roll in the fog

It has been wet, warmish and gray for what feels like forever. When warm meets cold, it creates what I call pea soup. Fog, mist, standing water and mud. Lot's of mud. The animals don't seem to mind as much as we humans do. 

This type of weather is where the value of mud boots becomes priceless. I got a sturdy pair years ago for doing chores, when the horses lived on the family farm by us. Which seems like such a long time ago... I can't remember the last time I used my mud boots? Until now. Let's just say they will once again be put to good use.

I think our new neighbors thought we were nuts to be out walking in "pea soup". On the other hand, we thought it was a perfect mild day for it! We had fields to measure, and plans to make!! So mud walking we did, and got soaked. My boots didn't fail me, but the left over alfalfa stalks were knee high. At least it wasn't cold.

We walked, and walked, and walked around the perimeter of three of our five fields. Brad rolled the distance measuring wheel, and I carried the clipboard with land map in hand to write down measurements. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it ;)

Field 1 is by the road
(Brad is on the right, in the distance)

Field 2
We will use a small portion for an outdoor riding arena
(Brad is on the left, in the distance)

Field 4 is our largest & most scenic.
Our house will back up to it and
a portion will become horse pasture
We found one of two low spots on our land.
This one is at the bottom of Field 4.
The other
standing water is in the same field, different area.
 We were happy to see both were very minor considering the conditions.

The fog was so pretty, when we were done measuring I walked back out to field 4 to take a couple more shots...
Field 4
Field 4

Below is a foggy shot from my backyard, where we live now. I am going to miss my bird tree. It is right outside our bedroom. The branches block the windows on the second floor, so we don't need curtains and enjoy a birds eye view. 

My Neighborhood ~ Day 20/365
I am taking as many photos as I can of the things I love about our home of 18 years, and using them for the daily photo challenge I am doing. Looks like I am going to make it to the end of the first month!! 

Exciting news, they are starting on our barn next week! Not so exciting news, we got the bid for the attached indoor riding arena. Gulp!! We knew that it would have to wait a few years. You know the saying, Rome wasn't built in a day. They weren't kidding! One thing at a time.


winter walkabout

There isn't a whole lot for me to do up at our land in the middle of winter. While Brad was tending to the never ending fire, I decided to be a kid at heart and plopped down on what little sparkly snow we have to do this...

"Now" day 15/365 day photo challenge

The time is now, to fly, to be myself, to make a change and live our dreams. 

I forgot how hard it was to get up from making a snow angel without messing up the legs! When was the last time you made a snow angel? If you've got snow, do it!! I promise it will make you laugh, and um get a little wet. It's worth it!! If you end up going for it, I want to see pictures of your snow angel!

I also wrote this in the snow, on top of the barn foundation...

My Snow Angel is at the end of 2017
and some bunnies tracks are at the top

the burn pile is a lot smaller
Once Brad was done playing with fire, we went for a hike in the woods. It was a beautiful winter day! I love how the sun shines through the pines, so pretty!!

Snow makes tracks easy to pick out. We saw squirrel, rabbit, deer and coyote. Not sure where all the turkey went? We also found cross country ski tracks. We knew there was a women who had permission previous years to ski the property. I am sure we will run into her eventually. I don't mind sharing our land with friendly neighbors, but I do want to know who uses it. 

Instead of our usual route weaving through all the pine paths, we headed out of the woods and took the lower path across from our building site. I don't walk this path much. Our son cleared it enough so we could ride the horses last Spring, but we were not able to get back to working on it. It's pretty uneven.
Our house site is much further away then the photo makes it look.

Our son had opened up the end of the lower path,
so we could get back to the field.
Further down, there is a small patch of woods in a quiet hidden area. I could see putting a bench there, or just a place to hang out. It's very serene. Once we move, I told Brad if he's looking for me I'll be here. But first, we have to clean up the junk someone left. There is an old appliance, tires etc. Looks like it was a kids fort years ago, or maybe a ground blind.

In the photo below, Brad is walking near the edge of our property. Ours is to the left, he is looking for our property marker. In the distance are cows, and one of our neighbors that we haven't met yet. We really wanted to walk over and introduce ourselves, but that would have meant trespassing. It was pretty far away and he was busy working with his cattle anyways. 

I love the views from the back end of our property,
it's all farm land. 
Eventually we turned around and headed back to the truck. We ducked under our fence to take the field back up the hill. Part of this field will become the horses pasture. We have to figure out how much, and the configuration. It's a hard decision.

 southwest corner of our largest field
our woods
We paused, and paused again. In deep thought. So much to think about, so much to do...


the not so fast burner

We got the news that our barn will be going up sooner then later. Yay!! It won't be long and we will have a building on our property. Before the barn shell can go up, we had to do something with a nearby ginormous pile of cleared wood.

our barn isn't going to look
like this much longer
You may recall we were originally thinking the wood pile would be perfect for a bonfire party. However, the temperature was very cold. In the single digits. Not exactly outdoor party weather, even with a warming fire. Getting rid of the pile had to be put on the fast burner, so Brad & I were it. 

With the necessary fire permit in hand, things were about to heat up. Brad was like a kid in a candy store. He has always been a bit of a redneck pyro maniac. Not the crazy unsafe kind. We quickly figured out the pile wasn't going anywhere fast. It would have to be reduced, one burn day at a time...

there is a fire in there somewhere
There were a lot of stumps in the pile, a recipe for a smokey stinky messy fire. It was hard to enjoy. I am SO glad we didn't invite anyone else. The smoke kept changing directions & was so thick it was tough getting close. We had pictured a nice big fire with flames going straight up. We may try for a group bonfire later, with a different brush pile that has more dried timber. It is in a field corner out of the way, so no rush.

Brad shifted the brush pile around for days. Moving stumps on, moving stumps off, dumping snow here, dumping snow there. Every move was based on what the fire was doing, and when he could be there. Brad reassured me (like 100 times) the fire was safely contained at all times.

The first day, when the fire was at it's peak, was a looong day...

finally some decent flames
the core
barn foundation is behind the fire (on right)
restarting the fire with a blow torch
guess he's not much for rubbing sticks together
thankfully our house of hay didn't catch on fire

I left for a while to take care of the dogs and bring food for Brad. It was dark by the time I got back. The first thing I noticed, was our colorful tree. It still lights up :)) It is the tree above, under the red arrow. 

a welcome sight
The fire was really going now, there was no way I was leaving Brad at the land alone. It was raging, so I kept myself amused by taking photos...

After the flames died down, Brad started messing with the fire again. I was afraid he was going to catch the bobcat on fire! 

I thought he was completely nuts for getting so close!! Just look at what he was doing...

At a distance it looked like he was on top of the fire, and was pretty darn close. Note: Brad has spent endless hours running a bobcat for years, and is a very skilled operator. He knows the machines capabilities, and knew what he was doing. 

I know I am totally weird, but I was in awe with the "fire eating grappler"!! It was sooo cool the way the smoke was backlit, and swirling! The light patterns were constantly changing, now I was like a kid in a candy store!! It was a night to remember...

To this day, the fire continues smoldering off/on with a little help...

eight days later, the pile is almost gone
I don't think I'll ever get another opportunity to photograph something so wicked awesome emerging from the smoke...maybe at an event/show. I've seen rodeo's use smoke at the preshow, but not remotely to the same degree. I certainly hope to never photograph an out of control fire, they are so dangerous and sad. Maybe at the next bonfire? Who knows.

My camera & truck smelled like smoke for days, but it was worth it. Now, we are ready. Let the barn building begin.

the grappler


relive & record

As this past year wrapped up, I found myself feeling nostalgic. Dates change, and chapters of life move onto the next. It makes me kinda sad. What the future holds is anybodies guess. There isn't anything anyone can do about time passing, but look at the bright side. We are still here.

I find it so interesting, barely anyone wrote year end Christmas letters, year end review blog posts, or new year word affirmations. I am also pretty sure I am the only person still making Christmas Cards by hand. Sending off for a digital photo card doesn't count, altho much more fancy & efficient. Things that make you go, hmmm.

I don't do New Years Resolutions perse, but I do try to get things sorted out in the direction I want to live my life. A fresh (re) start. Of course this could be done at any time, but starting with new numbers for some odd reason is more inspiring. 

2017 is going to be one of the busiest years of my life, and already too many things are filling up my time. Some are self inflicted, others are obligations. It doesn't help I am a liker of most everything, except brussels sprouts and coconut. 

My plans are to continue blogging. It helps me relive & record life, and sort things out. I enjoy staying connected to you guys & appreciate the friendship!!

For some silly reason, I took on a 365 day photo challenge. Good idea, bad year. I've always wanted to do one. Supposedly they help a person find their style. Something I've always struggled with, even in art school. Jack of all trades, master of none. That's me. 

I want to grow my photography. Being creative makes me happy. I am taking the challenge one week at a time. To give you an idea of how it's going, I just might call it good. Already. If you are interested, you can find my related challenge photos on Instagram & some on Facebook. Links on side bar. I'll share a few photos here too. I only wish I could infused more equine photos. Horses & dogs are among my favorite things to photograph. Patience. Have I mentioned I need to work on this as well? 

Once our horses live with us, I can only hope my equine photography will evolve. I did see our horses twice this past week and rode both days. Before the frigid cold set in. Our long distance visits just aren't conducive to taking outdoor photos, especially in winter. These days it's get them in, get on and get outta there. Koda is being very good, altho I am not asking a whole lot of him.

Way too many other plans swirling around in my overactive head to share them all on here. The most obvious and important one, is building a homestead. That just might be easier then sorting and moving without 18 years of junk! In some ways, I am looking forward to it. Kids these days (ha ha, how many times have you heard that) just don't appreciate keepsakes like we do - so why am I saving them? I thought they would mean something. I don't want so much "stuff" anymore, I want experiences. To relive and record. Memories for years to come, that don't collect dust.

This year more then others, I seek balance & efficiency, and the ability to say no... 

Day 3 of a 365 day photo challenge
Life is for the living, and I plan to live more this year. How about you?