Entries to Win Afghan

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Vocabulary Day- April 2013

vocabulary day
Several new words this month. One of them I was surprised I didn't know! Hopefully Chuck will feel up to some daffynitions, or you can try some. Maybe you already know the words! These are words that are either brand new to me or rediscovered (my personal rule is that if I can't define it, I have to look it up).

Best book read this month is This Body of Death, an intricate mystery by P.D. James. I'm trying to read Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I run out of patience with books that cover every nuance of everyone emotions in detail.

Multiple choice:

1. patera
a. soft-spoken dialect
b. a saucer-like dish
c. a type of knitting
d. the aged finish on metal

2. subreptious
a. under the skin
b. misrepresentation
c. underlying cause of a wound
d. beneath contempt

3. dan
a. a college professor
b. an animal's home
c. a level of proficiency in martial arts
d. the senior member of a group

4. tumbril
a. a tambourine
b. an embroidery hoop
c. a roll top- as on a desk
d. a two-wheeled cart

5. latilla
a. peeled twigs
b. lace
c. a tic
d. a small rabbit

6. trastero
a. a marketplace
b. a pale limestone resembling marble
c. a stretcher for drying laundry
d. a sideboard

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Briar Hill- Treasures

Today, I'll tell you some of the details that make a hike like yesterday's something special. Of course, start with a good friend! Having Ellen to share it with made it all even more fun.

Half the adventure was finding the right place, but I talked about that yesterday. Sort of! Most of the directions we had were good, but there were just a couple of missing pieces. So we wandered around back roads for a while, until we found an intersection that could be placed on the map, and then we got straightened out. This was accompanied by lots of laughing. O yes, and quite a lot of clearing tree limbs from the roads ahead of the car, including removing some with a saw. I think this was a pretty good clue that particular road hadn't been driven yet this year!

We wanted the hike to be longer than the short trip from the trailhead to the top. We did some of that on purpose, and some accidentally! Did not notice my warning about following the correct road down the hill. We learned that one the hard way! We followed that easy road quite a ways, just talking about this and that. Actually, I'll fess up. We were talking about times when we'd been "misplaced" and had to retrace steps, if you can believe it. And then we realized we were going west instead of south, and down a smooth road, not a moguled one, and down a gentle valley, not down a slightly steep hill. Oops! Back up we went to the other road.

The part we did on purpose was to wander the ridge in the other direction from the peak, look for views (not very good through the trees). We did find interesting valleys as the ridge encircles a bowl. Then we found a good log and ate our lunch.

We saw so many lovely things. Here are some of them. Too many pictures, but I can't resist.

The trout lily (dappled leaves), and Dicentra were up, but not in bloom yet. The Dicentra is either squirrel corn or dutchman's breeches, but there's no way to tell the leaves apart.

trout lily

Here's a wonderful fungus, but I don't know what it is. Top side, and under side.

shelf fungus

shelf fungus

We saw a yellow-bellied sapsucker (a woodpecker), but couldn't get it's picture. We didn't see the porcupine, but there was clear evidence that one had been munching on bark high in this tree.

bark eaten by porcupine

The spring beauty was mostly in bud. There will be huge patches carpeted with the pale pink blossoms in a couple of days. But we found a few blooming.

spring beauty

We found one lovely patch of hepatica!


And as a final treat, a bright scarlet cup fungus.

scarlet cup

All in all, a wonderful adventure!

See Briar Hill
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Briar Hill- Highest Point in Michigan's Lower Peninsula

Today, Ellen and I had an EXCELLENT adventure. We climbed the highest hill in Michigan's Lower Peninsula! I'm going to just report the bare bones facts in this post, so that others can use it as a reference. Tomorrow I'll show you more of the fun stuff. We had a wonderful time. First day above 70 degrees this year, blue sky, a great walk with a friend... what more could one want?

The first challenge was to find the roads that lead to the ascent. We used the report from Matt Dalman to help us. His report is quite good, and was edited just a year ago, but there are a few tweaks I'm adding.

To give a general sense of the topography in the surrounding area, and the location of this peak, here's a locator for the hill, about 3/4 of the way between Cadillac and Mesick, within the Manistee National Forest, along M-115. You can click to enlarge the map.

Zooming in more, I've labeled the roads with the numbers/names you'll actually find, on Carsonite posts for the Forest Roads. In the summer, you can drive to the corner of FR 5007 and the trailhead to the ascent. There was still an awful lot of slushy snow today on FR 5007, so we hiked from the corner of FRs 9784 and 5007. This map can also be clicked to enlarge.

Yellow is a driving route. Green is a closed road that you follow on foot to get to the top of the peak. The blue dotted line is another old road that you can accidentally begin to follow down on your return to your car. Pay attention!

Driving Directions:
You need to get to 24 Road. If you are coming from M-115, turn south on paved 21 1/2 Road and go 0.4 miles. Make a right turn on dirt 24 Road. If you are coming from the south on M-37, you can save some miles by turning east on 30 Road, going through the village of Harrietta, and then turning north on 21 1/2 Road. In about 3 miles you will make a left on dirt 24 Road. These roads are clearly marked. After this it can get a bit dicey, although we did find FR (Forest Road) number posts somewhere on each section of road.

Travel west on 24 Road for 1.2 miles to a T. Take a right (this is 19 1/2 Road). There is a cute little cabin on the NE corner. In just 0.1 miles you will take a left on Michael Dr, which is marked FR 9785. Almost immediately the road forks. Take the right fork. It doesn't look like the main road because there is a stop sign for traffic coming in, but it is the road you want. (If you go left you are on the bottom leg of the oval loop.) Follow this for 1.9 miles till you angle in to a T. This is where you meet FR 9784, and you need to turn left. There is also a small Mesick School Forest sign at this corner. Go 0.6 mile to a fork. Take the right fork on FR 5007. (We parked here, and walked the rest of the way. This is probably driveable in summer, but the loose sand could be deep. There were also some small trees that would need to be cut out,one bigger than the saw I had with me, but someone will probably trim those in the next few weeks.)

Here's one detail that is currently incorrect in Matt's account. There is no longer a "road closed" sign on FR 5007. Stay on FR 5007 and climb a saddle between two hills and then drop down slightly to another T. A vehicle could turn left and continue on FR 5007. The fork to the right is the "trailhead." All this consists of is space to park and a Carsonite post that says "No Motor Vehicles" by a rock and a big dirt pile.

Briar Hill trailhead

The old road to the top has been completely barricaded, but this makes it really easy to follow, just don't bother to walk in the road. The route is filled all the way to the ridge with sand piles. Along the way there are two old 4x4 posts at one point. Just above these, the blue dotted road angles back and descends to the left. As you near the top, you'll see a large fallen tree parallel with the ridge.

Briar Hill ridge

When you reach the ridge, turn left, and you'll find the road extending along the ridge, and no more sand piles. You will see the top of the hill just ahead of you. At the top are a benchmark (you can also enlarge this image), and footers for an old fire tower.

Briar Hill tower footers

There is barely a view from this location. There are a couple of slightly better views if you follow the ridge to the right at the "top" of the road. Follow the ridge around a bowl of valleys to the north and there are a couple of almost views, at least when the leaves are down. Anything you see from this peak and environs is to the north, and I believe the ridge that is visible is the bluff on the north side of the Manistee River.

The summit is 1706 feet above sea level. Total elevation change to hike from the trailhead to the summit is about 120 feet in 0.5 mile. Not too tough...

We made it!

hikers on Briar Hill

Be careful on the descent. If you follow the west side of the old road it is almost inevitable that you would accidentally turn down the road shown with a blue dotted line going west. However, it descends more gradually down a valley, and does not have the sand piles in it, so if you are paying attention you will quickly realize that you aren't on the right road.

I'm not sure if any of these Forest Roads are plowed in winter. Certainly not 5007, and I have my doubts about 9784 and 9785.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Get Ready for Stuffing!

Snapped a picture at work at 8 am. See all those full pallets? By the end of the day those were almost all empty. We ran them through the machine, stacked and baled them and either sent them out the door or put them in tubs for carriers to pick up.

photo label

I got to work the strapper all day! I think I like that job better than feeding the machine, but maybe it's just because I haven't done it as much yet.

We lost another person today. They just aren't going to get many good people at minimum wage with no hope of any raises.

See New Skill at Work
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chuck Dives for Cover

No, not my blogger buddy... a woodchuck that lives in the bank of the cemetery creek. Can you see it hiding behind the weeds?


Out into the open, as it headed down the steep bank.


And halfway down the bank it turned and popped into its den!


Woodchucks can be terrible pests, but they are so cute I just find them charming.

See Buckeye Trail for a lazy woodchuck
See A Wary Woodchuck for an old woodchuck
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Patterns in the Fenced Wetland

I took a short walk today. Mostly work time. Ellen and I have an adventure planned for Saturday. Stay tuned.

I went down to the fenced wetland I introduced in Lost and Found Opportunities. It's not particularly attractive, especially with nothing greening up yet.


But the point of this blog is to look for the good stuff, even in the mundane, right? So I went hunting, camera in hand. I always like the bargello look of bare trees reflected in rippled water.


Neither the red-wing blackbird or the cattail patch is uncommon, but look at the nifty pattern with the straight stalks and angled bird.


If you don't care for straight lines, how about a circle?


This one is my favorite by far. I'll let it speak for itself.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bird and Beast

Today I did assignments in the pouring rain. Actually, I managed to get a few done before the rain started, so it could have been worse. Well, it's hard to get worse than soaked and cold, but I could have been wet longer.

The bird picture is from yesterday, but I had to call in my bird guy, Dave, for an ID. I'm not the world's best birder. Not even close! Anyway, this is a hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus. The only part I got right was that it has a white eye-ring. That narrows the choices. I didn't even consider the picture in the bird book because the breast and even sides are spotted in the book. But Dave says the spots probably are washed out in the light, or the band of spots is more on the front on this bird. He says the thing to look at is the eye ring, overall brown color and the very reddish tail (seen in the second picture). And the pink legs. So, I may or may not recognize this bird if I see it again. Thrushes are secretive, and not seen too often by people who don't hold still much (me).

hermit thrush

hermit thrush

Today, before the rain began, I encountered these very friendly cuties at a home. Don't know what breed of goat they are. They wanted to be petted, and they wanted treats. I could only supply the first.



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Monday, April 22, 2013

Warm, Walk, Not Wet!

Today was a beautiful day with temps in the 50s, and no rain. The sun was even shining.

I didn't get to spend it all outside. I was working on a small sewing job I picked up. That's always a good thing! I got it done and delivered on time, and then there was some more light, and it still hadn't cooled off too much so I stopped for a hike through Ludington School Forest.

Ludington School Forest

Nothing too spectacular, but I sure don't care! Just to be outside without a coat, not walking in mud or snow is great! I think I walked about three miles. Nothing is green yet, but just having the snow gone boosts the morale.

The sun was low enough to make interesting shadows.

Ludington School Forest

Hoping for lots of great hikes this year!

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Where are You Attracted to Worship?

Attended church today in this building, the Ebeneezer Center of the West Berlin Wesleyan Church. Do you mind a worship service being held in a room with a gym floor, portable stage and chairs?

West Berlin Wesleyan Church

The reason I was thinking about this question is that the same congregation has a more traditional building. They've been working on repairs and cleaning after water damage and mold created serious problems. The early, more traditional service is being held in that building. I haven't been inside, but suspect it has pews, typical pulpit furniture, etc. Even so, it's not really fancy... a typical country church. The attendees who like a traditional service have said they really find comfort in the old building. They see those surroundings as an aid to worship.

West Berlin Wesleyan Church

Or are you a person who prefers a great deal of architectural beauty to enhance your worship? I don't even know what church this is, but I snapped its picture in Albion.

brick church

I've surprised myself in the last few years by learning that over the long term, I like some architectural and decorative/symbolic stimulation. That doesn't mean I can't worship in plain places.

Actually, what's more important to me is the spirit of those in the group, and the Spirit in the place. It also helps to be there with people with whom you have ties. And that's where I was today, with Chuck and Sylvia of Secondary Roads.

brick church

Be jealous, blogger buddies who also love C&S. Yes, I had almost 24 hours with them. Of course, I slept quite a few of those... I was really tired after four programs over the weekend.

See Engage, Embrace, Enjoy
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