Entries to Win Afghan

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Apres L'Autumne

Is there a name for the season after autumn but before it's really winter? If so, yesterday fits the category. I worked all day and didn't have time to blog before leaving for the night job, so you'll get yesterday's pictures today. That's fine. Today, it rained all day and I vegged out and did reports.

There's something about Lake Michigan that says "winter" already. Maybe it's the snow fence (to slow blowing sand more than snow), the layered gray skies and gray water.

Lake Michigan

The air wasn't too cold. I was out in just a sweater, so the critters were active. The chipmunks were busily stashing acorns underneath someone's cabin. Look at this one's tail. It's very gray for a chipmunk.


The Badger carferry is docked for the winter, with the Spartan, her sister, behind.

Lake Michigan Carferry

I saw countless squirrels, but only one held still for a picture. Lots of them were black, but this one is a gray squirrel that is actually gray.

gray squirrel

A group of mallards was swimming on Hamlin Lake. They were making a strange motion, but I didn't manage to catch any pictures of it. While swimming, one would suddenly stretch out its neck and raise it's bill upward and forward, as if it were plucking something out of the sky. Do ducks eat flying insects like that? I've never known them to, but I suppose it's possible. Lots of them were doing it, not just one oddball.

mallard ducks

Finally, perhaps my favorite picture of the day. So lonely, so much depth, so post-autumnal.


Apres l'autumne.

See a chipmunk with a more usual tail
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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two-and-a-Half Plus

This silly yard project was a ridiculous thing to start... except... it's practically free (I did buy a new tool for only $16), it's great exercise, and it's as good as racquetball for working off frustration and aggression. Well, space three is huge. More than twice the size of either 1 or 2. So, I bring you 2 1/2.

yard work

I thought the weed whacker wouldn't whack very well if the grass was wet. (say that three times fast). But I was wrong. It worked fine, and I finished this space (I certainly didn't do all this today). Here's what happened. I was going to do all these jobs tomorrow, and do cases today. But it was pouring when I left the paper job, so I came home. But then the rain stopped. That meant I needed to do these things today and cases tomorrow.

I'm working on my autumn list. One item was to get the kayak up off the ground. And that space had to be whacked too.

kayak on rack

Next was the biggest job I did, but the pictures don't do it justice because the extent of the dead limbs are all tangled in the grass. This autumn olive tree (grrr) had died and fallen beside the driveway. We kept backing into the stupid small branches. I cut the whole thing out and dragged the branches to the other side.

yard work

You can see the huge pile of them behind the tree if you compare the two.

yard work

And, I shook the one tree that has decent apples this year, until no more would come down. But this will take a while to deal with anyway.


YOU kept me motivated to go back out after taking a breather between work sessions, so I could bring you a good report. Thank you!

And, I did it all before sunset (well, duh, it's hard to work outside in the dark). Actually, if I'd had the camera with me when I was getting the last bucket of apples the sky was an amazing clear pink. But that scene will have to just remain in memory.


Tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day, and now, I'll be out doing cases, so I may be able to bring home pretty pictures for you.

See Area Two and a Bonus
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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Patty's Party

There's one thing for sure about working at the paper. We DO know how to do a party. Today was Patty's Birthday. She's lovin' her spider theme.

Patty and spider

We just clear a work table and load it up with good stuff- chili, cheesy potatoes, veggies, and a major emphasis on dessert.


How about a spider cake?

spider cake

The kitty litter cake was great!

kitty litter

I look a relish tray full of spiders.

spider relishes

Here's lookin' at you!

spider relishes

Patty loved the Halloween theme.

I have to say that even though the job itself isn't anything wonderful, the people I work with make it definitely decent. What fun!

And now, due to the fact that I didn't sleep much at all last night, and got up at six to make spiders, and have to be at work at eight in the morning.... I bid you all good night.

See October Birthday at Work
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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Rural Splendor

Long day... out doing cases, then handbells, then writing group. All good, but I'm ready for bed. I LOVE country life. You can call it quaint, trite, hick, hillbilly, naive, whatever you want. I won't care and I'll still love it.


Big Bass Lake

See Pink, Blue (and Red)
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Monday, October 26, 2015

Locked Down

It was another beautiful autumn day. I keep thinking they must be over, and they just keep showing up. Rain Wednesday though... they say 100% chance. That seems pretty solid.

But today, I walked in to the post office. Here's the welcome to my town.

Scottville sign

Going home, I walked along the tracks. Many places, railroads are taking advantage of unused or dead sidings to rent storage space to other lines for extra rail cars. It looks like that is what's happening here. This siding goes nowhere any more. It was completely overgrown with brush and small trees, but was cleared a couple of years ago. Occasionally, there are cars stored there. See that orange spot on the far left rail?

railroad siding

But this is new. In fact, I've never seen this before. Must be some sort of strange world we now live in where one has to put a lock on a rail so someone won't steal an entire rail car.

Scottville sign

See New Owner, New Paint Scheme
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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hymn Sing

The absolutely best part of today was on old-fashioned Hymn Sing at the Methodist church. Yes, it was a bunch of old people. We are the ones who know and love the hymns.

I have to say, for anyone who thinks people don't sing enthusiastically at church any more, or that people are reluctant to give testimonies... they haven't seen a group like the one tonight.

There was never a lull waiting for someone to call out the number of another favorite song to sing. More than a few people just stood up and told stories of how much a particular song meant to them (no pulling teeth to ask people to share... in fact, they were not asked at all, they just couldn't be still).

I'll bet a lot of you know some of the choices, "The Old Rugged Cross," "The Church in the Valley by the Wildwood," "It is Well with My Soul," "Victory in Jesus," and many more. We sang for an hour. There was only one song I didn't know, and I'm going to learn it. It was beautiful. (I'd tell you the name, but I don't remember. I can find it again, though.)

We closed with this one.

hymnbook page
There was more than one person with damp eyes as we sang songs we really love. Many of us made our deepest spiritual commitments with the words of these hymns as backdrops.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Oh No! It's a List


face in tree

OK, those of you who are totally uninterested in those lists of goals people make can laugh at the face and stop right now.

Otherwise, if you are brave or curious or sadistic (you'd like to watch yet another listmaker crash and burn) or whatever... read on.

Let me first say that my life for the past while has been sort of on hold. We have some stuff going on that makes it difficult for me to plan ahead. Result... nothing is really happening on where I'd like to be in a few years.

A while back, when blog networks were going gung ho, there were quite a few people making lists of 100 things in 100 days, or whatever. I liked a few of those. Some people were really earnest about it and working hard to make things happen. This isn't the same as a bucket list. Those are big things you want to do before you croak, to mix a metaphor and put the frog in the pail.

So, I started making a list. Just a list that would begin to get my life back on the track I want to be on. I was thinking 100 things in 300 days. Allowing for me to be chronically late, I figured that would be good for a year. However. Soon I realized that I was starting to put too many huge goals on the list. So I took a few of them off. Now, I've been working on this for more than a week, and still don't have 100. So be it. Here's most of my 54 in 300 list. I'm choosing to not share a few of the personal ones. I'll probably keep you updated on intermediate steps as we go along.

My overall goal is to get some discipline back in my life and move closer to being a (nearly) full-time writer. When I was writing North Country Cache, I had a daily schedule that worked well, and I'm hoping to revive that, as much as I can with the other two jobs.

These are not in any sort of priority order, at all.

54 in 300
1WRITINGbegin working on North Country Quest again
2WRITINGedit Kiss of the Butterfly, submit for publication
3WRITING100 NC History pages
4WRITINGblog about 8 wild foods
5WRITINGfinish Dead Mule Swamp Druggist
6WRITINGdo 10 book promotion things
7WRITINGwriting schedule day 50 times
8WRITING5 entries in Off the Sanctuary Wall
9WRITINGpursue a contract I can't name yet
10WRITINGtalk to 5 bookstores about carrying mysteries
11HOUSEfix kitchen drawer
12HOUSEcut down 5 autumn olive trees
13HOUSEclean refrigerator twice
14HOUSEreplace kitchen faucet
15HOUSEget lawnmower fixed
16HOUSEclean terrace
17HOUSEkitchen light electric box
18HOUSEreplace faucet by washing machine
19HOUSEput away model railroad stuff
20HOUSEspend 10 hours sorting books
21FITNESSincrease to 30 pushups
22FITNESSincrease to 100 jumping jacks
23FITNESSincrease to 2 min planking
24FITNESSwalk, bike, ski or snowshoe 200 times
25HIKINGNCT Hike 100 Challenge for 2016
26HIKINGvisit 5 new MI counties to explore trails
27HIKINGhike 100 more miles of the Buckeye Trail
28HIKINGclear my trail better
29PERSONALSavings Goal
30PERSONALFinancial Goal #2
31PERSONALlose 10 pounds
32PERSONALplay music 50 times
33PERSONALother #1
34PERSONALother #2
35MISCmake 21 quarts juice
36MISCtry 10 new wild foods
37MISCsome genealogy stuff
38MISC100 more pix on Shark Shots
39MISC2 photo cards documented
40MISCgive 10 gifts from my kitchen
41MISCeat at Brenda's Burgers
42MISCeat at Country Critters
43MISCtake my trailer on 2 trips
44MISCfinish monkey booties
45MISCget two programs NCT and Kitchen Sink
46MISCget rid of 100 things
47MISCread or listen to 100 books
48MISCmove NCC from Josh's garage
49MISCshort bios of 5 relatives
50MISCsort my fabric
51MISCdo something inside my trailer
52MISCadd 50 things to family heritage list
53MISCsome VCR tapes to DVD
54MISCsome cassette tapes to CD
Wish me luck; I'll need it. But, if you aim for nothing you are sure to hit it.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Feeling Energized - DMS Druggist

I didnt' have any new pix to post today, and was thinking about what to share. Meanwhile, I was making some notes about my mystery in progress, Dead Mule Swamp Druggist.

I had sort of a kind of an idea for the cover, but nothing had really gelled yet. Then, I recalled a picture I took earlier this week. I'm not sure it's just the right one yet, but I began to play around.

Yup, I think I've got the general idea of how this one is going to work. I always get energized about the writing when I have a cover. Isn't that weird?

Anyway... this is A MOCK UP. Not a final product. This is to give me further ideas. I may try to get some other photos while it's yet autumn. The book is set in Sept/Oct.

Dead Mule Swamp Druggist

Anyway, work is on the agenda all night tonight. Have to write Chapter 19 of the book this weekend. Trying to get the chapters plotted out to make the story work. That's what started this flurry of brain activity.

It's all good.

See Anastasia Raven Mysteries in Paperback
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Area Two, and a Bonus

Today was an absolutely perfect fall day. They don't get any better than this. Perfect temperature, crisp yet warmish air, blue sky, sun, light breeze.

I wasn't going to do autumn pictures again today. Started walking out from the house. Went back for the camera. I simply couldn't not picture the trees by the cemetery. Here's the long view. These are the bonus.

autumn colors

Everything was glowing with the sun shining through.

autumn colors

autumn colors

Even the milkweed was beautiful. The breeze picked up some of the seeds each time it passed. They looked like fireflies!

milkweed fluff

Oh, area two? I got another section of the lawn hacked down. So far so good. Supposed to rain Saturday, but I should be able to get some more done. This section had long, soft grass that didn't whack well. So it's really rough. Even so, it will make the mowing easier next year. I really have to get the mower going in the spring. Can't let it go two years in a row or it won't be worth doing ever again.

yard work

See My Kingdom Today
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I Love My Backyard

Took a little walk out back today. I really love "my kingdom." The large orange tree has been featured before, several times, including Robert Tackles the Mystery Tree. It's still a mystery, but always beautiful.

autumn color

I always feel fortunate to have such layers of colors just a short walk from my door.

autumn color

Some single trees really stand out.

autumn color

And the railroad tracks offer their own beauty at dusk.

autumn color

And just for a giggle, one little flower decided to bloom among the grass.

single aster blossom

See (Not an) Ash- Left and Right Brain
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