Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Year's Eve?

 I'm not doing anything special. The year will change over with or without my participation. Last year I picked a word 'Explore' for the year. I did a pretty good job at that and am hoping to continue Exploring both the natural world around me and the Still Life world of Photography and Toys. 

Sometimes I'll combine both.

I have stuff on my 'to do' list. But I'm not making a solid commitment to the Stuff. 

I will commit to just one day at a time. 

And...wait for it!!!!

My son Eddie and his wife Megan brought Aurora Ivy into this world on Wednesday the 27th. I cannot wait to meet her! They said they will call her Rory. All is well with them and Rory and they are taking time to get to know each other right now. Soon enough they said they would come and visit us so we can meet her.

I think that is such a kind act since Rich can't travel.

I can't think of much that really.

I leave you with the last of December's colors that I found

Charlie, Mr. Intense watching for squirrels, chipmunks, and hawks....

he also wishes a safe and quiet New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Stir Crazy

More stupid stuff ... well because... I'm still going
Stir Crazy...

I got these mini-robots as a gift in the mail. They are cake toppers and only about an inch tall. They actually are about Lego minifigure size. When I opened the package I just had to set them down on the gravel road and take their photo...

Invasion of the MiniBots!

Sort of cute and ugly at the same 

I imagine that they must have come to me because they found a way to escape a future world and wanted some peace and serenity...

See how my mind works? Why would these minibots or robots come?

Where did they leave from? A future? Another world?

Here the mini-bots decide to
jump into a Time Machine and
get transported to
somewhere else...

For anyone wondering how this was done, I set these 1 inch robots on a reflective surface on my laptop and brought up an AI generated scene I created and snapped the shot. I did this on the kitchen table with no special lighting other than what came through the windows. 

Similar to this set up I did earlier this year:

Maybe they'll find Squatch and the Brothers Odd, maybe they'll find a peaceful home in the forest. Who knows? 

Maybe I'll get out for a walk and get a break too!

This morning we are getting freezing thick fog. That should make for some incredible scenes outside on the plants, trees, and anything else frost can cling to.

It is so hard for a wander-er like myself to be stuck inside!!!!

Happy Almost New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 29, 2023


 Vrede: Dutch word for Peace, Tranquility.

I learn a lot from my Flickr photo Friends. Viewing Europe and other countries through the eyes of other people is always an incredible experience.

Finding peace and tranquility can be so hard during this time of the year for so many. I think folks need to slow up and catch their breath a bit. Easier for me to say now that I am not traveling each day to an office or other job.

More colors in December? How's this?

Red Dragon Sedum with melting snowflakes on it yesterday.

Snow caught in the Hen and Chicks plant next to the house.

Snowflake caught on a Hen and Chick next to the house. 

Christmas Eve Fog

Christmas Day Fog in our pasture ~ not colorful, but the fog did have a beauty to it!

And for some down time entertainment, I sort of made an attempt at a stop motion film. It is all of 5 seconds long. It did take me about a half hour to photograph and move the pieces carefully.

I did get out for a short walk with Charlie. We walked part of the neighbor's creek and I was able to check the fence. The mules can't get back there which is a good thing. I have a lot of repairs to do in the next couple of months.

The snow melted yesterday as the temps rose and it will melt more on Friday as the temps are supposed to be nearly 40 degrees!

Hubby has made some slight improvements. He is cranky and bossy now, so I say...he will recover.

I think I will go search for some Vrede.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

ER ER off the the ER...

 Okay that sounds rather blasé and flippant but it wasn't. The local ER and I are friends. I've transported hubby numerous times over the years to them. 

The amusing accidents were rather well, amusing. 

Sir, what brings you in today?

I was practicing my ballet in the pasture and tripped over an electric fence. I think I broke an ankle.

Sir, what brings you in today?

Oh playing man from Smokey River with my Stepson racing down a steep hillside. I ran into a tree on my young mule. Then a bull chased me up a tree. [broken ribs and ankle]

Sir what brings you here today?

Well I got bucked off a horse and he tap danced on my head with his hooves before running off.

Those were the accidents when he was that wild guy who could ride anything and did. Those were true stories one I still recall vividly. Tying a maxi pad to his head wound with a kerchief was one of his most embarrassing moments as a cowboy. But it kept the blood from getting all over the car.

Well, yikes. I was going to head off on a whole big tangent regarding healthcare, but I will not. Let's just skip that.

My little cold gave my husband a Severe COPD Exacerbation. We are home, he is miserable, and our house is quiet.

I'm being the nurse, bringing him meds, nebs, and providing support care [I coulda been a nurse!] 'round the clock.

I guess I'll have plenty of time to undecorate the tree --- I don't want to. Or watch movies I like.

However, the best gift I have is still being able to talk and be with my sweet old Grumpy Gus.

He makes Grumpy Old Men seem mild when he is sick.

He'll thank me later when he feels better.

The Day after

 Well, it appears that Rudolph made it just in time to get hooked up. Good thing too as it was terribly foggy here last night and most of our area!

Seems that Batman got a ride on Santa's sleigh also.



Just before Christmas I came down with a wicked cold. At first I thought my throat was made out of sand paper and glass. The next day my nose took over. I couldn't stop sneezing and that nose was plugged up tight...until it wasn't and then it felt like my teeth wanted to explode. They didn't, but then the eyeballs felt like it...and the headache sure was something to write home about.

No fever and negative on the Covid test. Wow, it sure put me through the ringer through Christmas Eve. I did manage to drag my body outside to do the chores and carry water. The foggy misty air felt easier to breath than the indoor air.

I sat on the porch and read a book in coveralls. Ever try to stay away from another person in a tiny cottage? It is not easy.

I woke up this morning feeling much better but when the other half got out of bed it sounded like he'd been run over by a train.


So this is how 2023 is going to end? 

It was another balmy Wisconsin day with rain off and on. I could work outside and get things done in just a light sweatshirt and work pants. 

I'm sure winter will come in roaring at some point. Right now? We have rain and more rain. At least we are not having the horrible conditions they have in Nebraska and in the Dakotas.

It seems though that one of my childhood friends remembers how much I dislike baking and cooking. We received a box full of homemade treats!

I guess I did finally figure out who was getting into the goodies and dragging them off!


Be well friends.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Ghosts of Christmas Eve

No matter what, Christmas brings about feelings of both joy and sadness for so many people. When I first met hubby, he said he didn't like Christmas very much. It reminded him of spending Christmas in Vietnam away from his family.

My mom would grouse often about Christmas for something that happened in her young life around that time of year.

Dad. Well, I don't recall Dad ever complaining about Christmas. He seemed to be enthralled with the lights and ideas of gifts for his family. He let mom take care of the shopping and wrapping, but he took so much joy in watching us on Christmas morning. I'm sure mom did too, but she was also in charge of doing all the cooking and prep work.

As a parent I rejoiced in seeing my kids open gifts and the surprise on their faces. 

Back then, when my ex was on duty as a firefighter we celebrated Christmas when he was able to be home. Santa made exceptions for Firefighters, you know.

On many Christmas Eve's when I was home alone with the kids, I'd pick up the phone and sit in front of the Charlie Brown Tree that was so lovingly decorated with paper rings and homemade ornaments along with regular glass balls. I'd call my father in Virginia and have a glass of wine while we chatted. I recall putting the glass up to my eyes to see the tree and lights through the wine and glass. It sparkled with magic.
I'd relate that to Dad and we'd talk about 'stuff'. Not important or life altering stuff, but just stuff. 

Now over 30 years later, I can look back on Christmas Memories and smile at them and feel a bit sad also.

I do miss those conversations with my Dad the most at night while sitting and looking at my Christmas decorations. I often have a pretend conversation with my Dad so he can catch up on all the latest in my life.

So my Dad is my Christmas Ghost. I want to share with him all the fun I have enjoying the lights, the trees, and of course the fun I have making 'scenes' to photograph. [Dad was my inspiration for photography].

We had long discussions on the use of light, focus, and composition.

From Promises to Keep:
Transiberian Orchestra known as TSO:

And so it's good that we remember
Just as soon as we've discovered
That the things we do in life
Will always end up touching others

Tonight, is no different. 

Rudolph and Christmas Eve

Rudolph: Well, the deer said I should go into the dark woods and look for magic mushrooms. 
These look pretty magical, do I eat them 


The Reindeer King:  Awaken Rudolph! You have been transformed 
and can now do your duty on 
Santa's Sleigh!

Rudolph: Wait, wow! What? Hey look at my big red glowing nose! It worked! It worked
                 But I feel like I am in a dream!

The Reindeer King: No dream, but you didn't have to have so many mushrooms.

Rudolph: Wow, I feel magnificent. I can see things too. Wow Dude!

King: It's Christmas eve my son. Time to get back to Santa and the other Reindeer. So many have
been searching for you.
Go now!
No time to lose!

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Colors in December & Winter's Solstice

I do love the fact that the month of December gives me an opportunity to enjoy tons of beautiful lights indoors and so many things to practice Still Life with.
The felted snowman and the little ceramic tree were items I used to decorate my MIL's room when she was in the Nursing Home.

Gnomes. Well, since I live in a Nordic part of Wisconsin, we all love Gnomes. You can't go anywhere without seeing Gnomes and Trolls in gift stores.

I am searching for a gnarly looking troll to add to my collection.

I did get out for some hiking this week. I went out with one thing in mind. To find some December Colors.

Along Old Hwy 131 at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve --> Highbush Cranberry!

Along a deer trail at home on a gloomy day ----> Multiflora Rose 

When I got down to the creek bed I sat on rocks and looked for some teenie tiny things. This log lays across the rocks and the place where the creek flows in wetter years.

So I got up close and personal with the moss. 

Powderhorn Lichen. Those tips should turn bright red and 'flower' in February!

This grey lichen was found on an old oak log. The tree had been blown down late in the year in 2018. It is near the Powderhorn lichen I photographed above but a different log.

A common name is Rosette Lichen. I think. Since I am no expert, this is a pretty good guess.

Mosses and Lichens are pretty easy to spot in the winter since there are no leaves to hide them!

Happy Winter's Solstice!
It was too overcast to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, so I will give you this one from a few years ago!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Lego Land Fun

Ol' Rich in his Champion car drives through
Lego Main Street
to announce its opening!
Of course chicken goes
everywhere with Ol' Rich!

 The Band plays music before the parade comes along....

Meanwhile at Santa's house.....

Santa: My dear, could you give me a quick hair trim before the parade and opening of Main Street?

Mrs. C: Oh yes of course I can. Just let me finish my wine first!


Santa:  Woman, #!@@#$%&##@ what have you done!

Mrs C; [sipping the last of her wine] Oh honey, don't worry, it's a great look! Besides, you wear a hat!

They start getting ready for the parade. Santa decides to take the Big Red Truck as he doesn't want anyone to know yet that Rudolph is still missing.

Batman is on the loose looking for the Rudolph who he thinks has gone over to the
Dark Side.

Perhaps a snowmobile wasn't the best idea since the snow in the area was really melting fast....

Ufff Wham Bam Pow!

[I can't repeat what he really said...]

Meanwhile back at Main Street, the parade goes on. 

Where is Rudolph? It appears he has gone on a quest or some such thing....

More on Rudolph soon......

Wow, I cannot believe that we have no snow and rain is predicted for this weekend. Looks like an non white Christmas is coming!

Saturday, December 16, 2023

December Colors?

What colors does December offer in
the dullest of all the months
of the year?

December is known for being the most overcast and dark month of the year. Well, at least for those of us in this part of the world.

The days are cold, dull, overcast...and the days get shorter and shorter. What beauty can be found outdoors in this month? Last month I challenged myself with November. Now? Maybe I'll challenge myself with December.

At least that will be easy for moment. There have been some great morning and evening skies to admire.

A long time friend that used to be a neighbor and I went with her son on Thursday evening just after sunset for a night hike along old 131 trail in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

When we dropped from the ridge to the valley, the temperatures dropped at least 10 degrees. My friends commented on that and I suggested we walk up and out of the valley. We did. As we walked, we were able to catch glimpses of meteors streaking across the sky. This was at 6PM when the meteor shower was not supposed to be at its peak. 

We were able to find the Milky Way and searched for any other stars or constellations we could recognize. I'm not very good at that at all. We found the Big Dipper on the northern horizon and the Milky Way stretched overhead from East to West.  I wanted to take a couple of shots, but that takes time to do.

I asked Briar who will be turning 12 next week to be my model. He was cold but he agreed to stand still and look up into the sky with a headlamp on.

This was a one shot deal and thankfully, I got it!

Those guys were chilled, so we hiked back to the car and drove to their house where we visited for a while before I left.

I got up early the next morning to continue my early morning walks with Charlie. I normally hike across the fields so I can watch the sun come up and enjoy the quiet sounds of the rest of the world waking up.

I was not disappointed at all. The skies lit up like fire. 

I set the camera in the cornfield and put it on a timer. I trotted out a little distance so I could capture myself enjoying the show.

It sure was incredible. And it seemed as if it were never ending.

Charlie and I walked back towards home and noticed that the only sounds we heard were a few birds and some dogs barking off in the distance.
We had the whole world to ourselves.

Tonight we are supposed to have patchy fog and rain. Sunrise on the ridge tomorrow morning might be worth looking into. Fog always makes things much more interesting.

The colors aren't just in the sky for December. I hope to find something exciting in the forest also.

Looking for colors in December.
A good challenge.