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Saturday, March 31, 2018

March on Its Head

 
March got a little conufused this year. It's supposed to come in like a lion... Here's the neighborhood on March 1.

sunshine on brown March wetland

...and go out like a lamb. But today, March 31, it was a bit different.

wet snow

Oh well. Spring will come. I gave myself a free pass today and did nothing except stay in bed and read. I'm about to finish my second book.


See Spring- Auto Load in Slow Mode
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Friday, March 30, 2018

Patterns Disguised?

 
You know I love finding patterns and interesting textures, sometimes more than what the object or surface actually is. Here are three from the last few days. Can you tell what they are? I'm hoping it won't be instantly obvious.

pattern of reflections in muddy water

pattern of reflections in scummy water

inverted cloud pattern

The first two I think are the most beautiful, and yet in the raw they were the least attractive. The first one is muddy water in a swampy area that was being riffled by the breeze just a little bit.

The second one was even "worse." It's scum in a roadside ditch, but here it looks like marble.

The third one I'll confess to playing with a little because I wanted to emphasize the pattern rather than what you would instantly see if I left it alone.

It's part of the clouds above last night's sunset.

pink and blue cloud pattern

Sometimes the prettiest things can be found in the least likely places.

In other news: the three children's books are 100% ready to be released on all the seller sites tomorrow. That's satisfying- to have met that goal. Of course, I worked earlier today and go back again tonight. Am contemplating which writing project will be next.

See More Patterns
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Redtail Display

 
Was sitting in my chair doing some editing. Looked out the window and a redtail hawk was dancing on the electric pole! Darn camera has a terrible time focusing when there are small branches in the way, but I got one decent (although sedate) picture before it flew off.

redtail hawk

It might have been a better picture even so, except it is WAY too easy to accidentally change the settings on this camera. I had somehow switched it to a low resolution setting. I knew that and thought I had it fixed, but only to medium. So, the hawk picture is grainier than it might have been. O well.

I did get it fixed before the wonderful sunset. I just can't pass up sharing all this color with you.

sunset

As always... pardon the wires in both pictures. They are there... I can't make them go away (well, the pictures aren't so wonderful that it's worth the hours to photoshop fix). At least you know I'm just snapping views from my world not going out of my way to find epic shots.

In other news: Work on Thursdays is long and intense. I didn't sit down from 8:45 till 3:40, and then only in the car to get to the grocery store, so it wasn't until 4:30 that I actually got to relax. It seems to take me a couple of hours to get my second wind after days like this. Now it's already 9 pm, but I'm going to try to do some more ebook formatting.

See Red Tail Hawk It Is!
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Red, Pearl, and Blue

 
Today was a lovely day in more ways than one. The temperature made it up to 52 degrees. Shorts! Took a nice walk around my kingdom after recuperating from work.

And I solved the formatting problem for the ebook files! O frabjous joy!

Here's today's red. A Cardinal.

cardinal in spring

The sunrise was pearly. It was foggy and frosty and misty. The picture doesn't do it justice.

pearly sunrise

Tried for a picture of a blue jay. That would have given me blue. What I got was a picture of a tangle of empty branches. Par for the course. Then I saw a little bird on a branch far away. No clue what it was till I blew up the picture on the computer. It's the bluebird! Of course at that distance with the back lighting you can't see the blue, and his chest is russet anyway, but that's what it is, so it counts for blue!

bluebird

I was despairing of having the ebooks formatted by March 31. Suddenly, things are looking much better. Back to work!

See First Bluebird of 2009 was on March 15
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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Historic Hansen Dairy

 
Today was beyond frustrating. I can't seem to get EPUB to accept my book files. And it's not something I'm doing wrong, it's a random issue with the conversion. I'm supposed to just keep trying. This isn't going to work to do this with multiple books and updates to add titles every time I publish a new one.

Then I had handbells and writers' group. Work in the morning.

So, enjoy a picture of the former Hansen Dairy. I know it doesn't look too interesting. But it is interesting to me. When we first moved here, we had milk in bottles delivered to our door. How amazing is that? This is the farm and office building where that service came from.

Hansen Dairy buildings Scottville Michigan

Work in the morning, so I have to get to bed. There is no other news. I spent all day on this one effort.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

5 Mile Walk - Another New Route

 
Drove two miles and was able to do a different five-mile walk today. I thought it was going to be six miles, but when I was back at the car in 90 minutes, I said, "don't think so." Measured it, and it's five. Actually, that's perfect because most days I don't have time for a six-mile loop. This is LaSalle Road. Not bad, eh? It turns into a mudpit when wet, but not today.

tunnel of trees in winter on LaSalle Road Mason County Michigan

This is a loop I would definitely do again. Although I came home with fewer pictures, there is potential for interesting things when spring gets going. Lots of woods and wetlands. There were a fair number of little hills and dips to give the surface variety, and it's not a square, but more a Z, so there are no forever long stretches.

I had no idea there's a little lake tucked in there, Vogel Lake. All private.

Vogel Lake Mason County Michigan

This house is looking sad. It's too bad. There was someone living there not too long ago, but the nice brickwork is all falling off. It's probably beyond repair now.

dilapidated brick house with quoins

What you can't quite see is a purple bicycle hidden by the grass and leaning against the porch. I'm thinking there was a kid there exploring. Could have been me X years ago!

dilapidated brick house with quoins

I heard sandhill cranes both yesterday and today. And I have to wonder if this is the same heron as yesterday. I was only a mile west of yesterday's walk.

blue heron flying

The weather was really nice. Maybe about 50 degrees in the sun. We are supposed to get rain tonight. That would be good since there is a burn ban in the county until we get some.

In other news: I wrote my monthly column, worked on e-book formatting, record keeping, and did some more stuff around the house. More would have been better, but I accomplished enough that I'm not kicking myself. PS. I'm still loving my vacuum cleaner.

See 5 Mile Walk- New Route
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Sunday, March 25, 2018

5 Mile Walk - New Route

 
Today I drove a couple of miles just so I could walk a different road loop from my usual ones. I always like to see new things. Of course I've driven these roads before, but things look different on foot. That said, there wasn't much to recommend this route. Flat, run-down houses and trailers. But I managed to bring home a few interesting pictures.

The first is Phragmites (say frag-MY-tees). This is a wetland grass. You've probably seen it towering in the ditches. The problem is, this is almost certainly the non-native one, and it pushes out native plants and even wildlife because nothing eats it, and it shades sunlight from reaching the water.

Phragmites australis australis

The seedheads sure are pretty in the sunlight.

Phragmites australis australis

The native one doesn't form such dense patches, and there are other subtle differences. Maybe I'll stumble on some of the native one to show the differences.

I thought this was interesting. It's a retaining wall to prevent a creek from washing out a farm lane. Apparently made by stacking bags of concrete mix. The paper eventually degraded, leaving bag-shaped rocks.

retaining wall of concrete bags

There was no way to get something in this picture for scale. But this is a very large deer skull. Of course, it's spring so the roadsides and ditches are littered with deer parts in various stages of decomp. Trust me, this is big.

deer skull

The best find could have apeared on any road walk with various wet spots. A great blue heron gave me the evil eye and then took off.

great blue heron flying

But the sky was blue and the sun shone. Nippy in the wind, but it was a good walk. (But I doubt I'll bother with that loop again.)

In other news: I finished reading the second book I'm reviewing for my newspaper column, did some housecleaning (I know, don't faint!) and laundry. Started formatting The Hitchhiker for ebooks.


See Work and Wildlife Again
See Solution to the Bony Mystery
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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Familiar Plant - New Season

 
Found some healthy jimsonweed, Datura stramonium, standing with last years seed pods on it. Nice photo op.

jimsonweed seed pods

These have lovely white trumpet flowers in the summer. This time of year you just see the mature shape of the plant and the pods.

jimsonweed seed pods

It's a really distinctive plant, but pretty poisonous if you ingest. I like how the pods vary from near white to dark gray.

jimsonweed seed pods

In other news: I read a book I have to review. That's about it! Well, I did put these pics on my photo website.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Conrad Road Tunnel of Trees

 
The Conrad Road tunnel of trees is a special place. Of course, the trees are getting really old, and they'll probably cut them all down one of these days, no matter how much everyone local likes the place.

Meanwhile... here is the tunnel in late winter/early spring, with just the bare trees. Going west:

Conrad Road tunnel of trees near Scottville Michigan

And going east:

Conrad Road tunnel of trees near Scottville Michigan

Of course, it's really beautiful in the fall. See picture at link below with the view west.

In other news: Worked, and then spent the rest of the day formatting the children's books for e-books. And I'm headed to work again in a couple of hours.

See Late Fall Driveabout
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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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