~
Cold wet rainy weather has prompted me to work on some indoor stuff.

The other night I had trouble sleeping so I went upstairs and laid down for a while.
When I came downstairs in the near dark I realize that even with my glasses on, the stairs all blended into a blob. I'd asked two years ago to alternate green and white on the stairs for better vision, but was voted down.

I came up with a solution.
The stickers come off without ruining the paint.

While butterflies are not my style, I had a bunch of them leftover from using them on a porch chair. I also tossed a few on the front of the stairs.
Hubby looked at them from across the room and told me I had all sorts of dirt on the stairs. His face was priceless when I told him they were butterfly stickers.
When I explained that they were a safety thing, he just shrugged.

[I would have loved Dragon Stickers, or something fun...just saying, the kid in me lives.]

I had walls to wash and cobwebs to conquer before my pals arrived for their next weekend.

I started by moving everything on the south side of the room away. Washing walls, using a broom and a vacuum to get all the gunk that collected there over the past summer.

While I was doing that, I decided to look for something in the basement. Uh-Oh. Three hours later I came up with an armful of winter gear to wash and two boxes of 'stuff' that hasn't been worn or looked at in two years.
I also brought up the paint to finish the work I started right after the Little House Remodel.

I begged to paint the walls around the big doors to the washer and dryer a neat green. I was met with that face of disgust.
I should have done it anyway. The green would look awesome with the pine doors.

I did these two walls in a jiffy.
The green can be seen below, that is the entry way to the house...

I want to do just one wall a different color in the bathroom just one little wall.
HE says no. I say yes. He says no.

I may paint it white now and add what I want at another time.

I asked to put up my favorite photos. HE said no. I said ... why not?
"I like the walls nice and blank, no clutter."

The good fight will continue. I was told that I could use 'the wall' opposite the washer and dryer to display my artwork and photography.

Grumpy ol' Cuss.

Meanwhile, upstairs I started back in on the west room.
A bit of hammered bronze spray paint and a bling sticker on some of the outlets.
Why not? It is my special creative room when no one else is here.

Re-arrange furniture to clear up one wall for Still Life Photography.

The rest of the room is still in a bit of dissarry but I'll get to that later. On the desk ... which I can NOW use, are wall stickers to create a silhouette of a tree.
I have a space to put it. Ol' Grumpy has no idea what I am doing.
The in wall Air Conditioner will be wrapped up and insulated for the winter in about a week or so.
It is ugly and I don't like it there, but it keeps the whole house cool on hot summer days and it IS no longer in the window.
So I will live with it for now.

I bought some wall/multi use contact paper and made a 'wooden' table. The contact paper is supposed to be easy to use. I will need practice to do what I'd like to do...

I think this would look neat on the wall behind this flip out bed...

Or it would look neat on the landing which is now old ugly plywood painted white.
The contact paper wouldn't stand up there I don't think.

So I got out a pencil and started free drawing some designs.
It will occupy my time coloring it all in with lots of colors of paints this winter.

If the Ol' Grumpy guy doesn't like it, he can install the nice piece of linoleum that we have saved for this spot.
I could install it, or I could have someone help me.

But why not do some doodling first?
I can always cover it up with something.

I'm thinking of putting some more photos up. Rich keeps telling me I can't as we need to finish the trim.

I'm ready to go get some lessons on the thingy out in the shed that cuts up the wood and make my own trim and put it where I want it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Doing Sidie Hollow ~ by Charlie

She walked around the house putting things in her back pack and I started to get worried.
The back pack means 'Walk' or 'Hike' or 'Let's go to the woods and smell good stuffs'.

So I watched carefully from the couch.

She put a small bag of doggy treats in the back of the pack and then I started to get excited.
I like walks!
She let me outside and I ran around the yard. She jingled the car keys and I ran to the Subaru.
Was I going to get to go to town and 'Socialize' again? Oh boy!

I was ready.

I still don't really like the car rides as much as She seems to, but we sometimes have some pretty cool adventures when we go.

I perched on the edge of my seat and looked out the window while we drove out the driveway.
She babbled on and on about something and something...stuff that didn't make sense really. Just human talk.
Every once in a while she'd reach over and lightly touch me on the head without looking at me.
She said something about the roads were too twisty and turny for paying attention to me.

We got to Sidie Hollow and I was patient while she hooked me up to the leash thingy.
She pointed at the sign that said "All pets MUST be on leash."

Part of the way around the trail we ran into a young couple and a couple of kids. They had a huge brindle dog that looked exactly like a pit bull. She stopped several feet away from them and started to talk.

Big old Bad Bruno wasn't big and bad really. I rolled over and wagged a lot. He whined and lay down next to me. Imagine a bigger dog than Dixie playing with me!
We sniffed each other's butts and other private parts. The young folks were a bit embarrassed I think but not Her. She was like...Oh no big deal!

We hiked fast and hard, I led most of the way. The only time I didn't was when SHE picked me up and walked. There was some people and they had a  really huge boxer ---something mix--- that was growly and angry. He didn't have a leash on either. He dragged the human type person around and snarled.

She didn't say a word to them and walked by with me in her arms.
I don't think that was a happy dog.

She laughed later on when we found a "Hello" mushroom. I have no idea what that is.

We talked to some people in a canoe..okay, it was a yellow floaty thing that people pushed around with board things. I couldn't make any sense of it except that the yellow thingy kept them from being in the water.

I wagged my tail a lot.

She eventually said that She found a good spot to take a morning photo. She said something about Jersey Valley and then sighed loudly.

I don't know, all the smells were just fine with me. I like this Sidie Hollow place. 

When I got back in the car seat, I curled up and let Her navigate all of the way back home.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Training Collar ~ by Charlie

Well the Bossy Lady got upset twice when I went running off into the underbrush and disappeared. The old guy just grumped at me and growled when I was out in the yard and didn't listen to his calls.

So the old grumpy guy said the Bossy Lady should do better training. Bossy Lady said she needed a training collar like the one she used on Dixie to keep Dixie from chasing deer.

Yup. I chased deer one morning too. I lost sight of them, but could smell them! I ran off into the fog and caused Her to have Heart Failure because the grass swallowed me up.

So I got this pretty little funky collar to go with my camo collar. It is loose on me and not snug. I don't mind it at all because I am a tough guy. And She says I look like a Big Dog wearing it.

Imagine my confusion when I trotted off into the woods on one of our morning walks and She called and called. I ignored her. After all, MY daddy is a mini doxxie and dachshunds were bred for hunting. I'm just following my heritage and nose. What can I say?
She called.
Nope I didn't want to go back.
Something beeped and beeped.
She called.
I spun around confused.
She called.
I sat down and thought about the beeps.
Then my neck vibrated.
Okay, that scared the crap out of me and I ran to Her.
She smiled and loved me all up.

"Oh Charlie! You are such a good boy!" I like it when she does that. I get all wiggly and goofy.

She and the old grumpy guy [he isn't really grumpy] are taking me on short walks after breakfast now. The old guy is doing it because he says She nags him to walk, but he wants to walk and get stronger.
I get to go and show off my skills.

Don't get me wrong. I still get to chase squirrels and birds...and run and sniff around. But now I pay attention when I am called and I get the "Charlie, you are such a good boy! A lot which is better than the Bad Boy Charlie!" or the sound of Her having a Heart Failure.

I am a very quick learner.
Old Grumpy Guy says I am stubborn just like Her.
She says I am stubborn just like the Old Grumpy Guy.

I don't care, just as long as we take nice walks. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Why do I walk the Woods?

I really wanted to be very clever and say something with deep inner meaning and thought.
I even read Rumi for some inspiration, but sadly, his words are not my words.

So instead I told my husband that I was going to wander down to the creek. I said something like "To check the trail camera." He looked at me and smiled. He was sitting and watching Netflix. I know he is in there and he smiles, but his face is innocent and almost blank.  He also knows that what I mean to say is:

"Hey honey, I'm going for a walk because I can't sit still."

He is much better now, not depressed but still the person I used to be with has become someone else. It isn't his fault. The brain won't work quite the way it used to.

I grab a copy of Mary Oliver's book "Felicity" and my camera. I say over my shoulder as I head out, "See you in a bit!"

He nods and turns back to the program he is watching.

Funny how he never watched TV and now that occupies his afternoon hours. I can't even drag him away from it unless I walk up and hit the pause button.

I clutch the book with me and wonder why I've brought it. Really? A poetry book?
And it could start to rain at any moment.

I shrug and head out across the soggy meadow, my feet going squish squish across the grass. Actually, the National Weather Service predicted 2 to 4 inches of rain again tonight. So I am worried about the desk and the bears. 

The camera bag bumps me as I negotiate the trail down the steep hill. I can hear water falling from the 'run' off to the left. But it is getting darker out so I won't explore all of what I want to. I'll save that for another day.
I have something important in mind, but the idea is not clear yet.

I get distracted and make a slight detour.

The light is fading so I work quickly. I know exactly what I want to 'shoot'. I carefully lay the book on top of the camera bag and take some shots.

I want to see how these areas will change after another flash flood.

I can hear water droplets falling out of the trees. My book has gotten water on it. I carefully wipe it off and continue downstream towards 'the beach'.

I pick a rock to take a shot on. I need to find a good spot to 'shoot' from now until Spring. I want to see how this looks in all seasons.

Well, that is not what I came for not really.

I stand up and hold the book in my hands.

There is the desk.
It is very heavy and shouldn't wash away, but I don't want it to get damaged.

So I move it.
I carefully set the Artist Conches that the kids had drawn on aside and put them inside the desk.

I move the desk up above the creek to where it will be safe.

Off in the distance I hear a rumble.

I wipe off the desk and sit down.

And I flip open the book.
I read:

A Voice from I Don't Know Where

It seems you love this world very much.
  "Yes," I said. "This is a beautiful world."

And you don't mind the mind, that keeps you
   busy all of the time with its dark and bright wonderings:
   "No I'm quite used to it. Busy, busy,
   all of the time."

And you don't mind living with those questions,
   I mean the hard ones, that no one can answer?
   "Actually, they're the most interesting."

And you have a person in your life whose hand
   you like to hold?
   "Yes I do."

It must surely, then, be very happy down there 
   in your heart.
   "Yes," I said. "It is."

~ Mary Oliver

I close the book.

I now know why I walked the woods today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fall is coming

This year fall has crept up on us. Hot weather, pounding rains, flooding, and humidity have all felt like the Dog Days of August and certainly not mid September.

The rivers around here are still nearly full yet more hard rains and dangerous storms that could produce heavy rainfall is coming over the next day or so.

Yesterday Charlie and I went to the creek to move the Teddy Bear Guardians safely above any flood level. I really got attached to those little muddy toys. There is a new bear added to the mix. When I found him he had been tossed into a basket on the floor of a resale shop marked as .25 cents. He had stains on his fur.

He is now one of the Creek Guardians.

He looks shaggy and amazing sitting on the rock above the creek. He appears to take his job seriously.

Chance did get a rinsing yesterday in the creek. Whew, what a job! He still has a long way to go before I can think of washing him in a regular machine!

So Charlie and I went for our afternoon walk and as always, it leads to the creek. He investigated smells while I walked around and enjoyed some quiet time in the creek itself.

These next two shots were taken on the same flat rock. I just pointed the camera upstream for this one....

 ...and downstream for this one. [Yes that is a fog that is hanging just above the water. The water is much colder than the air temperature and this fog moves in and out almost imperceptible.]

If you look closely in the right upper corner you can see the blue chair where the guys are sitting safely out of the way of any angry waters.

However, it wasn't until I got home and looked at the photos as I pulled them up, that I noticed all the yellow leaves and oranges that had dropped into the water.
I mean...I did see them, but it didn't strike me until I got home.

And then there is this shot of Charlie investigating and interesting smell. Look at the foliage! It is rapidly turning colors!

Never mind the Charlie butt. He was too busy to sit nicely in front of me and pose.

Fall is coming. I hope so. We could use some cooler temperatures and some drier weather. know what comes after that!

I will have to write about my new office! Very exciting stuff.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Photography has rules and then we break them.

This photo was shown under 'Winter Scene'. I had other choices but settled on this one.
I have a habit of photographing smaller winter scenes than most other folks. This is the water falls at Skillet Creek in Parfrey's Glen before they went in and removed the sticks and branches to 'make it prettier'. I like those sticks, without them the mini ice formations wouldn't have occurred.

This did win a first. I wasn't there to hear the judge's rules. However I can see the focus on the right is sharp, and it follows the rule of thirds. The falling water may add interest. And it looks cold.
This also earned a Merit Award. I think that means something like the judge liked it above some other categories.

I don't mean to sound naughty, but I have to agree with one of the other photographers.
Rules are meant to be broken.

Centered, busy, full of patterns and different lights. The judge wanted the majority of the light in the bowl. But I couldn't change the sun. I know, excuses. However I liked it and it felt good.
And it did place.
In my opinion now...the photo is too busy and your eye doesn't settle on anything, nor does it follow the 'rule of thirds'.

I really should have gone with a simpler Still Life, but we all make choices and next year the judge will be different and have different a different opinion.

This wasn't even considered, but I know why. It is really a silhouette photo that tells a story...for me at least. However, I did look up the fair book definition and well, it had no description for this category. I'm okay with this too, as I had other shots that I thought would fit, but took this one anyway.

Sunday morning I took a shot that would have qualified for that category:

The shot is framed by branches, you can see lines of fog, lines of hay, and there is the sun coming up on the left.

This one? Probably the highlights were too bright for her. And not all the fungi were in sharp focus. With a no edit rule, I didn't use the stacked edition of this with the highlights toned down. [The photo is too busy and nothing here follows the rule of thirds either.]

Live and learn.

This one she liked a lot. However only a line of mushrooms are in focus. For me it gives the shot depth.
She wanted everything in focus. Again I could have done it with focus stacking and editing.

With all that said, I am happy that I tried this. I was nervous about 'showing' my work.

I asked the Superintendent if I could help her when it came time to take photos down and hand them out. She looked so surprised.
Let's say my first impression of her was not favorable. She had been a bit curt regarding a few things.
I decided to try a different tactic. Be nice and be friendly.

I was asked to join a camera/photography club. And I think I will go. After all, it will be nice to have a reason to go somewhere and discuss things I like.
And I can continue to learn.

I spoke with the Assistant Super and she told me about the club and she told me that I could learn all about my camera. [Insert a grin here....]
The other Super told me that categories were going to change for next year some things will be added and some things will be dropped.

Good, perhaps I can break some rules!

Have a great day! Looks like we are going to get a 'pile' of rain!

I'll be checking on Percy and Chance this afternoon!