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.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stuck in the Servants' Quarters

The joke is on me. I had a meeting this evening at the Cartier Mansion in Ludington, now a Bed & Breakfast. I thought I was going to get to see the inside of the house.

Cartier Mansion, Ludington, Michigan

Turns out the meeting room is in the carriage house.

Cartier Mansion, Ludington, Michigan

The house was built in the early 1900's by Warren Cartier, son of lumber baron Antoine Cartier. Both men are early legends of Ludington history and politics.

From descriptions I've read, many of the high end features of the time period are similar to those at places like Stan Hywet and the Kellogg Mansion. This house is big, but not as big as those, of course.

The first floor of the carriage house is now storage. I guess a boat trailer isn't that much different from a carriage.

Cartier Mansion, Ludington, Michigan

The meeting room is upstairs.

Cartier Mansion, Ludington, Michigan

Maybe I'll get to go inside another time. The owners are acquaintances, but does one just go ask for a tour?

Link below to an article about the history of the family.

See The Life of Ludington's Cartier Mansion
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Visit to Hardy Dam

I've been trying to be really frugal about driving extra miles near home. Today I had a reason to go to White Cloud (about an hour away) to take some pictures for my upcoming newspaper column. I hadn't realized how much I miss driving around and seeing new roads and places-- you may recall that was the one part of the insurance picture job that I liked. Of course I knew I missed that part, but I was surprised at HOW happy this little trip made me feel. It was a much-needed upper. I smiled and smiled at the sunshine and discovered places.

For starters, here's another of the crazy things that intrigue me. Water towers. I like to see what cities put on them, as it's often a statement of what's important to the local culture. The high school team name is "Indians," so I think the painting reflects that rather than the origin of the city's name. There was a Chief White Cloud, but he was in Minnesota. I couldn't find anything on line about why the city received the name of White Cloud, except that it was first known as Morganville, but the name was changed before 1879. I always assumed it was from being on the White River, but actually don't know.

White Cloud water tower

The Hardy Dam is just a bit south of there, on the Muskegon River. It's the largest packed earth dam east of the Mississippi. It's about a mile across, and there is a walkway as well as a road. The building is the water intake for the powerhouse which still operates. It's Consumers Energy's largest hydropower facility (according to the sign), and was built in 1931.

Hardy Dam

In 1931 they actually cared about making even utilitarian buildings interesting.

brick detail

Here is the very impressive spillway.

Hardy Dam spillway

The reason I scrambled to go down there after work was because the sun was shining, and I knew I could get some blue water pictures. Hardy Dam Pond is about 4000 acres with no development along the shores because the land belongs to Consumers Energy. The water is drawn down for winter- thus the bare edges.

Hardy Dam Pond

Hardy Dam Pond

And you know I like the oddball stuff too, like trees in ice. Just a crack actually, but it sure looks like a winter tree.

crack in ice

Or how about some cracks in the spillway pavement? Neat pattern. Fractal geometry explains why they are similar.

cracks in pavement

For a final treat, this road got narrower and narrower, and made me smile broader and broader. Of course this piece of road only lasted a mile, but the smile lingers on.

country road

See Views of the Day
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I Have Maps!

Here's where I brag just a little tiny bit. If nothing goes wrong in the next five weeks, I will become the first person to have hiked all of the North Country Trail (New York to North Dakota, plus the Vermont extension), the Finger Lakes Trail (New York, Allegany State Park to the Catskills), and the Buckeye Trail (encircles Ohio).

All I have left to do is a little piece of the Buckeye Trail, in red on the map below.

Buckeye Trail

Marie and I are hiking those 63 miles at the end of April. I ordered maps. They came on Saturday. They have a basic map and written point-to-point guide.

Buckeye Trail maps

But I always like to have more info. Definitely maps from more than one source. I often print out sections from USGS topo maps and mark the route on them. I did that for this hike because it's going to have a lot of topography.

USGS topo maps

Then, for fun, I like to lay them out connecting the trail line to get a feel for what we are hiking. Never mind the dirty floor. There are more important things to do. Like planning a hike!

trail maps

This hike is about half trail and half road, but most of the roads are very rural. These will not be the straight, flat roads of northwest Ohio that I hiked last fall.

Can't wait! Let the hike planning commence.

See 57 Miles in NW Ohio
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Very Early Spring Color Wheel

I'm searching hard for color. Not surprisingly, these are pretty much the same things that have color early in the season every year. Even so, they are welcome.

Red osier dogwood- I think I pictured this very same patch last year, but it's so vibrant!

red osier dogwood

A beech leaf looking like a dragonish boat in some miniature world.

beech leaf

A dried up polypore fungus. More creamy than yellow, but still interesting

polypore fungus

I know, moss is so trite. But it's looking very green and little else is yet.


Yes, the blue sky is even more trite. But it was also a treat, since the forecast for the day was cloudy skies. One of the best parts of the leafless seasons is interesting branches against the blue. (And I dried clothes outside again!)

branches against sky

Black raspberry canes always look so purple in the spring!

black raspberry canes

And now for a story, for free.

While I was taking this walk, I stopped briefly beside a small wetland to look for any life that might be popping up. Something came up behind me and began snuffling at my legs. I turned to find a reddish golden retriever there at my side.

I petted her and she took my hand in her mouth and tugged as if to lead me somewhere. She was being very gentle, but had a tooth between the tendons on the back of my hand so it hurt anyway. I extricated my hand and told her she was a good dog. She did not try to follow me, and when I came back down the road she was no where to be seen.

Because she was a reddish color, like Irene's former Sandy Fe, it almost seemed like a visit from Sandy's spirit. I don't really believe in that stuff, but it felt odd anyway.

And I grew up on TV classics like Rin-Tin-Tin and Lassie. There was a small piece of my consciousness that felt guilty for not letting the dog lead me where she wanted to take me. Perhaps some child had fallen down a well and must be rescued, or Timmy was in trouble, or...

See Late Winter Rainbows II
See Winter Rainbow I
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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Handbells - Hard Version

We played handbells in the service this morning- two really hard pieces. These are the hardest we've done since Gospel Rags last year, and we did them both on the same Sunday!

The first piece is Genesis. I never did really get it right (I'm the weakest member of the choir... it's OK, I'm not being modest, just honest), but at least I didn't play any glaring wrong notes. The video has a couple of issues too, beginning with...not the beginning. The first two measures are missing.

Then we played How Majestic is Your Name. Better playing, better video. Enjoy or not. I had fun and feel like I offered praises either way.

Yeah, I'm hidden behind the podium. There really isn't anywhere to get a good angle on the entire group.

See Gold for the Angels
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Back to Fundamentals

We have three strapping machines at work. We need two that are operating to work efficiently. For the past week, we've had one (our least favorite) that was running. That ended last night. Now we have none.

Back to fundamentals. It's called a bale of twine.

tying a bundle of newspapers

tying a bundle of newspapers

As I said to Alicia, "Can you tie a square knot?"

person with mouth open

Actually, I think this was an accidental selfie while she was taking the above pictures. She'll probably shoot me for using it.

She wasn't appalled at all. I showed her how to tie a square knot that won't slip, and in two seconds she understood. Alicia's no slouch.

As I said, "Can you tie a square knot?"

See Our Favorite Strapper
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Sprouting Off

What happens when you lop off the main branches of some trees? The weeping willow just grows new sprouts.

willow sprouts

You know what I "see" when I run across something like this?

willow sprouts

I'll be off to work for the night in a little bit. I need to retain the good humor.

See Orange Day
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Thursday, March 16, 2017

All I Have to Share is Food

Tomorrow is a St. Patrick's Day pot luck at work. I'm taking Irish Soda Bread (whole wheat- sorry Beth & Terrie) and Broccoli Salad.

Do recipes bring back memories of how you acquired them? The salad was a staple at church potlucks brought by our pastor's wife, Esther Lloyd-Jones. She shared the recipe with me, and it's always a hit when I make it. The bread recipe was found in a magazine when we were searching for different recipes after Omer's heart attack. We really love it.

soda bread and broccoli salad

Speaking of work; it's been nuts. The paper lost a key employee this week and everyone's been scrambling to cover the position. A lot of the tasks have been temporarily (we hope) assigned to us in the mailroom. Since no one knew all the parts of the job we've been making a lot of mistakes. The lady from the front office who's been fielding all the calls about things that aren't being done right came back to tell us of another item late this afternoon. She said, "There aren't enough drugs to make this job tolerable."

And, the big truck is in the shop, so we are short on tubs, and deliveries (to other warehouses) are difficult. We are shuffling things to make it all work, but the plan changes minute by minute.

So, it will be another fun day tomorrow. Well, the food will be fun. The rest will get done somehow or other, hopefully with fewer mistakes.

I'm surprisingly tired, and we are starting at 9 am, so I'm winding down for the night.

See In the Mood
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Study in Red

Today's red letter achievement is that the taxes are ready to file. I rewarded myself by doing nothing at all this evening.

I'm not a fan of red, but I do love contrast and lots of color. So this is a nice counterpoint to all the blue this week. I've actually been taking the pictures over the course of several days.

I played with two of them to enhance effects. Can you tell what they are? Answers at end.

poinsettia bract

indicator light

red ink

nonwoven fabric

1. Poinsettia bract. Our Christmas one is still looking pretty good.
2. An indicator light on the press at work. I increased the contrast till it simplified the color palate.
3. The dregs of a bucket of red ink at work.
4. A non-woven reusable shopping bag. The edges are enhanced to show the waffle pattern. Did you know these are made of plastic (polypropolene)? Did you know you have to use one about 50 times to make it the economic equivalent of disposable shopping bags? While I was researching what they are really made of I learned quite a few interesting facts. Maybe the basis for a future post.

Which picture do you like best? Why?

See Red Flowers
See A Study in Blue
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