So, after several years of trying to photograph critters on the pond out back with them spying me and disappearing… I decided to try this camo blind I found on Amazon.

Kwik Camo II Photography Blind - Realtree Advantage M4 HD

I went outside with it today and just sat for an hour to see if it really worked.  It did….. quite nicely.  I was sitting watching the pond for life when I heard something behind me.  This grey squirrel came right up on me without seeing me.  When I turned around to see what was there, he shot straight up into the air he was so startled.

He froze for a minute or so to study me and figure things out and then ran away.  About a half hour later, he returned again and I think he could hear the camera and knew something was there but didn’t know what to think. 

He kept popping in to check me out.

I am not quite sure what kind of bird this is but this was my next visitor, right on the tree I was sitting next to. 

Shortly after this bird left, I had a finch take a spot in the same tree.

Somebody seriously needs her toenails trimmed, look at those claws…. wow…

This mallard showed herself next, they usually won’t land on the pond while I am out there.  She was too far away for a good photo but took one anyway as one of my visitors in this one hour experiment with my blind.

The cardinals came next, they sat right above me for quite some time.  They look a little rough in the feathers….

At one point while I was sitting, something actually came and landed right on me, I felt it hit my shoulder and heard the flutter of wings, barely landed and gone though so not sure what it was.

Another bird of some sort landed on a tree branch directly over my head but when I moved they took off so I missed that one too.  It was just so cool to have them flying right up to me.

A woodpecker showed up a few times while I was there but I wasn’t able to get a clear enough view for a photo of that one.

The birds would come and go pretty steady, I found I could just close my eyes and sit steady and quiet, just rest and listen and I would hear them move in.

I think my experiment was a success, my purchase of this camo blind was a worthwhile purchase and it was a relaxing hour for sure. I can’t wait to try it out sitting by the pond next spring when things are more active.

I am hoping to take this blind and the camera and go on a field trip to Crex Meadows this next week, try it out up there and see what I can find.

Separated Temporarily….

A couple families of deer were hanging out in my backyard this morning.  I took my camera and went out on my front steps to see if they would come around out front for me to take photos.

Mommy had come around the house and gone around to the corner where the other family was at.  This little fawn above came around later, following way being mom. It heard my camera go off and took off into the woods where it had last seen mom. Not realizing mom had already left the woods and was out back again with the other doe and fawn.  They must communicate in some way that I couldn’t hear but mommy could.

Mommy came running out from the back, looking around.  Where are you???? Where did you go??

Did you go this way???

Are you in here??? She must have heard the little one in here because that is exactly where the little one had gone.  So, mommy followed.  However…..

Baby had already come out of the woods where mommy had come out from earlier.  Looking panicked and lonely, look at the tail tucked between the legs and the spooked look in the poor little critters eyes….

Mommy, where are you….???? Hey, I hear something, is she over there….. no, that is just the other deer family, no mommy with them…

I hear her, mommy… are you in there? I hear you mommy but I can’t find a way in…

Do I go join the other deer family? I can’t get to you mommy, what do I do?

I will head toward the others, maybe I can find mommy… she has to be somewhere….

But I keep hearing mommy over there, she has to be in the woods there…. I am so confused, where should I go?

Then I keep hearing that funny clicking sound from that strange lady on the steps over there, what is she doing.  Oh man, I am so confused and scared, what should I do?

Mommy, I see you, I am coming mommy, don’t leave me here with this strange lady all alone…

Dang though there is this big tree branch in my way, it fell down in that last storm and I can’t find a way around it. 

Mommy is here, at last. And she is keeping an eye on that odd lady over there so she will protect me, I am safe now.

Mommy doesn’t seem too concerned with the odd lady…

But she better come check on me just to be sure…

I am here mommy, are we ok? I am hungry and these little green apples are really good, can we stay and eat some?

Oh but darn these deer flies, they are miserable… maybe if I run around and play tag a little, I can lose them…

Mommy, I am tired… Can we go now mommy?

In a little bit, we have this nice tree to eat the leaves off of first… you can just see mommy reaching in to eat the tree on the right there…

What are you doing mommy, did you find something extra good over there? Let me have some too…

Okay, there is that funny lady and her clicking noises again, she is starting to make me nervous. 

Maybe we should head out now after all, now that I am all tangled up in this tree. 


Mommy, now where did you go?  I hear you, I don’t see you… come back mommy…

Uh oh mommy, the mail lady just pulled up too…. I am scared mommy, lets get out of here.

Run mommy, run…. too many scary things around here. 

I never even had to get up of my front steps, this all took place right in front of me.  At times I was so close to them I had to zoom my camera out so they would fit in the picture, otherwise I just got a small part of the body of one or the other. 




Blooming Butterflies

I decided to take a day off work and visit the Blooming Butterfly Gardens in St. Paul.  I had heard that this was going to be the last year they were having the gardens and I didn’t want to miss it.  There were so many butterflies to see like this African Blue Banded.

Or the beautiful Citrus Swallowtail.  I could have stayed at these gardens all day taking photos. 

The Gray Pansy.  It would have been much more productive if they had allowed me to have a tripod in there.  There were kids everywhere though and tripods got in the way so they didn’t allow them at all.

The Blue Clipper

Zebra Langwing

The Great Mormon


Not sure what this one is, possibly a Blue Moon….

Three more Blue Clippers above followed by a Chocolate Pansy.

So many different kinds, I really wanted a photo of the Luna Moth and the Cecropia Moth.  Unfortunately I only saw one Cecropia and he was backlit by bright sun and just couldn’t get a photo of him.  I didn’t see any Luna Moths but they were supposed to be there.

There were some that the gal just called camouflage butterflies, not sure what they really are.  They were hard to see and photograph but she pointed out several to me.

Not sure what this one is either but she was pretty…

I believe this one is a Julia Langwing

I am wondering if this is maybe the Citrus Swallowtail with wings folded, I only have an identification guide with this butterfly with wings open.

The Autumn Leaf, very fitting name for this one I think, it looks like a leaf on the tree in autumn.


Really not sure on this one above at all.

Great Mormon again.

Again not positive on the above three as to variety they might be…

This second one, maybe it is a Variegated Fritillary…??


Again, not sure on this one, I thought maybe the Black Swallowtail but the Black Swallowtail actually has a lot o yellow spots along the wings.

Top two the Gray Pansy again and the third one another camouflage one.

Possibly a Gray Cracker…?

Tiger Langwing

Julia Langwing

African Blue Banded

Chocolate Pansy and Paper Kite for these two directly above…

I think a Grecian Shoemaker….?

Possibly a Banded Orange…

As you can see, the list goes on and on.  I only actually found about half the species that they had on the identification list they gave me upon entry to the gardens.  I wish I could have found them all.

Regardless of not being able to find them all and not being able to identify all that I did find, I had a lot of fun trying.

I wonder if there was a way I could pay them to let me in all by myself outside of business hours, with my tripod and macro lens.  I could really have fun then and the pictures would be so much the better…… hmmmm…..

Hope you enjoyed the Blooming Butterfly Gardens as much as I did… 🙂



So, my husband comes home from work the other day and says, there are a lot of turkeys out by the road, momma’s and babies.  I took the camera and wondered slowly toward the road.  No turkeys anywhere by the road at all, they disappeared quick….. bummer.  Headed toward the house again and heard a shuffle.

You thought you could hide and I couldn’t see you huh?  Wrong….. We watched each other for a minute or so and she headed off.  I walked back to the house and sat down on the steps figuring they would soon wander into the yard. 

Sure enough, within minutes they were here.  I wish I had brought the tripod along too.

I believe there are two momma’s with their own young as you can see the extreme size/age difference between the babies.

I have been seeing them in the yard every day lately, this morning some actually came right up on my front door step.  I tried to sneak out and take some photos but our door sticks and opened with a loud bang when it became unstuck… they took off pretty quickly at that bang.  I heard them making a lot of noise out back, went to the back window and found two babies and one momma in the fenced in area, trying to find an opening out.  The rest of the flock was headed off into the back woods and they were panicking.  One baby flew out, momma flew up and landed on our shed, grabbed the camera a little late so missed that shot. She looked goofy on the shed. The final baby was panicking at them all having left it behind.  It finally took to flight but rather then just over the fence and run after mom, it flew way up into the trees and over the pond.  I am sure they will all link up again shortly.

Minneapolis sites to see…


It has been a while since I could really get out for a day with the camera.  Was a perfect day too, upper 60’s and clear.  I took the day off to go explore Minneapolis.



I started off at Minnehaha Falls, we have had so much rain this year I felt the falls would really be running strong and it would be a good year for a trip there.



I wasn’t far off, the water was flowing pretty good.




Upon arriving at the park, these black squirrels greeted me everywhere, they were out for their morning breakfast.  Had to shoot a few shots of them before heading to the falls.






A variety of angles of the falls themselves. 


Followed the trail along the river, it was really running hard.  We have had an extra wet summer this year, worried me some of what winter will bring in another couple months.






I found these red berries down along the river, a nice splash of color in the green.



There were so many cool tree tops, I love looking up into the trees with the sun filtering through. 



Just a fun sign for the eatery at the falls. 



I followed this boardwalk for quite a distance, it had popped half its nails and would give when you stepped on it at times and other times it would jump up in your face.  The farther along I went, the worse it got.  Started to feel a little too rickety for me so I finally turned back.


Before I left to go to Minnehaha Falls, my husband mentioned also checking out St. Anthony Falls.  Turns out they are only 5.6 miles from each other.  Two totally different atmospheres so close together.  Pretty cool…..


When we first talked of it, we looked at the directions and weren’t too sure it was the best neighborhood to go wandering on my own.  I left Minnehaha and thought, I am here and should just drive by and see how the area feels. 



There were so many people out jogging, taking pictures, walking dogs, it just felt completely safe.  I decided to join the group and take my own photos.



With the old historic buildings, I decided to experiment some with black and white as well. 




I walked across the main bridge that was open for walking and taking photos.  Got to the far side of the bridge and turned and headed back across.  Started noticing, there were an awful lot of sirens. As I neared the end of the bridge a police car pulled onto the bridge and started talking to a few people…. hmmmm….




Well, they aren’t telling us to leave so I will keep on shooting photos for now. 



EMS trucks, fire trucks, more police, sirens everywhere… maybe I shouldn’t have stopped at this park after all. 



EMS driver smiled and said hi, didn’t seem too concerned, guess I will just keep on taking photos until I hear differently. 🙂







So many cool bridges and buildings in one area, too bad a lot of them were barricaded off so I couldn’t get closer for better shots.  Did what I could where I could.


I thought it was cool how some of these old bridges would make a frame for the historic old buildings.



The old historic with the modern new buildings, such a contrast. 





Thought I would play a little, use black and white and color together and see what the effect is like.  Never know until you experiment some.







All in all, it was a good day of shooting, perfect weather to be out and about and a lot of fun.  I need more days like this.  I still would like to explore Banning Falls but the trails were washed out this year from the rains.  I want to get back to Willow River Falls as well.  Too many places to go and too little time.  I really need to win a lottery and be able to retire from work and just play all day.


My photography is now on display at The Home Town Commons in Stacy, MN.  A fun little craft and art store with classes offered as well. 




The pumpkin patch


Last year, I had found a really good sunflower field in Isanti that I had fun photographing. I called and asked if they would be having the sunflowers out there again this year and was told yes, there are two fields of them.



I was told that they would be in their prime the end of July.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get the time off work to go there the end of July.  I went a week ago as I finally had a day off.



When I arrived, they didn’t have a field of sunflowers this year at all.  They only had a dozen or so rows of them.  They were at the end of their peak and not a lot left to work with. I was disappointed but pulled into the field to take what shots I could since I had taken the time to drive out there.



I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled in though, they had planted the rest of the field in pumpkins.  Something new to photograph and play with.



I did some experimenting with black and white and a mixture of black and white with color. 


Enhanced the green some on the above photo to make it stand out more for contrast.


This is the same one without the green being enhanced.



It is always fun to experiment a little and see what one can come up with.  The blossoms were plentiful as well on the pumpkin vines.




It was extremely windy and right off the highway so the trucks going by made it windier but I managed to get some shots where the wind was blocked some.




Not that the big pumpkins will move in the wind at all, at least I hope not… 🙂


Didn’t quite catch a bee flying away, didn’t know he was there until looking at the photo after.



I just liked how the sun was behind these sunflowers and making them glow.  Too bad I couldn’t have gotten out a week or two earlier.




A lot of buds ready to open yet out there, they are going to have plenty of pumpkin for pie this year. 🙂



The critters uniting on the flowers were pretty cool as well, they all seem to get along well.



This guy above would try and hide from me, he would crawl behind the flower and then slowly creep out and peek at me before ducking back down behind the flower again.  I think grasshoppers are pretty cool up close.  Almost as cool as my dragonfly buddies.




And of course my bee friends, such unique critters all when up close.  After I left the field, I drove around a bit to see what else I could find.  Came across a field of cranes, they were too far away to take much of them at all but had to try anyway. 


They are also extremely shy, the minute you step from the vehicle, they start running away from you. 

All in all, I had a pretty good morning that day.  Felt good to be out with the camera again as it has been too long. 

Playing around…

front bobcat

I like to play with photos of farm equipment and machinery, I just never want to stop along the road and have someone get upset at me on their property. 🙂  I happened to be lucky enough to have these guys in my driveway overnight to play with and nobody the wiser.  Of course 10 minutes into taking photos, it started to rain.  Oh well, got a few to play with.


The bobcat fits right into the scoop of the front loader, looks like it will just pick it up and toss it over it’s head in the first photo above.



We have a neighbor that is a landscaper so we asked him to help us fix up this mess of a front yard.  The island in the center had been let go for so long, it was a disaster.


It is amazing how much a couple pieces of equipment can clear away in a couple hours.



It looks better already out there.  This was yesterday, today the pile is gone and they have a center island of black dirt with a circle driveway around it.  We will be seeding it for grass and putting a pergola in the center with some trumpet vines for the hummingbirds.




The total remodel revealed, from 1981 to modern day


Normally, my blog is about my photography.  I haven’t been writing or taking photographs lately as it has been too busy with other projects.  Time to get back to my photography again, summer is finally here and the critters have returned to our yard.  We recently spent the last 2 months living in the basement while a remodel of the upstairs was being performed.   I did manage to escape to the yard with the camera to maintain my sanity through it all though.  Found this young buck, think those new antlers growing in were a little itchy. (If you click on photos they enlarge)


The bluebirds were nesting in the front bluebird house.  There is a family of wrens in one of my other houses.

My winter was spent working a lot of overtime as we planned to remodel the bathroom.  We didn’t have a real snowy, photographic winter this year anyway.  Our bathroom was in rough shape and we had some mold in the ceiling from a fan that was vented into the attic instead of out the roof. 

old bath2

As you can see, it is very dated.  We contacted 3 contractors to bid the job.  One never called us back or came out.  John from Heritage Remodeling in Forest Lake came out and immediately saw the layout problems and suggested a new design.  Took in the whole situation, took a few measurements and discussed a plan.  

old bed

There was this odd indent in the bedroom wall that backed a closet in the bathroom.  He suggested turning the tub/shower to go along the back wall of the bathroom, block off the closet in the bathroom and open it up on the bedroom side.  Doing this we could change the walls in the bedroom to remove this funny indent and extend the bedroom closet all the way down to the corner.  Sounded good to us and he came up with it just by looking at the situation and not going into actual closets.  I add this to compare to the other contractor that bid the job. He left us at this point and told us he would send us a bid once he had it figured out.  We received a very detailed bid after he checked in with sub contractors.  

old bath3

The second contractor came out, opened every closet in the house it seemed,even those that didn’t matter.  He had no clue what to do for a design idea at all in the bathroom. When we mentioned we had thought of turning the tub and closing off the closet, he said, “leave the closet there and we will tile the inside of it and you can have shelves in the shower”.  Really!!! He then gave me a list of references to call while he was here and told me which to call for the best reference.  He said he would be in the bathroom taking measurements.  How many measurements does one need? He was in there a good half hour.  I went down in the basement where he couldn’t hear me and purposely called one of the references he didn’t tell me to call.  She was very guarded in her answers, you know the kind of answer that tells you a lot without telling you anything.  Would you hire him again? “Well, would I hire him, you know we are thinking of a bathroom remodel and his name came up”…… In other words, NO.  She started off the reference telling me about a mistake they made but told me they did fix it in the end so she guesses it came out all right.  I never got a yes or no answer, always a answer without answering which basically told me what my gut already was telling me, don’t hire this guy. Two hours later, we are hungry and wanting dinner and trying to think of how to get this guy out of our house. He came out of the bathroom with a total for us right there, no consulting sub contractors or anything.  This guys bid was $8000 over the other contractor and he wasn’t going into the bedroom at all.  Or even really changing the layout of the bathroom very much.  I asked him, Can I get a copy of the bid to take to the bank for financing.  I loved his answer…. “I can’t give you that, it is confidential.”  In what way is asking how my money will be spent confidential to me?  He told me, “I can tell you your allowances, you have a $600 allowance for a custom vanity.” I don’t think I can buy a vanity pre-manufactured at Menards for that.  To top this, he said that he has two places to send us, there is a custom builder they use for the cabinets but his shop is small and doesn’t have much of a showroom. As a result he sends you to a DIFFERENT cabinet maker showroom to pick a cabinet as they have a better display.  They then have their cabinet maker make it for us. I want to see the cabinets by the maker making them.  Sorry…… 🙂  At this point he told me that he would also finance it for us at cheaper interest than any bank will give.  Seriously, a contractor that finances the build….. SCARY!  We told him we needed to talk to a bank and would get back to him.  He said, “Can I get a check?”   A check? for what?  To hold a spot for you when you are ready to start….. NO!!


He got us to thinking though, since we have to finance anyway and we want a new kitchen… maybe we should look at doing it all at once. 

I had been discussing this with my brother throughout this process as it is hard to know who to trust in a contractor.  My brother gave me two more contractors that he knew were out of the area some but thought they might consider the job.  I called both, one said we were too far away but he gave me an organization to check out any contractors through. I don’t remember the name, was an abbreviation of some sort.  The other contractor gave me advice on what to look for and what to stay away from.  One of his comments was stay away from a contractor that asks for a check to hold a spot, hmmmm our second guy?  He told me how a good contractor would bill and collect payment, how they would work out the job…. some other good advice.  He offered to drive up and check out the job and be an adviser even though he couldn’t do the job himself.  


He asked for a copy of our bid that we did get. I told him I didn’t think I could share a bid….  He said as a contractor he is grateful we feel that way as contractors don’t like their bid being shared. Since we were using him for a consultant only and he didn’t work our area and wasn’t bidding too we could send it.


I sent the bid to him and my brother to look over for me and the comments I received were that it was very detailed but easy to understand, very professional.  After checking everything over, both advised us they felt we should hire Heritage Remodeling.  Well, I sure wasn’t hiring the other one. lol  So, we went to the bank and got financing and hired John. 


We added in the kitchen at this point and he came out with his cabinet maker to design a kitchen for us, This wall above had to go, we had wanted it gone and they agreed.  Open concept kitchen with an island where this wall is.  Which also meant basically redoing the living room and dining room walls and flooring.  So, what started as a bathroom became a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining and living room.  Scary project to take on for sure. 


It also meant removing this ugly old pantry closet in the hallway, move the refrigerator down into this area and give me working area around the stove as if you look back at the photo of the kitchen layout above, there is no room around the stove to do anything.


This is the kitchen side of the wall we were taking out for an island. 


Demo day came, what a mess. We asked John how long this whole project would take, he said about two months.  The other contractor told us three to four months for a bathroom alone, interesting. lol


At this point, there was no turning back for sure.  The walls were gone, they removed a chimney that for some unknown reason whoever built the house put on the inside instead of the outside and sheetrocked around it giving us another of those odd bumps in the wall. 


There were junction boxes hidden in the walls and everywhere.  Whoever built this place didn’t do it correctly, that was becoming very obvious to us already. 


Our kitchen cabinets now sitting in the living room.


What once was a kitchen, wall gone and junction boxes all over.  Keep in mind a lot of these photos were taken with a cell phone so not the best. 


Time to go shopping, talk about stress.  I am not good at picking this stuff at all.  We went to the granite shop as we were advised to pick this first.  We both fell in love with this Sienna Bordeaux granite.  One decision made.  John told us to get the granite and the floor and go to see his contact at the tile shop he works with, she is an interior designer and would help us.  So, off to the floor shop where we picked a good vinyl that looks almost like an old barnwood floor.  Had to go vinyl so my knothead dog could walk on it without doing the splits.  Headed to pick our tile and this gal was amazing, I thought we would be there for hours but she knew right where to go and what would look good and had us happy and on our way in about an hour. 

no header

In the mean time, more bad news on the house. The idiots before us put in a sliding glass door without a header, no wonder the door never opened decently.  We thought we had a bad door.  The dining room window was the same way, no header. Even worse there as the window was basically just sitting in the slot unsupported.  They had cut the wind bracing on the house as well.  With all the issues on the house from the previous owner, it got to where we dreaded opening an email from John at all.  Dollars just kept adding up.  We came home one day from work to find a copy of the DVD The Money Pit with a note to enjoy….. pretty funny, I guess you have to laugh or cry so might as well laugh and deal with it. It helped that we had our weekly stress therapy at the range as well, shoot off 200-300 rounds each and stop for Thai food on the way home. 


The new header is in and sheet rock under way.  We now know at least the majority of the upstairs of the house is repaired and safe.  Time to start re-assembling things, this is where it gets exciting as we can watch the progress. 


The popcorn is gone, we now have a nice knock down ceiling, much nicer looking.


New shower walls are installed and look great.



New rustic cherry cabinets in bathroom and kitchen both that are phenomenal looking and well built.  Glad we went with custom built cabinets.


Really hard to get good photos of the bathroom as you can’t get far enough away from anything to get a photo.  The walls look blue here but they are really a pale grey color.


I absolutely love the Travertine floor tiles. We still need to replace the doors but with all the issues we ran out of money. We will do those ourselves down the line.


The new closet in the bedroom, nice and large and no indent in the wall anymore.  For some reason even though the indent gave a small area of extra room, the room looks larger squared off this way.



The dogs are checking out the new living room, brand new hand railing that is done right and really nice.  The old one was an eyesore.


The hallway with the ugly pantry gone and new canned lighting. Had just one ugly old fixture before.  Now three cans and much brighter.


And the best part for last, the kitchen.  It is so nice I am almost afraid to use it.  At the same time I am very excited to finally be able to cook some of the recipes I made at the old house but didn’t have the room to deal with making since moving here.  Time to dig the old cookbooks out again.  And after two months in a basement with just an electric skillet, ready for healthier, better food again.


You can see the wall gone and the whole open concept. 


Looking in from the living room to the kitchen.  Now I need a new dining room set as mine is light oak.  Maybe my brother will make me one for a house warming gift. lol


We searched high and low for bar stools, we either didn’t like them, they didn’t match the kitchen or if they matched and we liked they were $300 per stool.  I finally found these on line and we both really liked them, they look perfect in the kitchen.  Best part, all three were shipped to the door for $240 total. Memorial week sale or they would have been over $400.


Looking in from the stairs as you walk in the front door.  Have to say we are loving our new home now thanks to Heritage Remodeling and his crew, the subcontractors were all wonderful to work with as well. Things are slowly coming together what with the new remodel now, new car port we added on, new rain gutters and the new deck 2 years ago. Started working on the front driveway island again, I want to build a pergola out there with trumpet vines for my hummingbird friends.  But for now time to get back to being out with my camera and having fun.

deck2nearing completion3 Before and after on the deck, thanks to the guys from Lakes Trading for building a new one.  Check out the little spindly legs on the old deck, these old owners really did this backwards. 🙂




tree frog2

dragon fly6

dragon fly4



Banning State Park

banning colors

A couple weeks ago I took a day off from work to go to Banning State Park. I was informed there was a nice little water fall there and it was only 45 minutes from my home.  Unfortunately, the day I took off to head up there, the forecast called for rain all day.

banning colors2

It didn’t rain at my home but was cloudy and looked like rain.  I checked Sandstone, MN weather and it showed 79% precipitation.  I really wasn’t going to drive 45 minutes to be rained out.  Since it was raining at my home, I went out and enjoyed by brand new deck and caught up on my cross stitching and reading.  I never get time for either of these anymore.

banning rapids

I was a little disappointed I wouldn’t make it on my waterfall quest but hey, gives an excuse for another day off work to try again.  I enjoyed my day on my deck, couple times I thought it was getting pretty dark and my day would be washed out but the rain never arrived at my home. 

banning rapids2

I put in for another vacation day for last Wednesday, try this waterfall quest once again.

banning rapids3

The weekend before I was to head up, the weather man says…. rain all day Wednesday. Really……again.  I just want a camera day.

fall colors 22

Wednesday morning came, the weather man changed his forecast, the rain would come only overnight that night. The day would be clear and perfect, mid 60’s with sunshine.

fall colors 23

I hopped in my little old vehicle and hit the road.  Arrived in Sandstone around 10:30 and thought I would find something to eat before my day of hiking, not a fast food place or gas station for food anywhere.  Oh well, I had a bowl of cereal around 6:00 am, I would be fine.

fall colors 24

Besides, I was told the waterfall was only about a mile hike in, not far at all. Hike in and take photos for an hour or two and head home for a late lunch.

fall colors 25

I pulled into the park and the fall colors were amazing.  I was told by my informant, go to the last parking lot and follow the trail in.  The last parking lot was by the boat landing and the rapids just below, made sense to me.

fall colors 26

I followed the trail in, taking photos of the colors and the rapids on the way.

fall colors 27

There were little squirrels everywhere along the hike, chattering away at me.

fall colors 28

This one was enjoying a snack he found.

fall colors 29

fall colors

fall colors2

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fall colors4

An hour or so later, I had hiked quite a ways and still no sign of the end of the trail or the waterfalls.  Figured maybe I better take a few less photo stops and start hiking to find this waterfall.

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I found the rapids, how much farther can these falls be…. have to be getting near.

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I stopped and spent a good 45 minutes at the rapids, such a pretty blue sky and perfect day.

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Time to head on to the falls.  Um…. the trail is done, it ended.  No falls. 

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I found a side trail after backtracking some, took many loops, the map kept showing the final loop would have a trail to the falls.  I am on my way.

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Loop after loop, no falls trail.  But another trail to Hells Rapids this time, this must be getting near.

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Again, a dead end.

This little squirrel was making fun of me for not finding my trail, he yelled and chattered at me for quite a while.  I think he wanted me to go away.

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If he is going to sit and laugh at me, I am going to take his photo.  Two can play that game right?

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Headed back from my last dead end, I found a side trail that had a do not enter sign. I had seen this on the way in so I followed the other trail.  Coming this direction I realized the sign was do no enter for cross country skiers only, couldn’t see that going the other way.  This was my falls trail, at last.  However by this time it is almost 2:00, I am really hungry.  According to my fitbit I had walked 24,537 steps, over 10 miles and 47 flights of stairs (hills).  I was foot sore, hot, hungry and tired.  This long hike with 50 pounds of camera equipment on your back.  I looked at the trail, started down it, turned back, stopped and debated.  I really wanted my waterfalls but it was another .3 mile loop with a .4 trail at the end to get to the falls.  Enough, they would be there another day.  Hiked back to my car to find out the falls trail is off the SECOND to last parking lot, not the last.  Now I know, I can return.  Headed home about 2:30, stopped for a burger on the way.  At least it wasn’t a wasted trip, I still got my fall colors.

Mushrooms, so many mushrooms…


Have you ever noticed how many varieties of mushrooms you can find in one yard?


After dinner yesterday, there was really nothing going on so I took the camera out into the yard to see what I could see.


I headed down to the pond hoping for some birds of one variety or another.  Nobody around.


I was wandering around the yard when I looked up into the trees and spotted a mushroom growing out of the tree.  After finding one, I started looking at all the trees and finding many more.  I think mushrooms are really cool looking and come in so many shapes and sizes.


This little one was growing in a hole in the tree, something had been eating it too.


I have no idea which mushrooms are poisonous and which are edible, frankly I don’t really care as I don’t eat mushrooms.  Never much cared for the taste of them. 




After I found all these mushrooms up in the tree tops, it was time to start looking down at the tree stumps.  I love the green in these.





These two photos I took a while back, I still haven’t figured out what they are for certain. The best I can come up with is some variety of Stinkhorn Mushroom. 


While walking my dog around the yard today, I noticed a whole new crop of mushrooms that weren’t there yesterday.  It stormed pretty good all morning and it is funny how quickly a mushroom seems to just appear.




I had to head back out with the camera and capture some of these new ones. 




It amazes me how many types of mushrooms there can be in one small yard, how many varieties there must be out there in the world. 





There were actually some in my garden that I didn’t photograph but they looked like the honeycomb from the inside of a bee hive.  Very unusual looking.


This one above was just a box shaped mushroom about the size of a Rubik’s Cube.  My dog stopped to sniff this one and called my attention to it.


Then there were these, very tiny and delicate looking.




We had this little flower looking one in another area, again pretty small and delicate.


These next were some of my favorites, they looked like little sombrero’s or something. 





They were such a rich reddish brown.  They got these cracks in the top that reminded me of a cookie when it bakes.  I doubt they taste as good as a cookie though.



Deep molasses cookie brown.



The floppy sun hat mushroom…


I was swapping out lenses on the front stoop when I found this lizard that had crawled into the garden and died, must have been eating the mushroom that was in the tree, poisonous….. 🙂

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Just a shot of some berries I found while wandering…


Then there are the frogs, these little guys are cool.  They are only about an inch to an inch and half long.  They will be all over the deck and sliding glass door. 


Especially in the early morning or evening after dark.  The poor cat, she sits in the house watching them hopping all over and wants to get to them in the worse way. 


This one was on the grill.  The cat will actually attack and jump at the glass door trying to catch them.  Gets her exercise but has to be frustrating for her. 🙂

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They have such cool eyeballs, look at the details in that eye….



They will sit on my mums all day as well, I love the green against the pink…



This next little bugger I found on the garden hose, they just sit and watch me photograph them.



My little pal that was sitting down in the grasses by the pond.

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And just finished off the day taking a picture of a white flower in the garden.  It was brutally hot out there the last couple days, the humidity is high and I just don’t stay out there long.