Thursday, April 28, 2016

So if you could just do this for me...

Good morning ridiculous brain, this is your leader speaking.

If you could just relax for a minute and a half and fall asleep and stay asleep at a decent hour, that would be great.

You have no reason to be pinging worries all night long.  Your life is going fine.  For the most part...

That is all.


PS while you are not sleepy now, you might be this weekend and we just can't have that.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saturday on the river and Sunday inside

 As I write this it is raining like crazy outside.  We haven't had a lot of rain lately and with all the dry grass and the windy days, the fire danger has been way up.  So it is really a good thing - and it gives one an excuse to rest inside.

It is a different Sunday from last week when the MA was frantically filing returns and mostly extensions, and was gone for 10 hours I think.  He is now doing Fred things that involve trucks and crowbars and wagons and possibly a chain saw.....  In other words, he is in his own personal heaven.  I have a little project to do myself that I have been putting off (um, blogging to procrastinate??) and probably should be reading my book for bookclub, but that will be later.

Yesterday I had lots of little plans, some of them were changed but the essence stays the same.  I went to a baby shower in the morning, after fiddling around outside for a while and then made an early exit to get in a kayak before the clouds (and rain) came in.
I miss my kayak buddy!  This is our dock and text and selfie spot (I do selfies- not him)  

I put on my wet suit thing and my splash jacket with a t-shirt underneath, because it was in the 60's.  Nice and warm for this time of the year.... the water is still REALLY cold though- hence said wet suit.  Anyway, now that I have this amazing lens and camera body (seriously - forgive me you guys for repeating myself.  I can't believe how much better this camera is than my other one.  My photos are still composed the same, but the increased ability for this equipment to pick up details and the exposure is just so different.....  I am constantly blown away by the whole thing.)  I take it everywhere.  And it is a "thing" to keep it covered and protected and tucked away under my knees, and it is another "thing" to change the lenses and keep them safe while trying to hurry to not miss a shot- ahem- you will understand this in a moment.  I am so torn between doing the kayaking thing to get activity (which I LOVE) and the whole wildlife photography thing. So I am trying to dovetail them with pretty good results.  I am going to do some pure photo shoot kayaks soon, though.  Where I sit and wait- which may outright kill me dead- but I can do it.

THIS is my place- the water in Wisconsin

So I had the MA and the Barber (the Barber was important, as he is the one with the cell phone)  take me down to the boat landing as they had something to do with the truck, and I took off.  I had to show them kayaking tricks first (lol- they are so goofy) which involved turning and paddling backwards and me generally showing off- the MA asked me to, so...   I think that someone is trying to brace himself for a paddle in his future.  Fred is not a big fan of water- when you come right down to it- but he is willing to go kayaking.  It will not be windy that day... long story.

Buffleheads- I didn't consider this the best picture, but it ended up being kind of interesting

I had started out my trip thinking that this was going to be mostly an exercise/fun trip down the river but within about 100 yards there was the first group of ducks - which I just looked up and it is something called a Bufflehead- huh.  Who knew. Followed quickly by Mallards and others that I couldn't see well enough to identify.  Then I saw a swan floating up river a bit.  So- ok- not just an exercise trip.  I kept feeling rushed as I wanted to get to the Lower Dam before it totally clouded up and try to get a good picture of the barn that belongs to Fred's aunt- used to be his Grandparents farm. The pic I got was fine, but I know that mornings are better, so I will be doing that trip again.  

The Farm

It was a fun paddle up that river- I stopped and changed lenses a badillion times.  Each time I switched to my landscape lens, I would see another animal....  I am SO grateful I thought to bring a little chocolate with me for a snack- I didn't have any other portable foods that wouldn't make a mess in my dry bag- and of course water.  It was tough paddling in some places, the river was going faster than it usually is and then on the way back there was the wind. All this is stuff I love, so don't feel bad for me.  :)  Anyway, I shed my splash jacket in favor of a t-shirt eventually and it was a comfy 2.5 hours.
One of my favorite shots so far this year.  Tundra Swan.

I caught up with the swan a couple times that trip, trying to get a little bit close to it, but not pushing it's personal space too much.  Obviously since I have lots of flight photos, I spooked it a bit.  Sorry swan.  But wow some great shots.  I have learned from a photog friend how to set my camera up for bird action shots, which I am really starting to understand.  Some of my  pix were a little out of focus yet, but that I imagine is the relative newness of my Canon 100-400 lens.  He's heavy and also the kayak seemed to always turn in the direction counter to the flight of the birds.  But cool to know I am getting the hang of panning the camera and all.  I do need to set up my camera body for multiple shots instead of single....  I am a slow learner I guess.  

Lift off!
So the annoying part of this trip was I had once again- in anticipation of said barn- switched to my landscape lens, which was a trick to stay heading in the right direction and not end up on a rock or whatever.  So I am almost there and I spot on a rock the biggest Snapping Turtle I have EVER seen or imagined.  Holy crap.  It's shell looked too small for its body- I can't even describe how massive this thing is.  Bigger than the one I saw last year way up by the other dam.  I guess it is possible that it is the same one, but jeez.  It seemed bigger.  So yeah- frantic switching of lenses almost commenced and then I decided to shoot the pic with the lens that was attached and as I floated even with him he bailed.  ARGH.  Oh well.  I will say that later, while practically zooming downstream (there was a current- lol) I saw this kind big thing poke its head out of the water- of course the turtle in question- he was checking me out.  LOL- keep your dogs and small children away from the water people.  A dinosaur lives in the Flambeau.

However these adorable little painted turtles gladly posed.  

Anyway, 6 miles is a long way for your second kayak of the season.  LOOOONG.  The last mile was tough going, but I just set my mind to it and dug down and went.  Didn't see quite as many things coming back, which was fine.  I was no longer in the photo taking mood.  I just wanted to get back so I could 1.) get to my bathroom 2.) take that wet suit off and 3.) quit paddling.  My shoulders were tired and my hands were getting sore.  Thank you to weight lifting for my endurance- and I know where I have to add to my routine- traps and the top of my shoulder.  Dumbbell shrugs are in my future.  I texted the Barber, who was with the MA, that they needed to drop what they were doing and get me.  They were waiting and I was grateful to let them load the 'yak and I babbled on about turtles and swans.

I was later treated to a trip to the Mad-Middle Son's house and I got to see Greg and Sarah and the babies and the doggies....  SO nice.  Then Mikey came over and ended up having steak for supper with his dad.  I of course did not have steak...  But the grill has gotten a good work out the last 24 hours.

Peaceful - it makes me sad, though.  I thought swans mated for life.  Poor thing.  Hope it finds one when it gets to the tundra

It was a long tiring day, but in a totally good way.  And last night I fell asleep to the spring peepers calling and the rain falling and I passed out until almost 7 this morning.  THAT is sleeping in for the Mad-Artteacher.  Haha, I am pathetic.  But always joyful!  Hope you are having a lovely relaxing Sunday all of you lovely peeps! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

And on to a pretty good week!

When last we blogged, things were looking irritating at my house, but situations were resolved and it turned out to be a pretty good week!

My High School kids are usually very fun and quite cooperative.  They are a cool bunch and my mornings with them are generally quite good.  My elementary kids, for the most part, are the same, but I have a couple classes that are so SO big.  Like 30 kids in the classroom big.  And since it is a class and a half, they are very noisy as well.  And things aren't getting any quieter as the end of the year approaches.

So, a couple of my days during the week are ones I dread a bit, as an hour is a long time with all that constant correction and reminders to not shout at the kid they are sitting right beside....  it's exhausting.  Anyway, Tuesday, these children were actually pretty productive and fun- after I read them the riot act and possibly frightened them.  Ha, like I am so scary.  Anyway, that was a surprisingly good day, followed by days of little glimmers of good news.

It has been a week of eyebrows raised in little moments of surprise- cancelled meetings- and days of warmer and dryer than expected weather...  things like that.  Today we have an inservice all day and then its Friday and then it is a weekend that is going to include some kayaking!!  YES! With a friend I haven't seen in like FOREVER!!  Double YES!

I now have a several clumps of flowering little daffodils, and a few full sized blooms have occurred just yesterday!  Woo hoo!

And back, briefly, to Monday.  The MA had to help someone late in the afternoon deal with a tax situation, and then had some business things to attend to.....  which is no different than ever, but bad timing.  The NEXT day he got home at a reasonable time, raked the lawn for a while and then we did go for a little ride.  I don't think I stopped talking literally the entire time that we were in the truck.  Lol.  I know you all find that hard to believe, right?

It has been nice getting back to spring activities- the lawn is being dealt with, I have the grill out, starting to fetch the different pots of perennials from their winter beds and getting them woken up.  Making plans for kayaking and Bayfielding and all that good stuff!

Anyway, I hate it when my blog is hanging on a downer sort of note, so I decided to do a quick update.  It really is a good week.  I like this!  :)  My camera contains some really nice daffodil shots, but I didn't get around to editing last night- I had a fun twitter thing going on, and I can't be witty and creative all at the same time I guess?  That and I had done some fast down and dirty weight lifting the last few days and I was SO tired.

Well, though it doesn't feel like it, I have to go to work today.  Inservice days - where I have to sit all day- make me just a little nutty.

But I will find some joy - I am sure of it.

Rock on all you beautiful people!!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

And now an annoying Monday night

So here is a daffodil- at least that is not annoying.
So I have been indicating how nice it was going to be that tax season was done....  well, just for that last little bit of annoyance- the MA is STILL not home and it is heading towards 6:15. This is crazy.  

I don't really blame him, because obviously he wouldn't still be at the office if he was done.  I don't know who to blame.  Lol. I know he was planning his last day last night- extensions I think.... Now I wish I would have gone to the gym, but I thought maaaaayyyybe we would go have supper somewhere.  Silly me.

Anyway, I have nothing more to report- other than I got some fun information about the Italy trip today.  So there is that.  And that is about it.  Idk if there is even time now to go walk to the Way-back Field before sunset.  sigh.

Oh well, I guess there is always tomorrow....

I will definitely be going to the gym tomorrow.  HA!!

And I always find that a joy.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Then a fabulous afternoon!

OH what a great day this turned out to be.

Kayaking in Smith Lake

I love to have these different adventures during my day---  all sorts of them.  Now some people may just think of this as "life" or "the weekend" but I like to frame my days in terms of adventures....  because that is what  a joyful person such as moi likes to do.  

Little cabin in the woods
I was really happy to have my good friend the Mad-Science teacher come and visit and go for a walk.  I gave her a mostly complete tour of the ranch, but for actually entering the Way-Back field (as opposed to the field and the back field) and the Pine Plantation.  Mostly she wanted to see the cabin.  
woods road

She was very impressed with it, which the MA was pleased to hear, and I hope she and her hubby can come back soon where they can be given a detailed account of the making of it by someone who paid attention, which was not me most of the time.  HAHA.  

Retaining wall by the cabin
She loved the stone fence thing here and all various pieces of craftsmanship that have gone into it.  I guess it is fine, but I really preferred the rustic path up to the cabin that was there before....  but since it is not mine (HA well technically it truly is, but that is another story)- I guess I should say that I don't feel a lot of ownership in it, it's all good.  I also say that if one is going to nag at ones spousal unit about taking cabin photos, one should clear the crap off of one's porch so it looks picturesque and photo worthy, but someone is not a particularly visual person so he doesn't see that sort of thing.  
Anyway, it was so nice to walk with someone!!  And no bugs and no mosquitos (which are their own category of irritating) and lots of singing birds and of course the spring peepers.

So!  Back to my adventures:  I got to kayak!!  It was a perfect day, even if a little windy.  And yes the water was cold and I was careful.  I got a wetsuit to wear so I can go this early for my paddles, and I did not regret having that on at all.  It was plenty warm, but I wasn't too hot.  I did get really thirsty, and I am glad I had water.  Turns out when I took it off, the suit was soaking wet.  Go figure, right?  Lol. 

I did find myself starting off with some major claustrophobia, as this thing - as it is supposed to be- is tight!!  and right up around my neck.  eeeeekkkk!!  I have issues.  But as I was sloshing around in the water, with my crocs and my little neoprene booties I was surely grateful for the protection.

This is not nearly as cute as my bare feet sticking up out of my kayak!  

Paddling was just awesome.  To be out in the quiet - NO boats were out- and all of the wildlife that I tried to sneak up on to with no luck.  I saw lots of ducks- Mallards, wood ducks, mergansers and some others I couldn't see well enough, but that was in flight.  Now that I have a feel for where they hang out, I will be prepared for them.  And I will try to be even more quiet....  I can be if I want.  And I thought I was, but they must sense the vibrations or something.

I cannot begin to describe the peace that I feel on the water or the way that my muscles immediately remember what has to be done.  My brain slips into a calm that happens very rarely, and I never have the thoughts of being insufficient, or that I am not doing enough for myself or others, or worrying about things that I have no control over.  It is the perfect meditation and I am in my artistic zone.

Getting a new camera is a blessing and a curse.  When I see something I want to just capture the image, and not have to stop a moment to remind myself to check the settings and figure out which button to use to change the f-stop, or all the things that are not quite automatic yet.  The blessing is that the images that are emerging from this camera make me smile.  And my new editing program is absolutely amazing.

But I still do have this wonderful phone camera that doesn't let me down either- sometimes I just have to use it for the speed!  

Smith Lake county Park

I got off the flowage after just and hour and 20 minutes as the wind amped up and I decided to call it an afternoon.  It was a lovely thing, but sometimes you just have to know when to say when.  The good news is that today I am picking up my new baby kayak!!!  And so people who want to go 'yaking with me- I have a second one meow!!!  And I have dry bags, PFDs, paddles and may (if I have something in the house) provide snacks as well  Lol.

So, after returning the MA's truck to him and found that he was going to be gone AGAIN until 8 or 9 pm (I don't care if you think I am being selfish and uncaring- I'm tired of tax season.  And he gets lots of sympathy, so don't have too much pity, lol)  I put out a pathetic text to my mad-second son and asked when a good time to come over would be!!  I miss those babies, and haven't seen Greg and Sarah for a couple weeks and I missed their faces.  As well as needed some company.  So the next adventure: holding babies and playing with Greggy!!

A typical Oswald type day- get all the projects started!

This child is obsessed with tractors!!

I got to see the animals and pet the doggies and see the new berry patch being fenced in....  just so much fun to hang out with them for a while.

Anyway, that was my good day yesterday- I am thrilled to say that I do not feel the effects of kayaking in the LEAST.  I am so grateful for the school gym and my weight lifting- it really gives me the ability to do whatever I want and do it well- well at least well enough!  So off to a new day, it is about time for me to go get the truck, pick up some tax returns from the Phillips office, get my new kayak and pick out some accessories for it, get horse feed, and then get home for lunch.  Lol!  Ambitious I know. #haveanadventure

But that is the joy of the weekends and spring!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Better morning....

I really REALLY meant to post this earlier- as in I needed to sort of negate my sad musings from yesterday with the good news that I woke up feeling pretty darn peppy.  I know you were all on the edge of your seat waiting to hear about that....  haha

Life is always good when you start it with some Big Water Coffee on the deck in one's sunshine yellow Adirondack chair!  Sleeping well for the first time in 4 nights helped matters tremendously
Big Water Coffee!!!
I will admit that it was a little chilly to be sitting out on the deck with bare feet, but you know, it just had to happen.  It was so nice- no bugs.  

Feet bare, don't care
I had a lot to look forward to this morning, what with having the Mad-Science teacher coming over to see the cabin, and then the planned kayak trip- post to follow.  Stuff to do!  People to see!!  Selfies to take.   HAHA

I can feel summer on the way.... and I like it!  Can you feel the joy in the air??  But first- those daffodils should be coming soon....

Friday, April 15, 2016

A whole lot of meh today

Usually Friday is my favorite day of the week- the working week that is.  For obvious reasons- the weekend is coming, duh, and for other more personal reasons, such as the nice chunk of prep time I have, but only on Friday and the fact that I get to eat with other adults on Fridays, too.  AND I have great classes in the afternoon.....  so it is rare that I wake up in a sort of funk.

But indeed that happened today, and it was in no small measure because for the 3rd day in a row, for no obvious reason, I slept horrible.  Had a hard time falling asleep and woke up a number of times.  It was irritating, and I have a feeling being a little bit sleepy didn't help my mood. It has been an interesting week at school, to say the least and I was a little short with the silliness of the high schoolers today.  But, they know this is rare and will be happy to see the real me on Monday.

I went home with full intention of spending the whole afternoon and evening outside maybe weeding, but I just wasn't feeling that either.

Yeah, well, I have been alluding to the fact that I am sort of sick of tax season- and that definitely has something to do with it.  I know all about how long the MA has been working, like until 9, for the last few weeks, but it really gets to me too.  Anyway, that and along with the loss of my partner in adventure-- and I am struggling.

Yesterday I listened to a really interesting podcast, and a portion of it was a discussion of introverts and extroverts.    This person postulated that the true definition of an introvert is that they are recharged by being alone and that extroverts get their energy from being with other people.  It seems this is an accurate definition, and know for a fact that I am indeed an extrovert.  While I need my alone time- daily- for an hour in the morning and a wind down time in the afternoon, I definitely know that I recharge from other people.  It is why I teach what I do, it is why I communicate with a few people multiple times a day, and lots of people occasionally.  I still maintain that I am on the shyer side of extrovert- though it may not seem like it- I really have a hard time talking with some people that I come across.  I am sure that most people feel this way, but I still feel sometimes like the little girl who was mostly mute when encountering new people.

That podcast was quite interesting to listen to because it made so much sense.  And when I was going through my day of sad, I could begin to understand the reasons behind it.  Of course, I have been left to my own devices for several months- which at the beginning is always a nice thing.  I am in charge of the remote and I run my schedule without too much regard to the other person in the house.... but I am ready to be chauffeured around at sunset with my camera in tow, and having someone to chat with for longer than the few minutes in the morning and evening.  I like being alone, but I am ready for a change.

My adventure partner issue is a little more complex, but I am hoping now that I will have 2 kayaks I can lure and entice my friends to come and have fun with me!!  :)  I can outfit them from boat to paddles to life jackets to dry bags and will definitely provide snacks and post paddle refreshments! The lack of a companion boat definitely was a limiting factor last year and I am looking forward to sharing my passion with others.  If you are reading this and want to play- TELL ME!!  The water will be a little warmer in May- it is super cold right now.  Just what I would need is to have someone go over and get hypothermia.

Anyway, I realize that I need more adult interactions to say the least.   And possibly some grandchildren interactions as well, as they come hand in hand with some of the best adults that I know.   It is kind of a cool thing to identify the issue and figure out ways to deal with it in a positive way.   It is cool, but it did not make my evening a whole lot more happy, but I know that happy isn't necessary every moment of the day. I think really I need to go to sleep.

So tomorrow I hope to find my joy again, wake up with a smile, tackle the beautiful 70 degree day in a positive way, take some PICTURES!!  and be a joy giver.  I hope your Saturday can be the best one possible.

Open Water!

I am feeling really anxious to get out in the water this year, and have been keeping tabs on the state of the boat landing down at Smith.... Last Sunday (I think it was Sunday- maybe Monday??), there was still ice at the landing, but the open water was making headway.  Yesterday, I cheered as I came over the rise on Omaha Road and saw the water at the bottom of the hill.

So, what does this mean?  Well, I was going to go and get my second kayak today, but I got a weather update today saying we were going to be having really gusty winds today, so I will just wait until the MA is done with tax season and go get it next week.  I also informed him I WILL be kayaking on Saturday afternoon, and since he is still stuck in his office that day- it will work out fine.  There is really no GOOD reason why I need to get out there this weekend other than I've been missing it and I am hoping like heck to be able to find some wildlife to photograph as I float along. He also knows that it is just a matter of time before he gets dragged out into the water with me.  :)

Anyway,  I am anxious to be out and about.  I am missing my road trips with my certain partner in crime- the Mad-English teacher and have felt a little stuck at home.

On a totally unrelated note, yesterday morning had some really awesome clouds going on.  So of course, I took some photos.....

After my walk to the boat landing yesterday, I went on a little hunt for railroad spikes on the Tuscobia, but didn't find any.  I saw one huge beaver down the trail a ways, I hope that stupid thing isn't building a dam (yeah, right).  That causes problems for us later as the water backs up.  I guess we shall see what happens there.  
This is the results of the last beaver dam

Early spring in the north

On the Tuscobia- no mosquitos!!  No traffic- no noise-  I love spring

Always an adventure around here.  Lol. Looking to see have some warmth this weekend, but the fire danger is UP!!  Way up, so be careful people!!  It was an awesome walk, no one is camping yet, no ATVs on the trail yet, no mosquitos either!!  Talk about a joy.

Find your joy where ever you end up this lovely weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Signs of spring

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I was walking around in the fairly warmish weather (anything more than 40 is warm by our measure these days) and I headed over towards the garden and taDA- bees in the hive there.

We had 2 living hives when we put them to bed for the winter last October, but this past March it was determined that this hive was not living any more.  We had been feeding them sugar candy since they were out and about during those warm days in early March, and we wanted them to live.  But a few weeks after we began doing that, the MA didn't see any activity at all in this hive and so---- it was assumed they hadn't made it.  So no attention has been paid to that box.

Well apparently they were alive, as yesterday I found a lot of kids hanging out around that box!

It's an alive hive

Makeshift feeder

I didn't feel like attempting to suit up and put the sugar water I made inside, because it isn't set up for it right now.  So I just placed a jar of sugar water outside of it with a make shift place where they could get at it. A bee had already found the drips from when I flipped the jar over, so I know they have found it.  The other hive has a nice fat sugar candy loaf from the weekend, so they will be fine.

So I will be interested to see what is going on this afternoon!  Another fun fact was I heard the spring peepers for the first time last night as well!  Just a couple, but still there!  They will be vocal today when it warms up closer to 60!  YAY for spring!!!

And speaking of said spring, I would guess that my little Tete-a-tete daffodils could be blooming by the weekend!!  They are located at the base of the lovely Lola! This is one of my favorite moments of the year is finding my first daffodil blossom.

And of course, lets not forget this wonderful little combo of bees and crocuses!  It has been so fun to see the bees waking up and flying around to get what they can from the limited food sources that is in northern Wisconsin right now.  There is probably way more than we think, as the strong hive had a continuous stream of bees going in and out of the box flying off and arriving in a line from the north. I wonder if some of the trees are starting to have some pollen already.

So I have to get myself ready for work, meow, and need to finish this up.  Funny how these quick posts manage to not be so quick.  But that is ok, I have time!  And celebrating spring is certainly worth the time and is a joy!!

Monday, April 11, 2016


This past Sunday found me waking up feeling sulky over the cold and nasty (read: snowy) weather that had occurred over the previous 2 days.  Friday afternoon had us all giddy from the early release from school: a half snow-day. Saturday, I was in a fine mood- though it was cold- it was sunny and man, I needed that.  Got a walk in, and planned to drive back to the stone house  to take some nice sunny afternoon pictures.  I was a little miffed when it clouded up  by the time I got home and so much for sunny pictures.  Ugh.  So Sunday I woke up sort of sad, which has been characteristic of my Sundays lately.  Weird, as I don't really dread Mondays, but oh well.  Anyway, I had made pancakes and was cleaning up and saying "see ya" to the MA, when I noticed patches of blue skies to the north and west!!!! Oh. Yeah. Baby.
The boat landing, you can see the ice and the ducks and geese
I am always on the look out for interesting clouds/landscapes so I grabbed my camera and headed out the door to the field.  Well, that was all fine, but I decided instead of sitting in the house and pouting, I would go for a drive.... since my chauffeur was otherwise occupied at the office.  I had only my camera and my regular lens, but had the conscious conversation with myself about how angry I would be if I had the chance to grab my long lens and didn't..... so I did!

Receding clouds 

Here comes the sun... 
I began in the yard, actually, but started the road trip down at Smith Lake.  Those were some tough shooting conditions- the sun is directly in front of you at this time of the year at 8:15.  I got a few pretty acceptable shots, and I took my self into the car and went over to the stone house to grab some shots over there.  In my usual optimistic way, I was thinking how nice it was to walk around in the grass that was slightly covered with snow- a. the tall grass was beaten down and b. no ticks!!  Combine the snow with the fact that it was close to 0 the night before and the ticks are temporarily suppressed.
Yes, I would like to kayaking in you by the weekend, thank you.

Though the highlights are blown out, I do love this picture I think.  :)

Moody back view of the stone house
The stone house has some challenges as well- there is this amazing stone foundation that is left over from an old barn.  It is really hard to get that foundation in any recognizable form, as it is long and narrow and there is so much vegetation.  Even at this time of the year, a lot is obscured by the branches.  I have an idea for the next time I get there, so I'll take another crack at it.  Otherwise, I was so happy walking around and finding other angles to shoot.  I had the MA's voice in my head warning me about where to step, as you never know where there might be an abandoned well.

Part of the foundation and an apparent silo

It was fun to shoot there and at the quickly degrading house across the street, and so where to go next?  I had seen in one of the many snowfalls this past week a little pond that is up the road towards town.  I had seen the boy who lives in the house next to it fiddling around with a canoe in that pond during the week (this water will dry up later in the spring), and he left it on the shore.  I noticed this picture as I was driving past to go to work several mornings in a row, so I parked and got that shot too.  I am not 100% happy with this, but it will do.

The canoe is waiting

So after a quick stop at the grocery store, I decided that maybe I should drive up to Butternut Lake and see if I could get some cloud shots over the lake. The clouds were sort of cooperating and I thought of a few places that I could try out.  Since I was on the highway I drove up to the boat landing on the far end of the lake.  I have no idea if you would consider that the north side or the east side or what the hell ever... but I went to the little boat landing - Koch's landing- for those of you in the know.  I was scoping out the state of the blue sky and where the sun was as I was driving into the area and was stunned by the sight that greeted me.  There was open water by the shore, ice after that and a bunch of waterfowl!!  Probably 10 swans (tundra swans) and a bunch of geese and ducks as well.  **I would like to thank my intuition for insisting on taking along the telephoto lens**  Anyway, I quietly exited the car and avoided actually getting knee deep in the swampy margins of the lake, and found a frozen path out past much of the brush that was obstructing my view.  I realized about 30 min. later that I was seriously underdressed and had inadequate footwear! Oh well, feet can be warmed and car seat heaters can be turned up. I do get myself into places I don't expect, lol.  Even with the size of my new lens, I was still a bit far away, but the quality of my camera allowed some serious cropping of the photos of these birds.

Tundra swan

Beautiful in flight

Oh, and I stopped at the big boat landing on the west side of the lake too!  

I learned a lot about my camera on this trip, and from some photography discussions I learned what I REALLY should have set my camera setting to.  Lol.  I was so happy with this day!  In spite of not being able to get out to kayak yet, and the cold, and the snow, I did use some of these conditions to my advantage!

I admittedly slapped a preset on this one!  :) Its a bit bright.  haha

Of course part of learning new things is being frustrated with not knowing instantly how to do everything, if that makes sense?!  So even after successfully solving a few issues with the camera, the editing program offers its own array of bang-your-head-on-the-table moments.  Thank heaven for YouTube.  I found one guy, who I LOVE listening to (Swiss accent- I am a sucker for an accent) but he sort of over-edits.  But I have found so much technique that I can use and I needed to start somewhere. So I am loving the way most of these pictures are turning out, but there are flaws in all of them.  And they make my eye twitch.  But, I am showing you the ones that don't make me slam my computer shut in irritation, so there is that!! Lol

Anyway, I am finding my way around this new technology and feel like I am making some progress.  I sort of thrive on these sorts of challenges and am looking forward to more.  I am itching to get some portraits now, I wonder if I have any grandchildren available for practice??  :D That will certainly be a joy!