Thursday, March 28, 2019


On the farm...

Who thought I'd be doing this?
Hard enough to find the right tool for the job of taking the ice piks off from the skid steer tracks, especially when you haven't done this before and don't know what size tool you need.

I spent a good 40 minutes sorting through 'his' junk pile of tools to find the right size.
Job half way done...
Then I went indoors to do this...

another job I am not very well qualified for. I sort of burned the edges.

However I am very good at raking and cleaning up the yard....

I make tiny piles and burn a bit at dusk.

Then back to the Sven Pen to put in a gate and get everything set up for Sven's homecoming....

And then back to the inside of the shed. This pile of windows and screens has been here forever. This is 1/2 of the pile and it resides in the area where Sven is going to have his 'stall'.
I have no idea why my husband has kept all the windows from his folks' old house, our old house, and some other house. I found 3 different styles of windows.
As soon as I can pull the truck up to the shed the windows are making a one way trip to the dump.

This was wire from the old catch pen that was destroyed years ago when trees fell on it. Yesterday I removed all the old bent up pieces by cutting them with a bolt cutter and then raking all the dry grasses and weeds into a dirt area to deal with later.
I've wanted to do this job for a while.

It is back breaking work but I did it.

I have to finish up a few more things in Sven's out door pen too. But it is getting there.

I'm happy I joined CrossFit. Much of this work would have made me sore last year. This year my stamina and my strength are beyond my expectations.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

My Infrared Fun with old files

Step one. Try an IR filter.
I did that for years and had good but frustrating results with it.

I also never quite understood what a channel swap or channel mixer was used for ... or how to use it.
I ended up with a nasty pink mess or a pretty nice black and white conversion.

This was a very long exposure with a 720nm filter attached to my Olympus camera lens. I do love how this turned out. Most of my other IR shots were flops.

I kept trying though. I wanted to have those cool odd colors that I'd seen before. I read tutorials and thought I had 'it'. No. I wasn't really very close.
Sometimes I was rewarded with this...

My only option was to ditch it and hope for something better.

Yet I wasn't going to give up.
 I switched the white balance to Fluorescent. And got purply pinky stuff.

But at least after some effort I could get this...

And my only choice was to convert it to black and white.
Again, not quite what I wanted.

I wanted false colors, odd colors. Colors that were different.

So I went back to the drawing board and started to learn about Channel Mixers and swapping blue and red. About how the green effects things. I began to dabble in adjusting the hues of colors.
No rhythm or reason for it. Just experimenting.

I picked up an old file that I considered a flop from 2017.

Well that was odd enough, but turned out a bit better in black and white than the odd colors. But I sort of liked the odd colors. This was a 3 step process. Going from Auto Color>Channel Mixer>Saturation and Hue adjustments. The color shot could have been a bit more normal, I suppose, but I was into seeing how far I could push the odd colors.

So I thought I'd try another one or two from 2017.
I won't show you the red shot but...

I like this edit a lot. In fact it would be one I'd keep.

But I can't leave well enough alone of course.

A bit of color swapping here, but I wasn't happy with it.

Well why not? False colors!
What if I could see the world through different light wavelengths?

And then of course I had to convert it to Black and White because not everyone can handle liking false colors and seeing the world in colors that are not supposed to be.

With my little converted pocket Canon I am having a lot of fun.

Enough so I may eventually convert my Olympus to a full spectrum camera for Infrared work.

It may be wild or it may be tame.
It depends on my artistic type mood.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A bit of fun with Sven and Charlie

And so the first great adventure with Charlie and Sven happened today. I figured to start them hiking together early.
Sven will grow to a full sized Lamancha wether.

Charlie is full sized at 7" at the shoulder and 10 lbs.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Walking the...goat?

With the rapid warm up, things have turned to mush, the gravel roads are soup in places as is my driveway.
Patience will prevail and things will return to normal once the deep frost comes up and out of the ground.

Sven is such a hoot. My neighbors are still bottle feeding him and letting him out in the yard to play with the kids and go on little walks with him.
He'll come home in about two weeks.

Lauren and I decided to go for a walk on Thursday, we both took a break from our 'house' duties. I put Sven on a lead and off we went up the road. He is such a quick learner! I didn't put a collar on him but used what I call a slip. If he pulled and jerked the rope tightens a bit [no I would not let him choke himself]. As soon as he stops pulling it loosens.

It only took him about 100 yards to figure that out. He walked better than most dogs do on a lead!

We walked about two miles and enjoyed the fresh air. Basil and Sven and two ladies walking up the gravel road and enjoying the first day of Spring.

On the way back I wanted to see if Sven would follow me across some running water. He did, but mainly because Basil went first. We crossed again and he acted as if it were no big deal.
The arrow points to Basil's tail as she leaped over the water....

I can't wait to take him and Charlie on a walk together next. That may be a goal for this weekend.

The amount of yard work I need and want to do is almost overwhelming. Along with that I need to put up the fencing for the sunny side of Sven's new pen. My Kenosha Friends are going to help me with the goat stall inside the shed and the 'goat' doggy style door I want put in.
I have some old wooden spools to set out as well as some old broken plastic water tanks to use with planks to set up a play ground in his pen.

I intend to have Sven out on a tie out in the summer to clean up the nasty weedy spots in the yard. Goats are good for that.

So more goat walking is in the near future.
How about a trip down through our woods to the creek?

We visited with Rich's PCP for the VA this week. She noted the deep depression he had and suggested some more 'tests' for lung function and some therapy. I should have just told her to forget it. If you don't help the depression he won't care about the rest.

Though his latest set back was actually not a medical one.

All right. The sun will come up soon and I need to go for some feed and groceries!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

So it is March

I think March is more dull than any other month. The snow melts leaving the area with piles of dirty half melted snow and mud. Mud.
If it freezes overnight then I can pull up to the house. If it doesn't, well I can back down the driveway and park at the bottom of the hill.

It is 'bucket' season. I keep a bucket of water at the porch with a brush to scrub my boots off before going onto the porch. It is just how the March Protocol works.

March holds promises of something better than dreary skies and faded grasses. It is also the time to rake the yard and think about connecting up the fences again. Winter is officially over.

Yet oaks that are not in the wind still cling to their leaves.

This March has been a bit of a strange one. Birthdays, deaths, memories, forgetfulness, aging, controversy, disruption, and some sort of hope. I have hope, I always try to have it on my shoulder and never further than my back pocket.

But that is what March brings.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Once upon a time...

This is a story of a memory which may or may not be very accurate.

When I was very young I seem to recall going to Art Class and the teacher asked us to draw a scene.
Being a typical kindergartner [or first grader?] I took the beautiful array of colorful crayons and began to make my picture.

I colored grasses and trees, skies and clouds with a flourish of colors. The world would be as I deemed it in my child's eye. The clouds would be purple, the sky would be orange, the leaves would be wild colors of green, yellow, blue, ...anything my heart desired.

I put the sun in the upper right corner with multicolored rays emitting from it.

The Art Teacher came around and told me that the sky was blue. The grass is green and so were leaves on the trees. I was told to do my picture over.

I recall telling this to my father. I was very heartbroken that I had to color things the way the teacher saw it. My world was brilliant and imaginative [I didn't have the vocabulary at the time to express this to her] and her world was dull and unexciting.

I want to believe that my father talked to the teacher. But I do know that he did talk to me about it. He told me it was perfectly okay to draw the world in any color I wished, and if I wanted to the sky to be orange or purple, that was fine.

And so I bring you to my next photography experimentation. The Infared Converted camera.

It allows me to giggle and smile at a world not seen by many.


Where skies can be odd colored, where trees can be white or pink at my choosing.

Infrared photography is best done in the summer, but being who I am, I couldn't help but try it out in the brilliant snow.

And if I want purple clouds?

I sure can have them!

Who says dreams don't come true?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Life, Winter, Spring.

Winter is beginning its final curtain call for this year. The March sun penetrates the deep snows and down to the layers of ice where the melt starts.

The sun is warm on my face as I rest it against the bark of the huge Cottonwood tree. I lean against the tree and let the warm light wash my face as I listen to the water run over the rocks near my feet.

And I think about Life and Death and I think about Winter and Spring. And I think about those who are ill. I think about children.

I am grounded by this place. By this magnificent Cottonwood tree that has stood here ever since I could recall. This creek that is ever changing.

And I know that soon, winter will be gone and the anticipation of finding fern curls and morel mushrooms will replace my love for the beauty of the snow.

I will welcome Spring.
I push away from my tree and let my hands pat its warm bark.

March Madness

I have no idea of where to start things.

I thought March Madness was meant for the college basketball playoffs or NBA or something like that.

It isn't. It is what is going on here.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty tame. Not much going on. I took Charlie hiking and spent time with Sven and teaching him to come and work on a line.

We went from Frozen to Rain/Frozen overnight on Tuesday evening. Little short video of my sled that I used to take some trash up to the dumpster that my neighbors and I share. Taken with the cell phone but it was pretty funny.

By late afternoon the township truck did come through and sanded the hill.
Rich called his mom and wished her a happy 88th birthday and she was quite chatty and said she'd just had a shower and had to clean up the mess. [This was a big deal as MIL keeps insisting that she only had a shower last week when it has been much much longer than that. I found out later that Helping Hands assisted after months of trying and finally got her showered. MIL tends to come in and out of reality quite a bit.]

The Field Agent from the VA called, I advised her not to drive down our hill and walked up to meet her. Her name was Jane and she was a very pleasant person.
Everything was straightened out and I had worried needlessly.
Jane explained how in some situations the wives of veterans had mistreated their husband's pensions. I was a bit shocked by that. She talked of a situation where the wife took the pension money and bought things for a boyfriend.

The phone rang again and it was MIL. Her sister had passed away and she wanted to go right now to the funeral. Rich had to take her now. Rich tried to explain to his mom that he didn't drive anymore and that he couldn't make the 3 hour drive anyway. Sometimes MIL loses a sense of time and space. So when she says now, she may mean not now. She has no conception of how sick her son really is either.

Meanwhile the rains started in again and the temperatures climbed. Snow and ice began to crash off the roof.

I got another phone call from my step daughter who said she got a text from her Aunt in Utah that MIL's freezer wasn't working properly.
I was confused as to why a message like that had to go half way around the country to come back to me. But I knew how to handle it rather quickly.

I emailed MIL's Guardian to let her know about the issue.

Helping Hands reported back to me that the fridge had not been working for at least a week. They had to toss all of the items in the fridge.

We are working on getting MIL to her sister's funeral that hasn't been planned yet. The rivers are flooding, roads are covered in areas...and the stress hasn't been positive for Rich.

Steph and Steve and the kids are coming this weekend to visit.

I took two time outs yesterday and went to watch the snow melt dash down the rocks and creek. I took my neighbor and the dogs on one of the trips. The dogs played in knee deep snow and slush while we watched the waters tumble down the hillsides and roar into the normally very quiet stream.

I need to get back to catching up on all of the fun animal things from the past few days.
How Charlie and I got stuck in deep snow! How much fun it has been playing with Sven the Goat!


Monday, March 11, 2019


I like to try and 'see' just how the creek keeps changing.

So here are two photos that show what changes occur 9 days apart.

The above photo was taken on the 25th of February.

This next one was taken on March 7th.

Well, that is as close as to being the same shot as I could recall in my head when I was walking through the other day.

Ice wall. 3/7
 Ice wall 3/10

It is sort of fun to try and see the changes as they occur. Come spring the wall will remain the same but the greenery will start to pop here and there. Ferns will grow along with some other interesting plants. The creek will rise and fall with the rains, and as with everything else, it will continue to change.

I may miss winter...or maybe not...

But I know I will surely look forward to the seasonal changes...

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Travels with Charlie, Basil, Logan...

I was sitting having some coffee after doing chores that I decided to 'take a hike' off the farm.

On a whim I texted my neighbor to see if she was busy or not. *Would you, Logan, and Basil like to go to the KVR for a hike? It is ok if not.*

The weather was going to change again on Saturday, the forecasters had predicted a rain/snow/icy wintery mix with the possibility of up to half an inch of rain before it changed.
I figured things would be a mess over the weekend and with the temperatures starting to rise, this might be one of the last nice days to hike.

Text back *Sure we are up for it!*

I set everything up for Rich and got him up so he could have his breakfast and meds. I put his lunch in a microwave dish and he said he could warm it up.
It was a go...

I picked up my neighbor and we headed towards the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. Logan was happy in the back seat where Charlie kept alternating between his 'car' seat and sitting next to Logan.

We decided to search for an ice cave. Logan was thrilled and the trail was packed and easy to follow.

This trail is one of my favorite trails in the KVR. It is an out and back, not too difficult, yet it has a diverse change of scenery.

Dogs are allowed to be off leash on the trails except during nesting season for the birds.

Someone had fun writing in the snow along the trail.

 And then we added a note too.

Ice Cave!

It wasn't one of the huge ice caves, but Logan and the dogs were impressed and had fun smelling everything. There I am with my cat face mask on and the Skunk Hat ... of course!

The Ice formations have become rather popular to see and the Reserve ahad to post a sign to people who hike there to *Be Nice to the Ice*.  Basically they don't want you disturbing these beautiful creations. No climbing on them or breaking them. I had to give the ice a hug.
I was being Nice to the Ice!

We explored the 'cave' and then headed down and around the deep snow to the second place that generally has a huge Ice Fall.

Logan and Basil are walking on top of an ice fall that is buried under the snow. The time to photograph this 'fall' is when the snow cover is nearly gone.

Like last year:
Same place just below the formation with my friend Daryl holding Charlie.

The temperatures climbed up and I told Logan to lead the way out of the little steep area. He was game and the steep climb was on!

Back on the trail we hiked to the end of Wintergreen trail where it dead ends on a tree covered bluff.

It was time for snacks and some hot chocolate.

On the way back over one part of the trail, Logan stopped to listen to the water traveling deep under the snow and ice pack.

I took a shot of the ice below us. Amazing blue ice...

And to top things off, Logan left the next travelers with a reminder that he had been there....

Late that afternoon, Charlie slept on the couch and dreamed of more adventures along the Wintergreen Trail.

And all was good in his doggy dream world...

I imagine that Basil had to have a rest too....

Thank you Lauren and Logan for the great adventures!