Thursday, January 31, 2013


Its too cold here today to take a photo of the sky so here's a shot from last September...

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Planning Ahead

     Yesterday I was looking through an old photo album and found these two.  This first one has the date Aug 79 in the right upper corner.  Snow in August?  I think not!  I probably didn't finish using the roll of film until then.  Or I kept forgetting to take the film along to town to get it developed.  Ah, yes, photography back in the olden days!

     At that time my husband and I were living in a rented house on a farmstead not far from where we live now and that's where these shots were taken. 

     From the look of these pictures can't you just tell I was planning ahead for my future blog?!  I mean what else can you do with photos such as these?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snowstorm Is Here

     The snowstorm arrived last night as forecasted.  When I headed out the door for chores this morning I took my trusty Canon SX100 point-and-shoot camera along hoping to get some snow shots, but it refused to work.  The lens won't open.  Its been a very reliable camera, but after 5 years of much use I think its probably worn out.  When I got in from chores, I plugged the new webcam into the laptop and took this photo so I could prove the snowstorm is here:

     From the warmth of the house, I also took a shot of these tree branches which rest against a window.  They should be trimmed, but I do enjoy looking at them so maybe there they'll stay.  I didn't use the webcam for this one, I used the Nikon D40 which I wouldn't consider taking outdoors in a snowstorm.  I'm sure going to miss the point-and-shoot and will probably buy another one similar to it soon.

     By the way, we did our first Skype call with the webcam last evening.  It will be a fun way to keep in touch with our kids and grandkids.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I've got no photos to put on the blog today.  Instead, here's a link to the eagle's nest webcam near Decorah, Iowa.  Everyone's waiting to see if the eagles will use this nest or a new one they've been working on.  Eggs are usually laid in February.

Not much going on here.  Its a gray, cloudy day.  Last night I was surprised to hear thunder and rain.  Rather strange for January.  But, not to worry, there's snowstorm in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Barn Charm

A drive-by shot from a little over a week ago...

Visit Bluff Area Daily for this week's Barn Charm.

More Online Photo Edits

I'm sitting here goofing around with some more BeFunky photo editing.  Here's a photo I took last week:

Here it is sharpened:

Next I used the "color filter" on the above photo and added the "vignette" effect, which is the dark edging.  You can make that as wide as you want.

And, in this last one, I used "vintage colors #2" and then added an "instant" photo frame which makes it looks like an old Polaroid picture.

Its just some silly fun on a dreary winter day.  We had freezing rain yesterday which left the farmyard covered in a layer of ice.  I had to shuffle around very slowly and carefully this morning while doing calf chores.

Online Photo Edit

I had never edited a photo online before until yesterday afternoon.  Others have blogged about using the photo editing website called BeFunky, so I went there and found lots of fun effects to try.  I used this photo I had taken last fall: 

I tried all five of BeFunky's "Vintage Colors" effects and here they are:






On BeFunky you can do all kinds of things to photos---crop (trim), brighten, sharpen, add borders, remove spots, add text, change them to black & white, etc.  
CLICK HERE to go there and try it out for yourself.

(When there is inconsistent spacing between photos on any of my blogposts, I didn't intentionally do that.  I preview my blogposts before publishing them in order to fix mistakes, but the spacing sometimes can't be corrected.  Also, concerning this post, I don't know why the number 3 is smaller than the other numbers.  I tried to fix it, but with no success.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I took quite a few shots of clouds on our drive last week.  After some editing in Photoshop, I liked the way this one looked.  I think I brightened it and gave it more contrast.

My husband and went to town yesterday and spent some Christmas money on a webcam so we can do Skype with our grandchildren.  Its now installed and I set up a Skype account, so we're all set to go.  The camera is cool and can be used to take photos, too.  I want to take one of us today to put on our Skype profile.  I think it might look like a picture from one of those photo booths that used to be in the shopping malls.  Maybe they're still around, but I haven't noticed for years.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekly Top Shot

Yesterday I snapped several drive-by shots of these old wire corn cribs and windmill, hoping to get at least one usable photo.

Visit The View From Right Here for Weekly Top Shot.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hidden Windmill

Here's a drive-by shot I almost deleted, then changed my mind when I noticed the windmill.  See if you can find it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Here's a photo taken late last week here in northeast Iowa...

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Cedar Trees

We saw lots of cedar trees on our drive last week.

They grow like weeds here in Iowa.

On Wikipedia I read that cedars are junipers and can live to be 850 years old.  I wonder if that's really true.  It also mentioned their aromatic wood which is used to make cedar chests.  I know that's true for I have one.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Watery Wednesday

     In last week's Watery Wednesday  post, I blogged a 1980 photo of Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  Being young and energetic back then, my husband and I continued our hike, venturing down the trail to Bierstadt Lake...

     I recall the forest there was so quiet, the ground covered with a thick layer of pine needles, and it was free of underbrush, unlike the deciduous woods here in Iowa. From Bierstadt Lake we took a different trail and got a little lost, ending up tired and thirsty and a long ways from the Bear Lake parking area where our car was.  

Visit Bluff Area Daily for this week's Watery Wednesday.    

Drive-by Trees

As we were going through a wooded area on our drive last week I snapped the shutter like mad, hoping for some cool photos.  Many ended up being deleted, but I kept a few.

This next one I cropped to use as my Facebook page's cover for a few days...

 I like these kinds of photos!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


     All week I'll probably be posting photos from last Friday's drive to Elkader and this is one of them.  I liked the look of the sumac which bordered the roads here and there... 

     Right now its too cold to take the camera outdoors anyway.  Yesterday I watched the Inauguration festivities most of the day.  I enjoyed seeing the Capitol and other buildings.  I've never been to Washington D.C.  My two older kids went there on a band trip in high school.  I should have volunteered to be a chaperone, then I could have went along.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Barn Charm

Here's a drive-by shot I took the other day, not even realizing it would be perfect to use for today's Inauguration Day Barn Charm  blogpost...

Visit Bluff Area Daily for this week's Barn Charm.


Here's another shot taken on our drive to get milker parts the other day...

     I think those are Black Angus beef cattle.  On our farm we have dairy cattle of the Holstein persuasion.  Yesterday morning we had some bad luck with one of our milk cows.  She wasn't feeling good when my husband got to the barn early to do the milking.  He called the vet but before he got there she died.  She had milk fever, something that occurs on occasion in cows that have recently calved.  Try to imagine moving a dead cow out of the barn.  It is rather difficult.  It involved log chains and a nervous me backing the skid loader up per my husband's instructions.  I don't drive the skid loader very often.  We traded for a more modern one last year and it has a heated cab which was nice to be in as our temperatures were in the single digits above zero yesterday morning.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Two Seasons

On our drive the other day I snapped a photo of this tree-covered hill, recalling that I'd done the same thing last fall...

Here's how it looked back on September 22...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekly Top Shot

     As we drove along the day before yesterday, I stocked up on barn shots.  I decided this one was not quite fit for Barn Charm, but I like the way the old barn is in focus behind the blurred fence.  I don't really understand how that happens, though. When taking drive-by photos, I use my Nikon D40 with the 70-200mm lens attached.  That way I can focus in better on barns that are further away.  Its fun to see what the photos look like!

Visit The View From Right Here for Weekly Top Shot.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Yesterday my husband needed to go somewhere to get parts for the milking machines.  He didn't need to ask me twice to ride along.  It was a chance to take drive-by photos, so why wouldn't I go!  Along the way, we saw scenes like this...

Our destination was Elkader, where we saw the Clayton County courthouse, built in 1878...

Actually, we were kind of lost when we drove by the courthouse.  We couldn't find the dairy supply business we were looking for.  Maybe we should have followed this truck a little further...

We got a kick out of the cows-comin'-at-ya scene!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Photo from earlier this week...

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Watery Wednesday

I decided to start joining Watery Wednesday  last week because it gives me incentive to search through my stash of old photos.  Here's a shot taken in June of 1980 as my husband and I were hiking around Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  That's Hallett Peak in the background.  Sorry, I couldn't get that spot on top to disappear in Photoshop and didn't want to crop out the photo's edges.  It was taken with a Kodak Instamatic camera I bought when we got married.  (The photos in yesterday's post were taken with a Kodak Hawkeye camera I received for Christmas one year when I was a kid.  Those are square in shape while this one is slightly rectangular.)

 We took this trip to Colorado shortly after my graduation from LPN school and before I started my job at a hospital.  We actually took trips back then in the days before my husband became the sole operator of our dairy farm.  Want to be tied to home?  Get a herd of cows!

Thanks for stopping by!  
Visit Bluff Area Daily for this week's Watery Wednesday.

1977 Trip to St. Louis

     Just call me a blogger blowin' in the wind today, this post having been prompted by another blogger's post.  Recently, Bluff Area Daily  blogged photos taken near the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, which reminded me that I had been there once.  On Labor Day weekend in 1977 to be exact.  Here's a photo I took from inside the top of the Arch.  To get up there, we rode in little compartments that had seats in them and I recall that as I got in it seemed like I was climbing into a clothes dryer.

     Back home earlier that weekend I had been the maid-of-honor in a wedding and after the reception my husband-to-be and I drove most of the night to get to St. Louis.  We were young and weren't fazed by doing something like that.  We also went to the St. Louis Zoo and on the way home stopped in Hannibal to see Mark Twain's house and toured the famous cave from Tom Sawyer.   Here's the car we drove down there in, my future husband's Pontiac LeMans:

     That's an old-style Iowa license plate.  The car owner's county of residence was indicated by a smaller number ahead of the license number.  Number 9 stood for Bremer County which in our case was untrue because neither of us lived in that county, but the former owner of the car did.  We lived in county number 7.  Does anybody know which county that is?  Nowadays you take your license plate off and keep it when you trade or sell your car.

     Lastly, here's a view of river and road traffic along the Mighty Mississippi.  I decided to remove my future husband who was sitting on that bench on the left side of the photo. Actually, though, he still is part of my life's picture.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter Chore Attire

     Drum roll, please!  In this post I will tell you about my farm chore attire in the wintertime.  Over the years, by trial and error, I've learned what works for me.

     My boot of choice is the six-inch Jobber Muck Boot.  Actually, I wear them year-round.  They have the advantage of being quick and easy to get on and off which is handy for me since I go back and forth between the barn and the house quite often.  Since starting to wear these boots several years ago, I no longer get cold toes in the winter.  I do put insole inserts in them for more support.  One pair lasts me about a year-and-a-half.  I don't feel guilty spending the money on them---I wore poor chore footwear for many years and had enough of that.  And, hey, its my chance to make a contribution to the farm expenses that are deducted at tax time!  I've never found any of these particular Muck Boots in stores, so I order them online.   

     My chore coat is a dark brown canvas one from Carhartt.  I bought it several years ago at a farm store.  I think it is a women's coat, but I can't find it on the Carhartt website anymore.  That worries me.  I should have bought two of them back then because when it wears out I will be very sad if I can't find another one like it.  It is car coat length and is very warm and has a hood and is cut longer in the back.  The zipper can be zipped up from the bottom, also, which is helpful when climbing over fences and such.  Before acquiring this coat, I wore insulated coveralls that looked sort of like this picture I found on the internet:
     They made me feel claustrophobic, though, and that's why I switched to wearing a coat.  So then what do I wear to keep my legs warm, you may ask.  Well, I wear Cuddl Duds under my chore jeans. They provide warmth in a non-bulky way.  The link leads to a Hanes outlet website.  I don't buy the Cuddl Duds from there, but I do on occasion order things from there or from their catalog---items that I need and can't find in any store.

     Knit headbands around my ears and neck and insulated gloves for my hands finish out my wintertime chore get-up.  Warmth, comfort, and practicality has to take precedence over style, of course.