Entries to Win Afghan

Sign up to receive the Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Comes out occasionally. No spam. No list swapping. Just email me! jhyshark@gmail.com Previous gifts include a short story, a poem, and coupons. Add your name, and don't miss out!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

White- Playing Around

I just kept seeing white today. You might say that wasn't hard to do given all the snow on the ground and all the snow falling from the sky. But I just couldn't leave it alone. So here's another photo essay from me on the theme of white. All these pictures have been enhanced in some fashion except the final one. That one, I was just glad to catch.

White Lake
This is Emerson Lake- you could walk right across to those cottages.

ice covered lake

White Doorknob
I actually like this door in the snow a lot. I did a couple other things with it too.

door with white doorknob

White Shrub
OK, OK, the shrub isn't white, the snow is. But doesn't it look like it's in bloom?

snow covered shrub

White Field
I absolutely love this one. I thought the picture(s) weren't going to be worth saving when I took them. That's why I never make up my mind until I get home and see a shot on the computer.

trees in a snow covered field

White Wall
This one wasn't even a picture I was trying to take. It's part of one of my "work" shots- a wall that need painting. Just because the insurance company doesn't like it doesn't mean I can't!

peeling paint on wall

White Tail
This picture probably took the most skill to catch, and I didn't do anything except crop it and add a little contrast afterwards. It's a bald eagle flying away from me. You can see the tail and the yellow legs tucked back against the body. I wasn't fast enough to stop the car, turn on the camera, get out, etc to catch the front of it!

bald eagle flying

I think tomorrow I'll start my erratic year-end "best of..." series. Some years I keep better track than others. That's me.

See White and Blue
See White
if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Short Line Railroad Fun

I was doing assignments today and stopped at a railroad crossing (no gates, just a stop sign), and was shocked to find a beautifully painted GP35 engine sitting just about 200 feet away, fired up, with headlights on. It wasn't moving, so I crossed the tracks and stopped to take some pictures.

Great Lakes Central RR engine

I'd never heard of the Great Lakes Central Railroad. Huh. Well, it used to be the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay RR, but was purchased and renamed in 2006. The line runs from Ann Arbor to Petoskey, with a spur to this location in Wexford County, The Wexford Sand Company. They are the longest short line in Michigan with 424 miles of track.

Wexford Sand Company

If there's one thing lower Michigan has plenty of, it's sand!

Wexford Sand Company

While we are on the subject of short rail lines, here's one I encountered in Oklahoma, SKOL, which stands for South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad. They have 511 miles of track.

SKOL engine

Just for comparison, the short line that runs in back of my house, Marquette Rail, has only 126 miles of track.

Have you wondered what trains do in winter when there is about six inches of snow? They drive right through! The GLC train pulled away from the sand company while I was down the road. I took a picture of the fresh "cut," as I went back by.

railroad tracks in snow

See Today's Good Views for a Marquette Rail engine
if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crockpot Christmas Kale


I asked for one gift for Christmas, and I got it. I wanted a crockpot. Now, I know that any of you who really know me will think I'm a crockpot for asking for one, since you know how much I "love" to cook. However... I do love soup.


You may recall that I bought a drop-dead-gorgeous kale for Christmas food. It's the whole center of the veggie plate- a ruffly green and white rosette. I knew no one except me would eat it, but I wanted it so much I didn't even look at what it cost. (And I still haven't looked on the receipt.)


Just a few other veggies, and some beans, and 9 hours in the new crockpot, and voila... dinners for the week.

crockpot kale soup

P.S. I didn't get as fancy as the "recipe" said. I just soaked some navy beans overnight, dumped in the stock, tomatoes, water, beans, carrots, celery and the chopped kale, with some Mrs. Dash. Real food. Real easy.

See Christmas in the Carhartts
if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Some of you may know of my frustration with the current camera, although it's not the kind of thing I usually post here. Sometime last year I messed up a setting so that it no longer took good macro shots. And that's one of my favorite things to do. So I haven't been very happy about that, since I couldn't figure out what I'd done.

Last week, I managed to accidentally change a setting and the picture resolution was reduced to a size you'd use to send in an email. Not good. And actually not even acceptable for the work I do taking pictures of houses.

It only took about an hour (sarcasm with the emphasis on "only") to figure out how to get my larger resolution back. And somehow, in the process of doing that I reversed whatever stupid thing I'd done to mess up the macro! So today, you get fun closeup pictures from my back yard.

A dried up goldenrod head is transformed to a collection of small shaving brushes.

goldenrod seedhead

Canada thistle? Pineapple? Pine cone? You can certainly see similarities in form across species when you move in close.

thistle seedhead

I didn't actually take this one with the macro lens, but it's pretty close. The late afternoon sun was turning the insides of split milkweed pods to gold.

milkweed pod
And this is my favorite of all, the remains of a Goatsbeard flower...


...and her sisters.


See The Yellow Flower
See The Ends of the Story
if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gazing Ball

I have this cheap little teardrop gazing ball. I mean $10 at a discount store. Plastic. But it's held its color and shine for maybe ten years. Best lasting garden ornament I've ever had. It stays out all winter, gets no preferential treatment.

Today, I was walking past it on the snowshoes and discovered one more interesting thing about the little blue bauble.

gazing ball

Sort of like having my own private aurora borealis in a miniature fantasy world.

if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Wrong Season?

Do you think maybe it's time to put the bike away?

snow covered bicycle

if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in the Carhartts

OK, I didn't spend all day in them, but more than I had planned on!

First things first- the tree did get in the Christmas spirit.

Christmas tree
But then Josh called and his car wouldn't start, so I needed to go pick him up. But guess what? We got 8 more inches of snow overnight, so I had to do the driveway first.


Then Steve called, so we talked on the phone for a while, but he has the flu, so he didn't feel like talking too long. He sounded awful, poor guy.

Meanwhile, the dough for the rolls reached the point where it had to be shaped, so then I switched to cooking in the Carhartts.


If only I'd remembered to empty the compost buckets when I still had them (the Carhartts, not the buckets) on... O well. I did remember to go get Josh!

I have to show you the veggie tray. That "thing" in the middle is a fancy kale. Isn't it just beautiful? And it will become a yummy soup in a few days, methinks.

veggie tray

The orange rolls is a recipe I fix on Christmas every few years. I'd forgotten just how yummy they are. Well, we gobbled them up!

orange rolls

We had fancy sandwich meats and cheese, and some crackers and the veggies. It made a wonderful Christmas meal. Everyone ate when they wanted to, and a lot of those foods are treats for us, so it felt special. Om and Josh agreed.

Christmas family

I finished all my paperwork, and it was a nice relaxing day. Hope yours was good too!

See The Strangest Christmas Ever for 2012
if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Colors


We had the biggest part of our Christmas today with Loretta at her place. She cooked (there's the quality in MY day- I sit at a table and food appears from somewhere- I could handle that). She and Om both wore red and green. I guess that's the color part of that picture.

Christmas dinner

Then Om and I went to Cadillac to a concert he wanted to attend. We got there just at sundown, and saw the most magnificent sun pillar at sunset I've ever seen. It may be the tallest one I've ever seen at all. This picture doesn't show the full height, but it concentrates the colors more.

sunset sun pillar

The concert was contemporary, and Om has a lot of friends there, so he had a very good time.

Christmas praise concert

Tomorrow we will mostly chill out, and I have to do a bunch of paperwork.

See Cold for another sunset sun pillar
if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hersey River

I suppose most of the rivers I show you look pretty much alike. But you've never seen this one here before because I was sent east to do cases out of my area this week.

This river is about 13 miles long and is located in Osceola County. It's a tributary of the Muskegon River. It, and the town of the same name, were named for Nathan Hersey, the first white settler in the area. He came in 1840.

Hersey River

Two other quality events occurred as part of this same work day. I came as close as I ever have to getting stuck with my AWD Forester. Managed to dig out and get out of that not-quite-a-road.

As a result of that incident, the Anti-Lock-Brake light came on and stayed on. Manual said if it stays on for about two minutes it's recharging its battery. If it stays on longer, your regular brakes will still work, but you need to have it serviced. Said a few prayers and after the next time I turned the engine off the light went out! Whew!

Finally, the surface of the river had some great ice patterns. I love stuff like this!

Hersey River ice

Hersey River ice

Hersey River ice

Hersey River ice

See Ice on the Pine for a different river
if you like this blog, click the +1   or

Like This!