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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Bell Choir Sunday

  We played two songs in the worship service this morning. Ludington United Methodist Church. Back to virtual services. First was "Come, Now is the Time to Worship." This is a popular contemporary worship song. If you are familiar with it, it's pretty easy to hear the melody.



Then, we also played "Mary, Did You Know?" We had practiced this one for Christmas, but then all our Christmas performances were cancelled, so we played it for spring instead!



Marie is indeed here. In the afternoon, we went for a hike (what else?). I'll show you that tomorrow, but at least here's the proof that we are together. Best friends forever!

See God of Grace and Glory

Friday, April 16, 2021

Not a Puzzle Day

  I did not put a single piece in a puzzle today, but I've done 3 since I last showed you one, so here's the puzzle saga. After the puzzle that was a maze, I decided I needed something easy, so I did a 300-piece one I own that is really cute. I guess I've never taken its picture to show you... well, I'm sure I'll do it again. It's what I call a "comfort puzzle." That means it has a reasonable number of pieces (say 300-500), is a picture I like, and it goes together fast. I did it in 3 hours.

After that, I decided I was ready for a harder one. However, I think I was not prepared for the one I did. I'm thinking this is maybe the second hardest puzzle I've ever done. The picture on the box was very cute, but in actual fact, the colors were muddy and the effect was a lot like dappled light in the woods. The pieces all had 2 innies and 2 outies, and you often had to turn them over and squint at the cracks to decide if those two pieces did, in fact, go together. It's called "Pooch on a Ladder." I was disappointed that the picture wasn't as cute as I expected. Also, instead of putting 10 pieces in my puzzle as a reward, it began to feel like putting in 3 pieces as a punishment. But I was determined to finish. 1000 pieces... the last 150 were torture. Anyway... I got it done maybe a week ago. Pooch on a Ladder puzzle

So, I needed another comfort puzzle, but remember, I lost my whole collection a long time ago. So, Cathy loaned me this one, with 500 pieces. I like the picture. It's called "Sewing Box." Indeed, this one was a lot of fun and super easy. I spent two days on it because I only let myself work on it as a reward for doing other things. Finished it earlier this week. Sewing Box puzzle

Now, I have another hard one I'm going to start. But I don't think the colors are icky like the doggie one. This is another one with fussy little pictures and a puzzle within the puzzle. I'm getting curious to start it.

In other news: I was SOOOOOO good today. I worked on a pet project, edited, did volunteer work, and got ready for tomorrow. I'm surprisingly tired- more so that if I'd hiked (which is, of course, what I really wanted to be doing.) But, I also want these other things accomplished, so I have to spend the time to do them.

See Lost in a Puzzle

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Fox and Gator and Squirrel

  Nifty fox in the woods yesterday that held still for me nicely. I think it's sleeping. I actually like this a lot. fox face in a tree stump

The aligator is probably out of its range, but there is a real aligator refuge in Michigan. I guess those abandoned pet have to live somewhere. aligator face in a tree stump

And now for a real wildlife sighting. This is from Tuesday. Not one of the albino squirrels from April 5, this one lives about 6 miles farther north. Since albinism is a recessive trait, once it gets established in an area there will be a significant number of white animals that appear in the population. This is true in the Hamlin area of Mason County. I have to say that not only did this one pose very nicely for me, the camera cooperated and focused on the correct thing. It's interesting that these animals seem to do all right. The bright coloring makes them more susceptible to becoming prey for hawks, maybe bobcats, etc. But we always seem to have a few of them around. albino squirrel

In other news: I stayed home and edited all day. Fried brain. Ok, I also ordered new underwear. Isn't that exciting?

See Albino Twins

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Shadbush Shines

  Took another 10.5 mile hike today, continuing north in Newaygo County. The primary feature of the day is that the shadbush (serviceberry, juneberry) is nearly in full bloom. This is one of our early signs of spring. Although it has bright white blossoms, shadbush

the trees themselves are usually small and the blooms sparse. What that ends up looking like is little white lights sprinkled throughout the brown woods. shadbush

The temperature hovered around 40 degrees, and I kept my gloves on all day. But it was comfortable for hiking. The big surprise of this section was how hilly it was. The rest of Newaygo County has been gently rolling. Today, I got quite a good workout!
trail on hillside


Again, there were several kinds of wetlands. This is an acidic bog- full of leatherleaf and sphagnum moss. I looked for pitcher plants, but didn't find any. The MI Plant Atlas shows it growing in Newaygo County, so it's probably there somewhere. bog

This wetland has filled in to the point where it has become a wet meadow. It's filled with grasses, and probably sedges. I didn't have time nor footwear to go swamp-stomping today. Interestingly enough, there is one big shadbush on the opposite shore. In the understory they usually have multiple stems and remain small. But if they have sun and little competition, they can become nicely shaped trees. And, I might add, they produce luscious fruits. However, it's pretty hard to beat the birds to them.

Note the top of a tree to the left of the shadbush is getting red. Probably a red maple. And a smaller tree to the right is turning orange. I am guessing another shadbush. wet meadow

The third wetland is, I suspect, also acidic. However, it does have permanent open water in the middle. It even shows on maps although it has no name. The geese have made this one their home. It was nice to see something moving around. The sudden cooldown made all the other critters hunker down. Canade geese

This section also has a small but nice stream, Mena Creek. Appropriately sized trail bridge over it. Mena Creek

Got some other pix, but I'll save those- maybe tomorrow. I did see a red-shouldered hawk. Got a really good look at it, but had no chance to get the camera turned on in time to get a picture.

North Country Trail, Newaygo County, MI, 6 Mile Rd to 3 Mile Rd and back, 10.5 miles

North Country Trail Miles to date in 2021 is 200.

In other news: I have a meeting tonight. That is all.

See 10 More Newaygo County Miles

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Chicago and West Michigan Railway

  When I was looking up info about the White River railroad bridge the other day, I learned that the line that went from Muskegon to Big Rapids, passing through White Cloud, was the Chicago and West Michigan Railway. It was bought up by the Pere Marquette Railroad as many of these short lines were. In fact, it's often difficult to keep track (pun intended) of which railroad lines were owned by whom, and what name they were using at any given time. C&WM at some period of time owned the Newaygo and Lakeshore RR, and the Grand Haven RR, and the Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore which ran from New Buffalo to Pentwater. The access to Pentwater Pathway Trails that I sometimes hike is on that previous right of way.

So, anyway, I overlaid the RR map on the trail map, realizing that I was going to cross that former line on my hike on Sunday. I figured if I knew about where to look for it, I might find the old rail bed.

Not a problem! I certainly would have recognized this as a former railroad without a single clue, I just would not have known which one. This is the view looking northeast. Chicago and West Michigan Railway crossing of the north country trail

And here is the view looking southwest. It's quite open yet, which probably indicates it was a well-built base- not like some logging lines where they just leveled the berm and threw down some rails. Probably plenty of ballast if you went digging in that. A pipeline and its access road is now parallel to the old rail line (not visible in the pictures). Chicago and West Michigan Railway crossing of the north country trail

Here's a wonderful photo of a C&WM Inspection Car, date unknown. Very steampunk, don't you think? Chicago and West Michigan inspection train

And finally, here is the logo of the line. It's nickname was the Fruit Belt Line. Since it operated from some time prior to 1881 to 1897 when it was purchased by the Pere Marquette, apparently the area was already known for fruit growing. I find this interesting, since logging was the big item then. I always thought almost all the farming followed the clearing of the land. However, I did some research, and the French realized that southern Michigan had the right climate for fruit trees. They were cultivating apples and pears in Michigan in the 1700s. Berrien County (where New Buffalo is located) in the southwest corner of the state, was already known for growing peaches to ship to Chicago by 1834. The French explorers had noted the land adjacent to Lake Michigan would be suitable for growing fruit as early as 1670! Chicago and West Michigan Logo

I love figuring out all these old railroad connections. Can't you just picture a train full of people on their way to White Cloud, or perhaps Big Rapids, looking out at the same landscape? OK, minus the pipeline!

In other news: I walked with Cathy in the morning- some road miles, did volunteer work in the afternoon, and then had bell choir.

See White River RR Bridge
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