Saturday, July 31, 2021

Strange times

So no yard mowing today due to heavy particles of smoke in the air. That put the kabash on the Big Plan for the day. 

I guess if the grass really got out of hand, I'd do what I did in 2008 and again in 2016. Put a hot wire around parts of the yard and let my critters do the mowing.

Instead I picked berries this morning then closed up the house for the A/C to hopefully keep hubby feeling healthier.

Cell phone shots of the berries. 

The top photo is from the top of the ridge and the unripe ones are midway down into the valley. There are micro climates in our woods and I am beginning to understand that certain areas will produce berries in different stages.

Since I couldn't mow due to how wet it was and how bad the air was, I collected some flowers to try 'pressing' and drying. I dyed some Queen Anne's Lace with food coloring and some Fleabane.

Here is my sample of flowers I am pressing between two boards:

There is also Chicory, wild Vervain, Cosmos, Bee Balm, and Marigold. This method is supposed to take about a week or more.
I have to change the paper every few days to draw the moisture out. I used some rocks from my garden as weight for the top board.

Now I have some ideas of trying to put some of the flowers on handmade greeting cards so I will watch some videos of that. Another option is to place the pressed flowers into a picture frame and use it as a decoration?

It all started because I wanted some Queen Anne's Lace to use for some Still Life photos and perhaps dry some for a bouquet in the winter. 

What strange times we live in, when the midday sun is but an orange orb in the sky.

I almost feel like I am living in a science fiction novel.

A secondary smoke plume will then be
transported southward across the state Saturday afternoon into early
Sunday morning. Elevated fine particulate matter (PM2.5)
concentrations are anticipated to result in air quality index (AQI)
values in the UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS level over this period.
Sensitive groups include children, elderly people, individuals with
respiratory and cardiac problems, and anyone engaged in strenuous
outdoor activities for a prolonged period of time.

So... I was out doing garden work and dead heading the petunias when something very odd happened. I noticed I had a splotch of brown paint or maybe bug goo on my glasses. It was in sharp focus and moved when I stood up. Totally freaky! 
So I grabbed my glassed off and it was still there.
I brushed my face because, just well, because.

It moved and then swirled. I dropped my crap right then and there and headed to the house. 

Visit to Urgent Care sent me to the ED. After some testing I was given the diagnosis.
Vitreous Hemmorrhage. 
Vitreous is the clear gel in the center of your eye. Mine had blood in it. 
I will see an Ophthalmologist on Monday.

No bending. No lifting. No straining. No exercise. Damn, they should have included NO cooking too.
I get to sleep sitting up.  

I am not in pain but apparently this needs to be figured out and I don't need more blood seeping around in my eye. It sort of looked like this, but brown:

I still see stuff floating about and coming into my visual field. Hmmm. Mmmm.

Strange Times indeed.

Have a great weekend. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Storms and smoke

About midnight the storms that were supposed to go around us hit and hit hard. The lightening was so often that it looked like a weird SciFi daylight film. 

Charlie had a conniption fit. The nonstop thunder unnerved the poor fella. I got up and comforted him as best I could. Rich got up and Charlie decided he was his savior. 

We watched the storm as best we could and at times we couldn't see past the porch either from the rain or a fog. Or was it both? We had winds.

7 22 

7 29
the garden :(

So the damage around our place was mostly to the trees. I'd moved Lil Richard and Sven out of one of the little paddocks I have for them to the Shed Pens. Sven can get into his little indoor area through a large 'goat'/doggy type door. And Lil Richard can maneuver around to get out of inclement weather. 
[He is the only equine that will behave inside a stall in the winter..the mules try to tear the indoor pen apart]

Seems the dead ash trees to the northeast threw their branches at Lil Richard. He showed me the tiny mess when I checked on him. Sven was still sleeping.

The pen that I moved them out of had a new tree top in it.

This was Thor's old pen and the tree to the right was the one that was struck by lightening a few years ago. 

I spent an hour or so just picking up branches and debri to toss over the fence to the mules and even to Sven. They all eat the leaves, so they do a pretty good clean up. I just have to pick up the branches later and toss them on my fall burn pile.

There was actually more than anyone could eat so I dragged them off the hot wire and just left them be.

I grabbed a hand saw, a machete, and the heavy duty loppers. Off to the woods I went to check on the rest of the fence. One nice thing about this rope hot wire is that it is a cinch to fix. It generally doesn't break, but will sag and just needs tightening. I usually have to replace the plastic insulators that will break before the wire.

This box elder and another locust split and fell in the forest pasture. I'll let the mules eat the leaves off of them if they want to and then this fall hand saw it up. No chain saw for me and I know my neighbor would help, but he has had a stressful year at his work. I won't ask for help.

It will be good for me to have a late fall project.

I went all the way around the whole fence and chopped weeds off from some places and stopped to eat black berries! It started to get 'close' and I could feel myself heating up. Long sleeves, long pants, boots, and gloves... phew...

I found cool fungi and wondered what these were. I will try to ID them at a later time.

Ohhhh! And next to the top of a split oak, I found this on a log. I can't wait to get back to the woods and explore instead of checking fences!
Who doesn't love the brilliant colors of slime mold!

I got back to the house just in time to have lunch. I got an alert on my phone regarding Air Quality. They were not kidding. Cell Phone photo of what we first thought was fog. I went back out and man...IT smelled like burning plastic and wood.


It did get much worse.
This was at 2pm when I went out for a few moments to pick some Queen Anne's Lace and Fleabane for a wild white bouquet.

That air was bad and I stayed in until late evening.

I worked on a project of dying Queen Anne's Lace and trying to figure out how to dry them for this winter. 

The haze and smoke let up a bit before sunset so I spent a little time watching the birds.

This morning there was nothing but an orange haze that turned into a grey overcast sky with another Air Quality Alert.
I'm bummed. 

This weekend it looks like I will spend my hours mowing. According to the NOAA we are to experience times of heavy smoke. 

So I'll mow and stop and do something crafty? The garden is toast so I will let it be, the squash and cukes can grow without much more help from me.

My flower garden took a huge hit too. The rain decimated most of my petunias and the winds flattened my 4 o'clocks. Once it dries out [2.5 inches of rain] I'll see what I can do to revive it.



Thursday, July 29, 2021

Hot and Stuff

This is just going to be about things I've seen over the past week including things of beauty, things that make me curious and things I photographed just because.

Wednesday's storm front. I was on the way to CrossFit when I saw that I was driving into the heart of a huge cell. The closer I got to town, the meaner it looked. According to the weather service it was to go northeast of us. 
I don't like storms, I don't like to be in storms. 
I've been in two tornadoes and one really exceptional storm in 2007.

I pulled over to the side of the road and grabbed my camera. I only had my IR camera with the 850nm filter. It really only captures stark black and white and really highlights details in clouds. We had some winds when the front came through along with rain but thankfully no damage.
Other areas had hail and up to 3 inches of hard quick rain.

Shot of the neighbor's cattle pasture at dawn. Yes, the cow in the middle of the photo is pooping. 

Dogwood. I found some! 

Wild Grapes! They look plentiful and I wonder about making grape jelly.
That would take a LOT!

Sumac. It looks like it wants to start turning colors! Heat and drought stress?

Elderberry flowers. Most are done flowering now and the berries are turning dark. This one had a tiny bee on it.

Queen Anne's Lace in the meadow across the fence to the east of us.

Chicken of the Woods? I saw it, I didn't pick it because it was too beautiful. However I would like to have an expert by my side to try something like this. 

Apparently my soldiers will keep an eye on it. It was too bloody hot and stormy to continue wandering around the woods with the heat and 'thick' air. But I will get back to it!

Indian Pipes! Generally they grow near an old oak's roots especially those oaks that have 'health' issues. Interesting to note that so many life forms are so intertwined with the forest like that. I mean I knew it, but I didn't KNOW it.

Moving right along. 

Last thing. 
The storm Wednesday night. Uffdah. The winds were pretty nasty so it looks like today is my day to go see if trees fell on the fence. Our corn was flattened and I found branches this morning down by the stock tank which is over 100 ft from the trees in one direction. Branches were down in another direction too and some found way out east of the house. No damage to buildings but small branches on top of the shed too! Interesting. You may be able to guess what I will write about later!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Double Exposures

Double Trouble.

That is me. 

The photo method that I described before intrigued me. And of course I went off on a tangent from there.

Lo and Behold I decided to try some more double exposures 'in' camera. Now, mostly I am not a fan, but I think it is a fun diversion. Just like the Pep Ventosa Technique which will be a project I work on the next few days as the heat indices are to be around 100+ degrees F.

In camera double exposure of Charlie and random ox eye daisies. Double exposures really need better planning than this.

I like this one I did of my son's dog in his backyard but it feels too ghostly.

Subject one should be isolated more to include a second exposure. So I tried this one. There is the color version and black and white version to see the image within the image better.

So what if I took a photo of a vase of hosta flowers and made the hosta plant the backround? I used a white board that I should toss out as it has seen much better days. 


That was fun.

So I then thought I'd try about 7 exposures 'in the round' of my little meditating dragon.

Here is the edited color version attempt...
It is sort of interesting as it appears that the dragon is thinking inside of himself?

I thought the colors were too distracting. I decided to try a black and white version.
Hmmm. I kind of, sorta, think...sorta, that I like it?

Then I took shots with the Infrared camera of the neighbor's playground and simply stacked them all at 40%.
I added a bit of contrast and that was it.

Certainly the dragon is sort of growing on me.
The playground resembles the Pep Ventosa method a bit better and I think it would work for abstract artsy stuff.

I may have to try it again. 

While doing a bit of research I found a lot of sites that offered classes in this and other 'painterly' effects. I didn't sign up for classes, I like experimenting on my own.

By the way, the weather this morning was incredible. More about that non Artsy Stuff tomorrow. A Heat Advisory has been issued. 

So I am doing other crafty things like dying Queen Anne's Lace and drying it in hopes I can use it as Christmas or Fall *Decorates*.

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Buck Moon provided

The photo above was at 3:30 in the morning when I had to get up and help hubby with a few things.

I went out just before dawn to check on my mules and see if there was a fog moving in. There usually is after a hot humid day and a cool but damp night.

I think the Buck Moon was tired, so it rested on my dead pine tree.

The sun is still blood red in the mornings or orange depending on the smoke, clouds, and haze.

But the valleys provide for mists and fog which make it interesting.

And then...

This Buck showed up as the fog began to move across the pasture. Another young buck wandered into the area too, but I couldn't get a clear photo of him. They look like the ones I've been catching on the trail cam.

A doe jumped the line fence and stopped. She obviously saw me but it must not have bothered her much as she went on to graze and wander off into the woods.

I glanced towards the woods and...
there was a hawk watching over the meadow.

I had promised to let my neighbors' dogs out into their fenced yard for a potty break. I walked up there and took another walk out the ridge.

I guess it was my morning for wildlife.

I watched the moon fade away to the western sky and headed back home to start my day.

That's it. 

The Buck Moon.