Entries to Win Afghan

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sharing a Sunset

I'm too tired tonight to do anything meaningful. I'll share my view of the sunset that Chuck showed you also. We live a couple hundred miles apart, but the weather front that produced the sunset was the same one, I think.

No work today... that got pushed to tomorrow. I'm going to bed. Will answer comments tomorrow too


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Hamlin Lake

... and arrived at Hamlin Lake Dam!

I'd been told that's where I would end up, but it was still awesome, because I'd never seen it from this side. Look sort of above Maggie along the far "shore" and you will see orange floats. Those are for safety, above the dam.

Hamlin Lake Dam

Now look the other way, up the lake. It looks narrow and smallish.

Hamlin Lake

But it's not. Everything you see in these pictures is in Ludington State Park. But the Lake is not small at all. This end, very near the dam, narrows down, but here's a map to give you perspective. Check out the mileage legend. The big blue space to the left is Lake Michigan, of course. The dam is located at number 3.

Hamlin Lake map

So, before we go any farther, let me show you the dam. Think about the size of this lake. It covers 4992 acres (surface area), and has a maximum depth of 78 feet. That's a pretty big lake. Now take a look at the dam.

Hamlin Lake dam

Too bad there was no one else there so I could put a person in for perspective. The dam is only about 8 feet tall, yet it creates that huge lake! Isn't water amazing? It was built during the logging era (about 1900) to create the lake for floating logs. The dammed river is the Big Sable.

OK... what are all those numbers on the map? I thought I'd show you where some of my other adventures have been.

Point 1: Big Sable Lighthouse- Two Lighthouses and a Trail

Points 2-3: Yesterday's hike- A New Trail to...", and A Day for Friends (the posed picture at the end was taken on the other side of Hamlin Dam)

Points 4-5: Where I swam across the lake in August- So Slow, But Undaunted

Point 6: Where the Big Sable River enters the lake. I don't have a picture from that exact location, but it's been featured upstream in Interesting Intersection but No Train and Cinq Rivieres

Point 7 (and surroundings): Nordhouse Dunes, where you've seen many adventures- Ellen and Joan Find Treasures at Nordhouse, or Ducks of the Day (on the little round lake to the right of the 7), or A Tale of Nor-Dunes

Point 8: Victory Park- Orange, location of the Orange Mist cooler in the woods

Point 9: The end of Larch Drive- Overheard on Hamlin Lake

That's plenty of info for one day, but I thought it would put some perspective on some of the adventures where I've dragged you along! Work day tomorrow- who knows what I'll find?

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Monday, November 28, 2011

A New Trail to...

In one of those strange coincidences of life a few weeks ago I was trying to turn into the driveway of a house to do a work survey, and an acquaintance was trying to turn into a parking space that was directly opposite. Of course we asked each other what we were doing, and thus I learned that there is a small trailhead there.

Today, Maggie and I went to check out the trail. It begins by going through a beech-hemlock forest.

beech hemlock forest

Next we passed behind some really large sand dunes (look beyond the trees)

sand dunes

It shouldn't have been a surprise, but there is a whole string of little ponds on the inland side of those dunes. I didn't know any of this was here!


The trail continued, pretty much on the level, for about two miles. Then, we climbed up a valley to pass over another ridge of dunes,

valley trail

and arrived at.... sorry, come back tomorrow.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rainy Day Flight Plan

Despite the rain, Maggie and I at least took our little walks around my kingdom. It wasn't pouring, just dreary wet. As we were passing through the apple orchard I heard odd noises from the sky. You may recall that audio input is my weakest sense. My hearing is fine, actually very good, but I don't seem to remember things I hear as well as things I see.

But I knew it wasn't Canada geese. They honk discordantly. I knew it wasn't sandhill cranes. They rattle. Then I saw them.

trumpeter swans in flight

They were quite high up, but I was pretty sure I knew what they were. See how long the necks are? Not geese. See how straight the necks are? Not herons.

trumpeter swans in flight

The sound I heard is a sort of honk, but not just noisy like geese. It's a higher pitch, and not such a continuous blast of noise.

trumpeter swans in flight

Now you can see how the wings are curved when they make a flight stroke.

Well, when I looked at the pix on the computer, and could blow them up, my suspicion was confirmed. These are trumpeter swans.

You can hear how they sound at the Cornell Ornithology Lab

I love these birds, much more than the mute swans, because these are native to North America. Links below to other encounters with trumpeter swans.

See A Waterfowl Puzzle
See Kayaking on November 21
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Ivy-Covered Window

I've been saving this picture since late summer. I think it looks as if it came straight out of a fairy tale. Just for fun, I played with it a little bit. Nothing drastic, but just some subtle changes to make it a little mystical. Which one do you like best? The first one is the original.

ivy-covered window

ivy-covered window

ivy-covered window

Rain all day. I was on the computer getting the formatting done on News from Dead Mule Swamp. All day. Tomorrow needs a bit more activity in it. I decree it to be!

ivy-covered window

Sorry... I just had to add one more!

See Just WOW in Blue and White
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Pine Valley Pathway Again

I'm just so NOT in tune with cultural normalcy. Forget the stores; I spent my Black Friday in the woods. It was warm (about 50F) and sunny. Maggie and I both donned blaze orange and headed for Pine Valley Pathway again to hike the inner loop.

We saw nothing unique. I was going to say "nothing amazing," but we did see amazing things... the natural world simply IS amazing.

I liked the sun on the white pine needles... like stars in the tree! (Christmas lights?)

sun on white pine needles

Lost Lake showed a different character today. Instead of being sparkly, it was pensive.

reflections on Lost Lake at Pine Valley Pathway

But here's my favorite. Is this a green fried moss egg? An alien spaceship that has landed? Maybe it's a wooded hill atop a palisaded plateau. Don't you just want to know what's under that hump?

mossy hump

P.S. Facebook can be sort of awesome (I can't believe I am admitting that). I stumbled across a fellow from the town and church I grew up in. He is a few years younger than I am, but he's now the Pastor of Ministries at LifePoint Church in Reisterstown, MD. Check out his blog if you think you might be interested. A Leader's View.

We have done a bit of back and forth catching up. A few years age difference seemed really a big deal in high school. Now, not so much!

See Hiking at Pine Valley Pathway
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with our new (since summer) pastor and family, and their neighbors. I was nice to have somewhere to go. Most of the pictures I took are terrible, but you get the idea. I'm sure it looks pretty much like T-day looked at your house too!

carving a turkey

The pastor is at the far end of the table.

Thanksgiving dinner

See And a Wonderful Meal it Was 2010
See A Quiet Thanksgiving 2009
See We Were Loud 2008
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Watery Patterns

Maggie and I went for a little walk at Scottville Riverside Park, but I wasn't very impressed with any of the pictures I brought home, so I decided to just have fun. Images... compliments of the physics of water. Enhancements... compliments of Paint Shop Pro.

interference patterns on water

patterns in sand

See More Textures
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Overheard on Hamlin Lake

It's a gray day in the Hamlin Lake neighborhoods

Hamlin Lake

Coralee is really out of sorts because Hank doesn't want to take her out for Thanksgiving. He'd rather have homemade corn bread.

mallard female

"Coralee, really, wait for me. I didn't mean it the way you think I did. I just was trying to tell you how much I love your cornbread, but if you want to swim over to the Middle Bayou for escargot, I have no problem with that."

mallard male

"Hank you handsome devil, you! Let's start now. It's a long paddle."

mallard ducks

Meanwhile, under the bridge at Drake and Hettie's digs... "Honestly, Hank and Coralee have gotten quite uppity lately. The snails here are just as lovely."

"Yes, dear."

mallard ducks

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Vistas, Lakes and Who's Looking

Today was a work day. I had a lot of places to go, and a lot of miles to drive. I had assignments pretty far north. They've been sending me out of my actual area. Works for me, as long as they keep paying mileage! And, I get to see new places.

The drawback for you may be that vistas and lakes all look pretty much alike. But I enjoyed them, so I hope you will too. The area north of me is actually a bit hillier than right where I live. I think these views show that pretty well.

The first one is on Marilla Road, north of Brethren, looking north.

view from Marilla Road, north of Brethren

And the second vista is on Faylor Road north of Copemish. I'd never been on that road before. The view is looking west, and the hills (stabilized sand dunes- as are all of our hills) in the distance are a row of dunes that flank the lakes you are about to see next. Then there are more dunes between those lakes and Lake Michigan.

view west from Faylor Road, north of Copemish

Once you get west of those hills there are several large lakes, and a bunch of small ones "trapped" between the dune hills. This one is Little Platte Lake, not one of the tiny ones, but not huge, either.

Little Platte Lake

The largest lake in that area is Crystal Lake. This view kind of shows that, looking down the lake (west). You can see that it is quite long. Vacation towns that ring it are Frankfort, Benzonia, and Beulah.

Crystal Lake

So, that's what I was watching. But who was watching me? This little guy...

gray squirrel

But I like this one best!

three chickens

Hope you enjoyed the views, and maybe a little explanation keeps them from looking all alike.

See More Vistas
See Sauble
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Flowers for Algernon

Last night Om and I went to the local high school production of Flowers for Algernon. It's a pretty heavy play. The plot follows a young man of low intelligence who becomes the subject of a medical experiment. (It's set in the early 1950s) The operation has been performed on mice, most recently one named Algernon, and has been a huge success. They have received permission to test it on a human.

Charley Gordon after surgery in Flowers for Algernon

After surgery, Charley begins to get smarter and smarter. He becomes more aware of his social status. He had previously believed that everyone liked him, and he now learns that people have always made fun of him. With all the changes happening in his life now, he's still an easy mark for ridicule.

Charley Gordon being teased in Flowers for Algernon

His intelligence continues to grow, and he eventually reaches genius level. However, the mouse, Algernon is showing symptoms that are alarming. When Algernon dies, Charley knows that his time as a "normal" person is short.

Charley Gordon realizing his future in Flowers for Algernon

This is a serious play, more often staged by colleges. However, the teens did an excellent job last night. I would say that the five major players were as good as I would expect of college theater, and the boy who played Charley was outstanding. We went because he is the son of a friend, but he really did a great job.

If you ever have a chance to see this play, I highly recommend it.

See Oklahoma!
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hike at Orchard Beach State Park

Today was the monthly hike for the Spirit of the Woods trail club. There were just three of us and four dogs! We hiked the Nature Loop at Orchard Beach State Park in Manistee. This was our choice because we wanted a place where hunting is not allowed. You can see that we are being pretty careful to be visible anyway.

hikers during hunting season

This is a place I've featured often, because it's where the wonderful tulip tree is found. And you aren't going to get out of seeing it this time. All the leaves are gone, revealing the opened seed pods decorating the upper half.

tulip tree seed pods

There weren't any botanical surprises today... you'll have to settle for the beauty of familiar things. This is some shelf fungus on a dead beech tree.

shelf fungus

Finally, another familiar plant, but I'm not sure I've shown it before. This is northern ground pine. It's a lycopodium (club moss). The taxonomy for this family is in complete chaos. DNA testing has thrown everything on its head, but these plants were always confusing anyway. So, this one is currently Diphasiastrum complanatum. It may stay put, because it's one of the most common. It looks like little Christmas Trees... a timely plant.

northern ground pine

Loren took a few tulip seed pods home to decorate a wreath. I took pictures. Ellen took memories of another good hike.

P.S. You can enter to win a copy of News from Dead Mule Swamp. Complete rules at Shark Bytes and Tales.

See Revisiting the Tulip Tree
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