Entries to Win Afghan

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Black and Shining

It's hard not to think of spring when the temperature is in the 50s. I thought I was going to get an interesting picture of a bird, but it's only a crow. However, the tree does have swelling buds already. That's probably not good, this early.

crow in aspen tree with swelling buds

He was hanging around the fenced wetland, which is breaking free of its ice, and shining in the sunlight. It's awfully tempting to think warm thoughts.

small wetland with shining water

In other news: Work was long, but that was good. We haven't had many hours since Christmas. Then I spent time trying to sort out the insurance stuff from Joshua's accident in November. Such a hassle! Grocery shopping after that, and I seem to be done. Had hopes of more accomplishments, but I've mostly sat around and read a book.

See Patterns in the Fenced Wetland
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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

One Fine Day

Today was mighty fine on so many levels! The sore throat is (almost) gone. The car is fixed, and for only $46! It doesn't get much better than that, and my insurance covers the tow.

I got three pieces of paperwork in the mail that had to go out by the end of February- a day early! I rode my bicycle to the post office to mail them. That may be the earliest for the first bike ride of the year since we moved to Michigan (a year short of half a century ago)

I wrote two chapters in The ABZ Affair, which leaves only two or three to go.

I did laundry and dried the clothes outside- in February! The temperature rose to over 50 degrees, and the sun shone.

The car was fixed just in time to get to handbell practice (the director is back from vacation), and then tonight was writers' group.

There was time between the two meetings to scoot down to the beach. I thought I was going to miss the sunset, but the timing was just perfect, so I get to bring you a treat. Sunsets over Lake Michigan are pretty special. In fact, west Michigan is called "the sunset side."

This is perhaps my favorite. I took several with benches in them, but in this one the light is reflecting from the seat.

sunset over Lake Michigan with bench

Then, I backed off to give the wider view. The lighthouse is just a tiny speck about a quarter of the way in from the left. What ended up being striking about this shot is the curl of the sand fencing, and then the bars of sand, fencing, shore, water, clouds.

sunset over Lake Michigan with sand fencing

I tried to catch a picture with the waves coming in, but they weren't very high tonight. This was the best.

sunset over Lake Michigan with lines of waves

The color grew in intensity until the last little molten spot of sun extinguished in the water.

sunset over Lake Michigan

Wish all days could be so productive! I know life doesn't work like that, but I can always dream, right?

See It Has to Be the Sunset
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Monday, February 26, 2018

Taking it Easy

The car and I are both a bit under the weather. Car has a broken shift linkage. I have a sore throat. Car gone to car hospital. Me to early bed. See you tomorrow.

car being loaded onto a flatbed tow truck

I did get a couple extra hours of work today, then dealt with the car and walked home. Did a little paperwork. That is all.

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Frost Flowers

Not to be confused with frostweed, these ephemeral beauties appeared on my windshield the other morning. I know they weren't from today, but I wanted to share them.

frost flowers on a windshield

The outside word of the day was wind. It blew strong and cold all night long. I thought today the new front (warmer) would be here and it would stop. The sun was shining, but that cold wind continued to blow all day and it was rather miserable out, despite looking so cheerful.

In other news: I wrote two chapters in The ABZ Affair. My goal was three, but I also had to write my monthly newspaper column. My brain seems to sort of self-destruct after about 3000 words, most days, so I don't think another chapter will happen yet tonight.

See Frostweed
See Frosty
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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Memory- Points to Hold

Yesterday, you saw some of the changes happening across the road from me. Today, I learned that a favorite tree of mine has been cut down. Yeah, it was geriatric and probably dangerous, but I liked it. A few days ago I shared an aerial view of our previous house here, which is now gone. The dorm I lived in for my college years is gone. The first two houses Omer and I lived in are gone- one demolished and one burned (neither of those when we were still living there).

I know that nothing in this world lasts, or even really matters. And yet, I feel a strong connection with the house I grew up in, the one my grandfather built. If something happens to it, I'm going to feel a true sense of loss, even though the barn is gone, the property is sold several times over, and my dad's garden is now a workshop and swimming pool.

Pulled this off Google Street View, so I'm pretty certain that unless something serious has happened quite recently, the house is still there.

Craftsman bungalow house

Here's the house when I lived in it (picture about 1962).

Craftsman bungalow house

Still amazingly like- the wood shingled porch has been kept and the white paint. I have to wonder how the inside has been changed though. I've heard some things about the beautiful woodwork, so I have no interest in being granted an interior tour.

The maple that creates a shadow on the left side of the roof in the older picture is gone, but the catalpa, just leafing out in the old picture- left of the house, is now completely dominating that side. I did a lot of jumping out of that tree, and stringing of tarp tents between it and the missing maple.

Some of my favorite trees from that era are also gone. They might be a tale for another day. Today, I'll just show you the Google view farther north of the house.

The line of trees and bushes are along the unnamed and seasonal creek. You can see the culvert going under the road. From the road on downstream for probably fifty feet was (is?) a stone sluiceway in which I used to play. Below that was a small almost-pond. I actually could swim in it in the spring- well, I could get wet and splash a lot. Below that was where I went fishing in my new rubber boots. The tree with a reddish cast is the hybrid cherry where my swing and treehouse were.

line of trees beside a creek

There are some places where I desire change and crave new experiences. I think my houses is not one of those. Although much of my childhood was not particularly happy, I love that house. Odd, eh? Thanks for taking this journey with me.

In other news: wrote chapter 13 in The ABZ Affair.

See Sunshine Bungalove
See the fishing picture
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Friday, February 23, 2018

Moving On

As I came home from work today I was chasing the back end of the storm front that has hovered over us for the past several days. It's moving on. It's really too early to let myself think Spring, but it sure felt like it this afternoon.

back end of a storm front above fast food restaurants

When I got home, the next step in whatever is going on across the road was in progress. I took this picture on January 28. They bulldozed the entire lot just across and east of us.

bulldozed trees and shrubs in a field

Today, they were burning it all. I have no idea what's going in over there, but whatever it is, I don't like it already. I was hopeful the strip mall "progress" along this road wouldn't quite reach us until after I was dead, but I think my timing is off by a couple of decades. Bummer. I feel like moving on. Need to get that trailer done!

burning bulldozed trees and shrubs in a field

In other news: The prayer of the day was "let me be gracious, not grumpy." My success in putting that into action was partial. Work, oil change, wrote Chapter 12 in The ABZ Affair. Back to work in a couple of hours.

See Storm
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Thursday, February 22, 2018


I'm tired- so you get to play one of those number games with me again. It's the twenty-second day of the second month in the second millennium (oops third!), but the numbers start with 2. Ha!

So, I pulled the second SD card holder, took the card from the second slot, opened the second file, and here is the second picture. It's even in focus!

These are two really great guys! On the left is Ed Chappel who is receiving the North Country Trail Association's Trail Maintainer of the Year Award in 2009. He wasn't able to attend the conference, so Ed Morse, on the right, delivered it.

These two men are responsible for an awful lot of good North Country Trail miles. Thanks guys!

Ed Chappel receiving Trail Maintainer of the Year award from Ed Morse North Country Trail Association 2009

Trail Maintainer of the Year award  North Country Trail Association 2009

In other news: work, interview for my monthly column, errands, crash.

See Ed Chappel Boardwalk
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Pink Detail- What Else? A Flamingo

This is old news, over 5 years old, but I never showed you this. And it's now part of a collection, so it has to be revealed.

When we went to Art Prize in 2012, the "Heavy Metal Rock Band" entry... can you spot them?

Art Prize 2012 Heavy Metal Rock Band by Fred Conlon

... had two flamingos!

Art Prize 2012 Heavy Metal Rock Band by Fred Conlon flamingo

Since the "collection" began in August 2012, with the nesting flamingo, this isn't even a prequel... I just never got around to sharing it.

And, just for fun, look at all the little heavy metal groupies!

Art Prize 2012 Heavy Metal Rock Band by Fred Conlon

In other news: I'm tired. Not much happened except for some odds and ends of paperwork.

See The Nesting Flamingo
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Old House and More

Look what I stumbled across on line today. It costs a ton of money to get actual prints of these without the watermark. Too bad, but it's better to let the past go sometimes.

This is our same property, but in 1979. We moved into this house in Dec 1971.

old house aerial view

Now our house is up behind the white pines at 1.

2 is the shed attached to the barn we had to pull down. See It's Down

All that's left of the old house is at 3, outlined in yellow. See Last Project Day

Notice the road. It was just two lanes then. Now it's five with full paved shoulders beyond that.

old house aerial view

I loved that house, but things change.

In other news: I got home from my walk just before this happened! I call that good timing. I understand there is some real flooding happening near us, but there are some advantages to living on top of a hill.

rain on window

And this happened in the kitchen. I haven't made this cherry cheesecake in a LOT of years... because it's SO good I easily eat way too much. Recipe from my mother!

cherry cheesecake

And I accomplished my writing goal for the day, chapters 8-10 in The ABZ Affair! Tomorrow it's back to work at the paper.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Orange Details, Wet Ending

Today has been all about writing, but after finishing Chapter 6 in The ABZ Affair, I just had to get some exercise, so I went out for a different 3-mile walk. the sky was spitting a little bit, but real rain wasn't supposed to start till later.

The color of the day is orange (although I snuck in one picture from yesterday).

Orange lichen:

orange lichen on  maple bark

Here's the one from yesterday. I suspect the orange tree tips are some kind of willow, but not positive.

orange willow tree tips against evergreens

These are a willow, perhaps the same kind. I did increase the contrast a bit, but they are really orange and you know I like my colors bright, even garish.

orange willow tree branches in February

But, it was raining steadily although softly by the time I got home, and I was quite wet, although refreshed. For those of you who like softer tones, try raindrops on white birch branches.

raindrops on white birch branches

Supposed to rain for several days now.

In other news: I'm really pulling out all the stops on writing The ABZ Affair. I have so much to do with illustrations and formatting for all three books, I'd like to get the texts really finished and polished before the end of February. Today I finished chapter 5 (had to do a LOT of research on 1953 prices), and wrote 6 (researched earlier) and 7. They may need some content editing, but at least there is something solid to work with. No work at the paper for me again tomorrow (no Tuesday work this year- not good for the wallet), but I'm hoping I can write three more chapters. We'll see.

See Brown Details, Brilliant Ending
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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Brown Details, Brilliant Ending

Went for my regular road loop walk today and set out to find some interesting details. See if these fill the bill.

First up is teasel. It's an intriguing plant in any season, and up close does not disappoint.

teasel seed pod in winter

The prickly stems are quite unique as well.

teasel stems with spines in winter

Queen Anne's Lace is another common plant that retains a lot of interest year round.

Queen Anne's lace seed heads in winter

I thought that was it, but the day provided another brilliant sunset, and I'm sure not going to turn down one of those.

Michigan sunset February 18,2018

In other news: I wrote Chapter 4 in The ABZ Affair, and hope to finish Chapter 5 before bed. I finished beta reading a book for a friend, and did a little (very little) cleaning.

See Teasel in the Light
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