Entries to Win Afghan

From now till March 31, pre-order the set of the first three Dubois Files children's mysteries, signed by me and cover artist Linda J. Sandow, and at a discount. Go to Books Leaving Footprints and look in the left column.
panel of three covers for Dubois Files children's mysteries

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Shapes of Trees III

I'm having a tired day. Didn't sleep much last night, came home from work cold and with a headache. No big deal, just not able to get myself into gear to do as much as I wanted. Managed a couple of things, so at least I can say I did something in a forward direction.

These are some nice tree shapes from the walk the other day. Here's a big old beech tree.

beech tree winter shape

And, this has been hiding in plain sight all along. Never noticed it on that walk before. A white birch all alone, so you can really see its natural shape as well.

white birch tree winter shape

It's going to be VERY early to bed. This is not a post-project crash. I think it's just the aftereffects of not sleeping well.

See Shapes of Trees II
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Stumped? Think Fairy House

I came home from work today thinking I was going to un-trash my house a little bit. Instead, I spent a long time writing an obituary for a good trail friend. He had moved on to other things in recent years, but over the 15 or so years of his involvement with the North Country Trail he made a significant impact on its growth. The house will wait... it always does.

My great find on the walk from the other day was a wonderful solution for what to do with the big ugly stump right in your front yard!

fairy house made from a tree stump

It's cute and creative, and a lot less trouble than having the stump ground down or pulled out.

fairy house made from a tree stump

Don't you just want to go inside?

fairy house made from a tree stump

Told you the other news first... except for one more thing I'm posting on the author blog.

See Fairy Garden
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Kitchenhenge - Spring 2018

I haven't done a spring equinox kitchenhenge since 2011. It's time.

The idea is that I stand on my top kitchen step and catch a picture of sunrise. I've discussed all the variables that make it an in-exact project. But it's fun anyway. Here is today's equinox sunrise at 7:48 this morning (of course that's 6:48 actual sun time).

spring equinox sunrise March 20,2018

You may recall that I run a red line through the same tree (if it's ever removed, I'm in trouble!) so you can align things. I took the four years I had, 2009 at the bottom then working up 2010 and 2011, and the big skip to 2018 (too lazy, cloud cover, forgot?), lined them up and sized them about the same.

comparative panel of four spring equinox sunrises

The sun isn't perfectly aligned in all of them because of all those variables I mentioned, but it's pretty close.

In other news, I spent all day on The ABZ Affair, but it's gone for approval, and cases of the first two books are already on their way to me.

Tomorrow morning is work. After this intense weekend it's going to feel pretty easy. I think I'm going to bed with a book. A book just for fun.

See Spring 2010 for a list of some of the variables
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Monday, March 19, 2018

Birds of the Week

It's a sure sign that spring is on its way when the bird activity begins to pick up. I've seen quite a few in the last several days. Catching pictures of them is another matter.

Here's the best capture. There were a pair of purple finches in these spruce trees. This is the male.

purple finch

The robins are here.


And the chickadees never left, but they are happy.


This shot isn't focused very well, but it shows how light-colored the red-tail hawk can be on the underside. I actually thought it might be a northern harrier until I blew the picture up on the computer.

red tail hawk belly

I've also seen cardinals and blue jays, both of which were here all winter, red-wing blackbirds, sparrows and other LBBs (little brown birds), and most glorious of all... a bluebird. Some ducks flew over yesterday, and I've heard the sandhill cranes.

Still working hard on The ABZ Affair. I MAY have it done tonight.

See Purple Finch 2010
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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Handbell Sunday

After taking a mid-winter break (too many people gone), we played two songs this morning. This was a better angle and the recording is good, but you couldn't prove I actually played at all. There are at least three of us that can't be seen even once! Oh well, it's about how it sounds. You'll have to take my word for it that I'm hiding in there.

First we did His Eye is On the Sparrow.

And also Quarters on Foundation (you'll see what this is). We hadn't played either song before, at least while I've been in choir. I really liked this one-- it's a neat mash-up.

Worked hard on the illustrations for The ABZ Affair today. You can see those at the other blog. I think one more day to finish that book.

See Music All Day
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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Bright and Smiling

The day was bright and I am smiling. Spent almost all of the time I was awake working on book formatting. That accomplishment report is over at the author blog. But I took a nice walk in the middle to stretch my muscles.

There's a little pond at the corner of First Street and Gordon Road. Sun on water sure looks good even if the water is small.

blue water in a small pond with cattails

blue water in a small pond with cattails

Found one plant trying to get with the springtime program. This is Vinca, myrtle, periwinkle.... whatever you call it.

Vinca minor leaves

Just a closeup of some bark on a Scots pine.

peeling bark on Scots pine

I caught this sight out of the corner of an eye and then worked to save it with the camera. The sunlight was making some of the twigs glow if you looked at it just right. They look like ice! I always like something a tiny bit different.

sunlight making twigs shine

And then, there are always the beech leaves that hang on throughout the winter. I love how they are so pale and papery. I just find them attractive.

persistent beech tree leaves

Fairly productive for a Saturday. I think I'm taking the party to bed really soon.

See Another Gorgeous Day
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Small Stuff

Took a little walk today in the cemetery. Looking for anything that isn't brown and gray. March is my least favorite month, as you know!

The moss is making an effort to continue its existence.


Yucca plants have a curly tale to tell. This really should have been in the curlique post, but I wasn't willing to ski through the cemetery to get the picture.

curly leaf threads on yucca

Patterns on the water are always interesting.

light making patterns on water

Saw the first robins of the year, and caught a shot of a happy little chickadee.


I'm working as hard as I can on book formatting. Still a long way to go on The ABZ Affair. Work at the paper tonight of course.

See The Cute and the Sad
See Curlique
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Two More Succulents

Worked all day, did a little bit on book formatting, and went to a program tonight. Nothing much photoworthy, so I'll share two more succulents from the Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show.

I don't have names, or even genera, for either one (the tags say "succulent"). Well, that's not true. The first one MAY be Faucaria tigrina, common name Tiger's Jaw. Or maybe just something similar. But I liked both of them.



I'm really tired, and tomorrow is Friday- the big day at work, so I think I'm hitting the sack.

The program was about an effort to find out what happened to a plane that was lost in Lake Michigan in 1950. That's a pretty lame explanation, but the program was really good. I wanted the book, but decided it was too expensive. Maybe I'll find a used copy somewhere.

See Why I Buy ISBNs for my one real accomplishment of the day
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Beach Scene

After our return to winter, by afternoon today the weather was trying to seem like March. At least the sun was shining. After work and the tax appointment I went to the beach and took some pictures. It was five weeks ago I brought you the wintry shots in the link below. At least it was warmer than that day!

It wasn't a day of high waves, but I loved the colors

green waves on Lake Michigan

The dune grass is doing well in this spot. It often gets trampled near popular beaches

dune grass

I can't decide if this is a hairy elbow or a vase.


Patterns in the sand are always intriguing.

patterns in beach sand

This larger driftwood log is de-laminating in interesting ways

eroded driftwood layers

With daylight savings time I was way too early for sunset, but the low sun on the water made it look completely different. Water is like snowflakes... no two moments are alike

sunlight on waves on Lake Michigan

Doing a little formatting work, but going to bed early. I woke up at 4 am and couldn't get back to sleep.

See Blue, Blue, White (brown)
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

If Wishes Were Flowers

If wishes were flowers it would be springtime.

My mother's standard way of letting me know that children do not always get what they want was to tell me "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

I can hardly believe it was a week ago I was enjoying early spring with Ester, and now I'm back in winter. Here are some pretties from her yard. And I'm wishing for some here. However, I'm pretty sure I'll get my wish before too much longer.



And winter aconite


Sigh... back to work tomorrow morning, and tax appointment in the afternoon. I got two of the three Dubois Files books all formatted. I won't get the third one done tomorrow, but maybe by the end of Thursday. Not too far off my goal.

See Interior Illustrations- The Hitchhiker
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