Monday, May 31, 2021

Be Like Bears


The Bears gather in the Forest Garden for Tea and Conversation. 

The Bears like each other despite their differences. They don't judge each other on looks, color, style, or where they are from.

I like Bears.

They are smart and full of warmth.
They are not stupid or ignorant. 
They are always full of love and compassion.

Some days I prefer them over the human aspect of the world.

Of course there is also Rabbit.
Rabbit loves unconditionally.

Be like Rabbit.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

End of the day

I told Siera to 'stay' and she did. Obviously she is getting plenty to eat out in the forest pasture. She didn't go for any yard grass.

I had to walk over and grab her bridle and a bucket. Yes, a bucket. When I ride bareback I use a bucket to get on my steeds. 

I thought a ride up and out on the ridge would be nice to see the evening light on the croplands. Hmmm, I was disappointed that the guys that are doing another farmer's fields did not rotate to soybeans. I saw field corn coming up. 

The ride was so pleasant. I stopped and talked to the neighbor kids who were on their swingset. They waved and I continued. Instead of going by the 'new' neighbor who lets his dog run loose I decided to ride up the dead end road and just soak in some quiet ride time. 

Siera was super cooperative, she didn't hesitate and refuse to leave home, it used to be a real issue when she was younger. Perhaps she is confident that I am not going to get her lost?

I knew that Rich was waiting for me to return so he could sit and watch more TV until his bed time. 

I'd worked in the pasture with the small scythe from early morning until noon. The we mowed. Rich with the rider and I used the self propelled mower. Uffdah! Rich ran over a tarp. I heard the snap and the mower quit. He waved me off and finished up which I thought was not a smart thing to do. 
Cleaning the rider is on Sunday's schedule. 

After the mowing was done, I worked on the shade garden pulling Bedstraw aka Sticky Weed and several other names. It is an icky plant. So that project started another project of cleaning up that much neglected little garden.

I used Sven to glean up weeds and he ate the tops of from several iris plants while doing his work. The iris plants will come back and he did a pretty good job on that sticky weed.

So for the end of the day, I relaxed as we walked down the road, clippity clop, and out to the far end of the ridge. 

I didn't take pictures. I was just enjoying the moments with Siera and her nice warm body under my legs.

Once home, I gave her some grain and led her back out to her mates.

Happy content mule. Happy content rider. 

We watched some obscure program and hit the sack. I was exhausted. My summer mornings start at 5 or sooner, as soon as the birds start to chirp.

Enjoy your Sunday, whatever you are doing. I hope to get in another evening ride on one of my girls.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Trending in photography


Not sure why this is bothering me but it sort of is. There are programs out there that advertise that they can 'help' you change the sky ... in your photo, easy peasy!

I don't know, but that sort of seems to take some of the fun out of things. I mean the other morning I would have wished for a more 'exciting' sky to accent my morning fog shots, but the sky was sort of dull photographically speaking. 

What if I wanted to make things more exciting?

You can really tell this is fake because I left all the extra details in. Even the crooked horizon.

This C 130 came right over 
pasture a week ago.

Most photographers do state it when they are doing a composite. 
I like doing composites sometimes, they are a fun challenge. I absolutely love those talented people who can make fantasy scenes.

Most of any composites I've ever done were pretty obvious.

Composite of different brushes, textures
 and free drawings to make a 'statement'.

Composite of interval shooting
because I was bored.

But I've seen some wonderful photos that looked astonishing and when I read the fine print, a sky was replaced, a building was moved, a storm was inserted... Cool, neat but then it makes me wonder if I can believe what I see sometimes?

The shot below is a composite that worked out very well.
The bear had the right light on it to drop it into a photo that I enhanced.
I put a sun glow-starry thing into it.
I added some rays too.
I would call it a bit of
a fantasy composite.

I'm impressed with the technology that we have today for photography. I am not a purest like I thought I was. I love messing around with photos and trying to eek out a little more umph to some things. It pleases me and interests me.
I do love trying things and therefore I cannot be a purest.

There has always been editing abilities to photos, it was done in the dark room.

My abilities have been in 3D type programs and fun things that are obviously not just the natural world. 

After I read the email from Luminar that said I could use AI technology and make my photos much more exciting I had to go down this little blogging blurb hole.

And we all know this photo below is fake! 

Right now the program I use is DxO PhotoLab. It doesn't do layers like photoshop, but it is a nice program. I have an old ON1 program which did allow me to overlay the moon on the Milky Way for giggles.

Over the years I dabbled in 3D art and in Bryce, but right now I tend to enjoy more of what is around me. If the sky is grey, let it be grey. Overcast days are great for macro photography. 

Uffdah. You know, none of this should bother me a bit because after all, I dabble in Infrared Photography where colors can be of anything I want, wish, or desire. So who am I to question anything? 


The weather is cold and dreary. Tonight we are to get frost advisories. Next week I'll dig up some garden and plant my corn, beans, and cukes. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Clean and purge. Uh oh..

So is angry with me? I don't get it. I can't post a photo and I've done everything possible. Message: Sorry! An unexpected error occurred while processing your selection.  Please try again later.

👀👅💣💥 however I can post emoji's ... ahem...

So what to do on a COLD and rainy day???


Time to purge and clean things in the house again.

I have to clear out the tiny living room so the flooring guys can rank the carpeting and put in the nice pretty flooring. I like to think far ahead and get things ready instead of waiting for the last minute.

We have to move the hutch and this huge a$$ed Trunk that Rich had packed plum or is it Plumb?... full of aged memorabilia. His High School Purple sweater from when he was 16, it was one his mom was going to attach his sport 'letters' to. No way it would fit him now.

Then there were those horrid looking teddy bears that look like something Hollywood would use in a horror movie.😱 [ no photo so use your imagination! these bears should be photographed in a scary tiny brain just got an idea]

Every baseball he ever used in high school when he was pitching. I think they were game balls or something. I set the balls out on the table. 

Geeze, I nearly said I 'set' his balls on the table.

Anyway. He was able to tell me the significance of each baseball. Then we moved to a box of photos of his family from a gazillion years ago. His father's baby photo! 
So I went through each photo and ID'd the people on the back. These are folks I have never seen and who were great grandmas, uncles, aunts, and homes from long ago. It was fun for him to tell me who the people were. 
I may pass these to his daughter eventually. 
Not the [base] balls though.

I got permission to toss the purple sweater and some magazines from over 30 years ago. He wanted to keep them and I asked 'what for'. I kept the ones that featured my photos and articles but tossed the rest. 

Old videos. Old family video tapes that were poor quality back then and re-recorded so many times that they were blurry and snowy. I imagine age has not improved them.

I'd like to get rid of the trunk as it takes up floor space that we really could use much better. Alas. He is very attached to it. The table we sit at is likewise too large to fit in our eating area, but it was a hand me down from his Grandmother. So it stays. 

After cleaning the trunk, I moved my books and other pieces of stuff upstairs. Then I sat upstairs and went through my junk. I have 3 of those reusable cloth shopping bags full of items I am tossing. I have another box packed and ready to send of to the younger grand kids with some toys.

I have one more box of Carousel Horse music boxes. I think I will see if any of my CrossFit friends have little girls that would like them. 

The strangest item I could not let go of was a rock. It was a rock I picked up in 1996. There is a long story behind that piece of rock. It stays. I will return it one day from where I took it. 

Flower Moon and cool places

I prepared my 'gear' in a backpack and set it by the door with a headlamp. I was going to go watch the Sunrise and Moonset of the blood moon/flower moon/super duper moon from an unobstructed view on a bluff.

I even went through the 'tips' from Olympus on the best way to shoot the moon. I even preset custom settings. In short, I was ready. As I went to bed a huge storm moved through. It came with lightening, thunder, and heavy rain. Charlie came into the room and did some whimpering and it seemed like my morning excursion wouldn't happen.

Rich was convinced that I was absolutely nuts. Who would get up at 3 am and go hiking in the dark just to look at the moon?

Well, I would. At 3:15 I woke up and looked out. It was clear as a bell and the moon was brilliant.

I took a test shot with my zoom lens and was happy enough with the results. It was not crystal clear and sharp as a tack, but I was happy that I'd finally gotten a halfway decent shot of the moon.

I decided to go for it. I got a large cup of coffee put in the to go cup and patted Charlie on the head. 

It was a 30 minute drive through some areas of dense fog and a 20 minute hike. By the time I got to the top of the rock, the eclipse was starting.

I was extremely happy that I'd set up custom shooting modes. But it wasn't the moon that was so exciting. It was the whole view.

I kept thinking. Wow. Wow. Just wow. I'd take a shot or two of the valley before me and then go back to the moon. 

I posted this photo on FB and something sort of weird happened.

I started getting requests for my location.
I hesitated. 
In my imagination, I thought if I gave out the exact location, the next time I went to shoot the fog, or a sunrise....I'd run 

into dozens of people with cell phones standing about and others with monster lenses and tripods.
You know, the horrible vision of such a popular place like Cades Cove where photographers line up the night before to 'get' a spot. 

A friend told me to submit a photo to the local rag with an explanation of where it was and what I'd done.
I gave him a horrified look.
I said, "Give up my spot? But what would happen if everyone showed up at once the next time I went there?"

He laughed and pointed out that most people would not get up at 3 AM and hike up a difficult and challenging trail in the dark just for a view. He then pointed out that HE had turned me down even though he had wanted to go. 

He had a point.

I will not tag the photo with a name and GPS coordinates. 

After sitting on the rock yesterday through the predawn hour and watching nature unfold its beauty for me to see? I felt like this was suddenly a special spot I'd found on my own. It felt like I had my own private viewing spot. 

And I wanted to be selfish. Is it okay in this world of social media and oversharing to be selfish and want to keep something to myself?

Oh I will take friends there and I will share with them, but not with the whole wide world.

Some things are best discovered on your own.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

CrossFit Return


It has been 400+ days since I stepped into a gym with other people.

So how did it go?

I pulled up outside the 'new' building where the gym was and immediately saw someone I knew. 

I was a bit nervous but this set me at ease right away. Was I going to make a fool out of myself in front of everyone else? Was I going to be able to do the day's workout [WOD]? 
Josh pulled up and opened the doors. 

"Welcome back!" 

I stopped worrying as I changed my shoes and explored the new area of the gym. New to me but not the others.

As others walked in, they introduced themselves to me. I didn't feel like odd one out at all. I didn't have to explain my absence. Everyone was welcoming and full of encouragement and smiles.

As we started to warm up and Josh walked around our gym, things started to fall back into place for me.

Viroqua CrossFit. 

I needed some help finding things but everyone assisted. 

I wasn't lost, I wasn't judged for my long absence. No one asked me to explain.

I was encouraged and cheered as I PR'd with a dead lift. It wasn't an impressive lift by any means, but it was a new high for me.

I worked on my form, I felt good. I smiled a LOT. I felt like I got my MOJO back.

I'm no fitness freak. I am well onto 'that' age which probably marks me as elderly, but I know in my heart that as a CareGiver, this is the most important thing I can do for myself. 

Social workouts. After over a year of Isolation, it is incredible to be able to work out with other folks again. It gives me a sense of belonging and comradery. 

I cannot say enough about our coach, Josh Brown. He is the ultimate coach, best ever.

When I got home, my husband asked how it went. He wasn't keen on having me go back to the gym, but I'd told him this was a must for my physical and mental health as a CareGiver.

I smiled at hubby.

"It went well. Better than well. It went fantastic."

For the first time in forever, I felt calm and chilled out. 

Welcome Back Me to CrossFit. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

I don't have a word for this...

Here is my handy dandy itty bitty soldier who looks like he has been smoking 'grass' sitting next to some tiny white slime mold.

I kept moving the stick with the white stuff on it to try and get a better shot of it. Next time I will remember to drop a dime in my pocket to set next to the stuff I am photographing for a size reference.

I went back out to the wooded pasture to see what the Shotgun Slime Mold/Fungi had done. It did as its name promised. It 'shot' out its spores which are on the blades of grass. The spores await for the next opportunity to grow. I think this is pretty fascinating.

I went looking for the Coral Slime mold/fungi and it was gone! So I guess it did its thing and poof, disappeared. 

So I scoured the Buckthorn Forest floor and looked for cool things while checking the electric lines. [Damn deer, knocked a hot wire off the insulator!]

Cinquefoil flower with an ant on it. 

The forest delight, Columbine.

Lady Bug on an invasive species that I happen to sort of like and hate at the same time, Oxeye Daisy.

I was really surprised to find just this lone fungi. 
Had there been enough rain and humidity? 

And this was a surprise after not finding other mushrooms or fungi.
I won't even pretend to have any idea of what their names are.


~One who haunts the woods. A love or fondness for forests and woods.~

Forests promote human well being. Yep, there is an abstract worth reading if you can get through the gobbilty gook by the National Institute of Health. There are tons of studies on humans and being able to just get outside and how a simple walk in the woods or on a wooded path enhances your health.

Well a lesson regarding human health was not my intention. But if I can walk along our fencelines and walk through the woods every day, I can get a sense of things that are happening in the forest.

Late Sunday, I walked with Charlie in the light rain fall and was happy to note that the pair of Barred Owls were talking where I expected they would be. I've noticed for a few years that they like to hang out in one particular section of the woods . I have never found their nest, but do love to listen to them call to each other while I am slowly wandering.

I realize that I am using all of my senses when I am in the forest. Smelling the plants and air around me. Listening for birds, deer whistles, turkey clucks, chipmunks, hawks, ...squirrels scolding us, water running over rocks, the wind sighing above us...

Oh and a skeeter buzzing my ears.

All at the same time I am peering at moss, lichen, rocks, plants, and looking for neat insects or fungi or anything that is interesting and curious.

Centipede in a false morel...

A slug party that I was not invited to.
Slugs are cool in a way but not in your garden of course. Do you know that the slime trail they leave is so they can find their way back? I didn't. 

A very wee bee visiting a Virginia Waterleaf flower. It took me many tries to get one clear shot of it.

Who can resist looking for fungi and slime in damp, humid, rainy weather?

Coral Slime aka Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa. I like the Coral Slime mold name much better. It was super small but the tiny bit of white caught my eye as I was searching for insects.

This is my new favorite slime mold.
Shotgun Fungi or Canon Slime found on horse manure. Yep.
I stopped in the woods to bend down close and look at a pile of horse/mule poop to see why it was fuzzy looking and yellow colored.

My husband was not as excited as I was when I told him about it. He wrinkled his nose and gave me a look.

"The people in the white coats are coming to take you away," he quipped.

"That's okay honey, I can't help it. I'm a Nemophile or if you wish a Xylophile."

Pardon me while I have some fun with words. 

I think I'll go back out to the woods much to see...

Monday, May 24, 2021

Tidy up for Charlie....

So here is Charlie on the porch keeping an eye on things. Most of the time I don't need to tie him to the anchor as he won't go anywhere unless he sees a rabbit.

Here is Lil Richard working on the rough spot in the yard that still needs a dozer or someone with landscaping abilities to smooth it out. The tree in front of him should come down.

This section of the yard is still a left over mess from digging the addition basement and piling the stones, sand, rock willy nilly in the side yard.

There is Sven who is working on a section where I piled the hoses and the drain thingy in a spot I can only weed whack.  I hate the weed whacker. I have to wear a face shield and my clothes just get full of crap.

Easier to let the goat work on the rough areas. He does a fair job but is sort of picky. I generally walk through with a light scythe and trim it a bit further.  

If this side yard gets totally out of hand, I will run a hot wire around it and let the mules in to graze it all down. Well, that is a thought anyway.

Rich keeps saying he'll do it, I keep asking to hire someone and that's where we stand. A side yard that is kind of a mess.

[It took me nearly 5 years to convince him to replace the old carpet in the living there is hope!]

I finally convinced Rich that Charlie needed a nicer area to lay on the blocks in front of the porch.

He agreed. Hmmm.

I was tired of moving those round stepping stones each time I had to mow, so I dug things up, smoothed it out, and put down landscape fabric and mulch.

It looks so much more tidier!

Here is the view of  'Charlie's' look out after putting down fabric and mulch. He alternates between the concrete rounds and the black fake stones. Of course he has his pillow out there and his blanket on the bench. The black blob is Charlie snoozing or supervising from the bench. 

I'd knocked over his water and hadn't cleaned up the stuff I had laying around before taking this shot.
I spend a lot of time on the porch so this is like my living room.

The end result was pleasing. So much nicer to look at than the dirt.


I had a neat place to put my fossil rocks. Well, I think they are fossil rocks.
I have no idea what the rock below is, but I might assume that it was vegetation at some point? Anyway, I found it unique and curious so it found a place in my flower garden for a few years. Now it can be next to the porch.

The next two shots are of Stromatolites or I think they are. 

I love rocks and like to collect odd looking ones that I find while hiking. 

I have iron concretions that I am always picking up after a good gully washer comes through the dry runs and creeks.

Anyway. The porch area looks really nice. Now I have to figure out what to do for the west side of the porch. It looks rather drab after all this tidying up!

Maybe I can get more things done by hiring it out IF I can convince Rich that Charlie would benefit. You know like..."I think Charlie needs a new laptop. Or Charlie needs someone to come in with a dozer and redo the west side yard!"

One thing at a time. I think we will be replacing the old love seat this year too. The old one is worn out and was second hand when we got it 20 years ago. Besides, Charlie might like that [insert giggles here].

My Sunday was a day of rest and wandering about in the overcast and humid forest.

Look for a new funky word....coming soon.