Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November is ending

 I didn't take many photos in November. 

Well, not many Landscape - Forest scenery. 

I think it is because this is my adjustment period from fall to winter. 

I enjoyed  watching the barberry plants in the woods change. These plants make great plantings in a suburban area but when they invade the woods, they make for prickly walking.

They are fun to photograph in the fall and winter. But I they don't provide wildlife with a meal. Well, I take that back. The birds eat these and spread it in their poo creating a thick undergrowth of plants that change the pH in the soil. These thickets are a wonderful Wood Tick Habitat. 

So, I have a love/hate relationship with them. I fight them on my land but it feels like a losing battle as my neighbor's 500+ acres of forest is infested with them.

Never the less. They are beauties to photograph.

There are morning frosts that are sometimes just so stunning and other times you just have to find the small things close to the ground to look at.

Some days a person get brilliant fleeting moments of color in a sunrise or sunset.  Sometimes those times are so incredibly beautiful in a very pastel way.

Yesterday we had dense fog and poor visibility. I still had to get to town but I took the scenic route and stopped at my favorite bridge on a back road.

By the time I was done in town, the fog was so dense it was hard to see. This is another reason I am grateful I am not doing the 60 mile round trip to work at odd hours anymore.

However, in a way, I thought the fog was beautiful. 

Today, I hope to get out and explore what froze in the creek last night as the temperatures went from 40 degrees to 21. And IT is snowing! :)

Time to think about some fun things. Like. ...

Experimenting with the Christmas Chair. The Jury is still out on this as I am going for less 'stuff' this year. But I did bring it out and set the jointed bear I made sooooo many years ago on it. As with most of my Christmas Stuff, it will constantly change.

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Chair and Creative Play

When I get into the Christmas/Holidays Funk, I read what I wrote last year which was a Satirical Holiday get together for a family much like mine called Unrealistic Expectations totally made up!

I can't help but chuckle when I read it. 

In 2013 I used an old chair combined with a partial Christmas Tree in order to decorate our tiny cottage. This was before the remodel in 2016. The first time I took photos of it was in 2014 when I did it a second time. 

Even a small fake tree just took up too much room in our home. I improvised and found that it was much more fun doing something out of the norm.

This year I am changing things up a bit again. I have to admit that each year when I decorate an old chair it ends up being quite fun and never the same two times in a row. That is probably a good thing for me. The chair gives me a flat spot to continuously change up what is going on. I can walk by it and take a tiny Santa Claus and have him conversing with a dinosaur or perhaps a unicorn.

That old table that I brought in from the porch turned into a Legoland Table. Why not? Rich and I had so much fun over the past month or so building these 3 D puzzles that I decided to use them much like others would use a collection of Christmas Village houses.

The Wood Cabin build was really tough and very detailed.

The Lego Lady Contractor
shows off the Cabin Kitchen

Some of the build was extremely frustrating as the lights and wires really were difficult to work with. We found that we were missing a few pieces and the quality control was sucky at times. 

However, if I hadn't built previous Lego 'Expert' builds [The Gingerbread House], I would have given up. The roof bows and won't fit tight...but I learned a lesson. Lego Bricks Rule. I will probably dismantle parts and re make the house eventually.

The Sasquatch Family has no issues with it at all. They love it. They celebrated Thanksgiving in it before the roof was attached!

The Happy Sasquatch Family

They were so pleased when they got moved into the Lego Village.

Then the serious stuff started. Ol' Man Rich decided to take his ornament Champion Cruiser and find some Christmas Trees.

[When I told Rich that this Lego Person was him, he actually started to enjoy it. He really digs this car ornament and even pushed it around the kitchen table. He checks on what the Ol' Man Rich is doing each day. He denies enjoying it of course. But the smile on his face tells me otherwise.]

And by golly he did! He talked other friends into hauling them to the village!

Even the strange snowperson and the Polar Bears were pleased....

Having Christmas Trees in the Village would be awesome!

And every one rejoiced. I think the Lego
lady with the hair in a bun
was imbibing a bit too much?

Oh it looks like silly play doesn't it? Wasted time. But think about it. When a person decorates for any Holiday they are using their brain to create something beautiful, right? Create. That is play.

When a person knits or crochets, paints, draws, photographs, or does anything creative...they are playing. It keeps their minds active and engaged.

Play is good for the mind and soul.


If I can only think of cooking and baking as Creative Play. 


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Well here we go!

Be glad I didn't start out with yesterday morning's musings. It was very Bah BAH Humbug. Really it was quite an eye opener.

Perhaps I'll write about it some other time.

We all think about Christmas Decorations right after Thanksgiving. After all, the decorations started to appear right after Halloween in the stores. The Christmas muuu--saccc started then too. 

[One of the reasons I do not listen to the run of the mill Christmas music is that it is heard everywhere in November and December, there is no escape! Your favorite Christmas music is???]

So I started with the simple things. I changed the shower curtain from the fall forest to the winter forest:

I like feeling like I am walking into a snowy scene when I walk past the bathroom door.

The Living Room -- you have seen most of our house!

I brought in the rickety old table from the porch, I thought this might be a fun place to put Santa's Visit Lego build and the Gingerbread House along with the Wood Cabin we are still working on. The totes have all of the decorations in it. 

This corner used to be the corner where I put up the Christmas Chair. The concentrator was replaced with this monster of a thing. This corner has been rendered useless. 

That opening is our tiny downstairs bedroom that was part of the addition. The original house ends at that opening.

This wall that greets you when you walk in the back door. I made those wreaths so many years ago.  I save unique Christmas Ribbons and labels for packages. 

I purchased a pre lit 4 foot tall Birch Tree. I like it because I can use it all winter long to bring some nice light into our living room on these dark evenings.
The nesting box is exactly that, a nesting box for chickens that my mother in law had for years. She used it as a coffee table. I use it to put things in to look at.

I like old wooden boxes.
I like trees and sticks... and milk weed pods for bouquets.

In the winter the sun comes right in the south windows and shines in your eyes if you are sitting on the loveseat. So I tried curtains and they were horribly ugly. The blocked the sun and made the room so dark. 

[Note, that cabin heater is the heat for the whole house. It keeps it warm too.]

While browsing for a nice Fall Shower curtain I saw in a review how a woman used a beautiful forest scene as a backdrop in her bedroom. Someone else used it as a curtain for a sliding glass door.

So I did this.

It lets enough light in to keep the living room bright and cheery and is easy to open and shut. The orange in the corner is the basket of stuff I keep Charlie's stuff in for going out.

The Christmas Chair. Well. Hmmm. I am thinking about it, but of course am going to change it up as I always do.

As for the music? I like Trans Siberian Orchestra and instrumental music. 

Christmas Eve and Other Stories and the Christmas Attic. Favs...

Wayyy dislike any other versions of over played music. 

Friday, November 25, 2022

Quiet day

I was up early, not to put the turkey in the oven, but to have some coffee and breakfast before meeting up with my neighbor as we had both signed up for a fund raiser 'rowing' & movie event at the gym.

This is what greeted me while I walked up the road to catch a ride with my neighbor, Olive. I only had my cell phone and IF I'd had my camera, I would have been tempted to spend a good long time photographing different aspects of this scene!

Sometimes I wish I lived on the ridge...not during winds and storms though!

The gym owner is a fire fighter and very community oriented. The rowing event was conducted with a free will 'donation' in a little drop box where we donated money for a family that needed help. 

He put on the movie Elf and we started rowing. I had a couple of young sisters as team mates and we each rowed until we wanted a break and then the next person took over. It was fun. While waiting my turn I could catch up with other members of the gym that I hadn't seen in a while and talk with the sisters.

I couldn't really hear the movie, but it was fun to watch it anyway and visit. It is probably the biggest social event I've been to in the past few years.

When I got home, I found Rich doing this:

He had gotten bored while waiting and pulled out some pieces from the pie tin we had the bits in and put together little chairs. He did this without looking at the instructions of course! I was pretty amazed as he has terrible tremors which really frustrate him. But somehow he got this done!

I turned off all my electronics and spent part of the day cleaning and purging items from the closet under the stairs. I found a box that contained pictures and items that my brother had sent to me a long time ago. I'd put the items in the only closet space we had at the time.

Anyway I found some fun drawings I did as a kid. 

I recall being fascinated by the history of the Roman Kingdom and the violent world they lived in. Latin - Roman Wars -- drawings I did as a 6th grader.
I loved it that my Dad kept all sorts of our kid artwork. It creates warm fuzzy memories of childhood.

I found a beautiful blow up photo of my favorite shot my father took in 1965 of the after math of the eruption of Kilauea Iki in 1959.

Here is my shot from 2001 of the same tree

and a photo of us dated 1965 walking up the Devastation Trail at Volcano National Park.

In 2010 I went back with my father's ashes to put them in the place he was always the happiest.
Another trip down Devastation Trail was made and this was the result.

I think I need to go back and really get the angle right! Though to do so, I think I'd have to step off the trail. In 1965 that was dangerous as the lava field was apparently a bit sketchy to walk on.

The fond memories set me in a quiet mood. Some days I wish for those days again. You know, when we were kids and exploring as a family together. Pre Later Life Drama. 

I cleaned and vacuumed the tiny basement area while I dug out the Christmas boxes of stuff. I have no idea what I'll do this year for decorating. I'm going to lean towards a simple prelit and fake birch tree and go from there.

Rich took his afternoon nap and Charlie and I spent time snuggled and reading on the couch. 

The sunset was as spectacular as the sunrise:

BLTs for supper and an episode of The Santa Clauses Series on Disney +. We get good laughs out of the comedy Christmas programs.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Trail Camera Fun

It is so boring staying stuck inside for the deer gun season. Hubby doesn't like me going out in the woods at all for anything. However, I decided to take a short walk yesterday and refresh the camera SD cards in the woods.

Charlie and I both needed some outdoor air and some woods time. He needed more practice with his blaze orange vest. He did fine unless he was jumping logs and rocks. Sigh. So, on good trails, it is fine.

Still the colors keep him very visible. We were both in High Vis vests.

Anyway we found some amusing photos when we got back home.

Apparently some deer like 'Selfies'? 
Deer are supposed to be spooked by cameras. I have two in the woods and they stay in the same spot all of the time year 'round.

These two knuckle heads moved the camera on the tree. I have blurred shots of their noses I think, the camera moves and we see this:

The buck in this next picture actually has some nice antlers, when he walked away, we had a blurred view of some high and wide horns.

Then this guy came through....Wow!

I put one camera at a place I figured was a deer crossing from the neighbor's meadow into our summer pasture. There is a lot of traffic by deer back and forth through this spot.

And...something surprising!

Bobcat visit in the middle of the day!

And a 10 minutes later? Do we have a second bobcat or did the original one circle around?

My neighbor commented that these bobcats were pretty big and I guess they do look large, and certainly much larger than Charlie.

However they have been around since 2017 and haven't bothered any large livestock in the area. Their main meals are squirrels, rabbits, chickens, and small mammals. Apparently they will eat woodchucks and that is fine by me!

It is unusual to catch one on camera during the daytime though.

I've seen Bobcat tracks a lot last winter in this very same spot so I am guessing that they are just using the 'game' trail.

This trail is well used by deer, squirrels, raccoon, 'possum, and once in a while by turkeys so it makes sense to see the Bobcat hunting!

It is rather fun to see what goes on in our forest.

We aren't doing anything special for Thanksgiving. Hubby asked for BLT's as a special supper. Wow, that is great! Easy and delicious! I saved a pumpkin pie from the Mennonite bakery so I have to thaw that and we can have that as desert.

Monday, November 21, 2022

That back pain!

For the past few years I've had back pain which I understand is the most common thing that drives people to go see their doctors.

If I sat for a bit, I'd be stiff and walk a few steps stooped until I could straighten up. It was worse every morning when I got up. I had resigned myself to the thought that this was 

how it would be for the rest of my life. 

The doctors confirmed the arthritic issues in my low back and described bone spurs and such. With their diagnosis, I felt...well this is good as it gets. 

Most days, things would feel better by mid morning and I'd forget about it until I sat down for a bit again. Or...I worked in the garden and would feel as if I were locked up and couldn't straighten.

I had taken a break from the gym because of the diagnosis of osteoporosis and mainly because I wasn't sure of where to go next. After the medication reactions, I decided to get back into the gym and join the Mobility Class. 

I decided to do some personal training to see if I couldn't combat the bone thing. If nothing else, would it make me feel better?

Could I have done this exercise at home? Sure I could have tried. But I know that if I do it on my own, it gets pushed back until the day is done and exercises go undone. I know myself. I used to be very disciplined while training for running. But doing a whole body workout is not that easy. 
Nor is doing it properly. I needed a supervisor!

The fact is, I stink at home exercise programs. Hey, there is always a nap to take, a book to read, or time to do it later! [Not]

So I went to Mobility Class twice a week during the summer and added one day of personal training. My coach, Angie has worked very hard on setting up the training sessions just for me personally and geared for aging bones and spines.

In September, I switched from two Mobility classes to one and went to two personal sessions per week.

I woke up last Friday morning and a thought came to me as I made coffee and gazed out the window. 

How many days have I been getting out of bed and my back isn't hurting?  Those muscles weren't stiff and cramped up. 

I thought to myself that the muscle pain has slowly dissipated.  How can that even be? I've had it for so long ... surely it was permanent. 

Each time I get ready to go to the gym in the back of my mind I think...Nah, I really don't have the time. Or, gosh I could just forget it today. Or, I don't feel like sweating today.

I get dressed and go. I am not kidding you, it takes dedication and it is not easy. The results are not immediate. And somehow, twice a week Angie makes it interesting and challenging. 

We work on making those muscles that protect my 'frail' low back stronger so they can protect my whole body. We work on all of the muscles and let me tell you, it is hard work!
But afterwards I feel great.

Trying to keep yourself mobile and strong enough to do regular everyday things is difficult. Even more so as a person ages.

What a bonus for me to have coaches and people I can trust to guide me in exercise and my journey in keeping up my strength, balance, and stamina. [Not to mention the release of endorphins which make the mental attitude much rosier.]

This video is a fun one she made of me on Friday...

One last note. 
Some of the members of our CrossFit Viroqua gym are as follows:
Aged from youngsters to those in their 80's. We have knee replacements, metal joints, replaced hips, old hips, and those who have or are recovering from cancer, stroke, ... you name it, we make up the gym just like we make up those in our society.

Our gym is not comprised of jocks and body builders. We are normal everyday people.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Squatch builds a house

Do you remember poor Squatch who searched aimlessly with his friend Hobby for others like himself?

He searched for a home and built a stick house in the spring which got flattened with the first big winds.

They considered a nice Lego house at first but it was too fancy with decorations and all. So they got together and decided to get busy since it seemed that winter was officially on its way.

The Cabin looks very nice but it has to be built from the ground up!
It looks to be complicated and even has lights that are integrated into cabin! Here the friends study the first set of lights.

They decided to call in a construction crew to assist.
[Yes, their coffee breaks are very large!]

The skid steer was very helpful as was the supervisor.

By evening, step 1 had been completed and Squatch had the basement in along with the stairs to the new porch. Oh and a place for a friend!

A little pasture for a brown pony!

Everyone pitches in! Day 2:

The actual set we are doing is called FO Fun Whole Wood Cabin with 2097 pieces. It will take a while!

I love the detail I am finding in this 'build'. 

The bathroom with a tub, toilet, and sink [I fixed the spigot after
I saw this photo...]

Living Room complete 
with a record player
and a Foyer Cabinet
with drawers that work!

Seems I finally got my 'dollhouse'. I had a metal one as a kid and we played with them all of the time. Of course dolls didn't live there, any small toy animal we could find lived in our dollhouses. 

Thank goodness for Lego stuff!

Friday, November 18, 2022

Wardrobe Failures!


She bought this horrible ugly nasty icky thingy. 

OH and She was so excited to put it on me. 

She took photos of me eating my supper.

Then it happened. Jacket Failure. 

When She let me outside to do my business. I kept putting my foot through the neck hole and falling on my face.

I was happy, she was not. Over the years she tried with some dog named Morris to get him a blaze orange vest. Apparently he destroyed it in one outing. The fleece got full of snow and so many burrs that it was never usable again. 

Then someone who had seen Mr. Morris's coat predicament sent him one of her dog's old coats. 

Another coat failure. 

She explained all of this to me patiently while she scratched her head. 

My short little legs seem to be an issue. When I run or leap, they get stuck in the jacket. So she tried tightening it. 

Phew, after a few more tries, She removed the obnoxious thing and decided to think about the problem over night. 

I hoped SHE would forget it. But She didn't.

She took some craft twine and tied up the neck/leg holes to make them tighter so my legs wouldn't get stuck.
I am So embarrassed.

But then she let me outside for a morning walk! I was so happy to get out in the snow that I took off ... faster than the speed of light. Okay, I exaggerate. 

Wow! I guess you can see me really well! It worked great on the driveway and it started out okay in the woods too.

Then it happened again. My tiny legs got caught up in the belly thingy. How embarrassing to be jumping a log and BIFF. Land on my face in the snow because one leg got tucked under in the belly thing.

She removed it. I could tell She had more thinking to do. She stuffed the offensive jacket in her pocket and we had a nice walk after all.

She said she really needed to figure out how to make the jacket work. I guess I am hard to spot in the woods. 

Can you find me? I'm in this shot.

She grumbled a lot and I could see smoke coming from under her hat, She was thinking hard!

She found some pretty red Barberry berries to take a picture of and then we walked out to the road.

At the road, She put the jacket thing back on me. On the flat surface and just walking, the jacket did fine. 
And apparently I can be seen.

However there needs to be another adjustment.

She needs to figure out how to keep my short legs from getting caught in the belly thingy.

Back at home we worked on that.

I AM a very patient dog.
She came up with a possible solution. She cut up an old shirt and fit part of the sleeve over the jacket like a horse cinch.

It might just work. We'll have to see what today brings as it will be our last day before the gun hunting season and we don't go for walks during that time no matter how bright our jackets are.