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Monday, February 29, 2016

Moss, But It's Green, and Two Month Reports


One more picture to share from my Bowman Lake adventure. I love how GREEN the moss is.


And now... drum roll... I know you've all been waiting to see how poorly I did on THE LIST.

It seemed like there were too many interesting things happening at the end of January to break them up with a goal report, so now you get two months lumped together. I'm not overly proud of this, but I did a few things.

54 in 300, report on day 128
NumberCategoryItemJan & FebTotal
1WRITINGbegin working on North Country Quest againworked more on Chapter 1- "Meanders and Undulations"still about 5 chapters done
2WRITINGedit Kiss of the Butterfly, submit for publicationnothingnothing
3WRITING100 NC History pagesnothingjust the planning in Nov
4WRITINGblog about 8 wild foodsnonenone
5WRITINGfinish Dead Mule Swamp Druggistchapters 23-268 chapters added
6WRITINGdo 10 book promotion things2 sold books at Your Story on Stage, and Authorpalooza in Big Rapids6
7WRITINGwriting schedule day 50 times0 (this doesn't mean I didn't write, but this refers to a particular disciplined schedule, and I didn't do any)9
8WRITING5 entries in Off the Sanctuary Wallnonenone
9WRITINGpursue a contract I can't name yetfollow up contactno results
10WRITINGtalk to 5 bookstores about carrying mysteriesnonenone
11HOUSEfix kitchen drawerDONEDONE
12HOUSEcut down 5 autumn olive treesnonenone
13HOUSEclean refrigerator twice11, and had to wash out spilled mulberry syrup in the freezer
14HOUSEreplace kitchen faucetnothingnothing
15HOUSEget lawnmower fixednothingnothing
16HOUSEclean terracenothingnothing
17HOUSEkitchen light electric boxnothingnothing
18HOUSEreplace faucet by washing machinenothingnothing
19HOUSEput away model railroad stuffnonenone
20HOUSEspend 10 hours sorting books12
21FITNESSincrease to 30 pushups23increase of 2 since December
22FITNESSincrease to 100 jumping jacks70increase of 5 since December
23FITNESSincrease to 2 min planking70 secno increase
24FITNESSwalk, bike, ski or snowshoe 200 times2949, better
25HIKINGNCT Hike 100 Challenge for 20169total of 9 miles on two SPW hikes
26HIKINGvisit 5 new MI counties to explore trailsnonenone
27HIKINGhike 100 more miles of the Buckeye Trailnonenext spring
28HIKINGclear my trail better0total of 13 days, wrong season now
29PERSONALSavings Goaladded some75% to goal
30PERSONALFinancial Goal #2nothingnothing
31PERSONALlose 10 pounds0I'm back to where I was when I started this which means I lost 1 from Dec
32PERSONALplay music 50 times814
33PERSONALother #1 (200 times)2734, better
34PERSONALother #201, not on track
35MISCmake 21 quarts juice07 total
36MISCtry 10 new wild foodsnonenone
37MISCsome genealogy stuffnothingnothing
38MISC100 more pix on Shark Shotsnonenone
39MISC2 photo cards documentednothingnothing, but backing up important stuff on line
40MISCgive 10 gifts from my kitchen13
41MISCeat at Brenda's Burgerswith EsterDONE
42MISCeat at Country Crittersnothingbut I'd better, because it's for sale
43MISCtake my trailer on 2 tripsnonenone
44MISCfinish monkey booties1one pair done, one to go
45MISCget two programs NCT and Kitchen Sinktentative contactsprobably one for April 2017
46MISCget rid of 100 things18
47MISCread or listen to 100 books25
Best one in Jan was The Wrong Man by James Neff, a reporter who looks into the Sam Shepherd murder case and convincingly points to the true killer of Shepherd's wife.
Best on in Feb was The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson, a narrative of the great cholera epidemic of London in 1854
48MISCmove NCC from Josh's garagenothingnothing
49MISCshort bios of 5 relativesnonenone
50MISCsort my fabricnothingnothing
51MISCdo something inside my trailernothingnothing
52MISCadd 50 things to family heritage listnonenone
53MISCsome VCR tapes to DVDnonenone
54MISCsome cassette tapes to CDnonenone

See December Report
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Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Closer Look- Three Lichen

While I was hiking yesterday, I got some macro pictures of different lichens. You might remember I bragged a while ago that I now had books, and was going to try to start identifying some of them. Ha! One needs a couple of kinds of testing chemicals, and a lot more observation time than I have previously devoted to the lowly lichen.

But, I'll tentatively identify these... at least into general groups. In all three cases, one has to look closely. A casual glance at the scruffy green stuff on a log isn't going to tell you enough to get beyond "lichen."

At first pass, this looks like quite a collection of various things: moss, possibly two lichens, a pine needle, a dried bit of grass. But, I think the lichen is all one kind, possibly candlestick lichen, Cladonia coniocraea. The gray-green flabby parts are called squamules, and the stalks are podetia.

candlestick lichen

Next is common antler lichen, Pseudevernia consocians, I think. The fun thing about this picture is the little cups at the ends of some of the stalks. Those are apothecia, where the spores are produced.

antler lichen

I like this picture. Very much unsure of the identification. I'm pretty sure it's not Pixie Cups, because the cups are narrow and irregular. I've showed you pixie cups before. There are several lichens with this general form. At this point my best guess is narrow crown lichen, Cladonia rei.

narrow crowned lichen

If I'm really going to do this, I need to be taking tons of pictures, so I can start with the kindergarten skill of same or different. Seriously... I have to be able to tell which little "trumpets" might just be dirty or damaged pixies, or which might be the golf tees, or the wacky deformed ones, or which are just dirty and which have soredia.... And that's just the Cladonia.

Found out there are at least three kinds of reindeer lichen. So, I need to get more specific on that. Wow.

Nice warm day today. Took my road walk early because the sky seemed to be graying. Good timing. It started to rain just after I got home!

See A Pixie Hiding in My Grass
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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Late Winter Hike Around Bowman Lake

One of my favorite local hikes is anywhere around Bowman Lake, a small glacial kettle hole. My expectations for scenery were low because this is an icky-looking time of year. But this place even manages to look great on one of these gray and brown days.

Bowman Lake

The first thing I noticed as I began to walk closer was the interactive vertical lines of tree, reflection and cattail.

Bowman Lake

Then, my eye was drawn to the opposite bank with its little hill.

Bowman Lake

Even the angled shadows on the snow reflected so there is a chevron pattern imposed on the verticals.

Bowman Lake

First I walked around the lake. Here's just a general view from the back side.

Bowman Lake

I hiked for an hour and got a REALLY good workout. The snow wasn't deep enough to call the walking "postholing," but it was soft and mushy, and anyone watching would have thought I was drunk. Each step ended up at a different angle.

Here's my favorite picture of the day. Even though it's similar to one above, in this one the tree lines are so straight, and with the melting spots at their bases, it looks as if they are pins threaded through buttonholes to stitch the shoreline to the water.

Bowman Lake

Did I have a good time? What do you think?

smiley face

After I walked around the lake I followed an old woods road for a while, and took some interesting close-up shots. Maybe tomorrow you'll see those.

See Snowshoe Outing with SPW
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Living in a Private Development


nest tree
Unlike the ordinary housing featured at What's Hatching, just down the road, this is the high class neighborhood.

nest tree

No riff-raff allowed!

nest tree

The infrastructure is even slightly better, a boxelder instead of autumn olive. However, if the occupants paid for the really top contractor, they got cheated. Although the boxelder is a member of the maple family, it's pretty much the low end of the quality ladder.

I'm off to work in just a few minutes.

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mail Room Jewelry

You can probably guess that I'm not a big jewelry fan. But I always get to wear some on recycling days at work.

strapping necklace

So fashionable, don't you think? Can I start a new fad?

See Mail Room
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Meet James

Tonight I got to meet James, who is thru-hiking the North Country Trail. Oh yeah, and that right after he hiked the Appalachian Trail, and made a detour to see the Atlantic Ocean (on foot), and walked from Maine to New Hampshire and down the Long Trail to get to the NCT because it would have been boring to backtrack on the AT. You get the drift. He's a hiker.

James Lunning

I picked him up at the end of his trail day and took him to his aunt's house. Then I got to pick his brain so I can write about him for my newspaper column. He was gracious to let me do that before he even got to eat dinner.

Wish we could have talked longer, and I could have hiked with him, but I had to get home because I work again tomorrow. Hope to meet up with him some time in the future.

See four NCT End-to-Enders
See Luke Jordan, E2Eer
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Moon and More

Long day. Waaaaay too much shopping, including a shiny new phone. That might sound like a positive thing, but it's just a bunch of new stuff to figure out and I don't find it all that fascinating to struggle to use a piece of technology that I don't even like. Anyway.

The best thing about today was getting another chapter done in Dead Mule Swamp Druggist. I blogged about that at Joan of Shark

But I haven't had a chance to show you the ring around the moon from Saturday night. The rainbow appearance doesn't show well in the photo, but the colors were very clear in reality. It's called a halo and is created when there are ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.

ring around the moon

Tonight, Jupiter is happily frolicking with the moon.

moon and Jupiter

See Sunrise Bedtime
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Monday, February 22, 2016

What's Hatching?

Not eggs, in February. (Although the great blue herons should be starting their nest repairs really soon).

empty nest

Not springtime just yet, either. No, I don't think those dead leaves are going to hatch.

However, I devoted my walk time to hatching the rest of the plot for Dead Mule Swamp Druggist. Actually, I only needed the middle. I know how the book is going to turn out--whodunnit. I just needed to connect the dots for how Anastasia Raven is going to figure it out.

Walking is my cure for everything, and it did not disappoint. I came home with this picture and the intermediate plot pieces, and have a rough outline of all the rest of the chapters in the book.

What kind of a nest is it? Don't really know. Probably some kind of sparrow. It's in a horrid autumn olive tree. I keep putting off getting the field guide to nests. So, I fixed that after I got home. It should be here in just a few days.

For sure it's not the eagle nest. One of the eagles was flying over just as I returned home and I caught it in the lens this time.


See Birds' Nests and Soup
See Parents of the Amazing Baby for an eagle nest
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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Handbell Sunday- February

Finally got the issue with my conversion software straightened out, so I can once again edit videos taken on my camera. So... I bring you our handbell choir pieces from this morning. I really like both of them.

I grabbed a guy I didn't even know and asked him to record the songs. Maybe next time I'll remember to take my tripod, and then I can set it up and push the button before we go to the front.

First is Rondeau by Henry Purcell. We did this one for the prelude.

The special music was The Potter's Hand by Darlene Zschech, with a vocal ensemble. This piece is fairly hard, and we were really pleased that it finally came together. When we were able to practice with the vocalists it helped us all because it was easier to follow the tricky timing.

I've got bells ringing in my head! And I'm really pleased to be part of a group that can generate quality music, which I am not so good at on my own.

See Handbells- A Different Perspective
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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Authorpalooza Again

Today I traveled to Big Rapids to participate in another of their occasional Authorpalooza events. As I've said before, these are very well organized. I know, because I've been to quite a few that weren't. This time, there were 40 authors, and probably hundreds of books for sale.


I only sold a couple of books, but I'm developing a good network of contacts with other authors. Here are two that are like old friends now. Joe Roper writes youth fantasy, and Judith Wade (Lori Hudson) writes fiction for both young readers and adults.


One of the most fun things about the day was the presence of all these classic literary characters courtesy of the theatre fraternity of Ferris State University! How many can you identify?


General shots of events like this just look messy, but here's one anyway.


It was well worth my time for several reasons. I made friends with a person who's big on marketing, and had conversations about two potential programs. Also, picked up publicity for two other similar events in Michigan later in the year. My big problem with those, apart from the gas money, is that I'd have to take Friday night off work as well. That's a lot of lost income, since one can seldom make enough money through sales to actually pay for the trips. It's about publicity, really. To expand my reach would be great, but I can't really afford it. It's a dilemma. This one is only an hour away from home, so that's pretty do-able.

Fun day, but my limited sleep last night (this morning) may have caught up with me. Good night!

See Authorpalooza
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Good News Can Sometimes Be Had for Cash

Today's quality item is that my car had some repairs. Although the total costs added up to more than I would have liked, the really good news is that there is no real damage. I wasn't sure that was going to be true.

Subaru Forester

On Wednesday a sudden oil leak appeared, creating much concern on my part. The dipstick showed DRY, so I added two quarts of oil, whereupon it decided to indicate that it was overfilled. Yikes. And what the heck?

Anyway, it now has a new oil pressure switch (the culprit), two worn belts are replaced, and the oil has been changed.

Huge sigh of relief. Tomorrow is the big Authorpalooza event in Big Rapids. I should have pictures and a good report to bring.

See Acadia to Argent
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

In and Out and Up and Down


Just another mouse tunnel/track in the snow, but I think this one is a lot of fun.

mouse tracks in snow

In some places, the mouse was on the surface and created a trough. In other places, it must have been just below the surface because it humped the snow up into a ridge like the way a mole makes a ridge of dirt

mouse tracks in snow

It always makes me smile when the critter goes diving. I just get this mental image of the mouse suddenly realizing he's been out on top of the world, exposed. Sort of like if we went walking on the outer edge of the atmosphere. Oops! Time to go below.

mouse tracks in snow

See The Subnivean Layer Revealed
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