Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Weather Changes ~ January 20, 2016

Yesterday was one of those beautiful sunny days we dream about this time of the year.  If you sat by the window, you could feel the heat from the sunshine streaming through.  Nice.  After so much gray ~ I was ready for that.  Betsy and I headed down the shore to this area to take some photos, explore, and just enjoy the lake on a sunny day.  Jeez ~ it felt so nice.  The wind wasn't howling either ~ even better.
We headed west first of all.  We hiked the ice and snow covered shore until we got to where the houses start.  Then, we headed the other direction until we did the same.   It was so pretty it would have been fun to just sit on the beach and enjoy it.  Betsy wouldn't have minded.  She is always up for something.  These days, if she has an ice ball or a stick ~ she's a happy girl.
It is always just fun to walk the shore after all the rough weather we have had ~ just to see what kind of ice sculptures Mother Nature or Lake Superior has made.  They can be some pretty awesome things some times.
Once we got down the shore the other direction, I took some photos of the old fish houses there.  They had a bit of ice covering them also, besides the nice ice on the shore getting there.  My new grippers on my hiking boots worked out nicely.  I walked that slick, shiny ice the whole way down without any issues.  I was still careful, since I don't appreciate taking a tumble and possibly ending up in Lake Superior.  I prefer to pick and choose my own time and place to take a swim ~ thank you.  I don't like breaking cameras either ~ because of nasty tumbles.  So far, so good!
Now, when I got up this morning, it was right at 0 degrees.  It was clear and pretty. I could see the sea smoke and clouds down over Lake Superior.    So, I was already thinking about what Betsy and I would do on our adventure today.  Usually, I would have some time at my mother's while playing Scrabble to decide that too.  The table is at the window overlooking Lake Superior so while playing, I can watch all the weather is doing and critters ~ if there are any.   I managed to come down with a really nasty cold late last week, cough and stuffed head, runny nose ~ the works!  ARGH!   I am not enjoying it particularly.  I haven't had one in a couple of years so it makes it all the more irritating to put up with.  So ~ I am not playing my weekly Scrabble game with Mom.  I didn't figure she would appreciate getting my cold either.   In the mean time, it has completely clouded over and is snowing out!  It's just flat gray blah out there with snowflakes!   I guess unless it changes quickly again, Betsy and I won't do anything too terribly exciting today.  But, some days are like that.

Here is one of Betsy out being photographer's helper yesterday.  She really can be quite a ham ~ when she wants to be.  She pays attention to her surroundings ~ most of the time and acts accordingly.  Of course, it probably helps that she has to do that from the minutes she goes outside with me every morning.  We head out the door and there are anywhere from two to ten deer standing right by the basement door.   She has to check her options on which way to walk through them ~ since, they aren't going anywhere.  They are ready for their treats.
A couple of days ago, while putting out the morning treats after her early walk ~ which comes first ~ I got head butted by one of the year and a half old twins of Miz Spectacles.   When I walk around with the 5 gallon bucket of corn, they are backing up in front of me all the way around.  As soon as I stop to put a bit more out, the want first dibs ~ out of the bucket ~ not off the ground.  One  of the older bully does, Plain Jane, who hasn't had fawns in a while now ~ was being her usually crabby self and trying to kick eveyone's butt.  One of the twins jumped back and sort of upward so fast we knocked foreheads together.  I think I felt it more than she did!  Since my face is usually only an inch or so from theirs, I can see that happening.   However, it never has.  I am always more concerned with watching their feet as they have some pretty fancy footwork when they are defending their stuff!  So it goes........a new adventure or experience every day.  When you have critters around, there is always something happening.'s still gray and still snowing........time to figure it out!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January Blues! January 14, 2016

This is what I mean by January Blues!  We still are having so many very cloudy days that everything is a shade of blue or gray ~ depending on the day.  The colors make for subtle photography.  But, many of them, with all the ice formations, are still very pretty.  We are still having a good many days with good sized waves on Lake Superior too.
On the other hand, we finally got just enough snow to go cross country skiing.  So, I have been doing that each afternoon and Miss Betsy is trotting ~ sometimes running ~ along behind me.  If it's a level area I generally tell her to go on ahead and run off some steam.  She finally has gotten to understand if we are going downhill ~ she better run fast or get behind.......or, at least out of the way!  :)
The boys still have their antlers and spend a bit of each day half-heartedly pushing each other around.    I always enjoy watching them ~ or listening to their antlers clicking as they scrap.  When you are a deer, there is a definite pecking order.   That must be followed!  Antlers are the key.....the bigger, the better.  If you are a fork horn and the only one left with antlers ~ you rule!  I always think ~ "enjoy it while you can, little buddy!  Your days are numbered!"  Almost without fail, one of the little guys will be the last to shed.
He's showing his best side here ~ to make sure you can see just how magnificent he is.   No one goes and pokes him out of his spot when he is laying down.  Altho, a fawn might come and inspect those antlers!  :)
Out side of deer antics ~ not a lot going on these days to write about.  There are a lot of rabbits around this year.  Evidence of that is obvious each trip out in the woods.  The small popple trees are all nibbled as far as the rabbits can easily reach.  Nicely girdled!  Natural thinning of the too thick young popple trees!!
I will leave you with a glorious ice photo I took on a cold day this week when the sun actually shined.   Being it was below 0, you see lots of sea smoke in the background.  Nothing like a bit of sun to get that nice ice sculpture sparkling.  :)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year! January 4, 2016

Another year is starting!  Somehow, it doesn't seem so very different.  The weather is sure staying gray, gray and more gray.   I am so ready for some sunshine for a whole day for several days.
This morning, when I got up it was clear but I could see sea smoke and fog rising from Lake Superior over the hill.  It was 0 degrees so the sea smoke on the lake was to be expected.  I just got out for my walk with Betsy ~ shortly after 7 a.m. when the clouds were already rolling in from the west.  By the time I got home and was ready to feed the deer herd ~ of which everyone was there and waiting because it was COLD out!! ~ it was all clouded over.
By now, you know I like to get out and do photography.  I love winter and ice photos as much as wildlife photography.  But, the weather just doesn't inspire one lately.  However, then I look at the weather channel on TV and decide our weather is ok.  No nasty storms ~ yet!
Here is one I took yesterday of a couple of the antlered bucks sparring.  Hand held ~ trying to keep up with the action on a gray day so it blurred a bit.  But, you get the idea.  They were really digging in here.  These two and one of the little spike-fork horns are all that still have antlers.  The rest have shed already.  It's fun to see them standing peacefully around the yard, nibbling their alfalfa.  However, a bit of action now and then ~ especially this time of year when it isn't serious ~ is fun too.
Here is another shot of them having at it.  They kept this up for over an hour yesterday morning, moving around the yard as they went.  Looks like quite a tangle of antlers here.
Here's the big guy ~ stopping to look at me and pose for a minute.  He's quite the guy and for sure, one of my favorites.  I hope he's around to pass on those magnificent genes for a while to come yet.  
Since he's so busy around here this Fall, I got to hope some of those fawns he makes will be bucks!
Here is one of the 1 1/2 year old twins when I am doing the afternoon feeding.  The alfalfa is out and I have been walking around with the camera this trip.  However, it is difficult to put out feed and take photos at the same time.  This little girl will have her face a couple inches from mine all the way around.  She is my little buddy and is right there all the way around the yard.   Anyway, you see some up close and personals with some of my deer friends.  They are always a joy!  Goes right back to my favorite saying ~ "Ain't Nature Grand!"