Sunday, November 10, 2013

Donna Nook, UK

Today, we took a fun trip about an hour away to the coast where we were told the seals come ashore to birth their pups.  It was cold and breezy but worth the effort when you check out what we saw!!!  Pictures in this case are worth 1000 words:

At the beginning of the week the report was that there were 80 new babies, but as of a couple of days ago, there were 200 and growing.  This is just a part of the beach area:  (be sure to double click and get the full effect!!!)
Then there are the moms and their babies:

and meet the closest pups, one taking a snooze on the beach next to the fence that separated us:
and my favorite of all:
The grandkids really loved watching the seals.  Who knew they had seals in England????

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Old Bolingbroke Church

This church made it to Facebook before I learned how to Photoshop.  With a little tutoring, we managed to pull out the sky using dodge and burn, and clone in blank areas of grass and sky to have a more complete picture of this typical village church.  They're typically old and stone with big steeples and spires.  Most seem to be in the middle of the cemetery.  This is a representative sample.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tupholme Abbey

Not far from Horncastle (where Travis and Pam live) there are quite a few ruins.  We hunted for one abbey ruin, but it was too gone to find out in the middle of a farm field and we didn't know what to expect until we googled it.  So we gave up in search of this Abbey... Tupholme Abbey:
(any of the pictures can be double clicked on to see full screen)
Above is what they think it looked like in its hayday!!!  Impressive!  But this is what's left:
From the backside:
Evidence of caved in walls....

and some of the detail is worth seeing.  It amazes me what's gone and what is preserved in some spots.  The photo below these two is a favorite and really shows the old aged crumbly stone detail.

This area of England is called the Wolds (which is rolling hills) and this will give you a sense of the Wolds.... complete with hedges to separate fields and roads and everything else.  There are hedges everywhere!!!!! (You definitely want to double click on this one!)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lincoln, UK - Castle and Cathedral

A couple of days ago, I took my Facebook friends to the Petwood Hotel, just outside of Woodhall Spa, UK.  Today we're going to Lincoln, where there is a castle and the well-known Lincoln Cathedral, founded in 1088 commissioned by William the Conqueror.  Enjoy the pictures!!  One qualifier though, although I can stitch and adjust color and contrast and crop, I don't know how to fill in or straighten as you will see, so it's not my best work .... yet!!!

First, this is Lincoln Castle which was also built for William the Conqueror (kinda like a northern headquarters) while he fought in the north of England, and has existed until present day as a prison and law court.  It also houses a museum.  It would appear that there is reconstruction at present.
 Walking around town the spires of Lincoln Cathedral are visible from most streets and indeed, from about 20 or more miles away as well.  As usual, I find myself getting more physical therapy, climbing up and down hills to access the wonderful sights!

 Lincoln Cathedral is also called St Mary's Cathedral, or the church of St Mary Magdalene of Lincoln.  It was almost destroyed by an earthquake in 1185.  After the earthquake, a new bishop was installed, St Hugh de Burgundy of Avalon, France and did most of the rebuilding.  He died in 1200.  Reconstruction continued and was pretty much done by 1235AD. The Central Tower was added and made the structure the tallest structure in the world until 1549 when the spire blew down and was never replaced.  This photo is taken from the same spot as the castle shot, just do an about face and you're at the entrance to the cathedral.
Check out the detail on the outside!!!  Imagine building that back around 1100-1200!!  I think it's incredibly beautiful with all the carvings... Just wait till you go inside!!!!

You can get the idea of it's size by the little lady in the red sweatshirt standing on the grass at the far front.)
These two show the beautiful ceilings (note they come to a bit of a point and not round).  The design was for the integrity of the roof, as there was a history of cave ins previously. And check out the columns.  On the left is the nave, where communion is served, and on the right is an aisle, and there's another just like it on the other side of the nave.  The beauty and intricate design is breath-taking!!!

What you can't appreciate looking down the aisle is the stained glass!!  It also is amazing, and the windows above are very artful as well.

As you can see below, this large stained glass window is above the heavy wooden door at the entrance.  The colors actually pop more than this.....

Also just outside of the entry to the cathedral grounds is the High Bridge, constructed in 1160, .... on the one side there is a bench (here with Pam and Marissa) ....

and right across from them is this shopping area built in the 1500s replacing a chapel from 1265 dedicated to Thomas Becket (for you history fans), making this the oldest bridge in England with a structure on it.  (Also notice the greenery on the roof.... there is moss or vines growing on EVERYTHING ... all that moisture you know!!)
I hope you enjoyed your tour of Lincoln.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bumper Crop

I wish I was referring to my garden....  NOT!!!
Can you see all the grasshoppers above???

It's like a plague!!  They're EVERYWHERE!!  They fly all around you when you walk outside!  I always thought they hopped around on the ground, but they can climb or fly up into trees.  They were all over the house and on every surface.  The sidewalks and the porch floor are covered with grasshopper poop!!  You can sweep it off one day and within a couple days it's back!!

 They're ravenous!!! 

What's on the menu???  ANYTHING!!!!  They have eaten 80% of the leaves on the BIG trees in the yard!!!  Do they eat the whole leaf???  NO!!  They chew across them and drop the rest down to the ground, so they waste a lot!!!! 

Our first attempt at control was to let the chickens come into the back yard, since their chicken yard had few grasshoppers .... they ate them!  We let them in every other day.  They ate plenty, but it was a drop in the bucket because they couldn't get to the ones up in the trees.  So Mike, the insecticide expert, obtained some super duper insect killer and sprayed the front and back yard.  Good stuff!!!  There were 1000s, maybe 10s of 1000s of dead and dying grasshoppers at the base of the trees!  We could have filled a couple of bushel baskets!   The only bad consequence was that the chickens snuck into the back yard one day!!  When I noticed them, I chased them back into their yard.  (Have you ever tried to herd a bunch of chickens???  It's a challenge!!!)  Unfortunately, within a few days, I lost 2 red hens!!  I think they ate too many poisoned grasshoppers.

As for my 'organic' garden, I had to succumb to using Sevin in an effort to control the ones in the garden.  It was a choice I had to make..... to kill some of the grasshoppers with hopes of harvesting some melons, tomatoes and beans or NOT!!  So, was it worth it?  We had ONE ear of corn each from 2 rows of corn!!!  We had ONE stew with fresh string beans in it since they killed over half of my string bean plants!!!  We've been luckier with tomatoes and melons.  The cucumbers took a hit too, although I think the heat got to them.  No pickles this year.  And thanks to a late frost, no wild plum jelly!!!

How did the pioneers ever make it out here???

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Time to blog.....

It's been 15 months since we last blogged on this site and it's time to catch up on some things and share more meaningful experiences than one can on Facebook.  I totally enjoy the pictures and friends on Facebook, but one has to keep it brief.  It's more superficial than blogging.  Using this mode is more like keeping a historical account. 

The calves in the last blog have grown up.  Because our bull is their dad, we couldn't keep them, though they were NICE calves!!!  So we've since traded with a friend and we have other heifers and the momma cows have had new calves that are now about 4 months old.  This time we have a little black (Brangus) bull and the white faced cow below had a brown-black little heifer ... both nice little calves.

I love the expression in the little bulls face!! 
We have a total of 8 bovines (1 bull, 2 cows, 3 heifers and 2 calves)
Including what you can't see, there are 3 horses and the donkey for equines!!!
That's the extent of our little ranch!!!
While I'm relating to 'western' stuff, y'all probably are aware of my renewed love of photography, most of which is from the local area.  I've rather found my niche in landscape and nature photography and am busy trying to learn to photoshop when needed (actually I have Paint Shop Pro X4) and make little inroads as I experiment.  Sometimes I get frustrated if I can't make something look as I saw it through my eyes.  Anyway, many of my pictures are displayed in our new Clinic and Wellness Center.  I will add a few of my favorites so you can get the flavor of our ranch and nearby sites:
A Nest of Kittens
Grain Elevators

Springtime Wild Flowers along the Roadside

Blue Bonnets along Lake Graham
Old Historic Grocery and Deli

Grazing Cattle among Flowering Weeds after a Storm

Texas Roadside Fauna

Textures after an Ice Storm

 Hope you enjoy!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More New Life!!!

Change takes time, but in the last 3 weeks or so, we've had an increase in our little herd!!!  Both of our cows have had beautiful little heifers!!  First #6 had her calf out in the field the same evening I heard coyotes yip-yipping.  Mike went out to see IF we had a new calf and sure enough he found Mama and new baby.  BUT he couldn't get them in from the field, so he went out the next morning, but then he couldn't find the calf. So the next morning he tried again.  With our little herd, we prayed the coyotes hadn't taken it!!  But that morning he had success and this was our new addition!!!  I have to say, "like mother, like baby"  --- Little #12 looks JUST LIKE her mom!!!
She's one spunky energetic healthy little girl!!!

Then 2 weeks later, White Face (#3) surprised us with her own little heifer!  We didn't expect her for another couple of weeks!!  Below is White Face with her first little calf - a little bull:
WOW!!  Our Mr. Bull (#1) is a Brangus and he's all BLACK!!  We surely didn't expect a camel colored calf.  So we were waiting with anticipation to see what her calf looked like this time!!!  Well, here she is:
We're deciding whether to call her "Bandit" or "Spot"!  She's #13!  Luckily she was born in the immediate area because Mike got tired of cutting Mr Bull out of the distant fence where he kept attempting to visit the large herd next door.  So now the little additions are all socialized with the other farm animals.  It's starting to look like a ranch again!!!  Even Sam gets in the act... after all, he IS a working cow dog!!!!