Entries to Win Afghan

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On the Edge

Just a small wonderland discovered on the edge of a sandy driveway.

moss and lichen

Some moss with the sporangia standing tall.

moss and lichen

And those cute little pixie cup lichen!

pixie cup lichen

See Pixie Hiding in My Grass
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Passed a small wetland today filled with greening hummocks. I just liked the way it looked. Interesting patterns and textures and contrasts.


How about a closer view?


This is not the same place as the "marshmallows," but it's the same kind of place.

See Marshmallows
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Two More Daffodils

Here are two more of the daffodil varieties I have blooming right now. What I need are similar wonderful summer flowers the deer won't eat.

First are 'Pistachio.' I paid real money for these. They were supposed to be green. They are sort of greeny-yellow. But the picture in the catalog was really lime green, and I got my money back. They've stayed true with that green cast so I can always tell which ones they are, but they never got any greener.

pistachio daffodils

These are from the farm where I grew up. Mom always said these were Grandma Leary's favorites, old-fashioned yellow double daffodils. I'm not a huge fan of the doubles, but I like that they are a connection from home. Most of the flowers that were brought here over the years from those gardens are long gone.

double daffodils

Right now we are having a thunderstorm with rain and some hail. Very spring-like. But the grass will grow! If I'm going to get the lawnmower fixed it had better be soon!

Today I dried clothes outside again. However, I nearly missed the chance. The weather report said 80% chance of rain all day, so I figured it was a no-go. But it kept getting nicer and nicer. When the sun came out after lunch, I quickly threw a load in the washer, and actually got them out and dry before 6 pm. Horray!

See Daffodils on Parade
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Sunday, April 24, 2016


Another trip around the sun for me. I think I'm getting dizzy from the increased speed each year.

In other news, I finally found proof that my (half) brother has died. I've been doing internet searches for an obit for several years with no luck. For some reason, one popped up today. He died in 2008. Hard to believe it never showed up before. I'm pretty sure it's the right person. Correct age, city, and middle initial. Sigh.

This is the last picture I have of him, taken the day of our dad's funeral in 1976. I did also see him in 1977 when he came to get some of the things that were left to him.

I'm on the left, my mom (not John's) in the middle, and John on the right.

John S. Leary

He was 22 years older than I am, so was grown with a starter family before I ever knew him. He was a Seabee, stationed at Pearl Harbor after the war was essentially over. Somewhere I have his patch. I really need to start finding things like that.

I always have called him Brother John. He phoned me, out of the blue about 15 years ago, which made me feel really special. And he sent Christmas cards. Until the year he didn't, which made me wonder. Hard to believe it was eight years ago that must have ended.

He was 6'4" tall, so when I was little he seemed immense. He would make a swing seat of his hands and swing me between his knees and then up high and down again. I loved it! Visits from him were very special.

He was a Massachusetts State Policeman for a number of years, and then went into private security.

Mom always said that Dad, John and I all walked exactly alike. I'll take that as a compliment!

I've also done some unsuccessful hunting over the years for my nephew, Ricky. I think I may have found him. Got a snail mail address, so I might drop him a note. Of course, I haven't seen him since we were children. It's shocking to learn that he's 68. Wink.

See National Sibling Day
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Daffodils on Parade

About all that's left of my flowers are daffodils, because the deer don't eat them. When I had some money to spend on gardening I was trying to get a lot of varieties. Here are some.

These are plain old yellow ones- not even sure where I got them. Not purchased, just traded and moved around. A staple of the daffy world.


Right near them are some interesting double ones. These were a gift and I don't know what they are called. Funky color, and not my favorite, but they are prolific bloomers, so I'll take them!


This is one of my favorites. It's Mount Hood. The trumpets start out pale yellow, but then the whole thing turns white. These were a gift from Marie.


I purchased these. They bloom sparsely, but I've divided and moved a few around so I seem to get a few that bloom every year. I found them under the variety name "Duke of Windsor," but I've seen lots of similar ones under other names. Also one of my favorites! The trumpet is very shallow, so the whole blossom looks rather flat.


These are Kaydee. Kind of mid-size. Tall for the rock garden but short for regular beds. Very dainty.


Finally, I bring you some that I covet. Saw these in someone else' yard!


See Jetfire
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Party for Me, This Time

Hey, the party at work this month was for me! I even got balloons.


We did Italian with stuffed shells, caprese salad, garlic bread, appetizer things, cannoli, (and cobbler and cupcakes)



This was the really funny part though. You've seen those "cake decoration gone wrong" posts on Facebook? This one's not a real blooper, but when Terrie called in the lettering, apparently the woman taking the messages isn't aware of the binomial system that's been in use for about 700 years. Terrie had to work to get her to spell the "Joan" part right, but apparently that was all the brain power available.


See Paco's Birthday
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016


More pictures from Monday. This bird is so handsome it ought to be more likable. But the cowbird is not a bird I'm fond of because of it's attitude of entitlement.


It can't be bothered raising its own babies, so it lays eggs in other birds' nests and then lets the other family care for the intruder. Occasionally, it will stick around to watch and if the large foster baby is expelled the cowbird will destroy the entire nest.


This behavior is call brood parasitism. One study showed over half the nests where the cowbird egg or chick was rejected were damaged by the cowbird parents. The resulting "Mafia hypothesis" (I kid you not) speculates that the host species has learned from this behavior to feel threatened into raising the cowbirds lest they lose their own chicks.

To be specific, this is the brown-headed cowbird, and this one is a male. Females are more drab.

See Colored Heads
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Duck, Duck, Grebe

Also yesterday, Ellen and I saw a lot of ducks on Bass Lake. Look at this one collection.


It was easy to pick out the common mergansers even from a distance. Mr. and Mrs.

common mergansers

How about those ones with the chestnut heads? Either canvasbacks or redheads. Seen zoomed in on the computer later it was easy to tell they were redheads because of the rounded head and stripe near the end of the bill.

redhead ducks

And we also saw several pied-billed grebes. They are the only grebes we have around here, really.


Today was nice enough but gray. Ellen and I sure picked the right day to play.

See Ducks of the Day
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Forgive Us our Trespasses

Today's adventure was interesting in light of yesterday's. Today I went trespassing on purpose. Ellen went with me and condoned the activity.

First of all, the important stuff. She gave me an early birthday party!


Then we went off to learn more "on the ground" info about the Three Sisters, which are directly across Bass Lake from her house.

Three Sisters

I'm going to write my monthly newspaper column about them. I still don't know much history or geology. Hoping to get that from the local historical society. Meanwhile, back to the ground. They are all privately owned, which is a big local political mess. Not going to get into THAT in the column. Here, I will say that it's a shame they were sold because they are rather unique.

In the picture above, which is looking west, you can see Bass Lake, and Lake Michigan is on the far side of the sisters. On the right (north) is Eagle Crest. The middle one is Baldy, and the south one is Camelback (or Scarface according to a man we talked to).

There is a smaller unnamed bump between Eagle Crest and Baldy. We managed to climb two of them and the bump. We even got permission for one of those treks. I think I'll leave the description right there. If you are going to trespass along the big lake it's best to do it before the summer people arrive at their expensive "cottages."

Trust me, maybe they don't look so big, but climbing straight up a sand dune is a really good workout.

This is the view of the Pentwater shoreline from atop... one of them.

Pentwater shoreline

Here is Baldy, looking up its Lake Michigan side face.

Three Sisters

We could see sketchy views of Bass Lake through the trees from all the tops. Pictures aren't any great shakes... just a little water through branches. But we knew what we were looking at.

With a little photo magic, we took a picture of ourselves.


We have both become very busy- me with work and Ellen with family and volunteer commitments. We don't find time for many adventures any more. Today was a LOT of fun.

See Joan and Ellen Climb Briar Hill
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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Back Side of the Pond, Backside of the Neighborhood

Today I figured out how to get around to the back side of the little pond on the bypass where I saw the northern shoveler. It was pretty easy to get there, but I couldn't see much. The angle was too low and there was a lot more brush than it looked like from the other side.


So I followed a deer trail of sorts around the back side. It was the kind of trail that a deer would like if it wanted to scratch a thousand ticks off its back. I got muddied and bloodied (neither too seriously).

deer trail

At the farthest corner I could finally see some open water, but of course, also the road and traffic and signs and all that stuff of civilization.


I did actually scare up the wood ducks, but didn't get any pictures of them. Maybe another time when I can sit and wait for them to settle.

The best wildlife was this rabbit- frozen in hopes I wouldn't see it.


I decided to cut around the edge of a field to head back to my house. In so doing, I passed three deer blinds, and the blue picnic table.

Well, one of those blinds must have had a motion sensor and video feed because before I was halfway across the field a truck came roaring down over the slight hill, and I got chewed out for being on private property. Ho hum, fine. I said I won't go back there again. I can't make myself feel very contrite for strolling across his narrow five acre patch a half-mile from my house.

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