Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30, 2013 Month is almost gone, already!

It is hard to believe we have already blown through a month of the new year.  I guess it's true....time flies when you're having fun. 
Sunday, I was out hiking the beach of Lake Superior again, looking for something of interest while waiting for a beautiful sunsest. 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

January 26, 2013 Snow, glorious snow!

We woke up yesterday morning to a nice fluffy blanket of new snow.  It seemed to be about 6" in the open areas.  It sure did look pretty out there, everything looking clean and white again.  It also brought the deer out in larger numbers.  When a snowstorm goes through, they generally get in a mood for some serious eating.  You won't find hardly a stem of the alfalfa left on the ground.  It also warmed up to the 10-14 degree range for the day, so it was pretty darned nice outside.  No wind either!  What a deal.
Since it was such a pretty day, Toby and I headed off up our hill again to the Superior Hiking Trail.  There is a decent amount of snow on the trail now.  However, with this newest batch being so fluffy, it was no problem to walk through it, yet, without wearing snowshoes.  Toby didn't even have any problems and it was belly deep for him.  In fact, a couple of times, he broke trail!  It was also a pretty day for taking some panoramic views that are to be seen from up on top of the hill.
Here is one view from atop the hill.  It is one of the overlooks on the Superior Hiking Trail where you can see the next ridge south before getting to Lake Superior too.  The big white space is part of the creek/beaver pond area east of my house where I go skiing on a regular basis.....when we have snow!
It is a gorgeous spot at any I never tire of seeing.
I will leave you  with one see Toby in distance at end of tracks....of where we hit the top of the hill.  This is the area where the Superior Hiking Trail crosses our property.  It is a lovely spot and a nice place for my trail to join it.  I will tell you,  I was breathing a little harder yesterday when I hit the top.  With new snow to slog through and my camera gear in a packsack so it didn't fill up with snow, I did have a bit more weight than usual.  But, getting the heart rate up isn't a bad thing.  I sure notice how much easier it is to climb that hill in the summer in running shoes and light clothes tho, than in winter with all the extra gear and boots on.  :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24, 2013 It's still winter!

It's still winter out there!  It was -20 degrees again this morning.  However, it did make it all the way to 2 degrees today.  That's a heat wave, this week.  I am hoping for a lot more interesting ice formations to start forming on Lake Superior with the cold weather hanging on these last few days.  I so enjoy walking the beaches looking at what nature has created.  We haven't had any serious ice on Lake Superior in a couple of years now.  That does limit what forms on the shores.  However, a couple of other photographers have managed to find some pancake ice in a couple of the local coves.  I love that stuff.  It is so photogenic. 
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

January 22, 2013 It's COLD out there!

Not a great photo....but, birds don't necessarily cooperate just because you want them too....and getting them to sit on the railing when the sun is in the right place doesn't usually work either.  It was cold and they were hungry.  But, it was that kind of a morning.  It was a full -30 degrees below 0 at 3:00 when I got up....restless night.....had to get up and walk around a couple of times so I would hopefully settle down and sleep again.  By the time I actually got up at 7:00 a.m. ..... yes, slept in this a.m. because I finally was and knew it was was only -28.  Wow!  Winter is here.  I walked around and looked out the windows as the coffee was cooking.  The deer had some of the frostiest faces I had ever seen.  However, it was too dark, yet, to photograph them so it would show.  They were also really fluffed up!  Almost hard to recognize who was who this a.m.
Here is a photo of the heated bird bath this morning.  In fact, that big frosty rim never melted off all day.  Only the red squirrels and the bluejays were managing drinks.  I tried to get photos of them but was never quick enough.  The bluejays are about the only bird who won't let me get close enough in that window to take a good photo of them.  They are too skittish.
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, 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.
Here is one of my frosty faced girls after the sun came up a bit.  Most of the frost has melted off her face and back by now.  However, there is still enough to be noticeable.  The little fawn had most all of his off his face by the time I took it.  But, her big stretch was so cute I couldn't resist.
Well, since it made it all the way to -5 today, maybe it won't be quite so cold tonight.  Yesterday my high was -18 with a stiff wind besides.  That  wasn't real pleasant but still ok when dressed properly for it.  I have a big fluffy wolverine fur hat with tail on and all....I wear when it is that cold.  However, it has to come off when I go feed the deer.  They don't like that thing on my head and eyeball me with serious suspicion.  Animals do pay attention.    But then, so do I.  :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19, 2013 It's snowing!

It's snowing, again.  Two days in a!  We ended up with a decent accumulation, which we are going to need when we drop down in the deep freeze in another day.  They are talking, seriously, about -20 below 0.  Since, only a couple days ago, we had -12 degrees and it never even got to 0 all day, we did have a preview.  However, it has been pretty mild, so that is going to feel pretty cold....  especially if we get the predicted nasty wind with it.  We shall is winter!
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

January 17, 2013 Quilts

Ok....what do you think of that!?  A friend wanted to see a photo or two of what I am currently working on.  So, this is it.  A "crazy quilt" started by my grandma years ago.  I even gave you the photo is a large size so you can really see it.  These are a few of the strips laying over the ironing board as I put them together.  I have a few strips to go.  It will be quite large as the squares, before I started sewing them together, were 14".  There are velvets, brocades, satins, seersuckers, all sorts of types of fabrics on a muslin backing.  There is hand done stitching around each piece of fabric.
Here is a detail shot so you can see it even better....not quite clear...I see...hadn't noticed until I got it on here.  So, after I get the squares and strips all sewed together, then the next issue is how to finish it off between the squares.  Since I am never going to make it look exactly like what my grandmother was doing, I can't decide whether to get some embroidery thread and try doing that feather stitch between all the squares, or just leave it. I am open to all suggestions.  It is a wild and crazy thing, anyway.
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, 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 could be!
Here is a detail photo of the first quilt I did.  I call it "log cabin picture window" style.  I was going to show you the whole view, but the lighting is so bad in there right now, it didn't work.  You can see the sun coming through the window on the top of the bed here.  It was bright sunshine across the middle and the rest shadowed and dark.   Some other day when I get in a quilt mode, then I can show you some other stuff I have done.  So, you can see what my tastes and styles tend to go toward.......looking at this small detail.  Then.......there's the crazy quilt!
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

January 16, 2013 Sunshine on my shoulders.....

Yesterday looked like such a beautiful day......after our grey and rains, I thought it would be a good day for Toby and I to go adventuring to an area we visit often, but go the other direction.  There is an old fish house on the point that belonged to people no longer with us.  A fire there, a while back, left no building left to live in and it is pretty much vacant.  It is such a gorgeous spot. we went.  Toby saw me load the camera so he knew it was adventure time.  He always gets so excited when he sees me loading that.  I don't know which excites him more, the camera or the shotgun.  One thing for sure, the camera has a longer "season" than the shotgun does. 
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 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 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, that always makes my day. 
This is a view from out on the point looking east.  Since the only time I have been here before was in a kayak, this was new ground.  I really need to get out to this area in a kayak a few more times this coming summer.  Also, I got to see, up close and personal, just how hard the waves whack some of these rocks on the outside of this point.  I am used to being in the shelter of the bay, as a rule.    I took several more shots out here and headed back around in to the bay, just to see what the sky might do.  It did get pretty, with all the small fluffy clouds.  However, it was pretty subtle. to the west side of the bay for a look at what to see over there.
As you can see, there is slight color.  In a large format, you would see some color on the water also.  It was definitely worth having gone here today for the late day sun.  Plus, Toby really loves going to the beach.  But, surprise...surprise.....for the first time since I don't know when, he didn't get in the lake.   Don't you love the profile of the cliffs here.  View from the top of them is really nice too.
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 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 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 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. 
This is one of three.  My sister had noticed that amazing sky on her way home from work in her rearview....she had hoped I had been somewhere to see it.  I asked my husband, when I got home, if he had seen, didn't happen up here.  Just the big grey clouds.  So, sometimes you just have to be thankful to have been in the right place at the right time....and be lucky enough to see it.  You can always have the memory, even if you haven't gotten the fabulous photo.  After all, a good photo isn't always only about is about being in the right place at the right time!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13, 2013 Sun and ice!

This photo was taken early last week, before the thaw.  Now, my yard is either grass or sheets of ice.  It is just stinkin' nasty out there.  But, we at least are back to seasonal temperatures.  We had 2 degrees this morning, after a few days of rain and mid 30s to 41 degrees.  Let's just say it felt sharp this morning when I was out for my walk with Toby.  At least the sun is shining.
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, 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

January 11, 2013 Mud season in January!?

Here is what I should be seeing more of!  I took it about a week ago.  It is January, after all.....
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. 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'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

January 9, 2012 January weather!

We are having some unusual January weather.  We aren't, yet, getting the cold and we aren't getting the snow either.  On Sunday, January 6, I took Toby to a favorite beach walk area to look at what might be around as far as ice formations.  There most certainly isn't the necessary snow to do serious winter snow photography.  The wind was blowing, and it was a nice sunny day.  As you can see, above, the waves were really rolling in.  We covered over a mile of beach walking one way, and then back again.  Toby had to make a few trips in to the water for drinks, and whatever.  He has a hard time to not get in Lake Superior when we are on the beach, whatever the season.  His tail feathers even froze to his back leg feathers at one point! 
Here is one of the ice formations I found, one of several.  I thought it looked pretty cool laying on the rocks.  There were several.  One was of an "ice lizard" which is really cool and posted on my Facebook Moose Valley Photography page.  It really does look like a little lizard on the rocks....altho, as I think about it, I called it a snow lizard there.  Someone else told me it looked like a little ghost. 
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.
 Here is another bigger view of the area I was hiking on Sunday.  Such a pretty day!  I hike this area several times a year.  Because of it being on the shore of Lake Superior, it will almost always look different because of both water levels and season.  It is also a place to see eagles.
Here is a shot of Toby watching me and posing at the same time.  You can see he is slightly wet.
Here is one more shot of the beach as we are heading back toward the trail that takes us back to where the truck was parked.  We spent a couple of hours out on the beach just enjoying the beauty of the day.  Just down the beach from where you see here, there were people having a beach fire.  In January!!  Does that tell you how nice it was out there.....
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

January 4, 2013 Changes of seasons....

This is something I won't be seeing too much longer in the mornings.  "My" bucks are losing their antlers at a pretty rapid pace these days.  Two of the 8 pointers, including this one, still have their racks.  Two others, an 8 pointer and a fancy spike trying to be a fork horn, each have one.  All of the new bucks arriving are shed.  Seems like I used to have deer wearing antlers a lot later into the year.
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. I should learn, some photos of this style, do not do well on such a small format.  They are too dark.  They need a much bigger space to show off what they really look like.  But, you can go to some of my Moose Valley Photography Facebook photos and see them in a bigger format.   I still haven't added anything to my Moose Valley web site in ages because of the slowness of the internet any more.
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

January 1, 2013 Happy New Year!

It's another year!  I hope it will be a happy one for everyone out there.  For sure, I am guessing there will be no end to new things happening and changes.  But, change is the constant these days.
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, chances of seeing them with their antlers is looking pretty slim now.
This birch tree was a new find, the other day, on my beach walk too.  I always find the fungi forms on trees interesting.  However, this tree had a serious crack running all the way up the side.  The fungi were fairly evenly spaced all the way up the tree, in the crack.  This was something I hadn't seen before.  I will have to remember to go back and check on this to see how it develops.
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 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!