Entries to Win Afghan

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Thursday, August 31, 2023

Rock Garden Report 7

I wanted to get this 100 percent weeded before I did a report. I didn't quite make it, but I probably will before I leave. I'm really close. Anyway, I'm doing the report today.

I got some logs from friend Miki, but I haven't had time to finish the far edge yet. Maybe in October.

Here's the view from the deck. You can see I've got it pretty clean. Just ignore the other parts for now! You probably can't even tell in this long shot.
rock garden

Now for some details. This is one of the sedums from Betsy. Sedum 'Thundercloud.'
sedum thundercloud

This is one small space that's beginning to look like it's supposed to. The hen and chicks is one I bought early in the season: super-cheap-on-sale-broken-pot. Sempervivum 'Ruby Heart.' I have to say that I don't get the ruby heart part. It hasn't even turned red in the sun, but that's OK. If it is hardy (it's supposed to be), I'll be happy.

The trailing thing is Sedum sarmentosum. It is great to fill in cracks and droop over rock edges. It has yellow flowers in June and turns golden in the fall. A little of it survived the reclaiming, and Betsy gave me a bit more. It grows fast too.
rock garden plants

Here's another Sempervivum. This one is 'Red Heart.' Whatever. I love the trailing babies. We'll also have to see what this looks like after the winter, but it seems to have settled in and looks happy.
sempervivum red heart

This is one I'm really, really happy about. I paid full price for this, and it was only a little tiny clump. This is one of the Sunsparkler Sedum hybrids. This is called 'Razzleberry.' The foliage is blue-purple, and as you can see the flowers are bright raspberry! I hope this spreads well.
sedum razzleberry

You might remember that a couple of days ago I said the variegated ajuga did not like the sun in the rock garden, but the bronze ajuga would tolerate it. Actually, it looks really good in the sun because the leaves get very dark. When it's planted in the shade the leaves green up more. In front of it you can see a wild violet. I let a lot of those stay in the rock garden because they are a good height and they fill in nicely for now.
bronze ajuga

I may have to fence the top of the rock garden next year. Somebody has been chewing on plants up there. I don't think they've killed anything, but a couple of the autumn sedums won't bloom this year. They must be really tasty. The bird netting is working really well on the front garden, and it doesn't look ugly. I may get some more of that in the spring.

One final plant. I let some wild Clammy Ground Cherry (a tomato relative) stay near the retaining wall. They are native, and what the heck- they are happy. They are really too tall, but for now, they provide some interest. You can see this also got chewed, but it also flowered and fruited!
clammy ground cherry

I spent almost all the day preparing for the Workshop I'm leading at the NCTA Celebration. I can tweak it on the road, but I need to make sure I have everything included that I need from home before I leave.

See Rock Garden Report 6

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Let There Be Light

Today was amazingly successful, but I had gotten things ready so that it could be. My computer went in for a newer, faster hard drive, so I organized the day to do things that did not need the computer.

One of those things was to mow the entire yard before I leave in a couple of days. I have done that much mowing in a single day before, but not very often. I usually spread it over two or three days.

I used to have some reflectors at the bottom of the driveway. But when we hooked up to city water last summer, they ran those down with trucks or machines or something. They were too bent up to fix. So... Omer has always said he couldn't see the end of the driveway even with the reflectors. But I was gone for a year, he hardly ever drives at night any more, and I hadn't had an occasion to do so, either, since I got home. Well! I did come home after dark last weekend, and I could not see the driveway AT ALL, and I have good night vision.

We now have some inexpensive solar lights lining the drive. Inexpensive is key. Things by the road get stolen or run over. I can't believe how often someone seems to drive over the lawn down there. Why? Anyway. Here they are after the mowing.
solar lights

And I waited until it was dark enough for them to turn on for this picture. Looks to me like it will help us find the driveway.
solar lights

I also got 7 boxes of stuff out of the house. OK, three of them were recylables, so they will be back. But it felt good anyway. Did other errands. Bought chocolate (the important item), post office, library, blah, blah. Now I'm working on an editing job.

Is the computer faster? Yes. Not blazing, but it's now tolerable. I was feeling seriously hampered in my ability to be productive.

Wonder if I'll be ready to leave when I want to.

See Mowed Yard

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Just Me

I was working on a long post for tonight, but got a phone call, blah, blah...

So you get a picture of just me. Bernie the hiker took this a couple of weeks ago when he was here, and I like it.

I worked hard all day on the workshop for the NCTA Celebration. And I have the car filled with stuff that's leaving here tomorrow. I'll be computer-less all day while mine gets a speed boost.

See The $1 Marigold

Monday, August 28, 2023

The $1 Marigold

In mid-June, after I finished the hike, I planted a dollar's worth of marigold seeds. I figured whatever I got would add a spot of color. Well, they did. It did. I got one, one spot of color!

The impatiens haven't recovered from being eaten a second time. That was probably asking a lot. Well, they were practically free, and the foliage looks better than weeds.

Here's one more gazania. They are doing pretty well.

The tiny coleus that was absolutely free because it was an accident in one of the other pots didn't get big, but neither did it get eaten.

I never did show you the plant I bought for the rock garden, but it wouldn't stand the sun. It's this vareigated ajuga. I really like the looks of it, and it's quite happy in the shade. The bronze one will tolerate the rock garden, but not this one!
variegated ajuga

And finally, I wanted to show you the flowers of one more hosta. I have no idea what variety this is, it was free long ago. Ordinary green leaves with narrow white edges.
green hosta with white edges

But it's another one with pretty flowers. The blooms in the above picture are past their prime. But when you look inside the blossom, they are neat.
hosta flower

As you can see, a lot of that bed did not get weeded for the second time. I may have time to do one more fall cleanup after I get home in October, but right now I'm focused on getting ready to head for New York.

More NCT work and some house cleaning today.

See How Are Those Annuals?

Sunday, August 27, 2023

55 Years

Today is our 55th wedding anniversary. We are keeping up a grand tradition of not celebrating on the date, and often of not even being together on the date. Why? We just always seem to have a ton of other things going on in August. Actually, that was true in 1968 as well. It's hard to imagine how we shoehorned a wedding into that summer. My mother thought we were out of our minds, and she was probably right.

Our one and only big anniversary celebration was for our 40th. Om had a heart attack the previous autumn and he wasn't sure he was going to see 50 years. Ha! We are apparently tough as nails.

Here's my favorite picture of us!

You think I'm kidding.

Here's one that's good for an even better laugh. This was a long time and a lot of lifetimes ago, but we've hung on.

This was last summer. Not a bad picture.

I spent a big chunk of the day on some volunteer stuff for the trail chapter. Om and I will do something later. Maybe. If we want to. It's not about the celebrations but the staying power.

See We Celebrated #50 in October that year

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Futon Fix

I am nearing the last of the aftermath of the basement flood in January (link below). The old pull-out couch had been dead before the flood, and since it had been just dumped in the yard, we simply hauled it off to the township trash day this spring. It was so heavy I had to get help every time it needed to be seriously moved.

In June, Cathy helped me and we went to pick up a used futon I found for a reasonable price.

It's a really nice frame, but the person was selling it because the zipper on the cover had completely failed. You can see that the stuffing is blossoming out from inside on three sides. I knew I could replace the zipper.

However, I quickly realized that replacing the zipper was a bad plan. The cushion had been made with a zipper, but then after the cover had been put over the padding, buttons had been fixed through it to hold things in place like on a regular couch or chair. If I were going to replace the zipper, I'd need to cut all those out, and then replace them too. Sure, I know how to do that, but it seemed unnecessary. The cover doesn't need to be removable. I decided to just sew up the old cover. That turned out to be a s-l-o-w job. Easy, but slow.

Anyway, I finished today! I also re-hung two pictures that had to be moved because some of the bookcases got moved. The downstairs really looks like a living space again!

This futon is nicer than the other couch ever was.

I also managed to do laundry and some other odds and ends.

See Not the Day I Planned
What Happened with the Basement

Friday, August 25, 2023

Tiny Treasures

Today I spotted two hikers (see below) and then took a little hike myself to McCarthy Lake, a favorite place on our section of trail.
McCarthy Lake

The primary things to see were tiny gifts of the trail. I think this is white coral jelly, but it would have helped if I'd checked for a hollow stem. I always hate to break mushrooms. It doesn't hurt them, but then they are ruined for others to see them
white coral jelly

This is Gem Puffball, Lycoperdon perlatum. The book says these are edible, but I haven't tried them. I'll stick to the giant puffball for that. I really like the little spikes.
gem puffball

Indian Pipes are always a fun find. I'm always shocked when people tell me they've never seen them before since they are quite common. This is NOT a fungus or mushroom, but a parasitic plant with no chlorophyll.
indian pipes

Just the tiniest hint of fall. This leaf was only about a half-inch across.
tiny red leaf on green moss

Finally, the hikers, April and Rich. They were only doing a day hike, but they are in training for a backpacking trip, so they wore their full packs.

I did some other odds and ends, but nothing huge.

North Country Trail, Mac Rd to 3 Mile Rd and back. 4 miles.

See McCarthy Lake - Day 427

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Scottville Senior Center Program

Today began the first of the in-person programs following my second hike of the NCT. I actually am using part of the previous program with updated maps and slides, but that way it incorporates both of my trail experiences. It was a fun group with some trail people there, and some "new" people, and a couple of friends I haven't seen for a long time.
woman giving a program to a small group

Bill Kerans is on the right- he is the director of the Senior Center. Trail friend, Ada, is on the left, but she also is the Activities Director for the Center. Behind us is one of the many lovely quilts displayed.

They couldn't stop thanking me for coming, but seriously, I love giving programs about the North Country Trail. If anyone would like me to come to your area, my fee is reasonable, and sometimes travel expenses can be combined with some other trip. My next program is in Interlaken, NY, on September 9. Contact me if you are interested.

I just have to include this. Someone has arranged the kids' bookshelf by book color! This is exactly how Marie thinks it ought to be done, so I had to chuckle.
bookshelf arranged by color

I didn't get a lot else done, but I did start getting ready for the workshop I'm leading at the NCTA Celebration in the Adirondacks.

See Background Fun

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Liquid Air

Cathy and I took an evening walk. We went out to Buttersville on the south side of the Ludington Channel and walked out to the marker light. From there, you can look across the channel to the Ludington Lighthouse. You might note that it's just a bit hazy. Like seriously hazy. Like liquid air hazy.
Ludington lighthouse

On the way, we passed the Pere Marquette Shrine. I hadn't really been there since the base was rebuilt. It looks good. This is supposedly the place where Marquette died, although there are several places which claim that fact.
pere marquette shrine

The carferries, both the Badger and the Spartan are at their docks. Remember, the Badger had to end its season early. The Spartan just sits there anyway.
Ludington carferries

Coming back on the pier the light was hitting the rip-rap. Just rocks, right? But photos are always about the lighting.
rocks in red light

The haze made for interesting lighting as the sun got lower.
golden sunset

The day was oppresive with heat and humidity. I managed to do a few things this morning, and then just petered out. How did I ever walk in this stuff last summer? It was about all I could do to breathe today. Tomorrow I need to be functional, that's for sure.

See 2011 Trip to the South Channel

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Birdfoot Trefoil Seeds

Let's back up almost 3 years. At the link below I show you a hobby microscope that takes pictures. Well, it was supposed to. The first one didn't work right, so I sent it back. The second one didn't work right either. I sent that back and gave up. A couple of weeks ago I found this which just plugs into a USB port. Like the other one, it doesn't have the clarity I would like, but I can live with it for the price. It was much cheaper than the other one.
USB microscope

Here is Birdsfoot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus. It's alien, sigh. I love the color- the pure yellow. You see it along the roadsides all summer long. If it doesn't get mowed, it can be almost 2 feet tall, but if it gets cut down it will flower in a low mat. As you might guess from the flower, it's a legume.
birdsfoot trefoil

I always thought the name came from the clusters of leaves. You can easily tell this from clover, even when it's not blooming, because the leaves, other than the terminal one in each cluster, are assymetric. Each cluster looks sort of bird-footy.
birdsfoot trefoil

Ha! This year, I looked at the seed pods. Does anyone have any other questions about how this plant got its common name?
birdsfoot trefoil seed pods

Here is a closer look at where the pods grow out of the flowers.
birdsfoot trefoil seed pods

It looks as if some very small insect enjoys the seeds for snacking. The undersides of many of the pods had tiny holes drilled in them.
birdsfoot trefoil seed pod

When I broke a pod open, you can see from the traces of membrane that the seeds lie inside it just like peas. Makes sense, peas are also a legume. These seeds are tiny dark brown "peas."
birdsfoot trefoil seeds

I also took a picture of the seeds with the measuring card, but it didn't save properly. Note to self to pay more attention next time. This is basically Chinese junk electronics, but if I can have fun with it for a while, great! Anyway, the seeds are about 1.2mm in diameter. There isn't enough magnification to see any detail of the surface. Maybe someday I can have a really good video scope.

I worked on various projects all day, and I need to step up the productivity level tomorrow. I have a meeting starting very soon, so I don't have time to retake the picture with the ruler right now. Maybe tomorrow. Good thing it's a Zoom meeting. I also need a shower!

See New Toy- Not Quite