06/02 — guest post by Sarah Dahlinger

i think this might be the very-first-ever guest post on this blog • & it is a delightful one! • Sarah Dahlinger does gorgeous glorious art • & also writes! • she is writing a WHOLE BOOK • with also a LOT OF PICTURES IN IT • which is so far beyond my comprehension of anything i could do, i cannot even •

anyway here she is to tell you about her book • “Seen and Unseen: Observations in the Panama Wilderness by Sam Hildebrand” • & how she got to this whole art + writing + nature thing • also lots of pictures • which i’d tell you they’re gorgeous but just go look • i mean • wow •

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When I was a kid, my parents bought forty-five acres of forest in rural NH so my sister and I could grow up away from the city. We lived up there every summer. For the first few years, when I was eight to twelve years old, we lived in a mostly broken camper. No running water. No plumbing. No TV. No microwave. We had a battery radio. We got a little house when I was twelve years old, but still no TV, and one radio for the whole house.

I lived outside like a little animal every summer from eight years old to fifteen years old. It has made a deep impression on me. It’s hard to explain just how much I love that land. My parents and grandparents taught me about the fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds who lived there. I memorized the “North American Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians” and had a very solid knowledge of the Audubon’s book on North American Birds by the time I was ten.

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My parents sold the land when I was in college. I miss it deeply, but I find little patches of nature near my house to appreciate, and there’s always travel. I’ve been to Panama, Russia, the Everglades, Shenandoah Valley, Niagara Falls, among others. This year, I’m going to Glacier National Park to see bears. I guess that little wild animal child is still alive and well in me. I hope to never lose her.

I think this is the root of my love of both the wilderness and art. Nature is an incredible force that is both beautiful and dangerous. I can go out into nature, and appreciate it, but, always with respect, because I’ll never own it.

Art, well, the battle with art is never won. There’s always something to improve, and this is what makes me get of bed everyday, 4 hours early, so I can practice.

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This is Sarah Dahlinger. I’m an artist, both 2D and 3D, who has taken on the new challenge of writing and illustrating my own book, “Seen and Unseen: Observations in the Panama Wilderness by Sam Hildebrand”. It will be illustrated prose of roughly 60-80 pages, a historical fiction with elements of fantasy. Page length depends on how amped up I get over full colored spreads, and time. I’ve always had stories in my head but never felt like anyone would want to hear them. It’s time to see if I can make something that will make people happy. I’m excited for this challenge and I hope you are too.

This project is largely based on two things: my trip to Panama in 2014, and the 1911 Smithsonian Biological Survey. I’ve always thought a bit of magic lives in the places where humans can’t touch, so that’s in there too.

I’ve heard that you should make the story that your 12-year-old self would have loved to read.

This is my story.

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If you would like to see some of my studies and sketches, check out my Twitter. https://twitter.com/SeenUnseenBook

I post new animal drawings there almost daily, in the efforts to improve my drawing skills before I illustrate Seen and Unseen.

If you would like to support the project, see full illustrations, read the copy early, see process sketches, and win prizes, check out my Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/SarahDahlinger?ty=h

My website also has a bunch of neat things on it as well. http://www.sarahdahlinger.com/

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Posted on May 31, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


05/12 — printables, or, more of my Stuff

so many Stuff to keep track of • so many

(a followup to the other thing i did • you know, the thing)

also there is a PRESENT FOR YOU • it’s at the bottom of the post • don’t get too excited, it’s just a printable

anyway the bullet journal thing (at least the way i do it) is definitely a day-by-day thing • i don’t plan my weeks or months with it • other people do because that’s what works for them • i need my longer-term stuff to be somewhere i can look up & see it any time • i’d have to flip through the bullet journal for that • it would not work • i’d just never do it • because my brain • it does not work that way

(the key • as always • do what works FOR YOU)

anyway i wound up finding a zillion printables • you know the kind • done by mommybloggers & lifecoaches & people with entirely other businesses who want to talk about how they do things • kinda like i’m doing here

& then i futzed & poked & experimented & made my own • here’s the weekly version

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the days that have names have them right in the schedule • i figured that was convenient

there’s room for the week’s blog post & newsletter • the week’s focus • weekly specials is whatever tasks i have • plus a shopping list more or less • self-care also gets a focus

this works REALLY STONKING WELL • it’d be all sorts of colours if i had a colour printer • i don’t but at least i have purple paper • that works pretty well

there’s also the monthly version • it has two months actually • i do better when i can see that far ahead when i need to • i may have gotten a lil silly adding spirals to this one • not really, i love em

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it’s also got spaces for the month’s focus • ideas for blog posts & newsletters • & projects • that’s what works for me

& now the PRESENT • guess what it’s PRINTABLES • i sort of filed off the serial numbers • you might do errands on monday • clearday might be sunday • fighter practice might be tuesday • you know how it goes • click to download • & fill in what works for YOU

The Vagabond Tabby weekly printable thumbThe Vagabond Tabby 2 month printable thumb

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


04/19 — under the bridge

it was wednesday • or maybe thursday? • one of those…you know, days • anyway i knew there was weather coming in • i knew the boy’d get cabin fever • also it was gorgeous • so walkies

we stopped at the neighbor’s house first • he’s an awesome guy • got a couple of cats & feeds whoever comes around • he’ll fix your car for not too much money • he’s been teaching me car stuff • & doesn’t flirt with me which is SO NICE

anyway he’s also got a beautiful flower-laden tree in his front yard • i couldn’t get a clear pic because the wind • i almost like this better though? • also the ray of sunlight at the top

flower wind

this is his cat China • she is beautiful & so sweet • i love that meezerXtabby look • the blue eyes & stripey

miss china

she doesn’t like loiosh much • she’s got sort of a resigned patience with him though • it’s like they all eventually figure out that he doesn’t mean it • he’s just a dorkbutt

anyway instead of going down the hill & left • we went down the hill & right • under the bridge • there’s a nice wide rocky beach-ish floodplain there • new territory • i found a lotta seaglass

but that’s later • before that i found a really neat worm-eaten log

runes, ancient paths, switchback roads

switchbacks

electron trails • the path of a single soul through a mob of rush hour commuters

runes maps

meandering stream • deerpath • worm tracks

deer tracks

i love that stuff • i wonder if you can do worm track divination?

anyway it was sunny so loiosh was too warm • admittedly i was too • he hauled me under a tree for shade & snuggles • i decided to try some really-close-up shots with the new phone • which, it turns out, it’s pretty good at

stretchy toes

toes stretched

relaxed toestoes relaxed

his handsome face • green eyes • i love the sunfreckles on his pink nose    handsome face

also of course there was love • many love • LOVE MOM

bestest baby

then i hadda carry his butt back because MOM IT’S HOT • but not before I got a couple more cool pics of the tree • beavers really impress me like • that’s…that’s a BIG tree you’re chomping through there

busy beaver

also a texture-ey-structure-ey pic for rowan because he likes taking this kind of picture • i might get into the habit myself

texture structure

ending as usual with the loot pic • pretty good haul there • more of that steel wire i’ve been using • blue glass is always welcome • decent-sized hunk of bone • red&yellow ochre for a friend • lootlootloot

excellent loot

Posted on April 19, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | 6 Thoughts So Far - Why Not Add Yours?


04/15 — yucca salve

continuing the adventure in yucca begun here • or ‘wow does it take forever for yucca to dry enough to do anything with’

(which yeah • it’s a desert plant • that’ll happen)

so i hung it up & it dried • forEVer • like a month? • or hey a moon • so that’ll do

i didn’t figure it was the sort of thing that would do well with sitting in a jar with the oil • too hard for that • so i infused it for two days in avocado & grapeseed oil in the electric cauldron • otherwise known as a crockpot set on low • turns out that happened just after the new moon • so waxing moon energy here • all sort of accidentally but i’ll take it

i forgot to get pictures of that part • but here it is draining • slightly messier than a jar full of calendula & comfrey • the pieces are bigger y’see

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lovely golden-yellow oil • smells like the desert, especially when warmed

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i added the usual stuff • vitamin e oil to keep it from oxidizing • also just nice for skin

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beeswax to thicken it up • it’s what makes it a salve • measured out

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& dumped in

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long slow melting & stirring to make sure everything’s properly mixed • & it goes into the cabinet to cool without cats being involved • ahh, cats

since it’s not quite the recipe i usually use • & the quantities were sort of ad-hoc anyway • i wanted to check that the texture was right before I put it in jars • good thing i did, first time through it was too soft

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easy enough to add a lil beeswax & repeat the melting part • the next day it was Just Right • so into jars it went • followed by the formal Taking of the Pictures

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& then the Posting of the Stuff • linkified as a subtle reminder that hey this is a thing that you can buy

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it’s an interesting experiment • i can’t wait to see how it turns out •

Posted on April 16, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | 4 Thoughts So Far - Why Not Add Yours?


03/29/16 — horrible death plague

so a couple weeks ago i caught the horrible death plague

it was just a cold • i’d take a couple days kinda slow & be fine • yeah, that • that did not happen

i took a lotta time to just work on pretties & also nap • the boys were helpful with this, at least the latter part

company

best oldmancat

st0ned

(aided the situation in the third pic with a lil nip • want some nip • course ya do)

i did start feeling better at one point • even took a pic of the rare & elusive me (with a pretty)

rare elusive me

but then two days later there i was at the doctor with a lovely secondary infection • possibly pneumonia • definitely bronchitis • i got sent home with a pharmacopoeia & strict orders to REST DAMMIT

doctor

so i’m finally on the mend but it’s gonna be a slow slog • so much coughing, ugh • it is good practice at getting very much rest? • but i am so bored • SO BORED

i have been doing little things every day, all i have the energy for

one batch of soap, only for the roommates & i since we all have it already anyway • no chance of further contagion

beltaine rising

i kinda chucked stuff in & managed to make it smell REALLY GOOD so there’ll be more of it, just, not yet

i drained the vinegar-mint-rosemary hair stuff i started a month ago & it makes my hair happy

hair stuff drained

i slipped outside (briefly!) & got lovely pictures of crocuses & snow

crocus

i did my nails

nails

& of course i made pretties

upcycling

many bones

inspiration

texture

cut stone

also napping • so much napping • so many, many naps

someday i’ll feel okay again • gonna be a bit, though • totally looking for sympathy here btw • so bored

also don’t catch this, holy crap, it SUCKS

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | 2 Thoughts So Far - Why Not Add Yours?


03/15 — bullet journaling, or, how i keep track of my Stuff

cos it turns out i have sort of a lot of Stuff to keep track of

actually the bullet journal (& it’s only sort of a bullet journal tbh) is only a small part of the process but it’s the prettiest, so

anyways i’d been playing around with the idea already & then i got this lovely journal from my aunt for giftmas

journal 01

so that part was pretty easy, here i am with a perf journal to write stuff in, i just gotta figure out the stuff

i’d decided that i needed to have a handwritten, daily list of ‘what i’m doing today’ • i’d had one a while ago, but gave up on the idea in favour of a lil more desk space & keeping a list hung on the wall instead (as part of a weekly planner i wrote up) • & the weekly part worked okay but the daily part did NOT, at all

plus i wanted a daily tracker sort of thing, as i used to forget about meals entirely on a disturbingly regular basis • i’m bad at food at the best of times so any help i could find there was gonna be a good thing

so combining the two (& adding in the coloured pencils i got from my mom a while ago) • & after some fiddling • i came up with this

journal 02

HOLY CRAP

THIS WORKS SO WELL

each day gets a name • some are pretty set; monday is always clearday, when i clear the decks for the week • & plan what i’m doing more or less • tuesday is errandsday, shipping & shopping & such • thursday is artday • sunday is putterday

other days have begun getting named based on the most important thing on my list for the next day • of course everything is frungible • monday & tuesday often wind up getting switched • especially if i have run out of the old man cat’s gooshyfud • it is impossible to get through a day with him trying to climb up my nose • MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM

like a complete sucker i have of course spent more money on pens & tape & glittery stars • sometimes i give myself gold stars • sometimes i get PURPLE ONES

journal 03

(speaking of eating i was just reminded by looking at the image above that oh hey, lunch)

most of my pages are day pages but sometimes i gotta do a thing • havi quotes are a favourite • i gave her a BLUE STAR

journal 04

the list includes not just ‘work’ stuff but also things like cooking • taking a bath • going for a walk

these are just as important parts of life as ‘work’ • more important really

also you may note i’ve been including the date according to the jacobin calendar as well as the ‘modern’ date • mostly because i’m a big dork i’ll admit • but also valentine’s day is woad day • what’s not to love there?

journal 05

sometimes i get bored with just the tape & draw things • or glue things on • yes i got gluesticks too • this way lies papercraft • BEWARE

journal 06

one of the last things i do in the day is write up tomorrow’s page • i started out doing them in the morning • that didn’t work • having a lot of the next day’s stuff set up the night before is a big help, though

this has been really really useful in helping me keep my days on track • plus it’s a little bit of art every day

journal 07

i’ve almost run out of pages in this journal • but there’s another one lined up & waiting • finally a reason to buy cool journals, too • least til i switch over to another way to keep track of things • for now, though • this is working really nicely

Posted on March 15, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | 2 Thoughts So Far - Why Not Add Yours?


03/09 — took the cat to the park, like you do

like sometimes i’m entirely used to it • i mean it happens all. the time. • but sometimes i’m still like • CAT ON A STRING

anyway we went to the park & it was GORGEOUS

someone had made an art out of rocks

rock art

actually two

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very nice ones too, i was impressed

lots of cool wood too, here’s an awesome bug-chewed stick

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sunstruck log

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bones of long-dead creatures (as is traditional, in Adhemar’s honour)

bones of long dead creatures

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you will note that this particular bone has a hole

& i have a cat

this went more-or-less as you’d expect

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wiggle

he is so graceful, except not actually at all, like any

anyway there has been a Circumstance in the house involving another orange cat who i have become quite fond of so SOMEONE is a lil jealous & maybe insecure

I’M GONNA SULK OVER HERE MOM

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MOM I DON’T LIKE YOU ANY MORE (note holler-face)

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FINE I’M GONNA CLIMB THIS BIG PILE OF STICKS & SULK

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…Mom?

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at which point there’s nothing to do but climb up on the big pile of sticks & snuggle my cat

he had a Love Emergency

MOM

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MOM LOVE

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MOMMA I NEED A LOVE

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MY MOMMA

MINE

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many people question, when one has a cat, who is the owner & who is the owned

me, i got no doubts

Posted on March 9, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | 6 Thoughts So Far - Why Not Add Yours?


03/01 — harvesting yucca with the old man

i don’t bring him out with me very often unless i’m on the road • he’s, well, old & cranky & not always fond of the Out but sometimes • sometimes he finds it in himself to take a wander

sunlit selfie with my old man • (he’s wearing his red wool cloak • must keep his creaky old joints warm)

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he had a pretty good time wandering around smelling things & having Opinions

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also sat on my lap for a while, because Momma & Warms • he’s so terribly handsome

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also, yes, Opinions

 

he has very many of them • he is an old man cat • he’s entitled to his Opinions

we didn’t go all the way down to the creek • (just into the woods next to it) • even so i found Treasures as i often do

blue glass is lovely & i found an entire bottle

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new sage was just beginning to peek out

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i picked a lil of last year’s • it was fuzzy in my hand

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i don’t know what this is but it looks neat • tiny flowers

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one of the mullein stalks i left behind • i brought some home last fall but left most of them • & shook most of the seeds out of the ones i did bring back • i think my roommate tossed the rest of the seeds into the back yard • i hope a few of them grow

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also a thoroughly waterlogged particleboard drawer front, from which i salvaged this awesome drawer pull • this process involved whacking it a lot with the spade i brought along • also prying with my fingernails

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but what i came out for was the yucca • i’d noticed that it and the sage were the first things greening in this very early spring • & well i’ve been reading a lot of sylvia lynsteadt‘s work over at the indigo vat • & i sort of love how she goes out pickin greens • (that’s what the poor southern people who kept the art alive call ‘wildcrafting’) • & then makes tea & salves out of, well, whatever she finds that has goodness in it

i’m not much of a tea drinker (bad herbalist, bad!) • but y’all know how i am with the salves • i got some of those • a few • thought i’d mess with another one though • not as a regular thing but just a batch • & i thought you might like to come along while i make it • well ‘come along’ in the way that means you don’t have to, you know • stand up • i did that bit already

anyway yucca

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i believe that this is narrowleaf yucca or yucca glauca • either way though it has a lot of things you can do with it • string is the one i already knew about • (i brought back some of the dried leaves from the bottom of one plant to experiment with • we shall see) • but also soap! • the leaves & roots are rich in saponin • how about that!

it was also used as medicine by a number of native american tribes • blackfoot, cheyenne, & lakota among others • it’s hard of course to find much information about what it might or might be helpful with • but that’s part of the reason i want to play with it & see • (it is said to help with arthritis • so for certain i’m gonna rub some of the salve on my hands)

i tried to dig up some of the roots of one small plant but i ought to’ve known better • desert plants grow deep roots • i did cut a bunch of the long sharp leaves to bring home • only a few from each plant of course

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they’re hanging to dry & then i’ll infuse them into some oil • i might pick up a bottle of something different from what i usually use • i have time to decide

i felt it was right to leave a gift since i was taking something with me • one of the mullein&yarrow smoke cleansing bundles i made last fall seemed appropriate • (more about those later)

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it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out • i’ll keep you all updated along the way

Posted on March 1, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


01/26 — product photography, with cat

okay i was going for the ‘still life with cat’ line there but i don’t know if it worked (i giggled tho)

anyway i took the boy out to the park again (yes the one with the post-apocalyptic busted bridge but we went the other way) & he did a bunch of running around & i got some cool pictures of my stuff & it was all good.

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he was a big help with the photography, by which i mean not actually at all

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whatcha doin mom can i halp

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mom no pictures only love

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ladies gentlemen & others, my cat *round of applause*

he had fun running all over as usual & getting his leash stuck in approx. everything & also dipping it in the water

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he even got his paws in the water due to an ill-timed dash towards a bird but i didn’t get any pics of that, i was laughing too hard

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he found a log (which, not difficult, there are a LOT of those in the floodplain here)

hey mom what’s down here?

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MIGHT BE A BUG MOM I NEED TO CHECK

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*sniff* *sniff* *snoooort*

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idk what was down there but it was, apparently, AWESOME.

also i got the requisite Bones of Long-Dead Creatures shot in Adhemar’s memory

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& came home with many loot

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& also some pics which i think work pretty well, also did i mention there’s new soap? here let me show you

baking season 3

okay, the it’s baking season soap isn’t actually new but i did finally get decent pics of it

tarragon lemon 2

the tarragon lemon soap, though, totally new

lav lem 1

the lavender lemonade soap‘s been gone for a while but here it is again looking 5000% cooler

bsr big 2

also i got new pics of the bite, sting & rash salve bc i really wasn’t happy with a couple of the old ones

so less bored cat, nice pics, good loot, & a couple hours in the sun. i’ll call that a good day.

Posted on January 26, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | 2 Thoughts So Far - Why Not Add Yours?


01/19 — getting the boy out of the house, rarely a bad idea, also ice

he gets so bored it’s ridiculous

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so getting him outside when it’s a nice day is nearly always a good idea

(also kind of good for me)

i talked my roommate into coming along this time too

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we both found some pretty cool stuff (i didn’t get pictures of that tho) & the boy got to run around a lot & wore himself (& me) out

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but mostly i got pictures of fountain creek itself cos it was kind of gorgeous

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the ice, i mean, look at it, it’s just

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ice flowers

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the water flowing under the ice

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just beautiful

(Loiosh was kinda mad i didn’t get more pictures of him tho)

(my cat)

Posted on January 19, 2016 by Kate | View this Post | Add your Thoughts


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