Summer Sunshine

Summer Sunshine

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This evening I pushed myself to jog a mile, a slow jog it was-but a mile I jogged.  Out on a shady country gravel road, my huffing and puffing release of carbon dioxide was attracting insects galore.  I inhaled a gnat (gag), had delta flies pinging my head (ouch), and even had my own satellite (a horsefly) orbiting my head for about a tenth of a mile before I could knock it off its course (maddening).  And my walking dog partner, Ole Riley Dog, didn’t quite know how to handle this change of pace and kept getting too close to my feet.

The past couple of days have been a reprieve from the heat, allowing me to keep the windows open, enjoying the fresh air.  The weather has also been nice for taking some longer than usual walks, looking for interesting things to photograph.  On one 5 mile walk, I set off with my camera and took a couple of pictures before I realized I had forgotten to replace the SD card, thus, carrying it for nothing.  Fortunately, I was prepared when I came upon these sunflowers in a garden and the lady was kind enough to let me photograph them.

Tomorrow the summer heat returns and there is only one place to be on a very hot and humid summer day…on the river swimming and fishing.  At least when I’m standing in the river fishing and a horse fly starts buzzing around my head, all I have to do is throw up a handful of water; it disappears instantly and I get cooled down.

 

Fishing For Ideas

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Nothing beats the joy of a kid catching a fish.  One of the things on my grand daughter’s list during her visit, was to fish our pond.  We spent a day on the river with the canoe, banking it to play and fish but she didn’t want to fish then.  She said, “Oh, I’ll fish in your pond where I KNOW I’ll catch fish.”  And fish she caught.  When we were getting ready to fillet the fish she asked for the tape measure so she could measure the fish like her dad and grandpa.  I even taught her how to fillet with the electric knife, though, she was more interested in exploring the organs of the fish than filleting (yes we had a fish anatomy science lesson).  And that evening, we fried them up for dinner.  I love that she’s willing to try all sorts of atypical girl activities as well as the typical ones.   🙂

And nothing beats the joy of planning a vacation, so now I’m fishing…for ideas.  We are going to spend some time in Vermont with side trips to Quebec, Montreal, and New York City, so I thought if readers posted their #1 favorite thing to do or see in any one of these places I might get some really great ideas.  My favorite thing to do in new places after seeing the iconic tourist attractions, is to get off the beaten path and discover the local restaurants and culture.   So all suggestions will be appreciated.  🙂

Stumped at First

I cannot think of what to write.  I’m stumped…literally.  haha  We’ve been cleaning up the slag (tree tops) from a tree harvest cutting the larger branches for fire wood and stacking the branches in ditches to make brush piles or burning where there is no place for a brush pile.

In between all of that fun, my grand daughter came down for a week long visit.  I was ready for a break from the woods to enjoy our time together.  She’s almost 10 and is in complete charge of our calendar of events.  She came down wanting to sew on ‘the real sewing machine’, and so (haha) she did.  I taught her some basics and she made the small pillow she wanted to make for traveling in the car.    We went fishing up on the river today, canoeing around when the fishing was slow, and laying in the water to cool off.   We even did some watercolor painting on the shore when we took a shade break.  I have enjoyed having this sweet girl around.  Since all of my grand kids love the piano and want to learn something new each time they come down, I decided to buy a beginner’s book.  She read the theory about the notes on the first couple of pages on the way home from the store practicing on an imaginary keyboard and played the first song perfectly and has mastered the 2nd and 3rd, too.  Hmmm…I’m thinking Mom and Dad may need to get her some piano lessons at home.

I was disappointed that I was so busy last Tuesday (working in the woods) that I completely forgot to write and tonight I’m so tired after an action packed couple of days along with today on the river that this is all I can muster up tonight.  But at least I got over being stumped when I let my heart and fingers go and start typing-ending up with a sweet reminder of our visit this week…and we still have 4 more days to go and I’m looking forward to more adventures.  What will tomorrow bring???  🙂

The Mailbox

Who doesn’t love receiving a personal letter or card in the mail???  I was excited to paint this picture of a row of weathered, rusty mailboxes.   My colors came out a bit dark, so if I repainted it I would lighten them up a bit.  But I love the picture.  When I look at it, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling thinking of all of the mail I have received in my box over the years when writing letters was the way to communicate because long distance calls cost a fortune.

I love being able to send emails for quick communication or pick up the phone for any whim of a thought since I have unlimited long distance.  But I still get excited when I open up my mailbox and see a personal letter or card sitting in there waiting for me.  I used to tear into the envelope immediately but since I get so few, I now savor the moment.  I wait until I have some down time and make a glass of iced tea and sit out on my porch swing to read and enjoy the letter, hearing the writer’s voice as I read.

Writing a letter to someone takes time.  And most of us have the time to sit and write but don’t make that a priority.  But truly, we should all make time to sit down and write because writing warms the heart, I think because it is calming.  It also improves memory (that’s a great one for aging minds) and inspires creativity.  I always feel wonderful and happy after I’ve written to someone.

Can you do it?  Take the challenge?  Set aside a half hour once a week and write a hand written letter to someone?  Give it a try.  (It’s a great summer idea for kids, too!)

Cirsium

On my walk this morning I was intrigued with these two emerging thistles and thought, “A thistle’s my sunshine on a cloudy day, along with a whistle to blow my cares away.”

I guess I’ve been intrigued with the thistle since junior high when I drew this ink sketch in art.

But the question is why?  I love its purple color with all of its spikes an love the leaves and their texture.

This is a brand new budding thistle

growing next to one that had a couple of days head start.

So I went to this neat book filled with flower definitions

to read about the thistle.

Alas…together they stand

“tough and durable, defiant against aggressors.”

I couldn’t decide on a title so looked up the genus name for thistle which is Cirsium.  I then discovered the ‘higher classification’ is the Daisy family, my favorite flowers; when I see them, my heart is always filled with joy.

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And now I know why I was drawn to the thistle today.

Walking with Riley

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I discovered these irises hiding in some grass alongside the road on my walk. this evening  I went for a 3 mile walk with Ole Riley Dog, my surrogate pet.  I think he’s about 10 years old in human years and he’s still cute and fuzzy like a pup.

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He loves to walk with me but was quite sly this evening, as if he was really too tired to walk but could not pass up the opportunity.  Part of my course is walking to the end of a  road and turning around.  That stinker saw the direction I was heading, stopped in the road and waited for me to walk to the end of the road and turn around.   He did this on 3 occasions acting  tired and yet, when I told him it was time to go home, he got all sad with pouting eyes.  No kidding-this dog really does pout and look sad when things don’t go his way.  Talk about a dog with character!  🙂  He always makes my walk interesting.

As I came up over a hilltop I saw the tall fescue grass and tree tops bathing in the golden glow of the sunset,

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and then enjoyed the sun as it dropped down below the horizon.

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So what do you think…can dogs intentionally pout and look sad?

Wispy Wheat, Fuzzy Cotton and Slithering Snakes

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I love the soft wispy look of the wheat as the top part develops.  That top part with the grain is called a spike…(I had to look that up).  I especially love sitting on my porch and watching the wheat sway in rhythm as the wind blows across the fields.  Today was a perfect day with a hot sun making the shade feel cool and a nice breeze stimulating the movement of the wheat.  I didn’t notice it until after I took the picture, but there is one renegade spike of wheat standing tall above the others.  Do you ever feel like you stand out in a large group?

It’s such a simple slice to enjoy nature all around me.

And that was yesterday.  This morning my husband and I took a long walk in the refuge.  Our sense were tantalized by the sights and sounds surrounding us.  Songbirds serenaded our walk.  The cottonwood seeds have escaped their pods lining the roads and water top with cotton, making it look like a light snowfall.

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We saw snakes galore on the road and swimming in the water from black snakes to water moccasins; of which my husband can NOT resist getting the moccasin to gape and show its white mouth.

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As we walked he said, “It’s a good thing the bald eagles have moved on or they’d have a field day with all of these snakes.”  A tenth of a mile later we see a bald eagle fly from a treetop, leaving behind another-possibly a nesting pair (he’s a little fuzzy looking).

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Squirrels, deer, beaver, a box turtle, and a raccoon.  I feel like I have the makings for my own, “Partridge in a Pear Tree”.  Now to get some pictures uploaded.  Check back for them.  🙂

Getting Anxious

It’s been 5 years since we’ve been able to put the canoe in the water and go fishing on the river in May.  The water level was low and safe at 4′ by the bridge and the air was summertime hot.  Today, the river is 24′ at the bridge, slowly coming down from its record breaking 36′ which actually went over the bridge.  When we canoe under it and look w…a…y up there, it seems impossible that the water could ever get that high.

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It will be interesting to see what changes were made from the rushing flood waters.  New fishing holes will form while old favorites will disappear.  Even the course of the river changes opening up new channels and cutting off others.  I’m starting to get that twitch in the wrist…ready to cast and more anxious to catch.  It will probably be at least June, but may not be until July (like it was last year).  It all depends on how much rain we get.  Will this be it and we go into drought like conditions or is this the beginning of a very wet season?  Only time will tell…and patience must prevail.

Rushing

I feel like I’ve lived in a whirlwind state of rushing for the past 2 months.  I loved the SOL challenge of writing daily and when that was over, I thought I’d take a breather.  But my friend shared the A to Z Challenge and I could not resist.  For the first time in a long time, I’ve been able to sit and enjoy everyone’s blogs that I follow-so many superb writers.

If you are from the US, you’ve probably heard about all of the flooding in the midwest.  If you are not in the US, have we made your news?  I’m right in the heart of it.  While I am high and dry, there are so many that are not.  And as the water levels continue to rise breaching spillways, washing out roads, causing evacuations down river, our road connections to the outside world are dwindling down to just a couple of routes.  I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have any travel plans in the near future.

While I’m not rushing to write, I’m surrounded with rushing water.  Here are some pictures I’ve gotten.

The water going over the emergency spillway washed out the road below.   This happened 6 years ago in the big flood.  They rebuilt with huge culverts but the road still washed away.

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A swollen river that is usually 3-5 feet deep is over 20 feet and rising.

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Crop fields have become lakes with white caps from the high winds.

field lake

During a break in the rain a couple of days ago, I got out for a walk and found this little stream of cascading water that I have named Trickle Falls.  Zooming in makes the water fall look more grand.

trickle falls

Rushing waters be still, calm down to a trickle.

Zoom In

“Must get to higher ground…rains are coming.”  I love zooming in on subjects I photograph as much as I do taking wide angle photos.

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The pitter patter of rain drops

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quickly turned to a torrential downpour that lasted all night long filling up our pond until it was flowing over the emergency spillway.  The water was coming through this 6″ pipe with the gusto of water from a fire hose.  Zooming in and taking a freeze frame produced an interesting picture…see the face with vacant eyes looking back?

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Those eyes reflect my sentiments with all of this rain, leaving me only one course…’pop a top’ and enjoy a soda.  🙂

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In between bands of rain, we  were able to get out and walk in the refuge.  Lo and behold, I heard a pair of mating owls calling back and forth to each other.  No picture, but then none was needed as I stood there, ears turned and zoomed in, listening to the pair hooting back and forth.

Z is for zooming in and then zooming out to look back and see that I completed the A to Z challenge.  🙂