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!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Handbell Sunday - May

 And, just like that it's the end of handbell season until fall.

There were some technical difficulties, and so only about 2/3 of Reflections of Peace is on the video. It's a really pretty arrangement. Maybe we'll do it again some time.

And, we played Gospel Rags again. This is a difficult piece, and it's very cool when we get it pretty clean. Upbeat and fun. We are all wearing red for Pentacost Sunday.

I spent some time outside and did a few things I'm supposed to be working on other than THE BOOK. I did manage to overcome the font problem with it not saving to pdf the way I wanted it to. That had the potential to be a huge problem/headache, but it's going to be fairly painless to fix the files.

There aren't enough hours in the day. Last night I was keyed up and stayed up late working on some odds and ends. Then of course, I was tired today. Took a little nap after lunch and that seemed to fix things.

It was a beautiful day outside, and I'm planning to go out and work a little more this evening.

See Handbell Sunday - April

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Sneak Peek 2- How To Hike the North Country Trail

 Now that I've collected all the raw data for the campsites, it's onward to big time editing. Here is another sample for you. This includes the Table of Contents (page numbers are nonsense... that will be fixed as the formatting happens), but you can see what's in the book, the introduction, and another sample of campsite listings.

It's not only good for you to see what this is going to be like, it's good for me to see samples in the pdf. One of my fonts is not being saved correctly to pdf, and none of the bold face type. So those issues will have to be overcome. It matters to the readability of the data.

Here you go. I want to get outside for a few minutes yet today. Gotta scoot.

Sample 2 of How to Hike the North Country Trail.

I'm pretty sure I can make the August deadline to have this available at the Celebration.

See Sneak Peek 1

Friday, May 17, 2024

Miscellaneous Plants

  Today, I'll just share a few odd pictures I haven't shown you yet.

However, the first photo is brand new. Taken about an hour ago before the flower closed for the night. Not only did my ice plant survive (I've previously killed two), but it is spreading and happy. This isn't the main clump, but when I was weeding today, I discovered it already had a flower! Delospermia dyeri, 'Red Mountain Flame.'
red mountain flame ice plant

Here's one from the forest. Nothing special at all, I just happen to like it. It's a plain old hawkweed, but this one is called Rattlesnake Weed, Hieracium venosum. It keeps the purple veins all summer, but in spring it's all very dark red. You can see one in bloom at the link below.
rattlesnake weed leaves

Back to the rock garden for some bright white. Two little clumps of Arabis sturii, Wall Cress, survived the long years' night of no weeding. I got this in 2001. It's never looked this good. They have now finished blooming and are spreading like crazy. Wow. You can see one of the sad little puddles of it I discovered while weeding last year. It's quite amazing in its recovery.
wall cress

The pasqueflowers just keep on giving a great show. This is 9 weeks after the first blossoms, and the seed pods are just as cool as any flower, especially in the sun.
pasqueflower seed heads

Finally, here's one to make a liar out of me. I didn't think there would be any other different daffodils, but this is a double Pheasant Eye Narcissus. These seem to have mutated from the single ones. I now have a fairly good sized patch. I need to move them.
double pheasant eye narcissus

Now for the really big news. I have completed the first draft of campsites for all 4800 miles of the trail! Onward to editing (another day).

I am oddly tired today. Maybe it's because the temperature got "up there" for the first time this year. I think I better make some fresh ice tea for tomorrow. I think I'll reward myself by sitting still with a book this evening.

Oh yeah... I tried to get the lawnmower going. No. Of course, no. Sigh. There just aren't enough hours.

See Hieracium in bloom

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Fluffy Fleeceflower

 I've had this plant for about 30 years. It was a freebie. I've never liked it. But, this year, for the first time ever, it actually looks fairly nice with more than two scraggly stalks blooming at one time.

This is not in the rock garden, but in front where I have not weeded at all yet. I'll get there.

This morning I had a program that took until noon. Since then, I've been working really hard to get my 100 miles of campsites. I'm in the Adirondacks now, and of course, had to switch to a different set of maps and more work to get mileages, blah, blah. I have 80 miles done so far today. I'm feeling highly motivated to finish collecting this raw data and get to the editing. Only 162 miles to go! (So, I'm thinking maximum two more days- but I might spend a lot of time outside tomorrow.)

No gardening or other work happened. Well, OK, I stopped at the store for a few groceries.

See $10000 Plan, $20 Budget

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Gary and the Six Dwarves (aka Colette, hike #1)

 Colette has decided she wants to hike all 80 of the Spirit of the Woods Chapter miles of NCT this year. She has invited people to hike with her. I won't be able to make all of them, but I did today's hike. This was our southernmost 10.7 miles. Colette is middle back, right in front of Gary.

It cracks me up when a bunch of us shorties hike with Gary. I'm taking the picture, but I'm shorter than most everyone else. Actually, Michael joined us part way in, so that evened things out a little bit.

I love having things green up. It was an awesome wildflower day. This one is American ginseng (not the famous Appalachian root, but Panax quinquefolius
American ginseng
More familiar are the cousins, Allegheny Foamflower, Tiarella cordifolia and Mitrewort, Mitella diphylla. They were growing together near Jenks Creek.
Allegheny foamflower

Much to my surprise, we saw a LOT of Birdfoot Violet. I was surprised only because I hadn't seen it on that part of the trail before. It was actually pale blue (it's often darker blue), but this one looks white. Viola pedata. The leaves are what to look at. This likes full sun and sand. Hmmm. Maybe I should capture one that is going to get stepped on and try it in the rock garden.
birdsfoot violet

Another less obvious one is Wood Anemone, Anemonoides quinquefolia
wood anemone

Everyone noticed the showy stuff. The wild lupine Lupinus perennis. This is not the same as the garden Lupine which gets much larger. The Karner Blue butterflies need the wild one.
wild lupine

And this stunning flowering Dogwood, Cornus Florida. I marked the location of this one, it's so beautiful.
flowering dogwood

This is the farthest I've walked in a day since I ended the big hike. I'm tired, but not totally wiped out.

And I managed 43 miles of campsites. I've made it to the "blue line," the edge of the Adirondack Park.

Total miles hiked in 2024: 232.3, of which 89.3 is North Country Trail.

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI. 96th St to Bowman Lake TH, 10.7 miles

See Perfect Hiking Weather

Tuesday, May 14, 2024


 By the time I could get in place to take a picture, this bunny rabbit was on full alert. Watching it through the window, it was scratching its ears and being cute. But the camera wouldn't focus through the screen. This furry "friend" hasn't started eating my plants yet, but they are going in prison soon, so it won't be able to. Some of the things it and its friends munched on last year are recovering, but they did some serious damage.
cottontail rabbit

While I'm not showing you rock garden pictures, here's a success story that isn't in any "garden." About 30 years ago, I transplanted one trillium into our overgrown hedge. They reproduce very slowly, but now there are a number of plants, and I counted at least 10 blossoms I could see last week.

Only worked in the rock garden 15 minutes today. Just busy! Volunteer stuff, laundry, errands, bell choir. And I've only got 80 miles of campsites done. I need to get 20 more for the day. But the end of the research is in sight. Then it will be full-on editing. Maybe I'll go do 15 more minutes in the garden while there is plenty of light.

See I Spy

Monday, May 13, 2024

Purple Parade

 After I looked at the pictures, I decided this is an interesting collection. Individually, most people would call all of these purple (maybe with some fading off to maroon, but if you had to pick one of the 6 basic colors, most people would pigeonhole them into purple).

The first one is PURPLE purple. This is Jewel Baby Iris, and it's the first time it's bloomed in a while. So far this year, I've had two blossoms. It's about 4 inches tall.
Jewel Baby iris

We all call these purple lilacs- just the old farmstead standby. But compared to the Jewel Baby they look pink.
light purple lilacs

The Sempervivum sp. 'Arachnoidea' looks really nice. The one I used to have was smaller and green. It's long dead. This one came from Betsy, and it's certainly pushing purple. EDITED: This IS my old one. I have a picture of it from 2003. According to my records, it started life much greener. The rosettes were smaller and tighter in 2003.

Its friend is Sedum reflexum, what I call "blue spruce sedum." I've had this forever from a freebie pile. It spreads easily and sprawls all over but never looks all that great. Well! I guess I now know what it needs to look better. In two places where a clump is crowded between rocks it has made this nifty "fountain spray." I like these together.
spiderweb hen and chicks

Found the Sedum 'Cherry Tart!' This is another of the Sunsparkler hybrids. I actually ordered this and got a tiny, tiny sprig for $7 plus shipping. I really wasn't expecting to see it this spring. And then, I wasn't sure where I put it. But I at least got it labeled, even if it didn't get in the notebooks. This is going to be gorgeous when it starts to spread. You might almost call this red compared to some of the purples. Keep in mind this is clump is about 2" on a side. But, it's no smaller than when I planted it, and it's alive.
cherry tart sedum

Just for reference, these are true purple; I think we'd all agree. Plain old common violets, but they fill in open spaces nicely.

And for today's final purple, here's Sedum 'Ezawe' again. I showed you this earlier, and thought it looked more blue then, but maybe not. Today it seems purple. I do like the plants that display multiple colors depending on the time of year, the light, etc. As a reminder, I wasn't sure this one was going to make it, but it seems very happy so far this year.
sedum ezawe

Today was packed full. I worked on some volunteer stuff. I did 108 miles of campsites. I was interviewed by "Senior Games" for a podcast. It will be out in a couple of weeks, and I'll post a link when I get it. I managed to work for an hour in the rock garden.

I'm tired, but that's the way I like to end the day.

See Sedum Scramble

Sunday, May 12, 2024

M/B - Day

 Omer was born on Mother's Day. That was in 1940. He hit M-Day again in 1946, 1957, 1963, 1968, 1974, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2013, 2019, and this year, 2024.

His mom, Be (Bernice) with #1 kiddo, Om, in 1940. Hard to believe that little butterball is Om.
mother and baby 1940

He probably wanted a bottle that year. Today he asked for steak. Grimace. I haven't cooked a steak in over 35 years. But I succeeded.
t-bone steak

We used to each eat one of those. Ha! This time one steak is making 3 servings. We had all we wanted, and there is a little bit left. Added some asparagus, and that was all we needed. He also asked for a Coke.

Please note that the dining room has not exploded into a project space yet. That's a full week. I'm getting antsy.
man eating a steak

And, I found the picture I wanted to show you on Mother's Day last year, but couldn't locate. This is Granny, Mom, and me probably in late 1949.
three generations 1949

I got my 100 miles of campsites done, worked in the garden, and spent time on a project for someone else.

See Birthday Boy

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Sedum Scramble

 This is a report on how some of the many sedums are doing. Also, Since I got some of them last year at maturity, I'm learning what those ones look like as they come up. I'm posting all these partly for you, and partly as a record for me. I think we'll do some today, and some another day.

One that is strikingly different in spring is 'Angelina.' Later in the summer it has light green, sprawling leaves and a tall yellow flower. You can see that at the link below. Here's how it looks now.
Sedum Angelina

Another that I did not have at the beginning of last year is 'Thundercloud." This one gets tall with white blossoms (also in link at end). I like the little mounds it's in now. Both of these two were gifts from Betsy.
Sedum Thundercloud

This is one I bought last year. I had previously killed a couple, but the lady at the store said she'd never had one die, so I tried again. It looked so pathetic last year that I never even showed you. I split the very crowded pot into three spaces, and it looks like two of them have survived, and are doing well for sure. It's Sedum hispanicum 'Pinkie.' It stays very small. I think maybe white flowers. I'll just have to be surprised later.
Sedum hispanicum pinkie

And one more I bought last year that did well, and it looks like it is still very happy. This is 'Bright Idea.' It looks very much like it did last year, but that is just fine. This was about the size when I bought it, and it looks the same in May now, so I hope it will spread as the season progresses.
Sedum bright idea

And just because I like it so much, although I've had it a couple of years, this is 'Dream Dazzler.' I split it last year, and both clumps look fine, although this is the biggest.
Sedum dream dazzler

Finally for today, one I've had forever. I'm not even sure where I got it. Probably free from Matthaei Botanical Garden. Sometimes it looks good, sometimes straggly. But I like how it's filling in around my turtles. This is (I think) Sedum rubrotinctum 'Pork and Beans.' That said, my leaves have never gotten as large as most of the documentation says, but I'm pretty sure that's what it is. You can see a little pink sedum between the turtles. Hope I can find a record of what I put there. It might be 'Cherry Tart,' since I only had a little sprig of that.
pork and beans sedum

It was a little chilly to work outside very much. I mostly worked on the book, but this section is hard. So far, only 53 miles done for today.

Tomorrow is looking like it might be a real outside day!

See 2023 Rock Garden Report 4

Friday, May 10, 2024

That Line of Flowering Trees

 In 2016, I discovered a beautiful line of flowering trees only a half mile from my house. I think they had been hidden before, but a business expanded their parking and removed some other trees that were blocking it from view. It has only improved since being opened up to the sun on this side. It was spectacular this year.
row of flowering trees

Here's a closeup of one section.
flowering trees

Mostly, it was bye-bye to Steve as I dropped him at the airport.
airport drop off zone

We both made it to our homes safely. I have managed 70 miles of campsites so far, and spent some time weeding the rock garden. Some of the slower-growing sedums are starting to look nice. Maybe that will be tomorrow's topic. We'll see if I can make myself do 30 more miles tonight. I finished Pennsylvania, and have to move into New York. That requires me to use a different mapping system to get the info, so we'll see how easily that is going to work.

See Guess

Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Party's Almost Over

 Wow. We played even more games, although most of them not for points. Steve basically dictated what we did. He's here so seldom that we pretty much let him choose the activities when he does come. Josh is happy to have family time that is more fun than just being here with me alone. I can't sustain the party atmosphere with just two people. Frankly I can't sustain the party atmosphere much longer than a couple of days. I was almost too tired from the cleaning to get the game board set up and organized, even though I'd planned it all way back in Decemeber. But I'm sure glad I did. Steve said he had a great time, and he had a chance to get some much-needed rest.

The prize board was pretty nearly cleared, although no one went for the gift cards, which surprised me a little bit. The numbers on the hooks are game points that have been exchanged for the prizes. However, that big stack of points on the upper left hook will be a donation to Peace Trees, as I explained last night.
prize board after prizes were claimed

We got the nicest family picture we've managed for years. Since Steve has this aversion to being posted on line, I cut out most of him, but you can see that it's a nice photo. The last family picture was in 2018. Of course the green background helps make a good picture.
family photo

Steve did let me take a picture of his Star Wars shirt.

Tomorrow morning, I take him back to the airport.

Omer said he might just sit at the dining room table for a while to enjoy looking at the cleaned area. I said all that open space was just screaming for me to start another project. So goes our lives.

See Game Day!