December 10th

Monday, December 10th, 2018

Another frosty morning!

Remember how I mentioned in a previous blog that I sleep on the side of the bed facing the window? Well, I opened my eyes to this:


There wasn’t much light, so my photos are pretty noisy due to my high ISO, but what a treat to wake up to!

It was our doe and her twin fawns (they’d been on my blog this past summer), and they even came onto our side of the treeline to move on down past our house to our neighbor’s (main image).

Good morning, and happy Monday!

November 27th

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Today’s image is what happens when you don’t have binoculars handy.

Often when I think I see something out in the distance, further than what my eyes can clearly see, I pull out my camera. I take a picture, then zoom in on the back of my camera. It’s not a very clear image at that point, but it often allows me to see if what I’m looking at is indeed an animal or just a bush.

It was 1:30 this afternoon when I had to go for my camera. Paul was on his way home from work, and I was doing dishes at our sink. I was looking out the window and thought I saw a dark spot where there normally isn’t one. It looked deer-shaped, but if that’s what it was, it’s head was down, so it wasn’t 100% clear that’s what it was.

Sure enough, I take a picture, zoom in, and it’s a huge buck.

It wasn’t overly clear exactly how big his rack was, but I was able to count ten, at least. Not a broad rack, but tall.

So I called Paul, and it just so happened that he was 15 minutes away. Paul has a bow tag that he hasn’t filled yet this season, so he asked me to keep an eye on him so when he got home he could try and go out for him.

I quite honestly doubted that he’d hang around that long, but fifteen minutes later Paul pulled up and the buck had only wandered about 100 feet. (This picture was taken right before Paul got home.)

Paul ran in, grabbed his bow, threw his coveralls on over his uniform, and went out the door.

Now, Paul had absolutely zero cover out there; it was an open field. However, our neighbor had said his trick to bow hunting is to crawl toward the deer once it’s seen you, as it can illicit a curiosity response over a flight response.  He claimed that he does it every season and it never fails.

So I watched Paul crawl across our pumpkin field, over my parent’s driveway, and into the soybean field.

If you can believe it, it actually worked better than I thought it would.


Around here, at the first sight of humans, the deer are gone. Like flee the scene, don’t come back for days gone. Especially the bucks.

This deer did eventually move on, so no venison for us, but it was pretty neat to watch.

However, while we assumed after this little hunt took place that he’d move on to different property, my sister texted Paul this evening after dark, saying that said deer was on the driveway when she came home.

So, even if the crawling didn’t get Paul close enough to shoot, it moved the deer out without fear of the area. So there may be something to this whole crawling thing.

October 31st

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

With the gorgeous weather today, I was out with the girls all day.

It was the perfect day to weed our landscaping, remove perennial plant debris, and empty my annual planter that surrounds our front porch.

Let me tell you a secret about bonding with chickens: Weeding. No joke, I started weeding, and I was surrounded by the flock, curious about what I was doing, wondering if I was finding any grubs. I’d pull a weed, hold it out (root side out), and they’d all clean it up. Then I’d toss what was left of it in my wagon, and move onto the next weed.

By doing this, I also got to really examine the girls up close, and watch their behavior with each other. By the end of the afternoon, I could tell them all apart. I also was able to learn their sounds; I feel like I’m taking a crash course in chicken husbandry, haha.

I also witnessed my first dirt bath, and it was slightly terrifying. All six of them plopped down in the dirt under our sun room, and flailed around.


They looked like they were seizing. Like broken legs and wings flailing around.

And they all did this at once! I thought they were all dying right in front of my eyes. Until I realized they were, in fact, ecstatically happy bathing in the dirt.

Then it made me smile – laugh even. I’ve quickly learned that chickens are happy creatures – lots of pure joy.

Take today’s picture for example. I was in the front yard working, when I thought it was too quiet. I came back into the backyard, and all of the girls (two aren’t pictured) were perched on our wood pile preening. Feeling safe, happy, and content, they were all chit-chattering as they arranged their feathers.

You’re smiling, aren’t you?

See? Joy.

October 21st

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

The sun was just starting to peek through the thin layer of clouds this morning when I looked out and saw this.

The swans are on the move, and they’ve chosen our pond as one of their flocking up points. By the end of the day, we had over 40 swans on the pond.

It was quite noisy.

They trumpet and coo and playfully splash with one another, which is loud in itself, but the taking off the water is the truly noisy part. It rings through the air and sounds like it should – pairs of massive wings and webbed feet slapping the surface of the water as they run across the water trying to gain speed and altitude. But, in contrast, when they come in to land, it is a soft sound; their wings are cupped, and their big, webbed feet break the surface of the water and they gently glide over the top until they settle all the way into the water. It’s nearly silent.

Combined with the sounds of our fields getting harvested today, there wasn’t much quiet.

Those who came out to the patch today got quite the treat though – the swans were constantly landing and taking off, essentially buzzing the field as they do, and the combine was in the field for the majority of the afternoon, which we all don’t get much of an opportunity to simply stand and watch them work.

A busy day for all.

September 11th

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

I was so excited to see this guy sitting out on my bird feeder today.

While you may be thinking “It’s just a backyard bird,” this guy isn’t.

He is a male juvenile Eastern Bluebird. The significance of that? At one point in the 50’s and 60’s, the Eastern Bluebird was in massive decline. It was only through a DNR reintroduction program in 1984 that their numbers began increasing and eventually stabilized.

While it was been years since this reintroduction, it’s still fun to see them around our house. Especially seeing this juvenile – that means there is a nesting pair near our house. Once his feathers fully molt out, his wings and head will be a bright blue, while his chest becomes dark orange; you can see small amounts of those adult feathers peeking through.

September 5th

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

The colors, oh, they are a-changing.

Driving up our driveway this afternoon, the color change of the soybean leaves was very prelevant. The bright yellows and deep greens were beautiful, especially as they became part of one palate as I drove past the field. 

However, when I went to photograph it, the effect of blending colors that I saw while driving couldn’t be created by me standing still. To photograph the soybeans  in perfect focus wasn’t working for what I had envisioned.

So I switched my camera to manual, and brought the scene out of focus. It took quite a few tries to get just the right amount of out of focus to achieve the blend of colors, but still give context to the scene.

It won’t be long and they’ll be coming to harvest.

August 27th

Monday, August 27th, 2018

Today was a day of weird weather.

Overcast, but steamy.

Sun starts to peak through.

Back to overcast.

Large storm system moves through with massive winds and heavy rain.

Then blue skies and sunshine as the sun begins to set.

I guess when I write it out, it doesn’t seem so weird, but trust me – it felt weird all day.

Anyway, when the storm came through, I put my camera on my tripod and set it up for a longer exposure time so I could get the movement of the trees as the wind moved through them. It was really blowing for a while.

Luckily, no hail – that’s the last thing our pumpkins need!

August 16th

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Tonight felt like the ideal summer night.

Comfortable enough to sit out on the front porch and watch Paul rope. Not too hot (or humid), not too cool. And miraculously enough, no bugs. Not until after the sun set when a handful of mosquitos arrived.

The sun was even diffused behind a thin layer of clouds/haze/smoke, so I could look into the sun to watch Paul rope without burning my retinas.

Paul hasn’t spent an evening at home in over a week, maybe pushing two, so this relaxing, near perfect evening was exactly what we needed.

August 14th

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

We had a pretty intense storm roll through this afternoon.

Three quarters of an inch of rain in a half hour.

It was pouring.

But so so so welcome. Everything has been so dry, so although I maybe would’ve preferred a gentle, soaking rain, rain is rain at this point.

Once the rain stopped, it was like all of the wildlife came out from hiding wondering what the heck had just happened.

Snapping turtles, hummingbirds, Sandhill Cranes, and this hen pheasant. If you look really close at the small dark blob she’s looking toward, that’s a chick! I only saw one, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t more!


August 7th

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

We’ve had a lovely fog over our fields every morning this week.

While I really love fog, I know that only means it’s humid out. Going into a two day commercial photo shoot, that isn’t always the most welcome. The temperature today is supposed to hover around eighty, tomorrow around ninety, so hopefully it will be manageable.

So because I had photo shoots both in the morning and evening today, I was going to try and get my photo in this morning, so that no matter what the day brought, I had one done already.

Looking out my window, I started with this:


And then I pulled my lens back, and caught a small movement in my yard out the window in front of me…THE BUN!

He was posing just right with a dandelion hanging out the side of his mouth – I melted.

So not only is he coming back to visit, but he’s now eating the dandelions and clover out of my yard.

He can come back anytime!

On a side note, I realized this morning that the only time I see him is when it’s drizzling/misting, or foggy and low overcast. Do you know what that tells me?

He’s smart.

Both of those conditions means that birds of prey (Hawks, Eagles, etc.) most likely will not be flying overhead, allowing for him to come out into the open with a certain level of safety.

He casually cruised my yard for over a half hour, completely exposed. I sat on the couch drinking my coffee, watching the news, while he bopped around the yard, eating all of my weeds.

That, my friends, is what you call a win-win.