Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I have been cross country skiing on my trails every day now. I walk some trails in the morning with Toby. In the afternoon, I ski. He follows. If he doesn't follow, he gets run over. Dogs learn about that pretty fast. Anyway, we finally could get across the creek yesterday. And....what do you think I find......3 big windfalls. Just barely got across the creek and there were two large balsams together across the trail. Had to pussy foot around them in the brush because with two together, I wasn't getting over them with skis on. Just a bit farther down the trail, a big popple had snapped off and had everything messed up. However, the butt end was by the trail and I could side step over that. Well, I guess you know I didn't intend to put up with that all winter. Evidently, they went down in the storm that started Thanksgiving night and ran most of Friday. The trails had been clear! So, today, it is load up the chainsaw on the 4 wheeler, and of course, Toby......and off we go......spinning through the snow......off to cut the trees. That dang popple was frozen and froze to the ground. It is a wonder that I didn't saw half the ground up trying to get that darned thing loose. Then, extra heavy and frozen to the ground, I had a heck of a time getting it moving and rolled off to the side of the trail. Chain was so dull when I finished that, it's a lucky thing those balsams were almost sawdust already. They were really rotten. But, not so rotten they didn't need sawing! Anyway....we have clear sailing again for a while. Toby had a wonderful 4 wheeler ride....something he doesn't get often this time of year.
We got home and it was nice out, relative, the sun was shining and it was 15 degrees with no wind......so, just switched boots for ski boots and off skiing we went. Toby loved the nice, packed 4 wheeler tracks to run in when we got over that far. We also made it across the creek without breaking the ice today. Yesterday, I was almost across when Toby came on and with both of us, it cracked. Cold this morning, near zero, so it was all frozen up again. Without getting some strange and unusual weather, we should be all set for the season now. Fingers crossed!
There are a number of cardinals in the area right now. I was hoping maybe one would show up here too. So far, no luck. The regular birds are busy eating sunflower seeds now though. And.....what they spill, the deer eat. The fawns love to stand under the feeder and pick those seeds.
Time to get back to some of the end of day chores......before the light is all gone! :)
Sunday, November 25, 2012
It has been a busy week with getting ready for Thanksgiving and the Hovland Arts Festival sale. We had a good turnout of people from the area and Thunder Bay, Canada. It was a time to visit and make conversation with old friends. You would be surprised at all the people who show up for this event. A good day was had by all. When people all cooperate and help, it is amazing what we can do.
Now, besides cross country skiing, which I intend to do this afternoon, and watching critters....and of course taking photos of them.....I need to decide what I am going to do with myself this winter. Mind you, retirement in time for summer and all the outside time......working on trails...all that daylight was fine. I really enjoyed my first summer off in over forty years. However, there are a lot of things you can't do in the winter time. And, since I am not good at sitting extended periods of time, I hardly think I am going to sit down and read my whole winter away.....although, I will catch up on some of that too.
No......one of my thoughts is about what new avenue of art I would like to explore getting in to or back in to. I had a piece I made for the spring Art Colony show at the sale. I received a lot of nice compliments on it......one....I was out of my usual niche most people think of me doing....and two....they saw some of what else I can do besides take photos. People who haven't known me forever don't know I used to paint or draw.....all things that take more time to do well. Working full time all those years didn't lend well to oil painting. One person was going to buy it, in fact, she liked it so much. However, she got to thinking too much....as some of us are prone to do.....and didn't know where she would put it. That is a problem for a number of us. We live in an "arts" community and a lot of us really appreciate it......which probably means we have more pieces than we have room to display it. Rotating your art for the seasons is an interesting concept. However, it takes time and storage space. As much as we might like the idea.....it just doesn't always get done. So....another of those "what to do-what to do" things in our lives.
Well, the dryer just buzzed done. I have a bit more clean up to do after the busyness of the past few days. Then.....on to the decisions of "what's next" in my life! :)
Monday, November 19, 2012
When I got home, I made breakfast and then we got to finishing up with the venison. I got it all vacuum sealed as my husband got it cut up. Then, I left him to the kitchen for the day. He proceeded to can all the scraps for dog food. Canning in the pressure cooker takes a while. Anyway, that is mostly done now too. I think he has one more batch of dog goodies to do in the morning.
I, on the other hand, spent a goodly amount of time in the basement today....working on photos and such for the Hovland Arts Festival holiday sale which is on Saturday, November 24th. It rained during that time too, so all the more reason to be busy doing computer work. No bright cross lights to distract me or make it hard to see the computer screen. Only a deer, or two, to put their noses against the window and watch what I am doing. Shadow had that job today. A couple of days ago Fancy's Girl did that. I couldn't believe how long she stood there and watched me print photos. Funny!
On another note.....all my girls and their families made it through deer season! Yay!
On one other note, when I took Toby for his afternoon hike, the wolves were howling in the vicinity of Hellacious Overlook on the Superior Hiking Trail. Maybe.....celebrating end of hunting season!
This is the first time in many years I didn't have a wolf howl, or see one or more, during deer season.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
It is the season for making a mess in the house too. Once we have our venison, it has to be processed. This means canning jars and chunks of meat all over the kitchen in various forms of being made ready to preserve.....or cut some more, depending on what piece of meat it is. Then, into the vacuum seal unit to get it ready for the freezer. By the time Thanksgiving comes around, I am getting entirely ready to be done with making messes all over the kitchen. Then, I make more messes. Anyone who ever made lefse will know what I am talking about here. You can not make that without making one and it takes a lot of counter space to do it.
I will leave you with one final sky shot...taken 3 or 4 nights ago when it was mostly clear but had a few scattered fluffy clouds. The few that there were .....were really spectacular. :)
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
So, now you know....life in the north woods isn't only fun and games and taking photos. Although, that is a nice thought. But, since I wasn't born rich and famous, I guess I have to continue on with the daily chores and putting up food for the long winter months ahead. I guess, in another time and place, I would have made a good homesteader. I don't mind doing all those things one needs to do to get by. I would, though, miss not having electricity. Freezers are so much handier that doing all the canning one would need to do. So, as long as our gadgets work, life is good. When you depend on the electrical gadgets and things don't work, things can get nasty and frustrating in a hurry.
Well, the sun is shining....time for a walk. Toby is waiting. :)
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Well....I think I am going to take advantage of this nasty weather today and bake some cookies and do some other chores too. Maybe the wind and snow will let up later and make it a bit more pleasant to be outside. :)
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
As I am typing, the buck....who I have taken photos of twice now, just showed up. No one seems too interested in him today either.
I am....maybe I should go hunting.....wonder where he is going from here!!!
I took advantage of the rainy day to go to town and do errands and get a freezer. Since I am now retired, I have more time to do the home things....gardens....etc. I filled the old freezer with vegies and fruit. I have NO room for venison. So....on the chance one of us is going to get lucky out there one of these days.....no time like the present to go get that done, clean up a spot for it and get it going. Got it done! :)
On another note, the wolf hunting season is going better than I expected. I believe we are at something like 50 wolves taken already. In the cases the paper wrote about...there were multiple wolves when one was shot. This means, I hope, we are on the way to our "educating the wolves" again about what it means to be around people. The guy who registered the first one had 4 come out in the bunch. The one he shot had mange. The second one I saw written up had two in the group he shot one of. Hopefully, the others also were multiples also. Then, we are accomplishing something beneficial. The article today actually admitted that our population of 3.000 wolves probably expands to 6,000 in the spring when they have pups! Duh.....I was wondering when that was going to occur to someone. A population of 3,000 doesn't stay that number indefinitely. When you consider that a good many packs are 4 animals and then multiply that by how many pups the alpha female has.....guess what.....that adds a lot of wolves each year. Yes, I realize some die. Some get hit by cars. Some are killed by government trappers each year.....but, not that many. As far as I know, nobody has shot at "my" area pack yet. I'm hoping.
Well.....it appears the rain isn't going to quit for some time yet....and it is pretty dark and grey.....so, I might just as well put on some rain gear and get in the afternoon walk. Maybe I will sneak up on a buck.....no that the rain quieted down the noisy leaves.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
This girl above, though.....Miz Spectacles by name.....because of those big white eye rings.....just follows me around the yard wishing I would pay more attention to her and give her more treats. It makes me wonder how I can even think about shooting some "venison" for my winter food supply. I have always done it.....I guess, for the time being, I will continue. But, I'll tell you what......having all these pets does make it difficult. Saturday morning there were 14 does and fawns laying by the house and on the mound, all trying to be safe. This morning, there were 16! The wolves are making them really hang close. My neighbor, the only non-hunting one anymore....said while I was gone, the girls all came over and laid around in his yard to be near the people. They had figured out we weren't home. Did I ever tell you......critters aren't stupid. Anyway, when I walk back into the yard, I always tell them, it's ok.....it's just me. Then, they settle right down once they know who and what it is. They will lay and watch us work in the yard or the more tame ones.....Shadow or Zoe or Fancy's Girl or Miz Spectacles.....Red Doe too, these days....to see if they can con you into another treat or an early one. They are too funny. So, I get plenty of exercise walking way up the hill north or way east of the house.....where none of my girls can hopefullly find me while I am trying to get one of the boys. So it goes.....deer hunting is an interesting proposition anymore.
Well, I have thawed out from the mornings hikes and sits.....I did have one walk by me this morning.....too many small balsams to see it tho it was close.....so, it's time to get back out there to see what else I can find.
I should mention, yesterday while I was out I had a red-backed vole along side me, coming in and out of a rotten, hollow popple. It was so dang cute. It even did the wash his whiskers with his front paws thing. It was going in and out of a little knot hole in the side and would watch me with just its face looking out of the hole. It was so chubby it was just about round. It made me wonder how its fat little butt even fit in and out that hole. But....it did. A cute distraction while waiting for bigger game!
Ain't nature grand.......
Friday, November 2, 2012
Above the spindle tree photo, you see the bark of a sycamore tree. I like to call it "nature's camo" as I think that is what the pattern looks like. In the trees up to about a foot or so in diameter, the pattern is pretty striking. When the trees get huge and old, they don't have that particular characteristic any more. While driving, I saw a number of them growing where the whole tree was camo colored all the way up. No photos of them tho. I took this close up photo on a street along a sidewalk in Gaithersburg, Maryland. So.....even travels in more urban areas can give you unexpected surprises.
Now, home again.......and back to my usual routines. Vacations are always fun but the work is still waiting when you get home. :)