Entries to Win Afghan

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Begin and End with Food

Loretta had tickets to the President's Dinner at Taylor University, which was the defining reason we took this trip when and where we did. There were 700 diners in the dining commons. It was set up beautifully.


The purpose of the dinner was to thank people who donated to a scholarship fund for international students (I was just a guest). So recipients of the scholarships were also seated at the tables. This is Kyala from Kenya talking with Loretta.

international student

We also had David from Afghanistan. He was very outgoing. Both guys have already lived in many places around the world.

international student

This was easily one of the best meals I've ever had for a large group. There was a tomato and basil salad, shrimp cocktail, mixed cauliflower (white, green, purple), roasted carrots, yellow peppers stuffed with a rice-corn-red bean mixture, chicken, and prime rib. Everything was cooked perfectly. The veggies were real (not from a can) and cooked perfectly. That's a real feat for that many people. Dessert was little cakes- raspberry or chocolate. Yummy and not overwhelming.

We ate brunch at Cracker Barrel on Sunday, and dinner at a restaurant in Bluffton called Milli's. We each had a "special," and they were huge.

Monday we had a light breakfast at a new place in Upland called The Bridge. That left us one eating slot before leaving and going our separate ways. We'd been trying all weekend to find room in our stomachs for a "must-do" experience.

Ivanhoes Drive In

Ivanhoe's has been operating in Upland for 50 years. They boast 100 flavors of shakes and 100 flavors of sundaes. They were there when we were students! So we decided on ice cream for lunch. We ordered regular sundaes. Makes sense, right? They were HUGE! We should have split one. Nothing like fixing yourself with a sugar high for the rest of the day.

international student

I ate enough food over the weekend to last a week. Too bad I continue to get hungry at mealtimes.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


The weekend was just WOW! Worked today. Trying to stay awake to put something on the blog.

First I went to Ester's. Forgot to take a picture of her, but I got one of the trailer in her driveway.

Companion trailer

Next day it was on to Upland, Indiana. Trailer is now a sandwich between two Subarus. It pulls quite easily, and I'm getting comfortable having it back there following me around.

Companion trailer

Guess, who also has a Forester now. Loretta!


We had a great weekend. She gave me the best birthday I've had in a very long time, which included this fun little birdhouse. I don't think it will be going outside, though.


It's similar to the one I saw a couple of years ago at Trail(er) Dreamin'

I'm just too tired to do better tonight. I'll show you more of the things we did over the next few days.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015


Yesterday I drove through some serious mud pits. Remember the ad where the car shakes like a dog? Yes, it was almost that bad. So I paid for a car wash. Took some cool pictures going through. No memory card in the camera. You'll have to settle for just the clean product.

clean car

And, I'm trying to get the curtains done in the trailer. I know, nothing else is blue and yellow in there, but it's the direction I'm going with it.

trailer curtains

Think I'll be ready to leave in the morning?

See The Interior Tour
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Somebody's Idea of a Joke

This was somebody's idea of an April joke. 34 degrees and white stuff. But even Riley didn't think it was funny.

red squirrel

You don't believe me? Look at her face.

red squirrel

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Well, the weather certainly wasn't contributing much quality today. After the warmth of Sunday, 39 degrees and wet snow seemed pretty miserable, even a trifle unfair.

So how about another picture from 73 degrees and sunny? Here's a cormorant on Hodenpyl Dam Pond, complete with sparkles from the sunshine. Maybe we'll get back there again instead of going directly to the next winter.


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Monday, April 20, 2015


Two of my favorite people. Two days on my favorite trail. What more could I want? (To leave everything behind and just go on hiking with them.)


Sunday was gorgeous. About 70 degrees and sunny. We hiked the beautiful section of North Country Trail from Mesick to Hodenpyl Dam. This has got to be one of the prettiest 8 miles of trail in the Lower Peninsula. The Grand Traverse Hikers chapter created these new miles just a few years ago, and I am still in awe of their great work.

North Country Trail hike

You can see that everyone was still smiling when we got to Hodenpyl Dam. About 8 miles. We went out to dinner and then settled in at the Fletcher Primitive Campground.

North Country Trail hike

This was Dan and Ruth's first day out of this year's adventure. They will be hiking until September, with just a few days off to go to a wedding in July. I feel so honored that they like me to hike with them, but they insist they feel that way about me. We all go at about the same pace which makes it work out well.

Today was a different story. The sunshine was liquid. We began at Harvey Bridge on the Manistee River. The trail doesn't actually cross the bridge, but the parking is on the other side. This a a road bridge that is seriously one lane, but still open to vehicles. Dan & Ruth make their way across.

Harvey Bridge

Most of the hike today was along the Manistee River, above the Hodenpyl Dam Pond, which it feeds. This is another beautiful piece of trail, and although everything was gray today, it was still beautiful in its own way. And we were still smiling. We all have a bad infection of the hiking bug!

Manistee River

The Manistee is lazy and full of horseshoe bends.

Manistee River

And just before we returned to Mesick, the trail follows a section of very old Tuscola and Saginaw Bay rail road bed.

Tuscarora and Saginaw Bay Railroad

We did 10.4 miles, and were done at 2:30 in the afternoon. Great timing, because just after we finished, while I was driving home, the sky let loose with serious rain! I hope Dan and Ruth were snug in their van/camper by then!

Tomorrow it's back to work. I'm not really complaining, but I sure would love to keep hiking instead.

See another Hodenpyl Dam Pond hike
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Everything's Coming Up_____________

Yesterday I was a complete zombie. Couldn't even concentrate on playing my game. So today, I got up early to be ready to go on a mini-adventure (not the one with the trailer).

See, I even have a sunrise as proof.


Meanwhile, those small bright things that hold still are popping up everywhere!

Everything's coming up...daffodils


and... snowdrops


and... glory-of-the-snow


and... primroses


and... crocuses!


None of them in my yard, but that's ok. I can enjoy them wherever they grow.

I am meeting Dan and Ruth right after lunch and hiking with them today and tomorrow as they resume their quest to section-hike the North Country Trail. (They are hiking not too far from here.)

I won't even try to post anything tonight, so I'll see you tomorrow. Hopefully with some interesting pictures.

See Rock Garden Remnants
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Friday, April 17, 2015

It's Almost Always about the Little Things

Today started a bit gray, but progressed to warm and clear. I got some minor work done on my car, and thought I was going to take a 3-mile walk while that was being done. But the work stretched to two hours, and the walk stretched to 4.5 miles. So... I just barely made it on time to the place where I could get my little trailer weighed, so I can get it a Michigan license. Talk about a fast refresher course in hooking it up! But I got 'er dun!

But that's not what this blog post is about. I'll show you trailer pictures, probably tomorrow. I'm working on curtains.

What seemed important today is that it's not "sometimes the little things," but rather the little things are simply huge. They can make or break whole time periods, projects, whatever.

My little goodies that made the day for me:

First violets of the year.


First picture of a 13-lined ground squirrel. I'd love to show you a picture of one doing something besides standing upright in the grass. But if they know you are watching, it's about all they do except move like greased lightning if they think you are approaching.

13-lined ground squirrel

And... the first glass of iced tea. It was hot enough that I wanted it. Of course, I could drink this all winter. But I don't. It just doesn't work for me until the weather gets hot. Then I like it strong with lots of ice.

iced tea

Cut my hair, ready for warm weather. Off to work in about an hour. Hopefully tomorrow won't be a total zombie Saturday, because I have lots to do.

See Look Who Woke Up
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Evening Wanderings of the Bag Lady

Good thing Chuck says he likes going on my walks with me (virtually speaking- he lives over 100 miles away), because I tend to look rather marginal. I leave the house pretty much ok, but almost always return with a bag full of bottles and cans.

bag lady

I did walk later than usual today. After work I did errands and came home and ate. The morning's gray and rain gave way to a nice mild evening, so I decided to take a different road loop that would get me the full five miles today. It's not a loop I usually walk, so I saw different things. I think I need to walk it more often because there are several interesting wetland areas.

However, the first novelty was a very wooly sheep who was quite curious about me. I think she needs shearing soon!


Sharing the same space with her were several good-looking chickens.


One of the things I love most about spring is watching the trees begin to color up before the leaves appear. Weeping willows turn yellow. This one looks great behind last year's corn stubble and contrasting with the pines.

willow tree

And here's another miniature world waiting to be explored. Are the islands inhabitable, or are they the dangerous places with the brown plains between the better spaces?


Best of all, passing one of the wetlands, I saw three ducks. Too far to see what kind, but sometimes if I can get a picture an ID is possible later on the computer. One of the ducks was by itself, and I caught a shot of it, and then they all took off with an amazing cacophony of squealings and squawkings. If I were a good birder, I would have known right then what they were. As it was, I only knew they weren't any of the ducks that quack! (And for language lovers, squeal, squawk and quack is an interesting collection of words, don't you think?)

Sure enough, as soon as I opened the picture, I realized I'd learned this duck before. This is a female wood duck. Sure wish I'd gotten a picture of the other two. But, even so, it's the best picture I've gotten of a female, and it's a good reason to walk that loop again. You can see the blue patch on her side and the rows of spots below that. And now I'll remember what they sound like!

wood duck

Getting in shape! Thanks for coming along.

See A Ducky Solution
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