Liken Lichen


photo by Jeanine Renzoni, camera Nikon Coolpix S9900

The Opposite of Succulent Wild Life

Symbiotic association.

Algae and fungi.

Food, dye, medication.

Grow so slowly.

Substrate, skull of deer.

Making, on that so iconic symbol of death;  white sun-bleached skull bones,

A new vegetative life. I like it.

Green, olive, ocher, crustose, squamulose … uncertain propagation.      —Jeanine Renzoni


photo by Jeanine Renzoni – Angles on Lichen Encrusted Deer Skull.




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Tamiasciurus hudsonicus


There are many things I wish to say, usually from 10 to 20 feet away. Noisy I’m heard, look it’s not a bird. I have a favorite eat-on stump, spruce and pine cone shucks by bushel piles dump.                   Photo: J Renzoni



Four to six inches of bushy tail, 7-8 inches body to nose  … active all year, I don’t doze. Tufts on my ears,  in the winter part of the years. Tunnels in the snow … you never know where I’ll go.


Paler fur in winter yellowish or reddish…. belly is whitish. Twenty teeth … good grief.  I’m a fellow out in day, but occasionally out at night … what can I say.                     photo: J. Renzoni



My home range is 200 yards across or less,  up to 10 of us per acre – less is best. Territorial quite memorable. Mating in Feb – Mar … now, and again in June – July, holy cow.  Thirty-eight days later 2-7 little ones I can’t deny.                  Photo: J. Renzoni


For up to 10 years, almost anything I eat … seeds, nuts, eggs, fungi, but not meat … and store it too. Red Squirrel (Spruce Squirrel) 7 – 8.75 oz, too small for squirrel stew.      Photo: J. Renzoni

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Slate Dragon Scale


Photo: J. Renzoni



Slate gray dragon scale, feathered white flashing phoenix tail.

Translucent ivory belly and under, pale pink beak, happy to plunder.


photo: J. Renzoni

Song a short trill, in flight a sharp buzzy tzeet, silly dark-eyed junco.



There are five sub-species groups in North America … this is the most common.


photo: J. Renzoni

A mere morsel at 0.67 oz.


photo: J. Renzoni

Said the cat … Good to know.

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Wind Chill 30 below … active northern birds

If I were a bird I think I’d fly south for the winter … but maybe not. Maybe the snow is exhilarating (that would be one word for it), maybe black sunflower seeds are so much tastier than warm, mushy southern bugs (I can believe that) or non-challenging seeds. Maybe it just doesn’t seem that cold (mmm-shiver). Maybe darting in and out is more satisfying than roasting in excessive heat. I don’t know, but then I stay up north in Wisconsin in the winter too.


Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) … big, blue and loves sunflower seeds.


Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus) Friendly birds, curious … this one is up on the suet on top of the bird feeder.


Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) male … they like to eat sunflower seeds.

I was gifted with a new camera (Nikon Coolpix S9900, small, yet very versatile) for my birthday last week, I’m still a novice with it – which means I get frustrated when the focus lever needs to go the opposite way my old camera’s did or when I can’t find a feature quickly… or at all when I want it. Ah the joys of learning. But, sitting inside trying to catch birds at the bird feeder is pretty sweet … I drink some tea when the cat decides to help me watch them, in this case he came over and up- chucked … hair ball and spider plant leaves, but I’m tough, it didn’t phase me. DSCN0045 DSCN0051 DSCN0050 DSCN0062

Cardinals are brilliant, but Blue Jays … so cool.

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Photo Journey – this week’s best action shots

I’ve taken lots of photos with my little pocket digital camera. This week I decided to work on getting action shots outside in the Wisconsin snow focusing on some of my favorite things, my dogs and the birds.

Here are the ones I thought were the most interesting:


Siggy and his snow waterfall…


Boxing vs biting …


Chickadees have landed




Into the Light




Frisbee with Jazzie


Just so you know, I’m throwing the disc, and taking the photo … sometimes it’s hard to find the dog in the brief span available…


After Frisbee

After Frisbee … easy to find the dog



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Chickadees at My Feeder

Bold swoop, glimmer of wing and very proper coloring.

Delirious laugh, dee dee dee, plays crazy winter tunes.

Cold phoenix, the opposite of calm possessed.

I click, click, click my shutter, randomly capture, un-capture

Their happiness.


Did you ever try to count chickadees coming in to your feeder?


Photos: J. Renzoni … thru the sliding glass door with Canon PowerShot A710 … it’s truly not fast enough.

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After my visit to the eye doctor I ordered new glasses with new frames … this level of clarity cost over $700.

I’ve read thousands of pages, watched hundreds of hours of video on animal training and applied it … this level of clarity cost a lifetime with animals.

I’ve practiced drawing, artwork, playing instruments and singing … this level of clarity cost massive creativity.

I’ve written journals, mindmaps, blogs and lists … this level of clarity cost intuition, self-knowledge, pens and ink.

I’ve lived rural, grown food, and been outside in all weather … this level of clarity cost living with nature.

Imagine how easy your life will be when you are able to make all decisions with clarity and freedom from fear. —Lulu Mares


Rhubarb leaves in autumn colors … the weather has faded them now that it’s December. Photo – J. Renzoni


What has clarity cost You?

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Asked/Answered, Irritating People by Informing Them


My ole buddy Arab who learned lots with clicker and food rewards and also with classical training methods … he gets regular hand feeding now because he is nearly toothless. But he still enjoys any training session I want to offer him.

Do you ever reply to questions in Internet groups you’re in? You’re not one of those people who says stupid stuff, are you? I guess I am…

I wrote a reply to a woman who had posted a horse handling question on a Facebook group I’m in. She wrote, in response to some advice I’d offered, IN ALL CAPS! so she was yelling at me. She obviously didn’t want a stupid, behavioral, researched, positive-reinforcement kind of answer.

She believes I was off-target and didn’t understand what the problem was with this biting, kicking, angry mare. Oh yeah, that’s me.

What was I thinking? I knew I probably shouldn’t clarify when she brushed off the first person’s answer. But she was not getting it. Ugh! I have problems with leaving people in-the-dark when they are asking for some light on a solution.

Alas, elsewhere ignorance reigns. And the horse suffers – quite seriously in this case. Which is probably what spurred me on.

Should I have responded at all? Easy answer … Noooo! Do people actually honor FREE advice … mostly Noooo! Ah, they say thank you, but with no cost to them, there is also no value or commitment to the advice. Of course, this person didn’t say thanks…

The first person answering offered – how about clicker and positive rewards. I thought the questioner worried about the horse biting if she offered food rewards for behaviors. She wrote – “It bites.” So I said how to deal with resolving biting when offering treats … wrong.


I almost let it go. But then I did respond because, OK, I just didn’t want to let it go … and people who use negative reinforcement and punishment like it when it works. It’s a nice, for them, closed system – no thinking. Hence they tend to escalate their yelling or rude actions. Escalate, escalate, escalate … more, do it more, because it will work with MORE. But, what they don’t consider is it’s not good for them. It’s not good for them to be that way, it turns them bitter, shuts off their empathy and leaves them angry.

So I wrote, “You are absolutely right (I was being affirmative), the horse did need a different training approach (I was repeating her words) and that was offered by everyone who responded to your query.” (I wasn’t the only useless advice giver). And, I wished her all the best (definitely true –  plus I didn’t want her to yell at me anymore. Her negative reinforcement was working…grr).

Unwritten I wished some more stuff…

I didn’t say that her ALL CAPS shout was ironic. Although it was. It made me snort when I read it.

I didn’t chant, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” since she had written that she used positive reinforcement. I wonder what she thought she did that the horse would think, yay, positive reward. Yay, you didn’t whip me! Yay, you quit jerking on my face! Yay, you quit bothering me by removing the pressure of your presence. Yay, you slapped me  and said **gibberish**.

(–Aside whisper– If you don’t know the difference – positive means added something the horse likes and negative means something aversive  taken away to reward behavior … the examples were negative reinforcement, the slap might be considered punishment and the gibberish, well is gibberish**horses don’t know English until taught words by connecting them with actions, but they do know threatening body language/tones)

I didn’t say, don’t take in horses to train when you know so little about — HORSES…

Or; How do I even know what the question really is when the writing is so lacking in key information…like not mentioning that she only wants new approaches in the same vein as what she has been using, just new, but the same … OK.

To be fair, horse training is mostly the use of negative reinforcement, advance/retreat, bits, whips, spurs, pressure – the good trainers are very specific and measured with its application because they don’t want to push the horse into too much fear or anger. And it works, horses remember. They are a high-fear animal and running away is their claim to fame. Beautiful runners.

Rougher trainers tend to work (find some success) with the calmer horses, because they can get away with it (they’d wreck the hot-blooded Arabs, thoroughbreds …) This horse was sent on to a rougher trainer, one who would ‘lay it down’. Euphemism – for tying up, throwing down and restraining until the horse gives up (learned helplessness, mental shut down and strong risk of physical damage).

What would you think are the chances of this ending well? And, who will be blamed? The horse.

Right …  The positives like food, eek! The anti-food line is a big, wide gap between what research says and what many horse trainers do. No, we don’t use food to train … that would be … cheating. And the horses might like it. They would come too close to us, get too enthused and we don’t know how to train them if they aren’t more afraid. We don’t know what to do when it comes to using food, except avoid or only give it once we get done training.  There is a long tradition of using the tools we use. They need to respect us (euphemism for fear).

True, that’s pretty much the way it rolls.

Yup, I gave her an example of how food could work to start to repair the inter-species rift, silly me. Will I do it again? Well not to her, but  …. oh heck, probably yes.




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Walking In the Rain

IMG_6782As a challenge and as a puzzle, I grabbed words from a magnetic word stack, they were: delight, fragrance, bare, water, rain, want, merry, good, cross, above, bell, grace, music, should & awake. A word stack of randomness to make truth of in a poem.

Walking in the Rain      by Jeanine Renzoni                                          

The fragrance of rain on leaves,

Bare water pounding down like music,

Merry drips above awake delight,

A cross between grace and defeat.

Good triumphs, the Earth does drink,

Hell’s bells, wet leaks booted foot bath,

The dichotomy of optimism and reality,

Just walking in the rain.

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Walking Down Wester Ave Taking Pictures

Pale blue sky and colored leaves above a gravel road. The sounds of Blue Jays crying and very oddly, the clear, loud howl of a coyote. Weird that. Coyotes sing almost every night, but I haven’t heard any in the morning, ever, on my walks.

Slow leaf turn, northern Wisconsin was acting more southern in weather only just recently having some real frosts. Many of them (especially maples and poplars) just dropped off instead of turning color. But I guess now would be considered peak color on Wester Avenue.IMG_6625a


photo Canon PowerShot A710IS, 7:30am going east on Wester Ave: J. Renzoni


One maple tree with more pretty leaves than most of the others. photo; J. Renzoni


Last night’s sunset was quite a show. The sky, jealous of the botanical beauty beneath it.


photo: J. Renzoni

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