Thursday, December 31, 2020

Review or not to Review

Basically 2020 will be year that historians will write about. If nothing else, it will be interesting to read about.

And we may hear things in the "My Grandmom lived through the Great Pandemic of 2020!" or some such thing. 

I have made it to the end of the year. That much is certain. Well, it will be more certain if I get past midnight.

For me, it will be the year that I began to seriously question people's priorities and friendships. The year I 'un' friended so many on FB. The year I kept count of many things. 

The Great Toilet Paper shortage. The year of the mask? Or the year of the anti mask? 
The year when most people started to understand just how fragile our lives can be. Or the year that some people said the Hell with It All. 

The craziest political year in the history of the United States?

So I'm not going to go on and detail 2020, but I may just toss out some photos I did this year.

Nope, I don't think I will write much of a review.

2020 happened. I'm not going to say 2021 will be awesome or great or...a new start and a blank slate.

But I will approach each day with a feeling of hope.

For without hope, we have nothing.

"Someone I once loved gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this too,
was a gift." ~~~ Mary Oliver

I think that sums up the year quite perfectly.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

SNOW...and Survey and dreaded social media

Our local hospital sent two surveys to us. One by email and one by letter. Rich said he wasn't going to fill it out because he couldn't answer the questions which are multiple choice.

Would you recommend VMH to friends or family members?
How would you rate your meals?
Did the doctor explain everything to you?
Blah blah blah...
So at the very end is a comment section.

*I am a Caregiver for my husband who is a Veteran who goes to the VA. Before he was admitted, I told the phone triage nurse that he suffers from... blah blah blah, which includes mild dementia and communication issues. 
Under the circumstances I think VMH did the best they could. However after being told he had Covid-19 and then told he didn't have Covid...he was transferred to the Covid area he became confused and very frightened. His medications were missed and it took nearly 24 hours for the hospital to contact me regarding his meds. 
He never was told 'what' was wrong with him and did not get any suggestions for follow up care. His discharge papers did not specify what the issue was either.
One week later and no one from who gave him care called to see if he was okay.
The staff was excellent and caring which they always are. However, they are not prepared to handle elderly veterans with mental health/memory/communication issues.
VMH needs to step up to the plate as many aged veterans live in this area.*

I left the rest of the survey blank. 

Next I got an email notice from a casual friend who was ranting and raving about Covid being not a big deal and how the death rate is only .17%. Her friend's mother got Covid and died 10 days later. Her words: She smoked like a chimney when she was younger and had Congestive Heart Failure. So she died because she didn't take care of herself not because of Covid. 

Let me stop here for a moment. Covid-19 has changed friendships and families. Well, a lot of friendships have been strained in 2020. Those who have a loved one who fall into the 'high risk' group have different attitudes than those who simply have decided that this pandemic is no big deal and it is the flu.

I have good friends who have flaunted the Covid cautions. I can still communicate with them and they DO understand now that they are not welcome in my house until ... further notice. I love them, but they are doing their thing and not forcing it down my throat.

Yet this casual friend's post really irked me. How different would her attitude be if her late husband [who spent two wicked years dying from cancer]... what if he were still alive would her attitude be different? 

My husband and her husband were friends, they loved old cars...they both went through cancer treatment at the same time. He died. Rich didn't.

So yes after her constant bashing of Covid and safety practices on her blog, I finally said my piece. It was nice but to the point. Yeah, I'm an Ass. I could have just ignored it like I normally do.

I have a couple of good friends who do practice distancing, masking, and being careful. 
Birds of a feather shall flock together in times like these.
Yes but distantly, right?

I cannot undo the send button on this person's post. I should have ignored it. But I'd just been nagged by email to do a survey twice and once by mail on the same day.

I'm going to go to my corner now and face the wall. I was naughty. I am not the type of person that does that.

The good news is we have snow!

My shed cleaning efforts have paid off. I can park the 'Ru in the round pen with the hay, the skid steer, and the 4 wheeler! My bicycle is under the yellow sheet.

Shoveling tomorrow? Or? Cross Country skiing?

I am staying away from Social Media. 
Smacks head.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Happy Birthday Charlie

Yep, I usually get this end of the dog when we head out for our afternoon walk/hike to the creek and back.

To an incredible little dog who thinks the sun rises and sets on my husband.

Rich talks with him all of the time and I see him absently petting Charlie when they sit and watch westerns on the TV. Charlie listens intently until his eyes droop and he falls asleep next to his friend. I have a sense that Charlie is somehow aware that he is needed this way.

Happy Birthday Charlie.

We are so honored to have you as our Master.

Thank you, thank you...

Thank you.


The Hunt for Blue Ice

In 2015, Mr. Morris and I found an amazing place where spring seeped water out between rocks in a deep dry run.
In the summer this area stays shadowed because of its position and the heavy forest canopy.

In the winter the trees are bare and the winter sun barely breaks over the edge of the ridge. The water seeps and freezes, seeps and freezes. 

I used to think that certain minerals caused the ice to look a certain color. I may be a little right when water seeps over red clay and gives the ice a reddish orange color. But blue ice has a different explanation. It has to do with the the light refraction and what part of the light spectrum is absorbed and which color is reflected.

All that aside. 

In 2015, the ice looked blue.

I wanted to take Charlie to the East end of the valley and see if the ice was forming with the sudden freeze we'd had.

The land I hike on is nearly one square mile of uninhabited land with two valleys and two streams. It has been referred to as one of the more remote pieces of land in the county. And this is my neighbor's family owned land. 
Charlie and I got no more than halfway down the valley when someone in the far distance started shooting. It was far off, but it echoed down the valley. It sounded as like an assault rifle.

Poor Charlie became a Pekenhund Puddle of nerves. Or if you like a PekenPuddle. Anytime I knelt down to peer at something interesting or try to photograph it, Charlie pawed his way into my lap, my leg, or tried to get on my back if I was low enough.
Poor thing. I picked him up and carefully continued down the valley carrying him over icy rocks and negotiating stream crossings.

The Big Spring

When we got to the Big Spring, Charlie could barely be consoled. I had to photograph this while sitting on a root with my feet planted in the spring water and Charlie in my lap. 
This spot is always interesting. This huge spring bubbles up at the base of this steep hill. In cold snaps anything sticking out of the spring is covered in beautiful frost.

The gunfire stopped and we headed around the bend towards the steep dry run.

And it was a beautiful sight.
Charlie and I made our way up the dry run to the tiny spring.

Here is what happens when Charlie 'helps'. I was trying to photograph the tiny spring seeping out of the rocks...

You guessed it, whoever got the assault rifle had reloaded and was popping off again in the far distance. That was too close for Charlie.

We were done. We found the Blue [ish] Ice and visited the Big Spring. The little dog was ready to go home and dive into his blankets on the couch for a long nap.

...and I felt good deep inside.

Nature always seems to do that for me.

Saturday, December 26, 2020


Chionophile: Any animal that thrives in winter conditions, especially one that thrives in snow.


This term refers to those who absolutely adore winter also. I am one of those.

Winter is my time. I love...underline that and put it in italics...I love winter.

I am lucky that I live in a region where getting out of that cold wind is an option simply by hiking.
Yesterday was my first foray out in a week. Hubby was okay with watching some Amazon or Netflix while I went out to wander. 

I didn't tell him the temps were only 2 degrees F or that the wind chills were far below 0. I dressed and headed out.

On the east end of the valley the creek runs faster with a higher volume of water. The overhanging grasses are splashed by bits of water and humidity from the warm springs....and make....

Ice Fingers

Further upstream where the water flow is much slower, the creek did a flash freeze when the temperatures dropped from 45 degrees to 6 degrees over a period of 6 hours.

Even the little water falls froze. The water that seeped over the ice froze in what almost can be described as ice waves.

I found the leaves below to be very interesting. I haven't figured out exactly why it looks like this. Perhaps because the leaves soak up sunlight and heat and melt a bit around the edges changing the consistency of the ice?

I think winter is the best.
Interesting tracks...

Interesting ice formations along the creek or any small stream for that matter.

And the beauty of Ice Walls.

December 11th...

December 25th...

I rest my case.
I am a true blue Chionophile and proud of it.

Today I took a long hike downstream with Charlie.
We had an incredible adventure and found the Blue Ice.

I just do love winter.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve

Here are my ladies. On the 23rd with temperatures in the 40's which by nightfall dropped into the teens and by morning it was 6 degrees.

The gal in front is Sunshine. I delivered her from my mare ... who was my very first horse. She has been a rock for me over the years. Faithful, wonderful, and dependable.
Her half sister is the other red head in back. Yep, they are all fuzzy with magnificent winter coats. The bay mule is my other sweety. Siera.

Anyway they went into the woods last night and dropped down to shelter out of the high winds.

I went out to do chores as day broke into the valley. The elder mules behind me and all of the others had nice snow blankets on. I am constantly amazed at how well insulated these creatures are compared to myself. 

Points to photo above...

Around noon Charlie and I headed towards the ridge to grab the mail and check for the mail by meds that were supposed to be delivered. Ahhh, no go. However I did check the tracking and they could be delivered on Monday.

I put on the polarized goggles for that walk. It is a fairly long one and the sun shining off the new snow was awfully bright. Charlie thought the walk was too short.

We no sooner got back to the porch when a red truck pulled down in. I recognized her as the special delivery UPS gal. Charlie squealed and cried and rolled in the snow at her feet when she jumped out of her truck. 

'Ch..hhhar....lie! You sweety ...MERRY Christmas!' she chimed in. She was dressed in a face mask heavy coveralls and gloves. I got Rich's special order meds and wished her a Merry Christmas too.

For whatever the reason she made my day.

I love snow. I love cold. I love the challenges they bring. 

Tonight I will sit up by the Christmas Chair and re-arrange things and listen to some music. Perhaps sip a glass of wine. I'll wait until a few moments before Midnight and then bundle up to go talk with the mules under the stars.

Because you know...the animals do talk for a few moments at the stroke of Midnight. And I'd love to know what they have to say.

And believe me.

They will have a LOT to tell me.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Worthy Diversions

I'm tired of the news. And since I we are in the big Q [quarantine] until next year, I'm going to bury my head and go into the world of diversions.

Mandelbulb 3D art:


My computer got buggy

Fight in the Hard Drive

Christmas Bulbs

The Ornament Mother

Just That

Time Space Continuum

Fractal Artists like to wander in another time and place. They can avoid strife and stress by delving into the 'maybe' and 'whatifs' of time and space.
It is an escape from current life.

And sometimes we need that.

Today I gave myself a haircut. Laugh if you'd like. Rich decided not to risk his shaky hands and declined taking the scissors to the back of my hair.

I'll call it the Covidcut. I stuck the wet hair in a pony tail and cut it. Now it lays nicely just above my collar.
I'm good with it.

Why not?
In this year 2020, anything goes.

I've actually been asked to do some album covers for some artists. Yep, I may do so.
One of the things I'd have to do is get a much more powerful computer.

Old fart...doing graphic art for young musicians. That could be fun. Yeah?

Some inspiring out of this
From Nyrus.


Hey, it is not for everyone. But I like it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Box

 I am not the originator of the Suck Box. However I enjoy the idea.

One of the first things to do is to find the proper box. What size will it be?

Select scraps of paper or cut some pieces for yourself of any ol' size and color.
Start to write items on it.
You might find that the tiny box works for you.

Or you can ask some friends to email their Suck Items and start to fill a larger box.

I prefer a large marker to write with. 
No family visits.

I'm thinking you can figure out the rest. When your box is all prepared ... Light 'er up and stand back.
I'm thinking to do this on New Year's Eve.


I could choose the box on the left. Chillable Red Wine. Yeah. 

The red wine box was left on a stump in my yard with some milk by my neighbor.

I think I am forever grateful to have good people on our tiny rural ridge.

Now to find some things to make sure that box really goes off!


And if you are all wondering. We had a wonderfully peaceful day.