Friday, October 3, 2008


I got a call from Carl this afternoon. He was using a library's internet access to wander through some of the pictures I took at the World Dairy Expo earlier this week, and he wanted to nominate this one for the blog. He thought it really told the whole story.

I think this is the first time Carl has seen my blog, which was originally conceived as a means of conveying directions and lodging information to guests. I've covered a lot of ground since then. (In fact, I have real, live knitting to show you - soon. Really.) And while I've been writing and philosophizing and messing around on here, I've started using this neat little Google function to track my visitors. For instance, I can tell you how many visits there have been to the blog in the last 30 days, and the average amount of time actually spent reading the blog once you all get here (1 minute, 23 seconds). But what is really fascinating is that I can tell where those viewers are located, more or less.

The vast majority are in the US, of course. (Stops typing to wave at the cousins, and to Maggie Brown and her mom.) And one visit from Finland, which I'm also assuming is a brother or nephew. But I also had a visitor from South Africa . . . and Lithuania . . . and Ghana . . . and Bulgaria. Ten visits from the United Kingdom, and two from India. I don't know who you people are, or what I could possibly be doing here in Wisconsin that interests you. But welcome, whoever you are and how ever you got here. Say hello in the comments, if you have the time. I'll try to post something every once in a while that's worth your trouble.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

World Dairy Expo 2008

Did you know that when they're getting a cow ready to show, they blow-dry and trim the hair along the base of her spine (right above the tail) into a Mohawk-looking line to make her back look straighter? And that you can buy a hairpiece to make a cow's tail look thicker and fuller? (Which is not cheating, because the cow isn't being judged on her tail. But a fluffy tail makes the udder look fuller, and the cow is being judged on that.) And when a cow is all dolled up and ready for the show, one person walks her to the stadium holding her halter while another trails behind with a bucket and paper towels, so if she has to defecate they can catch it mid-air and wipe her off. Somehow I was amazed by this.

Anyway, greetings from the World Dairy Expo in Madison. I'm mostly clueless about this topic, but it looked like Cousin Bill did all the right stuff out there, and the cow looked pretty (as cows go). And the exhibition hall is a wonderful thing, with people giving away tote bags, foam rubber cows, cheese, bookmarks, and an amazing variety of key fobs and magnets and candy and stuff. If you happen to be the kind of person who will happily take anything that's free, even if you have no use for it and aren't even sure what it is (that would be me), then you would have been in heaven there. I particularly enjoyed the vanilla "cow's tail" candy, and was surprised that a company was marketing a form of bovine growth hormone as an environmentally friendly strategy (more milk from the same amount of resources means less impact on the environment, theoretically). They gave out the best freebies, so I guess they're really trying to convince folks.
Next time, I really need to take the whole day off. And bring boots.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Couple of Garden Pictures

Just because there won't be many more of these before the snow flies.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Mild Panic

Pam, my hair stylist buddy, called to say that she's putting together an event for "hunting widows" over the weekend of 11/15 (which must be the first weekend of deer season or something). She's offering a glam package, with hair and makeup and some other stuff, and wonders if I'd like to be the official portrait photographer so she can include an 8" x 10" with each package. I'd love to!

But we're talking about mid-November, with boas and lace and soft focus and so on, which is a little bit off my normal "natural light" thing. Basically, I'm going to need to figure out a traveling studio set-up in Pam's back room, which only has a tiny amount of natural westerly light coming in through the door's window. I've been wanting to try out some of the stuff in my textbooks, and I'm planning to buy a backdrop for my birthday anyway. And I need to take Tasha's senior pictures, so I can probably get her to sit for me while I screw around and figure things out. But I feel a small panic, some lighting purchases and a whole lot of experimentation coming on.