Monday, September 30, 2019

DIY fall wall hanging

I saw something on YouTube that was suggested by another person and I browsed some DIY decoration ideas.

I found one that was perfect for a rainy day and since I had all of the materials, I thought I'd try it myself.

Note...I am NOT a painter. I am not really an expert at all, so here was my 'go' at the project.
It would have looked better if I'd had a stick or stencil to make the 'pot' for the flowers.


I made a brown backround. And blue looking sky.

 Then my not so great attempt at making a pot for my fall flowers.

So I added some color just because...

So now that I am feeling like an awkward kid again, I decided to go to the next step. Really, I was going to toss this out but decided to follow it through.

Cut an opening in the canvas. This is a framed canvas so it worked for this project.

Stick flowers into the cut and arrange.

Hang on the wall and move the flowers around.

I forgot to show the step where you hot glue the stems on the back of the canvas...

When it is surrounded by other photos and a wreath, it actually looks pretty decent on the wall and really adds some 'fall' color.

I was going to toss it, but it grew a bit on me. And I'm thinking of how to decoupage some fall leaves on a canvas and do the same sort of thing with a Christmas and Thanksgiving theme. Sort of adds dimension to a wall hanging.

Um...what I saw and what I wanted to do are far is a shot of one done expertly.

And...I can't find the link to the DIY video I watched but you can figure this out yourself.

I like mine mainly because I did it. Now to have some fun with some more ideas when November comes around and it is just plain icky and dull outside.

I may even try something different tomorrow as it is supposed to rain buckets and we have up to 3" of rain forecast.
We do not need it.
If it spits outside, it will flash flood.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Doggone Good Day

Basil is my neighbor's dog.

She is a cutie!

I forget exactly what she is ... perhaps Shitsu and ...? Um, I forget. All I know is that she has hair and doesn't shed like Charlie.
However her 'hair' gathers burrs while Charlie's shedding gloss hound dog coat doesn't.

The two of them absolutely have the best time together, no matter what.

I'd offered to take Basil out when the neighbors are gone for the day. It serves as a great way to exercise both dogs at the same time. Both end up happy and content at the end of the day.

Here is a short video I took and compiled together of them....

My newer Olympus 'cheap' camera takes videos in a resolution that is fantastic if you want it played in slow motion. If this was regular speed you wouldn't see the expressions on Basil and Charlie's faces as they played.
They play rough, but never hurt each other.

We did some exploring...

When 'in the wilds' I kept Basil on a line. She has been very good for me on a recall, but finds deer trails a bit too tempting. We found a trail that I've used along with deer for years that the 4 wheelers have now expanded.
Looks like a nice one to ride mules on!

Both dogs were a bit more subdued when we headed up our trail for home.

And sunbathing and sleeping took over when we got to the porch.

And...the day was a doggone

Saturday, September 28, 2019


Early mornings are my best times.

This morning I went out and started to 'dead' head the marigolds to keep them blossoming. I picked seeds from the 4 o'clocks and zinnias to have for next year. I clipped most of the yellow cosmos and had gathered enough of their seeds to plant an acre of them.

I nearly put my hand over a bumble bee when plucking marigolds. So I went in and grabbed my camera.

The early morning sunlight highlighted the Bumble! After I downloaded the photos, I noticed the little beetle below the Bumble.

I slowly walked around and looked at the flowers more carefully.

If I am right this butterfly is called a Skipper? I don't know but it was cool. The Skipper stayed there for quite a while and I was able to try more than one angle.

I moved around to the front of the porch and found this interesting tiny bee below a tiny orange marigold.

It was dead, probably killed by a spider?
Hanging by a mere thread.

Bug Drama.

I dig insects.
Monday I have to dive back into the billing saga of the utterly discombobulated way the Gundersen and the VA work or don't work together.

Neither entity it seems wants to actually pick up the phone and make real communications.
Gundersen won't recognize disabled veterans right to have emergencies billed to the VA per CMS guidelines. Won't? Can't?
The VA keeps asking for proper billing and paperwork or notes.

And Gundersen just told me last month to just pay them and then I could talk with the VA.

Someone at Gundersen doens't know very well how to handle veteran claims when the veteran is admitted in an emergency. As the gal in billing said, "It is awful hard to do unless we have an authorization number!"
Amazing comment coming from someone who handles billings for such a large health care system.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Charlie takes the Dahl Subaru Dealership by Storm

When I made the appointment on line for an oil change and tire rotation for the car at Dahl Subaru, there was a note saying that they had a mini dog park for those owners who wished to bring their canine friends with them to the service center.

I thought it would be a good trip for Charlie to try out. It was a busy city area and there would be plenty of people to see. The drive would be a bit longer than he was used to and I'd see if he had indeed gotten over his car sickness issues.

Well here is proof positive that Charlie does like car rides now. He makes sure that I am going in the proper direction from the safety of his home made car seat. He can peer out the windows but not jump out as he is held in by his harness. When he tires of watching the road, he curls up and either keeps an eye on me, or naps.

When we got to the dealership, Jason walked up to take my name and melted when he saw Charlie.
"I love him! Look at those little legs!"

I signed the paperwork to authorize the work on the vehicle and then Jason walked me to the 'dog park' or mini playground they had built attached to the dealership. Jason offered to get some fresh water for Charlie. I told him we carried his little bowl and water in my back pack.

On the way through the showroom we were stopped several times so people could meet Charlie. A couple that were inspecting a CrossTrek stopped me to show me photos of the brown daschund, and to pet Charlie of course.

Alex who has sold us two Subaru's came out to visit for a bit. He pulled out his smartphone and showed me photos of his daughter with their part daschund dog!

Another fellow stopped after parking some new vehicles and visited Charlie through the fence. A lady pushed her baby carriage up to the fence so her daughter could see Charlie.

One of the secretaries came out.
"Can I get your dog some fresh water?"
"Can I pet your dog?"

Charlie was totally engrossed by all the other dog smells. But each human deserved his personal greeting.

When the Jason from Service came back to tell me the vehicle was done, he opened the door and Charlie ran to him.

I told Jason to watch it, Charlie would slip around him and go visit everyone in the showroom and offices if he let him through.

Jason and the secretary shrugged and said, "They would love that!"
I put Charlie on his leash and he began his perp walk to the service area.

Along the way other salespeople and managers all stepped out to say hello to Charlie.
And Charlie? He just walked along as if he owned the place.

As I paid for the service at the desk, another customer walked up and asked if he could pet Charlie.

We walked to the car and Charlie looked up at me as if to say.
"Why are we leaving? There were so many nice humans in there! Let's go back!"

Charlie slept most of the way home.

I think the vote is finally in. Charlie is good for longer car rides and behaves well in strange places.

He is a keeper.
Last note. I continue to go to this dealership because of their outstanding customer service and their employees.

Last year I'd take my husband's truck to a dealership close to home and the difference is glaring. I will never return to the one close to home for anything.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Little get away

Last week it was Duck Egg for a quick get away.  Tuesday afternoon I used Rich's nap time to do some errands and ended up at Jersey Valley.

I had spent Monday after appointments mowing the 'hill' with the push mower. The grass hadn't been cut since I'd injured my ribs. Tuesday morning I'd mowed the bulk of the yard.
I ran the errands.
And then for whatever the reason, the Subaru drove to Jersey Valley. I got out and walked over to look at the lake and see if any of the trees had started to turn.

Here is a shot of the man made lake. You can see that the water level is at least 10 feet or so below what it used to be.

Here is the pavilion for picnics and what to the playground and above what used to be the beach area. Infrared!

If one turns around from facing the picnic area, you can see where the wing dam was breached by the flood waters last year.

I cannot even begin to imagine the volume of water that caused this, however there was a farmer that had a drone that did take footage of the water just after it happened. 

If you would like to watch it ... it is here:
Jersey Dam Failure

There is drone footage from before and after the storm.

Looking down from the picnic area towards the wing dam area.

...and from mid way down the rock slope...

This part of Jersey Valley is worth exploring now. The bedrock is exposed, there is a new tiny stream that flows from the lake ... and the rocks are a rockhound's dream come true.

I found a cool root to add to my collection of stick and roots.

I found gobs of neat and unusual rocks too.

I followed the new little stream which seems to be the new main attraction at JV.

This is where I found the tiny waterfalls. There actually are several along the way, but this one is about 3 feet tall and empties into a rock pool.

At this angle the pavillion doesn't look as high up as it really is and things are pretty deceptive looking. Only those with good balance and goat like skills should climb up and down the hill. Lots of loose stuff to trip you up.
Walking in the boulder field would be a challenge to those with weak ankles.

However, it is worth the hike to see some of the sights.

Like I said, the place is interesting!

If you take the time to look around, you find odd things, neat rocks, and unexpected things.

Jersey Valley, September 27th 2015.

I quickly wrapped up my quick little get away and headed back home.

After all, I had some more work to be done.
I'm finding that if I break my work up into two hour increments with a 'choice time' each day, I am a lot more efficient at getting things done.

My choice time can involve a nap, reading, walking, hiking, or visiting a close by county park.

I call them my little mental get aways.

This along with my return to CrossFit has been a good thing.

Now for my next project.
Cleaning the...shed...

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Duck Egg

Color shots from Duck Egg County Park. This park is open to Equine and Hikers and in the winter time it is a great snow shoeing destination for those hikers that want to challenge themselves with the hills and the Bad Axe River.
We rode here more than once with our mules and I used a GPS device and we clocked out 9 miles of trails

This was just part of the main trail of lower Duck Egg. The Springville Branch of the Bad Axe River runs through it.

Charlie made friends with some trout fisherman. I doubt Charlie could ever 'not' make friends.

I took a few Infrared shots too. But I'll look at them later.

I had a busy weekend. College girls dropped in...not even kids from my own family...
more about that later!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Focus Stacking

I like to shoot small things with the camera. One of my frustrations is the fact that if I shoot an insect with the macro lens, I generally only get a portion of the 'bug' because of the limitations of the camera's focus ability.

Here is an example.

An Imperial Moth Caterpillar on my Flickr page:

Just the face of the insect.

Live shots are a challenge to get right.

However, a nice full shot of something like a mushroom would look so much nicer if the full mushroom were in focus.

The bunch was too much for a proper focus. So I got out my mini tripod and focused on each of the little buggers and then tried to put it all together in a photo program.
I failed.

So I finally decided to try a focus stacking program. I have 30 days to decide if this is something I like.

Helicon Soft is the name of the program.

Here is a shot from two days before that I'd failed miserably on a manual focus 'stack'.
This was run through Helicon.

...Oh by the way, these have been Identified as Common Puffballs also known as Gem Studded Puffballs...

4 images stacked:

Then two days later:

The details came out amazing! 
I found that I can go into manual focus and my camera has a manual focus assist which turns things red to tell you what parts are in focus.

So yesterday, I started to experiment.

I didn't find cool fungi as I was hiking new trails and just enjoying the scenery... but I wondered how much depth I could get if I stacked a landscape scene.
Unstacked, one shot:

It is nice and it would have pleased me just fine. I could have shot with an infinity type setting and would have probably been satisfied. But I wanted to see how stacking...stacked up.

4 stacked shots at different focal lengths:

Oh...I liked it!

Here is another one. Not focus stacked:

So I really loved this spot but wanted the viewer to feel the whole breadth of the place....

So I stacked it from front to back. I wanted the forest in the back to be in focus.

This one gives me a feeling of actually being in there... the immense forest and the small me.

I tried other items like some rocks and a flower seed head. There was no amazing before and after, just clarity which was nice.

But there you go. My experiment in focus stacking with Helicon Soft and manual focus.

Yes I keep experimenting with my camera and photography, it is what gives me some mental breaks from the other things going on in our lives.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Interesting questions while selling on FB marketplace

This is a 'dog box' used by raccoon hunters, coyote hunters, bear, and pig hunters to haul their dogs to hunts.
We used to hunt raccoons together years ago. It was probably my favorite thing to do with my husband. Hunt at night, follow a dog into the dark woods and see if the raccoon outwitted the hound.
Hide and Seek.

I posted our box to Facebook Marketplace
Here are the questions I've been fielding like crazy...and the answers I wish I could just tell those asking...

Questions: Will it fit in my truck?
Gee, I don't know what kind of truck you have!
I then posted measurements.

Can you put 4 dogs in it?
Gee, if you have Chihuahuas you can put as many as you like in it!

I'm far away, can I ask my girlfriend to pay for it?
Gee, hmmm. Um. That doesn't even sound like idea!

Can you save it for me for a couple of weeks? I'm on vacation.
No, I posted it to get IT out of my yard.

I'm far away can you bring it to me?
No, I said For Sale: You pick up. 

Can you fit big dogs in it?
Never tried a St. Bernard.

Can I pick it up and try it?
What? Do you think I am stupid?

I want it. Can you take a lot less?
Um, gee, I already priced it to sell.

And really, the questions just keep coming.
I do hope that the person who actually made an appointment and didn't ask me to run out and measure everything twice, and take photos inside the box along with some other weird stuff...takes it tomorrow.

One more thing out of the yard and $ in my pocket.
What an enlightening experience.

Mushroom ID?

I wish I had a really good book on fungi and mushrooms. But I don't.

September is a neat time of the year to explore the woods in this area. We have misty foggy mornings and it produces neat mushroom/fungi, in the woods.

The morning light filters down through the leaves of the Hickory tree in our front yard. Sundance and Sunshine were waiting for me to come out. They were looking for hay but I transferred them to another pasture where there is a small growth of grass.

They will make quick work of this grass and eat the tastiest parts first.

It will be all 'hay' soon.

Sunday I ran across some neat fungi/mushrooms while hiking with my friends.

I have no idea what they are, only that they were very cool.

Gilled mushroom on a log near the creek. A great place for these little buggers to grow.

Not far from there some more stacked on a log. They are different I ... think. But I should go back and see what they look like after 3 days.

Now these were found on Sunday...

They were not on a log but perhaps growing from the roots of a tree nearby?
There were many growing around some singular and some grouped.

I thought their textures were really neat.

So I went back on Tuesday to see how they shaped up.

I found the single one, however it had been stepped on. I found the little group and was really surprised.
They were hard to spot and changed colors and shape.

And what the heck....

Who doesn't like a bit of slime fungi?

That's it for today. I hope to go out this afternoon and search the woods for some more exciting fungi.

PT for Rich, finish a spot of hand mowing, and get some groceries. I wonder if I'll be able to fit in some wood exploration.
I sure hope so.

September is an exciting time for the fungi in the woods. Soon I can hunt for the huge puffballs.

I'd like to get out and find some. I'm going to try some focus stacking for better and clearer photos of small objects.