Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Afternoon break

After a morning of phone calls from Gundersen, emails to Rich's PCP doctor at the VA, and a visit to the nursing home along with PT for Rich, a heart monitor reading and lunch out....

We finally got home around 3pm.
Rich needed a nap.
I needed something, but wasn't sure what that something was. I think I needed a distraction of sorts from all the busy-ness, or busy mess, as I call it.

My neighbor came down with her daughter and we talked about scheduling our septic pumping/inspection for the same time and how each of our schedules were crazy busy. I suggested we shoot for a time that the guy could do both places at once and between the two of us, we'd manage to have at least one supervising 'adult' around.

As we walked back along the driveway, I asked Allie if she'd like to go looking for bugs.
After all the crazyness of the day, I felt like a break of sorts.

Off we went.

Armed with her pink net and bug box assortment, we headed off.

We found an alarming amount of Japanese Beetles everywhere. They were decimating the wild grapes along with some other plants that I'm not that fond of, like a burdock.
Allie captured several and put them in a vial. We noted that they 'pooped' a lot.

Allie thought there might be some interesting insects in between a row of field corn.

Actually we did find something interesting. Some Bug Drama. One insect eating another one.

I had my Olympus camera with me and the macro lens on it. I put it to good use. I can say that these insects were very very tiny!

We came through the short row of corn and found a fairly large area of milkweeds that were full of action.

The monarchs were too swift for me to catch a shot of. I'll have to go back in a field and sit still with a long lens for that.

We hiked the large hay field and Allie ran trying to scoop up insects with her net. She did get a couple of white moth like insects and it was a dual effort to get them into her 'bug' box.

Allie chatted the whole time about bugs. She loves insects.

I don't know how long we were out there walking around, but I do know that it was such a welcome break from all the other 'stuff' going on.

And I know we both enjoyed it. I got some wonderful macro photos and Allie got some neat insects for her collection.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

This n that

Self exercising critters.

Play time at dawn in the meadow.

No animals were injured during the early morning photo shoot.

Just fun and happiness with a dog and his goat.

Sven still thinks Charlie is his best ever pal.

I probably should clip the rest of the long hair of Sven, but I love the look he has right now.
It appears as though he is wearing knickers.

Those two played in the early morning light while I took some 'dew' drop photos.

And a Japanese Beetle and his shadow on a milkweed leaf.

 Lastly, a bit of artistic license with a Fleabane flower....


Rich has an upcoming surgery so we have some hoops to jump through to get it all done.  It will have to be done at the larger facility as Rich has a complicated Medical History.

The surgeon's PA left me a bit bothered with his know it all attitude and frustrations with the fact my husband is a veteran.
Obviously he has never been trained to deal with a veteran with PTSD. One of the reasons I do like the VA staff much better.
However this will be closer to home and so will all the follow up appointments along with the Physical Therapy that will have to be done.

So last night to ease stress levels a bit ... I went out and called out to the mules.

Good ol' Fred came up! He is retired, but insisted.
So we took a very slow and easy walk on the ridge.

I dismounted and walked the steep parts, but all in all, ...
the old boy surprised me!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Dixie crosses the bridge

Yesterday Dixie joined Morris. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  Charlie and I will miss the big lug something fierce.

I couldn't help myself yesterday other than to sit by her grave for a long time and watch the sun go down.

She was from champion blood lines for Raccoon Hunting and Bear Hunting. She never was a hunter. She was a lover. She'd fetch balls, hike, heel, sit, stay, and she behaved much like any gentle giant would. She never was growly or in a bad mood.

She was a great hiking pal who never tired and who was always by my side.

And she had the most amazing hound dog lips and ears.

Dixie. I am really going to miss you, but I hope you found Morris on the other side along with Badger and Cheyanne.
Wait for me.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Walk Beside me....

Don't walk behind me

I may not lead

Don't walk in front of me

I may not follow

Just walk beside me

And be my friend....

~~Albert Camus

Monday, July 22, 2019

Pride Rock? NO! Blackhawk Rock!

It had been a week of brutally hot weather and finally it had broken. I was so pleased.

Sunday loomed in front of me. I stood at Bridge M and watched the swallows light up the sunrise as they flitted about.

I decided then that I wasn't going to let this beautiful day with NO appointments go to waste.

I enjoyed the sunrise and headed home. I did laundry and hung out sheets while Rich slept. Swept the floors and picked up dog hair, tidied up the bathroom and then at 6:30 went for groceries.
When I got back....

I looked on FB and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve was asking for hikers to report back on certain trails. Well, well. I'd wanted to 'do' Blackhawk again in the summer and this seemed like a perfect excuse. I grabbed the large backpack and began to arrange it.
Hmm. What about Charlie? He'd been cooped up in the heat too. And I know he could do most of the 5+ miles of trail...but...did I want his distraction along? I decided that indeed I did.

When Rich woke up I told him that I was going hiking. He made a face. I pointed to this week's schedule where I was driving him to PT three times, to LaCrosse, to Onalaska, and to Madison. I finally said, "I deserve this."

And so.
My very willing little 'low rider' partner seemed rather happy to get out of the house too.
By the way, he no longer gets drooly, slobbery, or sick while riding. He just whines loudly every time I slow down as if to say..."Are we there yet?"

He waited patiently in the back of the 'Ru while I rearranged some items in my back pack and put the little IR camera in a pouch on my belt.

Indian Creek covered bridge:
Yes, I had the Infrared pocket camera

Kickapoo River in IR:

We took the long way and going through this meadow was nearly unbearably hot. I gave Charlie a lift for a good part of the way.

The meadow was full of beautiful wild flowers, insects, butterflies, and horrid Deer Flies. However we survived and got into the woods.

And we started climbing from the valley up the switchbacks.

Soon we were at the trail that led up to the rock.
It is easy to find and a section of it has a lot of growth on each side. I wasn't bothered by that at all.
I noted the poison ivy alongside the trail that was as tall as Charlie and was once again reminded why I hike in long pants and boots.

There is a group called Wisconsin Explorer that has done this trail and calls it difficult. I don't think it is, but then again I am used to difficult terrain.

We made it. To the top of Blackhawk Rock.

I grabbed the IR camera ... when I didn't mean to. But I caught the moment I think...when Charlie broke into the chant from the opening scene in The Lion King.

Okay. He didn't really. But it did come to mind.

The view is inspiring.

So we sat down and had some more water and doggy treats.

I knew the rest of the trail back towards where we'd started would be in deep woods.

Charlie DOES not like deer flies. Nope. After one bite he was climbing my legs to get a ride. I plucked a fern and stuck it in his harness to flap at the darned things. I carried a blown down branch of maple leaves to keep them off my head.

We made it out to the road and walked along County P.  There was a long stretch that had been covered by the Kickapoo River and it still had mud, gravel, and small branches on it.

People who are not from around here sorely underestimate how quickly the 'Poo rises in a torrential down pour.
We don't.

We live with the river and love/hate it.

Our adventure was a success.
Charlie did so well for such a little guy.

Taking him was a very good choice. I had someone to talk to.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Another lunch date

I sat down with MIL after greeting the 'gang' as I started to think of them. It is funny how I get concerned if one of them doesn't show up. In a nursing home, life tends to feel a bit tenuous.

MIL started out by saying "Hello! Where have you been?" I replied I had been there yesterday and she said "No." Then she looked around and said, "Oh, you were?"
No matter, that is how things progress for her. One day blends into another seamlessly.
On Sunday's visit she'd told me that she was rather upset with the staff and I'd asked her why.

Her explanation was rather intriguing.
"Well," she said glancing sideways, "you have to be a ..." she paused, "...a woman or a MAN to get anything around here! I mean nobody pays me any attention! If I have to go to the bathroom they tell me to use the bathroom in my room! Imagine that! I have to go to my room!"

I nodded, "So you have to be a man or a woman to get the staff's attention." I couldn't help but ask.
"YES, and if I want to go to a meal, they just tell me to go ahead! Nobody gives me a push or takes me there! I want to go home. You take me now."

I wanted to venture a guess that the staff was following doctor's orders... trying to see if she was capable to do things on her own, not being mean. But I just kept my mouth shut. As soon as it was time for her to go to lunch, I asked if she wanted to go.
She immediately said yes, and that I could push her. As I wheeled her to lunch she commented that I didn't drive as fast as most of the people who pushed her.

Monday lunch.
The usual characters.
Lisa was asleep at her end of the table. She kept waking up and dozing off. Then a staff member came in and took her Glucose Reading [away from the table]. Lisa woke up then and started to glance around. She left her lunch and backed up her wheel chair to move over towards John.
John was watching her and trying to negotiate spaghetti and meatballs with his one hand.
She kept inching closer, murmuring to John.

I watched and wondered again about Nursing Home romances. A staff member came up and asked Lisa to leave John alone and go eat her meal please.
My MIL was busy trying to cut up her meatballs. When another staff member put a glass of water, chocolate milk, and coffee in front of her she protested loudly.

"Take that water away! I don't drink water!"
The staff member smiled and said, "Honey, I have to give it to you, it is required."
MIL snorted and shoved the glass with the back of her hand and spilled water all over the table.

Joan perked up from her near slumber at that. "Oh, honey! Drink your water! It is so good for you!"
MIL pushed the glass again and made a face. She turned to me and said, "See? I don't get any attention!"
My usual method is to divert and change the subject when she gets a bit upset and it works pretty well.

I noted that MIL had her bright green jacket that she was sitting on. I inquired if it had been cold. MIL picked up the chocolate pudding and started to scoop it up.
"Yes, it was cold this morning! I had my housecoat on."

She stopped what she was doing and leaned towards me. I think she meant to whisper what she said next, but she didn't. She was actually quite loud. "I peed on it so they had to take it to the laundry and the nice girl got me this jacket out of the closet."
She smiled as if the peeing incident was something quite special and turned her attention back to the chocolate pudding.

I drank some of my bottled water.

Lisa spoke up from the end of the table.
"You know," she said, "my Brother In Law was afraid that I was going to steal his brother from him."

Most of us turned to Lisa.
"I don't know why he thought that," she continued, "he was my husband."

Joan shrugged, MIL ate her pudding, John opened his mouth in a silent laugh, and Lisa returned to eating, only to fall asleep at her spot.

Note: Visiting a nursing home where a loved one is, can and is rewarding. You have to have a grasp of what how to handle your loved one's illnesses are and learn how to deal with things like such as dementia. 
My visits are always rewarding. My MIL is always happy to see me and asks for hugs which I give freely. The other residents thank me for coming to see them at their noon meal.
Most importantly, I listen and don't judge. 
Interestingly enough, each table group is like a small social group. I am often reminded of my high school cafeteria, where all of the cliques sat together and chatted.
I actually look forward to each time I visit and have found that lunch time is the best time. Everyone is more alert.
If you have someone you love in a home. Go visit.
It will be rewarding to the both of you.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Insect hunting

Miss Allie, I call her.
The Insect Girl.

It isn't a bad thing or even an insult. How many young girls do you know that adore insects? Enough love for the insect to have 'pet' Madagascar Hissing Beetles in her room?
She has an insect display board in her room also.

Kudos to the parents for letting her pursue an unusual interest.

Here she is!
Allie and I made a date to go looking for 'Bugs' last night towards evening. We thought the stands of Milkweeds in the meadow would be a good place to start.

I have a LOT to learn about finding insects. I thought they'd be easier to find towards evening. Not.

Anyway off we went in the late evening heat to find bugs.

Allie the fearless, led the way. I loved her spiderweb dress, just perfect for insect hunting.  I know she really had her heart set on some Orb Spiders. But those insects will be in the meadow in a few weeks.
Last night we were looking for butterflies or anything I guess.

No bug too small!
Here Allie turns this tiny insect over to show me its legs and explain that she thinks it will grow up to be some sort of 'Leaf Insect'. Leaf hopper? I don't know!

I found a link that helps ID insects called Bug Finder. It is actually very helpful.

We found this red beetle on a milkweed. I was able to look it up and discover that it is a Red Milkweed Beetle with a long difficult scientific name. It is just fine to call it the Red Milkweed Beetle.

The milkweed had many bees on the flowers, but alas no Monarch eggs that we could find.

However, we did find some insect drama:

A Daddy Longlegs eating a bee?
We watched, fascinated.

The ants were very busy on some of the milkweed and not others.

I kept looking for 'good' shots of bees. I liked this one with the bees wings in motion!

Allie thought it would be good to go into my woods and hunt around.

She found a pile of deer bones...

Some went into her pink bag to go home with her.

Here Allie poses with some of the insects she caught. We headed home towards dusk.

My favorite shot of the whole outing? Aside from all the cool things we observed...

Here is Allie explaining to me what we might find on Milkweed plants and what we should be looking for.

I can only say this. I do know I was surprised by how much fun I really had. I was intrigued by the drama in the miniature world of insects.

My guide may have been young, but her enthusiasm rubs off on you.

We are going to try and do this again soon.
Thank you Miss Allie!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Something about pre dawn

Before the sun comes up.
I awaken.

This morning I poured a cup of coffee and warmed it up. I grabbed my camera bag and walked past the sleeping dog and went looking for morning colors.

I decided to visit the bridge on a hunch that the colors might just be fantastic.
The spot did not disappoint me at all.

I headed back and stopped on Riley road to 'shoot' the first burst of daylight.

I used my zoom lens to pull the sun towards me.
All I could think of is ...wow, this day will be hot!
Look at that sun!

I drove half a mile and realized that the sun would rise again in this spot. Bonus!
Two sunrises in 10 minutes!

I scooted home and caught up Mica. She is elderly, calm, and an excellent all around mule.
She has some breathing issues but I hoped to avoid them by riding her on easy terrain.

Hills? I walk and lead her. Flat? We can ride.

We went out to watch the fog lift from the low areas and inspect the rolled hay bales on the neighbor's cropland.

She is the tallest mule we have.
This morning she seemed to have a real issue with leaving home and her pals.

The woods were actually quite cool and comfortable compared to the open sunlight on the ridge.

On second thought, this is where we should have ridden instead of the new morning's blazing hot sun.

Live and learn.

Middays are just too hot right now to do much other than read a book or sit on the porch in the rocking chair with a fan on.

I can't wait for tomorrow's dawn.