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Here an Angle, There an Angel

A Wisconsin winter woodland and prairie are rawboned, gaunt, and sharp. Summer’s soft mantle of leaves, drape of morning dew, and distraction of bird song are gone. Autumn’s fragrance of parched leaves has become frozen nose, sharp cold, and biting wind. Only in the first few hours of fresh snowfall, or complete oblivion, are the skeletal, angular, bent,  signs of aging unnoticed on Mother Earth.

The softest of summer’s grasses are brittle, cracked, and snapped to the ground. Snow covered branches rest heavy burdens on frozen ground. All around me, I see chaos, disorder, geometric, shadows, and little of the softness of winter’s first snow. My backyard prairie, woods and garden are certainly full of angles, and one Angel.

Thanks for passing by The Road Less Paved. Hope to see you again.

Weekly Photo Challenge:Angular

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A Tree Hugger’s Guide to Touchy-Feely or Don’t Mind the Rough Spots

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

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Happy, happy, joy, joy – I love me most of all

Happy, happy, joy, joy, loving me, loving you! Nothing makes me smile faster than watching any of my critters at play. Lucy Dog, loves Frisbee, backwards in the snow. The three cats roll over one other around a sprinkling of catnip. Coo, our wee parrot, loves his swim-swims. Even the two fish in the tank get excited and wag their tails like eager puppies when visited.

The happiest times come from interaction with my mare, Maggie. Letting her off the line to dance at liberty and enjoy her own reflection in the barn mirrors and windows allows her personality to come out. She’s simply overjoyed visiting her own image.

Maggie’s an alpha, or top, boss horse in the herd. In a herd all horses live within a hierarchy. She’s kind and gentle, but very confident and certain of her leadership ability. If she were human, I suppose she’d be a tad conceited, but I think she’d enjoy a good belly laugh over her own antics. I think Maggie finds her happy happy, joy joy in her free dance.

Daily Prompt:Happy Happy Joy Joy

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Operation Migration – Whooping Cranes – Update: Florida arrival completed.

The flight started over three months ago approximately 25 miles northeast of my house. Eight five-month old Whooping Crane Chicks took their first flight away from their secure home pen and started a long, slow, flight to Florida.

Missed the live transmission?  Check out earlier flights via YouTube. OM will probably post a video of today’s last flight in a few days, so please check back on YouTube.

If you’re interesting in learning more about Operation Migration and keeping current with news on this year’s eight chicks, check out OM’s often humorous, daily blog journal, In the Field.

The final portion of the flight of eight endangered Whooping Crane chicks raised in Green Lake County, Wisconsin this summer, and trained to fly following a UltraLite, (personal aircraft) has been safely completed. UltraLites, piloted by costumed handlers, serve as surrogate parents to teach the endangered birds their migration route. Destined for a backup to the natural (remaining wild born) Whooping Crane flock which migrate between Canada and the Texas coast, the UL trained birds wintering in Florida, will  return north next spring without human intervention. Once taught the migration route it remains imprinted for life.

Now in Florida, the cameras are off. The two live video feeds are:

http://www.ustream.tv/flyingcranes

Live and awaiting the birds arrival at the St. Marks, Fl wintering pen site. This feed will be down until training begins again with new chicks next summer in Wisconsin.

http://www.ustream.tv/migratingcranes

If you missed today’s  live transmission check back at this link. The camera feed could be working at St. Marks, Florida while the birds are adjusting to their new home. Next summer it will again be transmitting 24/7 at the Wisconsin pen site.

For more information on the Whooping Crane, one of ten rarest North American birds, please visit these sites:

https://www.savingcranes.org/

http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/

http://www.operationmigration.org/

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/wildlifeareas/whiteriver.html

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/st_marks/

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Bites and Bits

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The only certainty in life in that all electronic devices have a beginning and an end. Mine have had productive, if not always sensible lives. When not flailing around attempting to create a photographic legacy, I wandered for hundreds of hours through imaginary worlds of online gaming. Friends and family eventually moved on to other games that didn’t interest me. Exploring solo, lost in unfamiliar lands, hoards of monsters and zombies quickly swallowed me far too often for my comfort levels. I parked my winged dragon, lion, and flying horse and cancelled my monthly subscription.

I don’t remember how I discovered Korean dramas. I know I quickly became addicted to the genre preferring it over American television. I muddled through the learning curve until  watching while reading sub-titles became second nature. The first one I watched was an epic, action spy adventure, ‘Iris’. In the best of the Bond flicks, it offered up tension, thrills, action, international sets and the ever-present love-hate relationships of nuclear warfare. I followed it with a vast historical sweep with 152 episodes. Once bit by the altered reality of Asian media, I settled into a love affair with Kdramas  it was the average sixteen episodes that kept me coming back for more. It felt like settling down to a good book – there was a beginning and an end. I watched all the episodes on my laptop.

My working electronic devices currently number two, my laptop and my dumb phone. My desktop computer died a couple of years ago. I bought a used backup identical to my current laptop a couple of years ago because it had Windows 7 installed. An upgrade from the safe, sane but outdated Windows XP. I wanted  the spare to hook up to my desk monitor for photo processing. Unfortunately, being eight years old it lacked the capability to process the bits of larger photo size now available. The stress of too many attempts and overloads blew out the hard drive. Two dead computers on my desk and a drooling vulture circling overhead.

Last summer I purchased new batteries for both laptops. The batteries have a 3 year life span. Of course, Friday, the battery on this laptop died. I figured 3 years doesn’t take into consideration that an idiot like me is chewing away at something 18 hours a day. I think I used up those 3 years in the past six months. I also burned out one of the two identical chargers I bought at the same time.

The hard drive on this computer is making grinding noises like a chainsaw ripping through a frozen log. This may very well be the last posting I get out of this sweet reliable, near vintage, laptop. They don’t make laptops like this anymore. Well, maybe they do, but not in my budget range. It’s a Dell Precision M90 and all the parts are replaceable. I figure between the twin laptops, it’s possible, I might be able to cobble one that works.

I’m running Windows XP on this laptop and, as of January 1, everything started to go wrong. I’ve been locked out of Facebook! I can click on my image, but I’m thrown over to the log in page, where it brings up my alternate email address. When I enter my correct information it throws me out again. It also won’t let me log out. I was using my favorite standard Facebook format until I ordered a smaller Chromebook on January 1 to replace this ‘puter for blogging. My Facebook page immediately switched to the Chrome format with no input from me. ‘pears the Chrome Facebook is incompatible with XP.

My homepage also popped up with recommended Chrome downloads and I’m getting Chrome notifications in my email. I know I can’t email photos from XP to Win 7 or Win 8. They show up looking like a virus. This hiccup shouldn’t be a surprise.

The instant I hit the place order button Google fed a big cookie  to my computer which seems to have stopped the stomach grinding noise that signaled approaching death. I use do not track, delete history, all the protection modules on my computer. I’m beginning to realize nothing is private, certainly not our computer use.

While the rest of the month unfolds I’ll be learning how to process photos without my reliable Photoshop Plugins from OnOneSoftware. In the meantime, a friend has given us his desktop, which has plenty of photo and game processing capability, if we can figure out why it crashes after twenty minutes. It goes into the shop next week and I’m hoping it’s repairable, and that the repair is affordable.

With the computer vulture hanging around I shoo, fly, git, my arms toward the sky and hope he’s had his last feeding frenzy at my home. I’m starting to hope there is a possibility that last year’s goals might be attainable this year.

… and having typed that last sentence I realize a lack of confidence peppers my prose – ‘starting to hope’, ‘there is a possibility’, ‘last year’s goals’, ‘might be’ …  I need to take a bite out of my insecurities and begin work on my confidence building as well as my photography goals.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning
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Brrrr … cold and colder – this is progress

Waxing crescent moon and Venus at sunset - January 2, 2014

Waxing crescent moon and Venus at sunset – January 2, 2014

The new year progresses

on a hang nail

of waxing crescent moon

that snagged Venus,

enticing as a diamond pendant.

I linger and wait

as the bright evening woman

lowered her skirt of flannel red

at the feet

of the brittle, cold sky

frozen to the marsh

beyond the tamaracks.

Daily Prompt: Progress
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Weekly Photo Challenge – Lairs and Layers

Mid-November in South-central Wisconsin is drab. There is no other way to describe it.  Layers of dead, drab brown oak leaves litter the ground. Oak trees tend to keep at least half their leaves until the following spring so the view from my windows is also khaki colored. I’ve reached back into my files for a few photos I took during mid-September of my backyard garden lair while it was in the transition stage from late summer to early autumn. Lot’s of layers of color, texture, and reflections. Let me know what you think. I appreciate your feedback.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/weekly-photo-challenge-layers/

I’ve been singing this to myself a lot lately …