Entries to Win Afghan

Sign up to receive the Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Comes out occasionally. No spam. No list swapping. Just email me! jhyshark@gmail.com Previous gifts include a short story, a poem, and coupons. Add your name, and don't miss out!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Yarrow and Friends

  Today was the final day of the Midwest Writer's Workshop. Even so, there were five sessions, and I took a quick mile walk between two of them. I just went down to the corner to take a look at the patch of yarrow that seems to hang on to some of its magenta DNA, never quite (at least not yet) getting back to the white of its wild ancestors.

It was growing with Queen Anne's Lace and Chickory, but I couldn't seem to frame one picture with all three colors (white, blue, magenta). Here it is with the Queen Anne's Lace.
yarrow and queen anne's lace

And an even less satisfactory picture with the Chickory. There are so many stems of the English Plantain gone to seed that they really get in the way. yarrow and chickory

So the artistic half of my brain remains unfulfilled. The side that wants to know everything reminded me that I recently read you can make tea from the yarrow leaves. Here's what they look like. They are rough and ferny. I brought home a handful, and they are now drying. I'll let you know what I think of the tea. yarrow leaves

The conference has been great. It was for all writers, not just mystery writers. But almost all the sessions had information I could use. I need more time to process it all.

And it's always great to meet new authors and network. I realized that one of the faculty was an author I met a couple of months ago in the Pages Promtion event, and then promptly forgot her name. That won't happen again. We are side by side in this Zoom window, so I took a screenshot. This is Angela Jackson-Brown, an author and professor at Ball State University. I've ordered her most recent book through the library, When Stars Rained Down, and can't wait to read it. two people in a zoom meeting

In other news: I'm trying to keep to my writing schedule and am about half done with chapter 54 in Dead Mule Swamp Singer. Chapter 53 was one of the really short ones, so it almost doesn't count. I'll try to finish that before bed.

I also reviewed my shelved children's book project, Moose in Boots, in light of the workshop on picture books. It's not a bad thing to let something like that sit for a while. It's not as wonderful as I thought when I wrote it. Needs some serious editing. But I'm starting to think about it again.

See Revert

Friday, July 30, 2021

Rescued by Cathy

  There were seven sessions of the conference today! SEVEN! Five down and two yet ahead. But Cathy caught me in the only time slot between meetings that was two hours long, and we hoofed it for a fast 3.25 mile road walk. It revived me wonderfully! I'm loving the conference, but it's way over my limit of sitting time.

Meanwhile, I have some pattern pictures to share. Things that look like something else. I'll let you guess what they are. I love this one. pattern

And this one- the picture wasn't as interesting as what my eye saw, but oh well. pattern

I have to post quick to be done before the next session. The Midwest Writers' Workshop is ALL the other news, but the first session was a "working" one, and I got chapter 52 done in Dead Mule Swamp Singer.

See True Blue Gumby II

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Still Babies

  I hadn't seen the twins for quite a few days. I hoped that meant they might have joined up with some other deer. But they showed up in my yard again today. I got a picture with the two of them. The larger one is farther away so they don't look too different in size, but they are even more different than a week ago now. twin fawns

Here is the small one. She (I am assuming) is very thin, and her coat doesn't look too healthy. I don't think she's grown since last week. fawn

Here is the larger one. It (he?- not sure) is quite healthy and frisky. They don't mind me coming out on the deck and talking to them. fawn

In other news: This was day two of the Midwest Writer's Workshop. There have been four sessions already. I skipped one about creating comic books, but have two more this evening. I couldn't sleep last night, so the good news is that I wrote a chapter. The bad news is that I'm really tired already. But the sessions have been really great.

See How Are the Twins?

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Sunrise # 26758

  A spreadsheet can easily calculate that today was the 26758th sunrise I've had the potential to see. We know I haven't actually seen anywhere near that many. I'm trying to be increasingly grateful for each one I'm allowed. pink sunrise

I was sort of hoping the number would be more interesting. A prime number would have been awesome. But it is at least a number where no digit appears more than one time.

The day is all other news: I'm attending a virtual writers' conference- Midwest Writers' Workshop. Today is 4 Zoom meetings. That is about 3 over my daily limit, but I'm trying to be good and absorb the education. This is going to keep me nailed down for the next three days. I did some editing, and I did some analysis of my own writing based on things we learned today. I was pleasantly surprised to quantify that I've been doing some things right by instinct. Now I will know how to do them by design.

The sunrise three years ago, and off by one day, was surprisingly similar. Back to zooming for me.

See Color My World

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Even Seeing Water Makes Me Feel Cooler

  Cathy and I hiked familiar trails at the State Park today. The best thing about it was all the views of the water. The humidity was brutal, and seeing all the blue just made us feel cooler. I think it actually was cooler than at my house. Usually is. We walked out to Hamlin Lake. You've seen this view a lot of times now, but it's still refreshing. Hamlin Lake

We took a short break on a bench at Inspiration Point. An eagle soared right in front of us, but I couldn't get the camera aimed fast enough. Ditto with a blue heron. That would have been a neat picture because we were above it, but that one didn't happen either.

Here's Hamlin Lake just above the dam. This is full summer at Ludington State Park. Lots and lots of people out enjoying the water in so many ways-- motor boats, tubing, paddleboards, kayaks, fishing. I went out of my way to try to exclude them from the pictures. Hamlin Lake

And the dam. Hamlin Dam

Just below that the water becomes the Big Sable River again. Now we have green instead of blue. We saw some fairly big fish, but my pictures aren't worth showing you. The reflections were nice, though. We did not walk as far as Lake Michigan. Big Sable River

How hot and muggy was it? Even the deer were hunkered down, resting. Two bucks in velvet sharing a small valley. This one has four points. buck in velvet lying down

This one has eight! buck in velvet lying down

About a five mile hike. Hilly.

In other news: I edited all morning. I fussed with the trailer, still with no results except information gathering. Since I got home I've been writing. About half done with the next chapter.

Ludington State Park, MI. Piney Ridge Road to Hamlin Dam to footbridge over Big Sable River and back. 5 miles.

See Views of Hamlin Lake

Monday, July 26, 2021


  The humidity has been just about unbearable here for a couple of days. Perhaps we are going to get a little relief. We are having intermittant thunderstorms right now. Loved the clouds. Sorry about the wires, but I can't make them go away. storm clouds

A little rain. It's cooler for now. I have the deck door open and a fan trying to pull some of the cool air into the house. Feels delightful! rain on steps

In other news: I edited, I wrote a chapter. This is sounding like a broken record, but this is how I'm paying my bills, so it's a good day when I tell you these things. I did two loads of laundry. Then I did errands and grocery shopping and came home and gnashed my teeth because I hate shopping and all its lack of fulfillment SO much. I worked on the trailer, and I have nothing at all to show for it, but I may had figured out how to do what I need to do next. So there you have today.

And now it's raining again. VERY nice.

See Sterling Marsh North

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Who Writes the Music?

  On the hike Tuesday, I found a few Golden Spindle fungi. These are easily recognized, Clavulinopsis fusiformis, one of the coral fungi. golden spindles fungus

But, I can never see them without thinking of one version of the song "I Know Where I'm Going." I have a recording of that by the New Christy Minstrels. It's a traditional folk song and the words get massaged every time someone records it. However, I love that particular version, and I used it as the closing for the program I used to give about hiking the North Country Trail. I used that program until I had finished the trail, and then I made a new program.

Part of the chorus goes "Who writes the music in the quiet summer morning?" I used this picture of Golden Spindles, taken at Pictured Rocks in 1999 for that line of the song. The fungi, reaching to dance with the lycopodium, always sang to me. Do you find nature singing to you?
golden spindles fungus

By the way, the song ends "I'm going where you go, and you'll be there beside me. The lovelight in your eyes is all I need to guide me. Oo-oo-oo. I know where I'm going." Coupled with pictures of happy hikers, this song made a powerful conclusion to the program.

In other news: I edited, I wrote a chapter, I got the flat tire off the mower and loaded in the car so I can take it to be fixed. I went to town, and I figured something out on the trailer. A friend stopped by for a while. Sounds like a lot, but I still had time to do some reading for fun. Good day.

See Sterling Marsh Again

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Sterling Marsh North

  Cathy and I managed to get a little hike in before the sky opened and poured water on everything. We hiked just north of where Loren and I went on Thursday. It had also rained before we got there, and the colors are always lovely and vibrant when things are wet. trail

We hiked past the northern portion of Sterling Marsh. This section is also covered with water lilies. Sterling Marsh

But the most interesting thing is this beaver lodge. I don't remember a lodge being here before. I wonder if this means we are going to start having problems with trail flooding. I guess we'll have to wait and see how the beaver think things should be altered. With that clear strip of open water, it sure looks like an active lodge. beaver lodge

The Bee Balm, AKA Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa was in bloom. I thought I was going to get a picture with a little butterfly on the blossom, but it flew away. bee balm

I did get a nice picture of a male Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly. The females have black bodies instead of the bright metallic blue-green of the males. We also saw a beautiful black and green dragonfly, but no picture of that. Sorry. damselfly

Like so many of my recent hikes, this was double duty for some trail work. We added a few stickers, and put this strip on the post at the 76th St junction with the spur to the trailhead so you can clearly tell where to go when you approach it from the south. trail marker

We were safely on the way home before the rain hit. The humidity was 72%, so the shorter hike was just fine. I was soaked through with sweat even though we didn't get rained on.

In other news: After I got home I did some more volunteer stuff and then buckled down to finish Chapter 47 of Dead Mule Swamp Singer.

My NCT miles for 2021 is at 355, Cathy is at 52.5 for Hike 100.

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI. 76th St to Jenks TH and back. 3 miles total

See Sterling Marsh Again

Friday, July 23, 2021

The White and Red of Wintergreen

  Wintergreen is always perky and cheerful right through the winter because the leaves stay green, and you can often find the red berries too, but I don't like to share pictures of the same plants over and over. However, yesterday I found something a little different about the wintergreen to show you.

For starters, the delicate white flowers were in bloom. wintergreen

Can you believe I learned something new about this familiar plant? The roots are bright red- at least at this time of year. red wintergreen roots

And when they send up new shoots, those are red too. What fun! wintergreen shoots

In other news: I spent the morning doing more housecleaning. Why? Because someone returned home from a long trip. Things had gotten to be quite a mess. At least the presence of another person inspires or guilts me into cleaning up from time to time. Anyway... the house is more or less clean. Certainly more than it was a few days ago. Much less than most of you would think suitable.

I also edited, and then wrote for my own book. Currently at 46,600 words. Spent a little time in the trailer, but I have nothing to share about that yet. It rained all morning and then was very humid after that.

See What a Weather Treat

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Sterling Marsh Again

  Today, Loren and I hiked through Sterling Marsh on the NCT. The water is quite low, but it's always a beautiful walk. Sterling Marsh

Way out in the open water there is a covering of water lilies. The vertical stripes are mostly hard-stem bulrush. water lilies on a marsh

Here is one of the boardwalk sections. We didn't meet a single other person out there today. It was just us and the mosquitoes! boardwalk

A lot of the sedges are in fruit right now. This is one of my favorites, because it's so showy, Carex intumescens.
Carex intumescens

And this was a new one to me. Pretty sure it's Carex flava, sometimes called hedgehog grass. Carex flava

If you want a showy fungus, how about Stacked Hydnum? stacked hydnum

And if you prefer something delicate, here is Unicorn Pinkgill. unicorn pinkgill mushroom

We hiked about six miles. North Country Trail Miles for 2021 is at 352.

In other news: I am quite a bit poorer, but I have brand new, shiny, very good tires on my car. I went to the store and also did some more cleaning. I'd try to be a little more poetic or literary or something, but I'm tired.

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI. Jenks Road TH to 96th St and back. 6 miles total

See Trail Work- Easy Edition

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

How are the Twins?

  The twin fawns are still hanging around, and relying primarily on each other. One is clearly larger than the other. I don't know if that suggests the larger one is a little buck or not. They are surely growing slower than fawns that have a mama. But they seem to be doing OK.

This is the smaller one. whitetail fawn

They have almost no fear of me, unless I try to get closer than about 20 feet. They clearly own my yard. This is the larger one. I had to look closely, because it's usually the little one that comes closer to the house, but it was the other way around when I took these pictures. whitetail fawn

I've seen an adult doe with them twice, but she never stays. I wonder if they will herd up with others this fall by instinct, or if that is something a mother would have taught them. Right now, they clearly prefer their own company.

I also wonder if their too-early in life diet of pure grass has left them more than usually vulnerable/weakened. The smaller one often lies down in the yard. Ordinarily, deer spend a lot of time in the yard, but they are too wary to lie down so close to a human space.

They are totally adorable, but I'm pretty hard-hearted about deer-- we have WAY too many, and they eat everything in sight.

In other news: I edited, I wrote half a chapter and figured out how to deal with a big plot hole problem I discovered yesterday. I cleaned the kitchen and did a little yard work. Not too exciting.

See Sad Baby Stories?

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A Little Walk, A Little Work

  Cathy and I did a short walk on the North Country Trail today, but she also again helped me with some trail work. We hiked about 3 miles on the section that includes the Pere Marquette River. I never seem to get tired of this view. Pere Marquette River

We saw this nice patch of Indian Pipes, Monotropa uniflora. They are a parasitic plant (not a fungus) that has no chlorophyl. I guess I've most recently shown them to you after they have gone to seed. These are the flowers. I've seen quite a few this year, but most patches weren't this pretty.
Indian Pipe

The Northern Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedatum, grows thickly on the banks of the small creek with no name. It's not super rare, but it always seems like such a treat to me to find it. Northern Maidenhair Fern

The creek was flowing, although low. I like the patterns in the mud. pattern in mud

I liked the effect after I digitally played with it even more. pattern in mud

Cathy found a Minion rock! We hid it in a new place. rock painted like a minion

And we saw some little orange mushrooms. I haven't even tried to ID these. orange mushrooms

We spent almost as much time messing around with Carsonite posts as we did hiking. First we dug out one that was overkill since there is also a 4x4 marker post at that corner. Then we installed one brand new one at another road crossing. Finally, we dug out a damaged and badly marked one and then dug up the good one which was at that same road crossing, but in a hidden location, and moved it to where the other post had been. All stickers on these posts are now correct. Good accomplishment. If you care, this is where the NCT leaves South Branch Road, and you can now see this post. North Country Trail Carsonite post

In other news: I edited all morning. Since I got home, I've been working on getting the record-keeping up to date on all this work I've been doing with the posts. That has filled the whole day.

My NCT miles for 2021 is at 346, Cathy is at 49.5 for her Hike 100.

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI, S. Branch Road to 40th St and back. 3 miles total

See Berry Nice Hike