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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Puzzle Day!

  I totally goofed off. The situation 6 pm jig saw puzzle jig saw puzzle

The situation at 9 pm jig saw puzzle jig saw puzzle

And 11:10 pm. I think I started it around 10:30 in the morning. 1000 pieces. It was pretty easy but it was very fun! Had to do it on a table that was too small to put out all the pieces because the Christmas Tree is up, but I managed. jig saw puzzle

There is no other news, and I don't even care! (I had not done a puzzle since May.)

See Musical Instrument Puzzle

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Rest of my Loot

  As previously mentioned, the boots were my big gift, but I got some other nice things. Steve sent me this huge map. It's a Geologic Map of the US. It sort of looks like elevations, but it's actually rock type which, incidentally, mostly conforms to the topography. I love it! If I can find a poster frame large enough (it's huge!), there is even a place on the wall where it will fit. geologic map of the US

Two of the corners are held down with gifts, and two are not. Want to guess? I won't make you. (hint- It's not the mug or the channel locks!) Upper left is what's left of a fruit basket from Josh. We've eaten a lot already. And lower right is a cookbook from Magdalen House sent by my neice, Jo-Anne. (who says I can call her Jo-Jo, which makes me very happy for some reason!) I also got a gas card so I can afford to drive a few places to hike that I might otherwise pass up because of the expense.

In other news: Well, no walking happened. My exercise was confined to shoveling snow. We got maybe 4 inches, but it was really wet and heavy. Where the plow filled in at the bottom of the driveway a foot deep, I decided I might as well shovel that by hand. I got 3 packages ready to mail and went to the PO. Did some other errands and bookkeeping. That about took care of my day. Got in and out of the driveway with no trouble. Well, more editing and accordion practice. I'm not going to bother telling you that every day. Sufficient to say that I'm trying to maintain a regular practice time.

See Maybe I've Grown Up

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Bowman Lake Loop with Loren

  Loren and I did the 6-mile loop at Bowman Semi-Primitive Area today. It's one of my favorites. It was a chilly 15 degrees when we started. Although it warmed into the 20s later. winter trail

Bowman Lake is always lovely. Not a lot of color today, but that's OK too. Bowman Lake

Just an interesting dried fungus on the end of a log fungus on a log

Koa wanted people treats. I think Loren was shocked! Haha. hiker and small dog in winter

We did 3 miles north on the Bowman Trails, and then the 3 mile return on the North Country Trail. I usually seem to hike it in the other direction, so this was slightly interesting. We met several other hikers!

The boots are making a sore spot on my right ankle bone. I'm going to assume I just need to get them broken in a bit more. But it may mean I wear something else for a day or two.

North Country Trail miles for 2020 is at 276.

In other news: I did some editing and bought a few groceries.

Bowman Lake Trail and North Country Trail, Lake County, MI. 6 miles total

See Bowman Semi-Primitive Area

Monday, December 28, 2020

Maybe I've Grown Up?

  It has been one of our long-standing jokes. Over the years, as Marie and I have hiked together, she would always tease me. Before I switched to trail runners, the boots I bought had one hook on each side above the eyelets. She said, "Some day you'll grow up and you'll be big enough that your boots will have two hooks."

Well, lookie what happened today! My big Christmas gift arrived- a joint gift because these were not cheap. These are waterproof, winter hiking boots made by Oboz. The color name is even cute. It's called "Chipmunk." No, my pants aren't that short. I pulled them up so you can see the boots. And there are two hooks on each side! I'm finally grown up! Oboz boots

Buying shoes is always a trial for me. Narrow, small feet. Fussy feet. But I put these on, and my initial reaction was that they felt good. If my initial reaction is bad, there is no hope. So far, so good.

But, they had to be put to the test. Immediately! The boots meet their first snow. boots taking steps in snow

I figured I'd go for 3 miles, but if I felt good at the turn where I can choose to make the walk longer, I'd do that. I had hoped to do long miles today, but I really wanted to work on breaking these in.

Got to the turn, and decided to add to the 3 miles. Hey, there was sunshine! Vitamin D and shadows. shadow of hiker on snow

How could anyone be less than cheerful with a sky like this in a Michigan winter? blue sky

So, I did 5 miles, and the boots are great. One instep was a tiny bit sore, but no hot spots at all. No damp socks when I took them off. I am very happy. Time was 17.0 minutes/mile, and I wasn't even trying to walk fast!

And the sunset was pretty cool, too. The coloring around the clouds seems a little unusual. sunset

In other news: I worked on editing and did a bunch of small chores.

See I Couldn't Resist (first hiking boots ever)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Fast 4.5

  Body wanted to walk today. One day of sitting is enough. But I'm so tired of the same road loop. I walked it backwards and expanded it to 4.5 miles. This was the best- a nice primary color winter scene. red barn with white birch

I have walked all this before, and ridden bicycle on it, but hadn't noticed this little pond. Maybe it's not usually a pond! frozen pond

Neat patterns in this small wetland with the hummocks behind the cattails. wetland with hummock and cattails

The sky was blue to the north, but in the southwest it was very typically wintery. winter sky

The roads were mostly clear, with only a few slushy places. Going through town was the worst with icy or unshoveled sidewalks. Still, I averaged 17.1 minutes a mile. I know hikes aren't races, but sometimes the road walks are just a way to get exercise, and upping the speed increases the endurance.

In other news: I did some editing, and switched to non-Christmas accordion pieces to practice. Still pretty much in relaxation mode.

See Three Mile Loop Again

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Brave #3 - Skaters' Waltz

  Lest you all upbraid me if I suggest that it's possibly not ever my day to play accordion well, I will only say that today was not my day to play accordion well.

However, I didn't want to let all the practice of the last few weeks go by the wayside. So what you get is a digitally smashed up version with the various sections played tolerably. Not perfectly. It absolutely blows my mind that I played this piece in public and nailed it several years ago.

This is the Skaters' Waltz by Waldteufel, written in 1882. Listening to me play it, I'm beginning to think it's boring. But I think that's just fatigue from playing and playing and editing and editing. I usually love this piece.

Anyway, here you go.



In other news: This was my day to relax. No cooking. No extra family. No walking. I did a tiny bit of editing and played my game.
See Sleep, Holy Babe

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas at Our House

  Omer always plays Santa. He does such a good job of it! man in Santa hat

The day began with the pecan rolls. Yeah, we had them last year too. So what. They are good (although I'm way overdosed on sugar tonight). pecan rolls

Here's our main meal- pork loin marinated in orange/garlic/rosemary, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, mint jelly. Christmas meal buffet

Steve called and we all talked on speaker for a while. This is very 2020, but we've done it a lot of years, because he doesn't make it home very often.

Christmas picture with the three of us. I'm bundled up because I just got home from a walk. Josh has his coat on because he was just getting ready to leave. But at least I remembered to take a picture! (The first one I ever showed you on this blog was in 2009, which was a bit crazy.) family picture

The squirrel situation has stabilized. I gave in. We actually have two squirrels, a larger one that I named Buster. I showed you that one before. But I think it should be Bustra or some feminine form because there is also a younger, smaller one. I see the younger one more often and I've named him/her Buster Baby. This is Buster Baby.

So, almost every day I put something out on the porch rail. BB likes the sunflower seeds (of course), grapes- even if a bit sad for human consumption, stale raisin bread, and definintely NOT lettuce. BB was shocked and overjoyed with the Christmas haul. There was some leftover piecrust from our takeout meal yesterday. S/he ate a bit, but carried most of it away to wherever its apartment is. red squirrel eating piecrust

I took a walk mid-afternoon. Less slippery than yesterday with a lot more snow. Felt good, and helped settle the large quantity of food consumed. rail fence with snow

In other news: I cooked, and I went down in the well pit to check the temperature, do a couple of tiny final things, and retrieve the ladder. I think I'll need to check the temp one more time, but everything seems to be fine. Hooray!

See Food with a Chance of Sun

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Kitchen Day

  I was mostly lazy today. But the primary duties were kitchen ones. Two and a half are done. The other half is in progress, and the fourth one is postponed.

We decided to have a pork roast tomorrow, and it's good with mint jelly. I had some mint infusion in the freezer, and the store actually had pectin (not always a given), so... ta da! mint jelly

And Om requested chocolate chip cookies. So I made those. This is a huge recipe. I should have cut it in half, but we will freeze a lot of them, and I'll be glad later that that made them. chocolate chip cookies

The pecan rolls for tomorrow morning are raising. Then they just have to go in the pan with the sugar and butter and pecans and be put in the fridge for the second raising. They bake in the morning. Nothing much to show you yet on those.

We decided to wait on the cranberry relish. Om admitted we didn't really need it with the mint jelly. He just likes it. We'll do it in a couple of days. Works for me. I've had enough kitchen for a while.

Joshua came over for a while and we watched a virtual Christmas Eve service with five Ludington churches participating. It was very well done.

I still have some other stuff to do too.

In other news: I did my road walk. Even though it was cold, I bundled up enough that I was nice and warm. However, it was surprisingly slippery and I fell once, but all is well.

See Busy Day

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

More Trail Work

  Today, Loren and I hiked another section of the North Country Trail that we know needs re-blazing. trail curving through trees

The dogs went along too, but they were tearing through the woods at this point. hiker in winter woods

The treadway in this section is fairly worn-in and sunken. Nevertheless, after our adventure last week, we are trying to insure that nobody will get lost. We knew the blazing in the first part of this section was probably the worst of any in our chapter's 80 miles of trail. So we took some flagging tape and added in quite a few pink tape confidence markers. Blue would have been really good, but I've learned that if you want blue flagging tape, you have to order it. Next Amazon order. trail marked with pink flagging tape

We also cleaned up several places like this. The trees stayed weighed down with wet snow for so long after the storm two weeks ago that some of them were not able to recover. The witch hazel is very flexible- see two branches extending across the trail, but sometimes it can't stay pulled down for two weeks. witch hazel branches bent across a trail

Some of them finally split along the trunk. When this happens, we just have to cut them back. Thankfully, there is an abundance of witch hazel in the woods, so I don't feel too bad when we have to do it. witch hazel branch split

I just like this picture. This is maple bark starting to break up from the smooth gray of a young tree to the furrowed bark of an older one. For some reason, it often forms these circular patterns.
maple bark


We hiked two miles in and two back out for a total of four. We weren't going very fast, because of clearing and marking the trail.

North Country Trail miles for 2020 is at 273.

When I got home, I acted on a really brave (for me) idea. This idea is actually what got me practicing the accordion this season. I wanted to play outside one of the stores in Scottville, just for fun. And I had received permission. Today was going to be the day. However, it was raining when Loren and I finished, and I drove through several waves of heavy rain to get home. But there is a covered area in front of the store. I checked to see if it was dry, and it was. The issue turned out more to be whether it was protected from wind so my music wouldn't blow away. It was all fine. I used some clips and plastic clamps to hold the music. Today it was 45 degrees. Tomorrow it is going to be 23 degrees. I wanted to do this today! And, I did. I stood outside the store and played Christmas music for 30 minutes, took a little break and did 30 more. Not many people in town, but I'm glad I did it anyway.

As a final send-off for the day, this is the view EAST at sunset. The alpenglow was really bright! alpenglow

This is all the news. It's really windy right now. I guess that cold air is blowing in.

North Country Trail, Manistee County, Skoceles Road north two miles and back

See Embarassing Trail

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Inspiration Point Loop

  Cathy and I went to Ludington State Park again today, but we needed to keep our hike short, as she has family Christmas things to do. We decided to go to Inspiraton Point and then see if we could get on the loop we found last week.

We parked at Hamlin Dam and walked across it. I took a short detour to get below it and take a picture. This small dam creates the huge Hamlin Lake! Hamlin Dam

Once you cross the dam, you have to climb up a bare dune. This is the view up this arm of Hamlin Lake from about halfway up the dune. Hamlin Lake

Then you go down a dip, and up another sand ridge. At the top of that, you turn northeast on an unofficial trail. trail on a ridge

If you look down to the left, you'll see the foundations of the old CCC camp, where the men lived who built the stone shelters and did other work at the park in the 1930s. CCC camp foundations

This trail takes you to Inspiration Point. You know you've arrived because there is a bench that is labeled. Inspiration Point bench

Here's the view across Hamlin Lake. Does it look familiar? It should because last week we were looking across at those same dunes, but from farther east and lower down. Hamlin Lake view from Inspiration Point

We figured this trail, which continued on, had to connect somehow with the loop we took last week. So we kept going. Somewhere, we turned south. This trail was not looking like the one we had been on at first. But after a while... we passed that same beech tree that is growing so low in the sand. So we knew we'd soon be back at the Y off the main trail by which we could return to the dam. Easy peasy.

I had to stop on the way back for the obligatory picture of Lake Michigan. Notice the clouds. No conjunction viewing for west Michigan. Lake Michigan

We need to turn on an app to track where these trails are. We have no idea where we connected last week with the trail to Inspiration Point, but clearly we must have. We probably did 3.5 miles. A quickie, but better than nothing.

In other news: I did editing and grocery shopping. Bleah... but I hope I have everything for Christmas. It's going to involve more cooking than I want, but that will result in yummy food. So, there's that.

See Finding Inspiration Point
See An Adventure with Cathy
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