Nightscapes….

Tonight was Michelle’s Bible Study night, so, I decided I was NOT going to leave the camera behind this time! With (serious) thoughts about that new camera I mentioned last night, I am trying to really press this one…I love this camera, even though I know that the Canons seem to get top billing amongst users.

My c-5050 zoom is a relatively “old” camera with an article I found in DP Review stating Olympus released info on the camera in October of 2002! Yikes! I bought the camera in May of 2003 so I could get good pictures of Angus.

So, although the pictures are not that great, here is what I have to offer!

This picture is of boat houses on the lake. There are summer homes above the boathouses….no one seems to winter there at all.

This picture was taken looking across the northern end of the lake. The water is not frozen there, and if you look very closely (IE, squinting your eyes and looking REAL hard) you can see the geese in the foreground.

Another squint-and-perhaps-you-can-see-the-geese shot!

And this last shot was taken looking to the north towards the park at the head of the lake. Across the street from the park are bars and restaurants, thus lighting up the night sky.

These photos were taken between about 8:10 and 8:20 this evening and no flash was used on any of them. And no, I didn’t have a tripod, either! (I used to belong to the NRA many years ago, and I did learn the skill of a steady hand!)

I only wish you could HEAR the geese! Yes, I do have a movie mode on the camera as well, but I opted not to use it. The geese were so loud….I got out of the truck to take a few of the pictures, and the noise was very intense!

So, another fun session playing with my camera and just having a bit of fun away from the Bristolwood!

A Romp in the Snow

Late this afternoon as the sun was beginning to head over the mountains, I took the Scotties out to take some pictures. In all honesty, I was wanting to take Angus only, but as we tried to *sneak* out the door, Murphy came bounding in, little tail wagging behind him….

I wanted to try out the “drive” mode on my camera that allows me to take several pictures in a “rapid fire” mode. Remember the old ads on TV where the photographer was using a 35mm camera with the “motor” on it that allowed him to just continue following after the model as she maneuvered around the set? Well, I sorta have that capability, too.

You see, before I went outside, I asked Mark about the newer generation of Canon Cameras. I have an Olympus, but thought perhaps the new Canons might surpass mine. Well, Mark uncovered a new Olympus with an 18X optical zoom!! It was released yesterday, I think. So, I am in love again.

Anyway, I decided to capture some cool snow pictures of Angus….he did NOT let me down…….

And, when all the fun is over (or, your Mum says it is time to go inside) just let loose and SHAKE!!!!!

Making Guitars?

Yup, that was the agenda for today…

Ben has a birthday coming up, and he wanted a different and unique pinata for a party. Oh BOY! He also wanted to have a theme of “music”. So, he told Mark, and Mark being as computer SAVY as I am INEPT, searched around and found a good picture of a guitar. (Mark also PLAYS guitar!) He printed it, blew it up, then Michelle transposed it onto lightweight cardboard….Voila!

Nice shape, eh?

Next, I “cooked” up a batch of “paste” to paper mache the guitar. The next pictures show my family diligently working on the guitar. But, WAIT! Suddenly, there are TWO guitars! The kids were so impressed, they made two!

Yup, the kids did the “dippin'”, and Mark placed the strips on the guitar body.

And, drum roll….the “not-quite-finished” products!

Now they will rest after their two coats of paper mache have been applied and then the kids will do some finishing….

And, totally NOT related, I took some pictures of the Scotties while we were out enjoying the snow this afternoon and I just had to share….

Murphy thinks there is something down in the ditch…

And he convinces Angus to come have a look, too!

Ah well, if all else fails, EAT SNOW!

And Angus enjoys a “snow cone”, too!

And, finally, a picture of Murphy that I just thought was cute!

What Do Falling in Ditches and Turkeys in Trees Have in Common?

Well, I will gladly tell you!

Yesterday, we went out as Mark wanted to go to Sam’s Club. This particular store is located 75 miles away. We left early afternoon, and got back home around 8:30. I was so sleepy, I filled the woodstove with wood, and after it began to burn well, I shut the stove down and flopped down to rest. Move ahead to 2:30 am. YIKES! I remembered that the stove was never filled well, nor was it closed down to last the night.

Needless to say, I knew I needed to get up and feed the stove. I padded downstairs and looked out on the porch to check the temperature. 8 below. I then moved over to the stove. The fire was reduced to coals, so I raked them aside, then opened the door of the ashpan. Grabbed the ashpan and headed outside in my nightgown and Crocs. Mark had plowed the driveway yesterday, so I was thankful I could just lean over and throw the ashes down into the ditch where the little stream runs. As I stepped down, I REALLY stepped down! Mark had partially filled the ditch in with snow, and me being rather tired, didn’t realize I had gone too far. I was up to my thigh in cold wet snow! I dumped the ashes (hey, why not?) then pulled myself out of the ditch!

I went to the house, loaded the stove, then fiddled around for 45 minutes while the fire caught to the point that I could secure the stove for the rest of the night. By the time I headed back up to bed, my nightgown was dry. And, it was 3:30!

Let’s just say that once AGAIN, I was glad we have no CLOSE neighbors!!!

Today, well…..LATER today, Michelle and I went to town. We had a few little errands to run and we had fun just looking around a little. We stopped by TJMaxx, and that is always a treat. I wanted to get home before dark, as this was a very cold day, and I just didn’t want to meet up with black ice!

Oops, I forgot to add that as Michelle and I were getting ready to go out today, Angus merrily came running into the living room to see what we were up to! As soon as he figured we were going for “a ride in the car”, he was SO anxious. There was NO way we could leave him at home. That would be like leaving a toddler behind….We gathered up his special pillow and Michelle wrapped her warm down-filled jacket around him. He was so warm and snuggly on the back seat, he never even crawled out from the coat while we were shopping!

I always love coming home on the “back roads”. It is so much slower, the roads less traveled, and I just like them! As we began ascending, Angus knew we were getting closer to home, and he became alert. We turned onto our road, and as I looked on the road ahead, I asked Michelle what is that on the road? She affirmed that it was a turkey. Not a big deal, as we certainly have wild turkeys in the woods.

As we came closer, we saw three turkeys hustling through the snow. Then, we spotted THEM…..Michelle gasped! Do turkeys FLY? I giggled, because there is little more humorous than seeing a turkey fly….their wings are too small, their bottoms too heavy, and they just look very *FUNNY*! As soon as I told this to Michelle, the five that had been resting atop the trees took flight……I only wish I had my camera!

So, my day was coming to a close much the way it began early in the morning…or, middle of the NIGHT! Life just has so many funny little turns, and if we can see the humor in our days, we enjoy them all the more. AND, we have such stories to TELL!!!!

Winter Wonderland

That is precisely how it looks this morning! The trees are frosted in white and there is probably 2 or 3 inches of fluffy white snow atop the landscape. It sure is pretty, and if this would have been Christmas morning, I would have been jumping for JOY! But, I still love it, albeit late!

Michelle had her Bible study last night, and Carly wondered if I might like her to come and meet me! We did, and we had so much fun just kind of kicking around together! We rarely spend time together without the kids, so this was a treat…NO distractions!

We went over to Panerra Bread for a bowl of soup and then we stopped by the new WalMart. We walked around there for a while, then realized we soon needed to pick Michelle up. I needed gas ($2.44.9) so I stopped at Hess near the lake. We still had just a few minutes to spare, so I drove out onto the pier on the lake. It was so BEAUTIFUL and Carly excitedly spotted Canada Geese out on the lake.

To our sheer amazement and delight, there were literally *thousands* of geese just “parked” there for the night! They were close to the shore, and apparently, this is their method of rest. Because there is little lighting on the pier, and it was snowing lightly, you could only see the geese as the headlights hit them. Then, the little white stripes on their back sides looked as though they were “fluorescent”! They actually looked as though they were those strips that runners wear on their clothing so drivers can see them in the dark.

It was soon time to get Michelle, so we drove back to the church where Carly had parked her car. Michelle came out, and it was time to head on home.

On a sad note, the woman who coordinates the community Bible study lost her brother or brother-in-law this past week. Carly called last night and said she found information about it on the internet, and he was only 39 years old. That really is far too young for a man to leave this world….I know we hear it over and over again, but the reality is that each day we have is a gift and a blessing…let us attain to make the most of each one!

Snowscapes

Today I had to run down to our “local” little town to mail some letters AND to try out the new Chinese restaurant. Yes, what a surprise to have Chinese food only 8 miles from home!

As I drove on one of the roads, I stopped at the overlook the town built a year or two ago. I had never done this before, and I was impressed at how nice it is, complete with picnic tables. Um, shouldn’t they have *stored* them for the winter, though? Not too sure how long they will last in the elements!

Here is a picture I took looking up the lake. I must comment that as SOON as I got my camera out of its bag, the SNOW began falling, giving the picture kind of a surreal look to it.

As I hopped out of the car, my mind drew me over to the plantings at the side of the house…..I wondered if those poor little Daffodils were frozen solid. I carefully brushed back the snow where I thought they were…..surprise! Oh yes, I covered them back up after taking their picture!

I had to giggle as I leaned over, looking at the Daffodils. My father had given us a “Garden Frog” a few years ago….I had forgotten to take him into the garage for the winter, and his little face glared out through the snow!

I made my way to the backyard to photograph Ben’s new structure! We have had perhaps 4 inches of snow the past few days, and Ben has basically collected it ALL to make his snow fort.

Mark is always concerned about safety, so he gives Ben pieces of plywood and 2×4’s so he can give his fort more stability.

Ben built this little fort in a matter of only a few hours. He used a large bucket to form the walls of his structure. So, if I were caught in a snowstorm in the middle of nowhere, I guess I would want Ben on my team!!

Naughty Puppy!!!

AND, a young teenage girl with a *wild* imagination equals something too funny!

Last night, as I was on the computer, I heard Murphy chewing on something, but I ignored him. Michelle came into the room and squealed. So, what was all the noise about?

On Friday, we received a postcard from the vet’s office advising us that Murphy needed an appointment for his rabies booster. I dismissed the card, as I had already made an appointment for Saturday. I set the card with all the other recyclable paper.

Snoopy little Murphy somehow picked THAT particular card out of all the papers in the pile, and took it away. This is what he had been chewing on earlier. Michelle caught him in the act and brought the little pieces that were left over for me to see.

As I glanced at the offerings, I shook my head in disgust, telling Murphy what a NAUGHTY little boy he was! But, Michelle looked at me in such a way……

“Mom, Murphy made a little message for you to tell you how he feels about you!”

She flipped one of the pieces of paper over…..OH my GOODNESS!!!!

All this without opposable thumbs….hmm….I wonder what would happen if we taught Murphy about Origami?

Feeling a Bit Like a Misfit!

It seems like everywhere I go, people are complaining about the cold weather. They say it is *so* cold. Hmmmm….Today, I went outside with the dogs, one at a time, so we could enjoy a little walk around the yard. As I looked at the thermometer, it sent a bit of a “shiver” down my spine, but as I ventured forth into the outdoors, I felt so pleasantly surprised! Even though the temps remained below 20 here, it felt so much warmer than yesterday, as there were no blustery winds!

I walked Angus outside first, as he was sitting by the door, indicating that he needed to go out. We walked all around the front of the house, but I forgot to grab my camera. We were outside a good 15 or 20 minutes, just meandering about….he, sniffing about as though seeking some little rodent running amuck…and I, I was just breathing deeply, feeling so revitalized by the fresh air. We wandered about and then I suddenly realized that Murphy was awaiting his turn!

I finally convinced Angus to go inside and I snapped the leash on Murphy and we headed out the door, complete with camera!

One of Murphy’s favorite things to do in the winter is plow the snow with his bearded face, while ingesting mouthsfull of the frozen delicacy!

As we made our way across the front of the house, we followed the stream. There is something so enchanting about a running stream in the winter. The glistening of the water, the gentle, somewhat melodious sound…almost a laughing sound, as it chases after its predestined path, feeling somewhat victorious that the freezing temperatures have neither impeded its course, nor caused it to become a frozen tribute to itself. There is also the promise in that little stream that warmer days will arrive, just as surely as it runs down its course.

As I became lost in the beauty and intrigue of the stream, a tug at the leash soon caused me to snap back to the business at hand! My little *snow machine* followed the trail previously scribed in the snow by Angus. We walked along, just a bit more briskly, as Murphy is not quite as fond of the frozen turf as Angus. Although he never complains, Murphy will certainly head towards the house when the word is mentioned, as though “enough is enough”!

Just one more shot of the little stream before it tumbles towards the road and down the hill…..

I was warm enough in my winter coat, and enjoying the scenery…I could have remained outside for a great deal longer. But my little companion was getting just a bit “antsy” to head back to the house.

Taking a picture of a very dark dog is so hard, but I was able to catch Murphy standing still for a moment….this was just as the sun was setting over the hill.

For those who do not enjoy this cold weather, do not fear…it is nearing the end of January, and as the days stretch out, it seems like the weather begins to warm up. We have had such a mild winter this year, I am enjoying each snowflake…every cold wind that rushes past the house. I have left the doors and windows open til the house “shivered”, doing what I call an “air exchange”! I am only able to do this as we heat with a very efficient woodstove that loves this little exercise! I do believe it helps us to stay healthy, as well!

Frigid, Frosty, but reFreshing!

Today was really pretty nippy! I love being outside when the temperatures drop, but it was cold today, as there was a brisk wind! Last night, I was wondering if the house might perhaps blow off its foundation….it was that windy!

The kids had signed up to attend “Gladiator Games” at the Christian center about 40 miles away. I had also made an appointment for Angus and Murphy to see the vet for Rabies vaccinations. I figured I need to do this, as I need to get Murphy licensed.
The kids needed to be at the center at 1:30, and the boys needed to be at the vet at 2:00.

We dropped the kids off, then took off for the appointment. Angus went in first, and I was completely shocked when he barked at the vet when he saw the needle coming! The vet smiled and said he obviously knew what was coming. Then, I went out to the truck and brought Murphy in and left Angus with Mark. Murphy’s shot was uneventful until about an hour or two later when he cried. Mark thinks he had some stiffness and it hurt when he shifted his weight.

After the vet visit, we went to McDonald’s and bought the boys a double cheeseburger. Mark gave Angus one meat patty and I gave Murphy the other. We still had some time to kill, so we looked around at the new trucks (knowing we got a terrific deal on our 2006 model!) and then stopped by a Sear’s store to find out about new ovens and refrigerators.

We picked the kids up at 5:00, and then began the journey home. There is a nice Chinese restaurant near the center, so Mark ordered lunch specials for the kids and himself at 3:00. (the deal ends at 3) As we drove home, the kids kept saying how hungry they were, but they waited til we got home. Hurrah! I don’t need to cook tonight!

As we edged closer and closer to home, the temperature kept dropping…it is about 12 degrees right now, but the house is so cozy and warm. How I love that Jotul woodstove!

Murphy is lying on a blanket, being very quiet, and Angus seems like the shot didn’t bother him at all. Poor little Murphy.

And I shall leave you with Mark’s illustrious description of Murphy….
Mark often looks at Angus and asks,

“Where is your udder brudder from anudder mudder”?