Friday, May 31, 2019

Day Dream

Day Dream:
A series of pleasant thoughts
to distract one's attention from the present.

Sometimes on a dreary day, I can go and just find a place to walk around or sit on a rock and daydream. [Well, any day...really.]

My thoughts aren't earth shattering and generally they aren't even about anything important.
Yesterday I was in the valley and I just slowly walked along admiring moss and listening to the creek make noise and the birds sing.

I was surprised at how many birds I could now identify by song alone. I didn't need to see the bird to know which one was singing. It pleased me. I thought about my grandmother Pearl and how she always seemed to know exactly which bird was singing in the woods.

I found myself sitting at the edge of our property and gazing down into the water. My mind took in the shape of the rocks below and the soft silt that covered them. I listened to a Warbler, a Wren, and an Oriole.
And I day dreamed of nothing but just the noises and the feel of the forest and the creek.

I found tiny things that interested me and of course had to stop and take photos.

Little fungi in all sorts of stages, from start to finish.

 I just loved the way these had tipped and set up.
I'd photographed them a week ago when they
were just 

Coral Fungi. I don't recall seeing them 
this early in the year before, but maybe
I just haven't noticed.

Jacob's Ladder. 
so delicate looking.

Columbine. Wild and plentiful.
I never have been able to grow them
in my gardens.
So be it. 
I can find them in 
the woods.

So maybe I'll go back and do some more daydreaming. It's nice.

I think it is a good idea.

The Day Dreaming Pool

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Catching up busy...

Some infrared photos from this past week

This past week has been a busy one. Appointments at the VA and an appointment for the Subaru.
Struggling to mow the yard on the days when I won't float the mower.
Changing the oil and doing maintenance on the 4 wheeler, the zero turn mower, and working on the tiller. All jobs I that were deferred before to 'the boss'.

Thankfully, my neighbor was been kind enough to spend most of Sunday afternoon showing me how to go through these engines. I learned new terms.
Two cycle and 4 cycle engines. He even found an adjustment on my little mower and it mows better!

Now the yard is shaggy again, but I have my flowers all in and the flowers I wanted seeded...are seeded.
There are family 'things' going on but I choose not to address them on a public blog of course.

 The hill that we normally let the pony graze and keep trimmed. It has
been too wet for that this year. I 
had to hand mow it this last weekend. 
I think it looks nicer mowed than pony

 West side of the house. I have some very hardy
plants in here,
and I moved the hosta as it 
never does well in the heat
of the summer.
I added mulch to keep
the moisture in during 
the dry spells.
Not showy flowers, but some interesting
colorful herbs.
One day I may actually put a border
around the edge.

The innards of the 4 wheeler.
It was cutting out so we took it 
I think it should be okay after
all the work we did.

I put up a hummingbird feeder next to the east window in the eating area. The Hummers are plentiful. Today I'm going to grab an Oriole feeder and put it up as well. They are trying to get into the hummer's feeder and keep landing on the porch and singing to me.

They will only be around until late June, but I would like to enjoy seeing them close up. Besides Rich enjoys seeing them also.

I've been visiting my MIL in the Nursing Home and some days she is really not very with it. Her dementia has progressed or she is confused as she is in the 'home' for now. They ... the care team is considering returning her to her apartment with more help.
Two nurses stopped me yesterday to ask if I could help them come up with an idea to keep her feet up because of her edema.

Such the rebel. MIL puts her feet down as soon as PT/OT leaves the room or one of the nurses or aids. She needs to have them up so that the edema can be controlled. I guess she has trouble figuring out night and day also. 

All this is expected going forward with dementia and her kidney failure. MIL is rather unconcerned about anything other than getting back to her own bed.

On the days I visit, I always call home on my cell phone and let mother and son talk for a while.

I did take some time for myself yesterday and managed to take a nice quiet walk in the dreary weather. I even found more morels!

I'm looking forward to a few more fun things coming up at the end of the month....

Friday, May 24, 2019

Yards and Gardens, Goat, Dog, Pony

I got the yard mowed again before I had to put pontoons on the mower! Well, I got most of the yard mowed. I left a section for the pony to clean up and did some manure raking by hand.
I couldn't mow the hill by the shed as it is steep and was still wet under the grass.

But my supervisors watched me carefully.

Charlie and Sven tied out so they can enjoy sunbathing 
If Sven sees Charlie in the yard, he cries and Charlie
runs to be with him.

Charlie doesn't really need to be tied when he is with his Goatie friend. But since I had a huge mower out, it was a safety thing.

I have been calling Sven 'Goatie Goat' and he seems to not mind. I refer to Lil Richard as Pony and he doesn't mind. Charlie gives me a look when I call him Dog.

Later, my supervisors were bored...

An old picnic table top
serves as a place to

Lil' Richard was in his area cleaning up around the machinery and the old Jeep which has finally been sold. I'll move him and then rake out the manure there. The next trouble spot are two places I can't mow. I could weed wack it. But I'll wack down the weeds he doesn't eat..

The mules moved to what will eventually... I hope, be a picnic area overlooking the ridge to the north. I just love to sit under the big old Box Elder and enjoy the view.

After my mowing and whacking, I decided to plant some flowers. I'd gotten marigolds for the right half of the porch and planted seeds on the left side with a mix of cosmos, zinnias, and sunflowers. Some of the sunflowers reseeded themselves so I will move them around when they are big enough.

I tried something different this year.

I picked up the logs from a tree that was cut down last year. It was hollow and I thought it would be fun to try planting stuff in them. I moved other logs to the Morris Garden to be used as holders for my pails with plants. It is fun to try and get a bit creative with plants and planters. 

I have one spot under the kitchen window that may need more color this summer. I may transfer some seedlings or pick up some more Marigolds. I never liked marigolds as a kid, but now they are fun and I love their late summer hues.

My bleeding hearts are doing well and as they fade out, the iris's will shoot up with purple. As the iris flowers fade, the Blazing Glories will burst into color.
After that the zinnias should show up along with the 4 oclocks.

I don't know that I will do a veggie garden this year. Seems I have a lot of vegetables left over from the abundant garden of last year. I still need to string the electric wire down by the creek. 

At least I am not running out of things to do.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hope Glimmers

Sometimes things look slightly better with a glimmer of hope.

You know dreary days can be SO darned dreary! We've had endless bouts of gloomy and rainy cold days mixed with wonderful warm days. Those days involve me trying to mow the areas I can without floating the lawn mower.

So that leaves out the hills as the ground under the grass is so saturated I'd leave brown tracks. Hmmm. I may have to wait on the lane for the land to dry out. By that time the grass should be at least knee high.
But wait!

I know Sven can't keep up with it, and Lil' Richard is doing his best around the old tractor and vehicles...
So I may wait until the lane is nice and dry and let the mules in to clean it up all at once. Then I just need to spread the manure they leave behind.

Problem solved!
I may have to do that to the hill in front of the shed too. That will be a bit more difficult to organize, but since I am so good at temporary fencing, I just may do it.

May is proving to be interesting. I've really had good luck on the warm afternoons hunting morel mushrooms. I will probably go out this afternoon with my electric fence roll and string one line and then since I will be at the creek...I will do a quick hunt before walking back up to the house.

I know where there were some very tiny morels on Saturday, so I'd like to go back and see if they grew.
So far I've had plenty to eat and I've dried a lot for soups and stews this winter.

Rich's depression has lifted quite a bit with the help of Dr. S.
We saw Dr. S yesterday and he said the difference was night and day. The Gnarly Witty and sometimes bizarre husband of mine was bantering with his psych doctor.
Rich's Pulmonary Function Test was no surprise.
Severe COPD.
Now we didn't get the official numbers but as Jim the Pulmonary Therapist who evaluated him last week said, some Pulmonary Therapy and better Oxygen delivery would make him physically feel better.

Community Care from the VA just called to make arrangements locally for PT for Rich. We know that Rich will never get rid of his oxygen tether and that for traveling he will need a constant flow rather than the pulse flow he has now. At home he is on a constant flow.
The 02 metering may have to go up too, but...they want to see if PT helps first.

The biggest hurdle will be getting some strength back.

But never mind that. The thought of Pulmonary Therapy gave Rich a glimmer of hope and a small sparkle in his eye. I knew it.
I knew that without lifting some depression that nothing would make him see hope.
We all know the end game of life. But if there is a small chance of still enjoying is worth the trip.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

All sorts of news

Do you hear the presses running?
What a wild week I had.

Okay, it wasn't really wild, but it was a very productive week.
The rains have kept coming but on Thursday I did get out after 3/4 of an inch of rain and I found so many Morels.


We saw a Pulmonary Therapist on Friday. Rich hadn't wanted to go but we thought we'd follow through and see what he had to say.

The results of the Pulmonary Test that Rich had on Monday were available to the Therapist. He asked a lot of questions and then pulled up the test results. He asked Rich if he wanted to know his numbers. Rich sort of just looked at him.

Jim [the therapist] made a quick mental note and then said, "Do you really want to know? Hmm, maybe not."
Rich responded. "Look, I am dying anyway. I just want to be more comfortable. Numbers don't mean a thing."

Jim nodded. "Fair enough."
Next came some testing of physical abilities. Rich had to walk towards a wall and back. Then it was a two minute walk while carrying his pulse travel oxygen.
When he got back, he dropped into a chair and Jim took his 02 levels.

I'm going to skip the technical stuff and skip to the discussion that Jim had with Rich. He told Rich he was remarkably strong for 'his' condition and he thought that some Pulmonary Therapy would not only help his moods but help him to be able to get outside.
He was going to suggest a continuous airflow and not the pulse air for when/if he felt like going outside. He was straight forward. Rich was never going to get 'off' oxygen, but there might be things to make him feel a bit more alive.

Would he be open to Community based Pulmonary Therapy? It would help bring back his leg strength and help him feel more confident. Rich said he would but he didn't see where he'd be out ...doing things like he used to.

Jim chuckled and said he knew guys that had their continuous air flows 02 mounted on their Harley motorcycles.
His script for airflow may have to be upped.

So the good news is Rich will do PT locally if it gets approved. He will try it. I say it is helpful for him to get out of the house anyway. AND if he can enjoy anything at all outside that would be a bonus.

His good mood carried over through the weekend with our Kenosha Gang visitors. I took them to hunt Morels and we spent a good part of the day in the woods with our dogs. I loved the shouts of joy when they found those little beauties.

The rain held off early in the morning and then quit just about the time we were ready to hit the woods.

My last note.
I really don't know how to thank my good friends for all of their help with my 'to do' list.
The orange panels are moved. A pen was put up. The A/C is set for the season. The Jeep was aired up and started.
Old stakes were pulled up. Old Dog houses moved, log chunks were moved...the 4 Wheeler got an oil change....

These were all things I could have done myself over a period of time, however it was nice to have the extra hands.

Charlie however was totally wiped out from all the running around.
After all, supervising is such hard work...

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Just this and that...

I've been hunting Morels like a mad woman.
Well, that and mowing the yard, trimming with the little mower and using the pony and goat for those impossible areas to get to.

Sven is in this photo near the light colored mule on the outside of the fence. He is trimming what I couldn't get with the mower.

I've been going to see MIL in the nursing home. She is sure that she is going home the very next day. She is fairly non compliant with the things she needs to do for her leg edema which is getting worse as her legs are starting to leak.

Our visits have been good, but it just means I need to pack more into the latter parts of the day.

Rich has been okay sort of. He is maintaining an slightly better attitude. I feel badly because I am running around like a mad woman outside doing as much maintenance as I can to catch up on these dry days.

This includes taking Charlie and Sven on Morel Hunts.

In two days I've gotten enough for two meals and have dehydrated some for use this winter.

I have been crazy busy this week.
But spring is quickly changing the woods...

And I have to remember to stop and take a breather and enjoy it once in a while....

I'm off and running again...

Monday, May 13, 2019

Charlie Charlie ... The Chicken

I thought I'd go visit my MIL in the nursing home early Sunday. I gave Charlie a bath and took him along.

I brought puzzle books and a card. I tucked Charlie under my arm as I made my way down the hallways. I was stopped my nearly everyone. Housekeeping, nurses, staff, and residents who wanted to see the 'puppy'. Charlie wagged his tail and loved all the petting.

We finally made it to MIL's room and Charlie greeted her with happy wags as she reached down to pet him. He eventually made it to her lap and laid down.

As MIL complained about the terrible beds, the boredom, and how 'nothing' was happening, her hands kept stroking Charlie's coat.
I've also learned with Alzheimer's that you just go with the flow. She told me repeats of the past few events and I listened. No matter that we'd had this conversation before. Her time line and my time line of events are different and that is okay, we still had a very nice visit.
She told me she was going home the next time she saw a doctor. She wanted to go home and sit in her chair and not be bothered and she wanted very strong pain pills.
I reminded her that he kidneys were so frail that they couldn't handle strong pain pills. She made a face and then I decided I should keep my mouth shut and let the pros handle it.

All the time, she just unconsciously pet Charlie and soon Charlie's eyes were droopy. The only time he looked concerned is when he could hear someone coming down the hallway.

When the visit was over I let Charlie walk down the hall on his leash. He is so low to the ground and has such a funny gate. However, he walked as if he owned the place.
Some housekeeping gals asked if the could pet him. Charlie walked up and sat by their feet while they rubbed his ears and talked to him. His tail swished and he sat still.
At the nurse's station, the gals came out and had to see Charlie. Then the residents in wheelchairs saw him and the crowd began to merge in on us. Charlie walked from one resident to another and sat at their feet if they put their hand down or spoke to him.

One lady insisted he was a Chicken. Well why not? Let Charlie be a Chicken. Ever person smiled. Frail shaking hands gently touched Charlie and Charlie just sat quietly.

How old is he? Asked a nurse.
Just over a year.

Please bring him back again.

We got through the group of residents and started down the hall. Charlie peered into each room to see if there was someone in it. I was told that Charlie could visit if they asked him in.
Funny that he'd pause for a bit at each resident's door and watch them, then move slowly on to the next.

Last stop was outside the lunchroom. More workers came out and all wanted to say hi. Charlie sat and seemed to relish the attention. He didn't wiggle, he didn't whine, he didn't bark. He just was like Charlie Zen.

I've concluded that Charlie has an old soul and really can tell things about people. When he meets most folks he is bubbly and excited but calms down quickly.

He seemed to know that all these folks wanted was to touch him and he seemed content and quiet.
On the ride home, he curled up in his car seat and slept.

Charlie, Chuckie, Charlie, Chicken, Puppy, Doggy, ... whatever name he goes by...he is really something special.

Someone said that Morris must have brought him into our lives.
I wonder....

Saturday, May 11, 2019

So why do you CrossFit?

So the title is not really proper. I know that CrossFit is not a verb, but it has changed so much for me.

Let me be frank. Last year on my 62nd birthday I started to feel a bit fluffy around the middle. Others might not have noticed it, but I did.

The idea of 'going to the gym' was already in my head but ... that was for later, when I had time.

Sure. When does one get that time?? I certainly was too busy for that time. I struggled through replacing some fencing that had to be re-done after the Bulldozer guy came through and knocked down two dead ash trees.

I only had 5 posts to pound back into the ground, but I struggled after each one and had to rest. After two posts were driven into the ground I had to quit for another day. It took me 3 days to pound 5 posts into the ground. I was surely a super wimp.

The post pounder that my husband made doesn't have handles. It is a heavy metal tube with an end on it. He made two of them. Last summer I used the lighter one because it was almost too difficult to lift the pounder over the T-post.

Last week I pulled 10 t-posts out of the ground and reset them.

I literally pounded my way across the top of the creek. 10 posts in no time flat and I wasn't out of breath nor was I fatigued.
I couldn't have done that a year ago.

My hand strength....

My osteoarthritis in my thumb joints and fingers had rendered my hands weak and tender. Some mornings it was hard just to make coffee.

I had some concern with this when I started doing CrossFit.

I told the coaches about my hand issues and they found some modifications for me to do.

I've done modified push ups, pull ups, I've lifted weighted bars and sometimes my hands ache after a work out. However not too long ago, I accomplished a hand stand against the wall. I hadn't been able to do anything like that in years!

I went from not being able to turn a door knob easily to...

Being able to repair a barbed wire fence by cutting it and making loops with MY hands.
Something else I couldn't do a year ago.
As I bent the wire and twisted it ...with nice thick gloves ... I thought about how many times I'd grabbed something and grimaced. I know I am hesitant about my hands but the our coach looks at me, smiles and says *Lubricate those joints!*

I have to say I was pretty damned pleased with myself.

Am I happy?
You bet I am.
Oh these hands still ache like crazy some days. But I'm no quitter.

For *CrossFit-ing* has made a huge difference in this 'ol' lady's life.

I'm thinking about getting that post hole digger out and finally putting up ta new tie rail for the mules next to the outhouse.

I thank all my coaches and workout friends for all of their encouragement.
And my son for his encouragement.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Don't look it up!

But we can't help it can we?
Google your symptoms and you will know what is wrong with you.


True story.

Many years ago my [then] father in law proudly handed me a book and told me that it 'told' him what was wrong with him so he could tell his doctor.

Think of it as pre Google or pre WebMD.
You could look up your symptoms and the book would tell you what could be wrong with you.
It was a perfect book for Hypochondriacs.

At the time I was having some pain and cramps and was a bit under the weather. I reached over our coffee cups and paged through the symptoms.
My father in law eagerly watched as I studied the book.

What did you find? He asked me.

I looked up at him and deadpanned:
I'm either going to give birth or I am going to have my period.

He snatched the book away from me and wouldn't let me look at it anymore.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Best of Friends

Life can be rough...

It has challenges that are seemingly are insurmountable.

Things get lonely and you feel that no one is at your side.
Depression works that way.
The path of the future is not clear and you have no idea how to approach the obstacles.

You don't always know where to turn for help or even if you can be helped.
And you sometimes you just need for someone to sit by your side.

That's all,
no more,
no less.

Just for them to be there when you need them...

They don't judge, they don't turn away.
They just are there for you in
every way.

"Thank you Rabbit," says Bear.
"You are welcome," replies Rabbit, "always...welcome."

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Goat Photo Bomber...

I was testing out a feature called *in camera HDR*. I put the camera on a tripod and set it up.
Sven managed to dart into the photo on one of the shots.

Now that the forest floor is springing to life, Sven is in goat heaven on our walks.
He nibbles and catches up. Today he learned a bit about soft creek banks as the dirt collapsed under him and he rode a pile of dirt and rocks down the ravine.

He shook his head and soldiered on.
Charlie kept a sharp eye on him.

We have been extremely wet this year. So wet in fact that when the township graded the road on the ridge -- they do this to fill the pot holes in with loose gravel -- ...and then it rained and rained more...
When I went to town yesterday, imagine my surprise when I turned off our little dead end road and suddenly felt like I was in a road rally with slushy mushy gravel mud conditions. The Subaru handled it but it weaved and wobbled and bobbed side to side all the way out to the black top. The vehicle is now mud colored and no longer blue....

Anyway back to the goat adventure. Sven was ecstatic about being out with us and ran up and down the trail doing goatie things like bouncing, running, leaping, and doing sideways jumps. He even got exuberant enough to come up to me and try a head butt. His head met my stick and he decided not to mess with me.

He stopped often to nibble and experiment on different flavors that the woods offered.

I can see where goats would be incredible for cleaning up forests. They will eat the unwanted plants. My Dexters did the same thing however they left larger poo piles.

Donkeys did much of the same thing, but they and the Dexters cost much more to feed in the winter time.

We had an excellent walk about the land. I went into different sections of my property that I don't normally get to because by mid summer it is just too overgrown.

These were pretty neat and very different than the other ferns on our land. I think they may be Cinnamon Ferns. Not sure, but now that I know where they are I can make my way back to see them as they unfold.
Sven didn't eat them.

However, as I knelt to take some shots of Anemones ...

And then sat back to adjust my settings...

A curious goat walked up and stared at me then proceeded to eat all of the blossoms of this plant. I swear he winked at me as I moaned to him.

Later on I set up the tripod at the creek. Charlie wandered around and then sat on a rock next to me.

I set this shot up and took a few versions of it.

Next thing I know, I feel the gloves being pulled out of my pocket. Sven. He then reaches over and starts to nibble on the camera strap.

He was unimpressed and very goat-like. I bonked him on the nose and he just shook his head.

I can say this. I am having fun with both Charlie and Sven and going on our walks. It sure kept my mood upbeat on a dull dreary day. I started my day with CrossFit learning a new skill and got to enjoy time out in the woods.
Even IF I had a Goat Photo Bomber/Pest along.

Friday is a new adventure. I'm going to be a *guide* for another photographer and take him to a few different spots so he can enjoy what our area has to offer.

Today? Off to the VA after CrossFit this morning....