Thursday, November 30, 2023

The End of November

Meanwhile in Wisconsin...

We had snow! I even tried to photograph a single snowflake like my friend ---> You know,  like that Aurora gal at equine expressions

All I got was cold because I wasn't acclimated to the weather yet and I didn't have the proper clothes on.

I did however get a comparison photo of a few days before the snow and the day we had snow.

This isn't far from the mailbox and it is the grape vine that I used for making grape jelly.

These grapes are still hanging on. I wonder if they are still so sweet?

The photo below was taken two days before gun season. I was enchanted by the color of the leaves and the gossamer webs that quivered in the morning sun.

I'm still struggling with grasses and photos of intriguing grasses. I didn't go very far after the snowfall on Sunday morning. It was windy and bitter. I hope to get out to the cropland soon and pick some 'weeds' for my fall bouquet.

This was an effort. I guess without practice and failures one doesn't get proficient at certain things. Winter grasses will be on my list. I've never stopped to study them before, but I did find them pretty intriguing as an abstract form.

For some odd reason, I find this photo comforting and pleasing. 

November is nearly done! One more day! So I need to finish up my photo project of finding beautiful things to photograph in November.

Gooseberry bush. 
I took this before hunting season.

Ninebark seed head. It is a pretty bush that has beautiful flowers in the spring. Taken the day before deer season.

Fun with Fungi.
Again taken before I was ousted from the woods for nine days.

My neighbor who has cattle and horses on the ridge bought this guy at a sale and he is the only donkey left in our area. He talks all day and all night. He is a mini. This is the very first time he has been along the pasture that is near our gravel road.

I took the following shots on Sunday after the snowfall. When I walked to the ridge to get the mail, I discovered no vehicle tracks in the fresh snow.
It seems the hunters on the land east of us had decided not to hunt the last day of the season.

Ninebark seed heads with snow caps.

The Queen Anne's Lace can have such a beautiful shape even in the winter. I can see the seeds waiting to be bumped off by a passing animal.

The Queen holds court
for a passing

For now, I'm going to wave goodbye to November's colors as the snow and cold has turned the landscape into winter.
Indeed, November was full of color that I never noticed before. Fall lingered on and on producing unexpected beauty in places I haven't looked in before.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Under construction ...

This year the decorations will be about toys. I have to admit, I like toys.
My toys will have a chance to come out and play.

A lot of my toys and some of the decorations are items that have fond memories associated with them. I'm sure this is true for most of us who have had children and who've seen them grow up.

The red jointed teddy bear is one I made many years ago while making many teddy bears and other toys. I couldn't afford the price of a Care Bear when the boys wanted one for Christmas so I tried my hand at making toys. I found out that I couldn't sew a dress or pants, but could certainly whip together a difficult toy! 

The Christmas Teddy bear is sitting on a Turtle stool.

The stool was made by a man named Orlando Potts who was an uncle or grand uncle to Rich's daughter. He handmade that turtle stool. It is dated.... and signed. I found it in the garage years ago. It was under a pile of junk and it was very dirty. Rich commented that his daughter no longer had a use for it and he didn't know why he saved it, he just did.

I cleaned the Turtle up and put it in our house. The Turtle has a story and a history. Besides, when little people play at my house, they always drag out the Turtle to sit on!

The nesting box for chickens was an item used as a coffee table in my mother in laws house as long as I could recall.

My father in law knew I loved it and promised to build me a replica. He cut up all the boards and was set to do the woodworking when he died.

I coveted this odd piece of furniture for years. When it came up for auction at my mother in law's estate sale I went for it. I probably paid too much money for it. But I wanted it. It suits my house in all seasons.

The boxes on top of the stack are actually drawers from old fancy pedal sewing machines. I found most of them in the shed or garage filled with rusty nails and bolts. I spent a lot of time cleaning them up. I found ones like them for sale at an antique store for a ridiculous amount of money.

Below the drawers is a bolt shipping crate.

On the bottom is a Dynamite box. I'd love to know more about who got a box of dynamite and how it was shipped! The tiny button bears I made live there right now with a cowboy snowman and a felt needled snowman I'd used to decorate my MIL's nursing home room.

I suspect that those toys will move around. The tiny teddy bears will no doubt get into things when I am not looking.

Those gnomes sound like they are plotting against their nemesis: The Elf on the Shelf.

The Lego people are just waiting until I turn my back.
I saw this just before I went to bed!

Santa! It isn't time yet.
He yelled out that he was just taking the reindeer out for a spin to get them warmed up for the big night...

What surprises will the toys have for me? 

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Christmas Tree ... starts....

Sometimes you need a supervisor. In my case, the supervisor holds court from the middle of his couch with a chew bone.

I often ask his opinion on things and he just gives me a look and a slight wag of the tale. I take it to mean that he approves of the new 'Christmas Chair' that I purchased this past spring.

It always starts with a deep cleaning. The space I have to work with isn't large at all. I am not one to do things exactly the same way as I've done before so each year, I try a new approach.

This is living room to the south in the photo above....☝👆
...the living room to the the photo below....👇
this is it...
now you see almost all of our house. 

The Hutch houses things like camera lenses and Lego builds along with minifigures. The old table is where I do much of my indoor photography.
The room in behind is our tiny bedroom. 

Of course this is what things look like when I have scattered stuff willy nilly...

and then I make a huge mess...

It is no secret that I like boxes. I have old shipping boxes, dynamite boxes and fruit crate boxes as my movable units for books and things I want to display. They all get emptied and rearranged for the month of December. [I actually constantly move them around and restack them the rest of the year.]

In the winter months sunlight comes in directly through the south facing windows so I use a printed shower curtain to diffuse the light. Odd, but it really works and when the curtains are drawn, there is a nice lit up scene to view.

This chair is ugly but it exactly why I love it. The challenge is to make it beautiful. I started this year with a pine cone garland that is bendy-twisty. I'll adorn the chair with it.

In years past, I've always used an old white lacey table cloth as a 'tree skirt'. This year I won't. I want to keep the warm feeling of the wood floor. The lights reflect a nice warm light when bounced off the floor.

I moved my little birch tree into the dining area of the kitchen and added some red battery operated lights. In the dark mornings, it creates a nice glow of color in our eating area.

As soon as deer hunting ends, I'll be out looking for golden rod stalks that have bumps in them along with milkweed pods and grasses to fill my vases with dried floral arrangements. This is something my Grandmother Pearl did in her tiny cottage so many years ago. I always loved her little arrangements.

In the summer I bring in flowers from the garden, in the winter I bring in sticks, grasses, and elements from the outdoors for bouquets. It works for me and gives me pleasure.

Hubby is used to this now after all of our years together. He refers to my bouquets as 'weeds'. 

I won't bore you with any more of my ramblings.

How do you decorate? Do things you use have fond memories? Do you have heirlooms? Real trees? Fake trees? No trees? 
Do you like white lights? Or are you multi colored?
Traditional? Not Traditional?

I decorate with a goal of visual creation in mind. It is more for myself than anyone else as we rarely have visitors here.

My supervisor is the one who takes more interest in what I do....

Friday, November 24, 2023

Thanksgiving Day....

Here is what I dreamt it would look like!

I decided to do my first ever Turkey for Thanksgiving supper. 

I chose the Jennie-O breast that looked like even an idiot like myself... who can make Rubber Chicken.....
could successfully cook in the oven. 

Step 1: Take it out of the outer bag
Step 2: Slit the inner bag
Step 3: Put in in the oven and bake for two hours until it is done.

Stove top stuffing. Easy peasy!
Cornbread! Yup, I made it too!
Veggies from the garden....
and our feast was complete. 

 Meanwhile my woodland critters gathered for their little get together:

The neighbors to the east of us are hunting the meadow relentlessly for a very large buck. I hope the monster buck makes it through this season. I'd like to find his sheds.

[This shot was taken two days ago on our land by our trail camera. The fence can be seen behind the buck that separates our land from the neighbors]

I'm still stuck indoors. Grounded because the guys in the meadow are hunting and hubby doesn't want me anywhere in our woods. 

I carried on a Thanksgiving tradition of my own. 

Purging, vacuuming and cleaning the little basement. It is a job I won't do unless I am forced indoors. 

Success! I cleaned out 3 large totes! Hubby would have a fit, but I cleaned out all of the old hunting clothes that were merely blood stained rags and light overcoats of blaze orange.

They were full of holes from 40 years of hunting. Many of the jackets had rips all over them and were passed down from the days his father hunted. 
I save the good jacket but bundled up all the old stuff.

My motto is that if it hasn't been used in years? Well ... it is gone! None of these items have been used in over 7 years. 

Let's just say that I filled the back of the Subaru Outback with old items that even wouldn't make good hand-me-downs.

I vacuumed up and swept and purged and cleaned.

The past few mornings and evenings have been amazing as far as color. The shots below were taken from my porch or through the windows. 

Last night as I finished doing dishes, hubby's daughter called and they had a nice chat. It is good to see my husband smile.

Whew. So far I've survived deer hunting season and Thanksgiving. 

Next up....

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Over the years we have been so lucky to have the 'kids' visit during Thanksgiving, even though it was the Gun Season for deer.

Hubby generally had one or two deer that he was processing. One would be for his daughter and one for us. My husband's family grew up hunting deer. My mom's family did also. 

This photo is from my Dad's archives of slides that my brother scanned and saved. This would be my cousin standing in his yard after he and his brothers, father, and uncle had a successful hunt. I think the photo would have been taken in the mid 1960's.

Hunting and family get togethers was more of our family tradition for a long time. 

I have unscanned photos from many years ago with my young boys watching their grandmother process a deer. 

Anyway. Our country families were always brought together by the hunting aspect of Thanksgiving week.

That has stopped. The big draw was my Mother in Law, she'd always put out a big meal. She was one of those people that could make magic in a kitchen without seeming to make any effort at all.

When she moved to her apartment and started to decline in health, I'd make lasagna and take it to her place. The rest of the family sort of wandered away and did their own thing.
Geography played a big part in our get togethers.

Distance does that. Sometimes travel is fun and sometimes it is just too hard on those who would like to travel but because of health reasons, cannot.

I will remember past Thanksgivings fondly even with all the extra stress that was involved.

I recall the long road trips to my Grandparent's home and the fun we had with our cousins. All we have left are photos and distant memories now.

Here are a few photos of Thanksgiving pasts...when some of the grandkids were still wee ones.

They are grown up now and doing their own things...

Time moves on. Where did it all go?

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

It's all in stories...Brothers Odd

Yeti once again was complaining that Wisconsin Winters  would be too cold for him.  He moved back from the Himalayan mountain ranges because he was sure it would so much nicer back in his homeland. 
He was a huge Legend in the Himalayan mountains, but he was tired of the winds, snows, and frankly all the humans that were trying to catch sight of him. 

He thought at least if he could get back to his place of birth he'd find the climate much more to his liking. 

Yeti lit a huge on a large match and was going to get a huge bonfire going and put it in the Brother's Odd Hut....

Big Foot shouted out and ran over! 
"Don't burn the Hut down Yeti!"

Hmmm. Whew! 

The Brothers Odd then stood around the fire to discuss the upcoming winter months.
How were they all going to fit in this tiny hut?

A fire inside will surely burn it down and then they wouldn't have a home at all. 

Chewie watches, hidden from view. Maybe his half siblings could use some help. Well, at least some guidance.
He ponders Yeti's aversion to cold. What is that all about? Yetis, by legend, were supposed to love the cold and snow.

He recalls Yeti's father, a mixed breed of Squatch, telling his mom that Baby Yeti was not quite what he expected. Yeti was born pure white in the middle of summer. They decided to send him to a snowy climate so he could hide from the humans.
Chewie thought poor Yeti had gotten a bum deal.

Chewie took a walk to think bout things. The forest animals always seemed to follow him around he noticed. He didn't mind. 

In his galactic travels he'd come across many critters. The forest animals were nice company and not too demanding or dangerous. At least none of them were raccoons and owned a space ship. That was a fella to watch out for.

Chewie hiked to the creek and climbed a large old Oak stump. He closed his eyes and summoned up the powers of heat. 

Perhaps he'd go back to his ship and see if he could figure out a way to help his odd half brothers.

On his way past Miss Stinky's place he made a nice warm fire for her and her little Stinker. Miss Stinky thanked him. She loved Chewie's warm flames that never burnt a thing but gave off beautiful heat.

He rather liked these woods. Perhaps he'd stay a while.... 


Monday, November 20, 2023

Cleaning and Building

 What better way to fight off the hunter's blues than to engage in something totally different. You all know that my husband fights depression and has had it for all the years we've been together.

Physically he cannot hunt any more. It used to be the 9 days of the year that he'd go off into the woods and sit quietly by himself. He'd come back tired or cold, but always in good spirits. Often he'd tell me in great detail of all the things he saw while in his place of wonder.

2013 Photo:

I pulled out the Holiday Main Street Set set and started to sort items. After breakfast, while I was doing the chores, ....some one....
starting sorting pieces on his own.
He loves to find the Minifigures right away and try to put them together. His hands shake a lot, so sometimes he gets it and sometimes I return to find a Minifig with no head or wig laid out on the table.

He laughs, he smiles, he grins, and even participates in the silliness.

Ask him if he does it? He will emphatically deny everything. It is childish and beneath his Warrior Mind.

Yet, he delights in adding to the his own narrative to the story unfolding in front of us.

"That shop keeper lady, she looks grumpy. Why is she so grumpy?"

I don't think she is grumpy, she is smiling but her glasses may make her look grumpy?

"No, she doesn't have any customers. That is why she is Grumpy."

Oh...of course!

"What if that train thing had a run away? The conductor guy isn't looking!"
Hubby reaches over and gives it a little push. The trolley runs into some Lego people. 
"Uh OH!"

No Lego minifigs were hurt in this dramatic scene....

I went upstairs to put something away and ended up working in the spare rooms to unclutter my self made messes. I sorted out old clothes I hadn't worn in ages, got rid of an old tattered blanket[s]. Disposed of junk I was saving to make junk dioramas. Who needs extra bottle caps when I am always getting them? Sorted the action figures, some Legos, arranged the Teddy Bears, dusted,...

and filled a huge contractor bag full of stuff I needed to get rid of. There is so much more to do both upstairs and in the tiny basement. 

The basement project will start after Thanksgiving when I start sorting things out for the Christmas Chair.

Meanwhile, on the table it seems that Santa is anxious to get started on his own projects. Looks like he hired the Construction worker to help build a tree.

I'm not sure why he is using a wrench though.

Hubby really had a joyful day and we topped it off with Homemade Lasagna.