Wednesday, December 31, 2008

As another year ends...

I want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous year to come. I guess most of all, I hope you have good health. As we get older, we begin to realize just what a blessing it is to be able to get up and function normally every day. I complain and whine a lot of times, but I have no serious health issues. I should be counting my blessings.....
One blessing is this--Bubbie got to come home today--that is a good thing. I think. Not sure how this bandage is going to work out. He really cannot maneuver well without help. He is also shivering sometimes which concerns me. But then a lot of his fur is gone, and it IS winter. Earlier when he did that I laid down with him in the living room floor and snuggled up around him and he was happy with that. We put a heating pad in a box but I think he is also just tired of being confined by his limitations. I am hoping and praying that this takes and he feels better soon.

Believe it or not, he has done been trying to sleep in his usual way as pictured here. He cannot do it too well, but he does try. I think it is a good sign that he tries. And he has ate and also cleaned himself. So those things alone are a real positive sign in my book.
On to other things; one of my daughters got me the books on hawks above. The one by the National Audubon Society has owls in it as well. I am done wishing I had another set of these books just to keep in the Rav4. They are so nice to have.
And my husband got me the Rebel XTi....I have the original digital Rebel DSLR....and I had the lens pictured here. Well, I don't like changing lens...the sensor on my original rebel done has dust on it that I can not get off without going and getting some kind of kit. And I may do that now. So there were times when I wouldn't change the lens just because I didn't want to risk getting any more dust on the sensor. But there are times I want the wider angle it has, plus just being afraid that the lens above would interfere with the flash.

So my husband got me the second body till I can have either one whenever I want it. Plus, on my original, the time it took to actually turn on seemed like forever, specially when you are all set to take a wildlife photo. On the Xti, it is instantaneous, or almost so. So close you can't really tell.

That is a little of what is going on here. My husband has had a sinus infection, and I had him to the doctor yesterday. I took Cougar in to the vet today as I picked up Bubbie because he had an abscess on his back. I have not got to visit anyone today but will make up for it either later tonight or else over the next day or two.

I will leave you with a forerunner of the sunset pictures to come in the future. I hope you are not disappointed in this one or the ones to come.


Please click and enlarge for better viewing.
I really am having trouble deciding what I want to post. I could post for a couple weeks just from the other evening/night at the strip pits. I was thinking how Jeopardy will have clues and the answers will will contain certain letters, so thought the 'ee' would tie these two subjects together.
I cannot begin to count the number of deer that I seen...the first picture was taken just a few minutes after I got there. The second one was quite a bit later, right around the time I found the owls,
and these last two were so dark that I have messed and messed with them to try to get them light enough for you to see the deer. It was dark enough till if I had been out on a road that was traveled any at all, I would have needed my headlights. These are different deer, and definitely not all that I seen of this herd.
I think saying there was 15 or 20 deer is almost a conservative guess. I couldn't help but wonder if those in the first photo had came back and were a part of this was close to where I seen them.
Right after I got there I started taking pictures of geese; the sky was alive with flocks of them. The sky was beginning to show signs that it was going to be beautiful. I took several pictures then, but they seemed washed out compared to what I actually saw.
I don't know how it happened, but I took most pictures in the RAW size, and they seem much more accurate in color. I was really aggravated at first, but if images like these are the result, I might just start using it all the time. I took 165 images that night, 29 were in the jpg format and the rest were RAW.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another subject from the strip pits

I have seen pheasants out at the strip pits before, but this is the first one I have seen out there in several years. This is just two photos of the same was running away from me and this is the best I could do. I was still thrilled to capture it at all.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Another strip pit discovery!

I have been noticing every evening that the sunsets are just beautiful, but I have not had the chance to try to capture them. As I mentioned before, I have also been trying to get a good shot of the Northern Harrier.

I thought I would kill two birds with one stone this evening...I waited and headed out there soon as the football game was over. Still light enough till I should have plenty of light to capture a hawk, but late enough till I should be out there when the sunset came.

I seen hawks, but I could not get close enough to get a good capture. The first time I was out there and saw them, they did not seem to mind the vehicle and it didn't seem to bother them if I pulled to the side of the road and got out. Now, they must feel my desperation and will not stick around at all.

At first I became totally occupied with watching the geese...just unbelievable numbers. I took a lot of pictures but nothing close up. I went on and left there to run on over into Illinois to check out some of the cornfields. I was hoping they would be close to the road in them, but did not see a one in the normal place I see them. So, I turned back around and headed for the strip pit area again.

I made a new discovery--owls! Numbers of them! I bet I saw at least 8 or 10 of them, but I really think there were more. I think from the one of the books one of my daughters got me that it is a Short-eared Owl. And from the description of its flight and living area, it all points to that being what it is. Not to mention the yellow eyes.

These were take really late in the evening. I had the ISO set at 1600, and I had trouble and could not seem to get them in focus. I have probably two dozen shots with these being the best. I seen more owls this one time than I have seen in my entire 53 years!

I leave you with one that was taken really late--I used fill-flash to lighten it and hope I got it light enough for you to see.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How about a goose?

Monday, the day before Bubbie came home hurt, we had went for a short drive. I don't care much about shopping or going places where there are people, but sometimes I just have to get out to see and observe nature a little bit.
So we headed to the strip pits--the one pictured here is so close to the Indiana-Illinois border I am not sure which side it is on. But I absolutely love to go out there and drive the roads. This day was no exception.
Geese were every where. And when you enlarge the one above, notice the white geese. A couple of them have bands on their neck I didn't know they banded the the original size you can make out the number of one of them. I think it is 68C...if I remember correctly.
It was soooo cold that day...I do not see how they take the cold. I know they are made to withstand the cold, but I do wonder if they feel it at all.So we left there and headed on west...just a short distance. There is a farm that has cows and horses and I always feel from the horses and cows reactions that they are someone's pets like ours were. The horse especially raise up and look if I stop, just to make sure I am not bringing them a treat. And one day one of the cows started mooing softly...just so much like home.
Anyway, I heard this noise and looked and it was all these could actually hear their wings and they were a good distance away! Kind of like when you hear a storm moving in..
These are not great pictures, but it does show just a little inkling of what we seen. I would love to know how many there were. There were hundreds and hundreds in flight I felt like, and about as many on the water.

The strip pit(s) is really long...I don't know if it is two strip pits or if the road is built over it I am about positive the north half is at least a mile long, and the south half is almost as long. And at the far ends on each side, the water was almost solid with them. I do not know how to describe how it makes me feel to see so is always thrilling for one thing.

And I don't ever really want to leave, I just know I have to. I do not know who owns the land, but I would dearly love to have permission to walk the land and walk the edges of the strip pits. At all times of year.

Out there are all these Northern Harrier Hawks...I have yet to get a good picture of them. I want one so bad of one hovering...I consider them the helicopter of hawks. They have the ability to hover over one little spot and it is fascinating to watch. Maybe one of these days I will get one.

As for Bubbie, have not heard a word today...Rachel wants me to ask if we can go visit him...and I really would like to. I just don't know if they will allow it...and it might get his hopes up. I am wondering though if it took him so long to get back to normal after the other, how is this time going to effect him

Friday, December 26, 2008

Be careful what you say...

Remember the post I did the other day of Bubbie watching television?

Remember me talking about him being at the vet and that he was just then really getting back to his normal self?
Then remember me saying that I didn't want to leave him out there again unless it was a desperate situation?

That desperate situation came the very next day. It was a warm day, especially if compared to the days that had just passed. I had been refusing to leave and leave a cat outside for fear we would end up getting detained and it was miserable cold. I just didn't want them left out in the cold with no way of getting inside. But Tuesday morn arrived and it was not to bad. We had to run and pick up a few last minute items at the grocery. Bubbie wanted out and I thought he would be okay. We were only going here in town, about a mile away.

We came home, got the groceries in and in a few minutes Roger went to let Puss Puss out, only to discover she was staring at the door because Bubbie was on the other side wanting in. He came in with one of his back legs useless. So to the vet we went. Our vet thought he had a broken leg, but no other trauma. No blood, no temperature. Nothing. And we could not see any other mark on him.

So he wanted to keep him and x-ray him later and would call us. Well, we (Roger, Rachel and I) talked that night, and basically decided not to invest too much money in him. When the vet called, it was with the news that it was a bad break. But he could fix it with a pin...the price of this operation he figured would be about $775. Roger looked at me and Rachel, and I shrugged my shoulders. If it had been $500 even I would have said do it. Oh, and there was other things I would have said do it.

So Roger told him we didn't want to do it for that kind of put him down and not let him suffer. Well, doc says he wants to watch him over night and see how he does. With him being a young cat and cats being so resilient. He said he would call us before he did anything. I cannot tell you the thoughts that went through my head. If I was working, I would not have hesitated. Just a bunch of ifs...

I couldn't be at peace with that decision though...I kept thinking how if it was this or that pet that I have had that I would give anything I own to be able to have them again. And I thought I would regret the decision we had made. So we tried to call him the next day--the day before Christmas and no one was out there. Did not hear anything from the Dr. Christmas day, either. Didn't hear anything this morn, so we called--by now I was convinced that he had been put down and the Dr. just didn't want to tell us till we were past Christmas.

When we called this morn and he is still alive...and the 'nurse' said doing okay. Doc was going to call us back, and has since I started this. It is not too late to have him fixed right, and that is what we are doing. He thinks he will come through it fine. He will call us this weekend and let us know how he is doing.

I know some will think that is crazy to put that much money in a cat, and some will wonder why we ever hesitated. I actually wonder the latter part...I know me. My mom always said I was foolish about animals and she was right. Personally, I feel like my cats are worth their weight in gold.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Please click and enlarge for better viewing.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bubbie and Yellowstone

Last night our local PBS station aired a show about Yellowstone National Park in the winter. I missed the first part of it, and was actually thinking about turning it off to go to bed early when something about it caught Bubbie's attention. He sat spellbound for about 15-20 minutes. He looked away for a second or two a couple times, but the rest was spent just as you see him here. When the show was finished, he got down.

The one picture bottom-center is just one of him on the back of my chair. Look at his poor little nose. It is gradually looking just a tad bit better and he is back to his normal self of just looking for something to get into part of the time. Last night he was tackling Shelby, trying to hide under a box--one of those folded ones you get for an item of clothing. You know the size--about 10 inches by 12 or 14 inches. He thinks if his head is hid, that you cannot see him.

It is sure good to see him acting normal...I told Roger and Rachel that it is going to be a desperate situation before I leave an animal overnight at the vets. The vet is a good vet, but it took Bubbie so long to trust us again. He has just the past week or so started coming and getting in bed with us. He still doesn't sit beside us as much as he used to, but he does occasionally.

Speaking of bed, remember Puss Puss aka The Princess and Cougar. The little one is the Princess. She now has the habit of waiting for me to come to bed, and then she has to get under the covers between Roger and me for 30 - 45 minutes, sometimes more than once a night, but always when I first go to bed. And she purrs so contentedly.
And Cougar has the habit of wanting out about 5:00 in the morning...he won't leave the mini-blinds alone in our room. Just anything to wake me up.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Through the windshield again

This is from the skim of snow we had a couple weekends ago. I know and have read that the Amish do not like to be photographed...I have never talked to any of them about it person to person. But I could not resist snapping this picture. There is no face showing...even if he wasn't behind the horse, you could not have seen his face if you tried he was so bundled up against the cold.

And I have read of others talking to them and them not minding. I think it probably has to do with the attitude...or maybe what the pictures are for. But I so would like to document some of the stuff they do. For Neal and I grew up, he more than me, doing farm work the way the Amish do it. We all the time talk about wishing we had pictures of this and that from our childhood. But that time is past, and there is no going back to take pictures. So, I want to record it while it is still there to record.

Some of the Amish used to come to the orchard where I worked...and one of them told my boss that he would love to be a gourmet cook, but he couldn't do that and be Amish too. And he chose to be Amish. He and the other Amish man with him had a twinkle in their eye and you could tell he enjoyed joking and teasing. I was starting to go on with some sort of foolishness, and stopped because I wondered what he was going to think...then I saw that gleam in his eyes and knew he enjoyed it as much as the rest of us.

We had this big pole barn there...and the cooler was in part of it. As more of the trees in the orchard got more mature and started producing, we started using bins instead of crates to store the apples in. Using bins required using the forklift...remind me later to tell you about that forklift. Anyway, using the forklift required concrete since ours had pneumatic tires.

So, we were clearing out an area to the side of the cooler and putting in a big pad of concrete that went around the front, one side and back of the cooler just to have a place to stack the bins and move the bins of apples around when having to get in the cooler. Well, we worked and worked, but the boss just could not get the ground around the cooler/pole barn graded right.

So, he was having some of the Amish actually pour and finish this of those guys got on the tractor and had the ground prepared in no time at all. I did not get to watch them do the concrete, but let me tell you it was a job well done.

Now to Bessie, the forklift...actually, I called it Nellie and I think it was Sandy that called it Bessie. It was old--I mean really old. It has bit the dust since I left there. But the last few years of its life, it did not have about a fun job. You just always had to be aware of where you were...the concrete was not finished perfectly wouldn't know it to look at it. But you knew it when you were on the forklift. You just always had to keep in mind that there was no stopping unless you dropped your load real quick...I think more than me forgot and got the front wheels off the concrete, but it was always out front where it was not serious. And the tractor could pull it back on.

Out behind would have been a serious matter because the land fell away from the back....John would go just zooming around there but I always half way just crept along. Now when I got to Menard's and see the boys flying around on the forklifts, I wonder what it would be like to drive one with brakes. And wonder if I had had brakes, would I ever have became comfortable enough to zoom around like that.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Remember what blue skies look like???

Notice the date on the photo above. I have taken pictures most days since then and not a one has had the really blue skies like this. There were a couple times when the sky was clearing...but it was not this color blue at all. And I am not sure it ever got all the way clear.

And seems like towards evening some of the time it tries to clear. There have been sooo many beautiful sunsets.

Though I would like to see sunshine, I am still wanting a good snow. There is a chance for snow again Saturday night/Sunday, but again they are not talking any accumulation. I guess I will just have to be happy with the skims we have been getting.

We went shopping today...I got just a few more things for Christmas and got them wrapped when we got home. I still have to wrap for Kay and her little brothers.

While out we ran by Kmart...I picked up Christmas cards for next year....actually enough for the next couple of years. I liked them so well, I didn't even know if they were on sale and I was still bringing home 7 was a nice surprise to discover they were on sale for half the price.

I did get a little bit more of a start on a quilting project...I cannot tell about it or show it for a while yet. But it feels good to get a start on it. It has been weighing on my mind. If nothing happens, I am going to spend quite a bit of time on it tomorrow. I guess if I want to get up and work any at all, I better think about going to sleep.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I am seeing actual sunlight for the first time in days! Yippee!

The views around here

The photos have the date they were taken on them...seems like it is nothing but gray skies around here. Wednesday was nothing but a sheet of ice everywhere, except late in the afternoon the main roads were a bit safer to drive on.

Right now, we are getting some rain and it seems to be melting some of the ice and snow, but it is supposed to get colder before morning so it is apt to be another sheet of ice. At least we don't have to get out in it, and my daughter don't go into work till later in the day. That is a good thing, cause normally she is leaving here between 5:30 and 6:00.

I did get presents wrapped today...I still need to do just a bit more shopping. I am not sure if I will try to get out tomorrow or not. I definitely will not go on the weekend. I won't go on the weekend unless it is absolutely necessary even in normal times.

Every year when I wrap presents, I cannot help but remember when we were kids...wrapping paper was not something we had in any large amount. If it comes right down to it, neither were presents. I don't remember if my brothers tried to take their paper off and save it, or if my mom and I just went through it and tried to save the best of it. But we did save wrapping paper from year to year to reuse.

And then there was the Christmas tree. I only remember my brother and I going to hunt the Christmas tree. Not Neal and George, but Robert. Though I am sure they were the ones that went when I was really young, I just don't remember it. Down where we were from, if a field had been cleared and not taken care of or cultivated, cedar trees would start growing at the drop of a hat. So our Christmas trees were cedar...seems like I remember having pine a time or two, but not real sure. Maybe Neal or George will tell me...

But when Mom would finally let us go get one, Robert and I would take off and the hunt was on. We had acres and acres to look on--all belonging to neighbors cause we didn't have any cedars on our property. (The neighbors didn't mind.) It really wasn't all that far to walk, but it would be by today's standards. Anyway, we would search and search till we found the perfect tree. Or as near perfect as we could get...I don't think we ever found a perfect one. But that was one of the highlights of the year for me. I think all we had for decorations was a few of the big colored lights, maybe some tinsel, and the silver garland, and a few bulbs. So these thoughts were going through my head part of the day.

Later, my little sewing friend, Kay, was over after school for a while. I don't so much try to teach her, unless she asks me specifically to show her something, but I do take her down to the sewing machines and let her just sew. She is content just to sew straight lines. Or to fold pieces of fabric and sew...just anything. Other times she wants to work on sewing squares together.

I know that is how my mom got me started sewing...she just showed me how to run the machine basically, and let me have at it. Of course, that was with a treadle sewing machine, so I feel just a little bit more security oriented with electric machines.

She found some old crochet needles 3 or 4 days ago, and has been so intrigued by them. I don't crochet; I do know how to make some stitches and at one time I half taught myself to read instructions, but was so slow at it I just decided I had enough hobbies anyway. So, Kay kept wanting to know how to use I showed her how to do chain stitching...then she decided she could do that with her hands alone. So that occupied her for a little while. I think though, that the sewing machines is going to be her one true love.

I do try to teach her little bits here and there, but I also like that she just enjoys sewing. I actually think if she keeps it up, she could really be an artist with the machines. Right now she has no fear.

I am gradually getting sleepy, so will go read a bit. Maybe a book, maybe blogs because I haven't had time to check on any of them today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I am posting a little bit early again for Sepia Scenes, but we will be down at Sarah's again tomorrow if nothing happens so I thought I would post it now while I had the chance. I thought I would show you one of the photos as it was taken.
I first tried them in sepia a week or so ago, and thought I really liked them better. Then tonight at first glance I wasn't sure, but the more I look, the more I think I do prefer the sepia tones.

I am sorry I keep posting barns, but I really am not having much time to work on photography...I am really anxious to try something besides barns/outbuildings some time soon. I hope.

If you want to join or see more sepia scenes, go see Maryt/the teach at Sepia Scenes or click on the badge at the top of this post.


We may be in line for a little bit more of this white stuff...I look forward to it while at the same time I dread it for people that have to drive in it.
I look forward to driving the back roads, though. I just hope to have the chance to go if we do get some.
These are from weekend before last. Almost the last I will post from that day. I am not getting much time to take any pictures.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Odds and ends....

I could not choose which I liked best between these two versions...I must say that the first one is probably more true to life...I clicked auto contrast in Photoshop Elements 2 to get the second version.
These other shots are just odds and ends...
the one above is very grainy, and just a tad bit out of focus.
And I found these twisted vines interesting.
And the above was an actual tree that had at one time or another had a vine around it. I had to use auto contrast to make this picture worth viewing...the original was much to dark. I worked on it with fill flash and the hue and saturation, but auto contrast got the most viewable picture.

It is a VERY cold day here in Indiana...the wind just howled last night. I got up this morn and the house was cold...someone had turned the heat off yesterday! I thought it a miracle that the thermometer read only 64 degrees F. As cold as it is outside, that was a blessing. The prediction calls for it to stay in the lower 20's, with a few snow flurries but no accumulation. Along with gusts of wind.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Moon shots

Yesterday evening it was that time that is sort of between daylight and dark as we were heading home from Sarah's. I happened to glance to the east and there was this great big moon! I took about half a dozen shots...the first one is unedited except for resizing, and the second one is just cropped.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Time for Camera Critters

It is time once again for the animals to take the spotlight. The picture of the geese above was taken on our way home from Willow Slough a bit back. I wanted to work it in here before I totally forget it.
And Bambi here was from last weekend. We think she was a young doe...
She stayed relaxed for quite a bit. I really, really wished I had had an apple I could have cut to pieces. That is how I first got Mama Squirrel to take something from my hands. The smell was just too much to resist.
I don't think I could have fed this deer from my hand, but all I had to with me was dog treats that I carry in the car for when I go to Sarah's house. Otto expects me to have something special for him. I don't like to disappoint, so I just got a box of Milk Bones to carry with me.

Also, often out taking pictures I meet dogs, and they have always been so friendly and inquisitive. One time I thought one was going to end up in the car with me....

Anyway, I wished I had had an apple just to have it a special treat. It is Christmas!

If you wish to join or see more animals, click on the badge at the top of the post!