winter spring summer or fall

Wisconsin has all the seasons going on this week. Actually all in one day. High around 70F today and low around 14F by tomorrow morning. In less than 24 hours. It is weird in February even for Wisconsin, and we are used to temperature swings in the Midwest. 

No one knows if it is Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall. Not even Mother Nature.

I could go on about the implications of record high temps in February, but I won't. Instead I am heading outdoors for some fresh air, as my body continues trying to rid itself of this cold virus.

I will leave you with a video of Hope on another new morning walk-a-bout. She has gotten sticky feet coming in/out of the barn, so we are changing routines up.

Enjoy whatever weather you are having. One thing for sure, it will change. Especially here.

Hope at 10.5 months 2.22.24 (38 secs)

Video side notes: Taken from our deck. Harmony is the closest horse. You may notice mama Cierra walking upper pasture. Koda is of course, at far feeder. Nemo is inside waiting for his turn.

The dog you hear barking is Jameson (inside house). Tank takes his barn job seriously, and with joy! He knows the words "horse" and "barn" very well.


feel better cure

I have horse-y updates that I want to share, with photos to process. They will have to wait. These days my energy is absorbed by trying to help my body get better. I almost made it through Winter without getting sick. Almost. 

I am on the mend and know this nasty cold shall eventually pass. Until then, enjoy some sweet unplanned phone photos (before I got sick) of my feel better cure. Photos courtesy of Brad.

Hope and I

Hope at 10 months

our girl brings us so much joy


frozen bubble fun

There is something about Winter that inspires me to take photos. I don't know if it is the stark visual change that makes any color pop, the whisper of Winters silence or the sparkly glistening snow.

Whatever it is, Winter draws me outside. The colder the better. If it wasn't so dangerous to be out in slippery conditions, I would enjoy even more Winter photography. Including travel. 
These days I stick around home. 

I have always wanted to try Frozen Bubble photography. It has been done and shared online for a long long time. Typically in video format. Google for ohh's and ahhh's of watching ice patterns morph as a bubble freezes. 

During a stretch of frigid January weather, I tried shooting frozen bubbles. The first time was a total flop. The wind instantly popped every single bubble, despite my best efforts to block it. Frustrated and cold. I gave up.

I bundled up and tried again the next morning. 

70-200mm lens, with extenders

The extenders are the 3 black (hollow) rings closest to camera body. They can be used separately or together for different ratios. An inexpensive alternative to a Macro lens.

upside down mason jar base on a stick worked wonders

frozen bubble test

(photos taken at 4F)

While trudging back-n-forth through the snow, I noticed a perfectly formed circle surrounding a sole leaf. It must have spun round-n-round, like a record. Ohhh the wonder!!

highly processed iphone photo to accentuate circle

what I saw looked more like this

More to wonder, what could I do different to my bubble photos to enhance my bubble mania?

I thought my tiny childhood glass animals would be fun to add, but I only have a few left and didn't want to risk breaking them. I spotted the little gazing polar bear that blogger Val gave me on one of our hikes. My special polar bear would be perfect, and would not break! 

I set the bear on top of the mason jar and blew a bubble around it. Or tried. Another epic fail.

On my next try I blew the bubble first and dropped the bear into the bubble. 
The funniest thing happened. The bubble swallowed the bear! It closed up completely lol!!

I could barely see the bear, so I broke the bubble. No, I did not catch the bubble blast. Maybe next time I'll try to catch bubble shards.

you can bear-ly see the polar bear

Another tap to the bubble and the wondering bear appeared! The chosen photo to share for Valentine's Day along with the wish of "wonder". 

wonder 1/17/24

My reflection is in this ^ photo, in more ways than one. Yes, I toned some of the Dawn dishsoap blueness down. It is not meant to be a blue photo perse. Au Contraire.

another bubble in early stage of freezing

 later stage of freezing (same bubble as above)

Notice the smaller bubbles. 

pretty bubble


happy valentines day

1/17/24 (taken at 4F)

I chose a non-traditional photo for wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day! One of my favorite holidays. One that is about ALL kinds of love!! Not even remotely just about romantic love.

Valentine's Day is possibly one of the most hated holidays. I do understand why but I choose to love, love! I have written about my love for love, and hearts and the many ways one can celebrate love. To me, Valentines Day is for appreciating any thing or any one you care about in some way shape or form.

Reaching out and sharing kindness (a form of love) ~ what is not to love?!

I have celebrated as a kid and with my kids, even as adults. Of course Brad and I celebrate. My closer friends hear from me, especially those that need a little extra love this year. 

Hope your day is/was filled with wonder, and of course ~ love!!



beauty and the beast

For the first time ever, Wisconsin had a February tornado touchdown about 5:30pm last night. An hour away from our place. There is a lot of wind destruction, but as far as I know no loss of life. Some folks have still not been allowed to return to their homes.


(screenshot of a borrowed photo)

We tucked the horses into their stalls just before the winds kicked up. Surprisingly, they didn't seem fazed when we walked them in. They usually let us know danger is imminent. Especially our sensitive guy Nemo.

The sun was setting on our stroll back to the house. It was raining and windy. Brad said "the sun is still up, there is going to be a rainbow". I was doubtful. I can count on one hand how many rainbows I've seen on our property.

Walking past the kitchen window I saw **gasp** a rainbow begin, and ran outside in stocking feet.


facing north (neighbors barn) 2.8.24 at 4:56pm

SO exciting watching the phenomenon turn into a full rainbow! Eeks!! 

facing north and northeast

I ran inside for slippers and came back to the start of a double rainbow! I was like a kid in a candy store.

south end of the double rainbows

(facing east)

The double rainbow morphed into two full rainbows!! The first one brighter than the second. I tried to capture them both in one shot, but there were darn obstacles in my way, and I was 'ehem in slippers. 

double the gold

north end of the rainbows

2.8.24 at 5:00pm

I may need to change the section of our property that I call "where the wild things live" to "where the leprechauns hide the gold" lol.

Within 4-5 minutes, the rainbows began to fade away. Now to go find the gold!


thrill of a different horsepower

Our extended deep freeze has long passed. I enjoyed it immensely!! I loved bundling up and snowshoeing our woods, taking frozen photos and snowmobiling. Just as much as sitting hunkered underneath my blankee. Snug as a bug in a rug. Feeling the warmth of the nearby fire. I feel a tad bit guilty about my frosty happiness. Only a tad. 


It had been at least three years since I rode my beloved red sled. I rode it not once this year, but twice!

On day one, we rode out from our land. Temps were in the balmy low teens. We crossed our road and maneuvered through neighboring property (with permission). Much nicer than taking the road to the nearby trail system.  

The snow was deep. Untouched in area's. I quickly realized that I kinda forgot how to ride. Gulp! I admit, fear instantly bubbled up. My balance was awkward. Would I bury my sled? Maybe I've gotten too old for this. Where did my snow machine savviness go?? I needed my snow sway back! 

In these parts, one has to cross roads to connect trails. Sometimes even highways. Many of the snowmobile trail approaches are not for the faint of heart. If you are smart you check traffic at least twice, and then ~ vroom go! There are times when all you can see is a lopsided snow drift across from you. You cannot see anything after that. It could be a straight downhill drop (usually posted) a path, curve or the dreaded dip. Just like downhill skiing, staying loose is key to riding out the unexpected. Tense up and you will find each and every bump jarring.

It wasn't long before I relaxed into my ride. Altho Brad does makes me lead. Which is a lot of responsibility! If you are wondering why he would do such a thing, it is because I am told I go faster. Apparently I go even slower when lagging behind. Whatever. Lol! I think it is easier for him to keep an eye on me.

My fear melts away r
iding among the trees. A reminder of why I love snowmobiling so much.

me 1/17/24

My sled doesn't have an attitude or get scared of imaginary monsters. I can experience things I wouldn't otherwise. My fav is riding wooded winding trails!! Makes me feel like a kid again. Up north, riding the wood trails is like being inside a video game. Realtime. SO much fun!! It's an upper body workout. I also enjoy the occasional long stretch of trail. Some roads close to cars in the north and you can see for miles, with no crossroads. Since I am always leading, I can open up my sled. Feels like flying! Well, my version of flying.

The majority of the time we ride slow-mo. Soaking up scenery. Much like riding horses on trails. Something I also hope to return to doing this year. 

I am thankful Brad doesn't mind riding with me. I couldn't snowmobile without him. I am not strong enough to get a sled out of a predicament or redirect on pavement when fueling up.

Pretty sure I didn't pass a single female the two days we rode. I did chat with one, and saw a few other snow loving gals in a restaurant later in the week.

We are strictly riders and do not do the bar hopping or stopping to eat thing. We went out to breakfast once on our sleds up north many years ago and vowed never to ride with a full stomach again. No clue how people ride intoxicated either. Snowmobiling is challenging enough sober. 

In years past, I stopped more often to take memory photos of the incredible sights. Many of the trails we ride are private property. You cannot see the wonder any other way. This year, I mostly enjoyed the scenery.

trails frequently take you to the top of the world

My favorite part of our two afternoon rides was towards the end of day two. We were sloooowly weaving through open trees in someones gorgeous back 40 and came upon not one, but two, three ~ no wait ~ five eagles!! What a sight! Even at a distance. Some eagles stayed firmly perched high above, while others continued soaring.

Somewhere along the trail I missed a big eagles nest. Shortly after, a flock of turkey were spotted waddling in a field. A familiar sight on our own land.

breaking trail at home

I am aware many are not fans of snow machines and more so the riders. I truly understand why. However not all of us snowmobilers are disrespectful and love the land just as much as other outdoor folks do. I'm not even going to talk about the revenue it brings in. 'Nuff said.


Currently we are waay above normal temps. Snowmobiling may very well be done for the year and I am okay with it. I got out twice more than I have in what feels like forever. My snowmobiling cup is overflowing & happy!

What a difference a year makes!!


let the riding begin



a scary window obstacle

(Brad's photo above of Leo, and also me below)

frequent arena supervisors


Brad is settling into retirement and has been working & riding horses more. Including Padame. They are gearing up for the upcoming show season!

Consequently, today I got to look between Nemo's ears again :) Walked around cones, over poles, trot, spin to the right, then left. It was an unplanned ride. I didn't ride long at the trot, without better support attire.  

It has been a loong time since I've been in a saddle. Felt great & wasn't even nervous :) Fun!!


On a related note, there seems to be hope for my snorting machine Koda. He has become full of himself and needs many reminders on how to behave. Koda is more reactive than ever. His sensitivity seems to have ramped up since going on Equioxx. Perhaps because he is finally not in pain. 

Koda 1/23/24 (25 sec)

Our vet comes out for a recheck mid February. I will be asking about cutting the dose back or eliminating it. Also, a suggested incremental plan back to potential riding. I don't see any reason why Koda can't be lightly ridden since he has been sound for an extended time. 

My boy has always been a horse that behaves much better with consistency. He will need to tone his attitude down before I'll get on him. I don't enjoy riding time bombs. I am fortunate to have Brad's nerves of steel to help us get there.

Let the riding begin! 


just ducky ~ 2 of 2

If you haven't already, you may want to read the post that leads up to the main reason we took a weekend trip to Memphis.

To experience Jesse Cook's musical energy live.

Let's start with the small brand new intimate venue The Halloran Centre. We knew we had pretty good seats (5 rows from stage) but didn't realize just how close they were. Perfect proximity. I don't enjoy front row seats and prefer to take in the whole stage. You can see the back row behind our silly smiling faces.

I resisted the temptation to watch the concert through my phone. A couple quick shots were inevitable. Also, a couple short videos of key moments to remind myself of the awe we were experiencing.

I knew Jesse would be good in concert. What I didn't know was how funny and humble the guy is. What a natural class act! His concert was entertaining on all levels. He prefaced each song in a relatable way. Often comical.

Jesse Cook

I also knew I would get emotional. His music gives me all the feels. When he first started to play, my eyes instantly filled with water. Not because his music is sad, because it is music you feel. With the tiny crevices of your soul. Or at least my soul.

I often get asked what type of music Jesse plays. I think Classical Rhumba-Flamenco Guitarist best describes him. At one point towards the end of the concert, he had everyone on their feet clapping and swaying along for a "rhumba party".

There was one other time during the concert when my eyes almost overflowed. His song Azul. From one of his earlier albums. One of my favorite. I soaked it in realtime. Here it is on YouTube:

Azul (English translation "blue")

He brought amazing complimentary talent with him on the road! All musicians are based out of Canada. Each equally as talented in their own right.

Hearing them together was nothing short of magical!! 

One of the biggest surprises for me was the Algerian violinist. Everyone was buzzing about him! He played several instruments, but the way he played violin ~ wow ~ was either on his knee or upside down!! Hardly even looking at it. Jaw drop.

His brief intro had to do with the history of the Moors invading the south of Spain. My mom used to tell me about the influence of the "gypsy's".

Fethi Nadjem

dueling with Jesse

a song they wrote & played together
(from YouTube)

He also brought along the talented bass player Dan Minchom. Jesse introduced him as "the funkiest ginger on the planet" out of Toronto.

The other jaw dropper was the percussionist. One word: incredible!! Short clip of one of his solo's, a song he wrote for his daughter:

Marito Marques (20 sec)

I would be remiss if I left out a brief recap of an endearing story Jesse shared about the 4th musician he shared the stage with, Matt Sellick (from Thunder Bay). 

His mother was a fan and had just bought Jesse's 3rd album. While playing music in the car, a then 7 year old Matt pointed at the music player and said "I want to do THAT!". He was signed up for lessons etc...story continued, and he learned to play all of Jesse's songs. 

The first time Jesse heard Matt play one of his songs, he said "...and he plays them better than I do!! Thinking to himself: I must go to Thunder Bay, find Matt Sellick and kill him!" LOL!! It was too funny. Joking of course. Guess you had to be there. 

Anywho, Matt plays the rhythm role in the group. Jesse introduced him as the best Flamenco Guitarist in Canada. Being the guy that he is, Jesse flipped roles with Matt letting him take lead at times. There is an obvious bond.

After already playing a group encore, just the two of them closed the concert together. On the last date of their Libre tour. The only song shared with vocals. It was very meaningful and sweet.

Matt & Jesse (1.05 min)

A perfect way to end the concert of a life time.

This whole trip is still sinking in. As we left the airport back home, I noticed a familiar parting message. It was on the parking lot gate arm, that lifts upon exiting: "It is about the Journey". What a nice reminder. It made me smile inside. 

Our unforgettable trip was everything I hoped for, and much more.