Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 27, 2014 Some things never change........

Some things don't change all.....including the weather lately.  I took this two days ago....out on the ice on Lake Superior.  It was a pretty day, for sure...  However, it is snowing again, today!
As for some things really don't change......well, I watched a movie last night.  It was called "Johnson County War" and takes place around 1892.  It was pretty well done, I thought.  I didn't know much of the history surrounding that movie at the time.  However, Google that and it takes you to Wyoming back then.  There is a ton of info to read on that.  Bruce, a history buff.  His comments tended more toward....well, that's the Rocky Mountains.  That isn't in Johnson County.....etc, etc.
I digress. 
This morning, I read a number of the articles about that incident and actions leading up to it.  I found them pretty interesting.  I also found them to be pretty disgusting.  It wasn't a feel good movie....tho it had its moments.  But, details like the British elitist out there with his man a tent....with his candles and gold and crystal and china.....etc....packed out there because he couldn't possibly not have all his luxuries with him.  Oh my word.  Some of the other old cattle barons looking down their noses with disdain ....while arguing about how it was going to be, law or no law..... honest, innocent people strung up or satisfy the greedy whims of wealthy, elitist men......   
You know.....some of that really hasn't changed.  In this world, in many countries.....we still have our wealthy elitist types out there.  They think they are better than everyone else and above the law.  The laws were made for those peasants....out there...who work for a living.  But, the utter disdain that some of those men have for those people....just honest, simple people.....trying to earn a living and keep their families just really disgusting to me.  Sometimes it takes a movie like this to wake people up and get them to pay attention. 
I'd like to think I have been paying attention, these days.  I don't like a lot of what I see...especially in big government these days.  There is too much of this disdain going on even now.  Our leaders looking down their noses at all of us little people just going about our lives and getting by.  They are making more and more laws to shove down our throats while exempting themselves from such.  As far as I am concerned, if the laws are good enough for us, they are good enough for them too. 
One of the current things I see in this country is the ACA/Obamacare being shoved down our throats.  Now, I have heard both people loving it and people hating it.  But, I wonder how many of the people talking about how wonderful it is to have insurance...are paying for it.  When you hear all  about all the incentives and vouchers for people who have lower incomes......does it make you wonder, after a while, where the incentive is to work anymore.  There are pluses and minuses to this issue, for sure.  But, when people that are working hard to make an honest living get penalized by outrageous costs to pay for those who can't find work or refuse to work....that's a different issue.  We all realize there are issues in this country today which make it difficult to get and keep good jobs.  So, people may need a helping hand.  However, we all know there are plenty of people out there who are perfectly happy to sit on their butts and not do a stinking thing to help themselves.  Someone else will take care of them......  It is called being lazy.  I think we all know a few.  When people keep getting things handed to them because they can get by with it....pretty soon we become a nation that has more people taking than we have working to pay for that.  Then....what happens.....
But.....our big shot politicians are great at this kind of crap.  They want us all under their thumbs so they know what they can get by with.  And....these days....they are getting by with a lot more than they should.  But then, they always have.  Given a name and money and is amazing what they can get by with. 
Look at the Clintons, just for an example.  People around them, working with them, their body guards, etc....last time I saw the was 42 people....who died....because of their affiliation with the Clintons.  They are still out and about.  Hillary is being touted as the next president.  She sure didn't show me much as Secretary of State.  She was her usual lying egotistical self.  She is so full of power and ego that is all about her and only her.  She most certainly has no time for helping "we the people."  Funny how people forget about things like that, tho....isn't it.  Or, they just don't care.
Well, I don't know what it takes for the people of this country to wake up.  But, I am sure, at some point....there will be the final straw.  People will just say ...enough of this crap. 
In the movie, they finally did.  But, good people lost their lives before the "good guys" got it together and took care of the not so good. 
I love this community I live in.  There are so many honest, hard working people who aren't in it for the idea of being wealthy or rich....monetarily.  I don't think most of us have ever had those intentions.  We just want a decent life for ourselves and our family.  Most of the people in this community would do anything to help out their neighbor.  They are good people.  It is nice to live in a community of good, decent people who care about others.  Hopefully, we will always have that.  That is the one thing I don't want to change...ever....the good, decent...honest family people who will always have to work for what they get. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014 First Day of Spring!

It is officially the first day of Spring! is just another winter day here.  It even tried to snow a bit again this morning.  I have a feeling........we may be in for another of those years when spring just doesn't want to come.  It is still being grey sky weather a lot too.  Usually, I figure once we get in to January, tho it might be cold, we do have more sunshine and blue sky.  We have it in this photo, which I took Sunday.  It was a beautiful day.  It did start out at -20 degrees tho and didn't warm up much.  I was with a photographer friend and we were out "photographing" things all day. 
Here's a close up of that shot.  I really liked the reflections on the ice on that point.  In fact, had I had more time, I wouldn't have minded walking over there and taking some photos.
There are still "details" out on the big lake to be found too.  Some, that are in the full sun, have lost some of their sharpness.  But.....if one looks, they can find!
Here is another shot from Sunday, when we had sunshine.  Nothing has changed.....except that there is more snow.  It has snowed every day this week. 
I am a member of a photography group.  We are the "Frozen Photographers."  This week, our subject to shoot is "Signs of Spring."  Really.  I wonder where we are supposed to find those signs up here in the frozen northland!  I am sure some of the group can find some signs, as not all of us live up here.  The group is around 700 members now.  It made 500 shortly after I joined.  Some are from other counties.  Yes....some are finding signs of spring.  I just am not one of them.  I can't even find a lonely pussy willow yet.  But, one thing about being a member of the gets us out and trying to take the best subject photo of the week.  There's a subject for everyone sooner or later.  And....the members of the group are helpful.  If you have a's likely someone can answer it.   I really enjoy the group. 
Here is one more Sunday shot.  The blue sky wasn't quite as vivid late in the day and shortly after some clouds started moving in.  But, we did have a fun day.  Here's to more blue skies and new friends.  :)  Happy Spring....all! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014 March...Marching Along.......

A couple of nights ago, at the start of sunset, these beautiful rainbow clouds were going over.  I managed to capture one of them rather nicely.  Sometimes, it is hard to really catch the color you see.  One thing that always surprises me is the vivid greens you sometimes see.  There were a few again last night, but....they weren't as big or well colored.  I didn't realize so many people had never seen these, that's why I started this off with the cloud.
The rest of the sunset was rather dramatic too.  There was a lot of dark, I really wasn't expecting as much out of it as actually happened.  Later, just before last light.....we got some pink too.
Yesterday morning, I had a fox around that wasn't so shy....for a change.  I am hoping this is the start of something good again.  Haven't had serious fox friends for a couple of years now.  I took a few shots just to show the fox was here and busy.....awful lighting and scenery where it was busy.
Here, the fox is busy getting food out of the fox hole.  There is a snow chunk by its tail.  It was pretty comical watching it remove it.  When I was out for my walk with Toby, I had grabbed it and stood it up in the entrance......thinking it wasn't coming back.  I didn't want the crows making off with the treats. didn't stop the fox.....which was fine.
Picking and choosing....because it can.  Nice to have options when you're a hungry critter!  :)
It came back last evening just before six.  I went right out to stock the hole.  It moved over a couple of yards and watched me.  Hopefully, this is the start of a new friendship. 
This is Miz Spectacles and her buck fawn.  She is in foot stomping mode.  The little buck fawn of hers is my favorite fawn.  He is so friendly and so darned cute.  I just love having him around.
Speaking of favorite deer....Shadow.....decided to take a trip to the shore.  We last saw her on Sunday night.  I put the word out today.  Sounds like she went to revisit a spot in Hovland where she went a few years back.  It wasn't a particularly good experience for her.  She has rarely left the yard again....since.  But, all this crusted and hard on evidently getting the best of her and off she went.......looking for greener pastures!  That....she isn't going to find.  Hopefully, she manages to make it back safe and sound again.  She will be 7 this spring.....hopefully.  Her soon to be 3 years old daughter and  at least one fawn are with her.  Wish her luck! 
Now, back to a few other things before the ladies group goes snowshoeing today!  :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 16, 2014 Daylight Savings Time Begins......

After a gorgeous sunny day yesterday, today is rather a let down.  The time changed and I was going to take advantage of it by heading to the shore bright and early for sunrise that my trail is packed out to the "spot" so Toby and I can move right along.  Well......I awoke to grey and windy.  The weather forecasters were wrong.......   However, it was 20 degrees out instead of barely above 0 as it was when I went to bed.  It was also clear at that time.  I thought we were to get a whole weekend of glorious sunshine before the grey and snow and whatever.....if it hits 40....hit!  Oh well.....
This is a photo of the Devil's Kettle on the Brule River.  It, and the others in this post, were taken yesterday.  The top one is of the upper falls which is just a bit below Devil's Kettle.  I have been wanting to hike up here all winter.  With a stiff wind on the shore again....and a beautiful day seemed like a good day to do it.  I had taken the traditional vertical view of the Devil's Kettle also.  But, there was a lot of shadow already and I decided this was more interesting.
Here's the big view of the upper falls of the Brule.  It looks so pretty with all the clean untracked snow.  There were some otter tracks going here and there.  You can see some of them mid photo.  There were also alot of deer tracks walking the edges.  It was rather nice to see running water too!
My sister-in-law and her dog came along.  The dogs were having too much fun on their winter adventure.  That dog is Toby's best dog friend and they love to have adventures together.  You can see he is having too much fun to want to sit by "mom" and pose!  :)  Someone had snowshoed down the river previously, so rather than head up all those stairs back up the trail, we opted to try walking the river snowshoes!
Here's Toby in the trail on the way down the river.  By now, we were mostly walking on deer trails.  An old snowshoe track was barely visible but mostly drifted in as we headed down river.  Not too much farther past here, we ran out of any kind of trails.  I guess the deer know better than trying to walk in the canyon stretch coming up.  I had had thoughts about that myself.  So, we got on the deer trail and headed up the steep bank and back onto the main trail.  That was quite a workout.  However, the alternative would have been walking all the way back up to the upper falls and having to negotiate those nasty, snowpacked, slick stairs.  So.....we had a fine outing.  I was wishing I could have gotten a shot of the lower falls.  However, because of the angle and all the snow, we really couldn't see it from below on our side of the river. 
It has been really fun walking some rivers the past few days with the nicer weather.  Who knows.....we might make it a habit.  There are a lot of rivers on the North Shore, after all.  :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

March 7, 2014 It's March!

I had a town/errand day yesterday.  So, that means Toby gets to do something different and fun before we get home again.  He always looks forward to do I.  :)
Yesterday, we stopped at a spot on the shore because the ice was so pretty.  However, most of it was out quite a ways from shore and with all the recent wind, the ice is in one day and out the on the open big lake, it isn't safe to be on.  This was taken with a telephoto lens so there isn't much detail.  However, the color of it was really nice.  There was also a stiff wind blowing off the lake so it wasn't very nice being on the shore anyway.....especially when you aren't dressed for it.  Yesterday, I wasn't.  Some of the in town stuff took a while "inside" today, so I didn't have my usual heavier clothes on. 
Speaking of....just to side track for a moment..... "it is March!"  So, it should be getting warmer.....right!  Well, March 1 I woke up to -25 below 0.  March 2 I woke up to -30 below and it actually dropped to -31 for a bit just about sunrise.'s been a long cold winter already.   I was expecting March to start treating us a bit better. occurred to me I should Google some record March temperatures to see if we were setting any records.  Well, here is what I found:
record high for March was on the 23, 1910 at 88 degrees F. in Montevideo.  Wow!
record low for March was on the 2nd in 1897 and was -50 degrees F. at Pokegama Dam.  Did I say brrrr!
Then, just for the heck of it....the Minnesota record low: -60 degrees F. on 2-2-1996 at both Tower and Embarrass on the same day.   So, just goes to show you, we have always had temperature extremes.  It isn't anything new.  There's a good reason I didn't remember the cold March one......
Anyway, since the river was right there, we walked up the river from the beach and under the highway bridge...and off we went.  Here is Toby when we are just starting up the river.  People have been walking up the river all winter on snowshoes.  So, by now, there is a very nice trail going up.  I actually saw open water running in a couple of places.  So, cold is relative, 
Here we are walking on the nice snowshoe trail along side a rock wall.  Such a happy Toby!  No deep snow to wade through today.  See that snow critter crossing the downed tree......
Now, we are getting further up and into the canyons of this river.  Do you notice those cool faces on the rock wall?  I think they look pretty neat.  At the end of the snowshoe see something that looks like a water fall.  It is just weeps that have come off the rocks all winter and it has quite an ice build up there now. 
Every now and then, when I am out hiking, whatever the season....I find something that looks so these faces in the rocks.  One other creek I was on almost two years ago now.....I saw the darnedest face on the wall of the canyon and it showed very clearly in the photos.  I have been back several times.....evidently not at the right time or the right light......because I couldn't see it for anything.  I had a different lens along to take a better photo of it looking down at the waterfalls.  Oh of these days I imagine I will see it again.  Time will tell.  But, I generally have my eyes open for some interesting detail or another as we go.
This neat rock formation I don't believe I noticed for what it is when I have been there in the summer walking right up the river.  I was standing in a cave on the lower right of this photo to take it.  Maybe I couldn't get in there when I was there because of water depth.  I will be sure to check that out when summer comes around.
The water fall is where you see the snow going up hill near the lower right hand of this photo.  People had been snowshoeing up the falls.  I chose to go around the back side of that pinnacle of rock and come out on top of the falls as I continued up the river.  I wouldn't mind getting a shot of that with a better light some time too.  It was still overcast at the time but the sun was trying to come out.  In fact, by the time we got back to the pickup, it was a balmy 24 degrees out there and it was feeling pretty darned nice.  A little warmth for this time of the year was ok.  I am ready since I am not one of the many going south for vacation right now.  I have "pets" to keep happy out there in my yard......
Here is Toby heading back down the river.  We have been to the end of the trail and the falls.  You can see the sun is coming out better now and showing a few more details.  It has definitely been a nice side trip for the day and Toby will take a nice nap when we get home while I put away groceries. 

As I was heading home, I saw a few deer trying to make their way across the highway.  That is getting to be a challenge for them these days.  If they get distracted from their direct route across the road, they can find themselves in some serious predicaments in a hurry these days.  I am seeing far too much road kill because people can't slow down and give them a break/brake.......they need both kinds these days! 
The snow is really deep around here and the critters are all having a bad time this winter.  So, people......quit being in such a hurry and help them out a bit.  Our winter is far from over and they need your consideration just to survive this particular one.
Here we are, back under the bridge and the lake is in view.  We still have cloud cover but the sun is shining and it is appreciated.
Back to the parking lot with another view of the lake.  Nice end to our hike.  :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 1, 2014 A beautiful morning!

It is a beautiful morning out there.  The sky is clear and the sun is shining.  The horizon had just enough cloud to pick up all the pinks and rose colors with a bit of mauve thrown in this morning.  I was wishing I was on the shore for that sunrise.  However, I now need snowshoes head out there in the mornings.  Toby is having a hard time navigating all that snow even there.  The last three days I have been on different stretches of shore....yesterday being by Kadunce, and fell thru the already deep snow thru the ice layer.....and think....what the heck!  There shouldn't be holes there.  The ice has gone out on Lake Superior with all this wind.  In a few places, like near Kadunce, there are some big piles of aquamarine colored ice piled up that looks lovely.  However, yesterday it was snowing pretty hard at the time and I left the camera in the truck and just took Toby on his little adventure for the day.  I have never had to wear snowshoes to walk on the ice on the shore before.  I can still amble along....deep or not, but it is that falling thru the holes you can't see which is perturbing.  I  shouldn't get too comfortable just because I am wearing snowshoes either.  They could go thru a hole too.  Oh, I should mention it is -25 below 0 again this morning.  At least the wind wasn't blowing.
As much as I like to hit the shore early when there is color, there is so much snow.....I just plain feel guilty when I jump in the truck and make my deer friends wait for their breakfast.  Days are getting longer and they are arriving earlier all the time.  Then, they lay down under the spruces and wait for me to get up and out there.  Most certainly, their food in the woods is way past buried.  If they get off their deer trails, they are also  buried....if they are a fawn.  The adults still manage to keep more than their neck and head above the snow.
Here is another from this morning.  Both of these two photos are taken just a couple of feet from the house.  There are deer laying all over near the house resting after their breakfast.  The angles are a bit difficult since I took them from inside the house, so as to not disturb them.  In the top one, I was also dodging deck railings.  They are laying down by the water hole too. 
I was talking to my neighbor when I stopped to get eggs a couple days ago.  He had the same thing happen as I did.  He was coming home, there was a deer on the jumped the bank to go almost out of sight in the snow.  I don't think the deer could possibly have a worse winter than they are having.  If the snow ever crusts at this depth, it is going to be just ugly.
Speaking of deer having a tough time.....I think plenty of residents of the people kind aren't having it too nice either.  We are having the coldest winter in 139 years.  The cold just hangs on and hangs on.  We have never used this much propane before.  EVER!  If you don't use propane to heat your house, heat your water, cook with, whatever.....consider yourself fortunate.  The price had climbed to over $5 a gallon.  People will be having to decide whether to have warmth or to eat pretty quick.  I really get perturbed at the powers that be when they gouge people like that on necessities.  They can always manage to have an excuse to raise the price of something sky high....and then some.....when people really need it. 
Funny, all this talk about needing to be independent of foreign oil and such in this country.......
Now, we have the bakken oil fields so close to us.  Doesn't seem to be helping the cost of our fuel much does it.  Always an excuse.  Sell it to the highest bidder and ship it out of the country.......  Bah humbug!  Big money talks, as usual.  They don't give a crap about the little people in this country that do the work and make everything work.  Don't even get me started.......
Anyway, it's peaceful in the yard and it's a lovely day.....even if it is cold!