Entries to Win Afghan

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Winners are: 3rd place- e-book of your choice: Wendy Nystrom. 2nd place- book of your choice, paper or e-book: Sue Ann Crawford. Winner of the afghan: Elaine Hull.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Puffball and Progress

It was another clear day today. A little colder than yesterday, but I went out to work on cutting those autumn olives down to the ground.

In the grass beside one was a mature and dehydrated puffball.


I found it because as I moved the grass, brown "smoke" started to rise from the area. I knew what that was without any guessing. Here I've pinched it to show how that looks. These are spores being released. I'll have to look for fresh puffballs in that area next year.


As far as getting those trees cut off... I got one and a half done. The first one had a triple trunk which had all grown together. Thankfully, it did separate when I was trying to cut it.

tree stump

It's pretty amazing that this is all grown up in the last three years. Before Maggie the dog died I was keeping the entire trail open quite diligently.

The combined stump is a good six inches across.

tree stump

I went on to work on the next one, where I was distracted by the puffball. It was also a tiring and annoying project. I got part of that one.

tree stump

Bed early I think 'cause work comes early tomorrow and Thursday.

The first Christmas card of the year came today from Chuck and Sylvia of Secondary Roads!

See I Found Dinner
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Monday, December 5, 2016

Trees Down, Trees Up

Last night we had snow- the first significant fall of the season. I didn't think there was any real wind associated with that, but when I went outside today there were three big branches broken off my white pines that are near the house. Bummer. I cleared one of them, but these two are hung up on another branch. Will need a ladder and a helper to get them down.

white pines

Today the snow all melted, the sun came out and the temperature hit the mid-forties. Nice.

I've been cutting more of those blankety-blank autumn olive trees. They are so reprehensible that it's a three-step process to clear them. First day I take the loppers out and cut enough branches of an inch or less in diameter that I can actually get near the trunk of the tree. Have I mentioned they have nasty thorns? Need to be covered up and wear leather gloves.

Day two is to take the small saw and trim the branches down so I can get to the base of the trunk. That's what I did today on three trees that have grown up just in the last three years in my trail.

autumn olive stumps

It's like they had this perverse sense of humor, growing right in the exact line where I used to mow.

autumn olive stumps

Well, if I get out there one more time before real snow and cut them off at ground level, I may be able to conquer them. Every stump will have ten new sprouts in the spring, so I'll need to mow regularly. Killing those trees is nearly impossible.

In the growing up department, however, there are at least 15 baby white pines growing on the south slope below the grove on the hill. This is the same stand that has the new trees also on the east side. This is awesome! I would be really happy to have much more of that open space out back turn into a white pine forest.

This is just a few that I could get in one picture.

baby white pines

I have managed to get all my ski/snowshoe trail trimmed enough that I can get through. There are places that could have better clearance, and I'll work on them if I get more decent days.

See Five New Reasons to Be Happy
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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Joy, Joy, Joy

It was a day filled with music, beginning with the cantata "Joy, Joy, Joy" at the Ludington Methodist Church.

church choir

The chancel choir, praise choir, and children's choir joined together and put on a great performance with lots of lively songs. Local legend, Becky Sopha, is the director and she sure knows how to get good music out of people!

church choir

While we were in the service, winter arrived! Postcard pretty outside.

church in snowstorm

This evening the handbell choir I'm in gave a concert at the Pentwater Methodist Church. I didn't record it. We'll be doing these same songs a couple more times, and there will be a better venue for a video later. I guess every few years the handbell choir plays at this church, but it was my first time.


Also as a part of that concert there was a violin solo.


Followed by snacks and cookies and visits with friends... a really nice day.

See Handbells- A Different Perspective
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Shapes of Trees II

One of the good things about the winter season is that you can really see the shapes of trees when the leaves are gone. If the tree has grown in the open, so that its spread is unrestricted, the shape can be part of the way you identify the tree.

Here are a few from my kingdom.

A very old and unpruned apple tree. It bore a lot of apples this year. I made cider.

apple tree

A sugar maple on the hill to my east. It's not actually on my property, but my "trail" walks beneath it. I have permission to walk there. Unfortunately, it and several other maples are getting very old and are losing big branches in storms. Its years are numbered.

sugar maple tree

The big wild black cherry by the railroad tracks. It's never borne a cherry that I've noticed, but it's attractive.

black cherry tree

Quaking aspen also near the tracks. You've seen this clump before in Just WOW in Blue and White, for one instance.

quaking aspen trees

And on the swing around to return to the house, Staghorn Sumac.

staghorn sumac trees

Do you like to look at the shapes of trees? Maybe you never thought about how different they can be from each other.

When I was maybe in junior high I was trying to draw bare trees. I complained to my mother that I wasn't happy with the picture because the trees looked like stalks of celery. She said, "So what? Some trees look like celery."

See Shapes of Trees I
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Friday, December 2, 2016

Sparkle in the Park

On the way home last night, Ramona swung through Sparkle in the Park in Bear Lake. This is a very small town that decorates the entire park with lights every Christmas.

Christmas lights

But this is, to my way of thinking, exactly what small town life is all about. Instead of some huge corporate light display that is supposed to knock your socks off, this is a community involvement project.

Christmas lights

The village does some of the edgings, but the park is divided into sections and various businesses and organizations each decorate one. The bright gold and white lights kind of "blew out" in the camera, but it sure was colorful.

Of course, I was partial to the one with the tent, by the Boy Scout Troop.

Christmas lights

One that was quite simple, but very effective was the sleigh and reindeer out on a point of land, reflecting in the water.

Christmas lights

People in town come to see how their friends, family and colleagues decorated their spaces. People driving by on the highway can enjoy it (the park is very visible from US 31), and those who wish to can drive through and take a closer look.

Small town fun at its best.

See Yellow, Red, Orange for a view in winter near where the reindeer lights are
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