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Monarch Butterfly Foster Parents

by Richie
Monarch Butterfly Foster Parents

 

Ah, the mystery of life! Especially the mysterious life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.

Our good neighbors, Mike & Lida, have been busy raising Monarchs all summer and we were invited to be foster parents to a bunch of caterpillars.

Monarch

The Monarch caterpillar is a very picky eater. They only dine on milkweed. There are many varieties of milkweed, like Whorled, Common and Swamp, and the plants like to grow in open meadows and on the margins of woods. But these are also the places that are heavily subjected to herbicides, and so there’s a severe decline in wild milkweed and hence the butterflies. Where goeth the milkweed, so goeth the Monarch. No milkweed, no Monarch.

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Rider on the Storm

by Richie
Rider on the Storm

It’s been storming for a month now. Big, rolling storms that ride in from the southwest on fast moving fronts. These late summer storms can be dangerous, spawning tornadoes and fierce winds. Makes you keep a wary eye on the sky.

Usually by now the weather has dried out a bit and we can slow down our endless mowing chores. But this year has been exceptionally wet and steamy and the grass is still growing tall, practically overnight.

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The Mishaps of Traveling and Staying Home

Hoo boy – it’s been a month of mishaps. Is Mercury in retrograde or something?

A couple of weeks ago our much anticipated high-speed internet was finally installed. It lasted two whole days before we ripped the cable off the house with the RV.  

Mishap

Yeah, the cable guy hung the wire too low and it snagged on the roof of the RV the first time we passed underneath. 

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Dishing It Out

by Richie
Dishing It Out

We have very slow internet at the farm. When we moved out here there was only one option to connect to the world wide web and that was by Pony Express. Oops, I mean satellite dish.  

Not that I want to name names (Dish) but smoke signals would be faster than the internet service provided by this unnamed company (Dish). 

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A Mess to PEX

by Richie
A Mess to PEX

Plumbing

I’ve been fooling around with pipes lately. Tobacco pipes? Bagpipes? Nope, plumbing pipes.

We built a log cabin at the farm some 20 years ago and the plumbing system has been a constant source of failure. Pipes leaked, faucets didn’t work, water lines froze. All these problems were the result of doing the plumbing ourselves. We’re really bad at it. No skill at all. Add that to the non-standard, we-made-it-up-as-we-went-along indoor plumbing system and you get two decades of failures.

Plumbing

 

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My Favorite Smelly Spots

by Richie
My Favorite Smelly Spots

Smelly spot

Old Annie was a dog that lived on the farm some years ago. She was gentle and kind and pleased to have company on a long walk. We would follow Annie through the woods, down to the creek, and all around the farm. Inevitably she’d lead us to a spot and stop. It would be an old stump or groundhog hole. Her tail would wag happily and she’d look up as if to say, ”See? Isn’t this great!” 

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Photo Copy

by Richie
Photo Copy

Every once in a while I go on a binge and read somebody’s blog from the beginning. Like Bumfuzzle, or Gone With The Wynns, or that dude that hiked from Mexico to Canada. These folks are daring adventurers and they inspire me to get off the couch and travel.

This month I’m following the trail of Mr. Quintin Lake on his blog The Perimeter. He’s walking the entire coastline of England. And as if that’s not ambitious enough, he’s photographing his journey along the way.

But what makes his blog so extraordinary is that Mr. Lake is a professional photographer. Award winning, even. And his work is absolutely stunning.

I’ve spent a lot of time studying his technique. He’s an architectural photographer and seems to concentrate on linear forms. Not only is his subject matter fascinating, but the framing of his shots are pure genius.

Now, I don’t have a $6,000 camera outfit like the professionals, but I do have a very respectable compact Nikon (P340) that has lots of manual controls. So I thought I’d wander around the farm and try to copy Mr. Lake’s style, including his square frame format.

Fence post

Fence post

 

Bluebird house

Bluebird house

 

Tractor implements

Tractor implements

 

Hay Wagon

Hay Wagon

 

Corn crib

Corn crib

 

Retired cattle gates

Retired cattle gates

 

Can’t say I’m ready for the pros yet, but I am pleased with how some of the photos turned out. And if I took the time to learn Lightroom editing, well, there’d be no stopping me!

 

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Two Thousand Seventeen

by Richie
Two Thousand Seventeen

sunset-2

Winter at the Farm

The sun sets low between the knobs this time of year. From the back deck I can mark the progress of the seasons as Old Sol marches southward from his summer resting place. At the peak of August, he lingers long behind the hill to the northwest, lively and showy with color, reluctant to allow Evening her turn. But by January, Sol seems weary and retires with a thin and hurried sunset far to the southwest, as if the effort is all too much.

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