Friday, July 31, 2020

Oh the Mask Thing!

This photo was taken last February during one 
of those wicked cold spells. 
I was going for a walk. 
I did not have trouble breathing, 
I did not have any issues at all.

Let's begin with the news ...

The Mask Mandate has been issued by our Wisconsin Governor. 

It didn't take very long before Facebook locals began copying and pasting anti mask movement memes and snippets.

My question is, IF you are so against protecting others and have reasons, don't use a meme, don't copy and past.
Write it out in words, make others understand how hard it is to wear a your not wearing one makes sense. 
I want to know.

Is it hard to breathe if you have asthma? Rich has severe COPD. He wears a mask, he has gotten used to it after those first times of wearing it and feeling uncomfortable.
And guess what?
He can even fit a nose cannula under it! Yup.
But perhaps there is a good reason and I am all for that.
If a person is so health compromised that they cannot wear a mask, what can we do instead?
Wear a bandanna?

My Grandson visiting on 4th of July
the bandanna enables him to
chat and even
look like a little villan!

Is it against your religion? 
Is it against your morals?
Is it too difficult to remember to wear one?

What rights are being infringed upon?

are people retaliating against someone telling us what to do?

But wait. Here is another issue being tossed around. 
This virus is a hoax. Only a few people die from it.

And you know what? 
My answer to that is simple.

I guess it doesn't matter unless you or someone close to you dies from Covid-19.
Or gets very ill.

I can remember the time when I went somewhere and a friend would tell me that they couldn't meet up with me because they had a cold and didn't want to spread it.

Yup. Remember when we were considerate to each other?

This mask thing? It is no different.
Because truly each person walking around near another does not necessarily know if they have this virus.

I'm not going to yell or try to shame people into wearing a mask, or following a mandate.
But I am going to follow all reasonable steps to try and keep Covid-19 out of our house.

The other night I awakened with a heart pounding start.
What would my life feel like without my husband?
What happens if I die from this? Who takes care of him?
The animals?

And then as I watched the sun rise this morning and thought about life and death...I realized that when I die, how I will only be a blip on the tiny radar of life.

I think I'll put a mask on and do my shopping for the next two weeks. 

This winter could be long.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

All in a day

It started out on a whim before dawn. I don't even know why I decided to just grab my Nikon and head up the hill. I expected to be disappointed because it looked like the clouds were going to fill up the sky and we would have a dreary morning.

The surprise wasn't the pretty colors in the east, it was the stunning colors emerging in the south and west.

I stood there for a long time taking photos as the colors and hues kept changing.

And when I got home just before 6, the day was starting. I watered and checked the mules. Moved Lil' Richard and Sven to some nice grazing spots, and came inside to check on Charlie and Rich.

Both were sound asleep so I picked green beans as the sun peeked over the tree tops. I got soaked with the morning dew but had a pretty good haul of green and yellow beans. I found some ripe tomatoes, pulled most of the onions, and sat on the porch to wash everything and prep it.

I got an email from my CrossFit Coach telling me that my WOD [workout of the day] was a 5K! Now understand, many of my workout friends can't run due to needing a new hip, a new knee, or even other assorted issues. We are not all Olympic athletes. So a cardio workout is taylored for them. They get to ride a stationary bike or use a rower. 
I'm not going back into a gym situation at this time. I am still Virtual.
I was so tickled to have an ALL run/jog workout, that I stopped everything I was doing and changed to go run.

I had to take my smart phone as I'd never really measured out what 3.1 miles would be if I ran it on foot! 
And I ran it. Well, perhaps I looked like an old lady shuffling down a gravel road. However I felt like I was Nike, the goddess of speed, strength, and victory flying over the road with my Covidhair blowing in the breeze.
My phone kept track of my route, my time per mile, and gave me an accurate run.

[my running route includes wide open spaces with no humans in sight]

All that aside.
When I finished, I still felt energized.

So much so that after freezing and putting produce in the dehydrator, I went out and found a willing mule.

Okay, maybe Siera wasn't willing at first.

But she proved again what an incredible animal she is. We rode nearly 4 miles around the neighbor's wild wood. Here we stop to watch a doe and her twins run through the woods below us.
My mules wear a bell. This way I never walk up on top of a deer or other form of wildlife. It works well. It isn't obtrusive and I think the bell makes a nice sound.

After getting back home, Siera got a treat.

Some grain and some yard grazing.
This after a ride pretty much assures that she will meet me at the gate next time too.

After supper, I caught up Mica. I haven't ridden her in over a year.

We went for a sunset ride along the backroads that I'd gone running on.

When I went to bed that night, I felt so calm and complete.

Something powerful reawakened me on that 5k. I hadn't run in years. I had tried to start up again, but never really did well. It just felt good. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

What is the cost?

Where once I fear the cost of truth, but now only ask:
What is the cost of lies?

I watched the HBO movie 'Chernobyl'. It resonated with me in a slight way as I had spent a few years working near and around a nuclear reactor that was the same vintage as Chernobyl's. However this reactor was and had been in the stages of decommission for years before I worked there.

The movie was excellent if not thought provoking.

I sat in our living room and watched as officials lied to each other and no one wanted to admit the horrible thing that had happened. No one wanted to discover the truth. 
Those in government wanted the incident to simply go away. If they ignored it, it would not be.

I was deeply disturbed throughout the movie. At the end of each episode I sat on my couch and thought about the parallels in the present world.

At the very end of the series the scientist Valery Legasov's voice says:

This statement hits home.
You can take this any way you want to.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

There it is...

It's going to be

It has been an interesting few days. 
Things go on as normal around our little farm but the heat and humidity have changed how I do things.
Most of my outdoor work is done before 10am. That means picking beans, lettuce, onions, and pulling weeds in the garden.
[That includes CrossFit workouts too. Uffdah!]

I like to sit on the porch later in the morning and get the veggies washed and ready to blanch. That too needs to be timed for very early in the morning.
I don't want to steam up the house during the hottest part of the day.

When I am bored and can't hike or go 'do' something, I start to go rather stir crazy and take out the camera and just go at it. 
I experiment with Infrared, with long exposures, and even resort to taking the toys out for some fun.

Yesterday as I was sitting in the yard with some toy Unicorns and a rat skeleton [toy]. I realized I was just like a kid. 
I was creating. 
The camera was my paper and pen. Most of the photos were silly but fun and kept me occupied. I'd actually studied a tutorial regarding how to use a Long Lens for Macro work. 
So I decided to try it.

Not a true macro, but IS a unicorn!

And Unicorns like to here they are playing! But yikes! What is lurking in the grass behind them?

I also wanted to be silly and tell a story...or make a visual. 
Nothing earth shattering, but just for fun.
This unicorn should be more careful!

Rich sleeps away the afternoons while the heat bears down on us.
Charlie and I sit on the porch and watch clouds, and listen to the birds. I read a book. But I can't sit still for too long.

I wander the yard and look for interesting things.
It's hot and muggy. 
Just dragging the hose across the yard to put fresh water in the mules' tank makes me gush sweat.


I find something interesting to try so I sit in the grass. 
I'm always curious. How will I look back on this photo? Will I remember that I sat in the grass to wait for the tank to fill up?

I will look back and recall how nice it is to have Charlie with me.
He sits and surveys the world from a spot in the shade.

He turns to look at me every few minutes. 

.... and there it is.
Another quiet day in seclusion at the farm.

I don't mind it so much now.

Friday, July 24, 2020

I'm going to have nightmares....

It's been a while since I messed around with fractals and abstract art.

Probably a bit too long since I've forgotten how to do some of these old strange and wonderful creations.

Well, not really. I do know how to do it. I just forgot which were my favorite formulas and I used to have fun 'tweaking' other artists' shared formulas for little challenges and pongs to see what we could do to each other's art.

So today I spoke to a good friend on the phone. I'd sent his wife a link to a nice farmhouse in our area that was for sale.

Just for giggles, as they always wished they could move here and one day that may be possible.
I'd noted on FB that they must have been on a second vacation from the photos of the places they'd been.

So I asked if they'd been on vacation. 

Nope, he told me. They were under quarantine.


Well they'd been with other family members and those members tested positive with symptoms. But weak symptoms.
Nothing serious. So he and his family had been exposed and were tested.

His daughter's tests came back in 3 days and they were negative. His wife just got a negative result and his was still out.
So they had been told to quarantine for 14 days either way because of the exposure.

Slap me if I am wrong. But what is the definition of a Quarantine?

This person continued chatting and telling me of all the parks they decided to go visit and see. They were careful mind you, of course, to not go into crowds.

All I could see in my brain as I stared out at the dense fog over the pasture was ...

COVID virus monsters!

[This is a fractal I had created about 4 years ago...edited with Deepdream]

I think I stood there with a loss of words. Not wanting to offend my friend, I just remained silent while questions ran through my head.

Wait? Did you distance? Did you wear masks? How sick were they? Who else???


I really couldn't say anything. I was so stunned and perplexed.

He went on to tell me that one relative was bedridden but came out of it, another was just tired, and it must not be a big deal cuz most people just are fine.

And then I thought ... uh huh. I nodded my head slowly, very slowly and stared again at the fog.


I changed the subject ~~~~all sorts of things were bouncing around in my head that I wanted to say shout 
it would fall on deaf ears.

This person has had a brush with Covid-19 and it hasn't affected him yet. So obviously it isn't a big deal.

That weighed on my mind most of the day.  

And in the headlines?

Texas is looking for refrigerator trucks to store dead bodies. Their hospitals look like war zones....

I did some artistic stuff to another image, but since it is pretty disturbing [and it is meant to be], I'm not posting it to the blog.

So to remind myself that there are good people and good things in this world I post this instead.

I will think of unicorns....

Last note. On FB my coach shared a letter written by someone regarding how people could avoid become ill if only they would exercise and eat properly. The discussion that followed seem to want to blame deaths on fat shaming, diabetes, and other health issues that the posters felt everyone should be able to control.
I don't think the coach meant for things to go that way in the discussion, but ....
I find that a very narrow view on humanity. And human health.

We are all different...


And now I need a Unicorn AND a Rainbow!

I'm becoming more and more interested in becoming a hermit.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Flowers, Charlie, Sierra

Charlie doesn't 'do' a lot of HOT weather activities nor does he hike with me on trails that are full of tall grass and weeds, he has too hard of a time getting through it with his short legs.
Oh, he is a trooper but sometimes he realizes he isn't built for mushing through tall weeds.
And he just sits down and stares at me or puts his paws on my knees.

So I try to keep our hikes together for more temperate days. I took him yesterday along our neighbor's hay field that had been mowed and picked up. He was delighted to hunt grasshoppers and voles.

It was still a bit muggy, but we enjoyed the fact that it was overcast and the sun was not burning down on us.

I mean look at that face! He looks Happy!

I hunted bugs, he hunted whatever it is his nose finds.

Charlie was pooped when we got home so I weeded the flower garden and checked on the veggie garden.

After I made supper [BLT's!!! with tomatoes from the porch tomato plant!]...
I caught up Siera.

She came along willingly enough.

My saddle needs cleaning! This is the saddle I like to use on Siera and Mica. It is super light and is designed to mimic the Military Saddle called the McClellan. 

It isn't though, it is an old Stonewall saddle without the fancy fenders and stirrups. The saddle weighs next to nothing, yet it fits all of the mules I ride.
I've had some debates with others regarding 'mule' saddles and I have a hand made saddle on a mule tree that is excellent. However, it IS heavy. So this is my go to saddle along with the old Simco I modified and use English stirrups on.

Okay. Here is what it looks like all cleaned up.

Believe it or not, I feel very secure in this saddle and have had several 'spooks' with different critters and just rode it out.

Okay, onward.

I thought I'd just take Siera for a ridge ride. Boring as all get out, but riding is relaxing and she is willing. The mules know when I ride the ridge that it won't be much work. We just ride out to the blacktop and stop to watch another neighbor's cattle.

Mule ears are large and very expressive. Here she is listening while I ask her to stand so I can take a photo of her and the hay field.

Siera is a very mild mannered mule. Her ears seem to be always on alert unless she is following another mule or has company with her. Then they flap out sideways like airplane wings.

One of Siera's attributes is that when something jumps up in the woods and startles her. She freezes until she figures out what is going on.

However, large tractors and combines do make her do half sort of slow motion. 

I often am asked which mule I like the best. I am torn. I love Sunshine as she is loving and a no nonsense mule that will tackle difficult terrain as if it is a bridle trail. 

I love Siera as she is a wonderful ditz at times. But she is a gaited Peruvian Mule and she has an incredible gait on the flat. She too is very personable and kind.
Every girl that has ever come to the farm and ridden her, has fallen in love with her.

I was hoping to ride the 'cave' trail today. It isn't a groomed trail, but its an old logging road that isn't easy to get to. I have a friend who wants to come and ride but I'm not sure my riding equals her field road rides. My riding requires a lot of ducking branches, mucky streams, roots, steep tracks, and all out fun.

To be continued....

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Remember last week when I said I lost a Teddy Bear in the Flash Flood?

I found him! 
1/4 of a mile from where he was perched on a large old oak log.

If only he could talk! Did he travel through one of the culverts? Or wash around it?
In the winter, this is a snowmobile crossing.
In the very top left of the photo[below]...Charlie stands on the bank of the creek while I fetch the Teddy Bear.

So there!
All toys have been recovered!

Next. The dreaded Japanese Beetle. 
I really dislike them. Every morning, I wander my flower and veggie garden with a bucket of soapy water and knock these buggers into the mix. I'd love to spray them with a soap/water sprayer, but I don't have an empty sprayer available...yet.

I may purchase one next time I get to town.

Nasty little things.
But I admit, they are sort of pretty in a way.
I think they are busy making more beetles here...ewwwwww......

Then on to the garden afterwards while Rich mowed a section of the yard.
Green beans!
Yellow beans!

I picked them and got some ready for freezing and dehydrating along with potatoes I am dehydrating.
Why potatoes?

From March to June potatoes were scarce in the store. So I purchased some from another gardener and will see how dehydration works out. After all, they will come in handy in soups and stews.

I also gathered Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, [I wanted to add know, that SONG is in my head now!] and Basil leaves to dehydrate.

The onions are almost ready and they too will get cut up and dehydrated.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

As though I had Wings....

I think there are a lot of sayings about how good a horse is for you.

I think they should include mules don't you?

What can I say?
I had a friend who was going to come riding with me. I had visitors who were going to come and visit this summer and distance themselves...who wanted to come riding with me.

So far none of that has worked.

So I walked out to the pasture yesterday to see who would come to me while I was holding a halter and lead rope.


She is my all around go anywhere little mule. The mule we tried so hard to sell at one time. 
The mule we nearly gave up on when she had a severe injury.

When Rich and I started riding her at parks and other places, people started to notice her. Some even offered us a small price for a small mule.
She isn't a pony, but she isn't tall either.

She is just right for me now. Easy on easy off, and a mature mindset.

Well, put all that aside.
I've been really nervous about riding solo. I was spoiled last summer with Molly coming to visit and ride at least once or twice a week.

I realize now, I'm back to just me.

I took Siera last week on some of the steep hillsides after we toured the ridge top. She did fine.

Nothing like those long ears!

I guess I am tired of waiting and I have no one but myself to blame.

I weighed the risks of riding solo in the WildWood and decided that I can safely do it with these two.

Accidents do happen, I know that.


The calm I felt after riding yesterday was immeasurable.

I felt a peace so overwhelming.

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things,
I want to be light and frolicsome,
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
~Mary Oliver