Friday, December 31, 2010

Doing the touristico thing

Yesterday we went out and did the tourist thing and went to see a cave called the Grotte di Pastena, where I took plenty of pictures, but none turned out all that interesting.

This was by far the best one.

And we saw a couple of cows on the way back...

In the afternoon we went to see the Split mountain that is also called the Turkish Grotto , and is said to have split when Jesus died on the cross, and the mountain turned to marshmallow.

It was really cool, even though the steps nearly killed me( not really, but there were nearly five hundred of them).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Walk on the Beach

Today we went for a walk on the local beach, which I guess is the 'ugly beach' as compared to the one at Gaeta (Which is the city in the picture across the water. ) 
Gaeta across the water from Formia

My beautiful sister-in-law Miriam

some hills.(I like taking pictures of hills)

more hills

Baby Lucy,Zita, Me, Anakin, Travis
This is supposed to be a tough  sea gull sitting on the sea wall

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Buon Feste!

Merry Christmas everyone! I have had a delicious cappuccino this morning and fresh from the tree clementines, and a very fishy dinner last night with pasta and wine.

So far we are mostly recovered from the jet lag and seven hour difference between here and home and spending time with family playing video games with my nephew and bouncing the baby niece on my knee. She is super adorable in her christmas outfit.

That is all for now.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas and Ciao!

Merry Christmas everyone! Next time I post will be from Italy (If I get the urge to share the great adventure with y'all) after the holiday, so I am wishing you all good tidings today.

So without further ado, here is an awkwardly drawn picture of Santa with a Giraffe to get you in the holiday spirit!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Creative Pursuits

What does one do with a stack of empty barrels that are sitting around attracting weeds? The only thing you can do, make something out of them! With the help of my dad, I spent more hours than I thought i would, and made a home for some heifers.

We cut the barrels in half (thankfully the seam ran along exactly where  we wanted to cut) and then bolted them back together to form three panels two high. Then after putting it off for a couple of days I bolted them together to form a horseshoe shaped wall of barrels.

mostly finished, just missing the back part of the roof, and the seals for the cracks.
I intended to simply bolt a board across the top of the front to hold the sides in and to have something to anchor the roof to, but that failed when I tried to shift it slightly and the plastic cracked, and then the bolts pulled out. I ended up bolting some vertical stakes to the inside and then screwing some boards across the top to stabilize the whole thing. For the roof we used the back off of an old chopper wagon that they tore apart last year, and I still need to add a bit of plywood to the back part where the tin didn't quite reach. But for now it is buried under a bunch of snow, so it will have to wait until the need for it becomes desperate and/or thaws out enough on a day when I have the time to get to it again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Painting during blizzards

Long time no post! I have been super busy as of late, mostly with freezing my buns off at work. I have three half started posts from November to get to yet, and didn't actually get very far on NaNoWriMo, but I did get an Alphasmart to make typing easier/ less distracting.

We are in the middle of a blizzard here in Northeast Wisconsin, and I have the day off because I was supposed to go to my friend's house to have a bake-a-thon, but the roads suck, so here I am at home in the mood to paint things.

So here he is, a gnome resting under the moon.

It's done on an 8X10 canvas board in acrylics. The colors scanned a bit brighter than they are, but I don't feel the need to adjust them at this time. I have snow to shovel.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 10 - *Zzzzz*

I am beat. Seriously, the past couple weeks have been exhausting. NaNoWriMo has been delegated to the back burner for now, I haven't even typed a word on it since Monday morning, I've just been taking notes on random brainwaves in a little notepad while at work.

Speaking of work, yesterday I did something that I have never done before; unload gravity boxes full of corn into the grinder. Yeah. It didn't start out so well. I helped the boss set everything up, then he turned everything on to make sure the blower was blowing, the grinder grinding, the elevator elevating (It wasn't at first, he had the hydraulics switched), then pulled in with the first load. He got everything spinning at speed, and then casually nodded at me, indicating that I could open the door. So I innocently crank the door open half a crack, letting the smallest trickle of corn come out (I'm cautious like that, stuff tends to go horribly wrong around me), and then the boss wandered off, leaving me to stand next to the wagon, alone, when it went horribly wrong.

There I am, first time ever left alone filling a silo, and the tractor running the grinder equipment snubs out. I, of course, slam shut my tiny crack, and say "Oh crap, what have I done now." The boss came hurrying back, not sure what has happened, hoping maybe he can just rev the tractor up and force out a blockage, so he fires it up and tries, but I have to stop him because I smell a burning belt. That's about the time the neighbor guy walked up and started helping.

We ended up taking off a third of the guards on the thing hoping to be able to turn out the plug by hand, but after an hour I realized that after all of our turning we should have seen something come out of the auger by now, so we took off another guard, pulled off a chain and a gear sprocket, just to find that we were missing a key.Heaven only knows where it went, 'cuz it was nowhere to be found, luckily we have a stash of them for just such cases. After that it was just a matter of turning the auger until all of the corn I put in, (about a bushel and a half) came out the blower end, and then putting all of the guards back on.

Then the three of us stood there and watched the corn go in for three loads or so before the boss went off in search of his tires from Pomp's Tire Service (They actually lost one), and the neighbor guy wandered off to do something else, leaving me to do the last one (which was heaping full) all by my lonesome. Nothing went wrong with that one! But then it was time for chores, and our quick project ended up taking all day long.

Today we have more 'quick projects', but I have a feeling they will take just as long.

Happy Farming, Moo.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November 6th... *Sigh*

I have resigned myself to forever being a week behind whenever I do a WriMo. It seems as though as soon as I set a goal, the world (or more accurately, my boss) conspires against me and sucks all of my time down a vortex  of freezing cold, weariness inducing projects that make me want to sleep for a week. November first saw the beginning of the 'Great Barn Cleaner Chain Replacement Project', which has been in the works for over a year, but somehow only got the ambition to begin the same as NaNoWriMo. But it is done now, that old chain was hauled up to the scrap yard this morning, and I am finally shot of that horrible project.

Now it is on to writing! (If only I wasn't so annoyed with my story all of a sudden...)

Monday, November 1, 2010

November First - Grrrr....

It's the first day of November, and therefore NaNoWriMo, so what does my boss decide? That today would be the PERFECT day to start working on the barn cleaner chain. There goes my word count.

I got 44 words down quickly last night before bed after reading through the first half of the book that I wrote last year. It was better than I remember it was, and I didn't hate it. I am feeling refreshed on the plot, and my characters aren't bugging me any more with suckiness, so that's good. And I have managed to force out a few hundred more words on my lunch break(right now, in case you were wondering), and should pass the daily goal after chores tonight since I have the house to myself.

Now I have a request for some people to read through it for me and answer some questions so I can see if I am still on track with it and better able to answer the necessary questions in the second half that I may have missed in the first half. (The genre is young adult, fantasy)  Anyone interested let me know, preferably not someone doing NaNo as well, since it is a time squeeze. Thanks.
(p.s.; There are dragons...)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo and other Writerly stuff

First off, YAY! I made it through the whole month of NaBloWriMo and blogged every day of October, aren't I cool?! I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I sometimes did.

Second off, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and I am participating again this year, I'm hopelessmoo over there, add me as your buddy if you choose.
But I am doing things different this time, and avoiding all the pressures of trying to do a whole novel in one month by simply FINISHING last years novel. You all remember that book deadline countdown over there, at the right hand top of the sidebar? Yeah, that is counting down for this book, which I started many years ago on bits of paper in my pocket, and then a notebook in my pocket, and then I started putting it down on a legal pad, and that's when Joy found it and took it upon herself to motivate me and gave me the deadline.

And lastly, a few things I learned from reading that I can (hopefully) apply to my own writing:

1) Know what kind of character your character is. Good guys tend to be good, bad guys are bad. I was reading The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan, and straightaway the main character has a thought that stuck with me:  
 "He might not remember Piper, or even who he was, but he knew he hated mean kids."
2) Actually, that is it, I can't quite remember what else I had to say on the topic. I got distracted watching the movie Hot Fuzz on comedy central. It is freaking HILARIOUS!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Miscellaneous Weekends - Horses

This is my horse Matilda. She was a cantankerous old thing when I got her, and she was really old when she continued on her way. I used to ride her around bareback, I even tried to run away on her once, but my brother talked me out of it because it was deer hunting season and he said we'd get shot for sure.
She lived with the goats, I don't think she minded them at all, in fact they were probably good company.

I would like to share a favorite poem now by Roque Dalton (1953-1975) titled:

My Horse

I owned a horse
more beautiful and nimble than the light.

Stamping, he was like a wave of blood.
A tiny storm with eyes.
An untamed mountain on perfectly molded legs.

My horse was born dead one day
and the shock on my face put the winds to flight...

(translated from Spanish by Hardie St. Martin)

I know it's kind of a depressing poem about lost dreams and whatnot, but I like it, keeps things in perspective a bit, don't you think?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fantastic Facts Friday - Cats

Did you know that if you Google 'cat facts' you will get over 12 million hits?

Cats are capable of up to one hundred different meow variations(TRUE! Cat Facts)

Calico cats are almost exclusively female, except in rare cases where the male has a gene configuration of XXY. (TRUE! The color gene is located on the X chromosome, which provides females with two opportunities to show color)
and those are your facts for the day since I got distracted learning about genetic abnormalities.(Remember to highlight after each fact to see if it is true or not and for a link to more facts.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Storytime Thursday - Cats

Today's story is another 'Picture Story', where I will post a line of pictures, and just sort of caption them to give a general idea of what's going on. I hope you enjoy it!

The Cat Army
This is my cat army, or maybe it's a horde. They could conquer a small country, but for now are content with a small Wisconsin farm, battling with the pigeons. 
Every good army needs a command team.
And a future generation of fighters.
Rest is good...
but staying alert is important.

Lookouts are posted everywhere...
Camouflaged down low...
sitting up high...

Somewhere in between...
Napping is mandatory...

as is grooming.
Climbing is fun and helps with balance.
Be suspicious of everything...
except when it is tasty milk...
then everyone digs in!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Artwork Wednesday - Cats

So I haven't really done much with cats, just two paintings that I don't like, and therefore will not be sharing, and so I don't really know what to do for today. I guess I am just going to put up another picture of a cat and pretend that it is artwork, even though I'm not even sure that I took it.

It's Peter, by the way.
And also, I should mention that I had this set aside TO paint at some point, I just haven't gotten to it yet.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today's Tuesdays - Cats

Isn't Gizzy cute, all cuddled up with her sock?

But watch out, she is EVIL!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reminscing Monday - Cats

Ed wants something...
If you were thinking that I've had a lot of pets over the years, you only have half the picture.You are missing the feline section.

Since I don't have pictures of (all of) our early cats, you will have to suffice with knowing their names;

For the olden day cats, there was: Fluffernutter (big maincoon, bobtail looking thing), April (the bendy cat), Puffy (long haired Siamese),

For the slightly less olden day cats there was: Ed,   Snowshoes, Peter, Pumpkin, Button, Zipper, Tito, Tyro,

And the still even slightly less olden days cats: Frodo, Alan, Addy, Summers Dream,Greta,

And finally the assorted barn cats that had names; Cali, Sunny, Sammi, Taily,
Snowshoes, Peter, Zipper
Some of our cats were really special and went to a cat show in Wausau, the Household pet show, held annually in October. I showed my cat Zipper, who lost a leg in a hay-cutting accident. He did remarkably well due to his sweet disposition and bright outtake on life despite his missing appendage.

So that is all for today, unless you would like me to dig up MORE photos of cats.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Miscellaneous Weekends - Scarecow

I know, I know, I already did cows, a whole week of them in fact, but this one is special; he's in disguise!

Apparently a radio station is doing a pet costume contest and my sister told me to enter, so I thought about it for a second and came up with a costume for my little buddy, Jake the calf. Isn't he fun?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Miscellaneous Weekends - Rabbits

Say hello to Dexter, the bunny currently residing in my garage.

He came home with my sister in the spring and ended up staying at my house when she took her dog back with her. He is a pretty good bunny, keeps his mess to a minimum. He seems to like his new cage we got him, more hopping room, and likes the mountain dew box.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fantastic Facts Friday - Dogs

Facts about dogs:(remember to highlight behind the fact to see if it is true and a source)

Fact one: Some breeds of dogs have feathers. (TRUE! The long hair along the bottom of the tail is known as the feathers.)

Fact two: Dog size varies greatly depending on breed, ranging from a few inches tall, to three feet tall.(TRUE! The Irish Wolfhound can reach a height of three feet tall at the withers)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Storytime Thursday - Dogs

This is the story of how our family kidnapped a dog.

There are six kids in my family, and when we lived in Randolph, NY we spent a lot of our summer days playing down at the pond out in the cow pasture. The boys built boats and  rafts out of bots of Styrofoam and sticks, the girls went swimming and we all tried our hands at fishing for the little sunfish. I suppose six kids all playing makes a lot of noise, and would attract the attention of a fun loving dog anywhere.

We were a bit startled when this big scary looking dog came bouncing over the hill, wagging her tail like a crazy thing carrying a squeaky celery toy, but she was nice and didn't bite anyone. She may or may not have followed is home the first day, but she eventually became a bit of a fixture at our house, where Mom would say something to the effect of ' oh look, that big Bertha dog is back'. Every time she was at our house, her owner would stop by on his way home from work in the evening and call her over, load her into the back of his truck and take her home.

We knew her name was Abby, of course, since her owners were our neighbors. I remember one sunny afternoon when we were all out for a walk with our fair lambs, and Bertha was with us, when we met up the the neighbors taking their new baby for a walk in the stroller. We stopped for a chat, they joked how everyone was out taking their baby's for a walk in the sun, and then scolded Abby for bothering the nice people. Little did they know...

Mom always said she felt bad for doing it, but Dad claims that he DID go talk to them before we left. You see, Dad was afraid that the people who owned the farm where we lived, and were moving away from, wouldn't be too kind to a dog just randomly stopping by and would shoot her, so when we loaded up the U-hauls and suburban, we piled all the dogs into the truck and drove off to our new home with a stolen dog.

Her name officially became Bertha with her vet visits, and registration tags, and then she even became a show dog when Joy started working with her for the 4-H dog project. She just became part of our family when her family had a new baby and didn't have as much time to spend with her. She even brought Mr. Celery man with her when we moved.

Bertha was a pretty special old dog.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today's Tuesdays - Dogs

I don't have any dogs at the moment, but Mom does. She has a standard poodle and two corgi's. She is training them to track and goes once a week to the State park Hartman's Creek with a group of other dog enthusiasts to lay trails and work their dogs. Also living at her house is my sister's dog Garret, also a standard poodle. I don't feel like looking for pictures of all of them.

But I do have pictures of the dogs I see everyday at work, Max and Nugget.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reminiscing Mondays - Dogs


There has never been a time that I can remember when my family hasn't had dogs. The first one that I can remember was an old black dog name  Poochy. I don't suppose I knew him long, he was gone by the time I was five or so, as far as I recall.

My first dog was Scruffy. He ran away with a couple of other dogs, including a beagle, when he was still a puppy. It made me sad. That is about all I recall on that. oh, and my family made fun of me for naming my dog Scruffy (come on, I was six!).

The next oldest dog we had was Charlie-Ann, she was really tiny when we got her as a puppy. No one was really sure what kind of dog she was, possibly a whippet cross, but she lived a long time and made the big move to Wisconsin with us. She is the only dog I knew that actually got to have a middle name.

Bertha and Ed

Joe Joe

Then along came Bertha. She didn't really belong to us, but she loved us anyways and came with us when we moved. But that is a story for another day (Thursday).

Joe Joe was my last dog, and my all-time favorite. Mom brought him home one day and said to me 'clean up the puke in the back of the suburban and he is yours'. So I did, and he became MY dog. He really didn't like car rides as a puppy, and got car sick a lot, something that was forcefully corrected when we made the big move from New York to Wisconsin, a 15 hour car ride. After that he loved to go for rides.

Joe Joe's favorite toy was a sock balled up and stuffed into another sock, his favorite activity was rough-housing, and his favorite color was green. He loved fireworks. He would chase after them barking his head off while Bertha hid her head and cried. Joe Joe had his own little cave underneath mom and dads bed, and kept all of his tin cans stashed under there for later enjoyment.

He died a few of years ago on July 5th, right after his favorite holiday. It broke my heart.