it's a wonder

I wonder, about all things nature.

The how, when and why things occurs.

sunset pillar

taken rolling on the road as a passenger) 


I wonder, why things are the way they are?

In the world at large, and in my own world.

I wonder.


I wonder when the ice WILL go away

I am getting used to hiking with my new ice trackers (STABILicers Maxx2). It is too risky to walk the dogs without them. I've been wearing them every day, for what feels like forever. With them on, I can actually get up the little but steep incline that is part of the Y path loop. Barely. It is a one way path these days. The incline is too icy to slide walk down.

Y Trail

(see our horses at the end, waaaay in the distance?)

Tank & Jameson sharing a stick


I wonder, when

I wonder, if

and I wonder why. 


why are the horses so obsessed with this corner?

(the pasture area that was under water)

our arena set up for riding yesterday

We haven't used our bending poles since our horses lived by us at the "family" farm. Waaaay back in the day.  Koda & I enjoyed them at a walk. We are riding lightly until our vet can ease my suspicion. He was a good boy with everything I asked of him.

I wondered if we would ever use those poles again.

Koda drying off after a bath

Koda started shedding yesterday. Usually it is Nemo that sheds first. I wonder why Koda is our first shedder this year. His coat was super dirty and matted. Except for the neck area that started shedding, brushing him was useless. I am not big on baths, but he got one.

I wonder if he feels better? I know I do.


Brad asked me “what are you looking for” as I came around the corner yesterday morning.

I replied “nothing”

He said “oh, it looked like you were looking for something”

I wonder if a more accurate reply would have been “everything”


Tankee wonders too


a great start

Shortly after my hubby left to take one of our hay wagons to an auction, he called. That was unusual. 

Ruh Roh
I thought to myself.

Nothing was wrong. Brad just called to tell me there was an eagle in a field not far from our house.

Really? Cool! 
I was sitting in my jamies, under my blankee enjoying a morning cup of coffee by the fire. My favorite way to start my day.

I can do that anytime, but an eagle close to home is rare.

Time to hustle. I put some warmer clothes on, switched lenses and headed out as fast as my not quite awake self could.

I found a mature eagle!! I pulled off to the side of the road before reaching the eagle, and stayed in my truck 
at a fair distance. Vehicles kept driving by. No doubt wondering what I was doing.

Much to my surprised after the mature eagle flew away to a tree across the field, a second juvenile eagle (4ish yrs old?)  suddenly flew from a tree next to the road. I had put my camera away, but fired it up in time to capture these:

What a great start to a blue sunny sky Saturday!!

Have I told you lately how much I love my husband? A lot.


counting birds

Last weekend I participated in my first Great Backyard Bird Challenge (GBBC). It is a global four day event, with like-minded people participating as Citizen Scientists.

GBBC participants have been counting birds 
for 25 years. There are other universal tracking opportunities throughout the year. 2022 stats rolled in with 7035 species observed (to date). Wow!  You can see the data that was recorded here.

It was an interesting learning experience. There aren't enough hours in the day to fully immerse oneself into the ever changing data on ebird. I've had an account for many years, but I've never tracked the birds I find. I am completely impressed with the site functionality. Someone wrote a very robust informational and tracking program!

To participate in the GBBC, they ask for at least one 15 minute window of observation time. You can count birds as much as you want from anywhere. It is not backyard exclusive.

I decided to keep things simple for my first time and window watch from the comfort of my home. Consequently, my stats are not that exciting.

I observed twice, on two different days (4 total). I saw 11 species: Dark-eyed Junkos, Black capped Chickadee's, American Crows, Blue Jays, Downy & Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinch, Common Redpoll and the most exciting for me was seeing Bluebirds.

(phone shot through a window screen)

I was happy the Bluebirds decided to show up again. They would probably be the least common bird to contribute for my efforts. Although the first time I saw male & female (not pictured) Bluebirds this year was over a week ago.

With many variables & similarities there were some birds I saw but couldn’t exactly ID. Mainly because birdee's move before I can figure them out lol! You are asked to do the best you can. 

I regularly get other species at my feeders (ex. nuthatches) but the idea on the count is for participants to gather data from the set duration of time.

Even with the Bluebird sightings, window watching was a little anti-climatic. I almost made a trip back to the river to look for raptors & waterfowl. Even if common ones. Until suddenly a huge flock of Cedar Waxwings flew onto our oaks and stole the show. That was an exciting game changer!!

They are hard to miss, when they fly in large flocks. I guestimated there were 60 birds on the two trees I could see from my vantage point. Their flocks are much larger.

Not the greatest photos. I am still learning to love (?) my heavy telephoto lens. I might love it faster if I take the extender off so I can shoot clearer. The above two pics were shot through a window.

If you really want to attract birds, get a bird bath. 
This year has really proved this common advice to be true. 

Cedar Waxwings
(phone shot through a window screen)

They fluttered around off/on for about four hours. Here is a short video of the Cedar Waxwings taken on the other side of our house. Not during my observation tracking time. I was trying to capture their sound/s.

It was a little bit of a bummer to see all the colorful ebird data from the warmer regions, knowing I will most likely never have the opportunity to experience seeing them in person. However, being able to click through to subregions and see and learn about them vicariously through others ~ is pretty damn cool!!

Bird counting and tracking my findings was fun! I will be doing more of it.



What a gift Spring like weather is, in the midst of Winters lingering grip.

I spent a good chunk of my day outside. Soaking it all in. 
One day, can make such a difference. From all of us being stuck indoors to wading in water. On a sunny and 52F day in February. Such a welcome respite. 

We had water streaming down our fields and forming little ponds in all the low lying areas. Some of them were rather large. Most path junctures were under water making them inaccessible. It made for some very interesting water. Or at least the horses thought so. I wouldn't want to drink it, but try telling them.

Tankee was having SO much fun splashing in the big puddles!

Jameson wasn't as excited about the water. I am sure it was cold. He was more interested in romping through the trees. Sniffing around for crap to eat (literally).

J is hard to photograph, but I did get him to stop for a nano second and look at me.

I got really excited when I saw this:

Cierra, Nemo & Harmony

I kept saying to myself "please don't move, please don't move..." as I made a beeline trudging through the mucky field over to Hidden Cactus lake.

I could have stayed there all day. I was in my element.


It was time to move on. The dogs were getting bored and I had chores to finish. Not before one more splash.


Nemo & Harmony

THIS is why we need a pond. I was one happy photographer!! I figured Tank would be into the puddles, but had no idea the horses would be investigating the water so intently.

What a great day taking photos of what I love. 

Horses, dogs, and water reflections sustain me.

Koda & Nemo



an indoor day

We've had plenty of ice to deal with this season. Like many of us. Even with a lack of ice storms. Winter temperature swings, have created terrible footing. For horse and human.

Our horses are careful. Looking for the best route. Nose to the ground. Shuffling along at a slow controlled pace. They pause and think. However, I could see the worry on Harmony's face when she wanted to move to a new area. Watching them do the step-n-slide is not my idea of fun. Nor theirs. By Saturday, there was no way to walk around the ice. You had to walk across it, to get to any place a horse would want to go. 

The ground around the hay feeder is clear of ice, but getting there and all approaches to the pastures, waterer, shed are an issue. I can't help but think, if one single thing would spook them...

We opted to keep the herd inside all day, for the first time this season. They got to stretch their legs during room service.

Their indoor turnout debut went something like this:

group wall inspection

(Cierra, Harmony, Nemo and Koda)

See the speaker mounted on the wall above Cierra? Let's just say Brad will be moving it. The horses were really interested in it and anything else they could get their mouth on. Cierra ended up unplugging the speaker. 

Ma, aren't you suppose to be in here with me?


We are suppose to line up, right?

(Koda, Cierra, Harmony and Nemo)

The look of innocence.

Nemo & Cierra telling on Koda, who is playing with the speaker wire. Again.

Any idea why we are in here?

(Cierra and Harmony, who decorated her tail for the occasion)

Pick 'em up & shake 'em all around!

(Cierra & Harmony)

Cones were added, they were fun for a little while. Koda tried putting one on Cierra's back. It was really hard to get photos. Horses don't make very good windows. I learned my 70-200 favorite action lens, was too long. Unless the horses are at the end of the arena.

Where do you think the horses were most of the time? By the front curved wall. Trying to chew on it. Reach over it. Pick up Brad's tools, or the whips, the poles - you name it. One of us had to horse sit the hooligans at all times.

The windows in the back of the arena became an attraction. Wherever one went, the rest followed. Once in a while a horse would bust out a silly move on their way back to the gate. Usually my horse.

Koda, Harmony, Brad, Nemo & Cierra

I just missed capturing the entire herd looking out the window with Brad. It was high sun, and didn't make for a quality one-shot photo. It's the memory that counts anyways

just walk beside me, and be my friend

Our first indoor turnout was a learning experience for all of us. We may blow up the equine ball next time they are stuck indoors. It's been a long time since they have played with it, especially without a rider.


all kinds

Have an Appy day enjoying all kinds of Love!



a good dusting

I haven't gone on any road trips this Winter to look for Snowy Owls, or other birds for that matter. My day trip max is two hours one way, and those are rare. Maybe once or twice a year. If I go, I usually stay local-ish and try to spot more common feathers. Although there have been a couple Snowy's spotted not too far, including on the lake I recently posted about.

I decided to make a trip to the river to see what I can see. I took a short detour on my way, and found Canadian Geese. Gee, what a surprise. There are bazillions of these messy birds, everywhere. I enjoy watching them fly.

I have seen interesting floaters from a lesser known viewing spot on the West side of the river. Not this time. I found more geese and some common ducks. I decided to pass on watching them and check out the much busier East side of the river. Most public river viewing areas had been roped off for Winter safety. 

I am usually alone and either shoot from my truck or don't venture far anyways. Depends on where I am and who is around.
 I've been warned by locals not to walk the wooded part of the river path alone, so I don't. Brad, Tank and I discovered some cool secluded seating & viewing areas during warmer weather walks. There are some places where you can go down by the river banks. The lookouts are wonderful.

My viewing was all done at a long distance, thank goodness for zooms!! I finally figured out where Eagle Island is. Sure enough, there was one lone Eagle doing lots of nothing.

It was windy & cold. I didn't stay long, Other people showed up and watched the island eagle from the warmth of their vehicles. On the way back to my truck, I spotted an immature eagle suddenly swoop down from the trees across the river. It caught me by surprise. The flight was over in seconds. I did the panic, fling my camera up, waver-n-hope familiar snap thing lol. Not the sharpest photos.

I checked on the island eagle before heading out. Yep, he was still perched. I watched him turn his head, and give a small flock of geese the stink eye for flying by his island.

I tried to find a better vantage point, facing the opposite direction. I still had to shoot at a great distance, and now also through trees. This stoic guy was clearly not going anywhere anytime soon.

Time to head home, after my short & sweet photography adventure. I was happy to have dusted off my camera.

Birding is kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack. You know where the hay is, but good luck finding the needle.


most days

Our Winter weather has been pretty uneventfulI am still hoping for a dumper of snow, although I honestly don't think it is in Mother Natures plan for us this season.

If we can't have snow, then bring on Spring! 

Some snowmobile trail sections were finally opened in our general area, for one short weekend. We didn't even consider firing up our sleds. What we could see of the trails looked terrible from the road. Approaches are understandably worn down, but field riding without good snow cover is rough. Not only hard on the human, but on sleds too. 

I always feel bad for the land owners when trails are run into the ground. They generously allow use of their land for others recreation. Seeing said land, is one of the reasons I love snowmobiling. 

You get to experience beautiful private landscape, you cannot see any other way.

Public access is not given for hiking, biking, four wheeling, skiing, horseback riding nada ~ only snowmobiling. I know what you are thinking. How do snowmobiler's enjoy any scenery, when they go so fast. Simple, you don't go fast just because you can. We only hit the throttle on boring 
familiar straight long stretches, if even then. Otherwise we ride at reasonable paces and stop often. We have even packed & enjoyed lunch on our sleds.

I have seen jaw dropping vistas and had many memorable experiences on our rides!

I am really missing it this week. We cancelled what used to be our annual Valentines snowmobile trip north to play in the beautiful Nicolet forest this week. Boo hoo!!

I am trying to keep life interesting. Walking outside helps. We go most days, unless it is too cold for the dogs legs. Many of our Winter days look like this:


The first video below is the bottom of a slope, surrounded by trees. The snow piles up along the field/pasture edges. This area has our deepest snow, Tank loves it! His snow play goes on the entire walk. 

One good thing about our extended below freezing weather, are the typically bright & sunny days. 

We cross fields to get to our woods. 
Grand dogs Remi & Jameson wander, always. I can't take my eyes off them, especially Jameson the black Lab. Tank is rarely far from my feet.  

Our woods have been dormant lately. Altho I noticed this odd change last week:

overnight tons of tiny pine cones suddenly dropped

they typically fall late Autumn

shelf fungi are still commonly seen on down/dead wood
critters must not like eating them

When surrounding snow gets too crusty & icy to pop up, Tank goes back to trying to get me to play with big tree branches.

One of my favorite ways to end our walks is a smoochy from the big guy pictured below. Nemo always comes up to greet me/us, no matter where he is. He stops whatever he is doing to get some attention-n-love. If Koda is resting nearby, he will come up too. Cierra usually comes over from wherever, but won't reach over the hot wires enough for human touch. She must have gotten zapped for doing so at some point. Harmony's willingness to come over for affection depends on her mood.

More Winter views that can be seen most days, from our place to yours:

If you ask Tank a question, you get this face

Tankee always checks back on me

 Jameson lives for our walks

Heading out for a late afternoon walk with Tank

Our horses were rotated to the upper pasture this morning.

It has been closed off and therefore not as icy as the lower one.

oaks light up with early evening light

colorful upper pasture