Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Last week of school and 17 days

I look at this coming week with a mixture of dread and anticipation and just a touch of sad.  Even though I have been complaining about the behaviors of certain children in my life-ahemloudcough- it is always sort of bittersweet when another year is over.  I NEVER am able to get through everything that I want to, and then there is the matter of the kids who leave.  It seems that every year, through relocation or graduation, some of my favorite students leave the school.  I know that 3 of my elementary children are moving away- far away- and I won't see them again, most likely.  It is sad, but perhaps they are moving for a parent's new job or something positive.  I hope that is the case.  Meanwhile, I have a very exciting thing for the 4th and 5th grades to do- called turtle races.  I'll not discuss that at this time, just in case.....  haha  I like to do things mysteriously at times.

A lovely result from all the rain

Anyway, it will be odd to have no seniors at school this week, but we shall adjust just fine.Today will be a work day for everyone and then tomorrow, we begin the process of cleaning the hs art room.  As I told them, I didn't make this mess, I'm not cleaning the whole thing up.  I will probably have to come in to school one afternoon and finish the process, but since I have to do my requisitions anyway, it is tolerable, I suppose.  Most of us do not want to set foot in that building more than absolutely necessary until August.  However most of us end up finishing things during that first week after school is done.  Since I have plans for the end of June, I have to get it all done sooner rather than later.  I have been known to wait for a full week to go back to finish my stuff in the art room.

Holy smokes, it is June tomorrow!!  This is when stuff gets real!  17 days until the trip- last night I started thinking about food, and I have to memorize the Italian word vegetarian.  Lol  Heck, I could probably live off of gelato.  :)  I know the tour director has planned for my particular preferences as well as my sisters (we are not all that high maintenance, really) and the planned together meals are going to be of the authentic type- read: if I see any one going to a McDonalds they are getting lectured.  haha.  Actually I will be so busy and occupied that I am not paying attention to what others are doing.  I hope my sister is ready for tourist Debi, who never wants to sit!  I figure I can sleep when I get home- and the more exhausted I am the more likely I will be able to fall asleep.

Meanwhile, I have been watching the weather for up here, as usually the day after school is finished my good friends and I go to Bayfield and celebrate the end of the school year.  HOWEVER, it is looking like rain all weekend.  I am sure a decision will be made soon, but if we have to put this event off until Monday, I am still available for trips to the north!  Wednesday- I have appointments frequently through the day, and I am not sure what the rest of the week brings.  I HAVE to go out of town to do some clothing shopping next week, so things are filling up.

On a fun note, I  reconnected with my cousin Gilbert yesterday.  He has a cabin way up north and he stopped by on the way home.  That was so nice and he will be stopping by again when he gets up there!  I used to see him and my cousins connie and Shirley maybe once a month  or 6 weeks when we were young, our families were pretty close.

Anyway, I suppose I should get myself prepping for school today.  After a perfect day yesterday, it is looking decidedly unsettled here.  Really we don't need more rain today, but apparently I don't get to choose!  Probably our newly planted tomato plants would appreciate the water.

So, have a great Tuesday, everyone!  It will end up being a short work week- which will be great for all of us.  And that really will be a joy.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Catching up and 18 days now....

WAIT,   WHAT??  18 days - I can hardly wrap my head around that.  This is seemingly happening very soon.....  a Captain Obvious statement I know, but wow! It is so hard to believe that I will get to use my passport for the first time in a mere 3 weeks, when I have been waiting for this for  over a year.  Things I learned about in art history are a mere short frantic time away!
All the grandkiddos

As suspected would happen, I had a few things on my plate the last few days, so no updates.  We had such a nice time with the kids here.  Even though it was raining a lot, we found time to get outside a little and we even went to see the Mad-middle son Greg and his family at his little farm.  Greg and Sarah have a little menagerie of animals there and continue to acquire the things to actually be a somewhat self-sufficient little farm.  I am sure the man who lived there for so many years would be happy to see someone use the barn and the land as intended.

feeding the chickens

Checking out the tractor with uncle Jon
Anyway, the weather didn't cooperate much, but we were able to have a nice time anyway.  Ava is just a little doll- such a happy little girl.  She smiles and smiles and is so content to be with anyone who is willing to talk to her, and she had lots of volunteers.  Ella would have stayed on my lap every moment but did manage to get down and play and have fun at Grandma Debi's.  Friday, they even came to see me at school!
Greggy! His poor little eye got bit by a little bug of some sort.

Ruthie was such a smilie girl!

Meanwhile, trip preparations keep moving along.  I have most of my non-clothing items purchased- except since I already have a memory card filled from my new camera- ahem, oh boy- I think I need to get another one, though I have received the 2 I ordered.  And maybe I should get a biggish one.  I am going to clear the things that are on my table in my back room and start laying out the things I want to take with me, so they are all in one place.  I have been putting things on my dresser and frankly, there is no more room on top of it!

This is puddle jumping at its finest

Trying to get everyone to look one way was a challenge  LOL
It is a gloriously beautiful day today here- I think I will have to get out for a walk....  and probably get in some weeding as well.  Coming up this week is a lot of finishing up at school.  I am going to finish up grades, finish cleaning my rooms ( my elem room is in pretty good shape!) and generally making sure I do not have to return to do a whole lot.  I do have to get my orders in by the time I leave, so that is my plan for the first week after school is out.

Grandpa found a bike for Ella!

Ava in the back seat with Grandma Debi

Omg, this cracks me up...

I got in lots of cuddle time with Ava

When Ella said- Let's go this way!- I said- Where are we going- To Uncle Gregs!!!  

It was a lovely weekend and I am looking forward to buttoning up the school year this week.  I can't believe it is here already, that year seriously went fast.

On to new adventures as we finish up others....  This weekend coming: Bayfield baby!!!  My partners in #haveanadventure and I are heading north soon.  I will be finding my joy again.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Short update- and 3 weeks!

21 days....  3 weeks from today.  Wowza

Last night when I was laying awake and not falling asleep because of some cute little grand girls being in my house, (they safely arrived about 10:30)  I was assaulted by some odd pain in my tummy.  Of course it was nothing, as I woke up perfectly fine this morning.  However, I went there- what if I have an appendicitis attack and I have to have surgery and I can't go on my trip!!!  Seriously, you guys, I think I am almost to freakout mode.  I think I need medication- lol

I don't have much time today, as there could have been some early morning visiting with the Mad-oldest son..... but I do have time to think for a moment about that flight that will be happening in 3 weeks and where I will end up in about 4 weeks! Rome!

And that definitely will be  joy.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

22 days- time is flying!

I realize that 3 weeks from tomorrow is lift off!  WHAT????  Now it is seeming more concrete and way less abstract.... If I didn't have so much going on, I might be having moments of panic, but I don't have time for panic!
These girls!  AND I hope to get pix of the 4 babies this weekend as well!!!

Tonight the Mad-oldest son and his family are coming!  I have a few groceries purchased and have plans after school to do a bit of straightening and possibly childproofing of the house, since certain adorable little children who may or may not be 3 years old will be here for 4 days.  I haven't seen them since Easter, and the MA has not met little miss Ava yet.  Tax season is a bummer sometimes. Anyway,  we will have company and I need to do a little prep work.  I am hopeful that they will be able to come and visit me at school on Friday!  Rumor has it that one certain little Ella was ready to come and see Grandma Debi and  Grampa Fred several days ago.  :) AND I get to see everyone, school really interferes with my Grandma role with these nearby kids as well.

I did some research and reading last night about some of the art I will be seeing.  I have decided to stop looking at a lot of the stops we will be at, and concentrate on the art of Florence and Rome.  I want to be surprised by some of it, want to just immerse myself in whatever sights and sounds and tastes (gelato in Venice)  that come my way.  I love having things somewhat out of my hands, as this rarely happens.  And it takes a while to surrender for me, but once I do- I'm good.

So Venice apparently besides the architecture and the gelato and such has a Peggy Guggenheim Museum of Modern art contained within it.  Seriously??  I LOVE modern art- I will have to see what happens there.  Might try to sneak a visit in there.  I know this is the country for all thing Renaissance, but if we have a nice collection of notable artists such as Miro, Braque, Picasso, Dali and the like, well.......  hmmmmm.  I'll play it by ear, though.

Anyway, I better get myself rolling here and get ready for school.  I should have some cleaning time today, but the other thing is it is the last day of class for the seniors. A sad/happy day for them, and hard to keep the rest of them on task.  But we have a limited number of days now to get our oil paintings done-ish.  And that is not taking drying time into account- rumor has it oil paintings never dry.  Lol.

Babies are in my future today- going to be a GREAT way to end the day.  A joy for sure!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

And 23, plus spring/summer has truly arrived

Full fledged, green leafed, growing grass spring/summer has arrived here at last!  Yesterdays rain resulted in some massive chlorophyll expansion in our great northwoods.  Seems a little over-dramatic, but this is truth.  It was a notable change over night.  This is good!

23 days to Italy.  I got around to doing some camera accessory shopping last night (if it isn't last minute, it isn't procrastination, right?) and now I have to push on to a few other things...  It will be hard to think about all things Italy when I have company this weekend, but that is ok too.  I am ready to think about all things Grandkiddos and my own kiddos and things like that.

I had a nice discussion with my Italy bound colleague yesterday and it was so exciting to listen to her talk about the general way things will go.  Also we are traveling with a group of 45- 3 groups from Cali and one from Texas.  Interesting! Hopefully next week we will have a more detailed itinerary.  I know I am very impatient.  

Today is the senior class trip- and the 8th grade roll ahead day  hour- holy smokes, I forgot about that.  Oh well.  I can talk my way through most anything.  

Press on people, it is Wednesday- long weekend ahead!  Keep on spreading the joy.  :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


I am a tired Art teacher again today.  I am not sure why I feel so sleepy, but I do.  I was even in bed a little before 10....

I was sitting here spacing out this morning, mulling over the whole 24 days thing- thinking about what piece of Italian Art I want to feature this morning- and my eyes FLEW wide open.  (note: this was a temporary wake up moment, I am back to sleepy already)  The Mad-oldest son and his family are coming in 2 days, like the DAY AFTER TOMORROW!!
Summer fun at the campground

This is fantastic, except I need to start thinking about things like food and such for the weekend.  And of course if they are coming, there is a more than even chance that the entire group of us will be all together somewhere over the course of the weekend as well.  It will be children and babies galore!!

Today, though, I have a long day of students and cleaning.  Suddenly I am feeling the need to get things put away, as I will not have the mental space to come back and do this after school is done.  I may end up having to one day, but I would prefer not to.  I am sure I will have to return to finish my orders, though, as I usually need to be in my room to visually see what I am low on.  I will have to up my hs order though, as I have TONS of students next year.  Goodness.

Crazy cows.....  lol
So, 24 days until we leave and yesterday I made not one action to organize myself or get ready....  lol.  I am such a procrastinator.  I did get a bunch of grading done at the elementary school, that sort of counts, right?

I have no insights into life or travel or school today.  I just need more coffee, people.  And today in the elementary we are going to get ready for turtle races the last week of school....  details to follow.

Be a joy giver today everyone!  And remember, coming up is an awesome LOOOONG weekend.  Rock on!

Monday, May 23, 2016

25 days and feeling on course

I feel a little more grounded this morning, while I did not get the ordering done I had planned, I did get a main list of things to do started....

Playing with a loon
Hello I am the Mad-Artteacher and I am obsessively blogging about my trip to Italy!  :)  In case I have a new blog reader??  Anyway, after a nice long talk with my always calming little seester Rose, we have a plan of attack for what we are taking along. I really do feel a lot better about every thing.

Other than that, I - sort of against my better judgement- went for another kayak in the morning.  I say that because my hand and arm is a bit sore today. I have a little issue with a carpal tunnel sort of thing, and for the first 45 min. I had to stop occasionally to let my hand stop tingling.  However,
 I was lured by the water and the wildlife and the sky and the warmth further and further downstream until I decided to turn around when I got about as far as I originally planned.  After a very cool spring, the sun was just such an amazing thing to feel on my face.

Turtle on one of the stumps in the flowage
I previously wrote that I had some issues with the pictures I took on my Saturday kayak, and so I partially auto and partially manual for this trip.  And I ended up with some pretty decent shots!  There was literally no one on the water all morning, except for the flying or four-legged kind.  It was exhilarating and meditative all at the same time.

LOVELY morning
Other than that the MA and I did some gardening things and I did a lot of rearranging and repotting of plant life and things like that.  And again, against my better judgement, I did some weeding and my hand is not happy with me this morning. But it does make the flower gardens look better, and I will persist a half hour at a time.

Hello little bug
So, there is 8.5 days left at school and I need to start getting my rooms cleaned.  And I need to get my grading done.  This is the last week of school for the seniors and I am not sure they will accomplish much.  They will clean their untidy little areas of my room, and I will get back all of their art work, and finish off their final grades- hopefully tomorrow.  Today is my last Monday!  WOW, and Friday is the last regular Friday, so this is big stuff.  Any one out there want to help straighten up an art room or 3??

I better get off of here and get ready for school.  I will be wishing my Monday children a happy farewell today, and I will get leg hugs and love you from a whole lot of little kiddos and that definitely will give me joy.

 *I will be including a link to some art in Italy every day.  :)  It isn't hard to find.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Mind Full of random- 26 days

Yesterday was indeed a lovely day in northern Wisconsin....  I got a walk and a kayak in and then a little gardening.  So, I did indeed sleep a bit last night.  Good news, for those of you who care or are keeping track.

NOT what you would expect to be seeing in the river  :)
I experienced a bit of frustration yesterday when I got home from said kayak and found that many of my photos were blurry.  **insert cursing**  WHY??  Well I'll tell you, I tried using a different setting(TV mode, or shutter preferred) and I didn't have my shutter speed set high enough.  MASSIVE SIGHS.  I keep feeling like I should have this all down pat, but it is all just practice and its all ok.  I had massive anxiety last night over the whole thing, though.  Thank heaven I had my Twitter friend, the Mad-O'sFan, to keep me occupied because I think everyone else was out having a night-life or sleeping or something.  Which is what I should have done- the sleeping part.  

So this morning I am thinking I should hop in the kayak and just go for a paddle and calm myself, but I am not sure.  When I get like this I am not sure of anything.  Now I am thinking obsessively about what I need for clothes for this trip and also shoes....  Really I should just be contacting my doctor and asking for sedatives at this point, because none of this is going to get easier.  However, if I walk or kayak by myself it is like meditation, so this is the thing I must do.

It was a gorgeous day out on the river, so nice to sit in the warmth of the day and when one forgets to sunscreen one's legs, you might even end up with a minor sunburn.  I had taken off my t-shirt in favor of my tank top, so I was able to cover my legs with the shirt for the second half of the event.  The river was just lovely, there was a little bit of activity in the animal world, and then there was the boat that ran into a rock or stump that gave us some entertainment.  

We were paddling along and were quite a distance, and saw this boat coming down the flowage.  While it was not going fast, someone was not watching for the serious plethora of rocks and stumps that are under the surface of this body of water.  The boat went UP over the rock at a minimum of 45 degrees, then of course started to level out a bit as it went ONTO the stump and tipped way over to one side.  I thought they were going over for sure.  Then they revved their engines with the prop pretty much out of the water so you can imagine how well that worked.  Eventually they pushed them selves off because it appeared he had a random 2x4 in his boat.... why?  We paddled way off to the side as there certainly was nothing we could do in kayaks....  and maybe we wanted to quietly mock them for trying to get into a place where a speed boat sort of had no business going.  But that could be just a rumor.

Otherwise,  it was a busy day full of gardening and animal care and trying to make sure the MA doesn't "use up" his spray paint of any of my stuff.  The man is a nut job sometimes. One time several years ago, he "used up" my cobalt blue enamel paint on the window sills on the back side of the garage.  No one sees this but holy crap that still gives me eye twitches.  I have been getting statements referring to me being gone all summer.... as in- why don't you get me such and such since you will be gone all summer?  Or I guess I won't plant such and such this year since you will be gone all summer.  All in jest of course.  Ha- what that says is I think someone is slightly worried about being by himself for 2 weeks.  And since he has no cell phone, unless I can figure out when to get in a quick FaceTime, communication could be limited.  But I'm working on figuring that one out. Poor baby.  Fortunately he is capable of taking care of himself of course.

A pile of painted turtles, who did  not move when I got within 10 feet of them- not typical
I am seriously cringing over having to back to school tomorrow.  These last couple weeks are brutal.  Fortunately, the hs kids all have projects.  I just have to get thing cleaned up with their help at the end of the week.... 

Oh the mad rush to clean all those art rooms up.... I think I will return to stressing out what to wear in Italy- that is a lot more fun.

Not sure what the day is going to bring today, but I am hoping for a little joy giving and I hope a little joy receiving.  And perhaps a little conference call with my seester-Rose to discuss life.

Have a lovely, joyful day.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

27 days- A few pictures and such

Now, it is seeming like I am setting myself up for a daily count down to the trip, doesn't it?  The thing about me is that I really DO want to do that.....  how evah! We all know that could quickly go awry depending on a multitude of things including my particular sleep quality on any given day and my ability to get distracted by the least little..... oh shoot I have to do some shopping online- like TODAY!!!  You get the picture.

Isn't he an impressive guy? or girl?
I get to kayaking today with my newest kayak buddy, Lisa.  I have to figure out a Mad name for her, as I have a Mad English teacher already, but this will come to me.  Maybe I need to check with her before calling her the Mad-Lisa, ya know?  But on the other hand I have checked with no one else concerning their names, sooooo......  Focus, Debi, focus.

Gorgeous calm night

Mad-Lisa and I are going to go for a paddle today on Smith Lake, which I am looking forward to.  I very much enjoy the river, and I think we should go up to the Pixley dam.  I will let the wind and the river decide- and also my companion.  ONE OF THESE DAYS, people, I am going to get the MA out there, and it could be tomorrow morning.  We shall see.

YAY for summer (ish) weather
These pictures that I am posting are from my last journey in a kayak.  After a minor kerfuffle on a certain silly Facebook page, I have discovered that changing lenses frequently in the great outdoors can make ones camera sensor dirty.  Which (shhhhhh, I just didn't know) apparently happens to everyone.... why is it I didn't know this?  Because the camera I had didn't have as many pixels, because the lenses don't rock my socks like these do???  Because I didn't do a ton of outdoor wildlife photography before and didn't change lenses 55 times in 2 hours because I have a sick need to take cloud and landscape photos, even though I am supposedly out to photograph birds???  You choose.  Idk, but I have a specialized can of air being ordered as we speak and last night I did some interesting maneuvers that involved no lens and rapid-fire shooting at the floor to try to dislodge the dust.  It actually worked well but after taking pictures of a plain wall and scrupulously searching every centimeter of that image on my camera, there is a little left.  Did you know that there is such a thing as a pixel peeper??  HAHAHA  people who will enlarge other peoples photos and look at them like up  super CLOSE???  Who has the time to do things like that?  I have my own pixels to peep at and that my dears, is a never ending chore.  And then to rudely comment on some innocent art teacher's photo that she was so proud of for the perfect- if I do say so myself- exposure after fighting with it for several months now??  The things you find out at 11:30 at night.

Anywho, my sleep quality last night was REALLY bad, so I need to wear myself out today.  Kayaking and a reasonable, say an hour, walk should do the trick.  Besides perhaps some weeding and the normal stuff that happens on a day.  So that is the plan!

Back to Italy, which you may as well get used to the fact that this will be a focus of this for a while,  I am starting a pile- a stack if you will- of things that I will be taking.**  And a list of the things I need to get online.  And I am definitely thinking about my footwear, as if you want to try out a few things you have to have lead time up here.

My kind of evening
And because this is VERY important to me- I figure that I have 31 days until I get to see Michelangelo's  David.  And THAT will give me a whole lot of joy!

But first its a lovely sunny day here, going to be in the 70's, no rain, not a lot of wind....  perfect for the kayaker types.  Weather we have been waiting for for about 6 months. Ready, set, get going on your day!!

**You would not believe the amount of time I spent on this sentence and trying to decide what exact punctuation to use.  This is a combination of the fact I like to be fairly accurate and also the thought of certain English teacher types that may or may not be reading this.  HAHAHA  Not that I am really all that worried about it, but I like to be in the ball park.  Don't judge me ;)

Friday, May 20, 2016

28 days, 4 weeks and lots of excitement

4 weeks from today I will begin the trip of my life time (so far!!).  But before that happens, I have quite the schedule--

  • Today- (YEESSSS) is Friday- and Fridays at this time of the year are made of diamonds and gold.
  • A week from today is when Jon, Sarah, Ella and Ava make their first trip north since last Thanksgiving (DOUBLE YEEESS)  and Memorial Day (long weekend!) and graduation.
  • 2 weeks from today is the last day of school (I can't even) and I will be prepping for my end of the year, day after school is out, trip up to the Big Lake!  (angels singing the Hallelujah chorus)
  • 3 weeks from today I plan to have all my orders finished for next school year- I MUST BE DONE.
  • 4 weeks from today- My amazing brother in law will be toting Rose and I to the Minneapolis airport to join the rest of the people we are going on this tour with and begin our adventure.
My mind is being stressed out to the max right now- first from the building excitement and second from the end of school.  The end of school is SO intense.  I tried to describe it to someone the other day, and you just can't imagine unless you are a teacher.  There is stuff to do this last 3 or 4 weeks - you can't blow it off.  The students are getting restless and the seniors are just trying to hold it together.  They all are excited but most are afraid beyond belief.  As much as the profess to "hate it here" and "this is the worst school ever", they are safe and cared for in high school and they are scared to death at leaving this situation.  The elementary students- well they are sort of like monkeys in a cage.  LOL.  I do love those little dudes, but wow are they noisy right now.  Anyway, it is a constant battle to keep them on task, to get them to clean up (insert silent screams here), to help the floundering students get themselves to a point of passing classes and they are so needy in so many ways.... They need so much care while driving the teacher to the breaking point.  I am actually not being over dramatic at all.  We, as a group of professionals, are needing some time off, you can't imagine how intense it is to monitor the interactions of all those children, listen for tension bubbling under the surface, watch their art works for signs of trouble (in my case) and trying to not be short and angry with the people around you.  And then we have to keep up with lesson plans and grading and thinking about next year..... We are holding our own at this point.

EXCITEMENT though is under it all for me.  I react to things in weird ways, and I sort of had a mini implosion this week when my unrealistic expectations got the best of me.  Fortunately I have the resilience to recognize it and deal with it.  Not to mention some of the best friends ever.  I have been getting some things done that needed some lead time- like arranging for the way I am going to handle my money for the trip.  I located my birth certificate- again- which I apparently need.... I ordered an adaptor for charging.... I may have texted someone at 10:30 last night to say I will miss my electric toothbrush when I am gone....  Lol- total random neuron firings are happening to this girl.

I began this week with an Italy meeting- and we discussed a lot of important things- which really started to hammer home the fact that it is coming soon..... and my count down monitor is down into the 20's- I started at 140 days or something like that!  I only have to flip one screen on the calendar of my phone to observe when this all happens.  I am beginning lists.....  I think my sleep is being affected by this all too.  But I can sleep in July.

Anyway, 4 weeks from today we should be loading up the car on our way to the Minneapolis airport (I love being in the city- so that in itself will be a fun little drive) so we can fly to JFK in New York.  We "get to" hang out in New York for a while, as we have a bit of a lay over before hopping on the plane to Milan....  I can barely imagine it, yet I think about it all the time.  

I am trying so hard not to wish my life away...  I remember what a fantastic summer I had last year.  The thing I did was really enjoy every day- I did so many little cool things and SAVORED every day. That is my goal for this summer as well. SAVOR the moments and the days and not just look forward to the next event.  Though that anticipation indeed is part of the joy of the events that will be happening.  

Have a wonderful Friday everyone.  Be a joy giver- some one probably needs some. MWAH

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Camera adventures galore

I have been a pretty busy Mad-Photographer these days.  I've gotten in a few more kayaks and a trip to Bayfield!  I have had my camera out and about and have learned a ton.

I have a nice long lens now- as seen by the wildlife shots that I have been taking lately, and just picked up a wide angle lens too. Add that to the SUPER in between lens that I own and I have a nice set up.... though I am eyeing a few others as well.  Learning all this is quite a challenge.  I relied on automatic settings a lot over the years, and the last 6 - 9 months I have been pushing myself to go fully manual.  Then with that new information appears and I find out things I never knew about- and so I have a host of other exposure and focusing things to learn and it makes me a little overwhelmed. I have gotten some amazing shots with this camera, but I am never happy with them completely. 

 Like ever.  

Then there is this Lightroom business.  Wow that is quite an awesome editing program, says Ms. Captain Obvious.  But again- learning curve!! Thank heaven for YouTube. 

Anyway, I am glad that I have had a variety of experiences to capture lately and I will do a lot of practicing on my new skills and acquiring more info that should serve me when I go to Italy in a month...  ( SQWEEEEEEE- 32 DAYS!!!)

Wild morning in Ashland

A breakwater in Bayfield
I recently had a fabulous trip up to Bayfield with my favorite Mad-English teacher, and the scenery that day was amazing.  Waves for days.  I am looking forward to more hiking and photo shooting in a few weeks when school is done.
Houghton Falls
Spring is such a great time to take photos, there is so much water in the lakes and over the falls.  And of course no more ice so the boats are in the water!
Smith Lake

Shadowy selfie
It has been a ball to go for walks, and tho it has been really cold- the positive is that the mosquitos have not really hatched out yet.  So lots of walks and weeding and all the things that the bugs can throw a damper on.

Smith Lake
Of course part of my joy and adding to the challenge of taking photos is my kayak, of which I now have 2!  So I can take friends and relatives and possibly can get a hubby into it in the near future.
Breaking in the new Kayak
I alluded to the fact that I got a wide angle lens, and this is the first (or second) shot out of the camera with that lens  I have even more ability to get big skies with clouds.
Doze clouds, doh

Butternut Lake
I also have a new kayak partner who I surely hope I can paddle with several times this season- and conveniently she lives on Butternut Lake!  And she has insights into the eagles that live there.
Butternut Lake Eagle

Ready for take off

Wide angle lens on  Butternut Lake
I love this photo- clouds, lake, kayak.... if only I could have had my bare feet in the pic, it would have been complete.
Kayaking baby!
And of course sunsets...
Nice way to end the day
I sort of dig my watermark~ the style of it is just perfect.  Love the font- I am thrilled with it.  All these techno things that make my day..... and bring me joy.  Now time for bed!  MwAH!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

All the sads

My little neck of the woods got some shaking up today.  I experienced  a whole host of vacillating emotions, and in my usual capricious manner- made myself a bit crazy along the way.
This is what I saw first....

 I woke up this morning in a timely manner and was really pleased to know that it was Friday.  I like my Friday kids, but let's be honest and serious- the last few weeks of school are quite exhausting and challenging.  In spite of the ridiculously cool weather, the children are not as focused as they might be.  So I have been looking forward to Friday since Monday.  Jeans day is always nice, and it was not too chilly this morning yet, and I was in a good mood.

After feeding the horse and getting my breakfast to take to school, I got myself into the car to leave.  As I was driving out, I looked over at the new beehives to see an unbelievable sight.  The whole thing was torn apart.  Both hives were scattered all over the ground inside the not quite completed fence....  I slammed on the brakes and stopped to look.  Disbelief flooded my body.  I backed the car up a bit and then got out and sprinted to the house....  As I was on the deck I glanced over to the two hives by the garage- our beautiful tall hive  there was down as well.
The aftermath of the larger hive

The MA was shaving and such, so he could not go outside at that point- but I walked over to the well caged- or so we thought- hives and could not believe what I saw.  I grabbed a couple of quick photos then, and had to go to work.  I felt like I had lost a member of the family.   After a phone call to the office mid morning, I found out that the bear reached the railroad ties that raised the hives off the ground and tipped over the boxes. From there, it reached in and grabbed what it could.  It wrecked quite a few frames- as apparently baby bees are a tasty treat. They tried to get in from all the sides- they ripped off the finer wire mesh pieces and tried to get under.   The hives  in the new location did not have the ceiling on it's cage, so the bear just climbed right in.  No bees survived there but we think we may have saved our overwintered hive.

The new location carnage

Fred was able to scoop some of the bees- and hopefully the queen- into a box that he righted and placed out of reach in the center of the cage.  We shall see I guess.  When we cleaned up all the debris this evening, there were baby bees in the brood boxes.  The hives were doing so well! Prime time for pollen and nectar is coming here soon, this is just so so sad.  Hopefully we have one hive here and we will have the other over at our friend's house.  Next year we will have an actual second cage ready to have the bees installed without having to work around them.

What a mess.  We cleaned this up tonight, found some honey in one of the combs, so they have some population, and food

So, as silly as it seems in a way, this was a very sad thing.  Besides the serious monetary loss on bees and frames, it is also the loss of living things that we had invested in with time and attention and now that I think of it - a lot of sugar!   I always smile when I see one of the kids on a dandelion or feel momentarily bad when I find a drowned bee in the horse water.   I have set up a place for the bees right by the horse water, and had had way fewer casualties.  Does it make sense to mourn for an insect?

The whole incident has made me feel a little funny- like something terrible and violent has happened to me.  I guess for the bees it was terrible and violent, but in the grander scheme of things, it isn't too horrid.  I kept flipping between being so sad about it and then realizing over and over that they are only insects.  We could theoretically buy a package or two of bees if they still have them in Rhinelander (we are not)- that this is nature.  Is it the bears fault that they are hungry and looking for protein?  Are the bears to blame for wiping out our little dudes when it is one of their natural foods?  No we really can't I guess.  Fred takes full blame (not that I was pointing fingers, I was too busy trying to talk myself out of crying over bees) for not finishing the cage, basically we should have been prepared.  But the bees come a week after tax season is done, and it is just not great timing.  But regardless, there really is no blame to be assigned- it is what it is.
Big paws

It is in my nature to find some sort of good in this, and I am not sure what that would be other than the fact that I would miss having them if they were all gone.  I found that learning about them and following their progress and watching for them around the yard was something that I love doing.  As usual, being invested in something and finding joy in it reaps great (and sometimes tasty in the case of the honey) rewards.  And as many of your know, the more you invest in something or someone emotionally, the loss of that thing also affects you more than you would like sometimes.  But you seriously can't have that joy without the balance of the occasional pain of loss.  Seriously, though,  it is a good thing that I have calm people  that surround me in my life to talk me down.

So, in answer to what are we going to do about the bears- not sure.  Electric fence may do little to keep a determined bear out.  The physical barrier offered by the super strong concrete reinforcing mesh stuff will work if they can't reach the hives.  So that is still in the design stage.  Thanks for all the super nice words on Facebook.  I really appreciate the comments, as I really felt pretty sad this morning.

So until next time ( I have a post or two in me yet so stay tuned) find your joy in the little things.....  even if they fly around.