Sunday, December 31, 2023

Photo of the Year and Other Favorites...

2023 Photo of the Year

Other Favorites...

The Trail in Spring...

Millie and I walked up and over this old hill every day of 2023.  Now, here's to 2024....

A Wild Jacket

Another jacket is already in the works.

The Sewing Room

Garden Visitor

The Back Yard

One of my latest - never published

My phone identified it as a Barred Owl.

Millie  (of course)


Reading 20 pages per day is

30 books per year.

Saving $10 per day is $3650 per year.

Running (or walking) 1 mile per day is

365 miles per year.

Don't underestimate.

the power of small habits.


Be still now.  The light is returning.

Release the old year and turn 

your face toward the new one,

with all its possibilities.  Get quiet.

Listen to your heartbeat.

Find your peace.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

 Thoreau once wrote, "Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with nature herself.  I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks.  I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise, and one of the best things I did.  They say that characters were engraved on the bathing tub of King Tching-thang to this effect:  Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again."  

Well, I didn't bathe in the pond on this first day of winter, as Thoreau might have done.  Nor did I leave my winter coat hanging along the trail as I did one day earlier in the week when I realized I had overdressed for the trek over.  I suppose those days are over for a while, which I will greatly miss.  

I make it a practice to take a few pictures every day on my and Millie's walk.  Of course, many of them of Millie.  She must be one of the most photographed doggies in the whole wide world.   A few days ago, I discovered that a new feature on my latest phone attempts to identify each picture.   Underneath one I found "Look up Dutch Shepherd," so I did.  I was amazed at how much this breed of dogs looks like my Millie.  She had been a rescue puppy, so we really knew nothing about her breeding.  But, now we know, thanks to my new phone.   

The site I visited described the Dutch Shepherd as belonging to the Herding group of dogs.  "They love a great workout and are competent, obedient, and responsible.  The Dutch Shepherd likes to know his place in the family and when they do, they will make excellent companions.  This dog loves to be on the go.  They are extremely smart, and they like to use their brains.   The Dutch Shepherd needs a good amount of daily exercise, so if you're a runner, they will gladly be your jogging buddy." 

Well, this definitely describes my Millie Girl.  Yay, for her!  Images taken from the internet look so much like her, so there's no mistaking her identity.  Below is one I found there.  

Well, ready or not Christmas is right upon us.  It's all hands on deck (that's me) here in finishing the baking and other food preparations.  Somehow, it will happen.  It always has.  

The tree is up, which amounts this year to a scrawny little Charlie Brown artificial tree that looks okay, unless one gets too close, in which it looks like plastic, which it definitely is.  I wanted a little natural tree from along the trail, not unlike this one from an old Charles Bronson movie, "Chino,( which we always watch around Christmas)" but I never found a suitable one.  


Happy Winter, everyone.  And, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

"To live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."


"I meant to do my work today...."  No, let me begin again.  I should do my work today, but that's not what I am doing.  All of that business is out the window, and I am out the door.  The leaves are falling so there's not a moment to spare. 

 Millie and I took a longer than normal walk around the backwoods' trails this morning, and, as much as my faithful companion loved it, I think I loved it more, so I am documenting it here.

~ ~~

One of my favorite quotes of Thoreau seems pertinent here.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived...

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to route all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms..."   

So, that's why I went..." to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."  Well, today is a perfect day to do just that.  In just a bit, Millie and I are going to catch up our trusty steed, fuel her up, and head out again.  Millie will probably refuse to ride as she usually does, but I'll not be going far and will drive slowly.  But first, here are a few more phone shots from our morning walk.  

We did not do something so foolish as to climb down this boulder-strewn steep hillside.  I have been here and done that before, and vowed, then, to never do it again.  

In the back of my mind, and I am sure in Millie's too, was our recent encounter with the wild dogs, which I am now calling them.  Where might they be holed up for the day, awaiting the setting of the sun?  

And then.... just off the trail was this.   I actually thought bear at first.  But, ha ha, the joke was on me when I realized it was nothing but an old half rotten log.   

The trees are tall in this part of the woods, so the pretty leaves were taking their time floating to the ground.  I made a little video of leaves falling all around us, but not having YouTube, I can't post it here.  

So, we are out of here.  Take care, everyone.  

Until next time,



Wednesday, November 1, 2023

A Close Encounter and More...


Sad?  Why should I be sad?  It's my birthday.  The happiest day of the year."  

"Your birthday?"  said Pooh in great surprise.

"Of course it is.  Can't you see?  Look at all the presents I have had."  He waved a foot from side to side.  "Look at the birthday cake.  Candles and pink sugar."

Ha Ha!  I always love to read this chapter on my birthday.  It's Chapter Six, In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents.  I had to go upstairs and dig around to find my big A.A. Milne book, The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh with decorations by Ernest H. Shepard.  

The big rock where Millie and I sometimes sit to reflect on the day or to observe Nature. 


After having read Sharon Butala, I began to concentrate more on my surroundings. She says a mindless walk, when one is lost in thought, is a wasted walk.  

  "I began to try to stop thinking about anything else but the dirt on the road, the grass beside it, the stones, the fields spreading out on each side, the hawks circling overhead, the song of the meadowlark or red-winged blackbird, the sound of the wind in the grass, a particular rock high on a hillside.  This required concentration, I found, and a constant calling myself back from thoughts of other things to my surroundings at the moment."  ~Sharon Butala's Perfection of the Morning.  

 I will admit to having been guilty of taking many wasted walks.  I have at times said to Millie on our way out the back gate.  "Millie, we need to talk about some things.  You are a girl so you will understand."  So, I would talk, and she, I assumed, would listen. At the end, just as Ms. Butala would have predicted, I couldn't remember a thing about the walk we had just taken. 

But yesterday's walk was not wasted.  It was a walk of a close encounter.  I still shudder about this one.  Millie was slightly ahead of me as we stepped from the wooded lane above the big pond, when she was suddenly surrounded by "Animate Beings," with the clear intention of doing her harm.  

I could not, at first, wrap my head around what these beings were.  I counted at least six heavily coated creatures in black or red.  I kept thinking, "Are they coyotes or are they dogs?" They were definitely very different from the much less bold and usually bedraggled common coyote that I have befriended, defended, photographed and sketched.   In the end, after having Googled, I decided that they were, in all probability, a cross between the two breeds.  I read that when a coyote is red in color, it is a good indicator that it is of mixed parentage, being in this case, coyote and dog.  This cross is also often more aggressive and less afraid of people.  

Thankfully, Millie is very athletic and a fast runner, but so were these wild critters.  She disappeared from my sight surrounded by two blacks and a red and didn't return for several minutes.  When she finally reappeared, she was dripping wet.  She, apparently, escaped from her pursuers by getting into the pond.  She seemed okay otherwise.  I am still shaken.  


Until next time...


Monday, October 23, 2023

Close to Nature...


It was a perfect day for exploring backwoods trails.  "I had meant to do my work today, but a brown bird sang in the apple tree, so what could I do but laugh and go." (Richard Le Gallienne) 

 Well, that's almost the way it was, but without the brown bird in the apple tree, instead the EEEEE of a red-tailed hawk could be heard from high above the northern ridge.  It was enough.

As I walked, I stopped to pull dead limbs, some that were quite large, out of the path's way.  Farther on, we found one huge dead tree had fallen, blocking our way.   I will need help with that one but do know just the right guy for the job.  

It's a rugged and wild land - home of the coyote, and perhaps of a black bear or two, but I don't mind.  Oftentimes at dusk, when the coyotes begin to cry, Hubby will say, "There are your coyotes."  I say, "I like them."  He replies, "I don't."  I am still not sure how Millie feels about them.  I think it is a kind of love/hate thing with her.   

Sharon Butala in Perfection of the Morning, writes quite a bit about the coyotes of far southwest Saskatchewan.    

"In the evening, during the night, and in the early morning coyotes sing to us from out on the prairie.  They are actually calling to their brothers and sisters across the valley or from hill to lonely hill.  Sometimes they sound happy, yipping delightedly out of sync with each other, without melody or decorum; other times their song seems a heartfelt lament to the gods, as humans sing of their sorrow, their suffering across the centuries and around the world."

Back at home, I am continuing to get the house ready for the long winter months.  It's my big fall housecleaning that usually doesn't get finished in the spring.  I have made much progress, both inside and outside, having only my closet to finish and that always-needs-cleaning garage.  I have decided that definitely "less is often times more," as I am calling the photo of the old printers' drawer that hangs above my sewing machine (shown above).  


                                                                    Until next time,


Friday, October 6, 2023

A Wild Jacket's Journey...

It's a long journey from being a worn-out bed sheet to becoming a stunning wild jacket fit for the backwoods trails, but .......   It can happen, and it did.  

I won't clog up the internet with all the fine details, from drafting a pattern to the scary step of immersing this sweet jacket into a kettle of boiling brew.  Lady Luck was definitely on my side this time.  And here it is finished just in time for cooler days ahead.  I did not leave it hanging on the hillside trail this morning but wore it the entire day.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Summer's End...

The last of the hay has been baled. :~)  As we were finishing the field, we saw again, two young coyotes poking their heads up above the tall grasses.  They were catching and eating grasshoppers. I don't think a coyote has an easy life but these two seemed to be plump and in good health.  

Fall colors are beginning to show up along the trail on which Millie and I walk every day.  Our oldest granddaughter, who enjoys walking as much as I do, went along with us today. We stopped along the way and picked some muscadine grapes which are quite plentiful this year.  The granddaughter filled her pockets.   

I have much love for this old well-worn path that winds past the upper pond, over hill and through fields and meadows. In summer the tanagers, cardinals and mockingbirds sing from the thickets and treetops, but today there was only the scream of a Red-Tailed hawk and the caws of some noisy crows.  

The latest set of twins were lying in the upper meadow, while Momma Cow grazed nearby.  She thought something looked suspicious, so she came running and quickly took her babies away.   I am thankful that she can, at least, count to two, for most cows can't, or won't, so that we have to raise the rejected one on a bottle.  It has been a year for twins, and we currently have two bottle calves to care for.  

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Safe Travels...

"The happening was migration.  It was full upon the Northern Hemisphere.  The shorter hours of sunlight and lowering temperatures were telling millions of birds to go south.  The event had begun in mid-August.  The loons, geese, ducks, and shorebirds had heard the message and had left the barrens of Alaska and Canada.  A few days later the swallows and swifts felt the change and left the Northeast.

And then it happened.  Frightful hopped from limb to limb until she reached the wispy top of the ancient hemlock.  She took a bearing on the sun's rays.  She fixed on a longitude between ninety and seventy degrees.  After many takes, the direction was indelibly printed on her brain.  She pointed her head and body along the invisible line.  She bent her knees and ankles.  She lowered her wings.

Frightful flew.  She did not look back.  She rode the prevailing wind over mountains and rivers into unknown territory..."

~ Frightful's Mountain by Jean Craighead George   (A favorite little trilogy from my school teaching years - My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, and Frightful's Mountain)  

Our weather guy posted this map yesterday which I found fascinating.  We are smack in the middle of high migration traffic rate.  It was estimated that yesterday there were 60,000,000 birds flying south over Arkansas and Oklahoma.  And, to think somewhere out there are my little birds!  

Safe travels, little ones!  We will see you in the spring.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Up and Over - July's last...


With the last stitch taken and the last button sewn on, the last day of July seemed a perfect time to give the Wild Jacket a trial run.   Of course, a jacket was not needed on this morning, nor on any morning of this hot summer month, so it was good to have a handy place to leave it along the way.  

  Later, when Millie and I went back to get it, we took a hanger for another picture.  The fit is good, and I love the full loose sleeves, which are perfect for a trail jacket.  

I have black walnuts on hand, so I will be getting the dye pot ready soon.  Hopefully, the color will turn out somewhat like Willow's jacket in the picture below.  I will post a few more pictures of this doll and her clothes over on my other blog, the link for which can be found in the sidebar above.  

Monday, July 10, 2023

A Rainy Day...


We all know how wonderful it is to finally get rain after a long dry spell, so I won't carry on and on about how sweet it was, except to say, "Rain is such a blessing."  

  At first the cattle kept right on grazing, and actually seemed to be enjoying a good shower after so long.  As the rain became heavier, they did, however, take cover in the woods.  

After the rain ended later in the day, Millie and I took to the trail.  The rain-cooled air felt quite wonderful, and I was reminded that I should be finishing up the trail jacket for days like this one.  (I have already made buttonholes, so there's not much left to do except to dye it, which has me a little nervous. I snapped this picture before I made the buttonholes.  I finally had to buy new buttons, which I didn't want to do, but I could never find enough old ones of the right size to do the job.)