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, May 28, 2017

First Shagway Vendor Event

Yesterday I participated in one of the monthly vendor events at the Shagway Arts Barn. I won't be doing any others this year because it's just too hard to do Saturday events after Friday nights at work. I have one other author event (at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts) planned for the summer, but that's IT.

This first picture was taken by Nancy Miller, the owner and genius behind the barn. I like it! I'm telling a potential customer about my books. There was good traffic all day long and I interacted with quite a few people. Made one sale.

Shagway Arts Barn Vendor Event

The weather was perfect, and here's what the vendor area looked like. You can see a guy in the foreground looking at a North Country Trail map.

Shagway Arts Barn Vendor Event

One of the booths was set up for people to paint pictures. All the equipment was provided and instruction if they desired. They got to take the picture home, of course. Here, two young artists take advantage of the opportunity.

Shagway Arts Barn Vendor Event

The inside of the barn, with the regular sales area, is looking really nice! Nancy said they actually did a pretty good business, too. She was pleased with their opening weekend of the season.

Shagway Arts Barn Vendor Event

All day long there was live music. In the morning, Alex Mendenall sang and played guitar. In the afternoon it was Cheryl Wolfram's turn. She's not really fenced in! Music is usually played from the balcony and people can sit outside under the trees to listen.

Shagway Arts Barn Vendor Event

Since I'd only had an hour of sleep, I fell asleep in my chair almost as soon as I got home. Woke up just enough to move to the bed and slept till 9 am! Today I've been chilling. Smell of rain through the open windows. Watching old Perry Mason shows. Knitting. Yes, the crochet bug has been overcome by the knitting worm. So I'm back to Michelle's socks for a while!

See Shagway Arts Barn Workday
See It Fits!
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Friday, May 26, 2017

More Crochet Fun

Today was extra long at work, and of course I go back in an hour or so. Just going to share a few more fun crocheted items.

crocheted mats

Now we wait to see if any of this stuff sells. I have a gift for picking things I think are cute that no one else wants. But I'm having a good time and deluding myself into thinking I'm being productive (half kidding... I really hope some things sell).

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Thursday, May 25, 2017


Back to Ohio for another trillium. This one is sessile trillium, or toadshade, Trillium sessile. I suppose one might find a little toad hiding from the sun beneath the broad leaves. Or maybe the mottled leaves are supposed to look like a toad. But that doesn't help much when you discover many mottle species as I did in Alabama. Sure glad we had a local wildflower enthusiast with us to help with names on that trip.

photo label

Until my trip to Alabama in the spring a couple of years ago, I did not appreciate how many similar trilliums there are with mottled leaves and dark red flowers. I think I would remember the differences next time I find some in the woods.

The similar ones I'm likely to find in the north are toadshade and prairie trillium. I've seen both, but don't have a picture of the prairie one. The big difference is that toadshade has broad leaves that don't narrow to the attachment point. That's easy to remember- they make better shade for that toad! The sepals on toadshade often remain upright with the petals (just not on this particular one), but on prairie trillium they curve strongly downward- between the leaves even, so that they sort of hug the stem. That's distinctive.

Now I want to go find more trilliums!

But not tonight. I slept poorly last night (no reason I can think of), and work was long and hard. Headed to bed really soon because Friday is... well... longer and harder.

See similar trilliums in Alabama
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Little Beauty Goes a Long Way

Sometimes all I need is a little tiny bit of beauty to make me smile and everything is right. Work today was heavy-duty. Although everyone said it was chilly outside, I was sweaty and hot even with the small door open.

Then the guys opened the big door to load the truck for the Oceana County run. When they pulled the truck away the door got left open for a while. It started to rain outside, really hard.

I just loved the view of this maple, leafing out, through the rain, through the door, beyond the pallets and "stuff." Lifted my spirits for the whole rest of the shift.

maple tree through rain

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Nodding Trillium

I still have more Ohio wildflowers to share. Ohio in the spring never disappoints! Today we have nodding trillium, Trillium cernuum, which you could see in Michigan or pretty much anywhere in the NE US. But I don't see it very often!

nodding trillium

It's easy to recognize, because the white flower nods below the leaves, and the petals are recurved. I guess the stamens are usually purple, but I haven't paid enough attention in the past to know if they always are. Everything else about this plant screams T. cernuum, so I'm sticking with that diagnosis.

nodding trillium

Let's talk Latin. Cernuum (sir-NEW-um) means having the face inclined toward the earth, eg. bowing or nodding. So whenever you see a plant name with that word (or cernuus or cernua), it's probably going to have a nodding or downward aspect. I tried to find a modern word that comes from that root as a memory aid, but didn't have any luck. We'll just have to remember it, cold.

There are about 50 species of trillium, and I now have eight in my plant photo pages. And there is one more yet coming to you from Ohio!

See Trilliums in Alabama
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Manistee National Forest Challenge Hike #2

Actually, I never posted about hike #1, because I was still doing accounts of the Ohio hike. Anyway, this is the second in a series of 13 hikes through the summer and fall. Those who participate in every one will have hiked all 120 miles of the North Country Trail in the Manistee National Forest when we finish.

North Country Trail

Today there were 10 of us. Here's the requisite group photo. It's really just an easy way to document who came.

hiking group

The morning was rainy, but according the radar the storms had passed over, and sure enough we got sun and blue sky! Perfect hiking temperatures too, in the low 60s. A few people had signed up but then didn't show. They sure missed a great day.

blue sky

I doubt that the Forest Service planned for this barrier to be a bench, but it made a great place for a rest stop.

North Country Trail hikers

We covered 11 miles of trail and only about a half mile was roadwalk. Here's the crossing of the White River. The last time I hiked this piece it really was raining. Everything was gray and the people were covered with ponchos. So it was nice to see it in sun.

North Country Trail White River

Near the end of our hike we crossed the much smaller Rattlesnake Creek.

North Country Trail Rattlesnake Creek

Red pine plantations aren't considered very good management practice any more, but they always make for good pictures.

North Country Trail

One of the best parts of today's hike for me is that many of the spring wildflowers are now opening. Here are my best pictures of the day.


Jack in the Pulpit

Gaywings (not an orchid, but they sure look like one).


Wood Betony or Lousewort. Flowers may be yellow, maroon or a mixture like these. I thought this top-down view made them look like firecracker pinwheels.

wood betony

And all along the way the pink lady slipper orchid was blooming. Always a favorite.

pink lady slipper

Even though we got a late start our pace was good and we finished the 11 miles in about 3.5 hours with three rest stops. Everyone had a great time. Nine of the ten people also came to the first hike, so potentially those nine people could do all the Manistee this year. Of course anyone could "make up" a missed hike on their own.

See pictures from the first hike on Facebook
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chilling and Crocheting

Yesterday I was impossibly tired. Worked all day and all night anyway. So Saturday is my chill day. I get to give myself a break and not feel guilty if I don't accomplish anything.

That said, I started to feel "project-y" around 4:30. No, I didn't do all these today.

crocheted baskets and mats

Ann asked to see what crafts I have been making to put at Shagway Arts Barn this summer. The answer is lots of various stuff. Some I had previously made, some is new.

Over the past week, I made the patriotic mat and coaster set and the round ombre brown/yellows basket.

Today I tried the square basket. We will have to call this a prototype. The results aren't good enough to suit me yet. I did manage to solve some of the issues I don't like about crocheted baskets, but the implementation in this particular one isn't stellar. Nevertheless, I like it as a starting point.

crocheted baskets and mats

Tomorrow is bell choir, and in the afternoon I'm leading a hike. My energy better be back in the morning! And there should be trail pictures tomorrow.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Who's in the Tree?

Although I uncharacteristically started the day on 8.5 cylinders, work was long and stressful, and I have to be back there at 9 am. Going to do an easy post. And funny too, I think. You can laugh or not.

Instead of heading for cover, the woodchuck in my side lawn climbed a tree when he saw me! He looks fairly annoyed, too.

woodchuck in a tree

That's all for today!

See The Local Marmot
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Early Saxifrage

Here's the flower I thought I was seeing from a distance that turned out to be the pussytoes. Oddly enough, within a few hundred feet, we did find early saxifrage, Micranthes virginiensis.

Note the five white petals and ten yellow stamens.

early saxifrage

The taxonomists are playing with my head. A whole bunch of what used to be genus Saxifraga are now placed in brand new genera. I suspect unless you are taking a college class or doing plants professionally, you can still call it Saxifraga virginiensis.

It's a dainty spring plant, usually less than a foot tall. This one was growing through dead leaves, but it often sprouts in rocky areas with moss or on rotting logs, creating a nice setting for pictures.

Note the basal leaves on this species. They are broadly oval with big teeth. The stems are hairy and sticky.

early saxifrage

I've previously shown you a cousin, Allegheny foamflower. I don't think we saw any of that on this Ohio trip, but we did see miterwort, another cousin. I didn't take it's picture though. It's not very showy, so I keep giving it the short end of the stick.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Less-Common Pussytoes

Field pussytoes are really common. So common, I've never bothered to show you their picture, which means that I can't give you the comparison till another time. For now, you'll have to take my word for it that these are different. I saw this from a distance and thought it was a completely different plant (which we did see just a few minutes later). But I got mildly excited that this was Plantain-leaved Pussytoes, Antennaria plantaginifolia.

photo label

That said, there are something between 6 and 32 species of Antennaria, depending on which expert you ask. But I THINK this isn't one that's under dispute.

The thing that makes it look obviously different from field pussytoes is the leaves. That one has pointed basal leaves with one vein. This one has spatulate basal leaves with 3-5 veins. A lot like plantain. Thus the name. Look closely at the leaves in this second picture.

photo label

The big point of departure from plantain is that pussytoes' leaves have white-wooly undersides. I think the name "pussytoes" comes from the flowers, but the leaves feel soft too, like kitten's toes.

Now for the fun fact that lets me count this as learning something new. This plant is dioecious. That means male and female flowers are on separate plants. Often whole clumps will be one sex or the other, spreading vegetatively. This clump is male, because the flower heads are flat-topped. The female flowers are elongated.

I'll have to get some pictures of the common one this summer to show you side by side. The differences are obvious when seen together.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Practically Perfect in Every Way

Today was a Mary Poppins Perfect kind of day and it takes priority over more Ohio flower pictures.

First of all, it was one of those days where the weather is just exactly the kind I like best. The air was cool and the sun warm. I awoke (not to an alarm clock!) to the scents of flowers coming through the windows. And birds singing.

apple blossoms

Apple trees are in bloom. The sky was blue all day. (Now it has turned gray and a gentle rain has begun, but that is perfect too. The birds are fluttering around in it!)

apple blossoms

The lawnmower started right up- first time this year. After last year, when it was the primary project of the spring-summer-fall, that is enough for a Quality Day right there.

I mailed a book order (hooray for book sales!) and got gas, came home and mowed half the yard. And the grass wasn't even a foot high before I did this first mowing!

mowed lawn

My laundry dried on the line nicely, all soft and outdoor-smelling. I know I show pictures of this way more than you probably care about, but I LOVE clothes dried outside.

clothes on line

I even spent a little time sorting boxes. I gave away three boxes of fabric, consolidated two other boxes. I broke down three empty boxes and put out a bag of trash. The one downside of that is you can't even tell I did anything. But I have to keep working on that mess even if only in short bursts. So, I get a pat on the head for that effort.

My energy level was high today (an awesome gift on a day off), and I didn't waste it. Crocheted a little more on some small projects.

OK, this post is all me, me, me, but as I said, it was one of those rare days when almost everything is perfect, so I'm going to celebrate it!

See Words are Better than Pictures
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