Thursday, December 4, 2014

toy drive at work leads to nostalgia

This year our work is participating in a toy drive so I went out and bought new toys for the first time in thirty years or so. I found some amazingly cheap ones, fortunately.

The stick horse has a button you press to make him whinny. (No, don't ask yourself why I'm absolutely certain this stick horse is a gelding: my underbrain at work.)  I, of course, made my own horse noises for my stick horse (he was black, with a white star, and some white hair in his black mane, so his invisible feet probably had at least a few white socks) but I realized how few children nowadays have horses over the back fence to imitate. How sad.

I, on the other hand, had no plush dinosaurs at all. Also sad. This one is so very squishy, yet so RAWR! that I'm tempted to keep him. 

I had a lot of little metal cars, but no tanks. I had a toy tractor, though, and best of all, a fire engine that pumped real water through its hose. I hope that the unknown children who ultimately receive these have as much fun with them as I had with mine. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

walking the Big Beech trail

My latest walk covered more of the Louisville Loop, and got me off the bicycle friendly pavement

(which I appreciate more in wet weather.)

About half a mile of this from the parking lot to the Big Beech trail.

It was a very sunny day, which meant that when I took pictures with the iPod touch I could see absolutely nothing in the screen except my reflection, which led to lots of pictures like this:

This is a really pretty bridge, and I took lots of pictures of it, most of them with even better views of my fingers.

On the other side of the bridge, this structure stands. Is it a bike rack or an exercise device? Or both?

Here I'm looking back at the pavement after turning onto the trail I planned to take.

And forward into the woods.

I've always loved tree roots.

The trail went uphill quite quickly, but without being too challenging. That's the same creek the bridge crossed.

Roots. I managed to crop my finger out.

More roots.

And roots of light.

Lots of sky at the top of the hill.

The trail starts gently down.

Here I spent several frustrating minutes trying to get a picture of some wrens. I heard them, and I was so pleased when I actually spotted them. But the camera refused to see them. Somewhere on that downed tree is a wren, but in all five shots I can't find one, and there were actually two of them.

Even in the woods it was a bright day, but coming out onto the main trail there was So Much Sky.

I can't wait to go again.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

first snow

Luckily I have lots of dry wood inside.

My dwarf pine.

No birds were braving the feeder yet.

I didn't dig the Jeep out for the less than half a mile to work.

There's the tree that's lost two branches in a year. I do hope this isn't a very heavy snow.

Monday, November 17, 2014

a walk at the lake

I went for a walk on some familiar trails that I haven't walked in a long time.

Yes, it's fall all right. The Osage oranges are on the ground.

This shows that these woods were pasture once. Early in Kentucky settlement Osage orange was favored as a hedge material; it's got thorns and the wood is very tough. It makes excellent fence posts because it's very slow to rot. It also burns very hot and long-lasting, but if you don't cut and split it while green, you'll blunt a chainsaw on it to no effect. (Good fence post material!)

And the fruit (loved by squirrels) is about the same size as an orange.

More signs of fall:

Buck bushes are called that because deer love the berries. So do birds, and everything else that lives in the woods. By January they'll all be gone.

See that patch of white that looks like mist in the center of the picture? That's actually the lake, and it looked blue to the eye.

Another sign of cultivation:

Rock fences last longer than you'd think, what with frost heave. I doubt this has been repaired since the Corps of Engineers bought this land in the 1970s.

This is the trail, which is about sixteen inches wide between trees at this point. In wet weather you have  to step wide across a little rill making a tiny waterfall here. Hence the moss.

More evidence of former pasture:

I'm pretty sure that's a built pond, though I haven't gone off the trail to walk all the way around it and make sure.

Which fork to take?

Rose hips. (Native wild roses, not strayed from an old garden.)

I went a little way down the so-called "lake view" trail which is impassable when the lake is high because it's really partly a "lakeside" trail. I didn't go all the way around the loop, because it's extremely steep. This part is steeper than it looks in the picture, but it's not the steep part.

And there's the lake.

Baby oak!

More lake.

I heard lots of deer galloping off when I disturbed them. The area is a no hunting zone and they're well aware of that. Later in the season they won't bother to move far, but all I saw of them on this walk was white tails in the distance. I was there by myself--only car in the parking lot--so I was the only thing disturbing them.

And here's the dam that makes the lake:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I made a fruitcake from one of the family recipes (the one that only takes half a dozen eggs instead of a dozen) modified according to what fruit I can get and what I like, and leaving out the figs, which I like to eat but hate cutting up. I'll make another batch before Christmas, and maybe still another, since I like to have fruitcake for my birthday in January.

The bowls of floured fruit ready to add to the batter, alternately with the cider that I'm substituting for the orange juice my great-aunt's version calls for.

Ready to go into the oven. The pan on the left is older than I am.

Out of the oven and almost cooled off enough to eat.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Desi dancing

If I finally got this to upload, after five attempts, you'll see Desi the macaw showing off after watching me taking pictures of a cat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

all blooming at once

The zinnias are still blooming, although I fear a lot of the buds are never going to open. The marigolds are having their last flourish before frost, and the pansies I just bought will keep going long after frost. I thought I was buying three plants of blue pansies, but one of them turned out to be yellow.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

a September walk

I went for a walk on one of my precious Days Off, somewhere I've never been, in one sense, somewhere extremely familiar in another. This section of the Louisville Loop ( opened not long ago, and I walked about a mile and a half and back. Then I drove home over roads that I used to drive to work every day (until I moved to the city) and went from my starting point to my turning around point in about five minutes instead of an hour.

Just a little distance from the parking space the trail goes under the road alongside Pope Lick creek. If you kept going upstream and follow the right branch (er, the correct branch) you would come to the place where I lived until I was seven.

Even here, where it's about to empty into Floyd's Fork, the creek is shallow most of the time. My father and I used to wade upstream from our place until we got to a place where it was too deep for my three or four year old sized boots. 

This trail is intended for cycling as well as (maybe more than?) walking, so it's very well paved.

Boneset is one of my favorite wild flowers, and not scarce.

I went on up through the woods to the top of the hill, which was very much like pastures I used to walk in not so very far from there.

Clearly former pasture, though without any fencing I don't know what they'll do with it now. .

This is the top of the hill, and I went down to the next road crossing, intending to go farther, but the lack of any restrooms anywhere near where I had parked decided me to turn back. Much of this trail is built on a right-of-way through private property, so if you step off the trail behind a handy tree you're trespassing.
And there are lots of tempting trees.

On my way back I encountered these two half-grown fawns. Spots barely visible.

I was standing on the trail less than fifteen feet from them, and they were curious but completely unalarmed. They continued browsing as I took many more pictures, expecting them to take off any moment, and wanting to get them in flight.

In fact, I left before they did. See the pricked ears?

That was caused by the man on a reclining tricycle, who had a radio (why??? in the woods???) on his bike. Because it was a tricycle, when he saw them he was able to come to a halt without standing up, which might have spooked them, and when I gave up and walked off he was still there watching them.

I went back towards where I started, seeing a lot more this blue flower, which I don't recognize, and could swear I've never seen before, but I didn't take any more pictures of it, which is a pity as coming from the other direction I might have gotten a clearer one.

I intend to walk more of this trail, and to make it a regular part of my walking, especially in wet weather. I'm inclined (as a walker, not biker) to sneer at such smooth pavement, but I truly hate wet feet.