No, They Are Not Just Dogs!

Kate

Eros

My dogs are family and treated like family. Yeah, I’m one of those!! If they don’t like you I probably won’t either. If you visit my house I guarantee when you leave you will have dog hair hitching a ride. I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. Kate is a 2011 model and Eros a 2012. Kate had a few problems when she was a pup. She had crystals in her urine and had hip surgery at a year old.

She slept on the couch and I slept on the floor beside her. When she was healed up she became my ride dog.

I am a retired farrier and she loved going to the barns with me. She took her riding shotgun seriously.

Then there is Eros. He was so little when he was a pup. He now ways 124 pounds.

He can be pretty intimidating. He is a big teddy bear. He is definitely a “protector”.

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you loves yourself.” – Josh Billings

They both have their own personalities. They are good listeners, loyal, and give unconditional love. They are always glad to see you and add joy to your life.

Now don’t get me wrong. They can get sick and leave a big mess to clean up and they can just simply be a pain in the butt. They are a huge responsibility. All in all I still say they are worth it.

Nope they aren’t just dogs. They’re family.

Slow down and …………………..

Life is made up of special moments which make it worth living.

There are many cherished moments that are missed due to the stress and fast pace of daily living.

We must slow down and remember how precious it is to be alive and to love.    Lessons Learned in Life

Pickle Springs Natural Area

Pickle Springs Natural Area is located in St. Genevieve County in Missouri. Inside the area is a 1.9-mile loop that is rated moderate. Average time to cover trail is 52 minutes. It is popular among hikers, trail runners and bird watchers. The trail is open all year-round, but you will have to leave your pups at home. Dogs aren’t allowed.

The area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974. Inside the area you will find unique rock outcroppings, seasonal waterfalls, bluff overlooks, shallow caves and be prepared to cross wet weather creek crossings. You might want to take along a pair of binoculars or camera. There is ample wildlife to spot. The area has some steep uphill climbs, bridged creek crossings and you will find the trail is well maintained.

You will find 250 species of vascular plants and rose azalea. Creek inhabitants include four toed salamanders, pickerel frogs, green frogs and southern leopard frogs. Also found in the creek is a crustacean, amphipod, known to be only found here.

From Farmington, MO, take Highway 32 east, then Route AA east, and Dorlac Road north.

People Are Great

I don’t remember when I started blogging but I have been doing it for awhile. I have met some great people blogging. I have learned a great deal about lizards had Saturday morning coffee and learned about the deep cold a friend experiences way up north. There are so many that I have met and I consider them friends.

Everyone of you are special to me and I enjoy your work. I did receive a very nice comment on my Aging post and the crazy thing I really needed to hear that. It really made my day. Thank you sooooo much.

In closing I want you to know that every like and comment I get is very appreciated. I can’t thank you all enough really.

Aging and Birthdays

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Mark Twain

I have never been big on celebrating my birthday. I remember one year my mom called to wish me happy birthday. I told her it wasn’t my birthday, I didn’t know what day of the month it was but it didn’t stop me from opening my mouth and inserting my foot. My mother was quick to remind me that she was there for the delivery, yes she said it, and that she should know. Once again mom was right.

I remember as a kid I thought 40 was old. I thought you moved into the old folks home at that age. I had no idea how wrong I was. As I celebrated my 25th birthday, I came to realize that people lived into their 60s, 70s, and even 80s. Ok I never said I was the sharpest tool in the shed.

I never really thought I would make it to my 60s. But to my surprise I just turned 68. I have reached that point in life where my body and mind seem to be arguing a lot. My body says you really aren’t going to do that are you? You better think about what you are doing and my mind says hold my Geritol and watch this!

Devil’s Honeycomb Trail (Hughes Mountain)

Located in the Hughes Mountain Natural Area is a trail called Devil’s Honeycomb Trail. It consists of glades, savanna, old fields and it is half forest. Polygonal columns of rhyolite make up what the locals call the Devil’s Honeycomb and is located at the highest point of the mountain. It is one of Missouri’s geologic wonders.

Around 1.5 billion years ago the rocks were liquefied by volcanoes associated with the St. Francois Mountains. The molten rock contracted, and as it cooled cracked and created multi-sided columns and created a rhyolite formation that locals named the Devil’s Honeycomb. The Precambrian rock outcrops are among the most ancient, exposed rocks in the United States.

The Hughes Mountain Natural Area is located off highway M, 3 miles southeast of Irondale.

Are Black and White Photos Appealing?

“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams was an American landscape photographer and environmentalist. He was well known for his black and white images of the American West. He created many black and white masterpieces, but I think his most famous is “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome. I know the first time I saw it I wanted to be a photographer.

I am a long way from being an Ansel Adams but I like black and white pictures. I just don’t know that there is really a good market for it. I guess I will find out. The top photo is a picture I took of one of the buildings that was used to process iron ore located in Park Hills, MO. It is now the property of Missouri and is a part of St. Joe Park. It has been designated a Historic Mine Site.

Building located within St. Joe Park and was used in the processing of iron ore.
A conifer located in Hughes Mountain Natural Area near Irondale, MO.
Cedar tree located in Hughes Mountain Natural Area that has seen better days.
The view on Hughes Mountain.

I recently was able to take a hike on the Hughes Mountain Natural Area trail. The trail is rated moderate is an out-and-back trail, 1.6 miles long.

I decided to be creative.
Some more of my creativity.

I hope you enjoyed my photos. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Color or black and white?

Hughes Mountain Natural Area

Hughes Mountain is located in southern Washington County in Missouri. The area was designated a natural area in 1982. It is made up of a combination of igneous glades and three types of forests. Precambrian rock outcrops found in the area are 1.5 billion years old making them among the most ancient, exposed rocks in the United States.

The area is named after the first European settler, who arrived in 1810, John Hughes. The Conservation Department purchased the land from the Hughes family. The rhyolite formation located at its highest point is known by locals as the Devil’s Honeycomb. Because of my late start and other time restraints I was unable to make my way to this area. Another trip is planned for the near future.

Glades located within the area are natural openings located on the western and southern slopes where native grasses and a variety of wildflowers can be found. Glade plants include little bluestem, broomsedge, poverty grass, flame flower, prickly pear cactus, yellow star grass, spiderwort, and wild hyacinth.

The trail is 1.6 miles long and is an out-and-back trail near Irondale, MO. I found it to be a moderately challenging trail but was fairly well maintained with trail arrows. On average it takes 48 minutes to complete however time gets away from you when snapping photos. The trail is open year round and dogs are welcome but they must be on a leash. The trail is popular among birders, hikers and runners. However, if you see me running, run, because something is chasing me.

NOTE: All pictures were taken by me and the property of Double D Acres LLC and may not be used without my permission.

More to A Photo

Storm moving in

Pictures can only show what is happening. Being void of sound and smell it leaves the viewer to their own imagination to fill in the rest.

How about you? When you look at a photo do you stop there or do you imagine more?

When you look at the above photo do you imagine the sound of thunder in the distance? Can you feel the breeze from the storm and smell the coming rain in the air? Can you hear the wind in the trees?

I am one who try’s to add another element to the photo that the photographer can’t. It adds a new dimension and can even add to the excitement of the photo.

It would be interesting to hear what others think.

A Dog Named Remi

Remi

My story begins last year when I bought a new home in Belgrade, MO. On the day of closing I drove out to my new home to take a look around. Upon arrival I exited the truck to only be met by a very angry dog.

Now I had never seen this dog and was to find out later that it was the previous owners dog. Now they had not only not told me about the dog but they seemed to have forgot to tell her they were moving and she no longer lived there. Bad, bad owners.

It seemed she was very protective of her abode and had no intentions of letting me in the house. She became even more angry and at one point had me by the pants leg.

My house

Well I managed to get loose and back in the truck and pulled out. Now all I could think was what in the hell am I going to do now. I can’t call animal control because she would have probably eventually been euthanized.

I returned the next day armed to the hilt with treats. The neighbor met me and explained that he had agreed to take care of her until they could get her. So he introduced us and we became friends. It is very difficult to explain to a dog that the home where she lived for five years was no longer hers. Being the sucker I am I let her in and she had no intentions of leaving.

My bed my house

So now I have a dog. She still goes and visits the neighbor. We are best of friends and she is a joy to have around. The old owners never returned to get her. She seems to be quite content and I don’t think she really misses them. I said I would never have another dog when I lost my two to cancer. Shows you how little I know.

Ahh. Home sweet home.

Anasazi Beans

Anasazi Beans

The Anasazi bean is packed with protein, starches, fiber, potassium and calcium. They cook in a third of the time of other beans. They also contain a large amount of iron. They have been cultivated by Southwestern Native American tribes in the U. S. for generations. They tend to be milder and sweeter than other beans and have a fourth less of gas-causing carbohydrates than found in other beans.

Cooking on my outside stove in my cast iron bean pot.

Health benefits are they treat and prevent diabetes, fight cancer, improve heart health, boost the immune system and combat inflammation. They are quite tasty and are good for you. They contain a carbohydrate-binding protein by the name of lectin which is a natural glucose-binder that helps manage blood sugar. One research showed the antimutagenic and antiproliferative compounds were beneficial in decreasing the risk of cancer as well as reducing the spread of cancer.

Ready to go on the fire.

On the fire and cooking.

Tasty and healthy. A great combination.

Do You See What I See

“To me photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt was famous for his uncanny ability to capture on film the humor and irony of everyday life.

Fortunately, we are all different. The world would be a boring place if we all liked the same things. Ten people can look at the same picture and see it fourteen different ways. As a photographer I want the viewer to see what I see. When I see something that excites me, I immediately begin analyzing the shot trying to figure out how to shoot the picture for the viewer to understand what I see. In this particular picture I would have to ask which came first? The rocks or the tree.

This shot was taken on a ridge that paralleled the St. Francis River inside the Silver Mines Recreation Area near Fredericktown, MO. It is along a trail that runs parallel with the river along the ridge and just to the right a trail takes off up the ridge. My thinking is the rocks were put there many years ago to mark the trail when the tree was small.

More pictures of the trail that runs along the west ridge overlooking the river.