Thursday, August 31, 2023

Blue Moon & Hike

So, a Super Blue Moon won't happen again until 2037 so I thought I'd best get out there and try 'shooting' the Moon last night.

It wasn't blue at all, but orange and rippled on the horizon from the atmospheric distortion. To the left is a farm's silo that is on the other side of the Kickapoo River and on the ridge about a mile away. I was surprised that I could actually see it as the moon rose. 

On that ridge there are 4 cell towers which annoys the heck out of me because the blinking light and towers ruin most sunrise photos. Any...way...

Below I tried shooting the moon through a distant tree. It sort of worked, but it was a fun effort.

I headed towards home but found one last spot where I could get a clear shot of it before heading back down into our hollow.

Two Super Moons in one month is a rarity. I missed the first one of this month, but am satisfied that I caught the last one!

At home these guys were looking for the moon too! Apparently, even NED-B grabbed a Lego camera.

At least none of them have cell phones! 

Yesterday morning was a cool enough day that Charlie and I did one of the longer KVR trails. It has been a few weeks since we took a new trail on.

This one is an out an back Lollipop loop which ended up being 4.95 miles.  To his credit, short legged Charlie just chugged along like nobody's business. Here we stopped for a drink of water. Charlie likes to drink out of a peanut butter jar lid.

This little dog is a rock star, he goes and goes when the temperatures are nice out.

We stopped and had a break at Hanson's Rock Outlook and just sat for a little while on a log.

There is another outlook that one can walk out to, but over the years, trees have fallen across the outcrop's end. This looks south east and would be a cool place to watch the sunrise if one wanted to walk 2.5 miles in the dark.

All in all, it was a fine day. We heard someone at one point in time in one of the valleys but we never saw another person.

The woods are eerily quiet this time of year as most of the songbirds have migrated. We heard a few bluejays and woodpeckers, but most of the song of the woods were the crickets.

The forest and grasslands will be terribly dry once fall hits if we don't get rain.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Next up...


On the last day of the dome...we had a most curious sunrise. A blazing red sky to the east and to the west we had a morning rainbow! See that little bright spot in the sky? It grew fainter the further up into the clouds it went, but it was there!

This is the second time I've seen something like this, almost in the same spot. Perhaps it is a combination of moisture and light at just the right moment?

Friday evening brought nice temperatures finally. I don't know how those folks in other areas deal with nonstop heat, but I know I don't do well with it.

To celebrate the cooler weather, Siera and I rode out on the neighbor's cropland and enjoyed the evening views. She loves wide open flat spaces and gaits out in a super smooth ride. A gaited animal ride is like no other. She was actually very calm and very quiet unlike the ride where we met up with the killer baby stroller and mule eating children on dangerous bicycles.

In the zinnia garden, the Great Spangled Fritillary was busy. 

Not to mention the Swallow Tails!

The morning glories are indeed glorious right now, they are really going gung ho. I haven't watered them in a long time but they seem to be doing fine. They are not close to the house but out towards the pastures.

I may have to put them nearer the house next year so I don't have to walk so far to enjoy them.

After recovering from the heat dome, the flowers seem to be doing fine. The nasturtiums are trying to take over the porch! I'll have plenty of seeds for next year as they are producing a lot of them! Nasturtiums send out vines that look for more space.

Sunday was an all day work day. The summer meadow needs to recover so I've fenced it off.
In the shot below you can see where the hot wire was and the greening of the area that has not been grazed for 3 weeks.
To encourage growth for overwinter and recovery, I'm not letting the critters into the meadow until next summer.
However, in that line of trees is a nice section of forest with a LOT of food.

To the left of this photo is another wooded pasture that has been grazed down but if I make a gate for the mules to go into the forest from that side, I can keep them off the meadow!

In the shot above, the 4 wheeler is in the meadow and I am standing in the older worn out pasture. I made an opening to the forest with a single hot wire to keep them out of the meadow. Now, to get them to use it!

Pounding t-posts was one of the hardest things I did! The ground is so dry and hard that it took a long time and a huge effort to do it. 
Hubby built a post pounder that weighs 20lbs and is a steel tube with a cap on it. We don't use the ones sold in stores.

I think I got a good arm workout!

The good part about the 'gate' and trail into the woods, is that it uses a trail they already are accustomed too.

Well, here it is almost the end of August! Are you ready for September?

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Happy National Dog Day!!!

But let's not forget CATS!!!!

This was on August 26th. 
I couldn't help but post this video of Mr. Charlie on a hunting mission for voles while I was sitting quietly in the forest watching birds and life go by....

Having a pet is another wonderful thing to have to keep you healthy and happy!

What is your favorite pet?




Saturday, August 26, 2023

A little more fun with Droids

Play on the cheap. A week or so ago I made another diorama out of some CPAP trash and used it for my Legos which are tiny. I have a 4" droid made by Kenner that I thought would be fun to make a diorama for also.

What better time to do it when it is 100+ degrees out? 
I gathered a chunk of cardboard that wrapped around some meds in a box and spray painted it slightly, then I glued a hose washer, bottle cap, hair tie, and bit and pieces of random things together. I made a box of of cardboard and pipes out of straws. The mesh in front is from a potato bag that was destined for the trash.
The base was the top of a cardboard box and then I just ripped pieces to make them ragged looking.

As it is presented here on the table, it really doesn't look like much. So I closed the curtains in a way to let in light as I wanted it ....

and took some shots...

this was the result.

I think the process of 'creating' the scene was most of the fun. I just went at it, adding bits and pieces and shading it with colors. I wanted a textured background but not so textured as to take away what was happening in the photo.

One of the things I like about this method is that fact that it is simple and it doesn't have to be Perfect to give one a sense of mood. The other thing that tickled me is that it cost nothing as I had all the items on hand in the trash pile. 

What is also very important here is paying attention to the depth of focus. The items behind the droid and slightly in front shouldn't be in clear focus unless the intent is on highlighting those items.

I lucked out with good light simply by moving curtains. No magic there! The photo was shot for highlight drama. That means it was exposed to bring out the lighter areas and leave the other areas a bit dark.

Of course Peazy can't do all of her work alone. She needs to have her deliveries....

NED-B apparently has volunteered to help.

And there is generally some time during the day for tea...

Even Droids get a break. 

Now if I can get a Droid to do my cooking. 

The weather is finally breaking so I leave my droids and toys and head outside to chase insects and find hiking adventures.

Thank goodness! Oh wait, the Droids will probably come along....

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Not Weather

I intended to complain about the heat and humidity again, but decided that we all know what was going on and how nasty it was. I was entertained by the posts on FB regarding the temperatures. 

How many people took photos of the temperature reading in their cars??? Lots! Others took photos of their weather station thingies. One even posted a photo of herself with an outdoor thermometer on a tree. Hmmm.


Me? I got up early and went to CrossFit. I know. Nuts, right? But it was the coolest part of the second day of the heat dome. It was a rowing and burpee work out. Who doesn't love burpees? 

When I got home I decided to put together my fun little 'story'. 

These are the Kenner toy versions which are not very posable but very suitable for kids [or in my case??? Big kids.] 

They came from another second hand shop a good find for a couple of dollars....

I have taken an instant liking to them. Last week I carried them around on my hikes and adventures so I could look for spontaneous fun with them.

This blue one is called PZ-C4O or Peazy. I looked up what this droid was supposed to be and found out that it was a 'she' droid and she handled communications and other difficult tasks. She seems charming in a way.

I thought she should meet the other Droid I had called NED-B. Or NED for short. Apparently he worked moving shipments and off loading and loading things to ships. He also like to Bonk bad guys on the head. 
What a great Droid!

NED meets Peazy in the forest and hands her an Oak Gall. A romance ensues. I mean come on! Who saw that coming?

I'm going to explain something here. I have a very vivid imagination which I suppose one day will get me into a lot of trouble. At my age, should I have such an imagination? I don't really know.

Imagine me telling my caregiver that I want to play with my Legos or that my stuffed animals on the bed are talking to me. Right? That is when they carry me off to another ward.


The toys develop their own stories, I rarely have to think up the next progression. It just seemed natural ... that they would become good friends.

And they'd go on hikes...

And spend time quietly together talking about being droids and other droid things like ... well, who knows?

And then this happened...

Hmmm, they seem to be making a story of their own and I just am along for the ride.

Regarding 'play'.

and creativity in older adults---

I see those who are creative with cooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting, baking, drawing, singing, gardening...., just to name a few things. Anything in my mind is better than sitting and channel surfing on the couch. [These activities along with being sociable seem to keep a person younger at heart perhaps??]

I find strange joy in using my imagination in what may be called Childish Play. But my love of photography always leads me to make a story even if it is very short story.

--- It started with Morris and his toys years ago. 

The stories were written for my Grandkids. When they visited, they usually took a walk in the woods with me. On the walks they'd name parts of the forest. The Big Woods, The Big Creek, and so forth. So I revisited our walks with Morris and his toys and let an adventure happen.

The kids loved it and I wrote a few short books about what happened on their walks. The joy of making up the stories stuck with me. I used photos of Morris with his toys. Sometimes it was impossible to get a shot I wanted and sometimes more interesting things happened when Morris did his own thing and didn't follow the script.

In other words, we just let things happen and had a LOT of fun.

When Morris died, I couldn't bring myself to try anything like that again. His toys were dormant, they wouldn't 'speak' to me. 

Give me cast off toys and things seem to happen.

I go with the flow and don't think too hard about it. 
It just happens.

Our adventures were always fun and we never knew what was going to happen!

Enjoy the next few days if the heat has passed!

Wednesday, August 23, 2023


 88 degrees at 9:30PM with 60 % humidity. 

I am happy that I am not sleeping in a tent. I am grateful that we have a cool and dry house.

Wow, I have no idea how anyone could rest in this heat and humidity. It just boggles my mind. I know hubby wouldn't survive long in this weather so again, I am grateful for our decision to install the mini split this spring.

That said at 7AM this morning it was beastly out also. I took out my waterproof camera in a camera bag and set it on the porch to slowly acclimate to the weather. 

The mules have a heavily shaded area that I save for just this kind of situation. I use this little section sparingly. 

The grass has come back nicely after the last rain we had a week ago. There is day time shade and when there is a breeze, they can stand under the box elders and languish in the cool air.

They have small 25 gallon tank so they can get drinks of fresh water and I can easily dump it and fill it again with a hose.

Gosh, us Northern Folk don't do so well with lots of heat!

But at least we can grin and think about those days that are coming where we have to wear Fudd Hats and snow suits!

We are setting records for overnight high temperatures and I think some records were broken today for our part of the state. But so far so good.

After all, I could just fill up a spare stock tank and go sit in it!

We did get over 100F by 4PM when I went out to refresh critter water. I did chores at that time because the breezes were supposed to quit when by sunset.

However, we are not enduring the heat as long as others in our country are having to do. Can you imagine being in places that have not seen a let up of intense heat for over a month?


Stay well.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Just Hot

When this icon comes up on my NOAA page I know they mean Hot Hot as in nasty hot. Humid miserable hot.

When the weather service starts to add in that Heat Index, I usually swoon and melt. I don't like the humid heat. Who does? I mean I can only take off so many clothes. Even nekked, its uncomfortable.

Going Nekked might just get arrested. And where would I pocket my keys anyway???

However, that said, we are able to appreciate the mini split right now. I set it to dehumidify and it has kept the house cold! That said, our house sits on top of a sandstone formation which keeps the concrete slab cold. 


That said, I do love misty mornings. I took off for a walk through the woods this morning so I would end up at the mailbox and retrieve Saturday's mail. The air was thick.

Thankfully, Saturday, our hay arrived. This should last all winter and perhaps leave me a bale to start out next fall with.

Darryl brings it on a flatbed and then hubby unloads it and puts it away. Last year I ordered more but I had two more mouths to feed over winter. This year it will be less.

I discovered that I can take both girls out a once and let them graze in the yard for a little while.

They don't try to go anywhere and seem to enjoy getting a little extra attention. 

Now I am just getting the critters moved to areas where everyone can get into shade and take any advantage of any breezes. I'll freshen their stock tanks and cross my fingers.

The air temp on Wednesday and Thursday are set to be 100 to 102 degrees. The 'heat index' is supposed to be much warmer, but who counts that after 100?

Here is hoping everyone has a place to stay cool and safe.

The weather service just posted the Excessive Heat Warning. It shows up as a banner across the top of my cell phone.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Another rambling mule post

Darn, I feel so tall when my shadow is like this!

Those LONG ears. Siera has super duper long ears. She is pointing out a young buck to me...

She is actually listening to me here when I tell her to 'walk on' and stop being stupid.

We walked by a trail that she knows goes towards home and thought she should turn there....

After our evening trail rides, I am ready to tackle the longer route and sent a message to my neighbor, Justin, to see if he'd like to go with.

It has been almost a year since I went on this long trail, so on Saturday afternoon, I will walk it to make sure it is passable.
Then I'll take each of the girls on a solo ride through it. They know this route too as they have done it since they were trained under saddle.

Disclaimer. I did training. They will 'neck' rein on trails as they see the path ahead of them. If they disagree with your choice of trail they will resist. 

Mules often resist because:
They sense the trail in front of them is not in their best interest.
Or it is dangerous in some way.
Or...they just don't see the point.

Following a mule's instinct is sometimes the best option. Unless they are bluffing.

Mules test your humor and your patience. If they do not feel the need to repeat a lesson over and over, they will just stand and refuse to do anything.

Last year I invited a person to ride with me and all the way along she complained that Sunshine was not what she expected. She wasn't polished like the horses all of her friends had. 
Her friends had show quarter horses, and she rode in their arenas. I imagine that compared to them, Sunshine was a bit of a brut. 

The only training I have done is giving them ground manners and riding manners. We need to get from point A to B safely and the rest is just noise. They go right and left when asked, unless they don't feel like it. They back up and step forward on verbal commands. They are polite with their ground manners and allow me to pick their feet while they are loose in the pasture. 
They come when called.
And their Whoa is impeccable.

These girls are not perfect, but they are reliable. Siera and Sunshine have taught kids to learn to ride. Fred, who died last winter at 38 yrs old also taught kids and grand kids to ride. He even took care of  adult riders who had no idea of what they were doing.
Once Fred thought you should know your stuff, he'd challenge you. The perfect pony mule!

I guess we have been so very lucky with our mules. Below is a photo from the last time hubby rode. The kids convinced him that he could just go with them once. He never rode again, but this was a memorable moment. [He could still move around outside without oxygen.]

He is on Mica, the grey mule, grandson Dennis is on Fred, Ariel is on Siera, and I am on Sunshine. This was 5 years ago this month. 

I do miss having the grands here to ride, however, I only have Siera and Sunshine as riding mules now. The grands have jobs and come to visit maybe once a year.