Entries to Win Afghan

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hoosier Cabinet- Day 3

We ARE going to have this done, but it's taking serious concentration and scheduling of polyurethane layers.

refinishing project

Here are all the pieces except the drawers. They're stacked somewhere else because they have already had their four coats of poly. (And a couple of coats on the bottoms of the snowshoes!)

The big thing we learned today is that sometimes you have to break the rules. One of the doors had a section of really open grain that had just soaked up the grease over the years. After stripping and sanding (extra on both), when I gave it a gentle washing with Murphy's Oil Soap those areas were still just slimy with grease. So... I laid it over the sink, put full strength Murphy's on it and scrubbed it across the grain with a toothbrush. Then I actually held it under the faucet to get all the soap off. Put it out in the sun to dry, and by golly, that grease came out!

See Hoosier Cabinet Day 2
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Hoosier Cabinet- Day 2

We have certainly been having thunderstorms this year. They started at 10 pm and never let up with a bright spot on the radar still coming our way at midnight. I'll update you this morning.

The work day began with a shopping trip. We hit three stores to get more stripper, various hardware and supplies, and then some searching for shelf paper/drawer liner. More on that when we're ready to "install."

Marie stripped old paint all day. She's a trooper. The base coat of paint is a horror to remove. My furniture refinishing guru (who's been consulted on this project more than once) says it was probably painted white from the factory with a spray coat of primer under the old white enamel paint. He thought we were doing well to get as much off as we did. The oak exterior is pretty good (white spots in a few places of open grain), but some of the interior wood (four kinds including cherry!) still looks slightly whitewashed. Ah well, it will have to be considered "character," because the white paint has just soaked deeply into those soft woods.

I stripped paint and worked on the various repairs that needed to be done. I successfully glued two split piece of wood back on- so well, in fact, that when finished they will be hardly noticeable. I had less success on repairing some buckled veneer. My first attempt at forcing some glue under the buckled spots, clamping and waiting did nothing. That was pretty disappointing. So... I just dampened the area, and clamped blocks of wood on it all for overnight. Just checked it- it's MUCH improved, almost flat. I think we are going to just lightly polyurethane and not mess with it any more.

refinishing hoosier cabinet

We also put the first coat of polyurethane on the upper section and most of the drawer fronts. Yesterday didn't seem outrageously humid, but the poly didn't dry well for some reason. It's ok this morning, and we can go to coat two, but that is pretty odd. I hope today will be a better drying day because we want to finish this project!

refinishing hoosier cabinet

I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't take real before photos. I guess I've been looking at that half-done cupboard, with the old paint and grease stains everywhere for so long I didn't want to preserve the memory.

That cupboard has been in continuous use as a primary kitchen work space for 91 years. That's something of a guess, but it was my father's mother's cabinet. They built and moved into the house I grew up in in 1921, so I'm thinking it's at least highly possible it was purchased for that house.

Gotta go help Marie! She's already started.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hoosier Cabinet- Major Project

Marie and I started off the day going to church, then out to breakfast, and to take some pictures in Ludington that I need for my monthly newspaper column. We also discovered that the lighthouse was open for people to go up in. Boy, do I feel dumb. It's been open to the public for six years, but I didn't know that. I mostly stay out of town during tourist season!

Ludington Lighthouse

We had to go to the top! The guide took our picture.

Ludington Lighthouse

By the time we got home we were hungry again, and had to play a couple of games of Quiddler, too. Then we started on the major project I do want to accomplish this week, the refinishing of my Hoosier Cabinet.

Actually, my mother started the project possibly 30 years ago. I got back to it a couple of years ago, and gave up when I wasn't happy with the stripper I was using, and ran out of time.

So first, we had to empty it and take it all apart again (I hadn't put the doors back on after the last attempt, but most of it was together).

We made a start- trying the different brand of stripper, and deciding we liked it. Then it was time for a little more food and a walk for Maggie who has been getting the short end of the stick this week.

Do we know how to trash a kitchen, or what?

refinishing a cabinet

Even the parts that were previously done have to be gone over at least once with the good stripper. We worked on it all evening- Marie more than I, because I had to write my column.

refinishing a cabinet

Marie thinks we can get it all stripped and start polyurethaning tomorrow. I think she just doesn't want to face the idea that it will take longer than that! However, if she decides to finish something, she can be a real task master. We shall see.

I love this cabinet! I tell people if something happens to it I won't be able to cook any more. I'm only half kidding. It's been a part of "my" kitchen since I was old enough to know what a kitchen was, except for a few years at the beginning of our marriage before Mom gave it to me. It also has a lower-than-the-currently-normal work counter height. I'm short. Regular counters are too high for me. I'm going to be really happy to have this looking nice.

Of course, we have to finish that one wall on the library building some time, too. Hey folks, the door stretcher was a joke! I actually filled in the top of the door frame to make the door fit- a "cheap" fix for a door that doesn't get used too often.

See Ludington Beach in January
See Two Lighthouses and a Trail
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Wall? Not Even

OK, remember that this is supposed to be the big project week at my house to parallel the project week we did at Marie's this spring. We have begun.

I would like to tell you we worked our butts off. We did work that hard for sure, but I'm sad to say that our actual butts are still amply in place. Sigh. Anyway...

This project was not on my list, but it got catapulted to the top by an unfortunate circumstance. This (mostly) block building is now called "the library," because it's stuffed with books. Seriously... a few other things, but mostly books.

block building

The problem was that the logo of the organization we used to work for was painted on the side back when. I painted it out when our time with them came to an abrupt end. However, the coverage was fading, and you could read the logo again, and it HAD to go away. There's enough shade in this picture that you can't read it (I hope), but it could be seen from the road most of the time. What you can possibly see is that the door (the brown one in the building, not the leaning white one) is quite damaged. It had delaminated. I was planning to just screw some plywood over the lower part and paint it, along with that one side of the building.

However, when we took a look at the door (after scraping the loose paint on the frame, and the building eave), the core was all rotted around the window and full of bugs. Hmmm. Project expanded. So we headed for the Habitat for Humanity Restore. We came home with the white door.

Are you ready for this? It was only $10. OK, that was cheap even for them, and I'll tell you why. It's a steel clad door, but the steel was coming loose from the core along the top edge, and one bottom corner. I figured for an outbuilding that didn't have to look perfect, some pan head screws would solve that. The guy at the hardware store agreed.

Oh yeah, the other tiny problem was that it was an inch too short. So I got out my door stretcher. Meanwhile, Marie started painting the other end of the wall. Time- 2:30 pm.

block building

4 pm- the door is hung, but not yet completely stretched. I was off to the store again for a few more parts and a new lockset. Marie kept painting.

block building

Finally, I got that door all stretched out so it fit into the opening! (Am I talented or what?)

We gave up for the day at 5:30. We were just too pooped to finish today. Actually, we couldn't anyway, because the other problem was a yellowjacket nest behind that piece of old eave trough I wanted to remove. Had to wait till sunset when the bees are all home to spray it. That's now done. Hopefully we can now pull the gutter off without incident. I got stung once today when we discovered the nest.

Here's what's done for now.

block building

I have to say that the whole project went quite smoothly. I wasn't happy when we decided we'd have to replace the door, because I don't want to spend all week on this non-choice project. We are just doing the one side.

We considered the neighbors' reactions: "Why on earth did they only paint one side of that building?"

Our response: We should post a sign on the front "Need $25 per side to finish. Put donations in the can. Come Saturday to paint."

Do you think it will work?

I just checked again. My too-large butt was not worked off

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Apropos Quiddler

Every once in a while one of those amazing coincidences happen that just make you smile.

Today, Marie went to clean with me. The boss said he could use another hand, so that way we got to be more or less together, even though we we working hard.

But we had time for a quick game of our favorite, Quiddler, beforehand. It's a word game, and I blogged about it a long time ago. (link at end)


But, this morning, it began to pour (and rained off and on all day).

The joke, however, is the five-card hand Marie was dealt. And not only dealt this possible message, but in the exact order she is displaying.


Some planets somewhere must have been aligned! Can you tell it's raining through the window?

See Quiddler
See FLT Hiking
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Thursday, July 26, 2012


Sorry there was no post yesterday. I don't mean for this to become a habit, but a whole line of thunderstorms started before 10 pm, and we had to unplug and didn't dare connect again until this morning.

Marie did arrive yesterday late afternoon. Today we cleaned up the kitchen and then decided to repot and clean up my houseplants. They sure needed it!

I should have taken a "before" picture. Wait, maybe I don't want to show you that sad mess.

Anyway, they are much happier looking now!


I've cut down on most things that aren't succulents. In fact, the only non-succulents left are a spider plant, a pothos, and one pot of streptococcus. Oh yeah, and a couple of dracena.

So, many of the plants got new pots, and they all got fed and cleaned up. It's not very artistically arranged, but it looks much better!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Last Sunrise

No offense, all you morning lovers, but I hope this is the last sunrise I see for a while.


I'm sure this theme is getting worn, but I'm going to bed. However, I do not have to get up at 3 am. Omer is home safe and sound. I am not even remotely tempted to be merciful and give him an extra day off.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Too Hot

I'm sorry- I'm too hot and tired to do a good post. I have to go out to do assignments directly from the paper route tomorrow. I need to do as many as I can tomorrow because it's supposed to be marginally cooler, and it's efficient to take off right from the end of the route. That will still leave me with some for Wednesday. I need to get them done because...

Marie comes on Thursday!!!! We are supposed to do our project week here. I hope I'm functional.

Of course I got a huge pile of assignments. That's good- I can use the cash, but it makes a really full week.

I got my exhaust system fixed this morning, so I'm won't be waking up everyone tomorrow when I deliver their paper. (Did I tell you it came apart Saturday night?)

This particular stretch of paper route has been particularly brutal. I have to do a few odds and ends and go to bed.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spirit of the Woods Hike Yesterday

We hiked yesterday with our Spirit of the Woods trail club. I made a major goof in road names, and it turned out to be a 10 or 11-mile hike instead of 7 miles. No one killed me (yet), but we were all really tired. One of the couples had a cabin very near the trail, and we more or less ended there with ice water guzzled in the shade on their deck near the Big Sable River.

Fortunately, it wasn't a blistering hot day, and the trail was all in the woods, so we weren't wilting.

hikers in woods

Our first goal was to reach McCarthy Lake for lunch. I love this little lake! Unfortunately, there was a big contingent of campers (which was fine), but they had brought five ATVs and the kids were riding all over. Very noisy and smelly.

McCarthy Lake

A couple of hours later, we reached the Big Sable River, and crossed on the Vince Smith bridge. Almost immediately after this picture, we bailed out! A few of us hiked on the additional mile to get cars after a rest.

crossing Vince Smith Bridge

We had a great turnout, and a great time. There were nine humans and four dogs. Two of the dogs shouldn't have hiked 10 miles, Maggie being one of them. She was really, really tired, but she made it. I felt so bad I'd done that to her, but I think she forgave me!

hiking group

Here we are!

I'm now sort of one day behind on blogging. Today was my Dad's birthday. He would have been 108. I was planning to do a post about him, but I'm just too tired to hunt up photos and scan them. Maybe tomorrow.

North Country Trail Fox Trail north to 5 Mile Road

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Can't Stay Awake

Trail Club hike today. It was great. Have pics. Had a meeting this evening. Have to go to bed. Sorry. Pictures tomorrow if you are lucky and I am no longer a zombie.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

The Cranes Came Back

I actually snapped these pictures yesterday, but then didn't post them since I thought I had a shot at getting to sleep early. It worked. Good thing too. Today was long.

These are two of the three sandhill cranes that have been hanging out in my field. SO COOL.

I am quite surprised that they seem to like it here. The only water nearby is the creek in the cemetery which is in a steep gully- not a wetland which they prefer. The first time I scared them up they were under the pines. Now that makes some sense; a nice shady place to rest that is somewhat hidden.

I never expected to seem them another day, and was just stomping along- they all took to the air before I realized they were there. But I caught a couple of decent flight pictures.

sandhill crane

sandhill crane

Tomorrow I'm leading the trail club hike. It should be great, but the day starts at 3 am again. I think I'm going to bed really soon.

See Crane or Heron?
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Paper Route

Hmmm... I get to do the paper route for the next five days while Om goes to be in a wedding. And of course tomorrow is resort cleaning day too.

It rained nearly all day today and was just wonderful! So much cooler it almost felt chilly!

I think maybe I can get to sleep early, so I'm going to bail out, and go to bed. 3 am comes WAY too early.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spikey Things

Just an interesting set of things with the same texture from my walk with Maggie today. The field was wet (hooray- it rained most of the morning!), so we walked down through the cemetery.

We have brown and blue.

shredded wood

globe thistle

I'm sure you can guess the first one. It's a tree stump.

tree stump

The second is one of the few garden flowers that's looking decent in my yard this year. It's called a Globe Thistle. I love the balls. They only look sharp- when you touch them, they are soft.

globe thistle

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We've been one of the counties that's been listed as having moderate drought. Not sure this will be enough to solve all the problems with crops, but it sure was a nice bit of relief.

Here comes the cloud!

storm cloud

Followed quickly by the rain. Can you see it falling? It smelled SO good. I opened the deck door for the whole time it was raining just to let the cool air come in.
Lots of thunder and lightning, but it did rain for an hour.


The air has cooled down outside to about 70 degrees- absolutely wonderful!

See After the Rain
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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Goggily Monster

So last year I bought a cheap pair of swim goggles so I could keep my eyes open better while I was swimming. I need to stay just outside of the line of weeds (they just feel icky on my legs), and inside of where the power boats are cruising around. I learned that I liked the goggles, but not the $6 ones that didn't seal properly.

So I finally got my act together and went into town to the sport shop to look for a "real" pair. Actually, they were only $20, so that wasn't too painful. I wore them today, and they seal perfectly around my eyes- no more water sloshing on my eyeballs inside the lenses!

Not only that, but the lenses are treated to cut glare. That's really nice, because late afternoon (when I usually swim), when I do the side stroke on my way back, the sun is right in my eyes.

So when I got home from the lake today, I decided to put on a silly grin and take a picture of my new goggles to show you.

swim goggles

Yikes! Now there's a new look for me if I ever saw one. No wonder small children ran screaming from the shallows to find their mothers when I entered the water.

Now if I could just get the earplugs to seal as well.

See An Alien Snail to see where I swim
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Wizard of Oz

Oddly enough, the productions of two musicals overlapped in the local area. (see Li'l Abner from last weekend) West Shore Community College staged the classic Wizard of Oz. Six performances (this weekend and next) are nearly sold out. I managed to snag a single seat for this afternoon.

I sat next to the mother of one of the children who played a Munchkin. Some were adults, some were kids. She said the cast has been practicing five hours, four days a week for two months. It showed.

This was one of the best local productions I've ever seen. Everyone did an outstanding job. The costumes were rented. That makes sense... it would be an incredible task to make these outfits from scratch- audiences have solidified expectations of what all these characters should look like. The Wizard of Oz is pretty much a part of the national consciousness at this point.

I took a lot of pictures, but most didn't come out well. If there was a weakness, the lighting was dim, which made it hard to catch candid photos. Flash photos not allowed. Anyway, here are a few of the better ones.

First, Dorothy sings "Over the Rainbow." Did you know this song was nearly cut from the movie?

Wizard of Oz

Here, the Good Witch Glinda confronts the Wicked Witch of the West after Dorothy's house has fallen on her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy learns that the ruby slippers will protect her if she keeps them on.

The backgrounds were done with rear projection. I'm thinking that's why they had to go light on the spotlights so as not to wash out the images.

Wizard of Oz

Dorothy and her friends come to the door of Oz and want to be admitted.

Wizard of Oz

Of course, the Wizard sends them off the bring him the broom of the witch, and we all know that Dorothy manages to do just that. Here, the witch cries, "I'm melting; I'm melting!" at her demise.

Wizard of Oz

After the Wizard accidentally flies off to Kansas without Dorothy, Glinda tells her she has had the power to return home all along, she just needed to learn a lesson- there's no place like home.

Wizard of Oz

Dorothy had a great voice, and she captured a lot of the tone of Judy Garland, making her believable and lovable. Toto was adorable, of course, and good as gold. I was told by someone who knows his owners that he was good as long as none of the kids from the family he belongs to was visible!

The Wicked Witch of the West/Elmira Gulch was one of the two cast members I know, a local actress who is in many plays, and she was great. Played just over the top enough to be deliciously malicious. She's tall and thin, a perfect fit for the part.

Glinda was perfect (and doubled as the lead Jitterbug dancer- I don't remember the jitterbugs in the movie, but I haven't seen it for a long time because Om actually HATES this show). In the movie, Glinda is very pale and blond. This Glinda had a coffee-and-cream complexion which went with the pink and gold perfectly. I liked it!

Of Dorothy's companions, the Scarecrow and Tin Man were the strongest actors, but not so much stronger that they overshadowed the Lion.

None of the acting was poor. Even the small roles were played well.

I had one of the worst seats (which I was glad enough to get)- the theater has a thrust stage, and I was all the way to one side. However, the blocking was done well enough that I didn't miss too much of the action. The stone barn/witch's castle was on my side, so it was hardest to see those scenes.

The set was nicely planned. The set designer wrote for the program, "my goal was to create a fixed set that could serve as the backdrop for Kansas as well as Oz... a transformation of place as well... as characters." Not only did the designer have to get all the locations on the stage, but the orchestra as well, which was tucked into a two-tier alcove right on the stage.

Kudos to director Rick Plummer, and the cast and crew.

Secret: I was gone hiking when they held the auditions. If I'd been home, I was going to try out for a munchkin/flying monkey.

If you think I've been going to a lot of plays lately, it's true. I'm going to as many as I can afford. I'm missing my theatre connections.

See Li'l Abner
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kayaking and Swimming

Ellen and I thought we might have to cancel. The morning was gray, and she even got a little rain at her house (I didn't). Gray wouldn't matter, but thunderstorms were predicted. Playing on water in electrical storms is not a good idea.

But we ate lunch, and the day cleared off and turned bright and hot. We did the paddle we always do from Ellen's because there is no transporting of boats. We paddled across Bass Lake.

Bass Lake

The outlet from that small lake to Lake Michigan is always one of the prettiest spots I know for small boats. It's shaded and intimate with interesting plants.

Bass Lake outlet

The outlet leads to Lake Michigan. The big lake was warm enough for swimming but cool enough to feel REALLY good. We swam for a while- nothing too strenuous. And then we paddled back!

Lake Michigan

And some of those interesting plants? Lots of water lilies blooming. I liked this one which was not shy about showing off and not hiding in the leaves.

water lily

The interesting shrub known as buttonbush was also in bloom.


I'm always smiling when we are playing outside!

See Joan & Ellen's Next Adventure
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