Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Snow Melt and Rain

All Sunday night it rained hard and by morning everything was icy slushy. Ice on the ridge top and the roads, slushy here in the hollow.

I went out and fed the critters in my old coveralls and a rain jacket. I actually stayed warm and dry. I walked down to the fence line to see how deep the slush/water was and was surprised to hear water running in the 'dry' run.

The dry run is that line of trees in the distance. The dry run ditch takes all the water off from the ridge and fields 100 feet above us and washes down through the depression to the little creek that runs through our property.

I went back to the house and changed into rain pants and grabbed my camera. Hubby was not surprised that I wanted to go out in the rain and sleet.

He shrugged. He knows how I enjoy a good snow melt event.

Yes, the water turns brown as it gathers dirt and manure from our pasture, the neighbor's cattle pasture, and the dirt from the fields on the ridge. This water is probably some from the gravel road up on the ridge also. It all comes downhill through a rocky ravine that is generally dry but only fills with water with snowmelts and heavy run offs.

I followed the water through the neighbor's pasture noting that it still followed the depression in their land. The water eventually makes its way around and over all the fallen branches and obstacles and heads to the creek.

The water keeps searching for the path of least resistance and dumps into the creek where the spring is.

The brown expands outwards as the snow melt and run off increases. The water runs over the slushy ice and eventually melts it too which adds to the volume as the water seeks its way down the valley.

Over the past few years the snow melts have been rather boring and weak. Our normal snowfall and rains have been less than normal. Our creek has become a seasonal creek over the past two years. Parts of it have become dry and others have tiny springs just barely flowing.

I watched fascinated as the snow, leave debris, and water searched its way down the creek.

Below is one of the now dry areas that only flows during a flash flood or run off.

I walked to the other end of this and then climbed alongside the last dry run on our land. I found the spot where the water was working its way down from the ridge. It was going to be an hour or so before it joined the creek bottom.
Still, it was interesting to watch. Well, it was interesting to me.

I waited a while down in the bottom and just watched the little swirls and eddys of bubbles and water.

The rain started coming down heavier again and I figured that hubby would be worried about now. Sadly, I climbed out of the creek and started towards home.
However, I was pleased to see the run off, it made me happy.

Below is a couple of video clips of the water moving through the valley and two different dry runs.
It is 50 seconds long.

I hope we get some more moisture this coming year, so the water can return to normal in our creek. If there ever will be a normal again.

Monday, February 27, 2023

What Challenges do you face?


How about doing a the Trail Challenge with a toddler? We took Aiden with us yesterday -- Charlie too. This little guy will turn 2 in a few months. 

At one time I was told that Charlie was too tiny of a dog to accomplish something like the Trail Challenge of 59+ miles. We did it.
A week ago, as I was hiking with Olive on one of our uncharted adventures, I mentioned the Trail Challenge. She mentioned that her hubby and she wanted to do some serious backpacking with Aiden this coming year.

What better way to get in shape but to hike locally on tough trails? When she got home, she printed up two copies of the 2023 Trail Challenge. One for her, one for me. 
I think I said something about trying this Challenge back to back one time. But I think I was kidding.

Now I am not.  

I suggested a trail hike on Sunday morning while the snow was still crisp but the temperatures still fairly mild. I asked if she'd like to bring Aiden along and we could put him in a sled and pull him on the snow. The answer was yes.
Olive negotiates coming down a steep
hill with Aiden in the sled.

The little adventure was a win for everyone. 

Charlie got to hike and enjoy a nice long walk, 
Aiden got to ride in a sled and play in the snow. 
Olive and I got to do the girl talk thing, and Olive's hubby got a break from the little guy! 
Aiden enjoyed the weather so much that when mom tried convince him to 'come along' he did this...


I think he was telling us to...


You just can't be in a hurry with little people along. 

I guess we/I are/am doing the Trail Challenge again. So here we go...

The Yellow was intentional and the pink line was an exploration to see if the ponds by the bird viewing area still had ice. The ponds were still iced over. But we still finished one more tiny section.

We had seen two swans on the Kickapoo River on our drive to the Reserve.

Happy Challenges!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Out and about

Charlie and I went for a nice long hike on Saturday. I took my converted Infrared Camera but took the filters off from it.

I thought it would be interesting to see how it photographed without the nm spectrum filters on it. I used the snow to get a white balance. I like how the snow is white and the shadows are cool while the trees, bark, and foliage has a slight red tint to it.

That said, the lighting was different too. The camera was able to take in much more light than any normal camera.

Parts of the creek were frozen. These little strange holes were in the ice. I have noticed them several times in parts of the creek. I looked up Ice Stars and got a lot of different information about them. I know they appear in the creek after rain/snow/freeze/and more rain and snow and freezing. I always assumed it was because this part of the creek had water flowing up from tiny springs below.

These little ice stars only form in this section of the creek. Odd but interesting!

The water flows pretty easily a bit further downstream as more tiny springs add to the small creek.
I enjoyed just walking along and looking at the shadows on the snow and the reflections on the water. The wild life hadn't been moving across the area much and most of the snow was still pretty smooth.

I imagine on Sunday, that will change and the wildlife will be out feeding before the next weather system moves in Sunday night.

We are to get up to an inch of rain Sunday night and Monday. Heavy rain on top of the snow and ice we have will create some flash flooding and a hard run off of melting snow.

Thankfully, I don't have to go anywhere and I can hike down to the creek to watch the run off.

Charlie enjoyed our Saturday hike.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Indoor Stuff/Creativity/Play

Generally around this time of year, I get stuck inside not because of bad weather, but because I am tired of the scenery outdoors.

I get weary of the same black/brown/white scenery that is being offered up outside and in the woods.

So I get out my craft stuff and start making a mess. I am all over the place. I can be painting a skull or thinking about photographing Still Life. The table can be littered with various paints, my 'craft' table has projects and 'stuff' all over it.

However, I am getting better and not leaving a mess in the house all of the time. I don't like clutter, so by the end of the day, I generally tidy up and put things away. The house is too tiny to clutter up all the surfaces.

I started messing around with the white skull. It looked nice in all white, but I wanted to add shades of silver and grey. The pearl white showed up very nice and the black looked out of place. 

Hubby liked the black on the skull and asked for more of it. In the photo below, the various shades of grey and white do show up. I turned the light box on its side and used a white tea towel. I kept moving things around...

I ended up using masking tape to attach the tea towel to the sides of the box.

--- of course, Farmer Bob was very helpful in taking care of things....

The towel experiment didn't work out so well so I went back to the basic white plastic back drop.

Hmmm. This sort of sucked too. However, there is always a possibility of a little editing to help out. I used ON1 and made the shot into more of a High Key shot which eliminated the box edges.

The result was satisfactory, so I went on to experiment with a tiny pitcher I'd picked up ages ago at an indoor flea market. 

the set up...

the shot...

the edit...

I actually liked the slight textures from the towel in this shot. It felt right. Of course, I should have had something else in the shot, but I was just experimenting with light and exposure.

I experimented with different lights and different ways to diffuse or soften the light. I wanted to use things that I had on hand. Below is a flashlight with an amber pill bottle as a diffuser, a plastic cap on another light, and even bubble wrap!

Rich walked by and just shook his head. 

However, before it got too bright out, I decided to see what the purple light and bubble wrap over the flashlight would do.

Purple light in back, flashlight in my hand from
the right.

What it looked like with the curtains opened and taken with my very crappy cell phone:

And now I have to deal with this...
somebody wants to get out and explore....

You can't use up creativity
the more you have
the more you use...
Maya Angelou

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Winter Storm

Yesterday's storm for us wasn't as bad as it was in other places. We got about 4 or 5 inches of snow with a layer of sleet to top it off.

The birds were very active at the feeders despite getting pelleted by snow and sleet.

We had Gold Finches, Juncos, Sparrows, and Downy Woodpeckers visit.

Charlie and I took two walks to go out and explore the storm. In late afternoon, the township plow came through and cleared the road. Even though the winds were howling from the north, we were able to walk along the forest edge and stay protected.

I didn't envy the plow driver. Our township has over 70 miles of gravel roads to plow and care for. I can't imagine how difficult that job is. It was pretty funny as Charlie sat in the field and watched the truck do our dead end road.

Charlie, the Road Commissioner!

IF you are really bored during a snowstorm, you can look up your state's 511 site and click on cameras to watch traffic or snow plows. 
Oh that is where my package is! Delayed! 

I spoke with Olive yesterday evening. She said going to collect eggs at her place on the ridge was like an Artic Expedition with the fierce winds and blowing snow.

Down here we stayed pretty cozy but could hear the winds howling on the ridge above us. 

By late afternoon the freezing rain was getting with the program and I decided to get out one of my deer skulls and begin prepping it for a paint project. Seems that I am always getting assistance from some of my Little People friends.

By morning I was pleased to see my hired 'crew' working.

The heater saga continues and we've gone 4 days with two Space Heaters keeping us warm. 608 Dan did give us a call to let us know he ordered the blower motor for the fan. He sent us an quote for the Mini Splits also.

Rich was still a bit on the fence regarding that so Olive and Nathan asked if we'd come up for supper one evening and they could show Rich how a Mini Split works and what they think about it in their home.

This is turning out to be a rather expensive February for us, however that is the way things go.

At least we never lost power and we still have a warm house. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Well now

Let's talk about the weather! It is in all the news.

Wild Wicked Winter Weather.

What a perfect time to be without a heater! 

We saw Dan from a company called 608 Plumbing [&heating]. He said he could get a motor to fix the intake fan and inspected the heater. He says it is in excellent shape and it is too bad we got a bum fan motor. 

He presented us with another idea. I'd never heard of a Mini Split before. I knew about Heat Pumps from years ago when my mom and dad built their retirement home and had one purchased for their house. At that time I think it was brand new technology. They had a heat pump and a furnace for those very frigid winters. 

A Mini Split would probably save us gobs of Money over using our old window air conditioner that only fits upstairs in a room we don't use. We use fans on the stairs to blow cool air down on hot days. It has worked for years for us, but I've never felt it was very efficient.

However, the Mini Split would cool down the house where we actually live! And until it gets extremely cold, it would heat us too for far less than what we are paying for now.

A huge draw back is the price. However, I'm looking at rebates, efficiency, and tax credits [I am aware of the limitations on all of these--but hey, it is a selling point]. Plus this company will maintain the system. 

608 Dan looked the house over and then made said this:

"Here is what I want to do for you Rich, I want to make you comfortable in the winter AND the summer and save you money in the long run. How's that sound?"

I laughed and replied, "That is a pretty good sales pitch. Make the man of the house comfy and worry free!"

So what about the weather? It is happening all right.

A good day to make soup and cut up my fruit for snacking.

Yum! Fresh fruit on a gloomy wintery day. Turkey soup with dried wild mushrooms along with dehydrated veggies and carrots.

The space heater is actually keeping the house nice and warm.

The snow this morning was ferocious. The winds on the ridge were wicked and several times we had some blowing snow down in our hollow. Charlie and I went to get the mail. He loves snowstorms! 
As long as the snow isn't too deep for him to bound out of.

This afternoon, it has alternated between snow, sleet, and rain.

The mules have been alternating between eating at the feeders ...

and standing way down in the woods with their mule butts to the winds....

The birds have been busy at the feeders and have been taking turns sitting in the pine tree or the hickory tree.

On the ridge, it looks like this.

Our dead end road:

I'm hoping the ice/sleet/rain that is falling doesn't cause us to lose power.