Thursday, September 30, 2021

Projects

I have had this idea for a while. This week I stood with Miss Aurora and we talked about everything under the sun and she mentioned the Wonderland book of portraits that are extremely exotic and beautiful. It is done with models and special lighting effects.

In my head I had a vision of doing some self portraits in woodland settings. I'd done some of that last year when I was out and about with Charlie and Bear.

One of my favorites from last year was sledding with a Teddy Bear and Charlie running alongside us. I used a timer on my pointy shooty camera and set it to 7 shots hoping that one shot would deliver the following.


These are not the same type of photos that the artist Kristy Mitchel has done. But the discussion did rekindle some old ideas I had about self portraits.

I went up into my Magic Room [really, it is a spare bedroom where my paints, crafts, and toys are stored] and looked down at the outfit I'd picked out over a year ago. My intentions were to 'dress' up and take a self portrait in the woods. You know a dreamy shot where I looked beautiful and exotic.

Pfft. 
I should know better.
Most people who call themselves a photographer absolutely hate getting in front of the lens. I didn't like it as a kid and liked it less as my face aged. 

What I think I look like in front of a camera...or wished I did:


What I generally look like [in the winter]:


How I feel before coffee in the morning:


And here are two versions I did this morning while having coffee on a knoll overlooking the neighbor's meadow with Bear.
I like the B&W version much better.



I'm not very good at this and it took quite a bit of running back and forth with the timer set. I could use an app on the smarty phone to do it, but I always end up with the damn phone in my hand.

However, this is more me. I'm not gorgeous and dreamy looking. I have a face that has been beat up by the weather and sun. It has amazing wrinkles in it. If I were a man I'd have a gnarly weathered face. 

But see, I am going to be okay with that because really. No amount of makeup will make me look young and dreamy.

So what will my project be? Oh it will change constantly. But I am going to put on the gypsy crazy lady outfit and play dress up. Well, why not? I have to entertain myself.

I won't even try to do those incredible artistic shots. Those were someone else's vision. I want one of my own.

I'm going to work on the Bear and I stuff too. I really like doing things with Bear.

So...
off I go

to do my own thing.

You never know what I will come up with.






Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Friends

The best friends 
you can 
have 
are Honest
Friends.


The internet can be a funny place. A few years ago I was able to reconnect with a childhood pal via the dreaded FB. We hadn't really been in touch since Middle School and a bit of High School, but suddenly there we were, meeting up and enjoying each other's company.

I met another person through a horse group many years ago. I met up with her when I traveled to Virginia. We have remained distant friends and have kept in touch.

There are more stories like that in my life. One recent friendship though comes to the forefront.
I met this spring with another photographer/blogger. Neither one of us were an axe murder posing as something else, thank goodness. And we had a common ground.
The love of the forest and everything in it.

We decided to hook up for a fall hike. We waited until the temperatures had cooled a bit and the bugs were not so bad.

Let me say that getting around where I live is probably one of the most difficult things to do. GPS is not accurate, it doesn't show where I live. The GPS will show my vehicle going off into Never Never Land. Road signs can be non-existent. I know our road sign took nearly 20 yrs to be put up. They forgot to add: Dead End.
Phone reception in our hills and valleys are even worse. Depending  which valley I am in, my phone tells me that there is NO availability for voice. In fact if it is in my bedroom, in our creek bottom, in the back valley, or in places at KVR it goes DING and let's me know there is nothing...Nothing Out there

In the end, we did find each other and begin our Fall trek together. 
As we climbed the first part of the steep trail, The Grand Old Oak welcomed us with morning light filtering through its branches.



I mean. I want to hug this tree. It seems to hug me every single time I walk by it.


I don't know how to explain it... I like the forest and I think it likes me back.

Aurora and I found our way with Charlie leading us. We arrived at the top of the bluff. 
Charlie trotted out to the edge and surveyed the forest below. Just like the Lion King would have done.

We sat down on one of the ledges and proceeded to just talk. After all meeting face to face is so much more than just writing to each other or talking on the phone.

And this happened:

Aurora found a bunch of milkweed seeds and held them up to blow them into the slight breeze. They floated over the edge and continued on their journey. Charlie was hilarious he turned towards the camera I'd set up. 
I suppose he could hear the almost inaudible clicks.




I have to admit, I love the deep forest trails so much.
We walked and chatted. I chatted in circular fashion. I started something and got sidetracked and then picked up sort of where I left off later on.

No sane mind can follow me so I will leave it at that.

The colors were beautiful and when the trail threw me for a loop I was happily surprised.
This photo edited to bring out the glorious colors of the meadow/prairie grasses we walked through while looking back at the forest we came out of.


The planted grass around us was beyond pretty. Aurora showed me that. Normally I wouldn't have given the grasses much of a glance.
But that is the fun of having another photographer along. One that can see what I'd normally overlook.

I liked the asters....I did like the grass but just took grassy looking shots. Nothing spectacular. I just soaked it all in.


We ran into other folks walking the trail which is unusual in the middle of the week. However, I suppose the incredible weather and colors brought out all sorts of folks.
Below. 
Sumac on the trail that I wanted to 'shoot' backlit using spot metering.


I like it.

We probably spent as much time chilling out with Charlie where we had parked our vehicles.

Aurora told me about a photographer who did a project called Wonderland. We talked about it at length.

I'd had an idea of something along these lines but not fantasy quite like this artist had done.

A story?
A tribute?
Something of a project?

Oh the mind whirls!

Friends are awesome. They continuously give me fantastic ideas.
In 2008, a Flickr friend Nikki told me to do a 'book' about the Forest. It was her wish. I took one year to do it. Nikki passed away and I did that book in her honor.


I followed that up with another called The Sleeping Forest.

I like projects and have been mulling over a project of Bear and I.

Or something else.

Time will tell.

As well as encouragement from friends.

Never waste a good friend.
They are an extremely precious resource.






Monday, September 27, 2021

The Deal!

 

Spectacular sunrise.
It set me in a good mood.



A little bit of morning Yoga on the porch was fun too with the mules staring at me as the sun peaked over the trees after my morning walk.

I know some folks think I life the Life of Riley. I am learning to become more chilled and perhaps less stressed out.

I stretched my old aching parts out and then did the chores. Then it was a trip to the Big Town for groceries. I wanted to browse and stock up on things. Huh. 

The aisle with paint? Nearly empty! I guess shortages are the thing we feared a year ago and are now coming to pass. Interesting isn't it?
I stocked up on my canned stuff, dry goods, and items I really did NOT need. I purchased an all weather blue tooth tiny speaker to carry into the woods, or garden, or ...well, wherever. I also purchased a Groot ornament. I mean who can pass up that cute guy? I love the raccoon too. I'd love an action figure of him.

Two brightly colored dinosaurs [cheap] dropped into my basket for doing some more Treasure hunt games with the neighbor kids. Who can resist dinos that are $1?

I went to write an email back to a fellow blogger for a meet up. My stupid poor old laptop froze up and crashed. BSOD. Blue Screen of Death again. Yeah. Well, I had custom ordered the top of the line in 2012, so I am guessing things are starting to have issues.
Sort of like a brain with malfunctions.

I did some phone calls and wrote out some checks. One for the skid steer service call.

Boring Monday stuff. Phone calls and bookkeeping crap. You know the drill.

I got all of that out of the way and decided to chat with Lenovo. I have been watching their site for over a year. So I decided to make an inquiry. Did you know that many desktops and laptops have a shipping estimate of 4+ months? I've had friends who have waited forever on refrigerators and other items. 

Last week at the dealership they had one new Subaru on the lot. One.

Back to Lenovo. I talked to some IT folks in town and they said they stood by Lenovo. Dell had some nice slick computers as did ASUS and ACER. The specs I wanted would have gone over $2,600 with a Surface Pro. 

Lenovo had one with the specs ready to ship and on sale [truly on sale because I've been watching their site for over a year]... I bought it. I took a deep breath and dove right in. 
As soon as my card was run, I was called by the credit card company to see if I'd authorized the purchase. This is how their fraud department works. It was an unusual purchase and it was flagged for a call.

That was absolutely cool.

Tomorrow? Tuesday?
The Rock.

Meeting up with a friend.
Hiking in the morning light. 

It will be like Yoga of the Mind.


If you can make a way to learn to chill with your mind and life, it is really something quite awesome.

I'm learning, one small step at a time. 

That's the deal.




Can you name it?

Not much going on right now. 

I have been wandering the woods as usual and have been finding neat and cool stuff which I have been trying to identify.

This below is something I came across while hiking on Thursday. I have found these before along the river bluffs and near pines so I am thinking this would be the proper climate for them.

Pin Cushion Moss
it grows in acidic soil in shaded forests or swamps, near bases of trees and on rock ledges... [from the Minnesota Seasons site]

I've seen these often along the areas I walk. Warner Creek, Weister Creek, and the Kickapoo River. They are so cute and distinct. One wants to reach down and touch them. They are so soft and pliable.


Here is another cool and weird looking thing I found. It is a mushroom and after a lot of searching I came up with a name for it.
The common name is Shrimp of the Woods. It is supposed to be quite edible.



This was a perplexing fungi to identify because I just thought it was strange twisted fungi growth gone all wrong.
In fact that is what the Latin name sort of implies. Entoloma arbortivum. And apparently several sources say they are easy to identify yet there is a poisonous look alike. Um. I will pass then.

These tiny orange things are pretty cool. They caught my eye because of their brilliant color on the wet wood.
I have narrowed it down to Insect Egg Slime Mold



But I found different patches of similar 'stuff' but slightly different.


Considering that it is fall, and this stuff is bright orange I will just admire it. I don't have a microscope to do any further digging. Insect Egg Slime Mold or Yellow Fuzzy Slime Cone?

While we are on orange fungi stuff, here is one I cannot ID.
It was about 6 feet above the ground growing on ... oh, crap, I never bothered to ID the tree. 
There it is, a mystery.
I did find similar but smaller ones in my own woods on dead ash trees. Does that help at all?


This one I think I do know.
It starts out like a bit of white goo, but is not gooey.

Last year I watched it slowly grow over a time frame of about a week in this very same spot. Taken September 24th 2021.


It is called Abortiporus biennis and according to the MushroomExpert.com, it comes in several forms. 
Here it is on September 27th of last year:




And....
Of course I could be completely wrong. Another name for this in its regular state is Blushing Rosette. That is when it doesn't go all 'wrong'. 
When it grows on wood stumps [I dug around and found a stump and wood under the dirt] and becomes deformed it looks like the above photo. 
Mother Nature sure is interesting.

I thought I had figured out what the following fungi were but then sort of gave up.
They are so beautiful.
They have gills and are not large, they grow on an old log. This is the second time they have grown here this year.




Then there are these and I have No Idea what they are but found them interesting. Will they grow larger or do nothing?




I have no idea what they are but with the little bit of rain and misty mornings with heavy dew, the forest in certain areas have burst forth with all sorts of cool fungi and slime molds.
I could just spend the day crawling through this one area of our forest and keep finding neat things.

But fall color and leaves are on everyone's mind. Certain reports say our area is not in full color.


In the valleys, I will beg to differ.
The photo below was shot with a graduated ND filet so the sky wouldn't be so blown out.
This is one of the back roads I take when coming back from town.



Welcome to Monday. 




Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunday Stills ~Evenings

I do like quiet evenings. 

In our 'hollow' the sun seems to disappear quickly. I can race up to the ridge and find an open area to watch the sun disappear again.

Of course the reverse works in the mornings. 

Quiet time.




Sunday Stills #21



Friday, September 24, 2021

Billings Creek

This is rated as a fairly difficult trail on KVR by Wisconsin Explorer. Though to be truthful, the guy who rated it, did it from one end to the other and did it when the trails had not had straight wind damage and a lot of down trees. I did it out and back without crossing the large stream. 

This is not a trail to take Grandma on. 

It resembles a deer trail at times or a one track that is narrow and packed with roots, rocks, holes, and steep terrain.

Oh boy did I love that! It was just like hiking at the neighbor's land who has two valleys and steep difficult terrain.

The first time I wanted to do this trail I couldn't find the trail head. It was literally hidden in tall grasses and brush.

 


They've painted the markers bright orange now so it is more obvious.


The trail is easy to follow ~~  but as one gets to the ridge above Billings Creek [after some very mean climbs in and out of steep areas and around some windfalls...] there are a few more markers to let a person know they are on the right trail. Because the trail and game trails look pretty much the same in this section.


We stopped where we did because I'd need a day without a dog to figure out how to get around the huge piles of downed trees to continue down into the valley from the ridge.
I'd heard the noon whistle from Ontario and so my time was running out.
I'd taken an hour and 22 minutes to get to the spot we turned around. Mostly because I'd wandered off trail to explore old equine trails and peer down bluffs.

We were tired, warm, and thirsty. Charlie tried drinking right out of my bottle as I poured his water in a tiny lid for him.

I will be coming back here often because I found some places to explore when the light was different.

It was fun to sit on top of a bluff and watch school kids canoeing below us.





I need to go back and visit this again:


And this....




I fell in love with the bluffs and the pines. 








Someone was draggin' tail by the time we got back to the car, so I took him down to the river and 'beach' where we sat on a log and shared an apple.


I think we could have spent the rest of the day next to the river gazing at the rocks.

He slept while I drove home.

I'll be back.




Thursday, September 23, 2021

Whatever happened to the....

Forest Garden I tried to create?

Well, there were some failures and some successes. None of the flower seeds I purchased for shade came up at all. But then that may not be my fault as I planted them elsewhere and they didn't come up there either. 
I'm on a search for some better seeds for next year.

The Begonias in ground did well, they didn't grow terribly large, but they were the best survivors of the things I did plant. 

The transplant of Comfrey did well also. I took some hostas out to the forest garden and some were nibbled by deer. I expected that but had no other place to put those extra hostas. 

Other successful transplants were vinca and so did the Bugleweed or Ajuga! I may move some more next spring as long as I see it survives winter.


The center area did have grass grow in it! Yippee, I did find out that deer normally do not eat grass as they are browsers. That is why they love gardens so much. Also, this solves the riddle of why the creek has so much beautiful green grass most of the winter and no one ever eats it.

My grumpy tree guy needed some sprucing up. I took out some fake flowers to pretty up my personal Forest Space. After all, I am the only one aside from kids that visit that go there. 


I added flowers here. This is the first thing a person/kid would see walking into the space. The green Alien was left by Briar, one of my young pals.


One of my favorite dragons. I've had this dragon for two years now.
He/she will come in when the weather turns to be part of my indoor decorations.
It is small enough to come inside.

The begonias happened to be the big success story. The orange cosmos did flower but the plants are pretty wimpy. These however looked great in the cracks of the large rock formation.

This is my spot with a stump for an adult beverage or a hot chocolate. The wooden chair has generally been part of my Christmas Decorations so I'll bring that in and wash it up before the snow flies.




Meanwhile...
time for a chat...

Tiny Bear makes a Predator Hellhound sit up 
and beg for a cookie.

Dude, what kind of cool helmet is that?
I stole mine from a Star Wars Action guy.

Buck says to Doe. 
You know, sometimes I'm not so sure I 
feel truly safe out in these woods!

Yes, these things happen when I have to sit all day and wait for a med delivery for hubby. I can't go far from the house. I can hear Tom's UPS truck on the ridge. He usually is late. I think we are near the end of his route.