Monday, January 31, 2022

I love Winter


Someone told me I was lying to myself when I said I loved winter the most. Chuckle Chuckle.

I love every season of course. Winter always provides me with so much to see. 

Granted. In the spring and fall, I can walk the woods and not be so bothered by insects. Summer brings its own delights which include much longer days and some un-delights of heat and humidity.

I love flowers which only bloom in my garden from Spring to Fall. But Winter provides me with time on my hands to explore the shapes of trees. Time to watch ice falls develop on a rock and moss sandstone wall.

I am afforded the ability to admire the frost that develops on the rocks in a large spring.

I can hike through the valley and bask in warm sunshine in one spot and be in chilled in the shadows and cold breezes in another.

I can be amazed over and over by an old oak tree's shape against the snow or how it casts shadows over the stream.

I can see how the natural order of things progress. I can find deer beds, coyote dens, 'possum trails, and raccoon tracks. I see how nature cleans up after a death. Who strips those bones clean like that? Not coyotes. But the Titmouse, the Bluejay, and Woodpeckers! 

Death in the valley provides a little something for everyone except the unfortunate whitetail perhaps.

The mice will find important minerals in this buck's antlers that will help them. They find calcium, phosphorous, and minerals that may be lacking in their diet in the antlers of some deer and their bones.

This huge spring provides warm water for scuds and caddisfly larvae to survive cold spells.
The spring comes out of the hillside.

It joins the creek as it flows down hill.
View looking towards the south.

No matter how cold it gets, I've never seen this spring freeze over. The water is about 45 F all year. During a very deep freeze, all the moss covered rocks get covered in a beautiful frost.

The first signs of spring arrive here on near this spring. Skunk Cabbage!

Winter provides me with more challenges to find interesting photographs. There is the snow to deal with which throws off the camera meter. There is the cold to deal with. The cold will drain batteries swiftly. Moving cameras from cold to warm can damage them if precautions aren't taken. 
Dressing appropriately can also be an issue. After years of trial and error, I am coming to a happy medium.

This hike last week involved a small backpack with a thermos of hot chocolate, hand warmer packets, fresh mittens in case mine got wet, my pistol, and camera batteries in my inner pockets. 

The thermometer hanging off my camera strap read -9 F at the spring.

My feet got cold while I explored the Big Spring. But I knew that a hard and fast walk with my snowshoes on would warm my feet up.

Eventually I made it to our ridge trail and headed up out of the valley.

That is my shadow and if you look closely, you might even see the shadow of a Teddy Bear face in my backpack.
Silly, I know, but Bear doesn't mind the cold.

By the time I got home, I was damp with sweat. 

And that
some of the
I like  love winter.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Fresh air recharge

We finally got our schedules to mesh up and go view the ice caves. I met with my ex neighbor and her kids at Weister Creek. 

Charlie was beyond happy. 

The view of the first of the two ice caves?

Let's just say there where a lot of ... Wow's!

The upper two iced areas are the ice caves that a person can get into.
Comparison photos....
Just a little over 4 weeks ago:

Yesterday in the same spot with me holding Charlie:

We did a lot of exploring and when some other folks appeared we let them have the cave to themselves.

The lower half of the ice formations were incredible with different hues of colors.

I would like to go back and climb down in there to get a closer look at the icicles. 

Briar was our comedian. He too, loves snow.

The second ice cave wasn't so exciting and two groups of people were already there so we hiked out to Weister Creek to enjoy the ice falls.

4 weeks ago:

Briar asked if he could explore the ice and I cautioned him to be very careful as the water under the ice is deep.
He stood on it. I wouldn't let him go out more than a foot on it.

When we turned to leave, he took a large step and his foot broke through the ice. 
Thankfully, it was just his boot that went through.

We hiked down to another ice fall area to explore the colors of the ice.

As we were admiring the ice falls and discussing the colors of the ice, we turned to see a woman walk out alongside the dead tree that lays across the stream.

We collectively held our breath.

I wanted to shout out to her to stay off river/stream ice unless she wanted to take a cold dunk.

She got back to the bank without breaking through and we all sighed. Too often people from not around here assume that the ice that forms over streams/creeks/rivers are the same as the ice that forms on lakes.
It is a very dangerous assumption.
This is the current under that ice.
We had to hold Charlie to keep him from exploring the edge and falling under the ice.

Exploring the area is beautiful. But one needs to use their head!

This photo was done with my infrared camera. Who says IR is only for summer?

We explored up one of the dry runs until we got to a spot where it split in three directions.
There was a huge log laying down that would have been a perfect spot for a picnic.

We enjoyed the warm sun and listened to the breeze rustle the leaves above our heads.

Charlie was worn out from 'snow swimming'. Everyone had picked him up at some point and given him a small lift. Being a tough little guy, he wiggled and was put back down. He was the trail leader after all.

We really had to laugh when we got back to the parking area.

Subaru owners do this on purpose. If there is another Subaru around, they will make every effort to park near the others. There were two more Outbacks just out of frame and an Impreza pulled in as we got ready to leave.

Mine is the dirtiest one!

Charlie was all ready for a cuddly nap when we got home.

As much as I didn't want the adventure to end, I felt relaxed and recharged.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Stuck indoors

If anyone at all was following the Midwest weather, then they know about the string of subzero weather we had.

It was kind of nasty but not the worst string of cold we've had. It is no secret that I like winter and enjoy snow sports.

Getting stuck inside for days on end except for chores makes me stir crazy. 

While hubby took his morning nap, I checked on my outdoor critters then decided to do a bit of Fun Fotography. 

My camera assistant helped of course.

Charlie carefully rearranged my herd of unicorns.

So happy that he got them rounded up!

I got out the woodsy guys and placed them on the floor. The light could have been better, but I'm still working on that. 

The hard part was bouncing the dim light from the windows onto the characters I was using and keeping the black foam board in back black.

When the boss woke up, he immediately tuned into ESPN, YouTube, and Showtime for boxing and sports at volume  ~~ VERY LOUD. I guess all the excitement of wearing hearing aides have worn off as they sit on the table gathering dust again.

There is nothing in the world that drives me more crazy than screaming fans and commentators that yell.

My cell phone was charged up so I grabbed my cheapo ear buds and plugged them in. Pandora, take me away!

Thunder from Imagine Dragons was the first thing I heard. 
Music seems to inspire and make me move and -- sometimes do a bit of a dance. It cheers me up and gets me motivated.

I danced in my own head and swayed to the music. One good tune after another. Charlie looked at me and closed his eyes. 

Thank goodness for music and ear buds!

This is what things look like for taking some fun still life stuff. No fancy studio. Just some black felt or white boards on top of the old trunk next to the back door.

Let there be Lego People and Monsters!

Tea time anyone?

Feed the monsters and they will be happy!

Friday, January 28, 2022


Sometimes you find
in the middle
of nowhere

and sometimes in the
middle of nowhere
you find

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Chilled out


Our nightly visitors keep appearing just behind the outhouse and hear the north pasture. When I shot these photos the camera sensed everything as 'blue' and I guess the snow would reflect that just after sunset. I shot these through two panes of glass and set the camera on Auto to see what would happen.

The ISO went to 6400 and the photos are a bit grainy, but dang! It wasn't so bad! Cameras sure have come a long way. I shot these with my cheapo used long lens and still, I am impressed. 
These are the same fawns as I did the artsy fartsie stuff too but on a different evening.

The deer are coming to our weedy area behind the outhouse because the meadows and the forest are fairly deep in snow. There is easier pickins right here. As browsers, they don't stay long. But right now just as the sun sets they appear.

I call out to hubby to let him know the visitors are descending from the woods above and he turns off whatever he is watching and stands at the back door. He counts them out to me and provides a narrative while I do whatever I am busy with in the kitchen.

With wind chills as nasty as they are and a busy schedule with Video interviews, I have decided to give up even thinking of going out for anything other than providing warm water to those who don't have a heated water tank, and feeding those birds.

I went to clean up my spare room and sort some things and ended up messing around with ... well...

Guess who's coming for dinner?

Remember this song? 

Ten in Bed

there were ten in bed 
and the little one said
roll over
so they all rolled over 
and one fell out

there were nine in bed
and the little one said...

I have no idea why that song came to my head when I was gathering all these tiny Teddy Bears together...but it did.

I needed to distract my mind with something else after organizing the toys and art supplies.

So I spread out my old maps.

I'm thinking of a warmer day when I can get back on the trails. 

And I got this in the mail, very appropriate.

-17 F tonight with gusting south winds?

Saturday is the new date for the kids and I to hit the ice caves in the morning. After this week, I'd feel like anything above zero is warm and any time outside with others would be welcome.

Adulting is
sometimes tough...

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Really it is cold

I must be getting used to it I guess because I waited until it was only -3 to head out and do chores. The sun hadn't topped the trees yet but I had some things to get done and three mules were staring at the house.

I imagine they were mind melding with me and sending me mental photos of yummy hay. 

I'd just let Charlie out and he had done a refusal until my stocking foot pushed him out the door. He looked rather upset with me and walked over to one of my very cool porch rocks and proceeded to pee on it.

He trotted back to the door. I let him in. He jumped up onto his blankets on the couch and gave me a look as if to say, 'there I peed, happy?
I shall ignore YOU!'

I shook my finger at him and told him he needed to get out in the yard and bless that chunk of a stump I'd put out there just for pee purposes. NOT my fossil rocks! He closed his eyes.

I got out a hat and scarf figuring that Charlie would need to bundle up.

He was soooo not impressed.

Next I said I'd get him a face mask so he wouldn't get chilled.

He was not impressed.

However, by late afternoon he was all in on going for a walk.

He likes snow and doesn't mind it as long as....

there is a trail...

and he doesn't have to wade through it...

When you have 3 inch legs, a fresh snowfall can certainly be hard on a little fella.

Note: Thank you Charlie for being such a willing little guy to put up with my shenanigans and join me on my winter walks. I do pick him up on trails like these so he doesn't get cold.

What a good boy.