Entries to Win Afghan

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hamlin Dunes- Much Closer

Twice in the past week I've been able to drive some private roads, because of my job, that took me just south of The Narrows of Hamlin Lake. I'm going to pull out some maps first. Hamlin Lake "intrudes" itself on many of my adventures because it's so large. I've talked about it before and shown you this map. Yesterday I was directly west of point 10.

Hamlin Lake map

To be exact, at the red X for these pictures. The roads in this private area are one lane wide, and this spot is at a very small bridge across a creek that drains a marsh. It's marked "Cross at your own risk," but it's strong enough, just probably not up to public road standards.

Hamlin Lake map

Anyway, from that point you are directly across from the Hamlin Dunes. These are the dunes I swam to a couple of years ago. Lots of people take their boats there for a summer outing. They are a part of the State Park, but not very accessible from the land side.

A week ago, it was warmer, but the day wasn't as sunny. Here's the picture I took then. I like the monochrome feel of it.

Hamlin Lake dunes

And yesterday, it was really cold, but bright. Heck, I like the sunny shots too!

Hamlin Lake dunes

Finally, this was shot into the sun, looking down the lake to the south into the sun. But I like the results anyway. This is the big view.

Hamlin Lake

I also took some interesting detail pictures. Maybe you'll see them tomorrow. By the way, the sunset was gorgeous again tonight, right off my deck. But I wanted to show you these.

See Tour De Lacs for views from point 11
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It Has to Be the Sunset

My job took me to a very pretty area, for the second time, today, and I have some nice pictures to show you. But then I was in town at 5:30, and watching the sunset over Lake Michigan is a local passtime. Today's was awesome. There must have been 50 vehicles in the parking lot all doing what I was doing.

I took way too many pictures, but narrowed it down to a progression of six. It was 16 degrees and windy. Notice the chop over the breakwater.

They speak for themselves.







Maybe tomorrow I'll show you the other things I saw today.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Finding the Picnic Table

You need to understand that sometimes one finds things that weren't exactly being looked for!

I took a nice walk today. It was pretty cold, but the sky was blue and it wasn't muddy. Thought it was going to be my 3-mile road loop, but part way around, I felt the call of a tree line. Evergreens across a field. Always been there since I've lived here. Certainly private property. But a half mile across that space and I could cut back to my house off the road. Had to try it. The beginning was so ordinary and easy I didn't even take a picture.

But once I crossed a power line, well. Then I had to decide if I was serious about this project. Why not? Although I hoped to get home with dry feet since it was so cold.

autumn olive wasteland

After struggling through the autumn olive and honeysuckle for a bit I had to turn back east to skirt a wetland with a lot of water with only skim ice. I found some directions on a log, but couldn't read the script.

beetle galleries

Thanks to the frozen ground I managed to get across this wet meadow clearing without getting wet. The matted grass was frozen solid enough to hold my weight, and I carefully avoided holes between the hummocks.

wet meadow

The teeth on the edge of this mushroom looked ready to eat my ankle, but I avoided that hazard, too.

orange mushroom with toothy edge

Entered another clearing, and now I was home free because I could see the highway ahead. And there it was to my right. The picnic table. Not exactly where I'd expected one. Not exactly handy for using. I was reminded of a couple experiences on long hikes when we stumbled on a picnic table in the middle of nowhere. Not in a park, or a campsite, or anything indicated on a map. Generally, this prompts at least a rest and snack, if not lunch if the timing is anything close to right. But today I was not encumbered with a backpack, or in need of a munchie. I didn't even have one with me. So I felt no need to use it as intended.

picnic table in a thicket

It sort of looks like something that might have been in the area surrounding Sleeping Beauty's castle. Here's the best picture. There is beauty to be found anywhere, if you only look.

moss on picnic bench

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

String Too Short to Be Saved

Today is a shout out to my good blogging (and real life) buddy, Vanilla. His blog is String Too Short to Tie, and he often spins well-told tales from his rich family history.

Imagine my surprise when I had an hour to kill last week, not at home, and pulled from a bookshelf a small volume, entitled String Too Short to Be Saved, by Donald Hall. He returns home to a New England farm, and finds in the attic of a relative's house a box filled with tiny scraps of string. The lid was neatly labeled "string too short to be saved."

The book is a wonderful collection of essays of life in the early 20th Century on hardscrabble farms, and tales of the ofttimes strange, and always frugal people he remembers from his childhood.

I highly recommend this book.

I also HIGHLY recommend to Vanilla (David) that he collect his own tales into a volume. They are at least as good. Excellent reading, both.

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Saturday, December 27, 2014


All there is to say about today is that I slept long after work, woke up, ate, played my game, ate a little more, and now I'm going back to sleep.

I've reached level 49 and can now run electric trains as well as steam and diesel. Still having fun.


See TrainStation
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Friday, December 26, 2014

Riley's Christmas

Yes, I've come to terms with the little thief. She (I'm pretty sure) has mostly stopped chewing on the house, and she's so darned cute... A few antics pictured through dirty, triple-pane glass. Not good shots, but you'll get the idea.

red squirrel

Yes, I've named her Riley.

red squirrel

Yes, I gave her a Christmas present. She got a handful of walnuts delivered to the deck railing. Do you think she appreciated them?

red squirrel

See Robbery!
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day- Fun, Gifts, Blessings

We had to get a little creative to have a tree this year. But we have a small fake tree, and Om put it on top of a couple things and put a few decorations on.

Christmas tree

Then he made an "ice cave" at the foot of the mountain for his village. I like it! It's different from having it spread out on a flat space.

Christmas village

I got three really nice gifts! I usually don't bother with this, but these are really cool. First, I got a denim shirt to replace the one I have that is worn out. Totally. Blown out elbows and all. And the company now offers the Lehigh Valley logo (which they didn't before), so I get my favorite train line. I have to say that I love these shirts. They don't itch AT ALL. I wear it for a "sweater" most of the time. My first one was a gift from Irene (which was how I found out about them). This replacement one is from Om.

denim shirt

And speaking of Irene, out of the blue, she sent me these genuine (not reproduction) Lehigh Valley coat buttons. Not sure if I'm going to display them or use them, but it's an awesome gift!

Lehigh Valley RR buttons

From Loretta we each received some small and fun items (and an Applebees gift card!), but my favorite is the Snoopy camp counselor ornament for my camping Christmas trees (which are taking the year off, and are likely to be appreciated more next year because of it).

Snoopy ornament

I've been having SO much fun playing the TrainStation game, I think that is my gift to myself. I spent $7 to get started with a good engine, but haven't spent another penny since, and don't feel the need to. The game is designed well enough that you can progress without needing to invest cash.

And for the blessings, it was my joy to be able to give a gift through World Vision again this year. I shopped in their Gift Catalog, and sent a sheep. OK, so it's a gimmick to get people to give. I don't care. I LIKE being able to say that I bought an animal, or invested in clean water, or something tangible.

boy with sheep

Hope you had a lovely Christmas too!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve- Two Styles

I went to two Christmas Eve services tonight. First was at our church, Radiant Church, with more modern worship style.

modern worship

Then I went over to the Methodist Church because I wanted to hear their handbell choir. They have a new director, and not that they were bad before, but they are exceptional now!

handbell choir

Just to continue the theme begun earlier this month, here is the nativity at Radiant Church. (the screen behind it for our support of the homeless shelter is a little odd!)


And ditto the Methodists. Might as well take advantage of my church hopping to share the variety!


And now... may the Christ of Christmas bring you peace with the morning.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Critters at Indian Pete Bayou

Have to post this quick. I forgot I won't be home later!

Driving past Indian Pete Bayou on Hamlin Lake today...

Indian Pete Bayou

Thought I'd get a picture, but I got better than that. Enjoy the critters. Mallards, a black squirrel and two crows enjoying the ice to get to open water for a quick drink.


black squirrel



Gotta go! I work tonight and have a meeting first.

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