Entries to Win Afghan

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mostly Muted Tones, and a Boo

How about some more pictures from yesterday? They are better than any I might have taken today.

As fall winds down, the colors become muted, sometimes dull, but I also think they can be rich. I love how this shed just melds with the landscape. Not so sure the dish on the top left corner fits the setting, though.

weathered shed

And right across the way was a line of oaks echoing all the colors of the shed, and the rusted signpost.

oaks in autumn

The eastern end of Hawley Road is curvy and tree-lined. Does it look spooky or beckoning?

road with dark trees

One more spot of bright color!

autumn tree

And I ended up at the Arts Barn again because it's also on the Quilt Barn Trail. I went out to take some more pictures of the cut-leaf blackberry. The wind was making this ghostly creature look particularly spooky. So I'll say Boo! That's the extent of my Halloween participation.

Halloween decoration

Accountability Report:
Wrote Chapter 54 of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist. With work and handbell practice, that is enough.

See Trees Along Hawley Road
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Monday, October 30, 2017

Late Fall Driveabout

I got to do one of my favorite things today... go out for a rural drive. It actually had a purpose. I decided to combine the Mason County Quilt Block Trail with quiet outdoor recreation and write my newspaper column about a way to see the blocks and get some exercise all in one day.

Here are some of my favorite pictures. Maybe more tomorrow.

This is the tunnel of trees on Conrad Road, pretty much around the corner from me. I've taken you there before (but I can't find the post, so no link).

Conrad Road tunnel of trees

Heading south, I thought I had discovered a great place to get a picture of The Three Sisters. But after comparing photos, I'm not sure that's what these are. I don't know what else they could be unless there are also three hills on the east side of Bass Lake. Maybe this angle is just different from the flat-on views.

Three Sisters

There are 11 Quilt Barns in Mason County. I won't show you all of them (today anyway). This one is mounted lower than most, and you drive in to see it. It's at the Jam Farm, so it's a business, not a private driveway. The Jam Lady has developed quite a local reputation. This block is called Michigan Beauty. It's a variation of the Arrowhead Star.

Michigan Beauty Quilt Barn

I'm giving you the long view of this barn on the Quilt Trail. The house is very old, and I liked the looks of the whole place. It's also interesting that the quilt block is The Windmill, and they have a wind turbine! (It looks like it's right between the house and the barn, but they are very large- it's really well past the barn)

farm with Windmill quilt block

Then I swung to the other side of the county, crossing the Pere Marquette River at Walhalla Road.

Walhalla Bridge

Even though the general color never developed in the trees this year, there are occasional spots of brilliance. This is on Dewey Road.

Dewey Road fall color

It rained off and on all day, but I went out and did this anyway, because my column is due! At the very end of the day we got a reminder that it really is LATE fall, soon to become winter. Hail!


What do you think of Quilt Trails? Interesting or hokey?

Accountability Report:
I edited Chapter 53 of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist, started Chapter 54 and did some research so I don't mess up. Not much writing, though. Not good.
I really spent all day working on the newspaper column. Good thing I'm not counting on that for real income. I spent most of what I earn just on the gas.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Arts Barn Impressions

I spent the afternoon getting in some hours at the Shagway Arts Barn. Each artist is supposed to volunteer a certain amount of time. It was a very quiet afternoon. I made one sale.

Part of that was because it was pretty cold, and I don't think a lot of people were out and about. It was also the last day the Barn was open for this season.

I spent most of the time writing or jogging around the building to try to keep warm.

Apparently just being around so much art makes me feel artsy. Here are some impressions taken today.

barn detail

leaf print

autumn maple tree

barn detail

barn detail

cut stump

barn detail

Over the summer, I sold 11 books and seven craft items there. I just don't seem to be able to make things that people want to buy. I need to remember to focus on writing! Speaking of...

Accountability Report:
I wrote two chapters in Dead Mule Swamp Druggist today! I would like to tell you I'm two chapters closer to the finish. However, I had thought that what I wrote today would fill only one chapter, so I'm really no closer to the end. I'm putting off that total commitment one more day. We'll see how productive I can be tomorrow. Unfortunately, I can't write all day. I have some other things to do, too.

See Smilin' In the Rain
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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Deathtrap (Again)

It's not too often that I get to see a play more than once, produced by different groups. However, the fall play at the Ramsdell Theater in Manistee was Deathtrap. I saw this just two years ago at the Howmet in Whitehall, so I knew what to expect.

First of all, I really loved the set. It's very open and constantly reminds you that you are watching a play. That's totally in keeping with the play itself, which is a wonderful poke in the ribs to the theater and the life of a playwright.


Three of the five cast members were experienced actors, and they, of course, set the tone for the quality. The other two rose to their level, and therefore the acting was excellent.

Here, the man in the middle is famous playwright Sidney Bluhm. He's had past success writing thrillers, but is currently in a slump. His study walls are decorated with the many (handy) weapons used in his previous plays.

He has invited a young admirer (on the right) to his home for the evening. The younger man has written what is destined to be a smash hit of a play. Sid has plans to do away with Clifford and steal the script. Sid's wife (left) is alternately horrified by the idea and intrigued that it could solve their money problems.


Of course, it's dangerous to plot evil at any time, but especially foolhardy when there is a psychic living next door. She feels "great pain" in the room!


Murder is done, and Act I ends. But what about Act II? I won't give it away, but the lawyer and the psychic seem to be celebrating. Don't count on believing what you see, however!


The set, the props, the costumes, and the acting were superb. It was the first time the director had taken on that role, and I think she did a great job. My only "complaint" is that the timing dragged just a bit. That could have just been true of this one performance. I think the audience would have laughed more if it had been a little snappier.

This is a play that is both a dark thriller and hilarious. The plot is filled with murder, but you are continually reminded that it's only a story, which lightens the tone.

The Manistee Civic Players have done themselves proud once again. Every so often there is a production that is more typical of small town theater, but for the most part you can count on better than average experiences.

Accountability Report:
Have about 90% decided to go for a release date for Dead Mule Swamp Druggist around Christmas. I've got three good Beta readers lined up. I did a little editing and wrote about a hundred words. This is not enough. I have about one more day to make up my mind to push for this, because I have to really buckle down to make it happen. Stay tuned.

See Deathtrap
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Friday, October 27, 2017

It's a Wrap

Officially the end of work on the shell of the trailer for the season.

covered trailer

As you can see from the overall whiteness, I got close to having the surface really cleaned up. You can see remnants of glued on weatherstripping on the door edge. There are other places you can't see. There is fiberglass and filler work to do.

I got one window out and learned that the wood one side fastens to is in poor shape, so that will have to be replaced too.

camper trailer

Ester brought a huge used tarp that we used less than half of to double cover the trailer for the winter. I plan to fasten this down tighter very soon because we get serious wind on our hill. But she helped me get the tarp over it and do the parts that were hard to do alone.

covered trailer

I will be able to do some fabric stuff inside over the winter, but that's about all. More time to write, right?

Accountability report:
Are you kidding? With the 150th Year edition of the paper, I've been working extra hours there, and am too tired to think. Going back for the night in a couple of hours.

Index for Trailer Refurbish
So Much for This Goal
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

150 and 9

Today was the 150th Anniversary of the Ludington Daily News where I work. The paper outdid themselves with a 10-section supplement (in addition to the regular daily paper) with each section covering a span of years. Here are the top halves of the covers of the 10 sections.


The bottom half of each had a different picture for each of the time periods covered. Inside were both local and national news of significance from that era, lots of historic pictures and a timeline of local events. It was a huge undertaking for a paper this size, and I think they did an awesome job.


What this meant for us in the mailroom is lots of work. We had to assemble the 10 sections into 4 packets, because there were also 3 ads that had to go in the paper. Those packets were made up ahead of time. Here are half of them, in high rises, all set out ready to go in the papers today.


Here's the line, with people keeping the insert bins filled, and the person closest to the camera fixing floor copies (ones the machine spits out with errors). Perhaps these pictures don't do the best job of showing you how this works, but I was happy to have someone take any pictures at all.

assembling newspapers

Here's what I do at the end. I'm the "lead bundler." The papers were so thick that we put them through the stacker in sets of 10. (We usually do 50). You can count the 10 papers in the stack I'm getting ready to plop the ones in my hand on top of.

assembling newspapers

Today, I took two sets of 10 and turned them into a huge stack of 20 (larger than the 50 papers are normally) to send them to the strapper and out the window.

assembling newspapers

Trust me, 10s come out really, really fast. Ester describes what we do as getting paid for having a gym membership. I kind of like that concept.

Anyway, we had one huge stacker jam, and one broken belt in the inserter machine (both of which which stop the line cold for a significant amount of time), and a bunch of small jams and stacker dumps. The smaller stops were to be expected with this big an edition. All in all, it took a long time, but it wasn't nearly the hassle we expected.

That said, we postponed the run we usually do in the afternoon till tomorrow morning because we were so whipped. That means Friday/Friday night is going to be even tougher than usual. But we'll deal with it.

So that's the 150. Oddly enough, it's also my 9th Blogoversary on My Quality Day. How's that for an interesting coincidence?

Ester and I accomplished a big project after I got home, too. More on that tomorrow. She has to leave in the morning (sad face).

See 4th Blogoversary
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Friend Fun

Short visit this one, but we will maximize the fun as much as possible around work.


Went for a not-so-colorful tour of some back roads today. A few places have some nice trees, but this year really just isn't very good for autumn splendor.

We stopped at the South Branch of the Lincoln River, on a road that no longer goes through.

Lincoln River

Also snapped a shot of Lincoln Lake, where the river flows to.

Lincoln Lake

The actual destination? Food. Like a Hot Fudge Double Cherry Cherry Fritter Sundae at House of Flavors. We split one and brought half home anyway!


Jade's treats were less spectacular. They weren't even treats! Just dog food kibbles hand fed, but she was happy.


Accountability Report:
Worked all day.
Figured out another needed transition for Dead Mule Swamp Druggist but did no writing.

See North Branch Lincoln River
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