Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Sunday, I was out hiking the beach of Lake Superior again, looking for something of interest while waiting for a beautiful sunsest. Well.....as the afternoon progressed, it became very clear that the clouds were getting too heavy for that to happen. So, we moseyed back toward the truck, after having found this wonderful spot to catch some late day rays. It was so icy getting to these edge of shore rocks, I had to crawl to get there....both ways. I couldn't stand on the ice covered rocks and they ran downhill, of course. Don't want to break bones or camera. When I crawled back to the snow covered crusty rocks, Toby was waiting to "wowowowow" me. He never quite understands what I am up to when I do things like that.
The week has been a pretty social one for me. Seems like sometimes, everything happens at once. I was supposed to hike with the ladies group last week....lead them actually.....but because it was so dang cold, they postponed til Monday. It was warm, the snow was packy, and the biggest issue was how to dress so as to not sweat to death that day, while climbing up the hill. We all did fine, got some serious exercise, and had fun gabbing and them, seeing the views. After that, we went to our little local store and had beverages and visited some more. That was kind of fun for a change! :)
Tuesday, I went and visited another wonderful couple I don't see much any more, since I retired. We used to have a little visit session each day. Last week, again, because of cold or snow....someone was busy. But, I finally got there and got to try some of her wonderful "muffin tops," which kind of look like an oversized cookie. They were gingerbread and chewy and wonderful. I may have to look into making some of them myself.
This morning, I had my usual Wednesday morning Scrabble match with my mother. We were pretty evenly scoring until half way through the game, when she ended up with all the vowels. My win today. Then, we had a good visit and discussed the world problems. Don't know that we solved them, but we got them covered anyway.
I did manage to do my part, this week, and write my senators from Minnesota and explain to them my point of view on the gun issues. That seems to be something most of us do more talking about, as a rule, that writing where it "might" do some good. I made sure to tell them I thought a current comment ..... "gun control isn't about the guns, it's about the control" ......was pretty true. I discussed what I thought were some of the underlying issues. I even got a reply from one, already, even if it was rather noncommittal.
Tax forms are coming in. One other thing to finish up.....bookwork for taxes. Next on agenda.
I don't know where the rest of the week will go.....back to the quilt if it gets cold, probably. But, will leave you with the "almost sunset" photo from Sunday.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
It is a gorgeous spot at any rate....one I never tire of seeing.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Toby and I had another long walk this afternoon. The wind settled down and it has been trying to make some snow. However, it is so light and fine, it hasn't amounted to anything. Our serious hike with the ladies in the community got postponed until Monday. So, I don't mind if we don't get measurable snow until after that. I walked the whole route I plan to take them yesterday. It wasn't bad going at all for late January. They would snowshoe, they say.....however, they haven't seen the route. I suspect if we got half way up the hill on snowshoes, that would be as far as most of them would be willing to go. I have done that route on snowshoes and it ain't easy!
Now that I have a bit more time on my hands.....I have been thinking about trying to find some new and interesting place to go do some winter photography too. Of course, it has to be in the general area I live. I'm sure there must be something someone has overlooked over the years. I just haven't figured out, yet, what or where it is.
I, along with some of the others whose blogs I read, have even been trying more new recipes lately. Some of them have been pretty tasty too. I sure am thankful for all the vegies I put up this summer too. I was hearing on the news that the prices of a number of the green lettuces and spinach were going sky high because of bad weather. I do like my salads!
Back to projects! :)
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I also should have taken a photo of Toby when we came in from our walk this morning, after I fed all the critters. He had the frostiest face I have seen on him in a long time.
It definitely has been a good couple of days for getting things done in the house tho. Today, baked cookies and put some venison soup on the stove to cook. I also had a long walk with Toby this afternoon. We had to go check out the trail up the hill to see what condition it is in after the snow and wind of the last few days. I have a group of ladies who want to hike up there and see the views on Thursday morning. Not til 11:00....so, it will have some time to warm up if it is so inclined. Trails are still very hikeable without snowshoes on. So, this is good, I guess.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
We got enough snow, yesterday, we finally could ski again. A friend came over and we hit the trails and left a pretty fine set of tracks. We have enough snow again, those tracks won't be too evident.
Just as an example, usually the squirrels are running all over the yard on top of the snow. One of the first ones I saw was really struggling to run across because it couldn't stay on top. Soon, in a matter of a few minutes, we saw two different squirrels go across the yard, under the snow. About every 3-8 feet, it would pop its head out, I suppose to see it was still going the right direction, and under and off it went again. Funny!
The snow also got the wolves out circulating, looking for a meal. While skiing yesterday, we saw the fresh tracks of a couple over east. This morning, they were circulating around the yard area again. My husband saw it. The few deer that were circulating around, were gone, that fast.
The birds also seem pretty active this morning. All the feeders are full of bluejays, redpolls, pine grosbeaks, chickadees, nuthatches, and squirrels! Tis the season.
Besides skiing, looks like another good day to hit the quilt. Off and at it.......
Thursday, January 17, 2013
I have been looking at this pile of squares for several years now....maybe 5, I can't remember for sure, being somewhat intimidated by the whole thing. My mother had them for how many years and just couldn't get inspired about this style. Well, too much work had gone into it to not put it together.....so, here you have it. Since it is cold out today, -12 below 0 with a stiff wind, I think I will get back at sewing squares together. Toby and I did have a walk, as always, but....even he is content to cuddle up on his bed along side my computer right now. He definitely had a better pace going this morning....maybe he thought it was brisk out there too. Coldest morning this year....so could be!
I had to go back in and edit the photo size. I had them larger; but, when published, came off the edge of the right hand side of the blog. That looked strange. So, I came back in and downsized them a notch. Now....I'm done. :)
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The wind had been picking up all day, so we had the pleasure of decent waves to capture besides. I was glad I had dressed as warmly as I had. I planned to get there just before 3:00 for some late day sun on the subject. I had never been here this time of day before in the winter, so I didn't know where the sun was going to set. Turned out, not in the right place. That area was behind too many trees and we got heavy clouds by that time anyway. But, back to the afternoon......sunny and pleasant....it was pretty nice on the beach, despite the strong wind. My eyes were doing their usual teary thing....every time I had my eye to the viewfinder. Strong wind does make my eyes water pretty seriously. Squinting my eyes in the viewfinder of the camera seems to make that worse....why, I have no clue.
This point is such a scenic, beautiful spot, I can sure understand why the old gentleman and his wife lived there all those years. He was a commercial fisherman, as were his sons. With most of the point in disarray and really, falling down....it still is an amazing spot. I took over a hundred photos in the couple of hours I was out there yesterday. A few of them got "likes" from my Facebook friends that are photographers......so, that always makes my day.
Since I wasn't going to have the fabulous sunset I thought I might get when I left...I decided I may as well walk back to the truck and head for home. You know, whether it is sunrise or sunset.....if there aren't some clouds....you get no serious color up in the sky. So, off we went. Back on the highway and headed for home. We got out of our little hole where the bay was and on higher ground and came around the corner and OH MY GOD.....you should have seen that amazing sunset that was happening right in front of us.....when I was out chasing one. I couldn't believe it. But, where to stop....there was no place except right on the highway. I got a bit further down the highway and angle was right to see it again. I know the lady that lives there and I almost tore in there, parked, and ran out with the camera and then went back to explain I wasn't crazy! But, I guess I was still hoping. As an afterthought.....I will do that next time....if there is one......I will park and climb on one of those cliffs in a hurry and just take that....even if there are no lake reflections and artistic touches. It isn't like they last long enough to give you a lot of choices. Anyway, I finally hit a spot where I could pull off the road and get down on the lake again. I did. Big bay here, no shelter....my cap blew off and was not about to stay on. I was still just trying to get on that beach and at least catch the sun itself as it disappeared for the day. The awesome sky was gone....but, I did get a sunset.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Well, last week was a week of "things" needing to be done. Lots of running and lots of just puttery, tedious projects and chores needed doing. They all got done. This week, I hope to get back at that quilt for one thing. I haven't decided what other projects I want to get done. I really want to get started on a new photography web site. However, it seems like such a big project, I get a bit intimidated about it and don't get past getting on the web site and looking things over, trying to decide what exactly I want to do with this one.
Back to the ice situation....this morning I watched a couple of deer pussy footing around out there only to fall anyway. I don't like seeing deer fall. It is too easy to hurt legs and foot bones. The first one was a fawn who ended up on her butt with back legs under her as she slid. Later a doe went down with all four legs flat out from her body. Not pleasant for them. There have been noticeably less deer around the last few days and I am sure ice is a big part of the reason.
Last night right about 5:00 I walked by the window watching for the fox that usually comes just at or before dark. There, at the "fox hole" stood a grey fox. It was really poor light....but, I knew that the fox at the hole didn't look right. I grabbed the binoculars for a better look (they let in more light) at the subject, and sure enough, body build, tail, face.....it was a grey fox. What a fun surprise. I hope it comes back again when there is better light to see it well. I have, on occasion, heard of them in the county and even down on the shore in our community. First one up here by us though!
Just took some lemon bars out of the oven. I thought while doing other things, like laundry, I might just as well do that. I haven't quite made up my mind what to do for our Sunday expedition today. I usually try and go get some interesting photos. However, frozen mud and little snow isn't really conducive to great photography. Some of the newly freezing water on top of the ice in the creeks might be interesting. However, they are also a mess and not necessarily safe today because of the issues of warmth and all the new water either. I guess it will be a "what to do" kind of day!
I will leave you with a photo of Toby playing "cute" last night. When he wants extra attention, he does know how to get it...
Friday, January 11, 2013
Today, it is rainy and foggy out. What a mess! We are back to the ice layer from the last time we had rain...sometime in December I believe. All the snow that has been sticking to that mess is gone and we either have glare ice....and it's nasty slippery.....or we have mud. Mud....in January....in northern Minnesota. Can you believe it? I am so glad I was to the vet in Thunder Bay a few days ago. If I had waited until the very last minute, I would have been stopping at the car wash and paying to get the mud off before going in to Canada. They won't let you through the border here, anymore, with layers of mud on your vehicle. Just ask a number of people who had to go back and get it off before coming through.
Since it is an uninspiring day, weather wise, I have been back to tedious projects today. I got the new wireless router hooked up and working....the very first time, even. I was pleased with that. I got my Minnesota sales tax filed and done except writing the check. I still do that on paper instead of online. I got the registration done for the wireless router. Now, I only have to go back in to Hughes Net and figure out how to do my rebate I was supposed to get if I get on line and do it. Then.......I can start making new files for all this mess of paper work and forms and new passwords and logins I have in piles all over my desk and make some order of it so I can find them again some day, if and when I need them. Getting my technology up to speed isn't without some drawbacks, for sure. But, in the long run.....it's worth it......I think. However, I do like that I can now get something accomplished without reading a chapter in my book between everything I do!
According to the paper, the temperatures are supposed to drop back into the realm of the usual, such as 0 degrees or below the next few days. That will set up our new layers of ice nicely. I have no problem with that temperature range..........however, it will feel cold after 41 degrees yesterday with sunshine and 35 degrees today. Then again.....what is normal, anymore!?
With that......I'm off to try and find that rebate and then clean up this paper!
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Anyway, it wasn't the typical ice formations hanging on rocks at waters' edge that was so interesting, it was just remnants of ice from storms, melting away into something else that caught my eye.
Anyway, it has been a busy week. Monday morning, the tech came and installed my HughesNet dish so I don't have to mess with dial up internet anymore. How nice is that? So, after he left I got to start dealing with the issues of new systems. I am muddling through it.
Yesterday morning, I left bright and early for Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Toby had his regular, every 3 months, check up at the vet to see how his Lyme's disease is doing. I suspect I will get his blood report tomorrow and see if he has to stay on the antibiotics.
Today, it is a windy, blustery day. I went to my mother's and we played our usual Wednesday morning Scrabble game. I got home in time for the electricity to go out. The wind is still really howling so I think Toby are going to be taking to serious woods for our afternoon hike.....soon. I am stalling, hoping the wind will die down. It isn't working.
On Sunday morning when I got up, I went down to the basement "magic door" to feed Skinny Butt right away. I got out the door and the deer on the east side of the house started stomping and snorting. I couldn't see anything so I went upstairs and started looking. There, about 75 yards from the house, a wolf was laying.....just watching. I sure wished it wasn't so dark as it would have made a wonderful photo in that pose. Finally, it got up, went a bit more straight east of the house and laid down again. The deer were getting in quite a snit by now. The wolf finally stood up one more time, stretched again, got up, stood around a few minutes...I took a couple more photos.....still no good, too dark....and it moseyed off to the east. I made the coffee, went out, fed the deer, got Toby, and headed off to the county road for our walk. I hadn't got very far, going west, when it stepped out on the road. It stood there, then sat down, and watched us. I decided we were going home! I hadn't been in the house but a few minutes when again, the deer were getting jumpy. We went and looked out the west windows and here was the wolf coming again. My husband, at this point, went out the door with the gun and was going to have a little lesson in respect here. Well.....maybe they can read minds because it sure got the heck gone in a hurry then. No lessons that day!
Oh yes, I should mention, getting back to the wind, the local grader operator came down just when I was coming back up the road home. In that amount of time, several tree tops and a whole tree came down in or across the road. With the grader, he just pushes them off the road, doesn't even have to get out. Someone had also gone in the ditch on one of the hills. That's the kind of day it is out there!
With that, I am done stalling...Toby and I are going for that walk! :)
Friday, January 4, 2013
But; has anyone else noticed how our seasons are changing. It is currently 29 degrees out on a sunny day. It used to be, this part of January, if it was sunny and clear like today, it would be -29 degrees below 0. That, my friends, is a serious temperature change. To be sure, the last few years, we have had a few -25 degree mornings. But, they were few and not necessarily between Christmas and New Years, which were typically some of the coldest days of the year. I am not complaining, mind you, about so few minus zero temperature days. It just seems strange after living here all these years. Also by now, we would have plenty of snow to ski on or snowshoe on. It is barely passable skiing. I can walk anyplace I choose, yet. Again, not complaining....just finding it kind of strange.
Some people in other areas have also mentioned strange things, like green grass in their yards the first of January. That wasn't here in northern Minnesota, but in states that generally have decent snow cover this time of the year. So, whether you buy into global warming or not, it is different.
I am still awaiting my installation of Hughes Net. It was supposed to be yesterday; but, something came up. Sounds like next week. They missed a nice weather window of opportunity here by the delay. But, I am so ready. I haven't been able to get enough speed to do this blog for several days again. Some times, by the time it happens, I can't remember what my subject was going to be. This too shall pass.....when I have a more regular, dependable schedule on my internet.
It is also a time of year, now, for beautiful sunsets. They are always so interesting or pretty. The one last night reminded me of a hummingbird in flight, a wispy pale thing, over the colored clouds. The one I am going to post is from the night before. It was pretty intense with a flare that changed every few minutes. No serious reds or pinks like some evenings though.
Well.....we are off and running in to the new year. Let's all do our part to make it the best we can!
With that, Toby and I are off and running/walking.....on this beautiful sunny day! :)
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Heck, I am starting out the new year ok. I got my first pay stub of the new year yesterday and I got a cost of living increase to start out the year. Do you know how long it had been since I got a COLA? A long time! The USPS dropped that for Postmasters years ago. However, I remained a Civil Service employee, which is what I started under, and they pay me now. Many people that started after me switched to FERS. I had the option but it didn't seem like a good plan. I am so glad I didn't. Ok, it is only $25 a month more......but hey, up here with the high costs of living, it all counts up.
It is starting out the new year as a clear sunny day. That big red sun was so gorgeous when it came up this morning. It was also -2 degrees with a stiff wind. So, a bit nippy out there on the morning walk with Toby.....after I had gotten all the alfalfa out for the deer and their corn. Boy, on the cold or snowy winter mornings, they are ready for their breakfast. And, they are a joy to see and have them all greet you in the mornings. My favorite boy, "Skinny Butt," still hasn't been late for breakfast since he came back. He is the first one I feed every morning. Shadow isn't quite as inclined to get up so early. But, if she is, she runs to meet me when I fill the first bird feeder on the other side of the house and get a treat of sunflower seeds instead. She really loves those little black oil seeds. And, "her" alfalfa! She comes on the run when she sees the alfalfa come out. Such cheerful creatures....they make my day. We have more new deer, including several shed bucks, showing up regularly now. However, I still haven't seen two of the old timers (bucks) that I had hoped, for a change, would get here before they shed. It is still a bit early for them to appear, so....my chances of seeing them with their antlers is looking pretty slim now.
When it comes to nature, there is always, always......something new to discover. If you can't find it, you probably aren't looking.
There isn't too much that stays exactly the same out there either.
Another thing you will notice, if something is moved, or fairly seriously changed, the critters will stand and stare at it....trying to figure it out. Is it now a threat? Why does it look like that? Even my big fountain, that stands here in front of the house, now with the bowl on its side, leaning against the pedestal.....it looks strange to them. They drink out of it most of the year. But, now that part of it is moved, although in the same place, they have to stop and stare at it to make sure it is still an ok thing.
So, go out and enjoy your new year. Open your eyes to the observations to be had around you. You never know what you might see!