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.

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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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Comparative Arts and the North Country Trail

Today I got to see something really unusual although it combined several things I really like.

If you are a reader who isn't from Michigan, or even the Midwest, I probably need to begin by explaining that Interlochen Fine Arts Academy educates gifted high-schoolers. These students are selected from all over the world to attend.

As one of the exercises in the Comparative Arts class this year, the 15 students went on an overnight hike on the North Country Trail, then they had to work together to create an artistic piece to express their feelings and whatever else they took away from the experience.

The performance was a combination of script, choreography, and semi-improvisation (as in- the performers did what they wanted within a certain framework).

There wasn't a lot of advance notice about the performance, but even so about a dozen North Country Trail volunteers managed to make it. I left right after work and met up with a friend (Ramona) in Manistee, and then we drove together the rest of the way.

It was quite interesting in a deconstructed sort of way. They began with sounds created by using traditional instruments in non-traditional ways. Let me also say that I only got a few pictures worth using, because it was very dark.

Interlochen comparative arts

One of the middle sections was more structured, with segments of dance. The suitcases represent pilgrimage.

Interlochen comparative arts

The end was highly improv, using fabric and rope.

Interlochen comparative arts

Just for the record there were ten segments: Connection, Four Corners, D'arting: These Shoes, Colony, Migration, Roadmap, Ring, Journal, Shelter, and Reflection.

Afterwards (or maybe this was the Reflection section) the people who attended got to ask questions of the students. (Many in the audience were other students and faculty members)

Interlochen comparative arts

Of course, at the very end, the set must be struck.

Interlochen comparative arts

Here are some of the North Country Trail people who came, with the students and faculty who were involved.

Interlochen comparative arts

Ramona and I discussed it on the way home, but I need to think about it some more. It was a difficult kind of art for me to enjoy, but it really was a class learning assignment rather than a public performance sort of piece.

For sure we decided that young people see the world differently from the way we do.

See The Inside Story for another trip to Interlochen
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Just a Fungus

All I found today was a fungus I don't recognize. Not that that is any big surprise.

It might be Birch Maze Gill, somewhat deteriorated. But it was catching the light nicely.

fungus on birch

Sadly, this is on the remains of the one white birch on our property that I didn't plant. It died last year.

We did have a Thanksgiving/Birthday party at work. Lots of good food, as always. I'm still stuffed.

See White Trees- Part II
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