Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Goodbye April

The end of April is here and the weather is cold and rainy with gray skies. All the makings of a dull day.
I took one of my Grandmother's spring colored handkerchiefs, a daffodil, and tea cup and put them on an old wooden box.

I thought I'd entertain myself while waiting for FedEx. There was a package I was going to have to sign for and I didn't want to miss it. I'd had issues with the postal person deciding not to deliver to my house for one reason or another.

Anyway. I thought I'd entertain myself by doing some indoor Still Life with some fresh daffodils.

I'd heard that black felt was good to carry in the field to isolate flowers from anything else in the back round. So I draped some felt from my fold up clothes hanger in the living room and set flowers in a tiny vase in front of it.

It worked nicely.

And because I was in the mood for something fun...I thought...

Morel Hunting season is just around the corner.

Goodbye April you were an interesting month.

Monday, April 29, 2019

My Gal Pal ~ by Charlie

"Let's go for a walk Charlie," she said grabbing my ringy ding ding collar. Yes I wear it. She makes me.
She says it keeps me safe.
Whatever, I don't care.

Off we went, her walking up the driveway and me trotting ahead of her watching for birds to chase. Perhaps I could chase a squirrel.
One can hope.

To my surprise we went to Basil's house. Oh what a delight. There are chickens in Basil's yard, I like to chase chickens. I caught a chicken by the neck once before SHE came screaming after me. Something about "NO Charlie NO NONO...and the little girl crying out too. Gosh I sorta felt bad. But I love to chew on feathers. I love to chase birds.

So I was almost to the back door when I saw the Chickens! Oh Oh! I trotted towards them and ... my collar started to shake and buzz. Dang. No chicken chasing. I gave them a backward look when SHE opened the back door and let out my bestest little friend.


Isn't she just adorable? Cute? Feminine and sweet?

And then...we walked back to Sven's pen and let him out so he could join us.

And the walk was on! We ran down the trails while Sven trotted and stopped occasionally to eat things like sharp pointy bushes.

SHE was looking for something. She kept looking at things on the forest floor. Bending and looking. Then kneeling and looking. When Basil and I found deer and raccoon poop She scolded us to wanting to eat or roll in it.

Sven was boring. He'd discovered that the forest was full of stuff a goat could eat. Any time we got to far ahead She would whistle and he'd come running.

Boring. Except that he can poop tasty pellets.

Alas. Poor Basil and I couldn't take this nicey walkie thing any more.

Wrestle Time!

We just played and chased and wrestled and tumbled and played.

She watched with the Goat.

We played all the way back home.

Then after She toweled Basil off and let her loose in my house...Basil did something very weird.

She seemed to 'dry' herself off on the carpet...or she really liked the carpet???

What a gal my little Pal!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Trip to Duck Egg

What is Duck Egg? When I first heard about people going to 'Duck Egg' I envisioned an Egg. Literally.
A Duck and an Egg.

But it isn't an Egg. It doesn't even look like an Egg. Nor does it look like a Duck.
However, it is a County Park that I've grown to love and appreciate. It is a Hiking/Trout Fishing/Horseback Riding natural area that has a flood control dam in it.

It is one of our many County Parks that I will call 'treasures'.

The first few photos are going to be some of my Infrared Shots. IF anyone ever tells me again that they need a 'better' camera to take 'better' shots I am going to show them the little Canon ELPH I have.
There is another saying I guess, *The best camera is the one you have with you.*

I will agree that I took the Canon ELPH which is converted to Infrared along because I hoped I'd have a few things that make IR so fun. Harsh sunlight, shadows, foliage, water, and sky.  I also brought my Nikon entry level DSLR with a nice prime lens for the purpose of shooting just wild flowers.

Canon ELPH:

 Foot Bridge 2. I love these shadows with the stream
running underneath. Fav for black and white.

 From the East side of Foot Bridge 2.
I edited for the funky IR colors and then added a 
bit of what is called Faux Color.

The Y Log. 
Hard to imagine 'seeing'
in Infrared but once you start to
think IR you can tell that a scene 
like this with this bright lighting 
wouldn't be so nice
in regular light.
I dig the reflections
in the 

My Favorite shot of the day.
I tried this view from more 
than one angle.
Bridge 1 at the horse

I love Wildflowers. Okay. I love garden flowers too. But I find the odd wildflowers more fun to photograph. I get excited like a child hunting for easter eggs or magical gifts when I find those tiny little wonders in the woods. [say that 3 times fast!]

 Bloodroot. I love these guys. They
get my vote for
coolest flower.

Dutchman's Breeches.
I recall my Grandfather taking the domestic 
relative of these
which is the bleeding heart.
He plucked the flower and 
told me a story about
the lady in the

Ginger Root.
The flowers are on the ground. 
Very cool.

Not open yet.
Looks like I'll have 
to go back!
I think Charlie would like
to go too.

When I hiked out the parking lot was full of vehicles. Most of them were trout fisherman. Obvious by the clothes they had on. I enjoyed talking with them for a bit and asked if they'd heard of Tainter Creek. They did and it was on their list, but they'd heard it was a bit crowded with fisherman. 

They asked if I was a 'local'. I said indeed I was. I finally had lived here long enough to be considered 'local' by the locals

Anyway I left and told them to enjoy their fishing. I'd be back to hunt morels.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Treasures of the Woods

It's time again to start hunting for treasures in the woods. The mayflowers are just coming up in some areas and in others...

They are opening wide. I came across a wide expanse of them in the upper part of our forest on the hillside across from the creek.

The woods are roaring to life and I feel like every moment I am not out there I am missing something wonderful.

Oh to be able to spend all of my waking moments watching the forest floor come alive!

I just have to be happy enough to grab the moments that I can and share them with His Highness...

The Overlord of the Creek

Monday, April 22, 2019

Just pictures

I'm just going to toss some photos in here for looking at.

Nothing special.

My favorite woods trail. Just last week before things began to 
turn green.

Heading up the very same trail a few 
days ago.

Macro shots from this 
weekend with moss. I don't 
know enough about moss to 
know if this is how moss flowers 
or not.

Sven does a charming pose with his 
red neckerchief.

King of Moss rock Easter Morning.

the overseer.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Work out of the day

I know my subjects here daily are all over the map. One day photography, another day something else. New experiments in Infrared, hikes, goats, farm work, dealing with an ill husband, and so forth.

That is how I operate. Last week was very tough and things didn't improve much this week at all. I felt myself being drawn into the dark hole of his depression and it scared me.
So put an extra effort to drag myself out of bed and get things done by not checking my emails in the morning with a cup of coffee. Instead I had coffee and went outside to take care of critters as the sun came up. Twice Charlie and I just took a walk to the ridge top and back to get rid of the cobwebs in my head.

I went to CrossFit every other day and this worked out well for me. I literally dragged myself there Monday feeling quite guilty for not being there for a whole week. But the snow/ice/rain/wind storm of 3 days kept me home anyway.
I did my WOD and felt refreshed enough to grab a Kona Coffee and some donuts for Rich on the way home. I was super charged and did book work and spreadsheets and watched as gloomy cold weather settled in outside as well as inside the house.

Wednesday was another workout day. Something fantastic happened. Coach Josh watched me prep for the dead lift and encouraged me to go up in weight. I was supposed to be able to lift 80% of my body weight for this. I kept adding a bit at a time until I was at 90 lbs. I was to do five reps of three with rest in between. I did it.
I did it.
And I did not feel exhausted. Coach looked at me and smiled. He gave me a thumbs up and announced to the rest of our crew that I'd PR'd with the dead lift. There was applause. I felt pumped.

Friday was even more special. Our work out consisted of Kettle Bell Swings, a 400 meter run, modified sit ups and repeat the workout as many times as you can in 25 minutes.
Sounds brutal doesn't it? After the third round the Kettle Bell Swings were a huge effort, I used my 400 meter run to catch my breath and loosen back up for the next round.
I blew through the beginning of the 6th round and sprinted the 400 meters, well as hard as I could. Something from my race running days whispered sweet nothings to my legs and I increased the stride and picked up the pace.
I literally flew [well, in my mind] and headed towards the door when Coach Luke called out the last seconds.

I made it inside and dropped next to my Kettle Bell and caught my breath. Sure I was almost done in, but the excitement of the 'chase' was there. For a few moments I thought for sure that I was not going to be able to do much of anything else all day.

Then I got a text from my neighbor. *Soccer at Washington Park 2:30 Adults vs kids*

I did my town errands and informed hubby that I was going to the Friday soccer games.

The point was, I was refreshed and renewed from a tough work out. I felt on top of the world.
I know it is due to the endorphins released into my body from a hard work out.

Endorphins are produced by the brain which trigger a feeling of a positive feeling, not unlike morphine. Your brain gets a positive buzz for up to 24 hours in some cases.

I think I even produced some extras while playing scrimmage with kids that are easily 50 years younger than I am for about two hours at our 'pick up' soccer game.

Yes, I woke up stiff this morning, but still in a great mood.
I think the sunshine added to that.

Plus the allure of going out to the woods at some point today to find some spring wildflowers. Or perhaps the thoughts of riding a mule....on their first spring ride.

Kudos for WODS.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Kids, Sven and Charlie

I took Sven and Charlie along with me to trim back some brush from the electric fenceline I'd just checked a few days ago. I took my machete and a big pair of nippers.

My Kenosha Pals said I could get it done it just moments if I used one of those weed whackers with the blade.
I replied that I'd cut my foot off. Then I pointed to the instrument that my husband used to use with a blade for that purpose.
It is huge with a back-strap. I'd never be able to control that huge piece of equipment. Thus, the machete and nippers. I also have a hand saw. My husband's chainsaw is too heavy and large for me to operate.
I'd probably cut something off with it.

Besides March and April are perfect times for fence clearing. You can see where the lines will be running into small patches of briers and other brush. I am going to replace the old electric line just above the creek in the next few weeks and fix the hole in the barbed wire that runs as a line fence. The mules leave the barbed wire alone and as a precaution, I've run a single line on the inside of it to keep them from being too curious about the briers and multiflora rose bushes on the other side.

Charlie was pretty unsure of my machete and wisely stayed well out of the way. He even stood behind me and occasionally put a paw on the back of my legs.

We finished up what I'd set out to do and we went down to the creek where it was play time.

It looks like Charlie is pushing Sven, but he wasn't. I think Charlie was trying to balance on the rock with Sven. Amazingly enough, Sven backed up and did not fall in.

And Sven claims King of Moss Rock.

Off they went trotting and leaping across the rocks, two odd playmates. Sven may not even know he is a goat. Charlie is enamored with Sven. He goes back across the creek if Sven gets 'stuck' by a larger spread of water. He will whine and cry and push Sven around until Sven follows him.

On the trail, Charlie leads and Sven follows. The difference is that Sven stops and grabs a bit to eat as he travels. Charlie thinks Sven is his personal tasty poo machine.

When the two of them get to the open pasture, the races are on. Charlie zooms in large circles. Sven runs and leaps sideways with him.
I think it is safe enough to say that these two are enjoying each other's company.

Sven really keeps close. He even helps with the chores and keeps his distance from the mules on the other side of the fence. He and Charlie are nearly inseparable.

This is turning into quite the fun adventure with animals.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Storms inside and Out

Last week was a blur. Did we really have nearly 65 degree weather and then have a snow/ice/rain storm come in that lasted from Wednesday to Friday?

Ice bombs smacked the house with high winds in the middle of the night and Charlie and I were positive that we'd have trees or something awful falling in on top of us at any moment.
In the morning when we went outside the winds were ferocious and we still had to 'dodge' the falling chunks of ice.

I knew that after the storm settled down, I'd have a lot of work to do checking the fencing and perhaps pulling large chunks of trees off the electric fence.

The weather service had said we'd get a tenth of an inch of ice. Hmmm.

Well, no wonder we were suffering ice bombs from the trees! I reattached the fence and cleared ice off the lines after the snow/rain stopped. 

I knew the snow and ice wouldn't stick around very long and I was right. By this morning it was gone.

I spent Monday cleaning up most of the debris that was left over in the yard. 

Depression is like a storm too. It is internal and can't be seen. It can swallow a person whole and those around them in a vortex of darkness....

Yesterday we had to go see Rich's old Psychiatrist. Okay, the guy isn't old. It was a doctor he saw for a long time. Dr. S. left the VA and went to New Zealand for a while and returned.
At the last appointment with Dr. Todd, ... Dr. Todd asked Rich if he'd like to see Dr. S again. We jumped at the chance.
Dr. S 'gets' Rich and they have a good relationship. Dr. Todd is fine, but he doesn't seem to 'understand' Rich that well and how could he from just reading his file and knowing him for only a year.

Let me say that the appointment yesterday gave me a bit of hope to help Rich get out of this horrible slump of depression. 

I like to believe in... hope.

Rich is in that horrid hell hole of a black hole where there is no bottom and no top. No light, no hope.
They are doing another consult to see if another Ketamine infusion will help and this doctor feels that he should have them on a more regular basis and not just a once off.

Dr. S put it succinctly. 
"Your body has betrayed you, your mind is not letting you focus on thoughts and you are in there fighting each moment of every day trying to find something. Trapped inside with no light at all. It must be pure Hell."

And this afternoon? 
More storms of the rain/thunder/lightening kind.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Sven comes home...


Well what can I say? Charlie thinks he has a new best buddy. They are nearly inseparable.

On our hike Saturday, Charlie went back across the creek more than once to 'get' Sven to cross to us.
Of course the Kenosha Gang was there and we all called to Sven. Sven cried a baby goat noise and Charlie charge across the creek to him.

Today I raked the yard to pick up more of the pine-cones and  debris left by the two day storm. I tied out Sven. Charlie stuck close by.
They were perfectly content to watch me work.

Sven was fine being tied out and only got frustrated when I went out of his sight. Later on the two of them lay in the sunshine together while I made lunch for us.

I dragged two sleds full of sticks and pine-cones to the brush pile and burned it.
Sven decided to nap.

After yard work they assisted me in checking fences and redoing the 'above' the creek fence section.

Sven decided to check out the hot wire by Mica and jumped into her paddock. Mules have a tendency to chase or hurt an unknown animal in their territory. Thankfully, Mica just nosed him and he ran out of her paddock, ducking the hot wire.

The rest of the day was spent on outside work and hanging sheets and blankets in the fresh spring air.

Now I have had goats before, but only used them basically for dairy and not for fun like this.
And make no mistake.
I am having a LOT of fun.

is Charlie.

Here is to having best friends....

We don't have to be the same to be best friends. We can be as different as night and day. ~~ Charlie and Sven

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Found things

I was going to show off my Infrared photos from our little get away, but instead I got busy looking through the boxes of 'stuff' my cousin gave me. She said no one was really interested in most of the stuff and did I want to look through it?
Sure. I mean, what kind of junk or treasures would I find?

I sorted things out here and there laying them out to look at odd things. Mixed in with Sewing Machine parts for a pedal Singer Sewing Machine and some odd thimbles I found this.
Curious. I was more interested in the advertising on the hook. But I couldn't find any info, so I started digging some more and came up with a 'Shoe Hook' or button hook.

People actually collect these things?

So I set up some thimbles and wooden thread spools.

I can recall playing stack the wooden spools as a kid. We kept them and reused them for all sorts of things.

Instruction books for the Singer No. 27, a rubber belt for the machine, bobbins, a sewing foot, and another book of instructions. The book with the No. 27 is dated November 9, 1896.
The ads on the belt are circa 1918, the year my father was born.

Photo Master? The back of it is unique and has two view holes in it. I've looked it up, doubt it works, but it is possible this was made in the 1940's.

Even the Needle holder I got was interesting in that is was an ad for Gambles...

Inside are nickel plated needles with gold eyes. I imagine these were given away when the men folk bought paint for the house to keep the wife happy?
I don't really know, but I found all of this pretty fascinating.

The advertising on the sewing belt was neat also.

I'm sure the belt is no good to anyone, but I find the ads pretty neat. Advertising has been around forever hasn't it?

There are some other things I found but I'll address them at another time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Away away...

Google Maps and directions said that it would take two hours and thirty minutes to Eau Claire.

It felt strange to set out on an adventure to a place I'd never been and to meet a person who I didn't really know. Well, she is married to one of my cousins so we just call each other cousin.
It started in the fall when I received a package from Jeanette with a letter.

An unexepected surprise...

I called Jeanette and we talked for quite a while on the phone. We decided to meet up after the holidays and get together. Both of us are CareGivers and we thought it would be fun to schedule a break. 

Well suffice to say that Winter became a daunting barrier for any get together. But finally our planned weekend worked out and we were able to meet up.

Eau Claire is a stunning Wisconsin city with beautiful parks and trails everywhere. On one side of the river the buildings rose glistening and stunning. On the other side of the river we walked along small Victorian homes with no road in front of them to block the river's view. College kids were everywhere on skateboards, bicycles, and foot. We watched one young man with ear buds on dance as he walked. While we were on the bridge above the river a woman dressed in a business suit and walking shoes glided past us and met up with a man sitting on a bench. We watched a young lady try to execute a couple of fancy jumps with roller skates ... and fail. 

Wow. I'm getting ahead of myself. Our first day was spent exploring Eau Claire. We got lost but my Garmin saved the day. We spent some time walking through a mall and window shopping. We talked.
And we talked.
So much time had passed in our lives that we had years and years to catch up on. A history of our own lives, that of our children, our grand children...our family members...well that list seemed endless. We ended up being quite surprised that suddenly it was 1am.

We decided to go to sleep and begin our day with a good breakfast across the street and a hike in Carson Park. 

So when we found Carson Park we decided to just take off and start walking. We talked about the how we ended up here. We talked about my parents and my father. I am so surprised at how all of my cousins I've spoken to have such wonderfully fond memories of my father. They loved Tom, he was such a kind man and so interesting.
Of course that subject came up as I pulled my camera out of my backpack and took some snaps of our walk.

 Below~ Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum

Thank goodness for Smart Phones. Neither one of us were familiar with good places to eat or places to walk.  We looked these items up on our phones and then followed Miss Garmin to the locations.

I got to speak to Jeanette's husband and was so surprised to hear that David had the same Midwestern twang I'd admired when he was a teen...and that belly laugh from deep down under was the same.

We checked out of the motel and headed to the restaurant across the street. We talked more over breakfast and eventually we both decided that we'd both have to go back to our homes.

However we made tentative plans for another visit in July. We are going to try and do an informal get together of the cousins. 

It seems we did well with our planning for our initial meet up. Winter storm warnings have been issued all across the state. We are both safely home and back to our CareGiving duties.

I'm watching the snow cover the green grass as I finish up typing this....

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Time Off

Well there it is, the Great Two Day Get Away has arrived this morning.

In a few hours I'll 'saddle' up the Subaru and drive 2 1/2 hours to meet up with a cousin. Well, a cousin in law? She is married to one of my cousins. She and I are both Caregivers. She has done this many more years than I have and I thought a little break for the both of us would be nice.

We've been planning this since last October. I don't know Jeanette very well, but we've talked on the phone and emailed quite a bit over the past couple of years. I feel completely comfortable and slightly excited to be able to spend some time with her.

We will be exploring Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The last time I even drove through Eau Claire has to have been years ago. Okay, nearly 30 years ago!

I had to make new arrangements for 'Rich Care' but I got that worked out. I must say, it is wonderful to have good friends. I won't have to worry about Charlie, and the chores either!

Charlie is the ultimate 'porch' dog. He is content to sit on his little rug on the porch and watch the world go by. He watches birds, and listens for the neighbor kids. He can still see them through the leafless trees and underbrush when they are down in the pasture playing. He watches the mules.
In short, Charlie is in charge of his little domain. He needs his rug, a chew bone, and water.

If it is a nice day, he prefers to spend his time on the porch and not watching me do things. I agree with him. The porch is a perfect place to be.

Allison came to visit me yesterday after she got home from the Waldorf clothing swap. She got me a rabbit fur neck wrap and a funky 1930's style mink band with a bow and netting on it for a hat. She is a delightful young lady and we went searching for bugs and bird nests.
Then she showed me the butterfly wings she found at the swap.

And I could not resist making a composite.

So off I go.
I feel pretty good about this. The first time since May 2017 that I have left my husband in the care of others for a short time...
It feels weird.

 Virginia Bluebells emerging!

Delicate yellow crocus

Time to put on my adventure hat.