Entries to Win Afghan

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Monday, October 25, 2021

Scenes from Clue

  On Saturday I went to the production of the play, Clue, at West Shore Community College. Everyone did a phenomenal job! Let me say the the set was outstanding. Rolling scenery wagons allowed whole portions of the walls to rotate in order to "create" the additional rooms of the mansion. The play was adapted from the movie script, which was created by writing a farsical story based on the Parker Brothers game. The rooms are the ones you know from the game board. The play is totally hilarious. I haven't laughed so much in a long time.

Here, the butler welcomes Colonel Mustard to the house. scene from play Clue

Each of the guests- you know them- Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlett, Mrs. Peacock, and Mrs. White, receives his or her weapon as a mystery gift from Mr. Boddy. The wrench, the revolver, the lead pipe, the candlestick, the knife and the rope... but you knew that already. scene from play Clue

Soon, the cook is found dead in the kitchen, killed with the knife. You know how it goes... you have two of the three elements, but who did it? Actually, the dead cook almost manages to take out Mr. Green! scene from play Clue

Next, Mr. Boddy becomes a body. I included this picture so you could see the French maid, far left. scene from play Clue

The middle portion of the play is the hilarious pursuit of trying to determine who killed whom, and who else might turn up dead. Here, Col. Mustard and Miss Scarlett find the secret passageway from the Conservatory. scene from play Clue

All is revealed at the end (of course, right?) Mrs. White makes an accusation. scene from play Clue

All the main characters and several of the minor ones were outstanding. It was a high-energy production. I'd like to say the butler in particular was great, but so were Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Miss Scarlett, Col Mustard, Mr. Green and Prof. Plum. Each was just what they were supposed to be and played the roles to perfection.

In other news: I wrote two articles this morning. In the afternoon I worked on trailer stuff in the house (because the weather was kind of miserable), and hike food, and went to the store. I had a meeting this evening. Finally... I get to cross something off. 2 big things-the articles. So there are now 33 BIG ITEMS to do (29 done) and 25 small ones (11 done) to do. 36 days to go.

See Ossawald Crumb

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Dragon Trail Beginnings

  Nice hike today with Monica and her daughter Keira. friends

The last time I went to Hardy Dam was because the 46-mile "Dragon Trail" was in the planning stages. Now there are actually some miles completed. Dragon Trail sign

There are 14.6 miles, but they are not contiguous. So we did most of what is complete, and one little piece of that as an out-and-back. We did get a nice early start from my house, but it's over an hour away. Nevertheless it was still a lovely morning at the boat launch as we were getting ready to hike. HArdy Dam pond

The trail is designed for mountain bike and hiking use. That means there are lots more twists and turns and small hills than you'd usually find on a hiking trail. twisting mountain bike trail

Most of the day was cloudy, but occasionally the sun popped out giving some good autumn color. You can see the water most of the time from the trail. HArdy Dam pond

You know I love patterns. This was the best one on the water today. patterns in water

We started from a park called Big Bend and walked toward the dam. We knew we were getting close here, but actually had over a mile to go because the trail wandered around an arm of water. HArdy Dam

One more view with some nice color. HArdy Dam pond

And at the end we walked across the dam and back. This is the view downstream on the Muskegon River. Muskegon River south of HArdy Dam

We did 13.2 miles, and I can feel it, but I could easily have walked 2 or 3 more. This is really good. The weather was ideal. We think it was 39 degrees when we started, but most of the time it was high 40s or into the 50s. Lots and lots of cyclists. A moderate number of hikers.

Dragon Trail from Big Bend Park to Consumer's Beach Park and back to parking. 13.2 miles

There is no other news.

See Hardy Dam

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Fog, Sun, Clouds

  Today was about the weather...We started with thick fog. foggy scene

But the sun was working hard to deal with it. sun through fog

For just a little while, the sun succeeded. Best autumn view yet this year, and it's in my own backyard. sutumn trees in sun

The afternoon was alternately blue and cloudy, with some sprinkles. I like the layers of clouds from dark gray to white. clouds

I'm going to a play tonight, but I don't know if they'll allow pictures. We'll see. I'm ready for some theater!

In other news: I edited all morning and worked on the trailer all afternoon. Lots of progress, but no crossing anything off the list yet. Part of the problem is that some things I thought I had crossed off have come back with more work needed. Not trailer stuff, but other things. 35 BIG ITEMS to do (27 done) and 25 small ones (11 done) to do. 38 days to go.

See Ghostly

Friday, October 22, 2021

Puttin' In Some Miles

  Cathy and I got out early this morning and put in 8.5 miles before noon! We went to 8th St on the North Country Trail (first road north of US 10) and hiked north and back.

The colors may not really get very good this year. Just hints of yellow in the woods, but pretty, nevertheless. trail in woods

Nothing special, just a cinnamon fern, but it was contrasting nicely with the backdrop. autumn fern

This view actually looks pretty nice. This is a beaver flooded area that is off the trail north of Centerline Rd. beaver flooding through trees

We cheated and arranged some pretty leaves, but hey... they ARE pretty. Red maples, looking red (and yellow) red maple leaves

Best natural find of color was two Russula mushrooms not yet chewed up by slugs. russula mushrooms

My NCT miles for me in 2021 is 405 (wow! pretty cool), NCT miles for Cathy for Hike 100 Challenge is at 69.5

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI, 8th St to Mac Rd and back. 8.5 miles

In other news: Om and I had French toast for supper- yummy on a chilly day! I actually managed to work 3 hours on the trailer this afternoon. Thought I might be too tired, but I did OK- that is good news in terms of being in shape. Worked some on hike food. Still nothing to cross off. Three of the "items" are so interlinked, that I'll mostly get to cross them all off together at the end. Really bad news is that I added another BIG itema and 2 small ones. I still have 35 BIG ITEMS (27 done) and 25 small ones (11 done) to do. Sigh. 39 days to go.

See Back in the Groove

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Gifts for the Trailer Kitchen

  I've been buying some items to replace pieces of trailer kitchen gear that were definitely sub-standard. It's one thing to use them for a couple of weeks and another thing to use them for an entire year.

Earlier this summer, I was tempted too strongly by a new pattern of Corelle dishes- yellow and blue! The truth is that I don't like eating off plastic, and doing it for a whole year, coupled with the lovely blue and yellow... so two of each came home with me. Corelle dishes blue and yellow

Here's the array of recent purchases. portable kitchen gear

For one thing, I got an electric hotplate (top left). We'll be cooking inside a fair amount, and we'll almost always have electricity. I'll still take the propane camp stove, but this will be safer for inside.

Bottom- second from the left, and also under the pans, is a set of silicone hot pads. I needed more of these, and one definitely needs to be used under the hot plate.

Bottom right is two storage tubs. I guess these aren't technically kitchen. But Marie and I have found that it's nice to each have a bucket on the table to store small personal items. We have a tub that goes in the middle of the table, towards the wall, that holds trivets, condiments, napkins. Now there will be an official bin for each person.

Top right is two cheap salad bowls. When I want a dinner salad, or if we need to mix something, I didn't have any bowls large enough in the trailer. Dollar store to the rescue.

Now for the last items, which are all one item. The pans we'd been cooking on in the trailer were very cheap, thin and frankly, crappy ones. I do most of the cooking when Marie and I are together. I've gotten used to being really careful using the pans. But now, I'm going to ask someone else to do most of the cooking for the whole upcoming year. The pan situation seriously needed to be improved. But... it's a tiny trailer, right? I didn't want to take up too much space. If you count everything, there are three pans, three lids which can double as frying pans, and an interchangeable handle.

Look how they fit together. Nice, huh! nested cooking pots

Now, I THINK there is just one more item to buy, and that is a can opener that works well. The one we've been using is a piece of junk. The problem is that many brand new ones are equally as poor. I'd like to get a winner on the first try.

In other news: I edited almost all day. It rained too much to work on the trailer, except that I'll do a bit of painting inside the house tonight. I worked on trail food a little bit. And I did more errands. I crossed off one BIG ITEM. However, I must have miscounted somewhere, because I still have 34 BIG ITEMS (27 done) and 23 small ones (11 done) to do. Sigh. 40 days to go.

See New Hiking Gear

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Call of God

  Here we go with another philosophical post about my quickly approaching attempt to hike the whole North Country Trail. I warned you there would be more posts like this, and this is one of them.

Why am I doing this hike? As a person who puts a lot of mental and spiritual energy into doing what God wants me to do (although I don't talk much about this, it's central to who I am), I have to be honest and say that I don't feel any particular "call" to do this hike. OK, the trail is calling me, and I want to do it. But does God want me to do this specifically? No clue. Being honest here, we humans don't get too many knocks upside the head with God-directed two-by-fours. We ask questions, we pray, we sometimes decide that when "doors are closed" the meaning is that we aren't supposed to do something. Every once in a while God actually reveals some really specific direction to take.

But... no heavenly head smacks about this hike. No voices in the thunder or whispers in the wind. No direction from this bird in North Dakota in 2007 near the end of my last NCT Quest. hiker talking to a metal bird

But here's what I can tell you. "The call of God is portable." I stole that line from someone within the past month. The problem is that I didn't write down who said it, so I can't credit it. But it's a great line. You don't have to have a specific vocation, avocation, recreation, or spouse to do the will of God.

Micah 6:8 is often quoted-- and with good reason. "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Everything we require to know the will of God is right there. Justice = truth. Mercy = grace. We need to embrace, exhibit and celebrate both. And how should we conduct ourselves while being just and merciful? We aren't to get a big head about it all. The minute we start thinking we are just or merciful or humble... we probably aren't. And walking with God-- like right WITH God-- that's how we stay on track for all of the rest of it.

The song "Somebody Bigger than You and I" says "He lights the way when the road is long, and He'll keep you company. With love to guide you He walks beside you."

So, I'm taking this portable call of God on the trail- 4800 miles. I think that counts as "long." I'll be thinking a lot about walking with God and walking a lot to think about God.

Meanwhile, the sky cleared after some rain this afternoon for a brief October moment of beauty! blue sky with clouds

In other news: I worked on the trailer ALL DAY because it's the last nice day there will be for a while. (this included a trip to the store with Cathy's vehicle to return some sheets of product that won't work, and get something different that will) Sigh... didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, and I still don't get to cross anything off the list. 34 BIG ITEMS and 23 small ones to go. 41 days left.

See Choices

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

My Trailer Redo - Day 163 - Some Trim

  Before I can finish the insulation, I needed to cover the bare wood of the support braces I put in. There are products made to do this sort of thing nicely, but it's more expense than I want to deal with right now.

I had such good luck using duct tape to hold the vinyl together on the top and insides of the wheel wells, I decided to use that for the trim. white tape used as trim inside a trailer

There is no way these are going to look really great unless I spend a lot of time on them-- perhaps cover them with some kind of "fake beam." But that has issues of its own. Some of the places where I fiberglassed the braces to the roof are bumpy and rough. I didn't want to make the braces thinner, so I knew I'd have to deal with them showing on the interior later on, but figured I'd deal with it at that time. Now is the time.

I used 3M duct tape, and it really sticks. However, it was a total pain to cut. That actually might have been a real problem, except that I switched to using a razor blade instead of scissors. That worked great.

First, I covered the bumpy fiberglass joinings with an extra layer of tape to try to smooth them a bit. Then I laid a piece of tape on the curved face and let it hang out beyond the edge, and then made cuts in the loose part that could be bent up and stuck to the side of the brace. I did one of these on each side. white tape used as trim inside a trailer

Then I cut a length of tape the width of the brace and ran it over the face. It's not perfect, but it's not too bad. The insulation will be thick enough to cover the spread between the cuts on the sides. white tape used as trim inside a trailer

While I was at it, I also covered the edges of the support walls. I just carefully laid the tape against one edge, stuck it down and used the razor blade to make it fit the other edge.
white tape used as trim inside a trailer

I had to unscrew the support walls from the braces to lay the tape beside them. This is the last day it will be easy to do that. I'm also working on the kitchen area, and very soon it will be much more difficult to pull these walls out.

In other news: I edited in the morning, and worked on the trailer all afternoon. Also did a couple of errands and had bell choir practice. I crossed off 2 BIG ITEMS today! (but I added some small ones) 34 BIG ITEMS and 23 small ones to go. 42 days left.

See Upper Back Bin

Monday, October 18, 2021

The Twins Post Spots?

  My little orphan twin deer are still hanging around, I think. They have joined up with some other deer, but there is still a set of two, one a little smaller than the other, that come very close to the house. Of course it gets increasingly difficult to recognize individual deer after a while. Here they are in September. twin fawns

And here they are this week. I'm pretty sure it's the twins because they pay attention when I talk to them and don't get spooked. All the others lift their tails and prepare to leap away, but the larger of these two just looks at me, and the smaller one glances between me and the larger deer. Similar behavior every time. twin fawns

I was thinking about doing a philosophical post about the hike today, but Om and I went to a movie this evening, and now I'm just too tired to write something serious. Another day.

In other news: I edited in the morning, did laundry, made yogurt, and worked on the trailer all afternoon. Made good progress, but I don't get to cross off a single thing. Movie this evening. 36 BIG ITEMS and 21 small ones to go. 43 days left.

See Still Babies

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Bell Choir Day

  This morning was the October performance day for the handbell choir. People are starting to feel better about coming out to church, and the building was reasonably full, But we recorded during the advance practice. And apparently I didn't have my camera battery pack seated in the charger correctly because I did swap the battery this morning, but when I set up to record it said the battery was dead. Hmmm. Anyway, someone used their phone to get the recordings, so the songs got to be saved.

For the prelude, we did He Leadeth Me.

It's always nice when the bells play with another instrument or a soloist. Here, Paul Garland sings Softly and Tenderly. This is a lesser-known melody for this hymn. I like this because it helps you pay attention to the words when you get overly familiar with a particular tune.

In other news: I worked all afternoon on the trailer and crossed off and added one small item on my list. 36 BIG ITEMS and 21 small ones to go. 44 days left.

See Bell Choir May

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Back in the Groove on the NCT

  Cathy and I walked 8.5 miles this morning. Need to build up my endurance again! I was in pretty good condition this spring, and need to be up there again by Dec 1.

We walked north on the NCT from Timber Creek at US 10- just the closest section to me. Not the most scenic, but not ugly. It just doesn't have any water features or really interesting spots. And it's SO familiar to me. But today was about the miles, not about the scenery. North Country Trail

Found a lot of little Stalked Puffball. Some were still fresh, but most had opened the little hole on the top to release the spores.
stalked puffball

It was delightful for hiking. The air was crisp- low 50s, and the sky even tried to clear. blue sky through trees

Most interesting find of the day was this mushroom being overtaken by... something. mushroom covered in slime

At first I thought it was a slime mold. I could convince myself that the white blob here was part of the plasmodium- the phase where it's like an amoeba, and it moves. It was very slimy and shiny. mushroom covered in slime

And I really thought it was when I saw these little columns on another edge. mushroom covered in slime

But I've blown the pictures up really big at home (I really need one of those video microscopes that I tried out last winter. I'll just have to wait till I can get a better quality one that will actually work.) And now I am quite sure that it's not a slime mold, but only another fungus. See the shiny "spikes". No slime mold grows that way. They are so small they only look like hairs to the naked eye. hairs of a fungus

The sunset was specatcular! red sunset

In other news: Between the beautiful morning and the beautiful sunset was a cold and drizzly afternoon. I did manage to work on the trailer. I've started reworking the kitchen end. I crossed one big item off my list. 36 BIG ITEMS and 21 small ones to go. 45 days left.

Cathy's Hike 100 is at 61 miles.

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI, US 10 north to FR 6419 and back. 8.5 miles

See Ludington SP Loop
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