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, June 30, 2015

Bookends

 
Well, there seem to be just two little ones. They sometimes share and sometimes chase and bite each other.

red squirrels

What am I gonna do?

See Uh-Oh
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Monday, June 29, 2015

Green Garb with a Redbelt

 
Just a few pictures I took walking the trail around the West Shore Community College pond. We have made it to full summer, and the color of note is green. For sure.

green foliage around a pond

Even if you make it dramatic, it's still green.

green foliage around a pond

How about a red belt to go with that? Redbelt polypore (I'm pretty sure, although I'm open to correction on this), Fomitopsis pinacola. It's a little thinner than I would expect, and it must be young since the color is all redish. Older ones are thick, like a hoof, and are brown with just a red belt at the edge before the white strip.

redbelt polypore

But the underside is easily identified as a polypore... no gills, just a more or less smooth surface covered with tiny pores.

redbelt polypore

Maybe if it works hard it can be a black belt.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Betsy's Book Launch

 
A friend of mine, who's in my writer group, had a book launch party this evening. She's Elizabeth M. Rosenow, Betsy. Here is her book of poems about country life, Sandhill Mist, Seasons on a Centennial Farm.

Sandhill Mist

Some other members of the group, one of them my friend Ellen, organized the event. Betsy read poems from the book for about 30 minutes.

Elizabeth M. Rosenow

If you enjoy seasons, farms and life close to nature you'll like Betsy's work.

The party was held at the Shagway Arts Barn, a fairly new venture, out near Indian Pete Bayou on Hamlin Lake. They sell local handmade art and craft items. Lovely display, nice setting. They even have some hiking trails that I need to go explore.

Shagway Arts Barn

The evening began with live music by Cheryl Wolfram- a fitting collection of songs for the occasion.

Cheryl Wolfram

After that, Betsy read, and then we all had cake! The cake was decorated with sheep. Why? you ask. Betsy is the friend who has the Icelandic Sheep.

About 30 people attended, a nice turnout for a first book by a local artist.

Betsy's Book Launch

She sold a number of books, and we all congratulated her. Way to go, Betsy! You can find Sandhill Mist on Amazon. You won't be disappointed.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

It's a Perfect Match

 
I managed to catch a monarch butterfly on a milkweed plant, required in their life cycle. It's even at a little different angle from most butterfly pictures.

monarch on milkweed

It was another beautiful day. A little hot, but the evening was cool.

See A Promise in Green and Black
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

An All-American Day

 
I was out doing assignments all afternoon, and then had to go out in the evening again. It was one of those perfect summer days... warm with a light breeze that kept it from getting too hot.

I was out in real farm country... acres and acres of fields and orchards. Red barns, big trees shading lawns.

farm

The wheat isn't quite amber yet, but it sure was waving.

wheat

Coming home across Longbridge...Pentwater in the sunset. I caught a big bird in the shot.

sunset

Then I looked to see what it was... Sure enough. An eagle! He scooped up a fish and flew away.

eagle

See Kayaks Loaded, Kayaks Launched for the Pentwater scene in daylight
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Nick and Jen

 
I promised you'd eventually see the horses who lived at the farm by our campsite in Ohio. Here you go. Jen is the one in back. She's a Belgian. Nick was purchased so Jen would have a friend. He's a Haflinger gelding. Although that breed is always some shade of chestnut, Theresa and Ron looked specifically for a horse that would make a nice match for Jen.

Haflingers were developed in Austria and Italy, and take their name from the city of Hafling. They are a small draft horse, often used in military operations because of their strength and endurance.

horses

Theresa said they don't harness them together because of their size difference, but separately they can pull a cart. Both are also saddle broken. She said they are great pals and don't like to be separated.

While we were there, Ron brought in a cart of fresh hay and Nick and Jen were running along the fence and whinnying like crazy because of the enticing smells.

See Beautiful Belgians
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Uh-Oh

 
We've now gone from cute to problematic.

red squirrels

See Alive and Well
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Saturday, June 20, 2015

South Pacific

 
Tonight I attended the West Shore Community College production of South Pacific. It is also the final play directed there by Rick Plummer, in his role as a professor. And what a grand finale!

It was creatively staged, with the orchestra in the center, on stage. Around the edges were small areas of scenery and settings where actors created ambiance while not, literally, "in the spotlight."

The weakest area of local productions is usually the music. Not this time. Quality musicians from across West Michigan came together to fill out the orchestra. They were seriously good. Like the Broadway musical recording good.

Here you can see the orchestra surrounded by cast members. The posters advertised this as South Pacific in Concert, and I think that's because the emphasis was on the music rather than creating a realistic set. Actually, Hollywood tried to be realistic with the original movie, and it looks pretty silly by today's standards. Like many early musicals, the plot is thin, but plots were always secondary to the music.

South Pacific

Emil and Nellie soliloquize about what life could be like together on this South Sea island. The only thing distracting about the show was the use of stand mics. I got used to it, but it seemed odd in this day and age of those nearly invisible mics actors can wear.

South Pacific

Of course, one of the most fun songs is "There is Nothing Like a Dame."

South Pacific

And who doesn't get that sense of longing when Bloody Mary sings "Bali H'ai?"

South Pacific

While Lt. Cable and Emil are gone to another island trying to scout Japanese positions, Nellie organizes a show for the troops. Honey Bun never fails to have everyone in stitches.

South Pacific

They receive news of Cable's death, no one is sure if Emil will make it back.

South Pacific

He does, and is reunited with Nellie.

South Pacific

See Trail Work Day
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Sometimes It Comes To You

 
One of the big challenges of urban and suburban, or even farm country, hikes is that of finding places to pop into the woods to, well... find a tree, see a man about a dog, visit the head... whatever you call it. Pee or poo will do.

But some days you get lucky and they bring the porta potty right to you.

porta potty on truck

Just kidding. He didn't even stop for us. Someone else got lucky.

See Part of the Critter List
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Part of the Critter List

 
Just because we were hiking in well-populated areas didn't mean a lack of wildlife. Perhaps we saw more than people who whiz past in cars. I know they didn't see these beauties. The creek is well below bridge level and the deer had a nice little watering hole all to themselves in the midst of an area filled with busy traffic.

deer

We saw quite a few great blue herons. They have become commonplace, but are still such great birds to watch. Here's a shot from a different angle than the usual side silhouette.

great blue heron

Another sad story in the road. This is a little garter snake, dead. His color pattern is a little bit unusual with the light reddish-brown and the darker spots, making him look somewhat checkered. I hate seeing snakes dead in the road.


garter snake

All too common are the Canada geese. Not my favorite bird. But who can resist such a classic picture with babies?


Canada geese

And finally, a rather unusual sighting. Rare for Ohio. A koala.


burl like koala
Gotcha.

See Bad Plant, Good Pictures
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