Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30, 2012 I've had it! Enough is enough...

Enough really is enough.....already.  I was so determined to hold out for the broadband that is supposed to be arriving in 2013.  They will dig the line in for free, if you signed up early.....which I did.  However, my dial up has been getting worse and worse since August.  I rarely get more than 0 kb/s.  Yes, you read that right.  0 is usually my speed with a burst of 2 or 3 kb/s on a good day.  Yesterday, a friend sent me a pretty big file email.  It took an hour.  Then, stepdaughter sent me a lovely photo that took 2 hours.  I really liked it.  Then....the next thing, and I still don't know what that is, is still in the server.  I tried to look in web mail, but that was down because I had looked earlier and the speed was so slow it just wasn't loading.  I went off to get mail and left it running and it finally loaded.  That was before the above mentioned.  So, I started it over, since the computer, when on dial up, gets 2 hours and 1 minute before it disconnects on its own.  I did that twice.  I did a yoga routine, made supper, ate it, amongst how many other things, while trying to load that email.  So, I can't get my email and no one fixes web mail on weekends.  I can't even load the home page on Facebook this morning.  I honestly think a lot of days, my speed is negative 0 kb/s; but, that doesn't register.  OK, enough grumping.......right.  I did look up the telephone number for HughesNet yesterday on the computer.  I have it written down and was going to call tomorrow.  But, I think they answer on Sundays too.  I just was thinking people working on days other than Sundays and holidays might be in better moods.
If I get HughesNet soon, that means I have to start changing all my business contacts and info in the computer and all that stuff.  I don't look forward to that.....because, I am not a computer genius.  I get by.  But,  also can get very frustrated trying to find or fix things I don't really understand.
OK, slow speed, although the blog actually loaded for me to write something today, adding a photo is really being a pill.  But, it is happening.  I took this photo, on the shore of Lake Superior, on my way home from doing errands on Friday.  There was enough wave action to upend this piece of ice and make it look so cool, from the time I got on the beach, walked down it with Toby, and I got back to where I started from.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012 Winter Wandering

It's a fine time of year for wandering about.  Toby and I did just that, yesterday.  Some years I am skiing regularly by now.  The recent rain finished that for a while.  About half my trails are in ski-able order.  But you know.....wandering is fine.  Especially, it is fun, when you have side trips along the trails like big beaver ponds to wander about on.  You can check on how many otters or mink have checked it out.  Usually, a coyote or wolf has checked it out too.  I did take a couple of shots of some of the series of mink tracks meandering aimlessly, I think, through the cat tails.  I don't believe they would translate well to this small format though.  Then again, some years we have so much snow by now I need snowshoes to keep the ski trails in operating order.  So, you never know.  You take what you get and make the best of it.  Yesterday, with the nice sunshine.....that wasn't too hard. 
From the beaver ponds, we got back on the trail again.  You can see it meandering through a clear cut.  Some day, it will block the views of the big hills again.  But, for now, I have quite a view as I travel through the young popples toward the big hill.  That big ridge in the background has the Superior Hiking Trail going across the top of it.  I go up on that fairly often too.  However, on snowy years that is definitely a snow shoe option.  And, the getting up some places on snow shoes can be pretty steep!  It is actually one of those places you could use those poles you see people carrying when they are walking out on snowshoes.
I actually took quite a few photos yesterday.  Some, like the hoar-frost in a couple of places, could've been much better with a macro lens along.  However, I tend to travel light when I am out in the winter.  And, you just never know when you might find.  I have had some thoughts about hiking in to the canyon on Kugler's creek, over east of us.  But, I am unsure what a mess I might find after the rain we had.  That place is a pickle any time of the year to actually get where you want to go, get some kind of decent light, and actually take a photo.  My husband keeps telling me to bring a long rope and hoist myself in and out of the part near the big falls.  Well, I am not 18 any more.  Climbing ropes never was a strong point of mine.  Add to that.....very unstable rock while packing camera equipment......I don't think so.  It is one predicament I really don't need at my age.  I also really doubt that Toby would think too much of the idea of hanging out way up there, on top, while I went down there.
Anyway, Toby and I had a wonderful afternoon, out in the sunshine, leaving the world problems behind someplace.

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 Guns, Kids, Society...who is really to blame?

 Wayne LaPierre is on the hot seat these days.  For those of you who don't know, he is president of the NRA.  Should he be?  There are a lot of issues going on these days, since the Sandy Hook shooting.  But, as usual, it is all about who to blame.  So, the media gets all over the guns.  Then, people start on the guns because that is all the media talks about.  Then, the NRA starts taking heat!  But really folks, who is really to blame here?  It kind of goes back to what I talked about before - accountability and responsibility.  They go hand in hand.  Even talk show hosts like the Brit, Piers Morgan, who is totally anti-gun, has a town hall style meeting show to let both sides speak.  However, the people on the side of owning guns is always cut off and not allowed to make his point.  Funny, isn't it, how the anti-gun people do not want to listen to any thing that isn't their opinion.  Then, you have the pompous asses like Michael Bloomberg who thinks no one should own a gun except the police.  However, he always has armed bodyguards to protect him.  Everyone wants it their way with no concessions to anyone else.
Ok, let's not get off subject too far here.......
Guns - they are an inanimate item.  Sitting on a rack or hanging on the wall, they do no harm to anyone.  They just are.  Period.  So, why are we blaming them?!
Kids these days.....well, let's just say...some of them are not very nice.  Go hang out around some kids these days at a high school and listen to the filth coming out of their mouths.  If I had talked like that when I was a kid, I'd have gotten smacked, but good!  That kind of thing wasn't tolerated, and shouldn't be.  There are kids in classes who have to have a special, paid person to be with them, one on one, all day, every day, because of their issues, to try to mainstream them in to classes so as to get an education and not be different.  Some have some attention deficit disorders.  Some, for whatever reason, are just plain disruptive in classes right down to having temper tantrums and the whole nine yards.  Some of these teens are big kids, besides, and can almost be frightening or threatening in the class rooms.  Then again, there are some very nice, intelligent, helpful kids in the schools that I can't say enough good about.  But, whose fault is it when kids are so disruptive in classes?  When they are teens, they are old enough to know better, aren't they?  But.....were they ever taught right from wrong?  If not, then who do we blame, if not the "bad" kid?  Well, hate to tell you....but it goes right back to the parents.  We have a lot of parents in society these days who should not be.  They drank too much or did too much dope/drugs when the mom was pregnant, and in some cases, still is using.  They don't have the time or inclination to pay any attention to their kids.  They think the school should do it.  They don't get any love or discipline at home.  What is a kid to do?  If they are lucky, they will have a really good friend with good parents that care and understand the situation and take them under their wing.  If not......we have problems.  Back to the responsibility....who is responsible for seeing to the welfare of the children?
Parents....every time, it should be the parents.  The parents should be accountable and responsible for making sure the kids are where they say and doing what they should and behaving in a reasonable manner.  Older teens can be harder to fit in to that mold.  But, if they have been brought up properly, this should not be a big issue.  Then, the school teachers can be aware, as a back up, for if there is a problem with a child.  From there, we could go to counselors to remedy some of the issues.
Parents......paying attention to what their kids do in their free time is important.  Are they spending all of it immersed in violent video games that take them from reality in to another world?  Are they monitoring what they watch on TV?  A kid in a home with all things good, such as loving, attentive parents, will have no problem knowing right from wrong, video games or not.  Kids who have no support at home and completely inattentive parents may react differently.
So, bottom line starts with parents and their place in society.  Parents should be the first to know if their kid doesn't have a realistic outlook on life.  Whatever the issue, caring parents should notice these behaviors.   Kids need discipline and love.  They need it on a regular basis.  They need to know people care. all you parents out there, the ball is in your court.  Pay attention to your kids.  Give them responsibility with consequences if they aren't.  Be accountable to your kids and make sure they are accountable too.  Having decent kids starts at home.  Put the blame where it belongs.

December 24, 2012 Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  My favorite big buck left me the other antler in the front yard this morning.  He was waiting by the door for his treat.  He got it!  :)  What a guy.  Here are the both of them, for the set.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23, 2012 Over the hump....

Well....we are past the shortest day of the year!  All sunny days and being productive from here on out.......right!!   Maybe in our dreams that happens; but, I suspect real life is different.  I usually don't notice the days seeming longer until about the end of January.  But, we have had three sunny days in a row now, so that is a good thing.
Yesterday morning, my favorite big buck was standing in the yard nibbling alfalfa, waiting for me.  He saw me in the window so he headed for his "magic door."  He was  wearing only one antler. cut out for me.  There is very little snow so far.....which means......I should be able to find the one he shed!  Well, I went out and brought them a new supply of treats, took Toby for a walk, which included a loop on a deer trail he might have been on, and back in the house to make breakfast.
While we were eating breakfast, I noticed the two 8 point bucks were having their usual morning match to see who was the toughest.  All of a sudden, one backed off and just stood there a minute.  When I could next see him, he was minus an antler too.  He had just lost it in the scuffle.  So, now I had reason to go out and find that one too.  After an hour or so, the deer all moseyed off for their morning siestas.  Into my warm clothes and boots I get again, ready to go retrieve that 4 point half of the 8 point antlers.  That was easy.....I walked across the yard to where I had seen them pushing each other and there it lay on top of the snow.  Now, to go find the treasure!  I headed out one trail I sometimes see him leave on in the morning and made a big loop around some of the areas that trail covers and back toward the house.  No luck.  Figured before I made the next loop, I better get the mail.  So, I got Toby and off  we went.  Then, back to the deer trails.  This time, I started on one other one I thought he used a lot coming in in the morning.  I got out there on that trail and was back to the house in 5 minutes to show my husband my "treasure."   Oh.....what a happy person I was.  I absolutely love shed hunting.  I don't usually do much this early....because there is usually too much snow and because, not many have been shed yet.  However, now and then I know there is a big one to be found and will make efforts to find it.  This time, it paid off.  Now, the waiting game starts, watching for the  other one to fall off.  This morning, both bucks still had one each and the other two bucks had both of theirs.  No shed hunting today!
This is a photo from my day out hiking with macro lens on the Winter Solstice.  I, of all people, understand why we need small format photos on blogs.  I, for one, on my dial up internet, could never load it if it was a full file.  However, so much detail and all the neat fern shadows are missing this small.  I could tell you to go to my Moose Valley Photography page on Facebook, or my website:  Moose Valley Photography.....but, many times they are small format too, for the same reasons.  But, I am a detail person, so....I like to see the details.   We do the best we can with what we have!
This photo of Toby was also taken with the macro lens that day.  I don't think I ever go out on a photo walk without taking at least one photo of Toby.  He loves to pose!  But,  a lot of people think a macro lens is only for taking pictures of bugs and small plants and things where you want lots of details.  It makes a wonderful portrait lens.  The subject has fine detail and background isn't so sharp so they make a nice fit.  I suspect if I did more people portrait stuff, I would like to use this lens and do natural outside settings for posing them. have your photo tip for the day!  :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012 Winter Solstice

Yay!  It's Winter Solstice!  Picture above is "Solstice Flowers".....because I can find them out in the snow yet!  I took the photo yesterday with my pocket camera while out for a walk with Toby.  It is a bright, sunny day outside and looks cheerful.  However, there is a strong wind and it feels cold with a low temperature today besides.  I think I may have just enough snow to ski; but, given the nasty wind, I think I will stay in the woods and just walk with Toby when I finish this.  He has gotten quite used to his booties now and the "no ice balls in his toes" thing is going on when he wears, he is quite the sight, prancing down the trail.  If I stop to take photos, he just lays down to watch.
I think this picture of Toby laying in the snow, in a snowstorm, is kind of neat.  The white is so white!  You can't see the edges of the photos.  Because of the weather and wind, I just put my pocket camera in my jacket yesterday and off we went.  Didn't have to worry about getting things so wet.  However, I am not always pleased with how it does on outdoor photos.  It is a different brand, Olympus, than my big cameras.  It does have the pixels and telephoto.  However, it is one more menu and directions to learn and remember....and I have never taken the time to learn it.  It does well on the automatic settings for inside people, that is what I use it more for.  But, it was supposed to be the camera I always put in my pocket for what ever I might see and have it!  Maybe I should make a new years' resolution.......
This is the photo of the bird's nest in the red osier dogwood I was taking when Toby laid down to watch me.  I was trying to take the photo from the trail of the side view.....but, it just wasn't looking like much. looked so neat, this little nest in the brush.  So, I bent over to try and take one from above.......and look what I see!  It looked like a little face looking up at me and just made me smile to look at it.  And, if you know me, you will know I didn't touch anything or manipulate it.  It is exactly what I saw.  I thought that was so darned cool.  It still makes me smile to look at the photo of it.  Again.....all with my little bitty pocket camera.......
Well, happy solstice everyone!  Enjoy the sunshine, if you are lucky enough to have it.  As for me, I am off for that walk.  And......I look forward to the longer days that are coming!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 19, 2012 More grey!

This photo was taken yesterday ...on my way back from my dentist appointment.  It was sooo grey and trying, not very hard, to snow.  Snow is coming down in spurts today too.  I am so glad when we get past the first day of winter and  in to January when we start to get a bit more sunshine.  But, that doesn't guarantee the sun either.....just makes it a bit more likely. 
I finally got out a project that has been on hold for a while....while I pondered what and how to do it.  I have a  whole bunch of 15" squares made for a quilt, ready to put together, that my grandmother made many years ago.  Fabric is 50s era ..... some is kind of strange stuff.  It is for a crazy quilt....which is why I have pondered a while.  I am not exactly sure of how to go about that style.  I finally laid the whole thing out and got it arranged, properly I hope, on the upstairs bedroom floor.  It looks pretty wild, if I do say so.  My mother got the packet after  my grandmother died.  She has done some nice quilts over the years......however, she just couldn't work up enthusiasm for this style.  So, since I was trying my hand at it, I got it.  My plan is to start sewing it together next week.  My husband wanted to know what I was going to do with it when I did get it done.  I don't think he wanted to see that bright crazy thing on "his" bed!  We will see how it turns out. 
But does brighten the "greys" we are having!  :)
Well......back to work.....and the greys of the day........

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 Being Thankful

I guess I am still trying to wrap my mind around the mentality of a person, 20 years old, extremely intelligent, tho with some mental enough to graduate after 10th grade, that could do something so horrific as killing a bunch of young children and women.  How does one get to that place that they feel they need to do a thing like that ...... I just don't know. 
It isn't that I am not or haven't always been thankful for what I do have and the place I live;  but, after something like that happens, you really stop and think about how lucky you are to live in a place where you can look out the window and see scenes like the photo above.  To go outside and interact with the critters who have come to trust you is such a pleasure.  The peaceful spot I live in is such a source of satisfaction and enjoyment.

To be able to just go for a walk in the woods with my dog (see Toby in center) and take my sister's and my sister-in-laws' dogs along with him and not really have to worry about the problems in the world for a little while......that is something to be thankful for.
That little piece of time I take, each day, twice a day......when I hit the woods with my dog for our long walk in the peace and quiet, with only critters for company, that is something I have really come to cherish.  And, I do it .....rain or shine.   I am kind of like the proverbial mailman....and I used to work for the U.S.P.S. until I retired, where neither rain nor snow nor hail nor dark of night will keep me from my appointed rounds.  After an especially busy or harried day at work, it was so nice to get out in the woods and not think about the "real world" for a little while.  Now, without some of the cares of that business world, it is still pleasant to go and just be. 
I am thankful for friends to talk to about things when things need discussing.  I would hope none of us ever has such an awful thing happen in our immediate community that we ever have to cope with that.  I think tho, that even small communities are learning we aren't immune from bad things happening. 
I am thankful at the end of another day, I can look out my window and see this view.....and be glad that all is well in my little world.  I/we....made it through one more day.
Be thankful for friends and never knows from one day to the next, anymore, how long you will have them.  Enjoy them to the fullest and tell them you love them.  Give them a hug. 
Be thankful......and keep your eyes and ears open.  Life can and should be good. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15, 2012 Guns & Things....

No pretty picture today.  After yesterday's shooting, I decided, just once, to get my dander up and talk a little politics and WTH is the matter with the people in this country today.  The "yesterday" issue, is all the children, 5-8 years old, and adults too, shot at the elementary school in Connecticut.  If you know me well, you know some issues can and will get my dander up....but, not to the point of shooting people about it.  And, if some people don't like what I have to say today.....well, truth hurts sometimes and so do opinions...some of both will be discussed.  But, maybe it will make you think too.    And.......that ain't a bad thing.
For those who do know me well, you will also know I am a gun person.  I have used and handled guns by myself and in groups since I was 11 or 12 years old.  I am now 60!  And you know what, none of my guns have ever gotten up of their own free will and started shooting people.  I started out with a single shot .410 when I was about go partridge hunting with.  I evolved in to 12 gauge shotguns  and rifles and also several handguns, all of which I can use very efficiently.  But, they have a purpose when I use them.....and it isn't going out shooting the heck out of everyone in sight!
In this day and age of too many wolves around, I hardly ever go out without carrying a handgun.  I have taken the concealed carry classes twice and know a fair amount about issues involved in carrying.  So, I carry.  My dog's safety in the woods or trails these days is important to me.  You may recall in July I met the whole dang wolf pack on my county road when I was out for my morning walk with my dog.   However, that isn't the issue right now.
What should be in people's minds is......what is happening with the mentality of the people in this country that they think it is ok to go out and make a statement (or whatever the heck they are doing) by randomly shooting a bunch of innocent people, adults or kids?  Right away the take the guns away group are wanting more gun laws.  Well, guess what....we have more than enough laws.  Maybe we should start with the one both God and the government made: "Thou shalt not kill!"  That one has been in effect for all time.  Does it stop anyone...........NO! 
Back in the day, people shot each other.  Did that make it right.....probably not.  However, whether a perceived wrong, a lover's quarrel, a mob was by someone at a specific person.  It was not a random act of violence for no apparent reason whatsoever. the whys.  One thing I have noticed in todays' society accountability.  This happens with everyone from the small town happenings to the top layers of our body is responsible or held accountable.  (Take "Fast and Furious" for a good example.....don't tell me no one knows who gave the orders and was responsible-some one knows and they ought to man up about it.)  From the time children are little these days, anymore, too many are set in front of a video game, usually a violent one at that, and that's what they do.  No chores, no responsibility, nothing.  Why?  Is it because parents don't care what their kids do or become?  Are they so centered in themselves they don't pay attention.  Or, if they do.....they, now little johnny, you shouldn't do that.  Well, oh my.....the kid is really going to be upset about that, isn't he.  No consequences if the parent does make a statement if the kid is doing something he/she shouldn't.  And....don't get me wrong, there are some parents in our community who raise some wonderful, responsible, moral kids.  They are wonderful people.  But, then there are some others.  I have personally seen some of the others to the point as the kid grew into a rebellious teen, they were actually frightened of their own kid. 
People, we need to raise our kids to be responsible, accountable, ethical, moral and have a conscience.  If and when we start doing this, maybe our kids will not be out there shooting other kids.  Our society has become one of so much violence and sex in everything that bombards our kids on a daily basis, I think we all become immune to it because it is the norm, rather than the exception.  So, what to do about it......well, start out by telling your own kid you love them.  Give them chores and responsibility.  If they don't do it,  make consequences.....such as no video games for a week.....whatever it takes.  But, give them things to do and make sure they do them.  Being a responsible kid who appreciates what he has because he had to work for it isn't a bad thing.  Giving them everything, just because.......isn't.  Pay attention to them. 
I do, honestly, feel very sorry for all the parents out there who just lost their kids.  That kind of hurt doesn't go away.  But let's start going at some of these issues from where they are generated.....and one if them isn't making more useless laws that can't be enforced anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter is definitely here! December 13, 2012

This is a pretty common sight in the yard these days.  The rut is over so it isn't serious; just some who's the boss this morning stuff.  They are both young 8 point bucks, so pretty evenly matched.  However, when the big guy, "Skinny Butt," comes along.....everybody just kind of moves aside and stays out of his way.  He isn't in the least bit aggressive toward any of them.  However, he has such an amazing rack....he doesn't even have to do his side ways move or turn his head sideways, or any of the tricks deer do to let someone else know they want their space.  They see him strolling over there and just move out of the way.
We have had a lot of snow days already this week.  None of them have been all that serious.....just light fluffy snow.  But, as you can see in the photo, it keeps doing it.  I should have very good skiing in a week or so if it keeps up.  At present, although I am skiing, a few roots need a bit more padding yet.
As for "Skinny Butt," he is here for the winter now......I am quite sure.  When I come in to the living room or kitchen in the morning, he generally is watching the window or the "magic door" to see if I am coming to give him his morning treat yet.  This morning, I must have been 5 minutes later than usual....he was right by the door.....staring at it......wishing it to open and give him his goodie!  Too funny.  I hope this buck stays around for a good number of years yet.  I like his majestic presence and am not always so fortunate to have a big guy that isn't standoffish.  He is always very punctual for the afternoon treats too.  Yes, he knows when life is good!
Then, there are the antics that make you laugh......just because.  Yesterday, I was watching one of the does over by the plowed up snow pile.  First, she was just digging the heck out of it with one front hoof.  Then, she would jump in the air, twisting and turning, and land in the pile of snow.  My husband and I were both watching her play like a little kid in the snow.  She did it a number of times too.  They never cease to amaze me with their play and games out here.
Who needs TV?!  I can just look out my window and see better stuff than what is on TV anymore.  Commercial free......too!
These little guys, which are quite numerous now, also can be a stitch some times.  This one was sitting here on the deck railing the other day is the snow storm just seriously eating.  Day before, he was running up the steps, on to the deck railing, grabbing one seed, off down the steps and out to the grass to hide his one seed.  He made many trips doing this.  Then, of course, you have the scraps between the squirrels...who both want the same feeder.....and that ain't going to happen!  They were pretty scarce for a while as there was a good supply of cones for them to cut.  Those piles are by their holes and handy for when they need them.  But for the "now".......a few good seeds are nice.
Critters......such wonderful little beings.  So many, so thankful for what they are given......

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012 An old friend returns

 An old friend returned yesterday.  It was snowing and I saw him coming across the field.  He stopped to nibble some alfalfa, looked around a bit......and headed over to the "magic door."
I saw him coming, of course, thought he looked familiar, although his antlers really grew this past year.....but, I thought he was dead.  Last year, in October of 2011, he was around for several days before deer season started.  Then, he disappeared, not to be seen around our yard all winter.  With all the deer hunters and wolves around.....after several years of his company, what would you think?  Well, I went to the other window, as did my husband......and he said "well, should I go open the magic door."  Well, I sure as heck is him.  I still was having a hard time believing who I was seeing.  He went and opened the door, gave him some treats.....such a happy he was never gone.  When you are treated well, you remember.  He, also, is the only buck who ever did that.  Some of my does, as I have mentioned, are very good at sticking their noses right on the window and leaving little nose smears all the time.  They try real hard to get my attention when I am working down in the basement. 
Well, about husband says down the are being paged!  I looked, and there he was.......back in time for the evening snack.  This time, he was right up to the door, looking at it so expectantly.  So, I opened the magic door and he was happy.  He would have eaten is obvious he has had a busy fall by the looks of how lean he is and all the little broken points and tines; however, not a good idea.  Too much rich good food when you aren't used to it gives you a few other issues for a few days.  Plus the fact he always was lean in the hind quarters anyway.  Hence his name..."Skinny Butt."  Names always fit the animal.  He had to go back to the alfalfa pile and be content. 
This morning, I was up, making the coffee and watching the girls arrive.  Pretty soon, here comes my guy.  It may have been over a year, but he well remembers the drill.  And, let me tell you.....he wasn't missing any tricks this morning.  He made sure he saw what was new and where any new treat spots might be.  I think Shadow has a bit of competition for my favors now.  Shadow will always be my girl, however; the girls are a bit intimidated by the big boys coming too close to them and defer.
Hopefully, he is going to spend a long, happy winter with us in the valley again.
Here is a close up of his magnificent self.  In such a small format, you still can't see much, but you get the idea. 

Here he is, standing and staring at the "magic door" the first time.  Yes, it is really fun to have a big guy around again.  I am sure if he stays, you will see more pictures of him on a sunny day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 7, 2012 More moose!

As mentioned, here is the photo of me on March 28, 2008....petting a moose, who would have soon been 1 year old, had she lived that long.  She was covered in ticks and her front quarters are bare.
Up close and personal here....poor moose with way too many ticks.  Anyway, and I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, I actually had kneeled down along side her and was rubbing her nose.  She made some quiet noises that made me think if it was a cat, she would be purring.  I think it was comforting to have a being by her that was non-threatening when she was so weak she couldn't even stand any more.  If she could, I obviously wouldn't have been doing this.  I stopped several times over the course of the day to check on her.  I was so worried the wolves were going to come and eat her bite by bite while she was alive and unable to defend herself and run away.  She died the next day.
So, not all stories have happy endings. 
You don't have to be hunting to be quiet in the woods.  I spend a lot of time just walking with my dog.  Casey, at this point, was my constant companion and a wonderful partner he was.  He was always on the alert for a partridge, season or not.  But, this spring we had a different surprise.  I was walking along a deer trail around the edge of a cut over area, hoping to find some deer sheds.  It was a great morning for a walk and outside of some fiddleheads, I hadn't found anything too exciting.  Then I came to a spot where the trail was stamped and flattened smooth and nearby, a lot of fresh moose droppings.  I just stopped and was looking around and all of a sudden, right in front of me ten feet away I saw a newborn moose calf.  The legs were all folded under it and head and ears were flat on the ground.  It was hiding in the opening.  I quickly grabbed Casey and started looking around.  "Mom" was no where to be seen; so, I assumed she was where I wanted to go....and promptly changed my mind.  I took a couple of steps closer to check out baby while thinking - CUTE!  Then, brain kicked back in and said SCRAM!  Mom would not be appreciative of me and Casey admiring her baby.  As I was leaving, I looked over my shoulder and the baby moose had head and ears up watching us leave.  Another wonderful adventure.
One more...with Casey.  We were out on a winter ski trail.  There had been the odd deer tracks and weasel tracks .....rather uneventful ski trip around the trails for us.  All of a sudden, just as I was to come down the hill onto the old field, there were fresh moose tracks.  Casey was checking them and I was thinking.......hmmmm.......  Casey was leading as he usually does  Then, he was barking!  Oh no....coming full bore down the hill, I didn't want to see what I was seeing.  A moose.....right at the bottom of the hill where I'd turn the corner and be on my way home......a very mad moose at present, with ears laid back and stomping one front foot.  I had wiped out on that corner where the moose was standing the day before.  I called Casey and tucked in behind an alder clump and checked my ski boots - frozen in!  Oh sh#t.....the messes we can get in to.  Well, Mizz Moose just decided maybe she didn't want to get off the trail in the deep snow; but, she didn't like Casey much either.  She finally took a couple of steps off to the side on an old game trail that follows the edge of the field.  I came out of the alder and said to Casey, "Let's go!"  And, go we did!  I could have poked her with my ski pole as I went by.  But, another morning of excitement was ending safely. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012 Moose Stories

Since I live in Moose Valley, you would expect there are a lot of moose around, right!  Well....that used to be the case.  The moose have been ending up dead in this area for a while.  Many never quite make one year old.  I have a photo of me somewhere on my computer sitting by one petting it before it died the next day.  It was covered in ticks.  I had figured, given how lyme's disease can be so hard to detect in some humans....that may be one of the culprits.  And, having read some moose autopsies the last couple of years, it is part of the problem.  However, at this point they are thinking the main culprit is caused by a mosquito carried disease.  A small bug taking down a large mammal....sad!
Anyway, I used to have all kinds of excitement back in the days of plenty of moose.  Some involve Casey, my 110 # golden retriever-yellow lab mix I had when I got Toby.....who taught Toby every thing he knows....good and bad!  Some stories involved Casey and Willie, who was also 110# of seriously muscled black lab.  Nothing like a good adventure with a moose to get your blood circulating on a cold winter day.
One cold, wintery morning I was skiing along the bottom of a hill on the edge of an old hay field.  All of a sudden Casey and Willie ran to the top of the hill, only to turn around and come back down the hill right behind a moose.  That was about as close as I've ever come to being run over by a moose when skiing.  I'm not sure who had the bigger eyes-me.....or the moose.  But, we did get each others' attention.  Plus, Willie and Casey got talked to...
Another morning I was walking my boys....Willie and Casey, in the same area but a bit farther east.  There, the edge of the alder creeps closer to the hill top and I could see the bull moose standing there with his back to the woods.  You know, when you're in the middle of a field with no large trees handy.....snow fairly deep, the ski trail hard, a lot of thoughts go through your head as you wonder how to handle this agitated moose.  We ended up just walking by while he stomped; but, one never knows if luck will hold.
Still another close encounter with a very large bull moose came in the fall during the rut.  I was out "partridge" hunting with Casey.  And yes, I was actually hunting ruffed grouse; but, ever since I was a kid they've been partridge and my dog understands partridge, so, partridge they are.  I was walking down an old popple cut on what used to be a skidder trail but now was only a very narrow game trail.   All of a sudden, in front of me, 20 yards to my right, was a huge bull.  He started to grunt, shake his head and was heading toward me on the trail.  I had Casey's collar so fast!  We stood and looked at the moose standing and looking at us.  Casey never made a sound and sat very still as I'd told him - for once!  The moose made no move to go anywhere, so....this time, Casey and I turned around and went the way we'd come.  Thankfully, the moose didn't try and pursue us to see what we were up to.
I'd always wondered if some morning in the winter I'd ever end up late to work because of being turned back on a ski trail by a moose.  Some winters when the snow was very deep, we'd meet or see them on the trails; sometimes seeing their bed right on the trail.  It was much easier going than the belly deep snow.  So far, so good!
I have a few more.....but,  I will save them for another day. that I am retired, at least I won't have to worry about being late to work!   :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2, 2012 Sundays.....just another day!

Watch out.......tis the season!  We're seeing if you are being naughty or nice......
It is Sunday!  When I was working full time, weekends were the days you hustled and bustled and got everything done to get you through another week.  Some of those things....I still do on Sundays.....just because I haven't yet gotten out of the habit.  But, when you aren't working a 40 hour week for pay besides everything else you do, the days all kind of blur together and sometimes, I actually have to stop and think about what day it actually is.  Not a bad problem to have.......right!
I took the time, on my slow pokey dial up, to read some of my favorite blogs this morning.....starting out with the friend's blog who started me on mine.  I finished reading that and all I could think was OMG!  I tried to post that on her comment page, but as usual, for some reason, it won't let me post comments any more.  I haven't had any serious issues to complain about lately.......however, if I had thought I had, I would have decided they were pretty trivial after reading that particular piece.  Have I ever told you......"Life is Good!"  Well, I mean it.  :)
One of my chores today will be getting the big fountain apart and empty for winter.  Now that the deer can use it to drink again, they won't be happy.  However, I believe tomorrow is the last day of our 40 degree warm spell.  I have the ice all out and don't want it to refreeze.  I will have to get my husband out of his space and project he is working on long enough to accomplish that. 
Another friend was working on a bunch of projects for a craft sale.  That really looked fun.  I might have to think about some things like that to do next Christmas season and go do some of the other craft sales in the county.  Functional, lower priced items work well that time of year and I enjoy making things. 
One thing I think I will make a list of some things I would like to do/and or make.....and get some of that organized for next year!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1, 2012 Rain, rain......go away.....

Bah,'s raining.  Grump...grump!  As though it does any good.  I DESPISE rain in the winter.  There goes a weeks worth of setting up a nice base on my ski trails.  Oh happens every winter, even though it isn't officially winter yet.  We have the snow and the weather that constitutes winter. 
On the plus side, I have been out hauling hot water into the large fountain/birdbath that the deer use to drink out of......trying to thaw it out so we can pick it off its base for the winter.  It went from 54 degrees to 2 degrees so fast that it froze solid and was a bit heavy to try and move.  That thing is heavy empty.  The deer are enjoying their drinks in it again today, while waiting for it to finish thawing.
The bird bath on the deck railing that the squirrel is drinking out of is, no problem.  The squirrel and the birds love this one year around.  Recently, a starling came through, in their very speckled plumage they wear this time of year.....including having a dark beak!  I actually went and got my bird book out to see, that in fact, it was a starling.  It was having a wonderful time having a bath in that rather than just getting a drink.  I think I mentioned, one night, a young raccoon was sitting in it, also quite enjoying the warmth.  Now that there is snow, the raccoons seem to have moved on....or at least to warmer digs for the winter. 
A medium sized buck has come and settled in with the girls now too.  So, we have it and the little year and a half year old buck enjoying each others company and that of all the girls.  After breakfast yesterday, they both walked across the field and laid down where they could watch what was going on.
Another thing we find interesting is how the deer families stick together in "family units" as they continue to grow.  When you have been watching them closely, and know the individual deer, as long as we have, you see things many others never will.  When the does have their fawns in the spring, they kick the last years fawns out.  The little bucks go away and may or may not ever be seen again.  Since we always have a few spike bucks around in the fall, we assume they are some that were here the winter before.  But, a while after the does start moving their fawns around, they let the yearling doe fawns come back and hang out with them.  We have seen this with Shadow, of course.  But, some of the other does who have been regulars around here for a number of years also have their older daughters hanging out with them.  So, in some cases, we get some fairly good sized family units of deer.  Shadow's is currently her twins from this year and a daughter from each of the last two years.  Some of the other does have family units of three or four also.  Now, this is the first time Shadow has had a buck, it will be interesting to see if he is pretty much gone for good next spring too.  I know Zoe's was.  She is here pretty much year, I had wondered about whether her little guy would leave, or not.  He did.  Of course, at that age most of the little bucks change a lot in looks.  That means, we aren't going to be able to tell who the little spike bucks belong to when they come back for winter time and winter treats. 
Well, the rain seems to be letting up a bit.  It is getting pretty foggy though.  I guess it is time for more hot water in the fountain and a walk for Toby.